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Marijuana (a surefire way to avoid controversy)

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Marijuana a surefire way to avoid controversy

If libertarians and conservatives are butting heads, there’s a 90% chance it’s about marijuana.

The typical perception of the divide looks something like this: libertarians want marijuana totally legalized, as the federal government has no constitutional authority over drug regulation, while conservatives dislike marijuana use personally, so they would vote to prohibit its use entirely.

This caricature doesn’t fully encapsulate either side, but it is so pervasive that conservatives who advocate for anything less than the total federal crackdown of marijuana call themselves “libertarian on this issue.”

Know from the outset that I am a conservative on this, but I’ll explain what that means in a moment, just as I will unpack the common tropes of the debate. Just know that if you’re a libertarian or “libertarian on this issue,” you and I likely have more in common than you think.

On Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era federal policy which barred federal officials from intervening in weed-related matters in states that had legalized the drug. Instead, Sessions is now instructing his squad to “let federal prosecutors where marijuana is legal decide how aggressively to enforce longstanding federal law prohibiting it.”

I, a conservative, agree that this is an awful move by Sessions. He has no authority to enforce unconstitutional drug law where states have already spoken.

His actions spurred immediate backlash on Twitter, most notably (in my feed) from Missouri Senate-hopeful and defender of liberty Austin Petersen, who unleashed a series of tweets, rightly emphasizing the true meaning of the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, citing a few of the Federalist Papers and other Founders.

In short, the federal government is only supreme to the states in matters granted to it by the Constitution. In states’ matters, states are sovereign, barring the violation of natural rights.

Petersen and I are in total agreement. The legalization of marijuana is undoubtedly a states’ issue.

Of course, that’s not to say that the federal government has no authority in ANY drug matter. Petersen and I agree here too; he was famously booed during a Libertarian debate in 2016 over his comments that the federal government should prevent the sale of heroin to five-year-olds.

Again, where natural rights are infringed, the federal government should step in.

But in general, the legalization of marijuana is outside the purview of the federal government and thus ought to be decided by the states. This is something that conservatives and libertarians largely agree on — however you would vote on that ballot is secondary to the importance of upholding the Constitution.

The first of our three goals (1. Critique Sessions’s decision, 2. Debunk the caricatures, and 3. Present the conservative stance on marijuana) is complete, and the second shouldn’t require much more dissection.

We’ve established that not all libertarians demand the total legalization of all drugs in all circumstances whatever — many believe in allowing states to decide and in protecting the rights of children.

We’ve also noted how conservatives don’t favor federal intervention based on personal disgust for pot. Any conservative who argues for such, like Sessions, is not a conservative on this issue. We likewise believe that it should be left to the states.

Where I think most philosophically consistent libertarians and conservatives differ is how to vote once the referendum appears on the ballot.

Predictably, libertarians (and some conservatives like Ben Shapiro who are “libertarian on this issue”) would opt for legalization, not necessarily because of personal approval but general recognition of individual rights.

Conservatives, on the other hand, would vote against legalization, but not because of personal distaste but rather based on externalities. The same principle applies to state initiatives on alcohol, for instance.

This standard argues that, due to the severe uptick in fatal car accidents involving marijuana use, the ease of access for minors, and the increase in marijuana-related crime generally, this issue no longer affects just the individual. Once your behavior starts to harm others, your neighbors and colleagues can intervene by ballot.

Personally, I would vote against marijuana legalization, for the reasons listed above. That said, I can understand why others would vote in favor. Either way, I hope we can at least recognize our agreement on the constitutional argument for states’ rights.

If you want to harm your own body, be my guest. If you hurt someone else, that’s where I draw the line.

And if you see it differently, that’s fine. Just let me offer a word of advice: we are in difficult times where our freedoms are being wiped away from before our eyes, whether by presidential fiat, judicial tyranny, or otherwise. Maybe if libertarians hadn’t been so singularly obsessive about pot for the last few decades, they wouldn’t have been too high to notice that actually vital constitutional liberties are being trounced and shredded while stoners stick to the wrong guns.

Conservatives and libertarians have the potential to form the greatest political alliance in American history, but conservatives can’t do it alone and too many libertarians are making a mockery of the whole group with their one-track pot campaign. Maybe prioritize a little and we can restore our constitutional freedom.

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards. Follow him and The New Guards on Twitter, and check out The New Guards on Facebook.

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Conservatism

What Steven Crowder’s latest pro-life Change My Mind reveals

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What Steven Crowders latest pro-life Change My Mind reveals

Steven Crowder in his most recent edition of “Change My Mind” experienced more aggressive pro-abortion arguments than he had in the previous installments. The episode featured people arguing that moral personhood began at birth or even “experience.” Often times, Change My Mind demonstrates that under scrutiny, arguments have flaws. Such is the method that got Socrates killed. With all of these discussions, the failure to prove the lack of humanity for a fetus proved unconvincing and logically undefended by its proponents. But I want to address the intrinsic instinct, the universal morality, that could not stay buried under layers of denial. These pro-abortion advocates, deep down, know they are wrong.

In all four conversations, late term abortion was supported. However the caveat of threat to the mother was brought up, despite the rarity of such occurrence. Steven Crowder called them out, citing the fact that they said they would support third trimester abortion even if it were not a threat to the mother by their own previous admission. The proponents then hesitantly agreed. So Crowder then asked “why bring it up?” That is the question. Why would abortion advocates rely on such extreme examples?

I believe that deep down, those who have not finished their leftist training have not intrinsically forsaken the convicting power of conscious, because of what I observed in this video. The latter two proponents came off as not even believing what they were saying. The first was a hardcore stoner. The second was a perhaps shy of being a feminist. The stoner gentleman said “breath” was the transfer of moral personhood and if a baby came out and had yet to breath, it would not yet be human, therefore justified in killing it. The last one suggested the ultra vague notion of “experience” rendered moral personhood. Yet she agreed that the experiences of the unborn were valid human experiences and then whimsically concluded that it was still okay to kill them.

She, in particular, sounded really unconvinced in her own stance. I thought she was going to make a utilitarian argument that would have led to an interesting discussion about quantifying human suffering. This would have been a better argument than “experience” which is even less defensible than sentience. The gentleman in the beginning argued that a fetus was a parasite but then insisted it was not autonomous. Biologically speaking a parasite is autonomous from its host.

These two claims are mutually exclusive. Three of these students presented arguments that I was unconvinced they themselves even believed. I am shocked that this was my takeaway, for on every other Change My Mind, even the other three installments on abortion, I believed that the guests genuinely believed their own arguments.

If a fetus is not human, there would be no need to rely on extreme examples to defend abortion. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that abortion is an affront to natural law, as science increasingly supports the notion of human life at creation. The Founding Fathers so cleverly wrote that our rights were self evident. The affront to these self evident rights will naturally be difficult to defend logically. This is why the abortion advocates had such poor arguments with premises that could not withstand charitable scrutiny. In this case, the pro-abortion advocates all believed a conclusion of abortion permissibility, without internally accepting the premises necessary to support the conclusion and the implications they would ensue from said premises.

There is a difference between a person being reputably evil and plainly gullible. That difference would be seen as someone who simply accept that a fetus is not human and simply doesn’t care. These college students weren’t there yet. Nor is the rest of the country as a whole. So there is reason for hope.

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Culture and Religion

Intellectual discourse versus Biblical snippets to spread the Gospel

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Intellectual discourse versus Biblical snippets to spread the Gospel

In a world with a shortening attention span, is it better to drop “Bible bombs” on people in the short time they give us? With a topic as complex as a Biblical worldview, is it better to deliver long-form dissertations and engage in extended debate?

The answer to both questions is, “Yes.”

Those of us who are trying to spread the Gospel and bring more people to the light are tasked with a difficult challenge to overcome. Much of the world is shifting towards a secular worldview and abandoning the truth of the Bible. Even though people abroad are coming into the faith in astounding numbers, people in western culture are often pulling away.

We are faced with the two big challenges: time and effort. Sometimes, people simply won’t allow enough time to learn about the Bible, our Creator, our Savior, or any of the other portions of faith that are required to penetrate the evil haze that is sweeping across western culture. On the other hand, there is a need to be prepared for those instances when someone is open to discussion, when they have questions and are willing to look deeper to find the answers.

The former often requires us to be ready with a Biblical “elevator pitch” in order to establish the latter. This is one of the reasons why we’re so focused on social media. It’s a venue that we believe can bring people into the state of mind of asking questions. While it’s likely not possible for a Tweet to make people change their worldview, we see it as a prompt to act on the nagging feelings that have been hitting them but that they’ve never pursued in the past.

Once you have people asking questions, it’s important to have the right answers readily available. If they come to you for guidance and you’re not ready to deliver it, you can actually do more harm than good. It’s a fear that has enveloped us at times. It has driven us to a state of constant study; not a day goes by when we’re not doing something to expand our understanding and sharpen our abilities to deliver the right message at the right time.

Prayer is the most important thing you can do. It’s even more important than studying. If you can tap into the message through prayer and Bible study, the Lord will provide you with the words you need when the time to deliver them comes.

One does not have to go to seminary to be able to answer questions when they are asked. Between the internet and, of course, the Bible, the answers will present themselves if you’re are simply willing to look.

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Conservatism

Justin Amash for President in 2020 sounds good to me

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Justin Amash for President in 2020 sounds good to me

My mission at the Strident Conservative is to promote conservative values over political parties and to hold members of every political stripe accountable when they fail to uphold those values. I’m particularly motivated to expose people who fail to defend conservatism while claiming to be conservative.

Lately, I’ve been receiving some heat for exposing faux conservatives like Sen. Mike Lee for partnering with Ivanka Trump to advance her feminist socialist agenda; the House Freedom Caucus for selling out to the GOP establishment; the Senate Conservatives Fund for abandoning conservatism for Trumpism; and BlazeTV for becoming a pro-Trump echo chamber and a home for faux conservatives in the media.

In an environment such as this, it’s often tempting to walk away from this mess, move off-grid to Alaska, and wait for the zombie apocalypse. Fortunately, with the support of my wonderful wife and like-minded friends like the awesome Shannon Joy, I’ve adopted the words of the Apostle Paul from his letter to the Philippians (3:12-14, The Message):

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.

Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward — to Jesus.

I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

In the face of such adversity, I’m often asked about how we should proceed in our fight for liberty and a return to conservative values and the Constitution — a tough question to answer.

Those who regularly read or listen to the Strident Conservative know of my resolve to see a new party rise from the ash heap of unibrow Washington. And even thought the odds may be against us, a recent POLITICO/Morning Consult Poll showed a majority of independents and half of respondents overall support the need for a third party.

And that brings me to the recent rumors that Libertarian Republican Rep. Justin Amash may run for president in 2020 on the Libertarian ticket. Personally, I would be all over this.

I’m a big fan of Amash and his solid defense of the Constitution — I’ve referenced him many times in articles on Constitutional matters — and he hasn’t been shy about holding Trump, the GOP, and faux conservatives accountable for violating the trust of the American people and failing to protect and defend the Constitution.

There are early indications that Amash would have the support of conservatives worn down by the repeated betrayals of the GOP establishment. Groups like Amash 4 President have been birthed on Facebook, and a petition has been started calling on Amash to run in 2020 as a third-party candidate.

To those who accept the binary lie that a third-party has no chance and that only a candidate belonging to the establishment duopoly can win, I have only one reply … Abraham Lincoln.

Originally posted on StridentConservative.com.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

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