Wow, ok Virginia sit down and let us take advantage of a true teaching moment. One of the most controversial issues today is the legalization of drugs. At NewsRealblog.com today there is a post by Mary Grabar responding to NRB editor David Swindle’s response to an article by Mary at Pajamas Media regarding a story about a 23-year-old Panama City man choking to death on a bag of marijuana while being subdued by Bay County sheriff’s deputies.
Mary takes the traditional view of conservative partisans. The kind that are blind as to how their dislike of the subcultures of some of those who get their jollies from substances other than alcohol, caffeine and nicotine affects their judgment. David took the position of a conservative that has actually thought about the realities of the situation.
In the initial article Mary starts off with a litany of dense doublethink extracted from a Doc Washburn’s comments on Panama City radio station WFLF:
“He invited former Congressman Ernest Istook from the Heritage Foundation and Tina Trent, who blogs on crime, to speak about the dangers of marijuana to the user and to society.”
She (Trent) talks about “the dangers to user and society” of a drug that causes less harm to users and society than CAFFIENE does??? Does she get paid for that, or is she a non-profit nut?
“Trent indicated that Grande had faced probably only a misdemeanor charge;…”
And Ms. Trent is aware of just what a misdemeanor charge means when added to a violence charge? She is aware of what the full penalties of “only a misdemeanor charge” entail? Not likely as…
…”she pointed to studies showing that the illegal drug trade flourishes despite the legality of marijuana in certain states and other countries.”
In other words since limited legalization of pot for a VERY limited group of people with limited conditions did not somehow make ALL illegal drug sellers stop their traffic the program is a failure to society? Should we also mention that some counties in the “legal” states have been fighting tooth and nail against complying with the new laws? Naw, why burst her bubble. Stout ale bubbles probably.
“And legalizing marijuana will remove the freedom employers now have to test for the judgment-impairing drug.”
This has been a pet peeve of mine since I was a clean and sober kid and the whole travesty was initiated. WHAT purpose does testing for illegal drugs do for a business, when the overwhelming majority of workplace losses attributable to chemicals are ALCOHOL related? Sick calls, accidents, deaths, you name it and alcohol is at the back of it. Or nicotine! To get down to something as trivial as pot you have to go so far down the list that you must argue in favor of testing for parenthood as a deterrent to workplace losses from stress!!!
Drug testing in the workplace has no purpose other than promoting drug testing companies! We have companies that own insurance companies and testing companies. Why should we be surprised when the insurance companies give discounts if you use a drug testing firm?
The estimable Ms. Grabar goes on to say…
“The position on the legalization of marijuana provides the point of departure from the traditional libertarianism of Barry Goldwater. In abandoning the duty to enforce social order, today’s libertarians have made a devil’s pact with the pro-drug forces of George Soros and company.”
This statement simply shows that Mary is as ignorant of history as your average Leftist is. Before 1900 it was universally considered NOT THE GOVERNMENTS BUSINESS to regulate what substances a person privately chose to inflict upon their body. This included such things as heroin and cocaine, not just nicotine and marijuana! What was regulated then was the REPRESENTATIONS made of something when sold and the BEHAVIOR of people when they used the product. This whole attitude is further exposed for the fantasy it is when we consider the effects of nicotine and alcohol on society and their users. Does Mary advocate IDENTICAL application of the law regarding “drugs” to THOSE deadly drugs?
At this point she descends into the gutter of innuendo and sheer sophistry. In her desperation to build her “case” she implies that the dead man’s status as an “amateur gay porn star” (whatever that means in reality) was caused by his pot smoking!
From there Mary loses all touch with reality…
”…Libertarians are fond of pointing to the wreckage caused by the abuse of alcohol: deterioration of health, traffic deaths, and domestic violence. This is true, but it is an analogy that emerges from an abstraction.”
What does those two sentences even mean? It is a solid fact that all of the above wreckage in society is caused by alcohol more than ALL other substances combined!!! Where is the abstraction here, other than in Mary’s delusion that this means nothing in relation to legalizing marijuana?
Having made this confusing assertion she goes on to state that:
“Libertarians argue that the only difference between the two is traditional: we have stamped alcohol consumption with a seal of social approval.
But I would argue that tradition should be a reason for its continued legal status and for denying legal status to marijuana.”
Again, say what? Forgetting the real damages that alcohol causes, as opposed to the negligible damages (except when the law is attacking you for it) of marijuana Mary feels that because we have historically used one and hardly used the other we should keep the harmless one illegal. I can understand her using this as an argument for keeping alcohol LEGAL but do not get why she uses it in support of keeping a harmless drug illegal.
Leaving aside Ms. Grabar’s ignorance of historical times when drugs of various sorts were not just allowed but “trendy” we now see how it is nothing but provincialism that makes her defend alcohol and attack pot:
“The prohibition against marijuana is one brick in the foundation of our society.”
Since when? Oh, right since the 30’s when yellow journalism and false testimony caused congress to outlaw marijuana.
“On a practical level the use of marijuana also works to knock out other bricks, like the work ethic, emotional engagement, sexual inhibition, and the ability to reason.”
None of which are in any way harmed by alcohol you must understand! Lazy drunk is the term as I recall it, not lazy stoner. Emotionally distant is a common description for an alcoholic by their children. Sexual inhibition? Pot causes so many rapes and assaults every day doesn’t it? Including that is not just ignorant, it is borderline hateful. And finally, drunks reason well while pot smokers cannot reason? How then does Mary account for the many pot heads who are acclaimed in intellectual areas? Influence by UFOs?
Not content with her drug dreams our esteemed English prof. goes on to combine ad hominems and the old argument by association trick with her political opium:
“For example, when one of my college students leads off in defense of the legalization of marijuana, he invariably does so in a disjointed manner, unable to muster the resources of reason and conviction to his argument. (He also does this in his essays.) One caller, “Dave,” to the Doc Washburn program displayed the same apathetic, but friendly, attitude.”
An intelligent reader can see that this has no bearing at all on which side of the argument is correct in its facts. Content that her readers are either stunned or fled Prof. Grabar now resorts to out and out lies:
“While one cannot come to class drunk without drawing attention, he can attend under the influence of marijuana, sitting in the back of the room with a glazed, though not unpleasant, expression.”
Many are the students or workers who have gone “stoned” through their days on wine or beer or whisky despite Mary’s rose color glasses. In fact, it is HARDER to detect an impairing dose of alcohol than one of pot in a regular drinker. Yet Mary does not advocate breathalyzers at the door for schools or businesses along with drug testing.
I am not sure if there is a single fallacy used by the anti legalization people that Mary does not dust off and use. She even pulls out the old “if they get stoned the Communists can invade without a fight” idiocy!
“But that’s exactly what the left wants: a nation of young zombies — indifferent, unengaged, and uncaring. They provide amenable subjects to indoctrination. Alcohol may fuel fights, but marijuana, as its advocates like to point out, makes the user mellow. The toker wants to make love, not war.”
In the 30’s and 40’s the fascist minds wanting control of the populace declared that pot smokers were violent and dangerous individuals due to their drug use. Then in the 50’s the “party line” changed to pot being evil because it made people mindless zombies ripe for Communist takeover. But, it seems to me that there are plenty of mindless zombies on the far Right as well as the far Left and that there are also MANY very militant pot smokers in the political arena. Once again it seems that the only thing Mary proves is her pre-judgment and closed mind.
Next on the list of fallacious argument techniques Mary fishes out argument by authority:
“The libertarian maintains that values are the function of the private sphere: the family and church. But as Goldwater argued in the riot-plagued year of 1964, when safety and order are not maintained by the government, our freedoms are affected. In so many ways, the legalization of drugs will lead to the further breakdown of order.”
No Mary, legalizing pot has not been shown to lead to the “breakdown” of anything! Until the late 1930’s pot and just about all other drugs were LEGAL and there was LESS organized criminal activity associated with it than there is now. Before prohibition gave the dying mafia a shot in the arm, society functioned just fine by penalizing any CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR of those on drugs rather than the fact that they were on something or other.
“To give sanction to a drug that robs the individual of reason and conviction is to give up on our way of life.”
But to Mary this doesn’t apply when that drug is already a major PART of that way of life (alcohol), in which case PARTY ON DUDES! And girls, just hold still and try to enjoy it. It is sanctioned by the Bible after all.
And you KNEW that she had to include this tired canard:
“It sends a dangerous message to young people.”
What message? That society values reason more than empty gestures? In what sick mind is that a horrible thing to teach young folks!!!
“A recent study shows that the creeping sanction through legalization of “medical” marijuana in certain states is giving young teenagers a sense of safety about marijuana use.”
Oh, the horror! You mean kids are actually finding out the truth, that pot is NOT very harmful at all? Which Bush administration DEA official said it was better for parents to lie to their kids to keep them off drugs. That they dare not tell them that the parents experimented when young and didn’t turn into bums like D.A.R.E. claims they all do? I am sure Mary agrees with him whoever he was.
In her coda Mary Grabar puts her heartlessness on view for all to see. Remember, she is referring to a man who choked to death on a bag of pot that could have put him in jail for months to years because of the “drug war”. This was not a heroin dealer, this was not a person carrying a pound of meth, this was a man with a bag of pot afraid of what “society” would do to him if he was caught in possession:
“Marijuana killed Andrew Grande, not only in the literal sense, but in the sense that it abetted his descent into a very sad, counter-cultural lifestyle. Its legalization is supported by the same forces that promote Kevin Jennings, one-world government, Gaia worship, and legalized prostitution. All these elements work against the traditional libertarian values of initiative, freedom, and honor. Libertarians need to rethink their position on drug legalization.”
Methinks Mary, that you need to rethink just about everything, from you morals to your logic. And please, shop your little article around a support group for the families of alcoholics. I would bet that you will get some rather strong responses to your “logic”. Be prepared to duck.
David Swindle makes a short but highly persuasive response to Ms. Grabar’s article at NewsRealBlog basing his arguments on Conservative principals and the (pre-prohibition) ideas of what a government is supposed to do or not do to promote society. David made his case clearly but Mary came right back and set her silly person act in stone. Tomorrow I will be looking at that response.