Libertarians Need to Rethink Support for Drug Legalization
Does a man's death from swallowing a bag of pot during an arrest illustrate the evil of outlawing drugs? No, just the opposite.
December 22, 2009 - 12:00 am
A truly sad story about a 23-year-old Panama City man dying while being subdued by Bay County sheriff’s deputies has reawakened the debate about the legalization of marijuana. On December 11, 2009, Andrew Grande choked on a plastic bag full of marijuana as police attempted to arrest him on a violence charge. A video shows police valiantly trying to save his life once it became apparent that he was having difficulty breathing.
Two talk show hosts in Panama City have been discussing the case in the early morning hours — and revealing a divide on the right. Burnie Thompson of WYOO, the libertarian, has called Grande “a casualty of the war on drugs” and contended that because marijuana is illegal, Grande felt “compelled” to swallow a bag of it to avoid punishment.
Nonsense, says Doc Washburn on 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. Trent indicated that Grande had faced probably only a misdemeanor charge; she pointed to studies showing that the illegal drug trade flourishes despite the legality of marijuana in certain states and other countries. And legalizing marijuana will remove the freedom employers now have to test for the judgment-impairing drug.
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.
My libertarian friends like to say, “I’m a libertarian, not a libertine.” But though many of the advocates of libertarianism lead socially conservative lives, their agendas promote libertinism — especially when it comes to legalizing drugs. They forget that the moral order they have inherited is put at even further risk as laws change to allow more destructive behavior.
To the libertarian, such a profession would also not present a problem, as prostitution does not. But the two — drug use and the self-debasement of prostitution and pornography — go hand in hand. Ask any strip club dancer how easy it is to get up on stage stone cold sober. Ask anyone who has been under the influence about the stupid things he did. Indeed, Grande probably started young, when he was impressionable. And recent reporting has shown that our “safe schools czar,” Kevin Jennings, was head of an organization that used the schools to promote homosexual sex between boys and men. Certainly the ability to engage in such destructive behavior is enhanced by the use of drugs.
And this is where the libertarian brings up the other “drug”: alcohol.