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.