What is liberty’s lament? That it so detested. Human beings simply can’t stand freedom.
Increasingly I feel that the U.S. Constitution was a complete fluke engineered by history’s most unlikely band of mutants. They ensured unprecedented liberty and wealth even though most Americans never cared about freedom. Witness how the “free” world now clanks and rattles under the weight of regulations and debts. Freedom is a freakish aberration; now the world reverts to its norm.
Take this essay. Until the final paragraph it’s an admirable tale of civic involvement. A man (with his family) stands up for the rule of law. And they do so politely, firmly, and at personal risk. Excellent. Yet he closes like this:
Libertarians/liberals say if we’d just legalize marijuana the crime problem would be solved. Of course we’d have to legalize methamphetamine too, the rural equivalent of marijuana. If the overall goal is to reduce crime, it would make more sense to legalize all drugs and every other so-called public order crime from prostitution to poaching, though it’s hard to see how blanket legalization will make society better off. Anyway, common sense dictates that the burden of proof lies on those who want to change society.
Mr. Orlet is both a good man and an enemy of freedom. He’d protest, of course. No doubt he can cite specific freedoms he’s defended. Perhaps he’d even be crafty enough to point out that he protects St. Louis’s right ban marijuana, which most voters want.
But that’s my point. Normal people never fight for liberty. They fight for things they like and against things they don’t. Mr. Orlet points out his local pot-smokers’ excuses, straw men, and non-sequiturs. Then three hundred words later the very same man writes:
Libertarians/liberals say if we’d just legalize marijuana the crime problem would be solved.
That statement is as wrong as it is honest. Mr. Orlet believes in his straw man, even though it’s obviously insane. Millions of people believe the lack of cannibis is the root of all evil? Did Cain murder Abel because his “herb of the field” was outlawed? Who believes that? Nobody. And how often has Mr. Orlet heard that claim? Never. Yet he believes in his straw man. Point out the inanity and insanity of his position and he’d react exactly as those pot smokers did. They just grab the next straw man in line.
Of course we’d have to legalize methamphetamine too, the rural equivalent of marijuana.
We’d have to. You know, the way the 21st Amendment had to legalize wood alcohol as well as ethanol.
If the overall goal is to reduce crime–
When the hell did that become the overall goal? The Founding Fathers fought for
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness the Reduction of Crime?
–it would make more sense to legalize all drugs and every other so-called public order crime from prostitution to poaching–
Given the “overall goal”, what makes the most sense is to give unlimited power to the police and the state. Ubiquitous law enforcement would reduce illegal behavior more than licentiousness could. And that is the overall goal…right?
–though it’s hard to see how blanket legalization will make society better off.
Notice how he’s gone from being civic-minded in St. Louis to imagining total societal anarchy.
Anyway, common sense dictates that the burden of proof lies on those who want to change society.
Society again! “You can’t smoke Mary Jane in California because we don’t like it here in St. Louis!” This is why everyone is an enemy of liberty: everyone is a puritan, and everyone rationalizes their puritanism. “If non St. Louis residents were allowed to smoke pot then are whole society would have to allow every drug and vice!”
“WE DON’T WANT THAT HERE SO YOU CAN’T HAVE IT ANYWHERE!”
Recognize that attitude? The odds are very high, Dear Reader, that you have a touch of it. Your puritan streak might be Libertine-narrow or Pharisee-wide, but you’re Liberty’s Enemy about something.
There was a bit more to his final paragraph:
They have the obligation to convince the rest of us that society will be better off with legal pot and that there won’t be any damaging consequences. And so far they haven’t made that case. Not to my satisfaction. Until they do we’re sticking with our zero tolerance policy. At least on our street.
Society, street…he knows they’re not the same and yet he treats them alike. And don’t let this slip by:
…there won’t be any damaging consequences.
You see that? If not, perhaps a bit of emphasis will help:
…there won’t be ANY damaging consequences.
To implement something he doesn’t like, all Mr. Orlet requires is perfection. Is that so much to ask? Of course legal alcohol had damaging consequences, then Prohibition had damaging consequences, and now legal alcohol has damaging consequences again, except in the “dry” counties which have different damaging consequences.
Nevada’s legal prostitution has damaging consequences. Most of the country prefers the damaging consequences of illegal prostitution. And tens of millions of Americans would prefer the damaging consequences of legal Maui Wowie.
Meanwhile San Francisco may be growing tired of seeing so many sad sacks.
This is why I’m blogging so little lately. What good can a Rational Man do in this world? Mr. Orlet seems to be a fine man. But like all fine…and non-fine…men…and all women…Mr. Orlet is also a tyrant.
Readers here are among the least tyrannical of people…but there will be something that makes you stretch your street out into everybody’s society.
And that’s why I’m tired of trying.