Media Criticism

Rolling Stone: Don't Vote for Gary Johnson if You Think Legal Pot Is a 'Slippery Slope'!

We're officially through the looking glass, people

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If you lean conservative, you may find this picture objectionable, even though you actually probably wouldn't give even one shit. ||| Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone

We've spent some time here critiquing conservative lamentations for the Libertarian Party ticket's insufficient libertarianism (in fact, here's another one from National Review's Jim Geraghty: "It's a shame the Libertarian Party couldn't nominate, you know, actual libertarians this year"). But my new favorite in the genre comes from Boomer-Left publication Rolling Stone, that fabled, long-ago home of Hunter Thompson, Grover Lewis, and a generation of independent-minded, dope-sucking New Journalists. It's a piece by Tessa Stuart with the subtle, free-thinking headline of "Why You Shouldn't Vote for Gary Johnson," and it spends most of its time unwittingly demonstrating the statist belief systems of liberals and conservatives, in the form of detailing why people who "lean liberal" and "lean conservative" should indeed not vote Libertarian. (My God, Johnson doesn't believe college should be tuition-free, or that candidate-attacking political documentaries should be censored before an election!)

But the best reasons for those of us of a certain age is embedded in the "If you lean conservative, and…" section:

…you worry that legalizing marijuana could cause a slippery slope:
It should surprise no one that Johnson, who stepped away from his role as CEO of Cannabis Sativa Inc. before launching his bid for president last year, is in favor of full legalization. "On the recreational side, I have always maintained that legalizing marijuana will lead to overall less substance abuse because it's so much safer than everything else that's out there starting with alcohol," he told CNN recently.

…and you certainly don't think it would be a good idea to legalize all drugs:
"Would the world be a better place if all drugs were legalized tomorrow? Absolutely. But pragmatically speaking, you're not going to go from the criminalization of all drugs to the legalization of drugs overnight," Johnson told the Daily Caller in 2012.

Rolling Stone

Note: Around two-thirds of Republican Millennials now support marijuana legalization, and July of this year saw the first poll in which more Republicans of all ages prefer legalization over continued prohibition. So Rolling Stone's concern-trolling over why conservatives should not vote Libertarian is even more out of date than Eric Clapton.

What's the point in warning people whose politics you find you objectionable that a third-party candidate probably offends some sensibilities with which you also presumably disagree? Here's a suggested answer from Stuart's opening paragraph: "Today, Johnson is polling nearly ten times higher than [his results in 2012]; the Real Clear Politics average has the former New Mexico governor garnering about 9 percent of the vote nationwide in a three-way race with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. In some state surveys – like in Utah, where Trump is widely disliked – Johnson is winning as much at 16 percent of the vote." In other words, even 9 percent is too popular, and we just can't be having that.

Related reading: "Rolling Stone Continues Proud Tradition of Kissing Obama's Ring."