Why Marijuana Should Be Legal

by | May 6, 2014

Legalizing pot, by itself, won’t change a thing. Until or unless we understand why marijuana should be legal, it’s futile to support its legalization.

The most common reason I hear people give for supporting Obama and his party is that he’s not the Republican Party. In other words, “Republicans won’t permit gay marriage, legalization of marijuana or abortion. How can you support them?”

I actually don’t support Republicans (other than as the lesser of two evils, in some cases). However, my only response is, “How can you actually support Democrats given what they do to the economy and the military?

By supporting a negation alone, you end up advancing all kinds of awful, ridiculous things. (Simply read the daily news for specifics.) You allow yourself to evade the whole context — defense, economics — in order to fixate on one or two issues by themselves, issues outside the context of any broader principle.

Put another way: If you support a couple of the right things for the wrong reasons, or for no reason at all, then you’ve made your problems much worse, whether the issue is politics or anything else.

None of this is to defend the Republicans. I’d say the same thing about Republicans, who sometimes support the right things (lower taxes, elimination of this or that government regulation) for the wrong reasons, or for no reason at all. But Republicans almost never follow through on any of their promises, particularly when they’re right about something — while Democrats almost always do, especially when they’re wrong. And it’s Obama and his party who control most of the government right now, and who have almost always controlled the agenda (i.e., expansive government intervention in the economy), going back at least to the 1930s.

Let’s dissect Obama’s apparent support of marijuana legalization as a case in point.

Consider this excerpt from The Wall Street Journal online, “The President Inhales” (1/21/14): “To the delight of dorm rooms everywhere, President Obama has all but endorsed marijuana legalization. ‘We should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing,’ he told the New Yorker magazine.

“Mr. Obama also muses to an admiring David Remnick that while pot is ‘a bad habit and a vice’ and not something he would encourage his daughters to try, ‘I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.’ He called the Colorado and Washington legalization experiments ‘important for society,’ while offering no comment on the federal Controlled Substances Act that he has an obligation to enforce equally across the country.”

Notice how Obama justifies legalization of marijuana: By his claim that it’s not harmful – or at least no more harmful than alcohol. Master Obama has decreed from on high that his slaves may take marijuana, if they wish. How nice of him. But the problem is deeper and wider than that.

In a proper and fully free society, marijuana would be legal. So would more dangerous drugs, such as cocaine or heroin. Why? Because we are all sovereign over our bodies and minds. This is something you’ll never hear Obama say. That’s because we know, from all of his other views and policies, that he views the state — the government — as sovereign over the individual. The individual is allowed do certain things (such as have an abortion, or marry your same-sex partner) merely because the state permits it. Most other things? Not nearly so much choice.

The state – the government – should have nothing whatsoever to do with it. What we put into our bodies is our own business, and our own responsibility, not the government’s. Of course, those who love to be bossed around by government will drag out the stale old catch-all: “But what about the “good of society?” So what? If we harm another’s body or property while under the influence of a substance, then we’re subject to the same legal penalties as if we were sober. We cannot say, “The drugs made me do it,” because we made the choice to take the drugs in the first place. But the choice of how to treat our bodies (and minds) is still completely our own. That’s what “sovereign” means.

Obama, of course, cannot and will not argue for the legalization of marijuana on this principle. He does not favor sovereign control over one’s life. He’s a watered-down fascist and a socialist, in principle if not always in practice. He favors wealth redistribution, higher and more “progressive” taxation, government nationalization of health care and energy supplies, to name just a few areas where individual rights are the least of his concerns.

This is not a man who can argue for marijuana legalization based on individual rights or individual sovereignty. If he did, then the rest of his intrusive, private enterprise-hampering house of cards would come tumbling down. He undoubtedly knows it and, more than that, he clearly does not care about these things.

So why does Obama come out in favor of marijuana legalization, at least implicitly? Because it’s hip, it’s cool and he has nothing to lose by doing so. Perhaps it will even help him pick up a few seats in swing districts in the 2014 elections. With control of the House of Representatives restored and control of the U.S. Senate retained, he can complete his agenda, such as nationalizing energy supplies and putting them under the control of the government in the form of his cap and trade legislation. So much for individual sovereignty. The house of cards must remain standing.

We see a similar contradiction when Obama, and others with his views, favor abortion rights or the right to marry for gay and lesbian individuals. In a free society, such rights should exist automatically because they are part of individual sovereignty over one’s life. A conservative Christian does not get to say, “Gay people cannot get married because this offends me.” You don’t get to prevent people from engaging in consenting, voluntary contractual arrangements (personal or business) simply because that offends you. Obama may be right to uphold the right to gay marriage, but on what basis does he do so? It has nothing to do with individual rights, because his entire presidency has been devoted to explicitly undermining if not destroying those. The latest and most intrusive example is his socialization of health care.

One can only assume that Obama (who, by the way, did not initially support gay marriage) is using these issues as a means to enhance his cherished power to do the things government has no business doing in the first place. In practice, this leaves gay people with a right to marry, women with a right to have an abortion, and pot-smokers with a right to put into their body whatever they choose. But the cost for these rights is giving up freedom of association and freedom of choice in medicine; giving up the right to keep what you earn; and giving up the right — in principle — to have sovereignty over your life where it counts the most. He has devastated our Constitution’s concept of separation of powers among three branches of government. He regularly turns his enforcement of ObamaCare on and off based on political convenience and arbitrary whim, without so much as consulting Congress.

Ah, what a price we pay for our right to smoke some pot, marry our same-sex partner or get a free abortion from the government. In essence, we give up everything else, at first in principle and eventually in practice.

Obama tells the nation in his State of the Union address that if Congress doesn’t pass the legislation he wishes, he’ll simply implement it via executive order. He’s considering use of the Federal Communications Commission to send government “researchers” into newsrooms to influence the writing of stories to make them less “racist.” And sadly, many among us will buy that toxic rationalization for chilling freedom of speech. [See the Daily Dose of Reason at DrHurd. com for 2/15/14] These are clearly the actions of nothing less than a dictator, and not someone who cares anything about individual rights. If a Republican president had declared his intent to use executive orders to supplement or replace Congressional legislation, the justified outrage and calls for impeachment would have been almost immediate. Yet when Obama does it, almost nobody says anything.

America has turned into exactly the sort of society its founding system was designed to prevent. It has become a place where the government — right now, Master Obama — grants you the right to do what it deems fitting; while taking away most other rights. Why? Because that’s what suits the government. People (particularly those who work and pay taxes) now serve the government, and live at the behest of the government. It was supposed to be the other way around: Government was supposed to serve them, simply by protecting them from brute force and crooks.

Anyone foolish enough to think that Obama cares one bit about rights and sovereignty has missed the boat entirely. We’re letting him — and his ilk — decide what we may or may not do. This isn’t how adults assert their rights. It’s how children and teenagers relate to their mommies and daddies.

Legalizing pot, by itself, won’t change a thing. Until or unless we understand why marijuana should be legal, it’s futile to support its legalization.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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