Drug War

The Media Aren't Liberal

Prop. 19 highlights the authoritarian tendencies of the mainstream press.

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For the last few months, my colleague Matt Welch has been tracking the positions of California's newspapers on Proposition 19, the ballot measure that would legalize marijuana for recreational use. At last count, 26 of the state's 30 largest dailies (plus USA Today) had run editorials on the issue, and all 26 (plus USA Today) were opposed. This puts the state's papers at odds with nearly all of California's left-leaning interest groups, including the Green Party, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Service Employees International Union, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; progressive publications such The Nation, Salon, and The Huffington Post; and a host of prominent liberal bloggers. According to a CNN/Time poll released last week, it also pits the state's newspapers against 76 percent of California voters who identify themselves as "liberal."

On this issue, the state's dailies are also to the right of conservative publications such as The Economist and National Review, prominent Republicans such as former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, a growing portion of the Tea Party movement, and even Fox News personality Glenn Beck. (Beck has said he favors marijuana legalization, although he has been typically schizophrenic on Prop. 19.) So who are the newspapers' allies? Nearly all of California's major elected officials are against the measure, and the No on Prop. 19 campaign has been funded mainly by contributions from various law enforcement organizations, including the California Police Chiefs Association, the prison guard union, and the California Narcotics Officers Association.

It's telling that the loudest voices opposing pot legalization are coming from the mainstream media, politicians, and law enforcement. The three have a lot in common. Indeed, the Prop. 19 split illustrates how conservative critics of the mainstream media have it all wrong. The media—or at least the editorial boards at the country's major newspapers—don't suffer from liberal bias; they suffer from statism. While conservatives emphasize order and property, liberals emphasize equality, and libertarians emphasize individual rights, newspaper editorial boards are biased toward power and authority, automatically turning to politicians for solutions to every perceived problem.

Because the left traditionally has looked to government to enforce its preferences more than the right, and certainly more than libertarians, it's easy to see how someone might get the impression that the news media lean left. But you see the editorial pages' lust for authority on issues like campaign finance reform, where unlike left-leaning groups such as the ACLU and the Sierra Club they almost uniformly support restrictions on political speech, despite the fact that their profession is inextricably tied to the First Amendment. This deference to authority was also on display in the Kelo v. New London case, where the Washington Post and New York Times editorial boards jettisoned traditionally liberal principles such as equality and fair play in favor of a broad government power to forcibly transfer property from people of modest means to wealthy developers. That position separated those papers from traditionally progressive groups like the NAACP and the AARP, which argued that eminent domain too often enriches developers at the expense of powerless groups.

But newspaper editors' elevation of government power above other liberal concerns is clearest on criminal justice issues, where editorial boards' deference to police powers aligns them with conservatives about as often as with liberals. To the extent that the criminal justice system treats minorities differently than it treats the white majority (which is a legitimate problem), you'll find newspapers registering concern along with the left. But while liberals traditionally have sought to address this sort of problem by protecting individual rights, editorial boards tend to stop at expressing concern, generally opposing any reform that would put significant limits on government power.

Welch pointed to a good example last week. In October the Drug Policy Alliance and the NAACP released a study showing that blacks and Latinos in California are several times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites, despite survey data showing that whites are more likely to smoke pot. The Los Angeles Times dutifully registered its concern in an editorial but felt compelled to add that "Proposition 19 is not the answer." As Welch explained, if we need to do something about the fact that blacks and Latinos are arrested for marijuana possession more often than whites, but that something does not entail arresting fewer pot smokers, the Times can only be advocating that we start arresting more white people. That's the solution proposed by law-and-order conservatives like Rush Limbaugh, who once said the disproportionate racial impact of the war on drugs means "too many whites are getting away with drug use"; the answer, he said, "is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them, and send them up the river too."

Editorial boards' objections to Prop. 19 generally boil down to two arguments: Legalizing pot will 1) increase consumption and 2) intensify the drug policy battle between California and the federal government. The first argument is little more than contempt for individual freedom, and it is particularly revealing when applied to a relatively benign drug like marijuana. Pot doesn't make users violent. No one has ever died from a marijuana overdose. The least healthy thing about the drug is that it's most commonly ingested through smoking. The objection that "more people would use it" is based on a belief that people aren't responsible enough to be trusted with intoxicants—that they're too weak to put down the drug if it begins to interfere with their lives.

The second argument is equally telling: We can't expand freedom for Californians because doing so would undermine the federal government's authority. This concern was conspicuously absent in the debate between the Bush administration and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger over whether California should pass emission standards that exceeded those of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Editorial boards seem to think it's fine to defy the feds if it means giving a state more regulatory power. But defying the feds in a way that gives Californians more freedom to make their own decisions about what they put into their bodies? Well, let's not go tipping apple carts.

Similar priorities were evident in the reactions from major newspapers' editorial boards after the Supreme Court's 2005 decision in Gonzales v. Raich, which upheld the federal government's power to enforce its laws against marijuana, even in states that have legalized the drug for medical use. The lead plaintiff in the case was Angel Raich, a woman with ailments that included an inoperable brain tumor and wasting syndrome. Her doctor said homegrown marijuana was keeping her alive. While The Washington Post's editorialists sympathized with Raich, they worried that a broad ruling on her behalf might have undermined the federal government's Commerce Clause authority to protect obscure cave-dwelling insects. That isn't a caricature. The Post actually made that argument in an editorial titled (no kidding) "Not Just a Win for Bugs." While "medical marijuana and cave-dwelling insects may not seem to have much in common," the paper said, "federal authority over both depends on the same constitutional principle: Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce."

Liberals, even in the modern American sense, won't sacrifice equality, compassion, or lifestyle freedom for government power. They are suspicious of government power at least when it comes to policing, and they tend to value individual freedom, at least until it bumps up against their notion of equality. The editorial boards of our leading newspapers have different priorities. If there's a guiding principle you can reliably extract from the average newspaper editorial, it's that people can't be trusted to act in their own best interest. They need experts, politicians, and regulators to craft laws that steer them from peril and help them fulfill their potential—even if that means locking them up them until they learn.

Radley Balko is a senior editor at Reason magazine.

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429 responses to “The Media Aren't Liberal

  1. the media doesn’t have a leftist bias, they have an authoritarian one.

    Honestly, I’m not sure there’s a difference that matters.

    Leftists reflexively turn to the state for solutions. Outside of a very small handful of issues (abortion, perhaps there are others) the leftist is an authoritarian.

    1. So because liberals believe in using our policy apparatus to effect policy changes, we are authoritarian? You need to calm down. Balko gets it right. No liberal celebrates state power for its own sake. We just aren’t anti-government.

      1. The don’t use it to effect policy change, they use it to keep entire groups of people under their control through great society bullshit programs.

        No liberal celebrates state power for it’s own sake.

        You’re right. You celebrate it for our sake.

        1. Shit sandwich on Tuesday Balko, no getting around it. All the bull shit, all the jounolist spin, and all the fake libertarianism will not change the way people vote tomorrow. Let’s be honest Reason mag exists to influence elections, so let’s not pretend tomorrow isn’t a big deal, it is!

          1. Reason magazine exists to make the case for Free Minds. To the extent that philosophy influences elections then so be it.

            1. Stalin didn’t actually celebrate his exercises of state power. But he got things done. Progressives admire that in a leader.

            2. There are a couple of good writers at Raisin Magazine, Balko is not one of them. He’s a liberal not a libertarian.

              1. I’m not saying you’re wrong…but you should give at least one reason.

              2. That message was aimed at Pat Lynch.

              3. LMAO! Balko is not a libertarian?

        2. Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

      2. Shorter Tony: As long as we coerce them for the right things, it’s all good.

      3. No one has ever, ever, celebrated state power for its own sake, other than a handful of Nazi pseudoacademics that no one actually read. Authoritarians always claim to have a very good reason or reasons for employing state power.

        1. Does Louis the 14th count? I think he celebrated state power for its own sake.

          1. “It’s good to be the King!?

          2. L’etat c’est moi!

          3. I think he sincerely believed he had a God-mandated duty to be authoritarian.

        2. The Nazis (and fascists) actually wanted to use power for the “good of the community”.

          1. The “Good of Deutschland”, not the ‘community’. It was the ‘community’ sacrificing for The State.

        3. Then please explain the leftist fetish with raising taxes on ‘the rich’.

          1. They say it, but they don’t pay it. They raise taxes on the rich, then let their rich buddies get away without having to pay.

            It makes them look good and it does nothing.

          2. It’s just sensible policy, especially for people who cry about deficits all the time.

            1. Whats not sensible about taxing everyone’s income at an equal rate? Don’t you believe in equal application of the law?

              1. Because I, like Jefferson, believe that taxes should not burden anyone. A truly equal application of tax policy would be based on the burden they represent, not the actual number representing the rate. I also think it’s a fallacy, widespread in these parts, to think of a poor person and a rich person as people of classes analogous to race that should be treated equally. To be rich is to be more privileged, and there’s no getting around that.

                1. Okay. Then everyone can be taxed the same 1.7%, and the government should be forced to spend within those limits. The poor will remain essentially unburdened, keeping 98.3 cents for every dollar earned, and the rich will be taxed at the same rate, keeping most of the money they earned for themselves.

                  1. That’s one option, I suppose. Though at some point people stop “earning” money and start merely “making” it. And I’m not sure why we should sacrifice a decent and functioning society on that alter.

                2. “Because I, like Jefferson, believe that taxes should not burden anyone”

                  Thank you for volunteering to pay mine.

                3. I have a friend who also likes “progressive” tax policies.

                  Even when I give him the option of a flat tax above some minimum poverty level varying with number of people in the household so that it is actually fair, he still says that he “just likes progressive tax rates”

                  To hell with fairness and equal treatment under the law. He has his own definition of “fair” and it involves progressive rates and that’s it. Luckily we both like to party so we are still friends.

                  1. You are already making an exception for poor people. Welcome to progressive taxation. All we are arguing about is what makes sense for which income groups. So much animus between liberals and libertarians for barriers so thin.

                    1. Not really, because any reasonable justification for a tax above zero has to be based on some form of social good. Then it can be argued that taxing below a poverty line (which, let me remind, is in essence arbitrary and in practice hard to enforce and likely unfairly enforced) does more social harm than the taxes collected will make good.

                      (I suppose in essence that argument could be maximalized to the most radical anti-tax libertarian: the threshold where taxes collected do more good than collection does harm is simply effectively infinite income / wealth.)

            2. Tony, you must really like that hole you’ve dug….

          3. “Equality” and “Justice” somehow.

            1. I pledge allegience,
              To the flag,
              Of the United States of America,
              And to the Rupublic,
              For which it stands,
              One nation,
              Under God,
              With liberty and justice for all, Except for the top 2% wage earners.

      4. No liberal celebrates state power for its own sake.

        They celebrate state power for the sake of when the “right people” are in charge.

      5. “We just aren’t anti-government.”

        Limited government does not mean anti-government.

        You’re a fucking moron.

        1. To the modern progressive, not wanting to drink a gallon of milk in one long chug is the same as hating milk.

          There can never be too much of a good thing. Never. Especially when it’s free.

          1. Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.

            We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state- enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

            –Bastiat

            If you don’t want the government in charge of health care then you don’t want anyone to have access to health care at all.
            If you don’t want the government in charge of charity then you want to eliminate all help to the needy.
            And so on and so on.
            Over a century and a half have passed since Bastiat wrote those words, and nothing has changed.

            1. Tony’s Slogan: “No, you can’t just have the tip.”

              1. Q: What did the leper say to the prostitute?

                A: Keep the tip.

                1. eww, I like it

            2. I’ve been accused of wanting “total state control over all aspects of life” so don’t lecture me about exaggerating. I want state control of healthcare because it WORKS BETTER than the private alternative, and there’s ample evidence for that.

              1. So? Slave labor often works better than voluntary employment.

                1. Not for the slaves. Government-run healthcare, on the other hand, is proven to work better than a private alternative on every useful metric you can think of for everyone involved. The only reason you refuse to acknowledge these facts is because it would go against your reflexively antigovernment dogma.

                  1. Why are there private doctors and insurance plans in the UK if your belief is true?

                  2. Tell it to Canada.

                  3. Works better for whom?

                    Certainly not for those who will have to pay more via coercion than those who will pay nothing at all.

                    Try again, fuckface.

                  4. Let’s see, we have government run healthcare in the form of VA hospitals, better? Not by any useful metric. Government run healthcare in the military hospitals, not better by their own admission. Government run healthcare in Medicare, and strike three, you’re out of there.

              2. You do. There is literally no sphere of life where you do not see the state as having no outstanding interest, and even if there were, the day that you found a prevailing “state interest”, you would find some justification for control of that sphere. You’re no better than the Victoricans of past times who criminalized sodomy for society’s sake.

                1. Eric,

                  I do not believe in criminalizing private behavior. I only believe the state should be involved where conflicts among two or more people crop up, and only when they can’t be solved without the state. I just happen to think that there are more of these instances than you guys are willing to admit.

                  1. We haven’t had ‘free market health care’ in fifty years. Don’t confuse what we have now with ‘free market’. As Dr. Walter Williams says, you fix health care with less government, not more.

                  2. “I do not believe in criminalizing private behavior. I only believe the state should be involved where conflicts among two or more people crop up”

                    If I don’t want to buy health insurance because I simply do not need it, how does that create a “conflict among two or more people” requiring me to buy health insurance under a Federal mandate?

                  3. I do not believe in criminalizing private behavior.

                    But you don’t believe in private behavior.

              3. I’d like to see you pull that out of your ass.

                1. “I want state control of healthcare because it WORKS BETTER than the private alternative, and there’s ample evidence for that.”

                  1. We already have state control of healthcare.

                    Ever heard of medical licensing or drug control?

                    Until those are abolished, expect high prices, less choice, and more medical fascism.

                    Calling what we have right now a “free market” is laughable at best.

                    But of course statists on both sides are presenting a false paradigm between fascism and socialism, to satisfy their own interests of course, as always.

        2. Limited government does not mean anti-government.

          If someone is not for limited government, they must be for UN-limited government.

        3. Okay, as long as we agree that we merely differ on policy grounds, and one of us isn’t an “authoritarian” and the other a freedom lover.

          1. Sorry Tony… When the difference in ideas about policy are:

            1. State control over virtually every aspect of our lives (centrally controlling the economy would be enough to make that true by itself and you have to tack on health-care and a thousand other things just to drive the point home).

            and

            2. Decentralized government allowing individuals to choose their own activities freely without state intervention and force (better known as… uh… freedom).

            YOU are the authoritarian, jackass.

            1. State control over virtually every aspect of our lives

              I’ve been accused of wanting “total state control over all aspects of life”

              See!!

      6. “So because liberals believe in using our policy apparatus to effect policy changes, we are authoritarian?”

        Policy apparatus is a loose way of saying authority.

        That means that your favorite way of solving any perceived problem is through the mechanism of authority, and any who do not submit should be punished.

        That’s authoritarian as far as I’m concerned.

        You’re a fucking moron.

        1. And it’s last sentences like that on your posting that drag the comments section of Reason into bottom-feeder territory, and remind me of why it is totally pointless for progressive libertarians like me to engage obnoxious wankers like you in any sensible dialogue.

      7. When you believe a top down, central authority should have and use the authority to control all health care decisions, all property use, all wealth allocation, all contract and sales terms (not just enforcement), and what we can put into and do with our bodies, etc., then yes, you are authoritarian.

      8. So because liberals believe in using our policy apparatus to effect policy changes, we are authoritarian?

        ____________________

        Well, reducing the top marginal tax rate to 20% would be a “policy change” and you’d be against it. The policy changes you favor generally run in one direction — more state control over people’s lives. In other words, authoritarian.

      9. Either Tony fell asleep in front of his game shows or that was a really effective spoof, because it’s not like him to troll in the most literal sense of the term. He’s usually “honorable” enough to stick around and dish out more horseshit to the people who respond to him, and there have been a lot in the three hours sense he posted that.

        1. I took a long lunch today.

          1. Well that’s odd: usually, my long lunch comes *before* a huge shit.

            1. Brava! I love a good comeback, wish they were more common here.

      10. “We just aren’t anti-government.”

        I’m not anti-government either. I love government when it remains limited to barring the use of physical force in social interactions.

        1. It must be right because it’s so simple?

          1. Why make it more complicated?

      11. Hey, I agree with Tony for once. There are practically no authoritarians for its own sake.

      12. “No liberal celebrates state power for its own sake.”

        What a fuckin’ laugh riot you are, Tony.

      13. Re: Tony,

        So because liberals believe in using our policy apparatus to effect policy changes, we are authoritarian?

        Yes.

        No liberal celebrates state power for its own sake.

        Of course not. You simply celebrate the power of government for the sake of your favorite policies.

        We just aren’t anti-government.

        Oh, you think you’re being neutral?

      14. Tony, which wing of the Teams gets behind:

        Smoking bans
        Taxes on “junk food”
        Prohibiting restaurants, etc. from using trans-fats

        just to name a few places where noses should not be stuck?

        It’s YOUR party doing these kinds of shit, Tony. And between them and the Rs telling us how to be Upright and Moral Citizens, I don’t know which one is worse… so I pick “they both are”.

        And they ARE equally bad, when it comes to proscribing or forbidding their causes du jours. Rs and Ds both treat us like fucking children, telling us not to put things in our mouths because It’s Bad For You and We Know Best.

        Fuck that shit. Adults aren’t toddlers, and we don’t need the likes of Nancy Pelosi OR Ralph Reed* tsk-tsking and wagging their bony fucking fingers at us.

        * Or insert most any random Democrat and Republican. The possibilities, alas, are almost endless when it comes to The Nanny Left and The Paternalistic Right.

        1. Democrats: “Don’t put fatty foods, salt or cigarettes in your mouth.”

          Republicans: “Don’t put a cock in your mouth if you’re a man.”

          I see your point.

          1. Well, you’d have to include that cock as something the Dems want to prohibit now–they’re fighting for DADT against the LC Republicans

            And you’d have to add things like not putting ‘obscene’ music in your ears, not looking at ‘obscene’ pictures, limiting how much water you flush or shower with, what kind of lightbulb you can use….it goes on and on.

            1. Oh, the list of Forbidden Things is indeed long. I wasn’t slighting those, just easier to post a few examples. Thanks, though.

      15. No liberal celebrates state power for its own sake.

        Oh now you’re losing any credibility you had. Go sell that to people who might buy it.

    2. “Honestly, I’m not sure there’s a difference that matters”

      Indeed.

      It is a dinstiction without a difference.

      Liberals are socialists.

      And socialism is inherently authoritarian.

      1. So conservatives are anti-authoritarian? What’s that? Oh, they’re authoritarians too, huh?

        Maybe the distinction between authoritarianism and liberalism has meaning after all.

        1. “So conservatives are anti-authoritarian? What’s that? Oh, they’re authoritarians too, huh?”

          Nowhere near as much as liberals are.

          And it’s only the social conservatives subset that is authoritarian on those social issues.

          And those things have a far less real world effect on the lives of people compared to the massive interference of economic freedom of contract and private property rights restrictions favored by liberals.

          1. Because the Bush administration was such a stalwart defender of economic freedom and property rights, and the incoming wave of Republicans have all sorts of great ideas for fixing our broken system. Or something.

            And we need not even mention massive interventionism and warmongering and nation-building in the defense sphere, which doesn’t reveal any sort of authoritarian tendency at all.

            1. Don’t make the mistake of thinking of Bush as a conservative. He ran on the Republican ticket, but there was very little that was conservative during his presidency.

              Increased Medicaid spending, a two-front open-ended war on the incredibly hard to define enemy “Terror,” the proposed selling of our ports to foreign investors, the Patriot Act… much of George Bush’s actions were either liberal or authoritarian (I won’t make the claim that the two always go hand in hand).

              As soon as Republicans admit that George Bush did not have conservative interests in mind, maybe then they can make some ground up with the voters.

              1. Dude, you can’t convince a cosmo-lib(eral) that since you hate socialism, that you didn’t also love and uphold Bush as the savior. Their Tuquoque ad hominem always ALWAYS reverts back to “Bu-bu-bu-bu-b-b-b-BUT BUSH did something so it must be okay”

                To them, Bush was as far-right as it gets. Their minds can’t contemplate what a real conservative usually stands for.

          2. “”Nowhere near as much as liberals are.””

            They are very near, especially when talking about the role of guys with guns kicking down your door.

            1. +1

            2. Why assume that this is a ‘conservative’ thing? A lot of these guys with guns knocking down doors are union members living in cities controlled by Democrats–and often more radical leftists. Haven’t you noticed that?

              Don’t you think it’s odd that ‘police’ gets automatically associated with conservatives? Especially when so many ‘bad cop’ stories come from blue states and blue cities?

              1. I’m not making it a conservative thing, I’m saying they are no better than the other team.

            3. But the “offences” for which they root for these interventions are different, and that is the important point there – though I would think it’s more about an authoritarian-individualist divide than about a liberal-conservative divide.

              Another problem is that it is hard to see a liberal policy enacted by SWAT teams, except probably for gun laws: it is hard to picture them entering a restaurant that uses trans fats or the home of a business owner that refuses to cave in to a union, or a factory that doesn’t mean environmental standards. Otoh, it’s very easy to picture a conservative policy so enforced, be it sodomy laws, immigration restrictions, or they-might-be-terrorists.

              I suppose if there was more enforcement of liberal policies by SWAT teams, we might see the apparent LEA-worship divide between liberals and conservatives for what it really is: a divide between believing in a policy (if it’s good or bad that’s another issue) and believing no cost is too high to make everyone comply with it.

              1. Actually, they will break down your door for trans fat violations.

                Just try disagreeing with them or defending yourself against them.

                You will find yourself dead.

                1. Just keep on serving trans fat and see what happens.

                  You will be raided. You will be shot and killed if you dare resist.

        2. All liberals are authoritarian, though not all authoritarians are liberals.

          So yes you have a semantic point, but we’re still talking a distinction with no difference.

        3. This is a libertarian site (we’ll ignore the post about buyer’s remorse) so that’s not the dichotomy.

          But yes, lately conservatives are a little less authoritarian than liberals.

      2. Conservatives are fascists.

        And fascism is inherently authoritarian. Or perhaps we should say “corporatarian” or “feudalistic”.

        The only people who value true freedom are anarchists, aka “libertarian socialists”. The government that governs best… does not exist.

        1. Libertarian socialists tend to have strange views on economic rights. Try asking one of them if, in their ideal libertarian socialist society, wage labor or interest would be tolerated. Nine times out of ten, you’ll get an answer that sounds like something from Lenin.

          Their idea of “freedom” doesn’t extend very far.

          1. “”Their idea of “freedom” doesn’t extend very far.””

            That’s true of either party. But some feel the need to nitpick to make their team look better.

          2. neither does the Libertarian one…

            hence the lunacy of libertarians saying you have the right to drive drunk or fuck little kids (as long as its voluntary)

            1. Whats the problem with those?

              Ewwww… driving after Red Bull and men sleeping with men.

              lets kill or arrest everyone doing things we don’t like even if they don’t hurt anyone else. I love judging and bossing people around.

              I said “won’t somebody think of the children!!!” can’t we arrest and torture everyone I disagree with now??

              ITS FOR THE CHILDREN!!!

              1. Ignore Edwin. Rational people and Edwin don’t mix.

              2. Yes in a feat of impressive contrarianism Edwin is in favor of not raping children and torturing everyone.

                No child rape. It’s for the children!

                Haha ur rite that’s so weak.

                1. I meant Edwin in general, not the child-rape thing. Nice attempt, though.

                2. Don’t laugh so hard. Now that chemical castration is on the books and physical castration is seen as a valid penalty alternative, all for the children of course, torture is no longer only for uppity Afghans.

                  1. Most “child rapists” are young adults who have had consensual sex with teenagers below the arbitrary age of consent.

                    So yes, 18 year olds who sleep with their 15 year old girlfriends and who are labeled for life as baby-fuckers is not something libertarians will stand for.

            2. I have never heard a libertarian say any of those things. You hang out with some weird people.

        2. “The only people who value true freedom are anarchists, aka ‘libertarian socialists’.”

          Say what?

          1. As a fellow an-cap, I must ask the same question.

            Apparently this guy wanted to create a false paradigm, by forcing people to choose between being a “libertarian socialist” (lol, oxymoron) or a state-loving freedom hater.

        3. If it would be voluntary for people to participate in the socialist economy (as “libertarian socialism” implies), what differentiates that from capitalism?

          Or would there be some mechanism to ensure that the only form of an economy is the socialist one?

          The term “libertarian socialism” makes no sense.

          1. I think it’s mainly an anti-state philosophy combined with a distaste for the way that capital is currently organized in “hierarchical” businesses and corporations, rather than co-ops, one-person enterprises, etc. Sometimes this just means they support a free market, while predicting it’ll lead to their preferred outcome of egalitarian, distributed economic power.

            Of course there are less serious ones (Noam Chomsky comes to mind) who will claim to abhor the state, and sometimes acknowledge its responsibility for creating and entrenching the big business that they spend so much time decrying, only to turn around and support increased state power as a “counterweight” to corporate power. (As if piling more weight on the same side of the scale is going to balance anything.)

            I imagine these are the “anarchists” you always see marching for more spending on welfare and housing. Yeah, I don’t get it either.

            1. How frightening is it that there are people out there who consider themselves intelligent who don’t understand that many–if not most of the currently distasteful “hierarchical” businesses and corporations started as sole proprietorships or partnerships? That the structure that they hate is an outgrowth of success? That any successful business–even a co-op is going to eventually have a similar structure simply through the natural process of division of labor?

              1. It’s not any more frightening than the constant insistence of feudalists that they are really freedom fighters.

            2. Libertarian socialism is not possible in a large scale entity. That is why it is symbiotic with anarchism.

              If you have a small group of producers who live in a small area and have either contracted into a cooperative or follow it for tradition, they can then all pool together their resources and their products into a common basket – and either be autarkic or trade with the rest of the world for what they don’t produce. That can be libertarian in that it’s not forced, and that can be socialist in that everything is pooled and distributed equally.

              But that only works at a small scale. If the scale becomes too large, then someone will be free riding and someone will be being forced to participate against their wishes. Which is just what happens when the state gets involved and why socialism at any scale over an autonomous small community is inherently authoritarian.

              Anarcho-capitalism just takes the next step: if these small communities, essentially living in anarchy, can trade with the rest of the world freely, why shouldn’t the rest of the world follow the same model. You would have millions of these small socialist units and millions of more traditionally “capitalistic” companies and businesses. All in anarchy, or something very close to it.

          2. You might want to get outside your little echo chamber someday. “libertarian socialist” is an old term with a very clear meaning. These days it stands for the more traditional sense of anarchism (as opposed to anarcho-capitalism– now there’s a contradiction in terms– or lifestyle anarchism).

        4. What THE FUCK is a ‘libertarian socialist’?
          How the fuck can you equate socialism and anarchism?

          1. How stupid and/or ignorant are you? The term has been around much longer than “libertarian” on its own, and has a very clear definition. Googlebing it and learn.

    3. The media has a progressive bias. The drug war is a progressive program.

    4. Yeah it’s been a long time since liberal didn’t mean authoritarian. I’m not sure what Radley is talking about.

  2. There’s this left-wing internet radio channel one of whose opening lines is “Tired of all the right-wing lies from mainstream media?” I guess the so-called mainstream media can’t get a break from anybody.

    1. It’s because they too mistake the media bias as politically ideological as opposed to just sucking Authority’s dick.

  3. Anyone who wants to protect you from yourself is a scary individual. They believe their “Elite” education and family life gives them more right to dictate to you how you live your life, then you have say in the matter.

    After all, they are our betters… Just ask them.

  4. Liberals, even in the modern American sense, won’t sacrifice equality, compassion, or lifestyle freedom for government power.

    Lying is fun, isn’t it?

    1. It’s not lying if you’re genuinely clueless.

      1. That’s Balko for ya. I don’t think he would blatantly lie.

        1. The editors are playing a joke on you here.

    2. I want my warm, yellow incandescent bulb light back. It was one of my few pleasures after the gov’t made me give up driving my big SUV.

      1. Don’t worry, once the mass-mercury poisoning starts, we’ll be forced to switch to LEDs.

        1. After thw witch hunts agaisnt the corporate greed which foisted compact flourescents and toxic mercury on the unsuspecting public.

      2. Plenty of SUVs and incandescent bulbs here.

        1. Not at your local Walmart come 2012.

          I myself will start the hoarding process very soon.

    3. How is that not true?

  5. The media aren’t liberal. They’re “progressive”. There’s a big difference.

    1. Good point, especially if you use the original meanings of the those words.

    2. … and progressives promote policies which are contrary to human nature, thus requiring government coercion in order to make people behave the “right” way.

  6. Can we all finally agree that drug legalization is not what liberal politicians want? Calling drug legalization part of a “liberal agenda” is like saying ending the WoT is a “conservative agenda” because Tea Partiers complain about deficits. Neither is a political reality.

    Drug legalization is a libertarian issue and shoiuld be treated as such, proven this election cycle by the coverage of Prop 19 by liberal media outlets and the overwhelming anti-Prop 19 position taken by Team Blue here. My guess is there are as many on Team Red that support it’s passage.

    The leftists are co-opting our support here for something even their leaders don’t want. So, let’s stop calling it something it’s not: liberal.

    1. Well, I tend to vote the party line to the right, but I’m more or less into marijuana legalization. My philosophy is that my enemies should always be given enough rope to hang themselves, and letting them have all the pot they want is definitely a way to do that. As Chris Rock once said, it wasn’t Belushi’s cocaine habit that killed him so much as the fact that he could afford a million grams of it at a time.

      Of course, if you legalize marijuana in California, the pot dealers there are all going to be hanging themselves over the imminent failure of their businesses. I’m now convinced that George Soros and his commie pals expect to get a big new revenue stream out of legalized marijuana to fund their spending spree; as with the repeal of Prohibition during the Great Depression, though, it’ll bring them a temporary spike and then nothing more. After that, it’s into the abyss California goes, and good riddance!

      1. Hey, this cool. An argument for libertarians to use with conservatives:
        legalizing pot will mellow your enemy’s desire to meddle in politics.
        Who cares about the rich, or big oil, or gitmo when one will be perpetually stoned?

        1. Making it legal won’t necessarily mean more people will start using the stuff.

          It just means the ones who already do will cease to be criminals.

          1. Well, no. We won’t see more people start using marijuana. What will happen is that people will start using more marijuana. It’s amusing how one little semantic difference makes all the difference here.

            1. Doubtful….my evidence is anecdotal, but if I have an ounce or a 1/4 oz., I still use the same amount per day. If I had a garage full of the stuff, I would still use the same amount per day.

              1. You might use less if, by becoming legal, the extremely potent stuff became affordable.

                1. MMmmm…one hit wonder!

              2. Prohibition did drive down alcohol use by a hefty amount during the 1920s, although the exact figure is hard to pinpoint since illegal drinking was, of course, off the books. Its repeal did also lead to more drinking and drunkenness. Arguably, it wasn’t a bad trade-off for the drop in Al Capone-style organized crime, but let’s not have any myths about legalization reducing usage; it won’t.

                Past performance with various prohibitions is a pretty good indicator of what the future holds if marijuana prohibition is lifted. As you say, your evidence is anecdotal. Also, am I really to believe you wouldn’t smoke more weed if you could legally have all your friends over for a pot party? People eat more, drink more, and smoke more when they’re doing it socially, you know. I don’t see why that would be any different with marijuana.

                And yes, the thought of numerous lefty leeches being too stoned to vote on election day does amuse me greatly. The young and the stupid turned out for the Democrats in spades in the last election, and though their enthusiasm has since been dampened, those empty-headed youngsters still lean strongly to the left. Some people deserve not only not to be encouraged to vote, but to be actively discouraged from voting by any legal means. Throwing them a big party and leaving them with a lot of excesses to sleep off during election day is one perfectly legal tactic that just might work.

                1. Well, I have never used weed socially. Not true – I did once and I hated it. It has different effects on different individuals, but for me it made me sleepy and disinclined to conversation. It’s best used as a sleep aid for my biological makeup.

                  And LOL at “pot party” – too many viewings of “Reefer Madness”?

                  1. What, you never saw “9 to 5” starring Dolly Parton?

                2. Arguably, it wasn’t a bad trade-off for the drop in Al Capone-style organized crime,

                  I doubt it was convincing then, and it will be less convincing now to suggest Americans will be swayed by an argument that legalization will mean fewer scary gangsters will be killing each other. Many would react to that with, “and why exactly would we want to stop them from doing so?”

                  1. Because a) a bullet doesn’t distinguish between a gangster, an innocent pedestrian, and why not, a cop that could have been doing more useful work; b) gangsters needing to have both a lot of illegal money moving around and a lot of guns (and shooters) to defend turf and against police increases overall crime in the area, not least by luring youngsters into crime* or by giving incentives to protection rackets in the turf.

                    It might also contribute to reduce illegal immigration, as drug gang shooters and bosses are very often illegally imported and they also manage illegal immigrant trucks – effects, of course, would be hard to establish because illegal immigration is not only present in California. (For the record, I am pro open (or at least more open than now) borders, but I am just talking in election campaign mode).

                    * I agree that it is the youngsters fault to enter or not into a criminal gang – but with criminal gangs reduced in power and profitability, the incentive to do so still reduces.

                  2. Because a) a bullet doesn’t distinguish between a gangster, an innocent pedestrian, and why not, a cop that could have been doing more useful work; b) gangsters needing to have both a lot of illegal money moving around and a lot of guns (and shooters) to defend turf and against police increases overall crime in the area, not least by luring youngsters into crime* or by giving incentives to protection rackets in the turf.

                    It might also contribute to reduce illegal immigration, as drug gang shooters and bosses are very often illegally imported and they also manage illegal immigrant trucks – effects, of course, would be hard to establish because illegal immigration is not only present in California. (For the record, I am pro open (or at least more open than now) borders, but I am just talking in election campaign mode).

                    * I agree that it is the youngsters fault to enter or not into a criminal gang – but with criminal gangs reduced in power and profitability, the incentive to do so still reduces.

                3. De facto legalization reduced consumption of MJ in the Netherlands. Increased consumption is not a foregone conclusion. I don’t smoke it now, and I won’t after it becomes legal, and I live in California.

                  1. De facto legalization reduced consumption of MJ in the Netherlands.

                    De jure decriminalization in Portugal also had the same result.

                4. But I would drink less.

          2. Creech’s argument still holds water. Any conservative opposition to legalizing drugs is not that rational and calculating anyways.

          3. Making it legal won’t necessarily mean more people will start using the stuff.

            Spoken like a current user who doesn’t understand that there are a lot of people who don’t do certain things largely because those things are illegal. Not everyone is a scofflaw. Some people are habitual rule followers.

            1. I had a dream I smoked a joint last night. I can’t remember what it felt like, and I’ve never took a hit in my life. I hear it works wonders for chronic pains on some people. I’d love to give it a shot without running the risk of a 3 a.m. no-knock warrant being served.

        2. My argument has always been that we should legalize marijuana so everyone would just shut the hell up about it.

        3. Well we do care about those things, man, but *pffffff* like, doing anything about them would be, like, work, man!

        4. Prince Phil of Insufficient Light: “I darn you to heck! You will spend an eternity in a left-wing latrine full of other potheaded dullards!”

          Californian Pothead: “Where are you taking me!?”

          Prince Phil of Insufficient Light: “Here is fine.”

      2. The best argument for legalization is that it will make it more difficult for minor’s to obtain. Anyone in high school will tell you that it is sooo much easier to score pot then booze. Pot is sold in the parking lot of most school, booze you actually need a fake ID or a friend who works at a store.

    2. Balko draws a clear distinction between “liberal” media outlets and politicians — united in their opposition to Prop 19 — and self-described “liberal” voters, who are supporting legalization at a ratio of about 3:1. I think it’s the latter group who can be accurately described as pro-legalization, and Balko does exactly that.

    3. Bull. My guess is that those on “Team Red” are not generally in favor of Prop 19 at the same rate as those on “Team Blue”. Even more to the point, blue voters would *love* to have their candidates touting this kind of reform, whereas red voters wouldn’t touch a legalization-supporting candidate with a 10 foot pole. If the support for legalization was really equally deep on both sides of the aisle, the stuff would be legal already, all over the country.

      1. Tell that to Rand Paul voters who have been told over the last 3 months how Rand wants to legalize all drugs.

        1. Rand Paul wants to “leave that issue to the States”. Which is just another way of saying, “I don’t actually care about your freedom. I just want a slightly smaller government to be in charge of restricting it.”

          1. So Nancy Pelosi’s Republican challenger is not supporting 19 while she is against it? If there was any pol who could support 19 with no fear of recourse in her own district it would have to be Pelosi right?

  7. I assume that the stances taken have more to do with the age and mindset of editors and readers than anything else. Archie Bunker types write the papers and are also their biggest customers. Don’t want to piss off our paying customers.

    1. Don’t want to piss off our paying customers.

      All 7 of them.

  8. Come on, Radley. The media leans way to the Left on a number of issues. Gun control, massive wealth transfers, regulating everything, ect, ect. Are the Democrats not Leftists now because they don’t favor legalization, either? Science H Logic I favor legalization! Surely all of my warmongering, perpetual war, pro torture positions are not negated by a libertarian position or two, are they?

    1. OK, so can we all agree than “leftist” no longer means “liberal?”

      1. Allow me to break it down for you.

        In the classical Machiavellian sense, “liberal” means spending your money generously.

        In the more modern sense, “liberal” means spending someone else’s money generously.

        Being a “leftist” means spending someone else’s money generously on yourself.

  9. Both the left and the right should take a page out of the libertarian handbook and focus only on stuff that confirms what they already believe. That way, mainstream media bias never gets in the way of your own.

    1. Projecting again, Max?

      1. Can’t be The One True Max. The post above was WAY too coherent, at least in sentence structure terms.

    2. Max, would you please post, “go suck Ron Paul’s cock!!!!”

      That one always makes me laugh.

      1. hey, you misspelled ‘Pual’

    3. “Both the left and the right should take a page out of the libertarian handbook…”

      There’s a handbook? I’ve been winging it all these years.

  10. “Liberals, even in the modern American sense, won’t sacrifice equality, compassion, or lifestyle freedom for government power. ”

    Uh, what? It is precisely liberals, in the modern American sense, who will give away the farm because the government promises the legislation will bring about more equality, compassion, lifestyle freedom.

    1. Tony’s happy to give away someone else’s money to force people to live how he wants them to.

      1. Tony’s happy to give away someone else’s money to force people to live how he wants them to.

        But what you don’t understand is that it is NOT someone else’s money. It’s the government’s money that they just happen to allow people to have temporarily with the understanding theyh they can always take it back.

  11. I think its one of those attempts at manipulation. Occasionally leftists will voice the more conservative viewpoint of an issue in order to come across as moderate. Sorta like the ACLU providing support to the occasional conservative or a liberal newspaper endorsing a Republican, trying to give the appearance of reasonablness.

  12. Really, what do these monikers such as “liberal” or “conservative” actually mean, and who are they applied to?
    Is Obama liberal? With his continuation of Afghanistan, bailout of banks, etcetera one could make a case that he is not.
    Is Bush conservative? With his passage of the Medicare drug benefit, cavalier attitude toward deficit spending, and expansion of the gubermint in all aspects, the word scarcely means what people attribute to it.

    1. This. Unless the “liberal”/”conservative” has some qualifiers to describe what you’re about, then they are completely meaningless.

      Fiscally Conservative and Socially Liberal. Ta-da, the magic of adverbs.

    2. It’s not a matter of differences in goal, but a difference in managerial philosphy.

      They both want big government to tell other people what to do, they’re just getting there via different routes.

    3. liberals hate liberty, conservatives hate conservation

  13. I also thought the “media is actually statist” difference Radley was making at first was ridiculous as well, but I think it might be accurate.

    Not only does it explain their schizophrenia with the drugs and kelo, but more interestingly to me, it explains why CNN was all cuddly with Saddam.

    So I propose, they aren’t statists, just whores. They don’t actually want to work to get a story, they just want to call their friends, get a bit of an inside line, and print it.

    1. This is what I see as well. Journalists, by and large, are lazy pieces of shit who (like schoolteachers) have convinced themselves that their own bullshit about how noble they are is true. They’re completely delusional; they think they are impartial; and they couldn’t challenge authority if someone came down and showed them how in person.

      They are, by and large, scum. We’re lucky to have a few like Radley and the others at reason, but as we have all seen, they are the exception. Just think about the fact that Radley is basically the only reporter in the country looking into wrongful convictions. What does that say about the rest of the journalists?

      1. Local journalists and editors tend to reflect the prevailing attitudes in their communities. National journalists pander to their own constituencies. The drug wars will end when public attitudes change toward drug use. According to polling, a majority of Americans are consistently against drug legalization. It’s always easy to blame “the journalists,” but it’s “the Americans” who are still driving drug policy.

        1. sad but true.

          Most Americans hate freedom.

          1. Most Americans hate freedom have no desire to walk around perpetually stoned.

            1. To clarify: most Americans aren’t directly affected by the WoSD and so don’t care. Or do you believe that most Americans crouch in their homes fuming with rage about too much freedom in America?

            2. Most American have no desire to deal with the perpetually stoned.

              1. Are most Americans so delusional as to think they don’t already?

                1. Was not advocating, more coming up with an explanation of why people generally support drug laws.

                  One cannot have freedom without responsibility and the drug users reputation is that of abdicating responsibility.

                  1. thats true, i don’t trust any coffee drinkers

          2. I think most people, not just Americans, are frightened of actual freedom- the kind of freedom where you are free to fuck up and face the consequences. That’s the part of real freedom that, I think, most people are willing to give up something to avoid; people, in a sense, might want to be protected from themselves.

            1. I just had a great idea for a business in a truly free society:

              People could pay my company 30% of their income to make all their decisions for them, and give them a bunch of arbitrary rules to follow for their own protection. Then if they don’t follow those rules, I’ll chain them to a pipe in the basement.

              If most people…are frightened of actual freedom then I’ll make a fortune!

              1. That chain talk is gettin’ me worked up. I’ll break ALL the rules.

          3. Thank you, Secretary of Transportation. My fellow Earthicans, we enjoy so much freedom, it’s almost sickening. We’re free to choose which hand our sex-monitoring chip is implanted in. And if we don’t
            want to pay our taxes, why, we’re free
            to spend a weekend with the Pain Monster.

  14. The left/right, liberal/conservative paradigm is a false one. It’s purpose is to perpetuate a system which “both sides” are deeply invested in and prevent consideration of other perspectives and alternative voices from filtering through to the mainstream.

    The debates are always framed in such a way that consideration of fundamental issues and questions which go to the heart of all contentious issues are never broached. Libertarians are that voice in the wilderness questioning the basic assumptions shared by both the left and right and which make both essentially identical with respect to their lack of understanding of the meaning of and respect for liberty.

    Neither the left or right promote or endorse liberty in any broad sense and both are authoritarian at their cores. Libertarians are despised equally by the left and right because libertarianism threatens their comfortable conceits. As I have said umpteen million boring times – there is only one authentic political divide and it is between those who believe in liberty and those who do not and there are only two sides of that divide.

  15. “Liberals, even in the modern American sense, won’t sacrifice equality, compassion, or lifestyle freedom for government power.”

    Really Mr. Balko, exactly what planet do you reside on? Liberalism is exactly about government controlling all aspects of personal liberty and freedom, most specifically freedom of thought and speech. Because that is the only way repressive liberal leadership can control the masses. To think that the media is not liberal leaning based on a single issue such as marijuana legalization is just a bait and switch tactic. Maybe and just maybe there are folks on both sides of the politic spectrum that believe a perpetually drugged populace is a bad idea ? don’t enough people die from alcohol abuse related indifference. Oh wait, perhaps a drugged populace is exactly your objective ? what better way to create your utopia of compliant serfs.

    1. Your insights are truly penetrating. Tell me more about the libertarian plot to enslave everyone with marijuana.

      1. Give him room. It’s the Jack Daniels talking.

        1. Hover your cursor over his e-mail address… it explains a lot.

      2. Before you sneer SugarFree — remember that in Europe, there are public health advocates who support the idea of encouraging pot use by soccer fans, etc., in order to stone them out and allegedly prevent them from committing acts of violence. There was a column about this movement to tranquilize the population on this website within the past year. B in Texas may be a whacko, but there is a kernel of truth behind what he says, scarily enough.

        1. Besides, we used to do it back in the Village….

    2. Anyone who thinks officially legalizing pot will result in “a perpetually drugged populace” is either naive or willfully ignorant of evidence:

      http://www.scientificamerican……nalization

      1. What????

        Don’t you remember after Prohibition ended when the entire country became alcoholics????

        Oh yeah, that didn’t happen.

        1. Chupacabra – now don’t let the “facts” get in the way of your agenda…

          2.9 million Americans were injured and 42,636 people died in motor vehicle accidents last year. Over 50% of the drivers causing these accidents were intoxicated – over 25% of those folks were impaired by illicit drugs. That equates to 362,500 injuries and 5,300 deaths caused in motor vehicle accidents involving driver who were stoned on something other than alcohol. But don’t bother yourself with the pain and suffering – I’m sure that will be someone else’s job…

          1. So alcohol causes accidents 3-to-1 compared to illicit drugs? So you are for alcohol prohibition? Because that’s the real argument you made.

            1. No that is not my argument. It would be nice if common sense and self restraint could be expected – but no – not in this time of “I, ME, MINE”. Legal or not ? abuses will continue and there will be a cost.

              1. So what you are saying then that less than quater of one percent (400k / 200m or so) of drivers caused an accident from either drugs or alcohol. that seems like a pretty good record to me.

              2. Bullshit.

                You thought that you’d trot out these stats that you found after hastily googling “traffic deaths due to drugs”, and everybody would be mightily impressed with your acumen in polemic.

                Dr. Aspartame reduced your argument to its, absurd, logical conclusion, and you shoot back with some Beatles lyrics and some stink about “common sense and self restraint”. Please enlighten me on what relation this has to anything at all.

                1. You make my point – thanks. Bullshit is right. When you have pulled the dead limp body of a child out of a mangled wreck as I have then you might have some legitimate moral authority to judge the human cost of drug misuse and abuse. But until then keep the thesaurus handy for those quick retorts – very effective….

                  1. You have the “legitimate moral authority” to judge, well goddamn if this ain’t the second fucking coming.

                    And yes, your red herring is begining to stink, as it’s over used. No one here is pressing to legalize vehicular manslaughter or even driving under the influence. Nice try though, trying to characterizing the opposition’s argument like that though.

                    Also, I didn’t know that drugs were legal in Texas. ‘Cause here in the upper 47 we have made drugs illegal and no one ever dies in a car crash caused by intoxication. You guys should try it. /sarcasm

                  2. Do you support repealing the 21st amendment? Becuase as long as you have alcohol, you have alcohol related deaths.

                  3. Yes! Won’t sombebody think of the children!!!

                    Lets ban everything that has killed a child!

                    Peanuts are evil! Arrest their users!

                    Don’t disagree with me until you’ve held the body of a sweet innocent invented theoretical child whose died from peanut allergy! Or second hand smoke! Or fatty foods! Or roller coasters! Or vending machine accidents!

                    Won’t somebody please think of the children!!!

                  4. I had two cousins that died in accidents… one from playing around with guns (he was 18) and another from driving drunk and plowing herself into a tree.

                    But I’m not calling for gun control or re-Prohibition. I understand that sometimes a small percentage of people will act stupidly when entrusted with dangerous things. However, this doesn’t justify Draconian legislation to completely ban the dangerous things from more responsible adults.

                  5. You know, it’s not nice to pull the “dead limp body of a child out of a mangled wreck” then use it as a soap box.

                    Please. Think of the children.

              3. I’m assuming this “cost” of which you speak will somehow be higher than the over 1 trillion dollars already spent, the millions who have been incarcerated over pot, and the untold number of people who have died as a result of the WoD (which isn’t to mention the massive layers of government telling private citizens how to behave privately)?

          2. I may be wrong, but I seem to remember reading once that the statistics for automobile crashes caused by illegal drugs are primarily based on urine tests conducted on the drivers. Since urine tests can detect drugs anywhere from several hours to several weeks after the drugs were taken (depending on the drug and the sensitivity of the test), that would tend to overestimate the actual frequency of intoxication. Also, I would suspect that most of those drivers on the illegal drugs were drinking as well, but I don’t know the figues for that.

          3. I just realized… B in Texas must be one of the new trolls that The Jacket attracted with his MSNBC tv commercials.

          4. B in Texas, your impressive statistics have convinced me…we should not decriminalize vehicular homicide!

      2. Yep, and we all know all those Dutch assholes are stoned so much that there’s none left over for the American tourists!

      3. Neither naive or willfully ignorant. Part of my job is to sign death certificates in our little Texas county. With a population less than 50,000 we lose one a day to illicit drugs ? that’s not ignorance but a frighten fact. Is marijuana directly lethal – no.

        But consider this: An estimated 12.8 million Americans, about 6 percent of the household population aged twelve and older, use illegal drugs on a current basis (within the past thirty days). This number of “past-month” drug users has declined by almost 50 percent from the 1979 high of twenty-five million — a decrease that represents an extraordinary change in behavior. That change in behavior is not based on “legalization” efforts. Despite the dramatic drop, more than a third of all Americans twelve and older have tried an illicit drug. Ninety percent of those who have used illegal drugs used marijuana or hashish. Approximately a third used cocaine or took a prescription type drug for nonmedical reasons. About a fifth used LSD. Fortunately, nearly sixty million Americans who used illicit drugs during youth, as adults reject these substances. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Preliminary Estimates from the 1995 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (Rockville, Md.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1996).)

        17,000 American will die from illicit drug use ? 5,000 in motor vehicle accidents where the drive was stoned on illicit drug. But don’t bother yourself with those people’s pain and suffering ? that’s someone else’s job?

        1. Well, now you’ve made the argument FOR alcohol prohibition and have thoroughly debunked the efficacy of the drug war.

          You’re win-win. Wanna go for three out of three?

        2. Don’t tell me about death-by-drugs….when I think about such things I don’t need to quote impresonal statistics, all I have to do is think about my fiance and how he died from using a LEGAL drug for 30 of his 41 years on this earth. Yet, it was his CHOICE to use, his CHOICE to not seek help, his CHOICE to ignore doctors’ advice.

          Not your choice, not my choice, not the government’s choice – his choice.

          1. But we could have chosen for him.

            1. Persackly!

          2. Is being attracted to self-destructive men a pattern in your life?

            1. SNORK! (yes)

        3. “”But don’t bother yourself with those people’s pain and suffering ? that’s someone else’s job?””

          The liberals?

          1. Liberal sensibilities on suffering, cruelty and pain are quite contradictory. Thus, torture is unacceptable – as a deep violation of one’s humanity, but collateral damage (someone dying in an accident cause by a stoner or drunk) is just the cost of freedom in America.

            1. “”Liberal sensibilities on suffering, cruelty and pain are quite contradictory. “”

              So are the conservatives. What’s your point?

            2. Oh, look at the time, gotta roll a j, jump in my car, and run down some kids playing in the street! bye!

            3. Uhhh… don’t you think it might be a little, I dunno… moronic to tie in people who commited vehicular manslaughter or had ODs on *other drugs* with the 10s of millions of marijuana users over decades who have done neither of these things?

              Sorry, are there victim-less torture sessions?

              You don’t care about the dead either, you just want a cheap excuse to boss people around and lock up more young people. Typical facist.

        4. And what of the millions of Americans that die of heart attacks every year?

          If your not in favor of government mandated meal planning then you have the blood of millions on your hands.

          1. Sounds like you’ve been reading Obamacare law again…

            1. No, B… Josh was not arguing in favor of Obamacare… he was pointing out something that you should acknowledge, instead of letting it fly over your prohibition-addled noggin.

        5. But don’t bother yourself with those people’s pain and suffering ? that’s someone else’s job?

          You are damn fucking straight it is. People’s poor decisions and lifestyle choices are not my fucking cross to bear.

          Part of living in a free society is that we each have the responsibility over our own lives. Liberty isn’t the freedom to make good choices, instead, it’s the freedom to make poor ones.(and live with the consequences)

          To be honest about it though, I could really give a shit that some assholes in Bumfuck county TX, can’t handle their dope. I’ll worry about me and my own and you worry about yours, Dr. Shitkicker.

          1. This, with less profanity.

            Seriously though, you make the same rediculous fallacy that every other prohibitionist makes; you assume all illicit drugs are the same.

            Pot isn’t meth, let me repeat, POT ISN’T METH. I don’t happen to be on the legalize everything bandwagon, but pot isn’t killing people en-mass, its just not; unless you count those who’s lives are ruined by prison.

            1. Ever hear of the concept of “defining down deviancy”? If you legalize pot, you legalize everything eventually, good or bad.

              1. And that’s bad… how?

              2. Yeah, that’s why if you let people own handguns eventually they will be able to buy fully decked out tanks in walmart.

                Or if you legalize gay marriage people will be in polygamous relationships with their cat and sister.

                The slippery slope argument is a pile of garbage. This is how you end injustice, you identify it and work towards positive change. Sorry if the end result scares you.

                1. The Second guarantees my right to buy a tank. Of course, even if the government didn’t constantly blatantly violate the Constitution, it would still be cost prohibitive. I don’t have an extra $4M+ laying around.

              3. “Ever hear of the concept of “defining down deviancy”? If you legalize pot, you legalize everything eventually, good or bad.”

                Sounds more like the slippery-slope boogeyman to me. I bet if this were 1925, you’d be saying the same thing about alcohol.

                It’s been proven that pot isn’t a lethal drug. There’s been no reports of deaths from overdosing on weed… unlike alcohol, cocaine or heroin. The alcohol deaths are more preventable, hence its current status of cautious legality.

          2. Resorting to “Bumfuck and shitkicker” ? my my – you just can’t fix stupid. “Part of living in a free society is that we each have the responsibility over our own lives.” Gee I am all for that – but again your obvious contempt for the collateral damage your poor judge results in is staggeringly self-centered but expected…

            1. My my, you just can’t fix a school marmish, commie, nanny statist, scold.

              I called you “Dr. Shitkicker”, so get it right before you go putting quotes around shit.

              Your third sentence is an incoherent mess, so let me ask you a question to clear things up:

              Do you think that alcohol should be illegal?

              1. It appears B is making the case that we are not authoritarian enough when it comes to liquor.

              2. Boy you just can’t help yourself with the name-calling. And no – alcohol should NOT be illegal. Every post I’ve made simple refers to the cost of human behavior. People die from legal drugs use, eating habits, and risky sexual behavior ? I don’t prescribe to controlling that behavior either. I ask you to show me where I suggested prohibiting anything. My point is the consequences of that behavior. What bother me is the absolute callousness of folks who state its someone else job to deal with the human wreckage ? it is always someone else job until the behavior affects you or one of your love ones ? then by god someone better pay.

            2. Now you sound like a collectivist, B. Planning to vote Democrat this year?

              1. Not that it matters – but I’m an independent that leans right of center.

                1. Well, you have the arrogance of a Democrat, and the run-your-life-for-you tendencies of Democrats AND Republicans, so it’s kinda hard to tell.

            3. What is the collateral damage from a marijuana user who has hurt no one, caused no traffic accidents, had no overdose, harmed no one??

              What is the collateral damage of big government maniacs like you locking people up who do something you holier-than-thou regulate everything right wingers don’t like.

              Taking away peoples guns makes way more sense than taking away their pot. Guns actually do kill people in quite large numbers.

              Luckily we’ll have totally unbiased people like you to protect us all regardless of if you disprove or our personal choices once we turn them all in.

              1. I agree with most of that, B. Free… except… if big government takes our guns away, who’s gonna protect us from big government if it turns against us?

                Firearms are in the same boat as alcohol… legal but intricately regulated. You have every right to obtain them, but you have to use them very carefully.

              2. Never heard of a gun killing someone–was this some kind of special gun? Was it robotic or something? Did some strange thing make it come alive?

                See, I’ve tried this. I’ve tried to get a gun mad enough to take a shot at me. I yelled at it, insulted it, even pissed down it’s barrel. Nothing I could do got that gun made enough to shoot me. It just laid there like the inanimate object it is. Ha.

                But I sure would like to see this gun you’re talking about–how many people has it killed?

          3. I love you. I want to be like you when I grow up.

        6. 17,000 American will die from illicit drug use ? 5,000 in motor vehicle accidents where the drive was stoned on illicit drug. But don’t bother yourself with those people’s pain and suffering ? that’s someone else’s job?

          And it’s also someone else’s pain and suffering, chief.

          Throw the book at someone who kills or injures someone else, but a “victimless crime” shouldn’t be a crime at all. There needs/should/has to actually be a victim for the power of the state to be used.

          But telling people what they can and can’t put into their bodies just because how it makes YOU feel having to sign their death certificates is as authoritarian as any “liberal” you so obviously detest.

          If you can’t take it, go find another job in your “tiny little county”. But it damn sure ain’t your job, despite how you might feel about drug-related deaths, to tell other people how to live.

          1. I am for free choice – but the lack of compassion shown by many who post on this string is depressing. The false argument that legalizing illicit drugs somehow would improve the quality of life in this country just isn’t based in facts. People are people, they act without regard for what the consequence might be then want immediate forgiveness for the carnage they cause. My anger is that there is not more outrage for the indiscriminate waste of human potential that excessive self-indulgence causes. What is wrong with the concept that your freedoms and liberties only go to the point of involuntarily affecting my freedom and liberty?

            1. My anger is that there is not more outrage for the indiscriminate waste of human potential that excessive self-indulgence causes.

              Because its not anyone else’s business what I do with my “human potential” except for me.

              What is wrong with the concept that your freedoms and liberties only go to the point of involuntarily affecting my freedom and liberty?

              Nothing, so why are you arguing otherwise?

            2. This from the guy who think alcohol should remain legal despite the numerous deaths it causes each year. Calling Dr. Hypocrite, we have a case of self-righteousness in room 1.

            3. I am for free choice – but

              That’s what I thought.

              You do realize that this language is Statist for “I have the fundamental right to coerce you in to following my moral code”, right?

            4. I am for free choice – but

              Then you aren’t for free choice.

              they act without regard for what the consequence might be

              Nice generalizations there, buddy.

              then want immediate forgiveness for the carnage they cause.

              Gee, it is an awful shame we don’t have something to deal with people who violate the rights of others whether through intent or recklessness. If only we had a system…a system to deal with people accused of violating others’ rights…something involving laws…and justice.

              indiscriminate waste of human potential

              At least you didn’t call humans a “resource.”

            5. You have the gall to claim that you’re bothered by the “waste of human potential”? You worthless bastard. There are hundreds of thousands of human beings rotting in cells, where they are being raped and brutalized on a daily basis. Their only crime was to possess substances considered “wrong” by a set of totally arbitrary laws. They didn’t kill any of the poor children you talked about. They didn’t hurt anyone. They simply had certain drugs authoritarians like yourself dislike. Their lives are being wasted for no good reason – other than to please human garbage like yourself who think they should force others to obey their “morality.”

            6. “”The false argument that legalizing illicit drugs somehow would improve the quality of life in this country just isn’t based in facts. “”

              What facts are you looking at? While the world is full of bad things, as you repeatedly pointed out. There are two options, do something about it or not. Doing something about it usually requires creating laws, which is forcing people to behave or face punishment. That’s not free choice. If you do nothing are you callous?

              Jail doesn’t have a good quailty of life. Keeping people out of jail for smoking pot keeps their quality of life from diminishing. It will keep people and their pets alive due to the lack of SWAT raids. I don’t think anyone believe legalizing drugs will produce utopia. Much like everything else, bad comes with the good. I don’t think accepting that and speaking bluntly makes one lacking of compassion.

              “”I am for free choice””
              “”What is wrong with the concept that your freedoms and liberties only go to the point of involuntarily affecting my freedom and liberty?””

              The second is the argument used by nannys and anti-free choice crowd. Why should you be able to smoke when it affect my freedom to be without smoke? Or affect the children in the car. ect.

          2. Where exactly did I tell anyone else how to live – just curious? Just trying to suggest that peoples actions have consequences, sometimes tragic ones. Yet “that ain’t my concern” is the message I am hearing…

            1. “Maybe and just maybe there are folks on both sides of the politic spectrum that believe a perpetually drugged populace is a bad idea”

              There it is. Enforce this; without telling someone how to live their life and expanding the role of government. You are explicitly supporting laws which prop up your morality. You aren’t just telling people how to live their lives, you are turning to the government to tell people how to live their lives.

              1. The problem is when your choices infringe on my choices (and life). Is it still only your concern if you drive drunk or high or stoned and kill or injure somebody?

                1. Is it still only your concern if you drive drunk or high or stoned and kill or injure somebody?

                  Uhhh, no? Trick question? Drugs are illegal because we have no mechanism to contain the damage that their users may cause?

                  1. My point was that sometimes doing what you want with your own body affects other people. It’s not a black and white issue. As someone else mentioned upthread somewhere, yes, more people would use marijuana and the amount of DUIs would likely increase. I can see where B in Texas is coming from.

                    I’m all for the legalization of marijuana and certain other substances, but I do think the societal costs that other drugs bring about would be detrimental to the society.

                2. No, then it becomes your concern, notice that I’m not advocating making running over people with a car legal.

                  Look, guns make me uncomfortable, really uncomfortable. I absolutely HATE the idea of a person being able to kill me at will. You know who’s rights I respect? Gun owners, and here’s why. I understand that there are risks inherent in a free society.

                  The really nice thing about representational democracy is that we have the power to decide where we want to draw the line in terms of freedom vs. safety.

                  So seriously, instead of appealing to the emotional argument, look into the numbers and decide for yourself. Is legalization going to cost more or less to society than prohibition. As a starting point consider that every year we spend hard earned money keeping 2.3 million people behind bars. Holy crap evidence!

                  1. Esteban, I do agree that some sort of regulation is needed, either on the supply side or demand side of drugs which are chemically addictive. Meth, concaine, heroin, hell, cigarettes.

                    The issue is that many people don’t have their facts straight. While there is some controversy over this, pot is not chemically addictive in the same way amphetamines, alcohol, or cigarettes are. I hate to use this link, but here’s a wiki link with a decently balanced summary Link

                3. Is it still only your concern if you drive drunk or high or stoned…

                  Yes, it is.

                  and kill or injure somebody [else]?

                  No, because at that point I’d be infringing on the liberty of another.The problem with your argument is that you fail to distinguish an actual injurious act from the potential for such an act. To eliminate all potential infliction of injury necessarily means eliminating all freedom of choice.

                  If you really want to prevent DUI then it would be far more effective to simply ban driving. Then you would even prevent the auto accident deaths caused by plain old bad driving.

            2. locking up 100,000s of people for simple possession of a substance far less harmful than the booze you have in your house that will put them in brutal prison conditions and effect the rest of their lives with a record?

              Where is YOUR compassion for the “collateral damage” of your abhorrent and authoritarian views??

  16. “Liberals, even in the modern American sense, won’t sacrifice equality, compassion, or lifestyle freedom for government power.”

    Well, at least no dogs got shot. What, Balko? No 110-year-old grandma with a money quote about how liberals are so awesome and how her 25-year-old grandson who entertains visitors 24 hours a day for minutes at a time is really selling textbooks? What? Huh?

    1. All it takes to piss off a healthy Reason contingent is to not shit all over “liberals” for 500 words in the most extreme terms possible. Fuck’s sake people, he’s not defending liberalism, he’s distinguishing it from statism. Chill the christ out.

      1. I think that’s his point – that to many people “liberal” = “statist”.

        And besides, I think the people who are struggling with that one here aren’t really true believers in the spirit of this particular board.

        1. Balko’s point, that is.

        2. Unfortunately, I think the word “liberal” has long ceased to mean what it used to mean. Liberal is now = to “statist”.

      2. Yeah, but roughly half of all statists ARE liberals, Rhayader. And roughly half of the remaining statists are social conservatives.

        Sensible people, of course, are NOT statist at all. But that’s not a huge chunk of the population, unfortunately.

  17. Balko’s biases are on full display.

    By his definitions: the Green Party, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Service Employees International Union, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; progressive publications such The Nation, Salon, and The Huffington Post; and a host of prominent liberal bloggers.
    Are also “to the right” of National Review, Cato, Reason, Hoover Institution etc. on drug policy.

    1. Such is the paradox of applying a one dimensional metric to a 3 dimensional problem – and the libertarian conundrum. What is left of liberals and right of conservatives? Libertarians.

      1. So libertarians, graphically, are some kind of hyperbola? Perhaps in 3 dimensions, a saddle? The landscape keeps changing, hoping for 19 to change it more.

      2. Libertarians are to the right of liberals and to the right of conservatives.

        Conservatives still contain within their ranks the statist taint of ‘social’ conservatism. They’re slowly moving in the right direction, but it could be a while.

        The idea that there is something ‘leftist’ about libertarianism is merely a wedge designed to keep libertarians focused on the social conservatives and away from siding with the people who are moving in their direction.

        1. Didn’t the term rightwing come from those who supported the French Monarchy? Why would Libertarianism be considered to the right?

          1. Also, since it is a fact the the term “libertarian” was associated with the left before it was associated with the right, how could it be the case the “The idea that there is something ‘leftist’ about libertarianism is merely a wedge designed to keep libertarians focused on the social conservatives and away from siding with the people who are moving in their direction”.?

  18. Jesus said, Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them. (Matthew 7:12).

    I know I would not want my child thrown in jail with the sexual predators, or my aging parents to have their house confiscated and sold by the police, over a little marijuana.

    We can change the world when we vote.

    1. We can change the world when we vote.

      Well, some people can. I voted for years and pretty much never one a single thing. So I stopped. I’m trying it again this year after a ten year hiatus. I’ll let y’all know how it goes.

      1. “won a single thing”.

        I will use the preview button
        I will use the preview button
        I will use the preview button

    2. Damnit Jim! I speak English, not Olde English!

  19. It might be possible to understand the newspapers opposition to Prop 19 when we consider all of the advertising revenue the newspapers receive from the alcohol industry. It’s very easy to believe that the newspapers will fight anything that would interfere with the business profits of a a large advertising block.

    1. This makes almost no sense to me.

      You’d have to be deaf, dumb and blind to think that alcohol advertising would dry up because marijuana was legalized.

      It’s not a zero-sum game. It’s so NOT a zero-sum game, I get annoyed even having to type the words “zero-sum”.

      If marijuana is legalized, the entire crowd of drinkers isn’t going to switch to weed. There will be an increase of marijuana advertising to go WITH the alcohol advertising.

      1. There may also be an increase in booze ads to COMPETE with weed ads. Ahhh, the beauty of competitive free markets.

        1. No shit. Gonna get my spliff on WHILE sippin on my Gin and Juice…

          1. I think there would be some substitution effect — especially if drug testing was overhauled — but yeah, for the most part this consists merely of bringing an existing market out of the shadows, not creating a new one that will displace established markets.

            1. But would the substitution have a noticable effect on Alcohol advertising revenues? I mean, really? One could argue that there’s substitution of use, you might see an increase in Alcohol advertising revenues. Or maybe the government could drop its ban on alcohol advertising on TV.

              Ok, I’ll admit last part is probably going too far.

              1. How are alcohol ads banned on TV? I’ve seen tequila ads, beer ads, rum ads, whiskey (read hhwwwwwhhiiissssshhhhkey) ads… What ban are you talking about?

                1. Actually, you’re right. My bad. Alcohol advertising is highly restricted with a patchwork of industry guidelines. It’s Tobacco advertising that’s banned. And what Sean Malone said.

                  Unfortunately, because marijuana may never be truly legalized in this country, we may never get to see the health nazis go after marijuana like they have tobacco.

            2. Wouldn’t weed ads probably be banned in the same way that cigarette ads are mostly prohibited?

      2. I think it is more about the advertisers of alcohol being against 19 and the papers don’t want to offend them. Not that people will quit drinking and switch to the herb.

    2. B
      Double E
      Double R
      U
      N

      BEER RUN…

    3. That is a great point.

  20. Although I don’t believe this is the intention, being reflexively in favor of activist government makes good business sense for the media. If the federal and state governments operated according to libertarian ideals, journalists would have a lot less to write and talk about.

    The old stereotype of journalists as being people who are skeptical of everything and everyone seems to have been replaced by people who seek approval and affirmation from the politicians they cover.

    Perhaps that is why few journalists are willing to ask the hard questions or dig out the truth, apart from the alternative media on the far ends of the political spectrum.

    1. During an NPR segment waaay back in the 90s, some old newspaper salt was being asked about this coockoo banannas idea that the media was “liberal”. His response (paraphrased only slightly):

      “Journalism’s job is to get at the truth. Because everyone who’s in the establishment and has power is conservative, journalism is perpetually attacking them. So the idea of the media being liberal is to laugh.”

      Never before had I ever heard such a clear affirmation of a theory while it was being debunked.

      1. While the mainstream media are something like 90% Democrats, according to some dusty old survey I recall reading about years ago, it’s not like they were critical of all the big-government stuff the Bushies did until late in his second term.

        Sure, some of the op-ed people were on Bush’s case from the beginning, but the bulk of the ostensibly objective media seemed to accept the Iraq war, Medicare Part D, NCLB and other such things almost unquestioningly. Anything which increases the size and scope of government seems to be welcomed uncritically, regardless of which party enacts it.

        1. This is the scariest story I’ve read all year.

          1. You read Fox? Argggghhhh!

            Chick reminds me of Izvestia redux.

            1. No, I originally read this on some other news feed, but when I put in the search terms I remembered, like “NPR EXECUTIVE FTC MEDIA SUBSIDIES” the fox news article was the first major hit.

              1. LOL Americorps NEWS. AAAhahahaa. Who the fuck joins Americorps? Oh, right, broke community college kids.

              2. You don’t have to explain. I was acting like hyper-hispter-smart-alec-pseudo-critical thinking-know-nothing-who-think-they-know liberal.

      2. My father, a print journalist 50’s thru 80’s for a major metropolitan newspaper liked to tell of his visits to Washington and the halls of Congress. He said the amount of obsequiousness and kowtowing by journalists toward the politicians was absolutely sickening.

        1. I totally believe that. And politicians are narcissistic enough to play along.

    2. being reflexively in favor of activist government makes good business sense for the media

      More importantly, if you got into the media business in the first place in order to “change the world”, then you would reflexively support a strong government that can be manipulated by the media. It’s all about power and influence, not money. If it were just about money, then Big Media would not have supported McCain-Feingold since it leads to reduced political advertising revenue.

  21. C’mon Radley, repeal of federal drug laws is a form of deregulation — and haven’t you heard that Deregulation is the Root of All Evil?

    1. But a blanket prohibition would be replaced by taxes and regulations of the products. You guys sure you want to go down that road? Weed that’s not infused with mold and rat poison is Statist weed!

      1. Weed causes lung cancer… so you guys might kick us out the door of legalization, but we’ll crawl back in the window of healthcare.

      2. Weed that’s not infused with mold and rat poison is Statist weed!

        Kind of like the non-statis weed is infused with mold and rat poison now.

        Oh wait, it’s not? That unregulated market works pretty darn well, I guess.

        1. Well I’ll admit the good california shit is actually easier to come by these days–that is, stuff from a state with one of the most advanced marijuana policies–than the real black market shit, I mean free market shit, with the, eh, quality control issues.

      3. Tony, are you saying IF we have legal weed, it HAS to come from the government? And if so, you’re okay with that?

        1. I’m saying like all legal consumable products it will be regulated and taxed. A thoughtful person would realize this means quality control and needed state revenue. I can imagine it makes libertarians rather conflicted.

          1. I’m not sure most libertarians thought it wouldn’t be regulated and taxed. I had an hour long conversation with an ATF agent back in the 90s about what marijuana legalization would look like. Guy was actually pretty cool.

            He went through a litany of possible scenarios… most pretty reasonable. I called the ATF agent because I was trying to explain to a bunch of pot heads that if weed were ever legalized, it would never be a freeforall.

            However, there’s no real reason (that I can think of) that it would require any more quality control than the beer industry, or the wine cooler industry.

            It could probably actually go with a lot less, but government and its statist boosters abhor a vacuum, so…

          2. I’m saying like all legal consumable products it will be overregulated and overtaxed in California. A thoughtful person would realize this means quality control regulating the industry to death and too little needed state revenue to save the hell hole of California from imminent bankruptcy. I can could imagine it makes libertarians rather conflicted if I were at all thoughtful, or even had two brain cells left to rub together.

            Seriously, people; the fools voting for Democrats in California are just as bad as this guy. If you haven’t followed the lead of all the sensible businesses (big and small) and abandoned those commies and eco-fascists in that kleptocratic socialist wasteland to their imminent death by massive financial cannibalism, I have to wonder what’s wrong with you. Come out of the Great Whore of Californyon, oh ye wise and faithful, before ye share in her fate…

            (Yeah, yeah, that’s not actually in the Bible. I’m just saying that failed state is a catastrophe of well-nigh Biblical proportions.)

          3. Regulated weed? Good God.

          4. No, Tony, like a good liberal you’re just looking for more excuses to get government involved in our lives. Just for the sake if it being there, not For Our Own Good first and foremost.

  22. obligatory quote:

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.
    ?C. S. Lewis

    1. Hey mans, we have free healthcares.

    2. You beat me to it.

      1. Re: Tony,

        And . . . what? Does your opinion make his comments about tyrannies not true?

    3. CS Lewis is the most overrated person to ever exist, other than Ayn Rand.

      1. And yet even a hack like him had authoritarian do-gooder asswipes like you pegged.

      2. Tony, you have a small background role in an Ayn Rand novel. Your motivations are ruthlessly exposed.

        1. Since we’re casting children’s books, who are you, Giant Rumblebuffin?

          1. Rumpleforeskin.

          2. Rumpleforeskin.

  23. why, the fuck, am i looking at an ad on reason.com for “drugfreeworld.com”? promising to give me the “straight facts” on marijuana?

    1. Because you’re not running Adblock or a similar program.Now go refinance your house or something.

    2. Because Reason’s not giving you the straight facts.

      And hey man, when Jesus comes to town he doesn’t hang with the wealthy, clean livin’ folks. He goes downtown, with the homeless, the drug users, the prostitutes.

      1. Hey, sounds like this Jesus guy is lookin’ to party!

      2. I think it’s hilarious that they are paying, in part, for Reason’s fight against prohibition.

        I’d do a click through to try and encourage more spending, except I don’t want the cookies on my machine.

  24. The Media Aren’t Liberal
    Prop. 19 highlights the authoritarian tendencies of the mainstream press.

    If a group of people who self-identify as modern liberals all act authoritarian, it is a logic fail to then say that they must not be modern liberals because modern liberals can’t be authoritarian according to your definition.

    Change the definition, don’t try to change the facts.

    Another example — if a bunch of people who self-identify as modern conservatives all act fiscally irresponsible, do we say they’re not REALLY modern conservatives, or do we change the definition of modern conservative to distinguish it from, say, Goldwater conservatism?

  25. I think we’re forgetting a money angle here. It’s not just Prop 19. In the marijuana initiatives in four different states, the resounding opposition is this: “We support legalization but this is not the right way.”

    Now, who came up with that uniform strategy? Maybe someone with a ton of money to spend, or, um, not spend on advertising. Maybe the beer industrY?

    1. “””We support legalization but this is not the right way.”””

      I think that’s where support has been lost. The concern is about the taxing, not the freedom.

      1. Which is better: legalized but taxed, or illegal and go to jail if caught?

        1. Perhaps more to it is the devil in the details of the taxing scheme. I think CA is getting tired of taxes, so I can understand how a new tax could make it a loser. Does prop 19 have a reasonable tax scheme, or will it become a cash cow of rising taxes like tobacco?

          Your same question could be used to justify the current state of tobacco taxes. The alternative could be making tobacco illegal.

        2. “”Which is better: legalized but taxed, or illegal and go to jail if caught?”

          To answer the question. I would say legalized and taxed, assuming the government isn’t going to rape me on the tax. That’s not a safe assumption. On the other hand, I’m not sure if I could continue call myself a low tax guy if I voted for something that allowed government to tax it like tobacco.

          1. If the taxes are too high, people can continue to opt out and grow it illegally.

            It gives people a choice they don’t currently have.

            Seems like a tiny bit better than the status quo.

            1. “”Seems like a tiny bit better than the status quo.””

              I will agree. But I can understand how people who dislike the current tax regimes would say no to prop 19.

            2. “”If the taxes are too high, people can continue to opt out and grow it illegally””

              And how long do you think it would take for government to change that?

          2. This was my only problem with it. I’m all for Prop 19, but worried on how they will tax marijuana (if they do).

            Because if it is taxed to a high level, why wouldn’t the black market for weed just continue? Those connections are already in place currently, and if Prop 19 passes, a person couldn’t be jailed for possessing weed. They might be fined or jailed for selling weed without a license (like what happens if alcohol is sold without a license).

            Only time will tell though. A day and a half until Prop 19 goes through (or doesn’t). And then however long after that to see how it works.

            1. It will continue, at least for a while, but on a much smaller level. The price is sure to go down, and it will be hard to make money on a commodity sold at retail, sin taxes or no.

  26. Have you ever considered the idea that NEWSPAPERS are against marijuana now for the same reason Hearst got it criminalized in the first place? That is, they have interests in the timber industry which would suffer if HEMP became a legal crop. No one is talking about what legalization would do for the hemp industry. Would central valley farmers switch to hemp instead of fruits and vegetables? Hemp is an unknown factor.

    1. Agreed that the hemp angle is worth considering, but I don’t think newspapers are primarily concerned with defending the wood pulp paper industry, no.

      1. Considering how much paper prices have skyrocketed in the past decade, newspapers might actually benefit if some sort of competition drove paper prices down.

    2. You keep your fucking mouth shut or we’re lobbying congress for the IceTrey Tax Act of 2011.

  27. How stupid, of course the media is leftist.

    1. Some people have been saying Fox News isn’t media. I guess you would agree.

      1. I thought cable news was entertainment, which is media.

        1. That would mean Realist, and many others are calling Fox News leftist.

  28. I think you overestimate the angle you see. On the gen’l subject of medical mj (without the other considerations that the Raich case were mostly about), and on other drug reform issues like decreased penalties, how are those newspapers? And you can’t take the NY Times’ position on eminent domain seriously, because they were an “interested” party!

    No, I think the main issue operating in the Prop. 19 case or any other that would legalize pot is the “seriousness” factor. Pot legaliz’n is seen as frivolous, as a self-indulgence, and anyone wanting to be seen as “serious” in the near-caricature manner of an editorial board can’t afford to favor that. That’s the main factor operating; authoritarianity may play a part, but only a small one in this case.

    1. There’s a tendency among the self-consciously libertarian as among those who are self-consciously anything, to see everything in such terms. Only they’re frequently not. People come from all sorts of motiv’ns when it comes to forming public policy opinions.

  29. The modern theoretical basis for “I ought to rule over the entire human race because…” is called “liberalism”. You expect this theory to be anti-authoritarian? Seen any vegetarian lions lately?

    1. I see plenty of libertarian authoritarians here. There’s a real streak of skepticism for democracy. As in, let’s impose limited government on people who don’t want it because we think it’s better for them.

      1. We (libertarians) will force you to decide for yourself!

        Gee, that sounds awful. I guess some people really are afraid of freedom. Strange.

      2. Re: Tony,

        I see plenty of libertarian authoritarians here. There’s a real streak of skepticism for democracy.

        Being skeptical of democracy is NOT the same as being authoritarian.

        As in, let’s impose limited government on people who don’t want it because we think it’s better for them.

        I would not dream of imposing a government of ANY KIND upon anybody, small or large – I am NOT that cruel.

      3. “let’s impose unlimited government on people who don’t want it because we think it’s better for them”

        C’mon, Tony, say what you really mean when you’re projecting.

        1. I have my policy preferences, but above all that I believe people should be able to choose the government they want for themselves.

          1. How exactly does everyone choose the government they want for themselves? By that, there are as many personal wants for government as there are people. Alomost no one gets to exist under the government they precisely want.

            You are for the government you want, and that version of government is micromanaging, paternalistic and demands the submission of everyone. A democratically arrived unjust order is just as bad as a dictator’s unjust order.

            1. Okay so your alternative to self rule is…

              1. Some priciples about what kinds of authority the government is prohibited from exercising and sticking to them?

                You seem to have a problem with that sort of thing.

                1. All of which would still be subject to democratic choice–perhaps not simple majorities, but still the will of the people according to the terms the people set up.

                  I’m against authoritarianism. Nobody wants what you’re selling. Get over it.

          2. Really? So government should truly be by the consent of the governed, right?

            If I don’t like some “policy preference” I can totally ignore it without some bureaucrat/cop ruining my life?

            Sounds pretty good.

          3. So do we, Tony, despite your pathetic “libertarian = fascist control freaks” bleatings…

          4. I believe people should be able to choose the government they want for themselves.

            Really? Including fascism or communism? A government that murders millions is okey-dokey so long as 50.1% of the people who show up to vote say so?

      4. Democracy is not the opposite of authoritariansism. Skepticism of democracy is perfectly in line with a desire to oppose any concentrations of coercive authority.

        1. I’m skeptical of democracy all the time. Especially when my political opponents are in power. I just am at a loss to come up with a better alternative.

          1. “Especially when my political opponents are in power.”

            You don’t say?

            “I just am at a loss to come up with a better alternative.”

            Because you’re an idiot, Tony. If you weren’t, it wouldn’t be that difficult… but unfortunately, you will never learn that each time you give greater political power to your team, you’re just giving more power to your opponents the next time they get into office. It’s an arms race that tyrannizes the people of any country and you’re too stupid to realize that you’re a primary cause for it.

      5. Tony, Tone, Toni. Democracy is not always conducive to liberty.

        And if you don’t like limited government, move to Somalia China.

        And take your ROADS with you.

  30. The media?or at least the editorial boards at the country’s major newspapers?don’t suffer from liberal bias; they suffer from statism. While conservatives emphasize order and property, liberals emphasize equality, and libertarians emphasize individual rights, newspaper editorial boards are biased toward power and authority, automatically turning to politicians for solutions to every perceived problem.

    Which is another way of saying that traditional media outlets are populated by fascists.

    Editorial boards’ objections to Prop. 19 generally boil down to two arguments: Legalizing pot will 1) increase consumption and 2) intensify the drug policy battle between California and the federal government. The first argument is little more than contempt for individual freedom[…] The second argument is equally telling: We can’t expand freedom for Californians because doing so would undermine the federal government’s authority.

    I had the same revelation when reading the SJ Mercury and the SF Chronicle. Forget about individual rights, and don’t come to us with State rights – the central power, the M.C.P., is everything for them, nothing outside of it is nothing for them as well.

  31. Radley knocked it out of the park on this one.

    1. I disagree. Way too facile, largely playing with words. I’d rather have his usual kick in the nuts, takes more research.

    2. I agree with Radley’s insights. A surprisingly thoughtful and well written piece of analysis. It’s writing like this that sets true libertarians apart from the teabag yahoos that just spout meaningless slogans all day.

      1. And with the endorsement from these two known idiots (and enemies of liberty), all doubt about the quality of Radley’s pathetic equivocations is removed; this article is retarded. Why are you people at “Reason” paying this guy?

        1. Oh boy, you’re a “friend” of liberty? Tell us all about it.

          1. “LibertyLover” there clearly intended his name to be ironic, as he hates all actual liberty with a vengeance. Anything he endorses, therefore, must be undermining liberty. “Nate” there, meanwhile, just gave Radley’s lame equivocations about the meaning of “liberal” a glowing review which, like the article itself, was completely devoid of substance.

            As for me, I favor the abolition of: all compulsory schooling laws and public schools, the Social Security pyramid scheme, racial busing, affirmative action, marijuana prohibition, gun restrictions, minimum wage laws, and “hate” (i.e. thought crime) laws. I also favor the elimination of the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the State Department, the National Endowment for the Arts, all public-sector unions, and a huge portion of the public sector itself. I favor all people’s rights to refuse sales, service, rental, and employment to anyone for any reason or none at all.

            In short, I’m a great friend of liberties that these so-called “libertarians” at “Reason” have never even imagined.

  32. “The Media Aren’t Liberal”

    Big news.

    And The MSM Op-Ed crowd isn’t statist or authoritarian either.

    They are lazy, and it’s easier to type some politico’s opinion than to come up with original material.

    1. It’s also possible (and likely/true) that the MSM Op-Ed crowd is extremely liberal (in the statist/authoritarian sense) personally and that they are lazy and find it easier to regurgitate whatever nonsense politicians say instead of doing any actual research.

  33. Because the left traditionally has looked to government to enforce its preferences more than the right

    What?

    I’d say they’re about even.

  34. Goes to show who pays the liberal media’s
    bills, Drug-Dealers.(and the CIA)
    Did i just repeat myself ?

  35. “They aren’t leftists. They’re authoritarian.”

    Isn’t that kind of like saying “They’re not Baptists. They’re Christians”?

    Why is there this idea that “leftists” would be more inclined to support drug legalization than “rightist”? I see no evidence of that. Support for legalization, and opposition to it, is more or less equally spread on the American political left and right. The use of heavy-handed federal police power to enforce domestic laws seems to be greater during the Democratic administrations (or maybe it’s just more bungled, and thus we get Wacos on TV).

    “Well, no. We won’t see more people start using marijuana.”

    Of course we will see MORE people start using it. There are some people who have never used marijuana for the mere fact that it is illegal. Me, for instance. I didn’t drink until I was 21 either. I’m just a law-abiding personality, and there are others like me. Which is not to say I think marijuana should be illegal. I don’t. And if it wasn’t, I’d probably try it. I wouldn’t make a habit of it (I hope), but I’d try it a few times. I smoke a cigar every now and then, but if they were illegal, I wouldn’t.

    I just think people are incorrect to believe legalization of drugs won’t increase the number of people consuming drugs, especially if those drugs are addictive (which I’m told marijuana is not).

    Prohibition most certainly decreased the number of people who were drinking, as well as per capita quantities consumed, and the repeal of prohibition increased both again, though per capita alcohol consumption has never yet quite reached pre-prohibition levels. I don’t doubt prohibition reduces consumption ? both in total quantity and total numbers of people. I only doubt that it is just and that its economic benefits outweight its economic costs.

    1. Consumption of pot will increase if it’s legalized, sure, but I believe it would only be a meager increase, and not a Night Of The Living Stoned like some pundits believe would happen, with crowds of drug-addled people roaming the neighborhoods like zombies. Exaggeration, thy name is Conservative Talk Radio.

      1. Consumption of pot will increase if it’s legalized, sure, but I believe it would only be a meager increase, and not a Night Of The Living Stoned like some pundits believe would happen, with crowds of drug-addled people roaming the neighborhoods like zombies. Exaggeration, thy name is Conservative Talk Radio.

        No doubt. Where are these people’s sense of morality? They only refrain from smoking pot because it’s against the law? I would hate to see what kind of zombies would be unleashed if we made it legal to rape children. Poor bastards.

    2. Marijuana is not physically addictive, unlike alcohol, caffeine, or tobacco. It can be psychologically addictive. However, I’d be surprised to see someone who could drink socially develop a pot habit to the point where it interfered with work or relationships. Actually, I’d be shocked.

      I think a lot of dilettantes would go out and try it if it became legal, and a few would find they liked it and keep on smoking occasionally. The thing is, if it were legal, pot “addiction” would be about as harmful as caffeine addiction.

      I think that it would certainly become more visible, since smokers would no longer have to hide. This would appear to many non-smokers as if there was a huge increase in pot use, because they never saw people smoking pot before.

  36. Well worth reading the subsequent history of Kelo V. New London:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelo_v._City_of_New_London

  37. And Glenn Beck tells me he’s “libertarian”. I know this must be true, cause I also heard him on the radio today (long drive from Cleveland to home)saying how Teh Drugz R BAD and prop 19 should be defeated.

    Cause that’s the “libertarian” position, right? And since Beck’s in “the media”, the “media” must be “libertarian”. Cause that’s what Glenn told me.

    Right?

    fuck all these assholes – “statist” sounds much closer to it than “liberal” from what I can see, so I’ll agree w/Radley on this one. When you’ve lost Beck….

    1. Remember the good old days when it was okay to just say we simply didn’t like somebody? Now that Glenners claims to be Libertarian, I have to be his buddy? The guy is a douchebag that I would never have over to a poker game or a campout. I don’t care what the fuck he says that I agree with. You know, Adolf Hitler said he loved his Grandmother— there’s a lot of fuckin’ nazis walking around.

      1. All of the above, plus a big fuck-off to Bill Maher for claiming libertarian tendencies.

        1. “Libertarian” is just hot right now because people who are right wing need a way to fit in. I remember back in early 2000 when we were setting up Libertarian workshops at Starscape music festival, nobody cared about taxes and smaller government.

          Now any douchebag that hates “socialism” can just claim to support libertarianism. Most of us back in the day were atheists, pro-choice, anti-racist, supported drug use and supported gay marriage, which none of these fox news jackasses like Glenn Beck would ever profess.

        2. Yeah Maher is like the Playboy magazine editorial staff – they’re libertarian until you let them know that the economy needs to be free, too.

          Fuck, take economic viewpoints out of the equation, and Barnie Frank is a libertarian.

          1. One need not be a douchebag to hate socialism, Drunk Punk.

  38. Here’s a link for you: Famous Libertarians

    Join the cult, I mean, party 😉

  39. …arresting more white people. That’s the solution proposed by law-and-order conservatives like Rush Limbaugh, who once said the disproportionate racial impact of the war on drugs means “too many whites are getting away with drug use”; the answer, he said, “is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them, and send them up the river too.”

    Yeah, I know one of them who got away with it. That worthless piece of shit hypocrite – there is no death painful enough to be suitable to wish upon him.

  40. Drugs make me feel confused. NOBODY SHOULD BE ABLE TO USE THEM!

    1. When you say that, we can’t be sure whether that’s you or the mushrooms you’re on doing the talking, though.

  41. Does anybody ever get the feeling the US government made pot illegal due to the belief it slowed the economy down? That is to say marijuana users, in comparison to non-users, produce less economic activity?

  42. One minor point – comparing the legalization of marijuana to the emissions laws as a statement of how it’s okay to defy the feds when it means more regulation is a faulty argument, because it is perfectly legal to bring about more legislation, but not less. It’s one thing to want the EPA standards and then even more regulation – the EPA standards are still being enforced; it’s entirely different to decide that the federal drug laws are merely a suggestion that can be ignored.

  43. My impression has been that individual journalists lean left, but editorial boards and publishers (which have to protect their relationships with the business community – advertisers) lean right.

  44. Synopsis: Unnatural act with hairy flightless bird, now extinct.

  45. You know what is funny? It was a long, adruous task getting marijuana banned in the first place.

    It is such an exhausting task to force society to see the logic in something when the “correct way to think about it” has already been ingrained in our minds.

    Think for a few minutes about PETA. What if the whole society agreed with them, and the philosophy of animals rights was just as accepted as black rights or women’s rights. .. what would you say to convince people that eating meat is okay?

    1. Serve them some without their knowing it, then telling them like 3 days later.

      Might work with pot, as long as it is administered via cakes and muffins.

      1. I think he meant convincing PETA society that eating meat is morally correct if the entire society already thinks its wrong

  46. Totally disagree that Prop 19 is the right political issue on which to base your findings on which papers are liberal and which are conservative. You should base it on which candidates they endorse.

    This chart shows that Democrats are against drug liberalization while the far, FAR right Constitution party is partially for it (blows your half-assed theory out of the water): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P…..comparison

  47. Long ago liberals argued persuasivly against the exercise of power by the state/church. For 21st Century liberals the state is the church and is capable of miracles if worshipped properly. When a Democratic legislator states that government can do anything, he is acknowleging that liberal authoritarianism resides in the power of the state/church that he worships. Balko separates the liberal from the press, not willing to acknowlege that both rely on the assumption that their power resides in that state/church. Recent history has journalists begging for the state bailout to survive the rejections from the “New Atheists” who deny the revelations given by the Prophets (Obama/Pelosi/NYT/Msnbc/NPR).They are willing to subject themselves to the authority of the state because they believe they are the chosen people. They are true believers in authority, whether it means relieving people of their property (Kelo)or deciding what we can eat (see S.F. Mcdonalds).

  48. Return freedom, justice and liberty to the sheeple. Ron Paul 2012! 🙂

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  51. An excellent article — which the comments below almost all misunderstand.

    Today’s press is like yesterday’s courtier class. They know out of instinct that their only legitimacy comes from their proximity to power. That’s because they long ago gave up doing real reporting, real investigative journalism because it was too hard. Since they no longer get their legitimacy from the people (constitutional purpose) they get it by being mouthpieces of official power.

    The analysis in the article above can certainly be extended to the media’s treatment of third-party candidates. Look at how they treated Perot, Nader, and soon, Ron Paul.

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