Historic NYT Editorial: Feds Should Legalize Marijuana Pronto

Way to get with the times, Times.


Haxorjoe / Wikimedia Commons

The New York Times editorial board demanded the end of the federal government's marijuana ban in an editorial published Saturday. That editorial, titled "Repeal Prohibition, Again," notes that most states are rightly moving away from vigorous prosecution of drug crimes and asks the feds to follow suit:

The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.

We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times's Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.

There are no perfect answers to people's legitimate concerns about marijuana use. But neither are there such answers about tobacco or alcohol, and we believe that on every level — health effects, the impact on society and law-and-order issues — the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization. That will put decisions on whether to allow recreational or medicinal production and use where it belongs — at the state level.

We considered whether it would be best for Washington to hold back while the states continued experimenting with legalizing medicinal uses of marijuana, reducing penalties, or even simply legalizing all use. Nearly three-quarters of the states have done one of these.

But that would leave their citizens vulnerable to the whims of whoever happens to be in the White House and chooses to enforce or not enforce the federal law.

The editorial's endorsement of legalization is qualified in some respects, since it does recommend that the sale of marijuana be limited to people over the age of 21:

There are legitimate concerns about marijuana on the development of adolescent brains. For that reason, we advocate the prohibition of sales to people under 21.

Creating systems for regulating manufacture, sale and marketing will be complex. But those problems are solvable, and would have long been dealt with had we as a nation not clung to the decision to make marijuana production and use a federal crime.

Still, it's a step in the right direction—albeit one that libertarians have advocated for decades. If anything, it's another clear sign that libertarianism is winning.

Way to get with the times, Times.


NEXT: Remy: What are the Chances? (An IRS Love Song)

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  1. Thanks, Rand. You’re leading these mental midgets around by their little noses. Fucking hilarious.

  2. “But that would leave their citizens vulnerable to the whims of whoever happens to be in the White House and chooses to enforce or not enforce the federal law.”

    Shorter NYT: We might have a Republican President again!

    1. Someone needs to hold on to that statement.

    2. And a Republican will take away our Soma and confiscate all the Malthusian belts.

  3. It’s already legal at the federal level. There is no constitutional authority to ban a drug, since it took an amendment to ban alcohol and that amendment has been repealed.

    The feds can’t “legalize” marijuana. What they CAN and SHOULD do is refrain from exercising the usurped power they wield to harass innocent people who use it.


    1. Picky, picky, picky.

    2. +1 end the New Deal interpretation of the constitution.

    3. It’s effectively illegal under the CSA.

      So if it is removed as a scheduled substance, that does the trick, right?

      1. Render Unto Caesar|7.26.14 @ 7:35PM|#
        “So if it is removed as a scheduled substance, that does the trick, right?”

        Yes, but Obo can’t do that, ’cause, uh, well,…………

        1. ’cause, uh, well,…… he needs to grow a pair.

    4. You should go tell a DEA tactical squad that they don’t have the authority to enforce federal bans on marijuana. They will likely convince you otherwise by pointing automatic weapons at you.

      1. But…the Constitution!

        1. Well, it’s not a suicide pact, but Uncle Sam seems to think it’s a homicide pact.

          1. I’m keeping that for future use

      2. They have zero authority. What they have is power. Some may call this a semantic distinction without a difference, but I disagree. We should be precise about language and not grant legitimacy where none is warranted.

    5. Wickard is a dragon that must be slain, beheaded, and placed on a spike in front of all the DC regulatory agencies.

      1. I’d never heard of that case. I just looked it up, and I’m absolutely horrified. How in the actual fuck could a judge make such a ruling and live with himself?

        1. “How in the actual fuck could a judge make such a ruling and live with himself?”

          Ask Roberts.

        2. Wickard is one of the most appalling decisions ever. The first time I read about it I had to re-read large portions of the Wikipedia article just to try and follow the twisted logic that was used.

        3. Because most judges, and indeed most in positions of power in government, have no consciences, and view those under their power as mere objects to be manipulated at their whim. Do you have a problem living with yourself when you pull weeds in your garden, or demolish a wall to remodel your home? Then why would a judge lose sleep over a ruling?

      2. Leonhart is a pig, whose head deserves a stick sharpened at both ends.

  4. it’s another clear sign that libertarianism is winning.

    It also might be a bit scary as the New York Times has been on the wrong side of history more often then it has been on the right.

    1. Sure, but they’ve been on the *politically successful* side more than we’d like to remember.

      1. If the NYT was politically successful the Confederates would have won and then 80 years later Stalin would have taken over.

        1. Picky, picky…

        2. They’ve got consistency going for them, then.

  5. OT: Porn professor who attacked pro-life demonstrators in a “free speech zone” and stole and destroyed their sign pleads no contest. Predicted punishment: Fine, community service, and mandatory counseling.

    “[victim] Thrin [Short]’s father, William Short, said he would have expected an academic to engage in thoughtful debate with someone she disagreed with.

    “”She was free to engage in a rational dialogue with them,” he told in March. “Instead, she chose to bully them, steal and destroy their property, and hit and scratch my daughter. After doing so, she said she thought she was setting a good example for her students.

    “”I think the goal of this prosecution should be to set a good example for her students, one that will not only deter her from repeating this conduct, but will also deter those who approve of her actions from imitating her appalling behavior,” William Short continued.”

    (TRIGGER WARNING: There’s some kind of autoplay ads in the bottom right)…..ssault-on/

    1. “Thrin Short, meanwhile, said she’s disappointed there will not be a trial in the case.

      “”There are still people who think that we were deliberately trying to upset people and that in a way we deserved what happened,” she wrote “For that reason, I am disappointed that there will be no trial where we can show that we tried to calm her down and reason with her and the students, but she didn’t want us having any discussions with the students.””

    1. Predictions on timing?

      1. For pot? I’ll smoke a legal joint before I die. I’m 49.

        I’m more excited about our libertarian moment. As life continues to suck as a result of government, people will start paying attention and look for alternatives. That’s what’s happening, IMHO.

        1. Agreed on both. Technological advances and innovative breakthroughs like bitcoin, the sharing economy, etc. are what’s most encouraging to me.

          Statists gonna state, but they can’t really keep up at this point.

          1. The statists-and many here-don’t know it but they’re in their twilight. The social welfare state in Europe is in its last days. Technology is punching too many holes in their Grand Visions to even pretend that they’re relevant. People are not turning into Samuel Adams but they’re unenthused about proggy Visions for a Better World.

            Ten years ago, Walker’s Act 10 and the state-level income tax cuts we’ve had would have been unthinkable.

            1. This^

        2. See! See! He’s only doing it because it’s legal!!!

            1. I almost wish I hadn’t lost interest in pot about 10 years ago.

              1. It’s more interesting now.

        3. I’d guess in the next 10 years on the federal level. Maybe 5. Seems the political momentum is gaining pretty rapidly.

        4. If you say so.

          Having observed both libertarian politics and Christianity for some time now, it’s hard to say which of the two has had its hopes crushed more wrt failed triumphalist claims.

          1. Just a guess based on the national attention / favorable polling it’s received lately. Feeling optimistic these days.

            1. We should really be polling millenials, to see how they feel about libertarianism and the two major parties.

              I wonder why no one has done this yet?

              1. That’s a dead horse I’ll gladly refrain from beating.

                Was referring to legalization, though, and nationwide polling, not just of millenials.

                Nationwide Gallup Poll Re: MJ Legalization

      2. 2017-18. Once states see that they can (a)halve their prison population and (b)rake in as much as an extra $1B, it will be over. My back of the envelope calculation as FL being net $5B/year between jail/prison savings and new tax income. SLD: Fuck the taxes, but legal and taxed is better than used as an excuse to harass people.

        1. Fuck the taxes, but legal and taxed is better than used as an excuse to harass people.

          Plus if it’s legal, it’s pretty easy to grow and avoid taxes that way. I’d like to grow some of the colorful ones in my flowerbeds (it would smell nice in bloom too) and I don’t care to consume it.

          1. Unless, of course, that’s where the DEA shifts its focus: targeting people that grow their own marijuana to avoid regulation and taxes. That way, the populace gets its legal marijuana and the bureaucrats aren’t out of a job.

            1. They just become revenuers.

              1. ^THIS

                “Where’s you tax stamp, boy?”

        2. Once states see that they can (a)halve their prison population

          Holy Shit that would never fly as a utilitarian reason to end Prohibition. Prisons are big fucking money. In red states the particularly poor super-rural areas have prisons at the center of their local economy. In blue states, unions.

          But yeah, the “we can tax the fuck out of it” argument will work with the political class. Maybe.

    2. Chances libertarians are connected positively to this in any way by the NYT, or any other MSM outlet? I’d put it at roughly 0%.

      1. Well, who’d give any credit to a bunch of holocaust deniers and apartheid supporters?

      2. Too generous, if they can claim that we’re sexist, racist, homophobes.They will have no problem saying that libertarians also hate pot smokers.

      3. Tell ya what. Progs can take credit for all the advances in liberty to come, so long as liberty is obtained. Don’t need credit. Need freedom.

        1. ^THIS

          Blind squirrel phenomenon wrt NYT + most babyboomers have smoked pot, know the WOD is bullshit, and are now at peak political power.

  6. I don’t have a huge problem with prohibition below the age of 21. I’d push it back to 18 (along with alcohol and all other drugs), maybe even a bit earlier, but some age limit seems fine. And they’re all arbitrary at some level.

    1. Thank you; exactly my point. ‘Leading” from the ass end of the parade and then bragging about it.

  7. You know who isn’t okay with Rand Paul?


    Her twitter account is both funny and kind of depressing.

    1. She proves you don’t have to be good looking to be successful in the entertainment industry.

      1. No, Steve Buscemi proves that.

        Don’t bullshit, you thought she looked hot in that stripper outfit from that one video on the battleship.

        1. With that dumpy ass and masculine voice? No thanks.

          1. I thought her ass looked fine. Voice? I had it on mute.

          2. Now you know where Chaz gets it from.

        2. She was like 60 then. No thanks.

          1. I would have guessed only in her 40s.

            Best looking 60 year old I’ve ever seen, then. (Admittedly that’s sort of a “tallest midget” situation.)

            1. Huh. Nope. 1946, barely 40. I thought she was older than that by at least 15 years.

              1. Exactly.

                1. Cher says ‘minorities beware’ of Rand ‘No blacks at the lunch counters’ Paul

                  Minorities ask “Who’s Cher?”

                2. That video was gross and I was in the throes of the worst puberty bout that might have ever been known to man.

      2. She proves you don’t have to be good looking to be successful in the entertainment industry.

        And you don’t have to have a brain either.

    2. I figured at this point she’d have abandoned any cause or undertaking but a frantic search for the elixir of life.

    3. “Her twitter account is both funny and kind of depressing.”

      Well, you said “Cher”

  8. Watching Galaxy Quest. Forgot just how great it was.

    1. So say we all.

      That was the line they were always saying in Galaxy Quest. Yeah.

      1. There was that other classic line from Galaxy Quest, “I am your father, Luke”.

        1. And let’s not forget…

          Live long and prosper.

          1. I think it was, “Live long and aim to use the force.”

            1. Make it so.

              1. Make it so — great line.

                Reminds me a little of that awesome William Shatner bit, “Never give up! Never surrender!”

                1. “Never tell me the odds!”—Mr. Spock

                  1. “That’s no moon, it’s a space station.” – Paul Atreides

                    1. “What does God need with a starship?” –Fum.

                    2. “KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!” –Capt. Mal Reynolds

                    3. “Kneel before Zod”–The old drag queen from Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

                    4. “Me? I am the Doctor.” –Leonard H. “Bones” McCoy

                    5. “That’s impossible, haha…I‘m the doctor.”?the ship’s ostensible doctor on “Lost”, who knew he was outed when the real doctor (of whom he was a double) was discovered to have washed up on shore with his throat slit (having been killed by the aforementioned double)

                      “Sorry, `Doc’.”?Keamy, slitting that double’s throat after he realized what had happened

            2. “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Wookies pulling arms out of people’s sockets, the customer service at the restaurant at the end of the universe.”


              1. “Love can’t save you, Padme. Only my new powers can.” –Gort.

            3. “The Penis is evil! The Penis shoots Seeds, and makes new Life to poison the Earth with a plague of men, as once it was. But the Gun shoots Death and purifies the Earth of the filth of Brutals. Go forth, and kill!” -Wesley Crusher

  9. it’s another clear sign that libertarianism is winning.

    Clear sign, no. In general over the past 500 yrs. or so, libertarianism has clearly been winning. Narrow the time frame and it’s not so clear at all.

    Basically what happened here is that marijuana has been fortunate enough to buck a combined trend of medicaliz’n, anti-hedonism, and gen’l controlishness. Marijuana started becoming popular to smoke ~50 yrs. ago, and the Vietnamese War was both a boon & bane to it, allowing it to be incubated counter-culturally. It was fortunate that this happened at a time when smoking generally was still very popular and had not been so stigmatized. Had this interest occurred a decade or so after the Surgeon Gen’l’s Report on smoking (for example, if that report had come out a decade earlier), it would’ve been too late for cannabis to be treated as favorably as it is now. So marijuana rode the coat-tails of fading tobacco in the nick of time.

    Paradoxically, cannabis got another boost from the surge in popularity of herbal medicine & “natural” stuff.

    What was necessary then was for the counter-counterculture’s constituents to literally die off. They did.

    Still, the prospect of legal cannabis would not have occurred had marijuana not been extremely safe, nor if its psychoactivity had been geared toward stimulation rather than a depressant effect.

    1. Libertarianism is a partial winner in just about all policies in most of the world these days, although radical libertarianism isn’t?nor is radical anything else. Liberty is conceded by practically all to be a positive value, to be balanced with & against all other values in determining policy. For marijuana of course the value of liberty has always been in favor of legalizing it, and it’s so safe that even though the value of liberty is overcome by other values when it comes to other “highs”, it was eventually enough to carry for marijuana. It just took half a century.

    2. “What was necessary then was for the counter-counterculture’s constituents to literally die off. They did.”


      The principal opponents to marijuana legalization over the last 2 decades (~1990-2010) and proponents of the Drug War have been the Baby Boomers

      The same people who smoked so much of the stuff and (in your view) popularized it back in those hippy days (i tend to tip the hat to 50s jazz musicians, but maybe that’s because I hate hippies) were the most viscious opponents of marijuana liberalization up until very recently. and this is both among people on the left and the right.

      here’s a study that shows that it was really only as Baby Boomer’s children were getting out of college did they start to ‘relax’ about the issue. Which makes sense.

      Not that it matters much. I just wouldn’t go around patting the “counter culture” (who ever met a more conformist class than *ex-hippies*?) on the back for anything.

      1. The principal opponents to marijuana legalization over the last 2 decades (~1990-2010) and proponents of the Drug War have been the Baby Boomers

        The graph in the article you linked showed it was never the Baby Boomers who were the principal opposition. They were always above the Silents.

        1. Distinction without a difference.

          Do you dispute that Boomers were NOT the people in power to make these decisions?

          I don’t recall Bill Clinton running on Ending the Drug War.

          1. The Boomers had their votes, but they needed the older people’s too. Time takes its toll.

            Nobody has a really good explanation of why the popularity of cannabis legaliz’n dipped in the late 1970s (in all demographics). Jacob Sullum once tried an analysis, and AFAICT concluded that it was a slow-bldg. rxn against the hippies, took years for the resentment to mount.

            A lot of it may have just been the ascendancy of traditionalism due to the tax revolt, i.e. that the lines along which people became activists were “conservative” ones, and in “conservatism” fiscal restraint is tied to traditionalism. Like, in order to get the support of the activists, you had to roll those logs.

        2. Rather, the point there is that the ‘opposition by the Silents’ ceased to matter that much in the 1990s, when Boomers effectively took control of government.

          They are the only group whose opinion has really mattered that much for most of this period.

          1. But the older group was much more solidly against, so their deaths mattered more.

            1. Robert, your hair splitting fails any kind of reasonable sanity-test.

              Boomers owned the drug war for 20+ years. It was their baby.

              No theoretical superpowerful cabal of Strom Thurmonds were fighting tooth and nail against the otherwise ‘hip and cool’ baby boomers, who *would have been far more libertarian about the issue* if it wasn’t for those crotchety old farts of the Civil Rights era.

              There was no cultural struggle between the Boomers and their elders over the ‘details’ of the Drug War. There was no insistence that we must liberalize our treatment of Class A substance possession, end mandatory minimums, or any kind of ‘pushback’ whatsoever to account for the cultural divide between boomers and their predecessors on Drug Policy. There WAS NONE.

              Clinton was your case-study opportunity to show some kind of ‘leadership’ on the issue. He Smoked Pot! Yet…

              “….Although Bill Clinton advocated for treatment instead of incarceration during his 1992 presidential campaign, after his first few months in the White House he reverted to the drug war strategies of his Republican predecessors by continuing to escalate the drug war. Notoriously, Clinton rejected a U.S. Sentencing Commission recommendation to eliminate the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences. He also rejected, …advice to end the federal ban on funding for syringe access programs.”

              If there’s any ‘generationalism’ affecting drug policy, its the *retirement* of the Boomers.

  10. Prediction =

    Hilary will NOT endorse federal decriminalization/legalization. It will be “a complicated issue”.

    NYT will endorse her no matter what.

    1. Naturally, because she’s spineless.

      But, she can not endorse whatever the hell she wants. She will decline into obscurity soon and will not be the next POTUS. She’s a relic and comes off politically as disingenuous, self-promoting, and corrupt. Which is exactly what she is.

      1. I agree, and think that when she actually starts campaigning for real, that her popularity will dwindle the more of her that people see (and are reminded of)

        1. I agree. What does she have going for her?

          1. Ambition. Coin of the realm, they all have that. Hers may actually be great enough to hurt her, especially among other big shots whose support she’ll need.

          2. She’s female. For a while she was the only woman in the USA, but by now I’ve heard there are a few.

          3. She was believed by some to be the co-president during a successful presidency. That’s the one thing she still has going. But the one thing she was most closely tied to, Hillarycare, was a flop. The Democrats managed to get Obamacare passed at a time when there seemed to be much less momentum in favor of national health care, so what’s Hillary’s excuse?

          4. The sympathy factor for being married to Bill. That’s all drawn out by now.

          Given those shaky positives, “What difference at this point does it make?” would be enough to sink her. Obama’s the proof.

          1. She’s like Democrat McCain.

            1. She even kind of looks like him

          2. 4. The sympathy factor for being married to Bill. That’s all drawn out by now.

            You’ve got that backwards, the sympathy factor was what kept Bill from being run out on a rail.

          3. Here’s a mental exercise: would divorcing Bill make her more popular?

            1. Nope.

              Being married to Clinton is her only accomplishment.

    2. I wouldn’t be so sure that she wouldn’t endorse decriminalization of possession for personal use which would be half a roach. Of course decriminalization while I suppose is better than nothing, really doesn’t address the majority of problems caused by prohibition. And the drug violence doesn’t get addressed at all. It’s unfathomable to me that making sure that someone doesn’t get high is justification to so many people for the ridicules social costs, violence, injustice, civil rights abuses, etc, etc caused by prohibition. It takes an idiot…

  11. Can you imagine the cuts to the federal government, and the subsequent prosperity fueled by the savings, that would be obtained by eliminating the drug war?

    Federal prosecutors
    Parole officers

    What a fucking waste this has been. Suppose people might learn from it?

    1. HA HAHAHA HAHA HAHAH AHAHAHAHAHAAHhhhhaa ahaha ah ah hahaha hahaha ah ah lol

      …. wait…

      … uh, you’re serious?

      I promise to you = ‘Legalization’ of marijuana is going to come with a titanic-sized boatload of payoffs to all the key-players you mention, guaranteeing them lifetimes of labor in the effective regulation/taxation/control/policing of licensed growers / retailers & consumers etc.

      The “End” of prohibition saw one of the largest *expansions* of legal authority into people and businesses lives in American history.

      1. No really, I’m going to write my state congressperson suggesting that $500M or 10% of the weed tax (whichever is larger) go to retraining prison guards for the first 10 years. Sure the union will still fight, but I’m totally willing to outright buy the prison guards’ support.

        1. uh, dude i can assure you they are way ahead of you on that stuff.

      2. The “End” of prohibition saw one of the largest *expansions* of legal authority into people and businesses lives in American history.

        Hmmm correlation is not causation.

        1. What i’m specifically referring to is that the failure of unilateral ‘bans’ precipitated the ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’ of the Regulatory State.

          My perspective on this matter comes from years of covering the alcohol industry. The post-prohibition era ushered in a new wave of ‘social regulations’ related to alcohol, many of them that made otherwise harmless behavior criminal

          You can brew your own beer!…
          You serve it to anyone outside your home? Go to jail.

          Try driving booze across state lines! Even more fun.

          Imagine your kid gets into your liquor cabinet at home… Child Endangerment.


          The ‘correlation’ is not arbitrary. Big Government learned that unilateral bans failed – but micromanagement of human activity? Priceless.

      3. But…but…libertarian moment.

        Damn you are a pessimist.

        One of three things WILL happen.

        1. The statists will prevail and the whole thing will come crashing down.
        2. We will muddle along for another century until 3 happens.
        3. People will see the benefits of libertarianism, and we will have wealth, liberty and prosperity for an age.

        Forgive me for pushing for 3.

        1. All of those things will happen, eventually and repeatedly and in various orders. Forever is a long time.

        2. Is a libertarian moment like a “senior moment”?

          Bless you for bein’ an optimist.

          My prediction: people will continue to demand the legal enforcement of things they personally like, and will totally miss the point that allowing the government to make choices for you is a bad thing.

      4. “Creating systems for regulating manufacture, sale and marketing will be complex. But those problems are solvable, and would have long been dealt with had we as a nation not clung to the decision to make marijuana production and use a federal crime.
        In coming days, we will publish articles by members of the Editorial Board and supplementary material that will examine these questions.”

        Gee, I wait with such bated breath.

        Also, laughter at the headline of something to the effect that this will end prohibition. Um, no, there are a few more schedules that might need some freeing.

    2. Two things. Number one, we’ve already tried austerity. IT DOESN”T WORK!

      Number two, we will have a ton of money and it will ignite the economy, just like in the 1980s when the Berlin Wall fell and the government gave the taxpayers a “peace dividend.”

  12. OT: Washington D.C.’s ban on carrying firearms has been overturned!

    From Alan Gura:

    Justice never sleeps?. not even on a Saturday afternoon, when this opinion was just handed down.

    In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code ? 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code ? 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.4 Furthermore, this injunction prohibits the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.…..mer-v-d-c/

    1. How long do we have to wait for the Grand Diaper Soiling of 2014 to begin?

      (e.g. Salon to write their editorial)

    2. Any chance we can get Alan Gura to take up 10A cases now that he has completely destroyed the localities on 2A?

      1. There’s still a lot of 2nd Amendment jurisprudence that hasn’t been hashed out yet; Gura’s pretty much set for life on that front. But maybe he’ll get bored of it.

        1. I’m hoping he’ll take on NFA and win.

    3. Furthermore, this injunction prohibits the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.

      Replace District with any number of states and this could put even more cracks in the dam.

  13. Prediction #2 =

    As the NYT bravely bucks the…. wait, uh, jumps in front of a parade!…..the next step in their bold, progressive policy-thinking…? will be to recommend AN ENTIRE NEW DEPARTMENT OF BUREAUCRACY TO MAKE SURE ITS SAFE AND CONTROLLED AND MEASURED AND TAXED AND PEOPLE BE TESTED ALL THE TIME AND CANT START THEIR CAR UNLESS THEIR BLOOD SHOWS….. etc.

    (insert unlimited exercise of federal power into people’s lives in exchange for their newfound ‘liberation’ to puff on some dried vegetation)

    1. You’re far too optimistic — what’s going to happen is that it will become a “public health”/”public safety” concern, thus providing a rationale for any and all domestic bureaucracies to expand in order to “properly” regulate — DoH will handle “safety”, DoT will deal with interstate transport, DHS and DoJ will deal with gang-related profiteering, etc. When it becomes clear that the agencies and bureaucracies aren’t talking to one another, the NYT will support the creation of a new bureaucracy to “streamline” everything having to do with marijuana and to “talk to the other agencies”. They will be given a mandate without authority (since that authority will already be parcelled out to the other bureaucracies), and thus they will get the leftover scraps of power while having a bloated bureaucracy in charge of the paperwork needed to gather information from the other bureaucracies, ostensibly to get them working together.

      1. Oh brother dry up you two. What kind of libertarian trivializes the end of the War on MJ anyway?

        1. It’s nice but relatively trivial in the grand scheme of things, if the government and society seem to be in the mood to supply 5 new felonies for every one they take away, and 5 new bureaucracies for every one scrapped.

          In the case of MJ legalization, we are not talking about an end to the WoD, or even a de-escalation of the trend towards militarized policing. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the tenor of the debate has been, “Well *of course* we should still throw people in the rape cage for using coke or LSD! Don’t be absurd — we just want to make a teensy change to one drug on the list, mostly because we like smoking it.” The result is not a bad one, but it is a relatively minor and insignificant one, and will probably be attached to many negative payoffs to the various interests impacted by this upset.

          I will celebrate the conclusion of the WoD. Being ecstatic about a slight modification to the list of drugs which are criminalized is something like a medieval humanist being beside himself in ecstacy that the sumptuary laws in his province now allow the consumption of Bavarian apple strudel.

          1. Baby steps?

          2. You have an extremely distorted view. First, CO and WA don’t seem to be in a hurry to replace the MJ ban with 5x bureaucracy. Maybe that will happen at the federal level but I don’t know and you don’t know any better than I do. Second, MJ is not a *minor* change. It is the biggest component of the WoD. Removing the War on MJ from the WoD is like taking the ice cream out of a Banana Split, if it were a Banana Shit. MJ legalization is a huge advance for liberty.

            1. WA has just gotten started implementing its legalization scheme. I live in AZ and visit CO quite often — and I’ll tell you right now, CO appears to be creating as many bureaucracies, regulations and contingencies as its grubby little bureaucrats can manage.

              It is a change for the better. I like that people can go out and smoke a doobie without getting thrown in the slammer. What this has to do with libertarianism? Almost nothing; those who are in favor of legalizing have done nothing to apply the logic of legalization even to other drugs, much less a philosophy of governance.

              There are certain positive strands of classically liberal politics which might become more predominant as time goes on, particularly within the Tea Party and what Rand Paul is trying to do in his party. Very little of it has anything to do with MJ legalization (which is nonetheless a positive development), and the level of impact someone like Rand can have is still relatively unknown. I’m not trying to say that there’s an inevitability about statists winning every time, but given current trends that is where we are going and it is important to manage expectations.

              1. Being able to smoke a doobie and not get thrown in jail has nothing to do with libertarianism? WTF is this I don’t even

                If legalization were the product of left-wing culture war, it would have been legalized eons ago. It’s not and it’s not.

                CO new bureaucracies and regs are bad but not that big. Flies on our elephant march to freedom.

                1. If legalization were the product of left-wing culture war

                  “If”? It clearly is part of Kulturkampf; obviously not to the exclusion of other views within the left (some leftists were and are quite the prohibitionists), but it is clearly part of culture war and has been since at least the Nixon administration. (It happens to be an area where I agree with the left and disagree with the right, but come now.) This being the case, the question of why it hasn’t been legalized yet is much like the question of why gay marriage hasn’t been legalized yet: the left doesn’t have uncontested power in the country, and certain parts of the leftist coalition are not on board with that part of Kulturekampf. The left is nothing if not strategic; thus you get guys like Bill Clinton disavowing gay marriage and MJ legalization while having no reason to oppose them and no desire to criminalize either one.

                  I realize that libertarians don’t like thinking in terms of an inconsistent and simplistic dichotomy like left-right, but that is the dominant paradigm in this country and the one through which this issue is mostly thought about, to the degree that it is synthesized as part of a general framework. Most people support it as either a single issue in isolation or as card-carrying progs. The only exception is the small (but growing) part of the R party that is libertarian-leaning or otherwise dissents from mainline conservatism on culture.

                  1. TIT writes the truth.

              2. So they’re creating bureaucracies. The only important question is what effect they’ll have. And the answer is that they’ll have a minuscule effect compared to prohib’n.

          3. But it’s still not trivial, because it affects a large no. of people, much more than those other drugs.

            Mmm…apple strudel.

          4. Actually this year the FEDs are clamping down on antibiotics.

            Also with Obamacare’s, free birth control for all, don’t expect the Pill to be even considered to be changed to over the counter for at least another 25 years. Also thanks to that the government now knows who and who is not trying to get pregnant.

            1. Actually this year the FEDs are clamping down on antibiotics.

              They should be. Antibiotic abuse is extremely dangerous. Doesn’t mean they are doing it right but still.

              1. Antibiotic abuse is extremely dangerous.

                No it is not.

                1. Yes it is, which you’d know if you had any understanding of antibiotic resistance.

                  1. I know about antibiotic resistance.

                    It is less dangerous then an aspirin or vitamin C overdoes.

                    And the problem has more to do with socialized medicine (lack of the right incentives at hospitals and medical care in general) then it has to do with easy access of over the counter access.

                    Hell having to go and see a doctor and being exposed to pathogens there to get a prescription for antibiotics has more to do with the spread of antibiotic resistance then your fear mongering media fed paranoias.

                    1. Oh good lord, not again. More from you about antibiotic resistance?

                      I’m as big an opponent of socialized medicine as anyone, but laying antibiotic resistance at its doorstep isn’t something I think you can prove, along with most of your other statements on this issue.

        2. Because the experience of Washington and Colorado, where one type of fascism was replaced with another, showed people how things work outside your pipe dreams.

          1. Washington and Colorado, where one type of fascism was replaced with another

            WTF are you talking about? Why are you retarded?

        3. “Cytotoxic|7.26.14 @ 8:57PM|#

          Oh brother dry up you two. What kind of libertarian trivializes the end of the War on MJ anyway?

          Nothing ‘ends’.

          Think about this =

          we have a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms that is one of the largest and most well-armed federal law enforcement agencies, and shoots people fairly often.

          All of the things in their name are “Legal”

          1. In fairness, it’s the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives now.

            So one of those things isn’t really legal.

          2. You discount the possibility of a change in philosophy.

            Things DO change (end).

          3. Prohibition ended and is ending again. Things change. Bureaus are stupid but still a massive step up from prohibition. Can’t believe I have to say that.

  14. Great Moments in NYT History, Part II

    When they printed “Prohibition Was Actually Awesome, Let’s Do It Again” in 1989

    1. “The real lesson of Prohibition is that the society can, indeed, make a dent in the consumption of drugs through laws. There is a price to be paid for such restrictions, of course. But for drugs such as heroin and cocaine, which are dangerous but currently largely unpopular, that price is small relative to the benefits.”

      Costs =

      ~$1trillion in govt spending
      Largest prison population on earth
      Millions of lives destroyed.

      Benefits =

      It was a good time to be a cop.

    2. But that op-ed was directed against legaliz’n of cocaine. That’s a reminder that a quarter century ago there was almost as much noise about legalizing cocaine as there had been for cannabis. However, that turned out to have been the tail end of one of the cyclic spurts in popularity of cocaine that Musto documented. Cocaine just isn’t as consistently popular as pot, not as safe, and is a stimulant?all factors that’ve worked against a movement for it similar to the one we’re seeing for mj.

      1. That’s a reminder that a quarter century ago there was almost as much noise about legalizing cocaine as there had been for cannabis.

        I find this unconvincing. Any hard data that cocaine was closer to legalization then than now?

        1. Polls, editorials, and consumption trends pointed toward normaliz’n. That last was the reason why for most of its hx, the only drugs specifically mentioned by the Media Partnership (Partnership for a Drug-Free Amer.) were cocaine & cannabis.

          1. So post some of them.

            1. If you were paying att’n then, you’d remember. Guccione distinguished himself from Hefner by advocating legaliz’n of cocaine & marijuana, rather than all drugs. Coke & pot were very much thought of as linked and to have a similar fate socially. However, Musto called it correctly in recognizing it was just another peak to be followed by another valley in coke’s social acceptance. Pot took a dip in acceptance too, but not as deep and bounced back more strongly.

        2. Probably not. I don’t recall 1989 being a banner year for the Pro-Blow Movement.

          1. He’s bullshitting isn’t he?

            1. totally

              1. Fuck you Murican.

          2. Coke had its social acceptance moment in the mid/late 1970s. Back when Jimmy Carter’s Drug Czar was doing lines between writing ‘lude ‘scripts to fake identities.

            1. In Kieth Stroup’s interview with Playboy magazine the question was asked along the lines of, “Well, what’s next after marijuana legalization?”. Stroup replied, “Well, we’ve been thinking about NORCL (cocaine) being the next step.”

              Also, I don’t remember the details, but there was a judge who declared (paraphrased) “This stuff (cocaine) should be legal!”

              So there was talk of legal blow in the 80’s. A lot of that went away when Len Bias ODed.

              … Hobbit

          3. 1989 wasn’t a banner year for Pro-Blow. Rather, it was a decade past the peak and into the rxn phase against it as predicted by Musto based on previous such cycles. Support for both pot & coke peaked in the late 1970s.

            1. Peak coke.

              Sounds like a conspiracy.

            2. Support for pot did not peak in the ’70s. It is higher today.

              1. Use peaked in the late 70s. Open use in public places was far more socially acceptable and legally tolerated than it is now.

              2. Local max. That level of support was not reached again until the 1990s.

        3. Any hard data that cocaine was closer to legalization then than now?

          In 1989 during he height of the crack cocaine panic? When everyone thought one puff of it would cause instant life long zombie-like addiction?

          No, there is zero evidence.

      2. Well, who isn’t opposed to bulletproof Negroes that rape white women? And jazz?

      3. This comment by the Harvard Crimson, in support of their “Top Men” (*including Mark H Moore, the author of the above editorial) helping to design the Drug War agenda under Bush I, suggests differently.

        That this was by no means a limited response to nascent legalization efforts for Cocaine – it was full-throated endorsement for Drug War writ large.

        “But if students want their attitudes to be taken seriously in inner-city communities, they should take an equally bold stand against the casual use of less dangerous drugs. Someone who says it is wrong for a 20-year-old economically disadvantaged gang member to deal crack as a way to earn money, but overlooks a privileged Harvard sophomore who buys and sells hash for his or her personal use, is being hypocritical.

        President Bush’s rhetoric should be taken to heart. The drug problem is gravely serious, and the University should play as active a role in solving it as it did in defeating Germany, Italy, and Japan during the Second World War. …

        …Harvard’s medical area lies adjacent to the Mission Hill neighborhood of Roxbury where moderate drug activity occurs. And according to Cambridge Police, the Pit in Harvard Square is a hotbed of L. S. D. sales. These areas provide Harvard with the opportunity to put the war against drugs into action.”

        Churchillian, even

        1. “L. S. D.” as the correct spelling of LSD? WTF?

          Harvard? Where Timothy Leary and Richard Evans Schultes used to work?

        2. Is ‘Churchillian’ Latin for ‘insane’?

          1. Churchill, as in

            “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…!”

            Harvard, endorsing a scorched-earth Drug War posture, believes step one is to show their lack of socioeconomic hypocrisy and *arrest them some students ASAP!*

            ‘Hotbed of LSD’ sounds like something of a fever-dream invention by the authors, FWIW. I can’t quite imagine 1989 Harvard being more *wigged out* than 1960s Berkeley.

  15. “There are legitimate concerns about marijuana on the development of adolescent brains”

    Is this an admission?

  16. There is something grotesque about this editorial. I understand that the end result is what matters, but the editorial comes across as flip, narcissitic and condescending –

    We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times’s Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.

    We did, did we? A great deal of discussion among members – ah, yes, this is something about which members should discuss, no doubt. Inspired by a movement – almost romantic, a new perspective on things, – who knew? – these youth today!

    No apology for decades of power-class violence, lives in prison, etc.

    Well, OK, let’s take what we can and move on – but these people are disgusting pigs.

    1. Anything that takes a great deal of discussion to decide would not be expected to result in an apology, unless an apology was specifically what was discussed.

      1. An apology would be morally satisfying, of course, but a fantasy. Even a hint of “maybe we were wrong and have some moral responsibility for all those people in prison that we mentioned” would be too much to expect. I understand, but venting a little frustration over this preening about, as Sevo says below, weathervaning.

        But, bottom line is that this is something that should spur optimism. So, hurray!

        1. We need Drug War Crimes Trials. Nuremburg, PA is just the place for this. I suggest using the Guillotine. Disinter Harry Anslinger and decapitate him first.

          1. Bush 1, Clinton, and Bush 2 should be drawn and quartered. Reagan’s grave should be designated as a National Historical Urinal. Nixon’s grave should be designated as a National Historical Outhouse. Obama, well, maybe if he does the right thing, may eventually get a monument. But probably not.

    2. “There is something grotesque about this editorial”

      Agreed, but for other reasons:
      These dolts convened a meeting and decided to lead from behind. They merely admitted that (like the government) they are weathervaning; following the population’s desires.
      And then bragging as if their approval has something to do with the result!

      1. Yes, yes, yes.

      2. Why shouldn’t they brag? One good reason for recommending a policy is that you think it will satisfy other people. They’re not supposed to be in it to satisfy their own whims.

        1. “Why shouldn’t they brag?”

          Ask all the people in prison they were for keeping in prison.

        2. Robert|7.26.14 @ 9:30PM|#
          “Why shouldn’t they brag?”

          Brag about following the parade and cleaning up the elephant shit?
          Right, why shouldn’t they brag?
          Uh, maybe because some people have a modicum of ethics and they don’t?

          1. They’ll brag about it either way.

    3. ” the editorial comes across as flip, narcissitic and condescending”





      You’re aware you were reading the New York Times?

  17. Another clear sign that libertarianism is winning? Hardly.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for legalization. And I am guardedly optimistic that there’s a cultural shift towards liberty that’s gradually becoming part of the mainstream. But this ain’t exactly a call for the dissolution of the IRS, know what I’m sayin’?

    Marijuana legalization, like gay marriage, is popular amongst the chattering classes and the left, mostly because it gets up the collective noses of social conservatives and a lot of Republicans. It’s easy for the NYT to be a “thought leader” here because it’s a safe position within the NYT’s constituency. All of this new-found distrust of the federal government and the whims of the executive never comes into play with the ACA, you’ll note. This is still just about arguing for a government that conforms to one group’s preferences. Those preferences might match up with libertarian ideals on a cosmetic level, but that’s it.

    When the NYT issues an editorial calling for the elimination of the ATF, or advocating for all states to become “shall issue” CCW states in recognition of the 2nd Amendment, or, shit, the elimination of the federal income tax, then feel free to toss some confetti.

    1. Thanks, Debbie Downer.

      1. Sorry, man. I’m a curmudgeon by nature.

        1. This thread sure did bring out the emo-tarians.

          1. Emo-tarian is a new one to me, I’ll have to remember that.

    2. Marijuana legalization, like gay marriage, is popular amongst the chattering classes and the left, mostly because it gets up the collective noses of social conservatives and a lot of Republicans.

      Was this any less true 20 years ago? No. So the MJ legalization movement does indeed reflect at least a lessening of the statist influence. Point: libertarianism.

      1. As I wrote, libertarianism is always a plus factor. Few think liberty to be per se a negative; it just may need to be overridden in favor of their other concerns.

      2. If, and this is a big ‘if’, this results in some sort of real limitation of federal power, then I’ll happily agree with you. Or hell, even if it only results in the majority of Americans collectively agreeing that the government doesn’t have a right to tell people what they can ingest, and that it’s not a good idea to give it that power, then I’ll grant you a “libertarian moment.”

        If, on the other hand, it results in a memo going out to the DEA saying, “Hey guys, lay off the hippies,” exciting new FDA requirements, strange new agricultural subsidies, etc., as I deeply suspect, then it’s just the Progs admitting that they like to blow tree, too.

        1. It can be both.

          1. Maybe you’re right. Hopefully you’re right. Hey, even if nothing changes for the better at least I’ll be able to smoke weed.

            1. Legally.

    3. I’ll toss confetti whenever I damn well please.

      *throws sweet green skunky “confetti” everywhere

  18. Side note =

    “”‘Way to get with the times, Times“”

    For a magazine called Reason… DRINK!

  19. We are absolutely in a libertarian moment and it may just be the beginning of a bigger.

    Turn back the clock ten years. It’s 2004, we just liberated Iraq. Lolcats are not quite a thing; Facebook isn’t totally stupid yet. YouTube is novel. If you claimed here or anywhere that in 10 years Scott Walker’s Act 10 would be implemented in Wisconsin, DC’s gun bans would get overturned, MJ legalized in CO and WA, AND the nation would say no to war in Syria after a gas attack and that opposition would be impelled most strongly by the GOP, you would be laughed out of the room. Suggesting any of these would get a bemused look and chuckles. It’s happening!

    1. This.

    2. Everything you bring up is a win for liberty. The reason I’m not too excited (yet) is that I don’t hear the mainstream justifying those things on the basis of liberty. Until then, as someone else said above, the alignment with libertarians is cosmetic. That’s not nothing. I’m hoping it can be a start. We certainly should try to use it as such.

      Especially with Millennials.

      1. Someone should poll them.

      2. This.

        Wasn’t there a survey of millenials recently that said something to the effect that they don’t trust government, want it to leave them alone and let them do what they want, and also establish a robust welfare state with a $75/hour minimum wage and guaranteed housing for them? Yeah.

        This is that famous difference between being a libertarian and being a libertine.

        1. That survey never identified how many millenials responded. I still suspect my generation is more apathetic than stupid. In any event, that just goes to show the need for mass immigration.

          1. That survey never identified how many millenials responded

            I would assume that Emily did her work properly and the sample size was statistically significant.

            How many should they have surveyed?

            1. You’re conflating two issues. You can have both an adequate sample size a large number of non-responses leading to non-response bias. She needs X number and screens 5X. Almost 4X don’t respond leaving her with lots of non-responders and an adequate sample size.

          2. Is there some previously unknown population of crypto-libertarians dying to get into the country who could finally get in with the advent of open borders? Yes, our food, music, language, and latinas are indisuptably superior to your own paltry Anglo stock, but let’s get real: no one consults Latin America for our politics, least of all classical liberals*.

            *Mild exceptions to the above include Chile, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, and maybe Honduras if they can get that free cities project off the ground.

            1. Meh on the latinas. But I’ll take all the mole poblano and churros you have.

              1. And just so there is no confusion, you may have read “give me lots of mole poblano and churros”. What I said was, “all the mole poblano and churros you have”.

                1. …mmmmm, mole…..

              2. Meh on the latinas.

                what is this i don’t even

            2. The point isn’t to import crypto-libertarians but to dilute the (hypothetical) Uber Derp of Gen Milleni. Different derps can be used to mutually dilute each other.

              Also Latin America has plenty of free-ish market place. Peru is getting better and better while Chile is a fallen angel.

              1. While Latin America does have some free market places, “plenty” is an enormous exaggeration. Chile, Costa Rica, and Uruguay (~5% of Latin America’s population) are the only countries with a consistent tradition in advancing free markets and having something in the way of an active classical liberal tradition. My dad ran small business which exported to many countries in Latin America, and I helped manage some of them when I was younger. The business and political culture in Latin America is miles away from the ones in the US and Canada. The only countries with a comparable business and political culture are the aforementioned countries, and while there are a few with good business cultures and not good political institutions (Argentina, for example), they are by and large not the countries whose people are immigrating. The largest areas of immigration to the US are Mexico and Central America, both regions with atrocious records on that count.

                Moreover, they tend to be “Americanized” as part of the working class or welfare class, both of which receive large subsidies (with the latter being the big problem). What you are doing by importing large numbers of low-income migrants is not balancing factions of statists against one another, but ensuring that the domestic faction of low-income Americans will have much more weight behind it once 2nd- and 3rd-generation migrants come into their own.

                1. Mexico is moving to capitalism in a big way and Colombia has to. Paraguay is pretty pro-business too. Even Argentina is about to move into the pro-business column.

                  Moreover, they tend to be “Americanized” as part of the working class or welfare class, both of which receive large subsidies (with the latter being the big problem). What you are doing by importing large numbers of low-income migrants is not balancing factions of statists against one another, but ensuring that the domestic faction of low-income Americans will have much more weight behind it once 2nd- and 3rd-generation migrants come into their own.

                  Oh nonsense. Immigrants receive less welfare and bennies on an income-matched basis. I don’t even understand your last sentence. It has no meaning.

          3. I think apathy is underrated. It’s a good thing that people want to be left alone, don’t vote, and carry on with their lives in the private sector. I waste a lot of my time following the latest outrage on Reason and other sites, but I admire those who tell the government, “no thanks, I’ll just do what I want to do and continue to ignore your attempts to control me.”

        2. I maintain they break along social issues like gay and womens’ rights.

          It’s just so deeply ingrained in the culture we were raised in that a substantial portion of Millenials would vote for Caligula as long as he said the right things about gay people and women.

          Clowns like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert reinforce this kind of thinking where all things socon are reactionary and uncool and thus so must be economic liberty and limited government because that’s also ‘conservative’.

        3. To get a bit more optimistic, as a Millenial I think there is a lot of opportunity for genuine libertarian ideas to take hold among my generation. I don’t see Millenials as a whole fighting for the right of business owners to discriminate or to totally abolish the welfare state. But I think we can convince them on immigration, WoD, taxes, foreign adventurism, overall spending, and regulation/red tape. And I think meaningful, long term reform of the welfare state is a real possibility.

          But all of that is going to require libertarians to be pretty image conscience and to moderate the rhetoric. It’s an uphill battle.

          1. Agreed, though it is certainly the case at present that inculcating any of those things requires work from libertarians and cannot either be taken for granted or supposed to be an easier task than they in fact are.

            We are talking about deprogramming the mass of young adults in the United States from beliefs they have had ingrained in them since at least high school, at a minimum — we all realize that, right?

            1. Yup, it’s going to take a concerted effort, and that’s the reason for the caution in my optimism. We can’t just pretend that since a few states have legalized MJ it’s going to be smooth sailing. It’s also the reason that I plan on getting more politically active when I move. Which, incidentally, will be to the DC area, where I understand several other commenters can be found…

              1. Our primary virtue is that the libertarian ideology is true and useful, as far as an ideology can be. It can explain as well as predict, and can be applied to situations where the progressive ideology is faulty, wrong, and does not predict outcomes cogently.

                It is not enough to be true if that truth is not useful: for how would anyone find out about it, if it is only true in a way which cannot be verified or used?

                It is not enough to be useful if also not true, because inevitably truth will out and the contradiction between truth and lie be made to reconcile, sometimes not in ways that the liar would like. I believe that the left will discover the painful ramifications of their Noble Lie soon enough. The hope is that it will not be substituted by another useful Lie.

                I am optimistic in the long run, but pessimistic about a radical, short-run change without a desire to change or engage in self reflection (which shows off my Christian biases rather nicely, I suppose).

          2. I mean, if you can get one of those things on the wish list I call that a major, major victory. And to an extent any one of those achievements leads you logically to the others; reducing spending in a meaningful way will necessitate a much more conservative foreign policy and far more modest welfare spending, for example. Maybe most importantly, a society that sees those things as worthwhile goals will tend to elect pols that reflect those beliefs, and will probably be able to get there.

            I totally agree that you don’t get that kind of society without presenting libertarian ideas to non-libertarians, particularly younger generations, in bite-sized portions. And maybe you have to do that with weed brownies, I don’t know. Sort of like, “Come for the brownies, stay for the lecture on marginal utility.”

            1. Sadly, no one ever stays for marginal utility. But they might stay to hear about how the same licensing laws being used to fight Uber and Airbnb are used to stifle innovation in other areas. Or how the barriers to entry that give Comcast a near monopoly position and make it a generally shitty company contribute to the high cost of health care.

      3. With regard to the topic at hand, I’d say MJ legalization was presented, among other talking points, as a civil liberties issue during campaigns in WA and CO.

        That’s a win if it increases the desire of the public to avoid government legislating morality.

      4. Well, damn. I don’t know what to say to that. These are clear intellectual victories by us, but hey, lets just mope until Samuel Adams is cloned and president.

        Freedom is a drug. We start them on a little bit of it, with utilitarian justifications as a gateway, and in 25 years we’ll have them hooked. We’ll be pushing it on their kids and they’ll be selling us their orphans begging for MOAR.

        1. I actually consider myself to be fairly optimistic. I just think we still have a lot of work to do, including on the issues where we are starting to win. Are these actually intellectual victories, or political victories*? We need more of the former, and these strike me more as the latter, but I’ll be happy to be proven wrong. But either way, they are victories.

          *Those aren’t mutually exclusive, of course.

          1. And remember, we’ve had a lot of wins over the past 50 yrs., not only in the USA but elsewhere.

            We got rid of the draft in the USA.

            Int’l trade is much freer.

            The Cold War ended. The good guys won.

            Remember when there was only The Phone Company? And when many countries whose telecom & b’csting had been gov’t monopolies no longer have them as such?

            Remember when you couldn’t own gold in the USA? The days of currency & interest controls in pretty much the whole world?

            Remember when you couldn’t even hitchhike legally, let alone contemplate something like Lyft?

            Remember when charter schools were just a glimmer in some reformers’ eyes?

            Remember before the shall-issue revolution, let alone the Sup. Ct. adopting a position on the 2nd Amendment that was thought unrealistic by so many?

            1. THIS. Please bring this list the next time one of our residents starts moaning and whining about how much freer we were in the ’70s.

          2. The old people are dying, who cares what the nearly extinct generation thinks?

        2. Freedom is a drug. We start them on a little bit of it, with utilitarian justifications as a gateway, and in 25 years we’ll have them hooked.

          I wish it were so, but it just isn’t. Most people are afraid of liberty: see “Escape from Freedom”, Erich Fromm, and “Revolt of the Masses”, Jose Ortega y Gasset.

      5. The above sour-sceptics are focusing too much on what people think and too little on economic realities. The USG will shrink; it is inevitable. It will become more reasonable in terms of tax, it has to because competition. Once reserve status is lost, shit gets real. Canada slashed its spending in the ’90s because it had to. Reality always wins, and the reality is that the rest of the world is getting real competitive. The tax inversions are a manifestation of this.

      6. Then you’ll wait forever. Liberty will never be justified by many as an end in itself. It’ll always ride on other concerns. This is true of all ideologies. Few people are ideologs. In fact they’re proud of not being so, and of taking a fresh look at each situation, throwing out all prior concerns, and judging anew.

          1. No, it’s true, esp. of Americans. They’re against -ism.

            1. No they just think they are. Everyone has to follow some logical line of thought no matter how poorly.

              1. They’ll follow a logical line of thought, but it’ll be a different logical line every time.

        1. Respectfully, I disagree. Most people don’t describe themselves as ideologues, true, but all people operate according to a set of principles. Granted, some of those principles might be conflicting, or not terribly sophisticated, but they’re there. Even if your single guiding principle is short-term personal gain, you still have one.

          So, if “public welfare” can be an end unto itself, which it has been under progressivism, one can envision a future where Americans (keepin’ it local, here) believe that individual liberty is a goal in and of itself. We’re not far from that, culturally. And if it’s reasonable to assume that people look at new situations and judge them according to principles to which they subscribe, I think a society where people judge policies on whether or not they limit individual liberty is no more outlandish than one where they judge them on how they serve the “public good”.

          1. This. Liberty as a general guiding philosophy already gets lip service from a lot of people. It’s part of the American lexicon. Land of the free and all that. So the ideas are there. The problem is that liberty has tended to lose out when pitted against other concerns. If we can move it up in priority, especially among the wavering middle-ground swing voters, we can make real progress. We don’t need the country to be majority consistent libertarian. We just need an effective and respectable (to the mainstream) libertarian base to act as a wellspring of ideas, and a middle ground that can be persuaded from time to time.

    3. I completely agree with Cyto and am hopefully optimistic. We are gaining traction and I’d say Rand Paul has a better than average chance of being the next president.

      1. Again, I really don’t see how the coalition that elected Obama twice is going to fall apart just because Rand Paul is better on issues like pot and interventionism.

        The Dems will run on abortion and (possibly) gay marriage, and that will be enough.

        1. This is the happy part of the thread. Don’t spoil it. Rand ’16.

        2. Nah. Hillary may capture the millenial vote, but not by as much as Obama and certainly not with the same turnout.

          There is a good chance that the next President will be an R. Whether this will matter depends greatly on how libertarians are positioned within this administration and the party as a whole, and how prepared they are for a fight with a bureaucracy. (Frankly, this is the area where libertarians and libertarian-leaners consistently get their asses handed to them; Reagan basically pussed out after 2 years. The only ones who have landed a few licks have been Thatcher and some state-level pols like Walker.)

          1. The Immaculate Trouser|7.26.14 @ 10:17PM|#
            “Nah. Hillary may capture the millenial vote,”…

            It’s possible but why?
            She’s a worn-out bag of lefty bumper-stickers at best.

            1. Yes, very ugly. Who wants her to represent the USA?

        3. Abortion isn’t a loser for Republicans, stupid shit that comes from the mouths of Republicans like Todd Aiken and Michele Bachmann are what loses elections.

          Rand is much too savvy to let anyone in his campaign make those kind of statements.

        4. Because, the country is falling apart. And there are only two groups to blame. The Republicans and the Democrats.

          Rand Paul…A New Hope.

          1. Hillary lost the votes of people who lost health insurance or saw a huge premium increase, etc. Rand will benefit from people voting against the ACA.

            1. Atanarjuat|7.26.14 @ 10:48PM|#
              “Hillary lost the votes of people who lost health insurance or saw a huge premium increase, etc”

              I think you’re optimistic; those folks will blame the evil insurance co’s and vote the FREE SHIT party.

              1. Nope that load got blown. Now it’s too easy to blame Ocare.

          2. Less confrontational than his father, though I agreed with him more than any other political opportunist. I agree with Ron Paul (and Rand) more than 98 % of the time.

        5. How can the Obama coalition not fall apart especially against an even remotely competent GOP nom? The Dems and the whole country seems to be repeating an eerily similar repetition of the years up to 2008 in terms of malaise and political flow with the colors switched. Millenials that voted for Obama did so because he’s ‘cool’. Hillary isn’t. Hell, Romney, the worst GOP nom since the 1940s, got 47% of the vote and the GOP has control over multiple state governments. It’s not that stacked!

          1. Cytotoxic|7.26.14 @ 11:20PM|#
            “How can the Obama coalition not fall apart especially against an even remotely competent GOP nom?”

            That way.

            1. That ain’t enough. You have to ‘hip’ and appear to ensure a ‘stable’ medium term. Not all the free shit in the world could have stopped people from freaking out over the 2008 meltdown. If free shit could make you bulletproof, the GOP would never have suffered in 2006 or 2008 having thrown tons of it around.

              1. Cytotoxic|7.26.14 @ 11:38PM|#
                …”Not all the free shit in the world could have stopped people from freaking out over the 2008 meltdown”

                Seems it did.

                1. …what?

          2. Because there isn’t a remotely competent GOP nom. Except Rand Paul.

    4. Turn back twenty years and it was Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No”. The perfect coverup for Iran-Contra. Do you really think that Nancy Reagan cared about Len Bias, some black basketball player?

    5. The world is on the cusp of a libertarian moment, and it always will be.

  20. So we’re all agreed! This is a great step forward, and we’re all super optimistic.

    Libertopia by 2020.

      1. A 5-Year plan in which we shall implement actually existing libertarianism, comrades! I for one shall do my part by doing nothing and letting the market take care of it.

    1. A real libertarian would call it “Libertania.”

      1. We’ll settle on a name later. Better yet, we’ll let the invisible hand write it for us.

        1. I’m impartial to Free Haven.

    1. With more private companies getting involved in space, it will almost certainly end up becoming more realistic than it once was.

      1. Uber Space. Don’t laugh.

        It’s happening.

        1. For serious. Ice cream, marine taxis. Why not space?

  21. As I alluded to upthread, we won’t have real limited government or liberty until Supreme Court Justice Ted Cruz writes a majority opinion that eviscerates Wickard and restores the Lochner era.

    1. *Faps intensely*

      I like Cruz in a lot of ways but not as much as Rand, wasn’t sure where he’d fit in the New Libertarian Order. Now I do. Brilliant.

  22. Other stylings from the NYT:

    The economy is slowly recovering from the 2008 meltdown, and the country could suffer another recession if the wrong policies take hold. The United States is embroiled in unstable regions that could easily explode into full-blown disaster. An ideological assault from the right has started to undermine the vital health reform law passed in 2010. Those forces are eroding women’s access to health care, and their right to control their lives. Nearly 50 years after passage of the Civil Rights Act, all Americans’ rights are cheapened by the right wing’s determination to deny marriage benefits to a selected group of us. Astonishingly, even the very right to vote is being challenged.

    That is the context for the Nov. 6 election, and as stark as it is, the choice is just as clear.

    1. The sheer density of derp is impressive, I’ll give them that.

    2. “An ideological assault from the right has started to undermine the vital health reform law passed in 2010”

      blowing gently on the shoddily constructed house of cards…

      “all Americans’ rights are cheapened by the right wing’s determination to deny marriage benefits to a selected group of us.”

      count the number of candidates running against gay marriage.. the…. hordes….. wha??…..

      “Astonishingly, even the very right to vote is being challenged.”

      True! Liberals oppose Rand Paul’s efforts to make sure felons have their voting rights restored! Thanks for noticing!

    3. “Other stylings from the NYT:

      The economy is slowly recovering from the 2008 meltdown, and the country could suffer another recession if the wrong policies take hold. ”

      Gee. I guess it’s too bad the democrats don’t hold the Whitehouse and the Senate. They could really do some great things, then.

  23. Didn’t even National Review advocate the legalization of marijuana in, say, 1972?

    Way to be ahead of the curve, Times!

    1. I think NR is a bit of an outlier on drugs. I know I was surprised they have that position.

    2. That was under William F. Buckley. The propagandist-in-chief has changed since then.

      1. I was writing a too-long response about Buckley, Cowan, and the YAF, but it’s sort of lost in all these points, and a bit worthless.

        I will say that I don’t think their editorial position on the legalization of pot has changed in the least. Feel free to correct me on that point.

      2. It is still the editorial position of National Review. I believe it has only been the official editorial position for the last 18 years, dating back to a big issue that focused on the reasons for why they favored it.

        Not all the editors were pro-pot, but they agreed that even if they didn’t personally recommend marijuana, that the Drug War cost more than what it was trying to prevent (including in civil liberties.)

  24. Well, Palmer v. Columbia was decided today. No response yet from the DC elite as to how they will fuck with the victory, but step 1 is now complete after 2.5 years of stalling.

    1. Wandering Texan|7.26.14 @ 11:45PM|#
      “Well, Palmer v. Columbia was decided today.”

      How about a summary?

      1. Arnold Palmer can now expose himself in Columbia, Missouri as long as he is in the process of drinking his namesake beverage.

        1. Heh. Funny.

          Short version, District Court in DC struck down a fistful of policies regarding the carry, possession and transport of firearms in D.C. Very stern wording from the judge, he uses Heller, Macdonald and Peruta as guides. Said some wonderfully mean things about how D.C. uses the registration scheme to prevent firearm owners originating outside of D.C. with valid licenses in their state of origin from carrying arms.

  25. The populace is starting to catch on and get restless, start distributing Soma, and look slippy about it.

  26. Well when booze was legalized we got all sorts of alcohol laws (and the drinking age and drunk driving laws came decades later) that libertarians are complaining about decades later and the Drug War soon started since those, unlike booze, were Actually Bad for You and we all know how the government treats legal substances today. Not to mention the repeal of Prohibition didn’t exactly lead to an era of government cutbacks or peace. Since pot legalization is more about people deciding that Pot really isn’t bad for you and not some “Government should leave us alone and stop taxing us, regulating us and handing out free shit” I’m not sure that the libertarian moment is upon us.

    1. I agree with Winston, the editorial no big deal. It smells like a distraction from Obamacare and other progressive debacles; a sop to the “young” and hip.

      Heralding a libertarian moment? “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” just about covers it.

      1. “It smells like a distraction from Obamacare and other progressive debacles; a sop to the “young” and hip.”

        I’ve noticed that my non- and never pot-smoking facebook “friends” have taken up the political cause. This sounds about right.

        Plus, considering the reporting to the contrary, does anybody believe that the NYT Editorial Board actually wound up in the same room together? Speaking?

    2. That’s just the nature of the beast and also why I’m cynical about any true libertarian moment. Look at Colorado’s MJ laws regulating usage. As with just about any other facet of society, you really cannot do anything without government permission now.

      However the problem is being given the choice of doing certain things in narrow and arbitrarily specific legally defined ways, outside of which is still criminal, or blanket criminalization. It’s the way the state and control freaks appease people while retaining control.

  27. With nationalization at age 21, we’d just have more shit felonies and crimes all for protecting the childrenz, defined as up to age 20.99. While not as insane as when it comes to sex, Reason has covered some of the high levels of derp coming out of law enforcement, politicians and societal acceptance for alcohol already.

    The same kind of social engineering is coming for cigarettes, with many states proposing raising it to 21. I wouldn’t be surprised if in another decade or so, we’d see the infantilisation move on to sex, raising 18 to 21. It was already raised from 16 to 18 in 1984, when alcohol was raised from 18 to 21. For immigration, under 21’s are considered children, and for some insurance under 26’s are too.

  28. Sometimes man you jsut have to hittem up.

  29. I don’t even remember the last time I smoked pot. Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, narcotics for the masses.

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