It's Just a Show

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For those of you who enjoy this sort of thing, the author of It's Just a Plant, Ricardo Cortes, reports that he's scheduled to be browbeaten by Bill O'Reilly tonight. It's Just a Plant, you may recall, is the children's book about marijuana that had Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) in a tizzy at a drug policy hearing last month. I suspect O'Reilly will not be recommending it as a drug education textbook. Having aroused O'Reilly's WWF-esque ire on more than one occasion, I would offer the following advice: Stay calm and think about your book sales.

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  1. When O’Reilly is on, I think, “Oh joy, a breath of hot air.”

  2. When O’Reilly is on in my house, it means the remote control must be broken.

  3. When exactly was it that the libertarian movement was hijacked so that we now hinge the entire fight for individual freedom on legalized pot and other such fringe topics?

    I’m all for the right to harm one’s self, whether it’s marijuana or death by saturated fat but the topic is a loser as an identifer for your ideology.

  4. Yeah, the libertarian movement was on the fast track to la revolucion, steered by unwavering and fully competent visionaries, until those goddamn potheads showed up.

  5. What does “It’s just a plant” mean? Lots of plants are deadly poison.

  6. The argument concerning marijuana is merely representative of a larger philosophy; that is, that the state should seldom, if ever, have the power to trump the rights of an individual, regardless of whether they are considered “fringe” ones or not. Remember that the erosion of civil liberties begins with those rights that exist on the fringe — the ones most people fail to notice until they themselves are affected — and move inward from there.

    To repeat the cliched stereotype that libertarians are just “Republicans who like to smoke pot” is an egregious misrepresentation of the movement as a whole, in my humble opinion.

  7. No need to rehearse the need for our right to harm ourselves provided we harm no one else in the process. We’re all in the choir here I believe.

    The movement that is lower case “L” libertarianism is, depending on who you talk to, either an offshoot of classical liberalism or simply a synonym of the same. I’m not going to get into a bunch of semantics here but the point is, either definition is rightly connected to Hayek and Friedman; free markets and personal choices.

    Marijuana is a valid part of all that but to make it the banner topic for your own ideology only sets your ideology back; it doesn’t promote it.

    Two things to consider along these lines; legalized pot within our current system would only give birth to a massive federal rehabilitation program wherein everyone who had ever smoked one joint would qualify for hundreds of thousands of tax dollars of job retraining and psychological therapy. Basically, every loser in America would turn around and blame pot for their loser-ness and the government would pay for it because they just put their stamp of approval on it.

    The other thing; going on a show like O’Reilly won’t help many books. That’s the brain dead, Hannity type crowd who’ll just dismiss the whole thing as a freak show.

  8. I suspect that for most libertarians, the issue of legalizing drugs is not centrally about expanding our rights to do what we want, it is about finding a way to end the War on Drugs which routinely annihilates our rights well beyond simply the right to smoke pot.

  9. Opinions are like assholes: O’Reilly has plenty of the former, and is almost certainly one of the latter.

  10. Marijuana is a valid part of all that but to make it the banner topic for your own ideology only sets your ideology back; it doesn’t promote it.

    Marijuana and the drug war to which all blows against the former connect is not a “fringe issue.”

    Even if you didn’t believe that the WOSD is the single biggest miscarriage of justice in this country, it makes perfect sense to make it a banner issue. For one, it’s an area that many people who aren’t libertarian are predisposed to agree.

    For two, the momentum that’s built behind the issue makes it a place where libertarians can effect the most change. Therefore, by Ricardo’s Law of Comparative Advantage, not only does it represent the ideology, but the ideology itself demands it be its banner issue.

  11. I’m not sure that one story indicates we are hinging our entire case on pot. Read the rest of this website. We have a whole list of grievences.

  12. Legalization of pot is an important topic in its own right and not just because its tangentially connected to small “l” libertarianism. Nor do I believe that it is necessarily a “loser” issue or will turn people against libertarianism in general.

    Many people care deeply about the issue and the war on drugs in general. Not all of these people share other libertarian views. Indeed, maybe it is important because it is a way for people with disparate political beliefs (leftists, old timey conservatives, libertarians, a-political potheads) to rally around an issue that helps to undermine the war on drugs and generally increase freedoms. In other words, it is one libertarian idea that at least has the support of non-libertarians.

    We are probably closer to legalization (or at least a more sane drug policy) than we’d like to think. Certainly the idea of decriminalization is not so radical given that it is already, for all intents and purposes, in many states, and pot is now all but legal for our neighbors to the north (and indeed, it may worth pointing out to O’Reilly that Canadian babies are not being eaten at alarming rates, nor have Canadian teenagers suddenly started engaging in rampant Greek-style orgies).

  13. it may worth pointing out to O’Reilly that Canadian babies are not being eaten at alarming rates, nor have Canadian teenagers suddenly started engaging in rampant Greek-style orgies

    And such thinking is the product of a sober mind?!? Pass the bong, Chong…

  14. I believe that feasting on babies (or at least baking them in the oven) was identified as a somewhat common side effect of weed in certain propaganda. Jacob Sullum’s book lists a few amusing beliefs as well, especially related to cigarette smoking.

  15. The moral seems to be: NEVER read “A Modest Proposal” while stoned.

  16. What does “It’s just a plant” mean? Lots of plants are deadly poison.

    Death Angel Mushrooms: They’re just a plant.

    Crack cocaine: It’s just kitchen cleaner and a plant.

  17. Not to be a cock, but mushrooms aren’t plants. But I agree with your point. So many people on both sides of the political spectrum seem to think that anything “natural” must be good.

  18. It’s Just A Plant

    Cortes likely would have included the word BENIGN in the title, but how many kids (and too many parents) even know the word?

    Plus it jams up the cover with too many Words.

    The War on Marijuana is a vital issue in the United States because marijuana possesion arrests account for more criminal cases each year than all violent crimes combined.

    Almost 2000 Americans will be thrust into the criminal justice system today on marijuana possession charges.

    And tomorrow, another 2000. Day after day, going back almost eight years now.

    Depending on the agency, marijuana law enforcement sucks up between 20-40% of police resources.

    Next time you end up waiting for a cop to help you with a legitimate service call and he runs way too late, there’s about a 1 in 3 chance that he was tied up for the several hours it takes to process a marijuana possession arrest.

    And at the end of the aforementioned Day with 2000 possession arrests, there is literally no negative impact on the overall marijuana market within the United States.

    Tens of billions of dollars per year for marijuana law enforcement nationally and the market doesn’t even blink.

    The General Accounting Office last year released their most recent evaluation of the DEA with the score of 100 being that of an agency which has completely accomplished their stated objectives and all within budget etc.

    The DEA scored ZERO.

    ZERO.

    Not a low score like 20 or 33.

    ZERO.

    It is the absolute biggest waste of taxpayer dollars in the United States.

    Thus it is reasonable for liberterians to cite it as being the most obvious example of how bad the government can do something when they set their mind to it.

  19. Citizengnat:

    if you hadn’t been a cock, I would have had to be a cock, so thanks for preventing the necessity of my cockitude

  20. Steve, you have a link, or atleast a title for googling’ sake, to that analysis?

  21. anondamide:

    I suggest checking out the NOMRL website, for starters. This stuff isn’t really that difficult to find.

    SIC:

    Keep that righteous anger, man. It’s hard with a good buzz.

  22. ooops.. NORML..

  23. Mr. Nice Guy: you’re stoned right now, aren’t you?!:)

    actually dangerous plant: deadly nightshade

  24. Naw, not whilst on the clock.. though I obviously indulge my surfing addiction. I rationalize it as my in-lieu tobacco break.

  25. actually dangerous plant: deadly nightshade

    D’oh! That’s what I was thinking of to begin with! I knew “death angel mushrooms” was not what I was going for….thanks for the correction (you cocks!)

  26. deadly nightshade

    … also known as “belladonna.”

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