September 11, 2004


The Perils of Decriminalization: The Kids Are Alwrong (Steve Sailer, 9/7/2004, The American Spectator)

In Quentin Tarantino's "Jackie Brown," Samuel L. Jackson comes home to find Bridget Fonda lying on the couch, smoking dope, and giggling at the TV. Disgusted, he tells her that marijuana will rob her of her ambitions. "Not if your ambition is to get high and watch TV," she replies.

It's fashionable among conservative and libertarian journalists, such as the editors of National Review and Reason magazines, to demand the decriminalization or legalization of drugs, especially of marijuana. Many weighty arguments have been mobilized in support of this cause. Yet this movement has only made fitful progress in the quarter of a century since the first generation of American voters to have much first-hand experience with marijuana began to have children themselves. Parents now understand that additional marijuana use would exacerbate many of the unhealthy and unfulfilling trends already at work in our society.

The problem with marijuana is not that it's some wild and crazy thing, but
that it's middle-age-in-a-bong. Smoking dope saps the energy from youth,
turning them into sedentary couch potatoes.

The parents of America already have a hard enough time getting their teenagers -- and, increasingly, their adult children who have come back home to live -- off the TV room floor when they are perfectly straight. Parents understand that changing laws to make marijuana more readily available -- and, let's not kid ourselves, that's what these "reforms" would do -- would create an even more inert and obese generation of young people. Smoking dope may not do all that many of the horrible things often attributed to it, but it definitely makes people want to sit down. And that's something even the most clean and sober young people of the 21st Century do way too much of already.

He's still pretty good when he's not raving about immigrants.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 11, 2004 4:26 PM

One of the reasons decriminalization isn't having much success is because it's allied with people who can't be honest about their motives-- the medical marijuana quacks and the hemp heads.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at September 11, 2004 8:36 PM

I haven't used pot since I got into grad school 18 years ago but I have zero interest in illegalizing it. If people want to wreck their lives, it ain't my problem. Also, where does the nanny state stop? Today it's pot, tomorrow it could be Mallomars or tuna salad.

Posted by: Bart at September 11, 2004 10:27 PM

Bart, living in a world full of doped up people running around, especially children, is everybody's business. Today it is marijuana, tomorrow it could be crack or PCP.

Posted by: Vince at September 11, 2004 11:14 PM


But you live in a society where we do consider each other.

Posted by: oj at September 12, 2004 12:30 AM

I don't think a suggestibility drug should be encouraged.

Posted by: Joseph Hertzlinger at September 12, 2004 1:53 AM

Unless medical science comes up with a miracle thin-pill, (and they probably will), the day after tomorrow it will be Mallomars, sin taxes at least.
Which will be a good thing, we'll need the tax dollars to pay for all the medical care that obese seventy year olds will need.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at September 12, 2004 3:34 AM


In an environment where drugs were treated like booze or cigarettes, why should childhood drug abuse be any more of a significant problem that childhood cigarette usage or booze usage? In a world where drugs were legal, crack would cease to exist, as cocaine itself would be so cheap.


You may feel that we should police each other's private behavior, I don't. Now, don't misunderstand, I take externalities of private behavior very seriously. People who don't flush a public toilet should be publicly flogged, as should people who smoke in the no-smoking area of a restaurant, and people who talk on cell phones during a movie. However, if someone chooses to ruin his life by using drugs or booze or whatever or even should he choose to jump off a bridge, that is his freedom.


Why don't we just reduce speed limits on interstates to 15 MPH, it would reduce the number of accidents? Why don't we illegalize tattooing and body piercing, besides the obvious aesthetic benefits, the risk of infection from badly done tattoos and piercings gets eliminated? Why don't we require everyone to walk around in plastic bubbles so that they don't infect others?

I look like Michael Moore's better-groomed brother, and that is my problem. Correctly, my health insurance should reflect it, but then again my actual medical usage is quite small and my BP is 125/78. Also, I come from 4 generations of fat people that I know of, all of whom lived to 78+.

Posted by: Bart at September 12, 2004 7:10 AM


Yes, but no one cares what you think. We police each other's behavior in the real world.

Posted by: oj at September 12, 2004 2:40 PM


There are lots of things we do in the 'real world' that we have no business doing.

Posted by: Bart at September 12, 2004 6:02 PM

No. There are lots of things we do that are our business that you wish weren't--that's libertarianism in a nutshell.

Posted by: oj at September 12, 2004 6:14 PM

Bart, you are living in a dream world. Because alcohol and tobacco are legal, far more kids consume those things than they do drugs. If drugs, which are far more dangerous than alcohol or tobacco, were legal, then our problems would exponentially worsen. Furthermore, there is nothing private about drug use since millions of innocent people get seriously harmed if not killed as a result of people's selfish, destructive behavior.

Posted by: Vince at September 13, 2004 12:59 AM

I can't even get my kids to drink wine with me:-(

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at September 13, 2004 2:31 AM


What specific 'problem' that I should care about would result from drug legalization?

Any problem you could name pales in comparison to the benefit our society would receive in the form of ending most gang-related street violence, reducing the power of the state to police the individual, and the reduction of the drug-related corruption of our Justice Departments, Courts and Intelligence Agencies.

Posted by: Bart at September 13, 2004 6:35 AM


None you care about--you care only for yourself. Many that anyone who cares about others must worry about.

Posted by: oj at September 13, 2004 8:41 AM

Bart, it is a huge myth that drug legalization
will put an end to the gang related street violence associated with drugs. For one thing, gang violence occurs for a whole variety of reasons that have nothing to do with drug dealing--in many cases gang violence is fueled by gang members being under the influence of drugs. Furthermore, since the vast majority of people who get involved with drugs start before they reach 21 or even 18, the drug dealers would still be in the schools, parks, rock/rap concerts, dance clubs, wherever kids hang out. Which means that gangs would still be involved in drug dealing. Do you think they are just going to go away? Not a chance, and if they did, don't you think they would just move on to some other crime--a crime you, Bart, consider worse. Think about it. In the real world things are not as utopian as you feel they should be.

Posted by: Vince at September 13, 2004 10:20 PM


You're a lucky guy.
My people run towards stocky, too, and with few genetically influenced medical problems, except alcoholism.

However, you, we, are not normal. The average fat person does have more medical problems than the average skinny person, especially as they age.
Until society stops using communal resources to pay for medical care, it's our problem too.

Posted by: Michael "Big Boned" Herdegen at September 14, 2004 2:43 AM