Fox News ChannelFox News ChannelI wrote Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use to debunk the purported moral distinction between the psychoactive substances that Congress has decided to ban and the psychoactive substances that remain legal. As I discovered when I discussed the book on The O'Reilly Factor several years ago, that show's host also does a pretty good job of showing how specious this distinction is, although not on purpose. O'Reilly was at it again last night, blowing a gasket over The Denver Post's hiring of a marijuana editor. Although the editor, Ricardo Baca, will oversee a wide range of marijuana-related coverage, including the ins and outs of transforming a countercultural symbol into a capitalist commodity, what really offended O'Reilly was Baca's plan to hire a cannabis critic:

The Denver Post has actually hired an editor to promote pot. Think about this. The only reason you use weed, outside of a medical situation, is to intoxicate yourself. And of course that can lead to bad things: DUI, the use of harder drugs…They're promoting marijuana use!...

They're hiring a critic who is going to have to ingest marijuana and tell everybody what's the best intoxicant to use….If you have teenagers, do you want them to read where the best pot is in the state?...

They're going to tell you what the best bud is…where to buy it, how to prune it, how to roll it. This is promoting the use of an intoxicant by The Denver Post

When Fox News analyst Juan Williams noted that marijuana is legal in Colorado and drew an analogy to wine reviews, O'Reilly was puzzled. "That's not an intoxication deal, is it?" he asked. "You can drink wine without getting inebriated."

Well, that depends what you mean by "inebriated." Wine drinking is indeed "an intoxication deal," in the sense that one of the things people like about wine is the psychoactive effect of the alcohol. Nonalcoholic wines do exist, but they are far less popular than the real thing. And the idea that drinkers experience degrees of intoxication, while marijuana consumers do not, has no basis in reality.

Explaining such matters to O'Reilly is like addressing an extraterrestrial who not only has never consumed an intoxicant but cannot comprehend why humans might want to do so. This extraterrestrial also does not know that newspapers carry reviews of alcoholic beverages and of the establishments that serve them, along with instructions for making such drinks at home:

Shouldn't they hire a booze columnist…to say, "Look, this is the best way to get high"? "Here we can drink Bailey's, or we can drink gin. Here's how you mix it."...Why don't you just set it up like, "Here’s the bar in Denver where you can get the cheapest chasers and the most gin for your money?"

Although a drink featuring gin and Bailey's does not sound very appealing, it is simply bizarre that O'Reilly thinks publishing cocktail recipes would be so reckless and socially irresponsible that no reputable periodical would ever do so. O'Reilly displays a similar cluelessness when he deems it "absurd" that The Denver Post does not want its employees to smoke pot at work "even though we have a marijuana critic and we're going to tell you where to get the best bud." Presumably he also would consider it ridiculously inconsistent for a newspaper that reviews beer, wine, or distilled spirits to ask its employees not to drink on the job. But the rest of us can only scratch our heads at the derangement that results from attempting to defend the arbitrary lines drawn by our drug laws.

[via The Huffington Post]