Drug War

Repeat After Me, David Brooks: Repealing Prohibition Is Not the Same As Endorsing the Previously Prohibited Activity

|

Sometimes this is my favorite cover. |||

New York Times columnist David Brooks has a piece out about pot in which he confesses that, "For a little while in my teenage years, my friends and I smoked marijuana," but "then we all sort of moved away from it." Not a particularly unique progression, that; even if it does contradict generations' worth of taxpayer-financed propaganda about the dangers of even one puff.

Brooks concludes his tour of youthful experimentation not by knocking on wood that his life wasn't needlessly truncated by incarceration, but by musing on where such activity should fall on the encouragement/discouragement scale:  "I don't have any problem with somebody who gets high from time to time," he writes, "but I guess, on the whole, I think being stoned is not a particularly uplifting form of pleasure and should be discouraged more than encouraged."

I wouldn't have any problem with that, if people like Brooks limited their discouragement to the marketplace of public debate. Instead, they too often advocate using force to deter individuals from making potentially suboptimal personal choices, and otherwise mis-identify government as a giant sanctioning machine. As demonstrated by this remarkable sentence:

We now have a couple states — Colorado and Washington — that have gone into the business of effectively encouraging drug use.

Gawker's John Cook did the best job of highlighting the absurdity and wrong-headedness of that sentence:

We now have a couple states that have gone into the business of effectively encouraging David Brooks.

"subtly tip the scale" |||

The absence of prohibition is not the presence of government sanction. There are a countless number of perfectly legal activities I may find personally abhorrent—giving money to a major-party politician, driving at the speed limit in the fast lane, rooting for the Boston Red Sox—but keeping them legally permissible is not a case of my values being trampled by the state. If anything, the opposite is true: The more government uses laws to shape behavior, the more it is likely to offend your core values, whatever they may be.

Brooks, as is his wont, closes his column with a flourish of see-no-government-evil authoritarianism:

Laws profoundly mold culture, so what sort of community do we want our laws to nurture? What sort of individuals and behaviors do our governments want to encourage? I'd say that in healthy societies government wants to subtly tip the scale to favor temperate, prudent, self-governing citizenship. In those societies, government subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned.

In legalizing weed, citizens of Colorado are, indeed, enhancing individual freedom. But they are also nurturing a moral ecology in which it is a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be.

The Drug War is to "subtly tip[ping] the scale" as a firing squad is to gentle discouragement. "Healthy societies" don't throw millions of people into human meat lockers to satisfy the moral urges of social engineers. It is "a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be" after you go to jail for engaging in the same recreational activity as a teenage David Brooks. The "moral ecology" got a whole better on Jan. 1, and will get better still when people stop using the criminal code as a laboratory experiment on their fellow human beings.

Bonus video: Here's the great Penn Jillette talking about legal pot Monday night on The Independents:

UPDATE: I cannot vouch for the authenticity, but here's a detailed piece titled "I smoked pot with David Brooks." Includes the immortal phrase, "And here all along I thought he quit because of that time we got pulled over by the Radnor cops in senior year right after we'd clambaked his Mom's Vista Cruiser…."

UPDATE II: Looks like the aforementioned piece is probably definitely satire.

NEXT: Hezbollah Moving Long-Range Missile From Syria to Lebanon

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. In legalizing weed, citizens of Colorado are, indeed, enhancing individual freedom. But they are also nurturing a moral ecology in which it is a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be.

    Wouldn’t, in Mr. Brooks’ world, having the option to smoke pot but still choosing not to be more moral than refraining simply because it’s illegal?

    Also, not sure how “humble” it is to presume what sort of person most of us want to be. Brooks should be auditing that Yale class, not teaching it.

    1. Wouldn’t, in Mr. Brooks’ world, having the option to smoke pot but still choosing not to be more moral than refraining simply because it’s illegal?

      I suspect that Brooks is assuming that the average person has absolutely no self control and without the guiding hand of the state to tell them what activities they should or shouldn’t do society would devolve into chaos. He probably assumes that the only reason most people don’t just kill anyone who looks at them wrong is because murder is illegal.

      Not only does it show him to have a warped view of human nature, it also says a lot about how out of control his own ego is, since he’s presumably exactly the kind of person who he assumes should be responsible for shaping society into a better one. The fact that this sanctimonious asshole teaches a course in “humility” is beyond irony.

    2. But the US government does endorse cannabis:

      http://www.cancer.gov/cancerto…..onal/page4

  2. That which is not prohibited is mandatory!

  3. I wouldn’t have any problem with that, if people like Brooks limited their discouragement to the marketplace of public debate.

    What’s more public than a trial? Or more discouraging?

  4. driving at the speed limit in the fast lane

    Actually, I think that is illegal in several states, if somebody is trying to pass. As it should be. Left lane vigilantes should be hanged from the nearest overpass.

    1. I doubt most of them are vigilantes. People are remarkably stupid and inattentive on the road. They probably have no clue what the speed limit is or what lane they’re in.

      Enjoy that thought as you get into your car!

      1. I’ll be sexist here. If you come up behind a slow driving male in the passing lane and flash your lights, most of the time he’ll either speed up or move over.

        If it’s a female driving, most of the time, she’ll just be bewildered. I’m astonished by how often this happens. Does no one tell teenage female drivers that the passing lane is for passing? And how do they manage to go through decades without someone telling them?

      2. I’ve been behind people who make it abundently clear that they know exactly what they’re doing.

        Those are the ones who speed up and try to cut you off if you get a chance to pass them on the right after following behind them in the left lane.

        1. ^this^ because statists don’t just vote – they also feel the need to control the speed limit for all involved.

          & I’m sure it’s for our own good – because they’re positive the person they’re cutting off and specifically slowing down on purpose isn’t running to the hospital to check on their sick mother, hurt child, or pregnant spouse.

          Nope – the only reason that person is going faster than they are is because they’ve reckless/evil/wrong.

          When really – it’s mostly stupid territorial aggression which stupid people turn into anger, never understanding why they’re angry, but they know for certain that anger allows them the moral superiority to play traffic cop.

          One of those things I “understand” yet do not – why does anyone care how fast others drive and why do they assume when they see it it’s for absolutely no reason which might mitigate the speed? I don’t get it.

    2. Believe it or not, in most states you’re not supposed to break the posted speed limit while passing someone, even on a two-lane road.

      1. Yes, but you still have to yield the left lane, even if the guy trying to pass is breaking the speed limit.

        1. Strangely, the most relaxed laws on this sort of thing are in CA. The law is “a safe and reasonable speed”. The posted speed limit is only taken as setting the safe and reasonable speed if it is shown that there were good public safety reasons (i.e. an engineering safety survey within the last five years) for setting the speed limit at the given number. Thus, people (myself) routinely get off on tickets for doing 50 in a 35. There is, however, an absolute maximum 70 mph limit on any public road.

          Strange how CA seems to be the most sane in this area.

  5. It is funny, the one place where the government actively does encourage destructive behavior is the lottery. But I bet Brooks doesn’t see a problem with the government running the numbers racket and advertising it encouraging people to play because encouraging vice is somehow okay if the government benefits from it.

    Beyond that, I sure doesn’t look to me like the government is doing anything but discouraging smoking and drinking and those are legal, still.

    1. That’s just it. We have the lottery and casinos here and there is nothing more idiotic, and perhaps telling, than seeing a giant billboard proclaiming the loosest slots in town, with a warning about gambling addiction and a number to call just below it.

      We are a country divided against itself on so many levels, always presented with a Hobson’s choice or a Morton’s Fork.

      1. Gambling destroys a lot more lives than pot ever has or will. There are plenty of people who smoke pot and live productive lives or have enough money that it doesn’t matter. Gambling in contrast will take every dime you have or ever will have, I don’t care how much money you have. There have been NBA players, Antoine Walker for one, who have blown $100+ million fortunes gambling.

        Encouraging gambling is totally okay but legalizing pot is the end of civilization.

        1. And people like David Brooks don’t get that nor do they get that social stigma can often be a much better deterrent than criminal laws.

          1. Or that criminalizing everything destroys social stigma by making so many people criminals you can’t stigmatize all of them. A DUI conviction used to be a real social stigma. But that was back when getting one meant you had an accident or did something really stupid and dangerous. Once they made everyone who had had a drink subject to a DUI conviction, the stigma was largely reduced because so many people who hadn’t done anything dangerous had the convictions.

            1. Does it not seem like once social stigma is lost, it is lost forever? How many things go from taboo to accepted then back to taboo? It looks like it is often a one-way street.

              1. It comes back. It just takes a long time. Eventually people do figure out that doing some things are really stupid. But moral laws and values are the product of hundreds of years of human trial and error and collective wisdom. Once you destroy them, they don’t come back for a while.

              2. Women using tobacco.

            2. I wonder if the whole sex-offender debacle is gonna go the way of drunk driving, especially there’s too many people stigmatized (by having to register as a sex offender) when they shouldn’t be, e.g., they were convicted and forced to register because they peed in a bush.

        2. But, but, but lottery proceeds fund schools! Why do you hate the children?

          1. They spread diseases.

            1. Not if you force them to get vaccinated!

              /pulls pin, walks away

              1. They don’t vaccinate kids for the clap.

            2. Thet’re noisy and they always break stuff.

    2. And the government run lotteries have worse odds then casinos and even the old mob run numbers game

      1. And a smaller share. The mob used to take every third dollar off the top in the numbers games. The new thugs take 49%.

        1. Yes, bu the mobsters were gun toting capitalists. So the epitome of evil.

    3. encouraging vice is somehow okay if the government benefits from it.

      In that case he should be all for legalized weed since there’s a nice hefty tax on it. I think it’s more likely that Brooks doesn’t actually put much thought into his positions and doesn’t even see the inherent contradictions. IOW, his positions don’t come from applying first principles (because he has none), he just emotes.

      1. He gets paid to write. And he is really not much of a deep thinker. But he is very adept at pretending to be. Brooks’ writing always comes with a phony veneer of earnestness and thoughtfulness. This is a prime example of that. You see Loki, Brooks cares about civilization and society and what are laws are doing to encourage that civilization and so forth. It is all just a bunch of nice sounding words and simple ideas Brooks is pulling out of his ass for that day’s column. It doesn’t matter if it even relates to any higher principles much less is consistent with them or what Brooks pulled out of his ass yesterday. It just has to sound thoughtful and say the various magic works that makes his readers feel smart and thoughtful like the author does.

        1. if there were ever a rejoinder to the notion that the universe is a Just place, it’s the fact that David Brooks gets paid to write.

          Think about that. It would be funny if it weren’t so blood-boilingly maddening.

          1. It is an indictment of people more than it is the universe. Brooks gets paid because he has this feral ability to sense what his readers want to hear and tell them that in a way that makes them feel good about themselves. That is really his skill and it takes a writer possessing both profound cynicism and mendacity to do it. Any honest writer is going to at least try to write the truth and will necessarily say things and point out facts that makes his readership uncomfortable. But Brooks manages never to do that.

            1. It isn’t whether it’s true or false that really bothers me. What bothers me is it’s banality. David Brooks is So. Fucking. Boring. I mean, he white bread with mayonnaise squared. I’m not saying he needs to be super outre or anything, but if you’re going to write slop, at least make it entertaining slop.

              1. Telling people what they want to hear and what makes them comfortable generally makes for boring writing. But Brooks can at least write a proper sentence, which puts him ahead of people like Friedman.

                Think about it, Brooks isn’t even the worst well paid editorial writer out there. Hell, I wouldn’t put him in the top five. That is pretty depressing to consider.

                1. Brooks is an idiot. However, you are right, that he’s better than Friedman.

    4. The government encourages all kinds of destructive behavior.

      It subsidizes growing tobacco and profits from tobacco taxes.
      The same with alcohol.

      In fact, all government action is via the end of a gun (typically just the threat of it) and is destructive when it goes beyond protecting us from criminals or foreign invaders.

  6. Let’s see if I get this straight,

    Everything not prohibited is mandatory.

    Right?

  7. “Healthy societies” don’t throw millions of people into human meat lockers to satisfy the moral urges of social engineers.

    This needs to be tattooed on the forehead of every single elected official and LEO.

  8. I’d say that in healthy societies government wants to subtly tip the scale to favor temperate, prudent, self-governing citizenship.

    That’s what being free and responsible for yourself and your own choices does.

  9. Laws profoundly mold culture, so what sort of community do we want our laws to nurture?

    In his case, apparently, one where armed groups of paramilitaries kick down doors based on anonymous tips, and ask dogs for permission to sexually assault people.

    1. “Look, pal, if it was just up to me I’d let you go, but Baxter here is a real stickler for cavity searches…”

  10. But if they have to admit that previously prohibited behavior is and should be tolerated, what other prohibited behavior might the State have to tolerate?

  11. Repealing Prohibition Is Not the Same As Endorsing the Previously Prohibited Activity

    How does this apply to abortion?

  12. http://www.garygreenbergonline.com/w/?p=449

    One of Brooks’ choom gang buddies speaks out.

    1. Just linked to it. That’s something else.

      1. Too good to be true.

    2. they put the air intake for the second floor in a corner of the cell block. So we were smoking this joint of Jamaican over in that corner and Dave got the bright idea to blow the smoke into the register… when we went up to class the whole floor stank and the vice-principal was hustling up and down the hallway, wrinkling his nose like a bloodhound trying to figure out where the smell was coming from, and then he went into the boys’ room and dragged out one of the only two black boys at Radnor High, yelling at him for smoking pot in school.

      I remember the guilty look on Dave’s face when he saw Mr. Santangelo with the kid by the collar. Later on, he told me that he was tempted to confess, but he also happened to know that that boy did smoke pot, that he was a full-on stoner, so if he got in a little trouble, it might be good for him.

      So David Brooks was a little shit weasel even back then. Go figure.

      1. That is one of those “character moments”. It would be one thing if Brooks just chickened out of doing the right thing and felt bad about it. That would be excusable. I can’t say that even now let alone at that age I would have the moral courage to do the right thing. I pretty sure I would now, but I have never been confronted with such a dilemma so I can’t say for sure. I know I am not perfect. But I can say for sure that I would have hated myself for not doing the right thing no matter how old I was.

        The fact that Brooks rationalized his actions is what tells you how immoral and horrible a person he is. It is not that he failed to do the right thing. We all have our moral failures. It is that he happily rationalized his failure. That is what makes him evil and not just a flawed person like the rest of us. You want to know what evil looks like on a small scale where everyone can see it and understand it? It looks like David Brooks telling himself it is okay to let someone else be punished for his crime because that person deserved it anyway. Evil is nothing but human being rationalizing their moral failures.

        1. It’s fake, unfortunately.

          1. Really? How do we know?

          2. I see now. If it is not true, it should be.

  13. Replace weed references in Brooks’ article with “masturbation.”

    1. Brooks’ article is masturbation

  14. Listening to the B-team (Medved, Hewitt, Gallagher, Prager, Bennett) of Right-Wing Radio lately has been an exercise in pounding the steering wheel. They remind me why I’ll never vote Republican ever again.

    1. I have never paid any attention to the first three, but Bennett is a real moron. He is a real example of how easy it is to be considered a “public intellectual” these days. He has a single act of acting thoughtful and concerned while mouthing a bunch of nonsense.

      1. eh, they’re all Rush and Hannity wannabes. Michael Medved’s the worst one: he embodies Beltway RINO.

    2. And if you listen to any sort of talk radio for more than ten minutes, you realize pretty quickly why Rush Limbaugh has lasted so long and has such a big audience. He is the only one on either side of the political spectrum who has any sense of showmanship or humor or really any ability as an entertainer.

      1. Yes, I often disagree with Rush and generally don’t listen to him, but he can be funny.

        1. I think just about every criticism of Glenn Beck is true and those guys still crack me up. Beck’s sidekicks had the show yesterday and did “Glenn Beck Glenn Ross” where the ABC stood for “Always Be Crying”. it was legitimately funny.

    3. The only right-wing radio guy I’ll listen to is Andrew Wilkow. He’s in Beck’s camp, and is hardcore conservative on most issues, but he’ll allow states to take up legal pot and gay marriage because they’re not in the Constitution, and therefore not a federal concern. And I like the fact that he’s a former punk-rock kid who also likes P-Funk.

  15. If you don’t agree that alcohol prohibition was a shining success, you must want drunk drivers to run over adorable children. Won’t someone please think of the children?

    1. I don’t want drunk drivers to run over adorable children, I want them to run over social engineers.

      -jcr

  16. I’d say that in healthy societies government wants to subtly tip the scale to favor temperate, prudent, self-governing citizenship. In those societies, government subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned.

    It’s an insult to honest, hardworking fascists everywhere, but David Brooks is a goddam Arbeit Macht Frei fascist. There’s no getting around it.

    1. lesser pleasures, like being stoned

      Someone needs better weed.

      1. I’m not someone who shies away from drugs, but marijuana isn’t any fun for me. I kind of wish it was, but it just makes me retarded and tired.

        1. It’s not my fave, but better than drinking, which is really not my thing. Being retarded is supposed to be (some of) the fun part, though. Just like with drinking.

        2. The appeal of pot really depends on the person. Some people it just makes sleepy. For me, it slows down my thinking and shuts my mind off a bit. I actually enjoy it more than drinking and would probably drink a lot less if it were legal. But I also have a very hyper mind. If you are like that, pot just makes you feel a bit more normal. If you are more thoughtful and have a less chaotic mind, it more likely will just make you feel sleepy. I think this is why pot has always been popular with teenagers but less show when the teenagers grow up. As people get older, their minds are less chaotic and pot is less appealing.

    2. That’s the part that jumped out at me as especially horrific. “Here, let’s just replace your values with mine.” Struck me as very “harmonious society”.

    3. In those societies, government subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned.

      Personally, I love art and being in nature much more while stoned.

      As to what pot does to you, I enjoy it because yes it slows down my mind as John mentions, which is VERY helpful with PTSD, but also because it reorients your logic – people act like it makes you dumb, but if so, you’re probably just vegging out on it. Try doing a task that you have trouble wrapping your mind around while sober, you might find out it becomes much easier while high. When I can’t get around a coding problem, or a problem with a project or video game or something, getting high will usually help. It only make syou dumb if you veg out, or try to approach things with the same attitude as when you’re sober. I wouldn’t advocate studying for the bar high, but you might want to try out that garage reorganization you never could finish.

  17. Like Penn, I have never smoked pot. Just never was tempted and though stoners acted like assholes. None of that had anything to do with the law. (I did drink almost nightly in college while underage.)

    I’ve come to believe in legalization of all drugs because I find the cost and consequences of prohibition far too high. It just isn’t worth it.

    1. I’ve come to believe in the legalization of all drugs because MYOB. The cost and consequences of prohibition are just piss icing on the shit cake.

      1. There is that too – I never got preachy on people for a little dope.

    2. Agreed – for the few people that ever directly tell me drugs should still be mostly illegal I say this – as far as I’m concerned it’s simply immoral in this day and age to even contemplate a reality where a drug user is better off in the penal institution than getting high.

  18. Anyway, the hissy fit the Right’s public intellectuals are having over the legalization of marijuana is preparing me for 2014-2016, when I get to start poking Team Red in the eye again. woo hoo!

    1. I don’t think it is “right” versus “left” anymore. There is basically a bi partisan fusion party of assholes like Brooks and Friedman and politicians like Reid and the various Rhinos who run Washington and the major media and then of course their various followers in academia and among the voters along with the big businesses who are getting rich from crony capitalism. Arrayed against that is people on both the left and right who have finally had enough.

      The LEO unions are completely Blue, yet are the biggest and most successful proponents of prohibition.

      The intellectuals on the right who are having a hissy fit about keeping the drug war are all just the same breed of Washington asshole they all are.

      1. I don’t think it is “right” versus “left” anymore.

        Agreed. I know quite a few “left wingers” who were aghast and appalled when ammendment 64 passed here in CO last year. They’re just as guilty as the “right” and have just as much blood on their hands when it comes to the WoD.

        1. Absolutely correct. There is no “right” or “left” on this… just libertarian or authoritarian. And “liberals” (and let’s face it Brooks is just a statist liberal- there is nothing “conservative” about him) really let the mask slip when they come out against legalizing drugs-it just shows all they care about it enhancing the government and GOVERNMENT CONTROL. That is it. Everything is just a means to that end.

  19. I don’t think David Brooks’ article could possibly be more elitist and condescending even if it had a byline credit for Thurston Howell III and appeared in Pipe & Yacht Afficionados Monthly.

    1. Elitist? I thought that most true elites agreed that the War on Drugs is a stupid idea. David Brooks’ thought process is dwarfish and stunted compared to true elitism. In other words, if Brooks owns a pipe, it’s probably a corn cob one because he probably thinks that’s homey and ironic when it’s really just lame.

      1. I thought that most true elites agreed that the War on Drugs is a stupid idea.

        True. But our self appointed “elites” in the media and politics are not exactly the same as “true elites”. We live in an age of stupid where smart people are marginalized and stupid people are celebrated and put in charge.

      2. I thought that most true elites agreed that the War on Drugs is a stupid idea.

        Sort of. Most of the progressive elite will probably say that, but when it comes to legalizing anything but pot, you will hear a lot about (forced) treatment and diversion or some such bullshit. They just want slight tweaks to the current war.

        1. They just want slight tweaks to the current war.

          Not to mention the diversion of taxpayer money to treatment programs ran by their campaign donors.

  20. Brooks probably would be a child rapist were it not illegal.
    After all, why not?

    1. If he didn’t have the law to tell him it was wrong, why wouldn’t he do it?

      1. How would he even know it’s wrong?

  21. the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature

    I like being butt-naked in nature, and wouldn’t mind throwing in some recreational pot use. Does that count?

    1. Funny how being properly stoned can enhance your enjoyment of, oh, I dunno, the arts and being in nature.

    2. I enjoy “nature”, so it’s called, for about 20 minutes. Then it’s time to go back inside to drink and watch re-runs of Star Trek on the BBC.

      1. Speaking of Star Trek on the BBC, does it drive anyone else crazy that it’s not in Hi-Def. I’ve gotten so used to seeing everything else in Hi-Def that I just can’t stand watching ST:NextGen. I’m not sure if they can’t broadcast it in hi-def due to the recording quality at the time, or if it’s just more expensive to re-create hi-def recordings from the original Masters, but it’s really annoying.

  22. It must be that he was on Fox News, but why did Penn feel the need to attack both Obama and Liberals while advocating for legal weed? Obama (despite not following through on campaign promises) has done legal weed a huge favor by keeping the Fed on the sideline with regard to recreational pot in CO. He could have squashed it like a grape had he wanted to. Further, he goes on to attack liberals as seeing evil in everyone, thus needed to limit their freedoms. There’s a case to be made about that, but not with regard to legal marijuana. In this case, the vast majority of the left, along with a sizable portion of the center has pushed this initiative with only a minority of the right on board (present company noted).

    Why the fuck couldn’t he just give liberals their due on this subject? They did good, and deserve credit from libertarians on this one.

    1. Fuck you and fuck no they do not deserve “credit” for anything. You think someone deserves “credit” because they DIDN’T use the full weight of the Federal Government to shut down a state and its laws? “Oh gee golly Obama thanks so much your Highness for permitting us to have our own regulatory scheme. The King truly is benevolent!”

      In this case, the vast majority of the left, along with a sizable portion of the center has pushed this initiative

      Yeah, provided you all can get your filthy tax lucre out of it.

      1. What do you mean they don’t deserve credit for anything? You think that Team Red was going to pass this kind of law? Bullshit.
        But Penn goes on TV, and while advocating for legal MJ, attacks the primary backers of legal MJ. Not the fucking conservatives who overwhelmingly voted against it. This is what happens when you play to the fucking echo chamber NK. Fuck you and your group-think.

        1. I’m not a Republican you screaming retard, and in this very thread I said that very thing.

          You seriously said that Obama “deserves credit” because he didn’t break my legs. This time. Wow, way to polish that bit of fecal matter.

          The biggest names to endorse Amendment 64 were Tom Tancredo and members of the clergy. The biggest opponents? Mainstream media like the Denver Post.

          Don’t go breaking your arm patting yourself on the back.

          1. I didn’t call you a republican asshole. And yes, Obama does deserve credit for not “breaking your legs”. He could have, and would have had the law, and precedent on his side. But he didn’t. I applaud that act…without condoning the man himself.

            Further. I live in Colorado, so you’re going to have to pedal that bullshit elsewhere. Yes, Tancrado was highlighted as a proponent but only because it was not expected from such a stallwart Conservative. Tell me why the other conservative municipalities and counties voted against it if they are such proponents of liberty? Further, tell me why those liberals in Denver and Boulder voted for it overwhelmingly. I guess Tancredo and the clergy must have been VERY persuasive as it’s primary backers.

            1. And yes, Obama does deserve credit for not “breaking your legs”. He could have, and would have had the law, and precedent on his side.

              Provided that Colorado follows His Majesty’s Whims to the letter, yes. The DOJ memo doesn’t talk about the Constitution or the law; it talks about His Majesty’s perogatives. Please keep in mind that Obama reasserted his right to enforce the law at any time for any reason as he sees fit. Wow, some promise.

              Tell me why the other conservative municipalities and counties voted against it if they are such proponents of liberty?

              I never said they were. Did you see somewhere I said that?

              Your three biggest counties: Arapahoe, Larimer, and Jefferson, all voted to approve pot…in smaller numbers than Amendment 64 won statewide. So yay liberal urbanites?

              1. Oops, those are CO’s biggest *swing* counties.

                1. If this is really just Obama biding his time so that he can smash the evil weed and flex his authoritarian arm of justice, then I’ll owe you and everyone on this site a big fat apology, and acknowledge this site’s collective prescience.

                  But…if he really does take a hands off approach and allows the states to decide this issue, then you need to at least acknowledge that when the time comes. We have until Jan of 2017 to find out.

            2. And yes, Obama does deserve credit for not “breaking your legs”.

              If I pass by you on the street, do I deserve credit for not punching you in the face?

              1. Let’s try approaching this differently using your analogy Jordan.

                Let’s say that you have convinced all of your douchebag friends to punch me in the face every time you see me Jordan. And every time you or any of your friends pass me I get punched. This goes on for years, and I’m used to getting punched.

                Now let’s say, you tragically die during a botched auto-erotic asphyxiation session Jordan. And a friend of yours takes charge of your group of friends. Of course, he’s still a douchebag like you. However, for some reason when he passes me, instead of punching me, he says: “We’re not going to punch you in the face anymore Eric. I know that I should, and I could, and that all of my friends have done this for years, but I’m going to try respecting you and see how that turns out”.

                Would I say to that guy “You’re a fucking douchebag”? Or would I acknowledge his offer, and hope that maybe I’m not going to get punched anymore? It’s certainly a better offer than I’ve received from anyone else, right?

              2. If you’re a young black male, yes.

              3. If you’re a young black male, yes.

        2. Yes it does. It took Obama five years to pardon or commute the sentence of anyone victimized by the drug war. Sorry, but “well he didn’t send the DEA SWAT teams into Colorado” doesn’t exactly feed the bulldog on this.

          1. John, today I didn’t slash your tires. Praise me!

            1. I haven’t beatend the shit out of anyone yet today, I deserve some kind of recognition!

              1. You want recognition? How about a medal. We can call it the Not Cross Iron. Made in China.

    2. Perhaps he kicked liberals in the shins on this one because their chosen party, the Dems, has a long record, right through the present day, of opposing legalization. Where legalization has happened, it hasn’t happened because “liberals” pushed it in any organized way. Its happened in spite of them, via voter referenda.

      Look at who has monkey-wrenched the CO legalization: a Dem governor and a Dem legislature. Why should “liberals” get any credit here? Why shouldn’t they be shamed into not controlling their creatures who are actually impeding this?

      Giving Obama credit for issuing the same press release that he issued shortly before his DEA started cracking skulls in the medpot industry is really the height of naivete.

      Should he have called out the Dems instead of liberals? Sure, but what’s the diff, really?

      1. I mean, RC, look, this guy seriously said “Obama (despite not following through on campaign promises) has done legal weed a huge favor by keeping the Fed on the sideline”

        That’s like saying I did you a favor by not launching a rocket through your window. Praise me!

        1. He also seems to have grouped us in with “the right”.

          1. It shouldn’t be that way LynchPin, but it increasingly is. At least until Team Red takes the white house back, unfurls it’s full authoritarian colors, and scares this commentariate back to where it should be.

            1. Liberaltarian concern troll is liberal. And concerned.

              1. Closeted conservative finds solice with other closeted conservatives.

                1. It’s solace, you moron. And before you showed up, I was the first one to say:

                  Anyway, the hissy fit the Right’s public intellectuals are having over the legalization of marijuana is preparing me for 2014-2016, when I get to start poking Team Red in the eye again. woo hoo!

                  Back to whatever MoJo hole you crawled out of.

                  1. So you pointed out your “beard” posting. Your still in the closet. Come out of the closet NK. Team Red needs you.

                    1. So any evidence that runs counter to your dumb theory actually proves it. You’re like a Creationist, only way less entertaining.

                    2. Another beard post NK. Show me on the doll son where the liberal touched you.

                    3. On the head and both knees, with a police baton.

        2. And he’s done this for three whole fucking days so far. It’ll be a year or so before I’d even consider thanking him for not launching a rocket through my window. The rocket is still aimed in that direction for now.

    3. Because Obama is a piece of shit who laughs about smoking pot and doing coke in his younger years and then goes ahead and continues to ruin people’s lives over the same shit he did. Penn’s got a great rant about that too.

      1. No argument about Obama’s hypocrisy. However, he could have unleashed the Fed on CO. But he didn’t. And that was a huge deal.
        Penn’s shot was uncalled for. I wasn’t asking him to praise the President, just call off his guns this-one-fucking-time.

        1. Eric, you may have noticed that the press release on CO legalization from the DOJ was essentially the same one they issued before increasing raids on medpot growers and distributors.

          The smart money is that they are just biding their time, letting the growers and distributors get ramped up to max felonies, before they drop the hammer.

          I hope to be proven wrong, but I see no reason to believe “this time is different”.

        2. Yeah, roll that beautiful bold leadership:

          http://completecolorado.com/pa…..-approves/

          1. the Attorney General released a memorandum in which he established a series of “priorities” for the enforcement of laws relating to recent marijuana legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington state. It lays out an enforcement regime that will be on a “case by case basis” with out any reference to the law of the United States or the Colorado Constitution.

            “That’s a nice retail pot store you’ve got there. Be a shame if something happened to it.”

        3. However, he could have unleashed the Fed on CO. But he didn’t.

          You keep saying this like everything is now past tense.

          1. And please note that Eric is criticizing Jillette for criticizing the President, even though the only thing the President did choose not to exert his Majestic Authority.

            Eric, you’ve got a weird fetish for the underside of Blue Boot. I suggest therapy or a good dominatrix.

        4. “However, he could have unleashed the Fed on CO. But he didn’t. And that was a huge deal.”

          Sure, And Obama deserves another Nobel Peace Prize, because he didn’t start a war with Syria, right?

          1. Today I didn’t spend all of my money. I’m a financial wizard!

          2. No he doesn’t deserve a Nobel Prize. But I will say that he deserves acknowledgement for not starting another war. Same with Iran. The problem is that we’ve become so polarized, and mentally confined to our own clan, that nobody here seems to be able to even do that.
            We didn’t go to war in either situation. Thank you Obama, Paul, Kerry, Clinton, and whomever else that I need to give credit to.

            1. No he doesn’t deserve a Nobel Prize. But I will say that he deserves acknowledgement for not starting another war.

              Yeah, he gets credit for not getting what he wanted!

              1. Citation please Camping.

                1. Is this serious?

                  I’m guessing you credit Obama with ending the war in Iraq, too, huh?

                  Obama and the left haven’t been any better than the right on pot. Ever. Clinton gave the Drug War unlimited funding, Obama went to war with dispensaries. Marijuana legalization is sweeping the nation for one reason and one reason only, 3 decades of Libertarian hammering on it finally sinking in in the internet age. You can thank us, and then go back to licking your blue bootheels, sycophant.

    4. the vast majority of the left, along with a sizable portion of the center has pushed this initiative with only a minority of the right on board (present company noted).

      I personally know quite a few democrat voting Obama supporters who voted no on ammendment 64 and were as shocked and appalled as the monolythic “conservatives” in your head at its passing. And FYI, libertarians are not “on the right.” Nor are we “on the left.” There’s a lot more to politics than a simple left-right dichotomy.

      And no, Obama deserves no credit. If anything all he’s done is ignore the situation while simultaneously continuing his predecesser’s crackdown on medical MJ dispensaries in CA and other states. He hasn’t done a damn thing to change the WoD, there’s still millions of people in this country being sent to prison and having their lives ruined everyday for something that he himself did in high school.

      1. I know a number of conservatives who voted for this as well. I also know a smaller number of liberals who didn’t. However, anecdotal evidence does nothing to counter the fact that Amendment 64 was crushed in the conservative counties of Colorado.

        I also know about the left/right dichotomy and where libertarians exist on the Nolan Chart. However, when someone goes on a conservative news program, lauds a liberal victory, and then bashes those liberals that made it happen…without ever calling out his audience as the true antagonists…I call bullshit.

        1. Oh please go cry your Team Blue tears somewhere else.

  23. What part of the moral ecology does punching eminently punchable faces fall into?

    1. I hope that’s one of those “highest pleasures” that Brooks think’s its governemnt job to subtly encourage.

  24. “In legalizing weed, citizens of Colorado are, indeed, enhancing individual freedom. But they are also nurturing a moral ecology in which it is a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be.”

    It’s not about laws or what’s right or wrong, it’s about control and people who want to control other people’s lives.

  25. Hey, look, reports that Ezra Klein is taking his toys and leaving WaPo after Bezos nixes Klein’s “dream project”. Apparently, applying Amazon techniques to Journolist isn’t on Jeff’s todo list.

    1. As described by The New York Times, the project would be a “a new website dedicated to explanatory journalism on a wide range of topics beyond political policy.”

      Because the market is so starved for leftist journolist approved drivel. I am sure Klein will get his funding from some sucker willing to lose an 8 figure investment in the name of Prog cause. It appears Bezos isn’t as interested in giving to the great Prog crusade.

      I am sure Bezos is going to have such a hard time finding a douche bag to shill for Obama. I mean, there are so few of those out there that Klein is pretty much irreplaceable isn’t he?

  26. You think that Team Red was going to pass this kind of law?

    Heeeeere we go. TEAMtard debate tactics. Guess what, dummy; neither establishmentarian TEAM had anything to do with “passing” this.

    It was a citizen initiative, and both TEAMS have been struggling mightily to neuter it from day one. In fact, I have seen in credible sources that the guy who got recalled last fall was despised as much for his diligent work in gutting this thing as his gun vote.

  27. The smart money is that they are just biding their time, letting the growers and distributors get ramped up to max felonies, before they drop the hammer.

    No kidding. Why rob them before they have anything worth stealing?

  28. I liked how the Fox guy casually refers to Colorado and Washington as “dominoes”. 4% of the states legalize it, and everybody kind of admits it’s inevitable.

    1. We can certainly hope so.

  29. Quote: “For a little while in my teenage years, my friends and I smoked marijuana,”

    I’m sorry to hear that. Being stoned out of his mind was one of the few reasons that might have excused Brooks in 2008 endorsing Obama because he liked the cut of Obama’s trousers.

    Personally, I’ve always thought that the real reason for his Obama fever was like that of many other members of the literati. They are so prejudiced against black people in general, that they are amazed to see one wearing a well-cut business suit rather than baggy pants and a hoodie. As a result, they fell into such a swoon, they failed to notice that Obama lacks a talent for anything but pomposity.

  30. wow. liberals want to give me “personal choice”, except when it comes to my feelings and positions on a whole host of social issues. your all about “choice” and “tolerance”, huh matt, as long as the choices and tolerances are those you agree with. what a transparent joke. you’ll have the same myriad of issues you have with alcohol, fool, more deaths on the road, more lives ruined, but because YOU like to get high, you think it’s a good thing. classic liberal, screw the collateral damage as long as I like the position. what a j-off you are.

    1. Sorry to interrupt, but is that your mother yelling down the basement stairs for you to put some pants on?

  31. I have absolutely no problem with anyone who smokes pot. I’ve smoked plenty myself. But, like all choices, the chooser needs to accept responsibility for their choices. If one smokes pot and loses their drive, their ambition, their ability to take care of themselves and those they are responsible for, they should not come looking to me of the government for a handout.

  32. Brooks is a statist parading in an elephant suit he got at the Dollar Tree. I took the mention at the bottom of the article that Paul Krugman was on vacation as a sort of explanation why the second stringer ‘wtf?’ generator was tapped for today’s ‘wtf?’ piece at the Times.

  33. It’s entirely possible to believe that American society is disintegrating into a sewer of chaos that cannot survive, and to also believe there is nothing the government can do about it, except to stop actively promoting that which is harmful.

    Unfortunately we have one party (the Democrats) that actively promotes the destruction of morality and virtue, and another that thinks it can pass a law to make people become moral against their will.

    The founders of the U.S. knew and understood far more about governments, societies and human nature than we modern self-important morons even begin to comprehend. What was the “American experiment” that we so often hear about? It was the question of whether a society with unprecedented liberty could survive and thrive in the absence of state coercion and force. The authors of the Constitution understood that they had created a government that could only survive so long as it served “a moral and religious people”.

    Self-government requires self-government. If people do not voluntarily restrain their own behavior, chaos inevitably ensues, and after all is lost, the people cry out for a dictator to establish order.

  34. (cont’d)

    We are in crisis because we have multiple competing factions, all of which are fundamentally off the mark in one way or another. Libertarians too often actively support and promote hedonism and irresponsibility (not through government, but in words and deed), and denigrate religion – not realizing that without voluntary self-restraint, there can be no liberty. Those who support self-restraint (i.e. people of faith) too often fall prey to the Siren song of government, viewing laws as a substitute for persuasion.

    Meanwhile the only ones who understand exactly how all of this works are the would-be dictators, found today primarily on the left. They promote self-destructive behavior through the media, then once the lemmings have trailed over the cliff, they extend the fist of government as the only salvation for those whose lives they’ve intentionally destroyed.

    There is no hope, because those who would save society are divided, fighting for half a solution.

    1. In fact, I will put it more bluntly – a “post Christian” America is a nation that cannot be anything other than a dictatorship. Chew on that for a while, libertarians. The would-be dictators understand that fact all too well.

      1. post Christian

        Would Jewish be acceptable to you?

      2. What if I told you that one can be hedonistic and responsible at the same time?

        Also, http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmw…..alHedonism

  35. It is an endorsement of sorts. At the very least it goes from being something to be discouraged to something sanctioned. The result is the same.

  36. “Narcotics police are an enormous, corrupt international bureaucracy … and now fund a coterie of researchers who provide them with ‘scientific support’ … fanatics who distort the legitimate research of others. … The anti-marijuana campaign is a cancerous tissue of lies, undermining law enforcement, aggravating the drug problem, depriving the sick of needed help, and suckering well-intentioned conservatives and countless frightened parents.”
    — William F. Buckley,
    Commentary in The National Review, April 29, 1983, p. 495

  37. Does anyone honestly believe that wasting $20 Billion and arresting 3/4 Million Americans annually for choosing a substance Scientifically proven to be safer than what the govt allows, is a sound policy?

    1. There is nothing safe about it. It lowers the IQ of the target demo and is much more toxic than cigarettes. I would never hire a pot head anyway, would you?

      1. As long as their IQ stoned was above yours – yes.

      2. That LIE has been refuted. The study was so falwed, it was dismissed by other researchers due to it’s methodology. GIGO

        Rand Paul Upsets Marijuana Activists by Saying the Drug Is ‘Not …
        http://www.usnews.com ? News ? Washington Whispers?
        by Steven Nelson – The Duke University (New Zealand) study, the one which claimed that … to a long-term drop in IQ, has since been utterly rebuked by a new paper …

  38. “…driving at the speed limit in the fast lane,” is a bad analogy in this lame piece. Try that and you will get pulled over very quickly, it’s called impeding traffic.

  39. in most states you’re not supposed to break the posted speed limit while passing someone, even on a two-lane road.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.