Does the Legalize It Crowd Desire a Nation of Zombies?

Over at Pajamas Media, Mary Grabar assumes that libertarians want the legalization of drugs for principled reasons. That is certainly one motivation for their stance. But Ms. Grabar fails to grapple with the practical case for legalization. I’d sum it up by noting that prohibition costs billions of dollars per year, funds international cartels that murder countless innocents, destabilizes foreign countries, corrupts our border agents and police, undermines our civil liberties, transforms some neighborhoods in our cities into war zones, overburdens our criminal justice system, and doesn’t actually prevent widespread use of drugs!

Do take a moment to read through that list of ills again. Consider how costly prohibition is. Ms. Grabar must make a persuasive case that legalization would be even worse. Her piece does no such thing, and in the process, it includes one of the most laughable anti-legalization arguments I’ve ever seen:

The prohibition against marijuana is one brick in the foundation of our society. 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. 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.

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.

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.

By the shoddy logic of the excerpt’s first paragraph, the author herself was high when she wrote her piece. But it’s the third paragraph that I’d like to focus on. Remember that list of costs imposed by the War on Drugs? Despite them, the author actually asserts that “the left” supports legalization because it desires a nation of “indifferent, unengaged, and uncaring” zombies.

The mind reels. I’ve e-mailed Ms. Grabar to ask what led her to that remarkable conclusion. I’ll update this post or start a new one if she replies, happily affording her space to defend that assertion as best she can.

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11 Responses to “Does the Legalize It Crowd Desire a Nation of Zombies?”

  1. Tweets that mention Does the Legalize It Crowd Desire a Nation of Zombies? - Conor Friedersdorf - Metablog - True/Slant -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tweets Tube, Zombie News. Zombie News said: Does the Legalize It Crowd Desire a Nation of Zombies? – Conor … http://bit.ly/8trfo2 […]

  2. mathewthomas Says:

    To suggest that legalization of marijuana is a plot of the left for the purpose of zombification is incorrect – but only partially. If one examines the historical context of the narcotics trade (e.g. the British opium wars), the purpose of narcotics trafficking appears 2-fold: First, profit. Second, the mental softening up of cultures targetted for imperial expansion. A culture such as China or India is less likely to find the intellectual, moral and spiritual strength necessary to defeat the British imperial invader (and their crackhead dogmas of free trade) if key demographics of the population are diminished by opiates.
    The same general principle applies today. Read: A once industrially productive nation such as the U.S. is much more likely to accept truly crackhead ideas such as trillion dollar bailouts for derivatives and credit default swaps by Wall St. bankers while continually sending industrial productivity jobs to slave wage nations if key demographics of the population are intellectually, morally and spiritually diminished by marijuana or opiates (heroin) or synthetics.
    Yeah, I know, big conspiracies, blah, blah blah. Bottom line: A nation zombified by weed, opiates, Xanax, crystal meth, Oxycontin, Vicodin, etc. simply cannot develop the intellectual, moral and spiritual strength necessary to overcome the enormous challenges of the 21st century and beyond. The future belongs to the lucid, the cognitive and those not indifferent to human suffering. Peace.

    • willispeene Says:

      A “nation of zombies”? Isn’t that what we already have? Drugs are prohibitted, and people still use them. Not only is the cure worse than the disease, but the cure is an expensive placebo.

      Decades of prohibition have not worked. How long will we beat our collective head against a wall before we figure out that it actually hurts?

      The idea that legalizing marijuana will produce “intellectually, morally and spiritually diminished” human beings is worse than absurd. Anyway, I think this nation could use more “spiritually diminished” people (if that means what I suspect it does), not fewer.

      “Bottom line”: It should not be the mandate of our government to use force or coercion to maximize my potential (a subjective concept) for the benefit of the nation as a whole. Remember the whole “pursuit of happiness” thing? Marijuana prohibition stands in direct contrast.

      • mathewthomas Says:

        To suggest that marijuana use produces anything but stunted and diminished human beings and human potential is an exercise in self-delusion. But then that seems to be the final aim of weed/opiate use: pitiable self-delusion and self-deception.

        On spirituality: Over the years I’ve come to think of spirituality in the manner approached by Ghandi, who carried with him nothing more than the rags on his back and a copy of the Bhagvad Gita, the Quoran and the New Testament. In very general terms, the state of man at its lowest or most base is that of the brute, stupid animal whose only aim is to satisfy physical sense pleasures (read: the consumer). At its highest and most noble, the state of man aspires to divinity; that is applying man’s limitless (“God-like”) capacity for creative cognition to understand the fundamental principles of the universe and apply them in the service of Ghandi’s idea of “non-violence” (a term he developed to describe the broad idea of love of humanity, love for one’s enemies and love of God). Interestingly, it is this concept of “non-violence” which is the heart of the Gita, Quoran and New Testament (agape). There’s a lot more to it than this and I’m over-simplifying for now.

        The argument that prohibition doesn’t work lacks credibilty. I could use the same “logic” to argue for the legalization of murder, child porn and identity theft. All are presently illegal, expensive to police widespread.

        To attempt to derive marijuana legalization from “the pursuit of happiness” is an idea that can only aspire to absurdity.

      • willispeene Says:

        “To suggest that marijuana use produces anything but stunted and diminished human beings and human potential is an exercise in self-delusion. But then that seems to be the final aim of weed/opiate use: pitiable self-delusion and self-deception.”

        I’ll concede this point, as long as we agree to exclude every work of art by every author or musician whose works were inspired or influenced by any form of drug use. We’ll just consider it an undeniable fact that the Beatles were better BEFORE the drugs.

        “On spirituality: Over the years I’ve come to think of spirituality in the manner approached by Ghandi, who carried with him nothing more than the rags on his back and a copy of the Bhagvad Gita, the Quoran and the New Testament. In very general terms, the state of man at its lowest or most base is that of the brute, stupid animal whose only aim is to satisfy physical sense pleasures (read: the consumer). At its highest and most noble, the state of man aspires to divinity; that is applying man’s limitless (”God-like”) capacity for creative cognition to understand the fundamental principles of the universe and apply them in the service of Ghandi’s idea of “non-violence” (a term he developed to describe the broad idea of love of humanity, love for one’s enemies and love of God). Interestingly, it is this concept of “non-violence” which is the heart of the Gita, Quoran and New Testament (agape). There’s a lot more to it than this and I’m over-simplifying for now.”

        I suppose it’s too much to hope that you might see the arrogance displayed by suggesting that your concept of “spirituality” be that which governs the lives of your neighbors. Your claim of finding some transcendant truth is just that: a claim. We’re talking about federal laws here, not some vague notion of what may make human beings “god-like”.

        “The argument that prohibition doesn’t work lacks credibilty. I could use the same “logic” to argue for the legalization of murder, child porn and identity theft. All are presently illegal, expensive to police widespread.”

        The crimes you mentioned involve violence, exploitation, or theft. Notice what they all have in common? That’s right: victims! Since it’s impossible for one to violate, exploit, or rob oneself, this comparison is not logical at all in fact. This kind of half-assed reasoning permeates the prohibition argument. It’s at best stupidity and at worst intellectual dishonesty.

        “To attempt to derive marijuana legalization from “the pursuit of happiness” is an idea that can only aspire to absurdity.”

        So, I should be permitted to pursue MY happiness as long as said pursuit is aligned with YOUR (or Ghandi’s) notion of what constitutes a properly enlightened human being? And you portray marijuana as fuel for self-delusion?

        Yep, still in the twilight zone.

      • mathewthomas Says:

        Well, based on your ad hominem attack, I’m pretty sure neither one of us will convince the other of our position and I’m content to let it go at that. However, I will respond to your point about the Beatles: First, don’t assume the Beatles actually produced quality music. I think that’s a pretty naive assumption by many. There are many of us who find the childlike rhythms and repetitive lyrics of the Beatles to be complete and utter moronic crap. The fact that they have sold so many albums only punctuates their crappiness (our culture repeatedly rewards mediocrity). Keep in mind other “artists” who have sold numerous records such as Billy Ray Cyrus and Vanilla Ice. The Beatles were crap before AND after drug use.
        Second: The idea that drugs (legal or otherwise) inspire artistry (any form) or literary content worth reading is, in my opinion, complete nonsense. Diminished physiological mental capacity through drugs does not bring about higher orders of creativity. Rather, the drug induced state of mental illness reverses creative cognition. Instead of getting Beethoven’s 9th or Mozart’s Requiem we get the infantile silliness of “Yellow Submarine” or the animal-like death rattle of heavy metal – or worse, Jazz.
        Again, I realize we’re not going to convince each other of anything. No worries.

        Best regards.

  3. Tweets that mention Does the Legalize It Crowd Desire a Nation of Zombies? - Conor Friedersdorf - Metablog - True/Slant -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by 420 Tribune, SimplyCannabisSeeds. SimplyCannabisSeeds said: Does the Legalize It Crowd Desire a Nation of Zombies?: via popurls.com http://bit.ly/79berP […]

  4. davidlosangeles Says:

    Mr. Friedersdorf,

    I do not see why you would waste your time in such a debate. Ms. Grabar does not debate the real issues because she cannot win by arguing the issues. When you cannot debate the issues you debate the debater. Ms. Grabar does not say that legalization of marijuana is wrong because the proponents of legalization have the wrong arguments but rather the wrong motives. How does one prove one’s motives? It is impossible, there is no proof. It is like those who claim that Barrack Obama is “really” a Muslim, there is no way to look into the hear of another and know what he or she “really” thinks. By shifting the argument from arguments to motives, it allows for a discussion wherein there are no facts, only opinions.

    These are the arguments of

  5. justinanderson Says:

    Ok. You’re the second serious blogger to touch this piece of detritus today. What gives? This is the sort of nutpicking that the boys at Sadly, No usually handle.

  6. andylevinson Says:

    We are already a nation of Obama Zombies,
    now they want to legalize pot….

    Legalized marijuana is no more going to reduce the costs of the war on drugs, than Obamacare will reudce the costs of health care…because the drug war bureaucracy is not about to give up their government employment and go on unemploment

  7. The Plant In The Middle Of The Culture Wars « Around The Sphere Says:

    […] Conor Friedersdorf: Over at Pajamas Media, Mary Grabar assumes that libertarians want the legalization of drugs for principled reasons. That is certainly one motivation for their stance. But Ms. Grabar fails to grapple with the practical case for legalization. I’d sum it up by noting that prohibition costs billions of dollars per year, funds international cartels that murder countless innocents, destabilizes foreign countries, corrupts our border agents and police, undermines our civil liberties, transforms some neighborhoods in our cities into war zones, overburdens our criminal justice system, and doesn’t actually prevent widespread use of drugs! […]

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