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There is no “libertarian on the issue.” Legalizing marijuana is the conservative position.

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You hear a lot of Conservatives say that when it comes to marijuana legalization, they are “libertarian” on the issue. It’s a common expression even used by Ben Shapiro.

However, the linguistic choice of the word “libertarian” implies that legalization of pot is not a conservative position. Traditionally, this is true. Not many Conservatives in the past have supported this notion. To make matters more complicated, many Conservatives have argued in favor of a “law and order” approach to the issue.

Notably, an increasing amount of young Conservatives favor legalization while older Conservatives tend to side with the “law and order”. Conservatives are often free to disagree because Conservatives are not some mob of conformity. If that’s what you want, there’s a camp called leftism, but I should warn you, you’ll ever be woke enough.

Conservatives are free to disagree on methods, but underlying principles of a limited government following through on its enumerated powers remains a consistent platform for us to unite.

However, on the issue of marijuana, there is a right and wrong position for Conservatives to hold. Bearing in mind a limited government, the Conservative movement would be most correctly aligned with its principles if it advances the legalization of marijuana, foregoing the law and order approach.

Acknowledging Government Failure

At the Conservative camp, we often talk about how government is the problem, not the solution. And when the government gets involved in things, a worse outcome results. The obvious example of healthcare is a drop in the bucket in the vast ocean that is government failure. For more failures, we can point to souring college tuition prices. It was the government that turned a depression into the Great Depression. We can look at occupational licensing hurting lower-income people. Likewise, the current marijuana rules augmented a stoner population.

Ronald Reagan said in his ingratiation:

Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden. The solutions we seek must be equitable, with no one group singled out to pay a higher price.

The government has royally blundered trying to curb recreational marijuana usage, and to continue down the current pathway is to meet the definition of insanity. The Conservative worldview sees the individual, not the government as the solution to cultural problems. Government solutions so often prove to be failures.

Personal Distaste Leads to Hypocrisy

Conservatives too often argue for marijuana to be illegal based off of rather weak points. I’m going to specifically address John Hawkins from Townhall seeing as this article was referenced in a NOQ Report article back in January. The article titled “5 Reasons Marijuana Should Remain Illegal” details five weak points that I will address.

Marijuana is addictive for some people

If I accept the premise that marijuana is addictive(it’s not), by what precedent are addictive properties cause for something to be illegal. Here we find a logical disconnect in the argument. Alcohol is addictive. Tobacco is addictive. Both legal. Oreo’s have been studied to be addictive in mice as cocaine. Still legal (the only lines I do). If we’re not talking about only drugs, porn is legal. Sex is legal. Hoarding is legal. Video games are legal. They made a show about strange addictions. Human beings are creatures of worship; therefore it is a tendency for people to fall into addiction. This is no reason to make something illegal.

It’s not woking well in Amsterdam

This was an incredibly weak reason because it’s based on the Dutch being horrified that their children have access to pot. That is already the case here in the US. Legalization wouldn’t change this, while it being illegal hasn’t stopped this. The arguments against marijuana legalization that invoke children present a false consequence. And it makes us seem like hypocrites when we give our children medication as a substitute for discipline.

Mental and Physical Health(2 reasons)

It would be foolish to argue against marijuana’s medicinal benefits. However, I do acknowledge that it is fair to bring up the negative side effects. In this area, a person should take responsibility for their own health. Individual responsibility is what our culture needs not a nanny state protecting us from harm in every direction.

That being said several dangerous things are legal that if used irresponsibly could have a negative impact on mental and physical health. I could list them but you get the idea. The government is a poor arbitrator when it comes to protecting the citizens from their own choices.

Marijuana decimates people’s lives

We’re back to the “protecting people from themselves” argument. This is not logic that a conservative should use. Conservatism strives for a free market capitalist system whereby the individual is responsible for their own outcome in life. Protecting people from their own poor decisions is not the role of the government. There are things that destroy people’s lives that merit being illegal, but marijuana is not one of them. Millions of Americans use it whether in the slums or the penthouse. The lack of inherent or predictable negative consequences to potheads does is insufficient reason for keeping marijuana illegal.

At the end of the day, Conservatives only oppose marijuana legalization out of personal distaste. When we let our taste buds dictate our policy instead of our principles, we become hypocrites with power. Our personal distaste for marijuana is contradicting Conservative principles that would be most aligned legalizing the plant for recreational use. In this, we become seen as hypocrites. When we distaste something, our response should never be to make it illegal claiming some sort of cultural benefit.

For example, take transgenderism. Conservatives often distaste this practice. But no one is arguing to make being a transvestite illegal. What you do in your spare time is an individual liberty. Only based off of researched negative effects would any Conservative argue that the surgery should be illegal for a consenting adult. For children, it’s practically child abuse, therefore necessary for the state to step in because there is no absolute right of parents. If you want to, as a consenting adult, mutilate your body and get plastic surgery, most Conservatives wouldn’t stand in your way unless taxpayers are paying for it. What Conservatives are strictly opposed to is the state forcing its citizens to acknowledge transgenderism as real and punishing “misgendering” someone. Forcing a person to participate in a mentally ill person’s self-image is a violation of individual freedom.

There is a Conservative way to oppose something that you find distasteful. It is not to make said thing illegal, but instead to get the government out of the issue as much as possible. The “Law and Order” crowd have created a needless rift between Conservatives and Libertarians. The difference between the Libertarian and Conservative worldview was so well articulated by Konstantinos Roditis but these differences in worldview should come to the same result on marijuana. Though Libertarians focus too much on plants, Conservatives in their distaste for marijuana became hypocrites making an activity that isn’t inherently evil a crime. It’s long past time Conservatives remind themselves of what makes them Conservative and reexamine their position on marijuana because legalization is the Conservative stance.

A Note About Comparing Marijuana to Opioids:

Opioids have a far worse and predictable outcome for users who don’t stop. So for that reason, the arguments for marijuana legalization don’t apply. The state should intervene when negative externalities arise. The negative externalities for marijuana are baseless, in comparison. Although for an interesting perspective on this issue read our article here

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Harold

    April 22, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    Shut up pothead. I’m sick of you stoners messing up my roads in California making it impossible to get home from work and jacking up my insurance rates. I am also sick of the gang violence from your precious “miracle drug.” I’m sick of morons who have smoked themselves retarded implying that I am dumber than them. Finally, I am sick of pot smoking queer communists calling themselves libertarians and daring to tell conservatives how we should think. When you can get somebody better than Rand Paul or Gary Johnson, and stop posting while you’re high on 4/20, we might take you seriously.

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Opinions

McConnell promises to be ‘Grim Reaper’ for socialism if GOP wins

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McConnell promises to be Grim Reaper for socialism if GOP wins

Last week I shared an email I received from Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign asking for a donation to help him keep his job as Kentucky’s senior senator and leader of the Republican party.

McConnell provided no accomplishments earning him the right to serve what would be his SEVENTH term in office, other than a promise to make the GOP a “firewall” that will save America from the Democrats and their socialist agenda. By the way, if he’s re-elected and serves a SEVENTH TERM, he would be tied with Orrin Hatch as the longest-serving Republican senator in history.

“Republicans agree, the Democrats’ full embrace of socialism is alarming. As liberals in the House and those running for President scramble to enact the policies of the far-left, your Republican Senate Majority stands as the firewall that will save our country from socialism.

“Our firewall could crack though, if Senate Republicans in key battleground states don’t get the support they need. Every conservative must stand united to keep socialism at bay, and that includes you too.”

But promises to keep America secure from the malware of socialism aren’t enough for this poster child for term limits. In a meeting with a group of community leaders in Owensboro, KY, McConnell also promised to become the personification of Death itself to stop the advance of socialism if the GOP holds the senate in 2020.

“If I’m still the majority leader in the Senate, think of me as the Grim Reaper. None of that stuff is going to pass.

“I guarantee you that if I’m the last man standing and I’m still the majority leader, it ain’t happening. I can promise you.”

Well … since he promised, we can certainly believe him. After all, he kept his promise to repeal Obamacare if voters gave Republicans the keys to the kingdom in 2016. Didn’t he?

Of course, McConnell, Trump, and the rest of the GOP aren’t going to be the death of socialism. In fact, under their leadership we’ve witnessed the advance of many of the pet projects of the Far-Left, including: paid family leave, a Green New Deal alternative, expanding government-run healthcare, and gun control.

Combined with their 2020 election promises consisting of the recycled the lies they told us in 2016, the GOP’s fear mongering over socialism is merely a strategic attempt to distract voters and hide Republican failures, lies, and broken promises.

McConnell has played the “repeat broken promises to get re-elected” card before, and KY voters have fallen for it in his five previous re-election campaigns. Amazingly, despite a recent poll showing a dismal 33% approval rating with 61% of those polled calling for someone new, Mickey holds a lead against his yet-to-be-named Democrat opponent.

Most likely, that means the article I wrote right after Republicans decided to make socialism the 2020 campaign issue du jour will move one step closer to becoming a reality because; socialism wins in 2020 regardless of who’s in the White House or who controls Congress.

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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Democrats

Impeachment talk: Just sound and fury signifying nothing

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Impeachment is a good talking point bad strategy for Democrats

If you ever went to a Tea Party rally between 2010 and 2016, chances are you heard a whole lot about Obamacare. It was a disaster. It needed to be repealed. The Republicans were going to regain control of the House, Senate, and White House, and the first thing they were going to do was to repeal Obamacare forever. These were the talking points at the rallies.

The same could be said about every campaign rally during the same time period. To various degrees, the majority of Republican candidates ran on a promise to repeal Obamacare if they got the power to do so. They even demonstrated this many times in practice, especially the infamous “clean repeal” of 2015 that was passed in both chambers before being sent for its predictable demise by veto at the left hand of President Obama.

When the champagne corks had been picked up following the victorious 2016 election, the time had finally come to do something extremely important. No, it wasn’t what they had promised. Only a small handful really had any intentions of fully repealing Obamacare. The task at hand was to change their own narrative, the narrative they rode to victories in three out of four elections. They no longer needed to talk about repealing Obamacare. Now was the time to talk up “repeal and replace” in hopes they could fix Obamacare and rename it.

The GOP used the Obamacare repeal to help them win control, then turned everything around when they finally got control. The end results was essentially an untouched Obamacare to this day.

Fast forward to the Democrats’ version of Obamacare: impeachment. Now that the Mueller report has been released, Democrats who hoped the report would result in a hands-free end to the Presidency were disappointed. But it’s not all bad news. Now they have a boogeyman they can talk about at campaign rallies, on social media, at town halls, and in interviews. Impeachment is the talk of the town in DC.

But this is different from Obamacare. There’s no real chance at a united front because there are four groups of Democrats separated by how they must handle impeachment for their own self-interest.

  • Radical progressives, mostly in the Senate and especially if running for President, must beat the drum as loud as possible for impeachment knowing it’s a message that can rile up their base.
  • Establishment Democrats must be the voice of reason knowing there’s no practical value of pushing impeachment, especially with next to zero chance of the Senate actually impeaching him if the House calls for it.
  • Red state Democrats in between the first two groups must shy away from impeachment or risk getting voted out.
  • Blue state Democrats in between the first two groups must push for impeachment if there’s a risk they could get primaried for not being tough enough on President Trump.

In the end, there will be no impeachment. The calls for impeachment will eventually die down, replaced by “vote him out” as we approach 2020. It’s a bluff that even the most ignorant leftist lawmakers know can’t actually have an impact other than make noise for political expediency.

Impeachment is a scam.

Some Democrats can use impeachment to raise money or garner support. Presidential candidates must use impeachment to keep their fans angry. But none of them have any illusions impeachment can happen. They’re all bluffing.

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Foreign Affairs

Diplomacy and defense

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Diplomacy and defense

In one sense, diplomacy is our first line of defense. It is always preferable to have diplomats in civilian attire working with their counterparts around the world to not only promote trade but moreover to keep countries away from each other’s throats over ideological differences.

But diplomacy has its limits. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain honestly thought he could talk Adolf Hitler out of the military conquest of Europe. He fell for the Fuehrer’s lies hook, line & sinker.

Barack Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry were equally naïve and gullible in negotiating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Donald Trump made the right decision by scrapping this deal which was just enabling Iran to be able to develop and deploy nukes.

Take a quick look at this official U.S. Department of State list of all former Secretaries of State. How many of them do you recognize?

5 of the first 10 plus number 17 went on to become President of the United States. Hopefully you remember Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, John Quincy Adams and Van Buren.

Buchanan was President during the time that led to the U.S. Civil War. No Secretary of State has since become President. The book is not yet closed on #67 Hillary Clinton, but don’t hold your breath.

It would appear that American diplomats are not held in as high esteem nor does being Secretary of State further their political career since the early days of our Republic. In recent decades, the President of the United States far overshadows his top diplomat.

Carter hosted the Camp David Accords with Begin and Sadat. Reagan challenged Russian dictators directly as in Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall [in Berlin]. Obama orchestrated everything for Hillary and John Kerry. Some have already forgotten Trump’s first Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who didn’t make much of an impression on anybody. Mike Pompeo is more high-profile but is faltering somewhat these days. North Korea doesn’t even want to talk to him anymore.

Even with nation states, it is not possible to always sit down and talk out differences. Heck, Republicans and Democrats can’t even work out differences between the two major U.S. political parties. With that kind of negative example, how should we expect anybody else in the world to respect our diplomacy?

But the biggest failure of diplomacy comes with non-state actors. Pretending to be able to talk to the Taliban is a farce. We couldn’t and shouldn’t negotiate with Al-Qaeda or ISIS. Islamic Sharia law demands world domination and the elimination of all human government and man-made constitutions. What could you possibly find negotiable in that stance?

SRI LANKA

Which brings us to the current tragedy on the teardrop-shaped island of Sri Lanka, once famous for Ceylon tea. Credible reports are that both the United States and India provided very specific intelligence to Sri Lanka as long ago as April 4th which even gave the names of suspects who would commit multiple Jihad attacks on Easter Sunday targeting primarily Christians.

Just in the last 48 hours, it has become obvious that the Sri Lanka government is totally dysfunctional. The Prime Minister was not informed by intelligence and law-enforcement agencies of the intelligence information received. There is no indication that churches and hotels and the public were aware of the threat. No law enforcement or military presence was in place to prevent the attacks.

I say that to say this. Alaina B. Teplitz is the incumbent Ambassador from the United States to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. U.S. Embassy is located in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. She would hopefully have been privy to the intelligence information about the Easter Sunday threat.

Between her and her Chain of Command through U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo all the way up to President Donald Trump, why did no one speak out to warn U.S. citizens and others of the impending danger so they could take proper precautions, especially on Easter Sunday?

Now a U.S. State Department Sri Lanka Travel Advisory has been issued apparently due to the threat of a second wave of attacks. It is dated April 21st which was Easter Sunday. Whatever time of day it was issued, it would not appear to have reached potential victims in time to avoid churches, hotels and public places on that date. Exactly where one traveling in a foreign country could go for safety is also not clear.

The art of diplomacy involves not offending national leaders and other countries. But I submit that is a less crucial concern than providing for the safety of Americans abroad. If anything was in the media about the threat to Sri Lanka prior to Easter Sunday, many of us who follow world events closely did not see it.

When diplomacy fails as it did in Benghazi and again in Colombo, we need to re-examine our priorities. A lot has been said and written about what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton did or did not do on the night of September 11, 2012 when the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was attacked and four brave Americans died. Neither prevention nor response worked as they should have.

Instead of pursuing the Mueller report ad infinitum and ad nauseam, there should immediately be a very serious investigation into how our diplomatic and intelligence channels failed miserably in Sri Lanka this month of April 2019.

DIPLOMACY VIS-Á-VIS DEFENSE

When diplomatic mechanisms fail, then we must resort to our national defense capabilities. We need to take all steps to ensure that Americans in Sri Lanka who have a good reason to be there are safe if there is a second wave of attacks.

We definitely should have sent the Marines into Benghazi. It’s not time to do that into Colombo just yet. But we need to be prepared to do what has to be done if Americans are targeted. We also need to candidly admit that it is American Christians and Christians from other nationalities who are in the center of the bullseye.

Credible reports indicate that Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri who took over after UBL was killed had not long ago declared that A-Q would be looking eastward toward the Indian Subcontinent. As ISIS loses its territorial Caliphate in Iraq and Syria, terrorists will be dispersed into other vulnerable areas.

The dysfunctional Sri Lankan government is particularly vulnerable. It is noteworthy that the majority in the island nation are Buddhist Sinhalese. Islam targets not only Christians and Jews but all non-Muslims of every faith.

United States has to be prepared for further attacks throughout Asia. ISIS was instrumental in the siege of Marawi City in the Philippines.

IRAN

We must not be misled by disingenuous statements by Iranian “diplomats” condemning the Sri Lanka attacks. Iran has long harbored Al-Qaeda. While they found ISIS a competitor for hegemony in the Middle East, mutual hatred for non-Muslims is a far stronger motivating factor than the schism between Shia and Sunni Muslims for domination in the Islamic world. They are both willing and capable to cooperate and work together against the mutual enemy.

The United States Department of State and Department of Defense need to be on the same wavelength. When diplomats succeed, then military conflicts can be precluded. But nothing Neville Chamberlain could have done with Adolf Hitler would have prevented World War II. Frankly, nothing Mike Pompeo does with KJU will dissuade the North Korean madman from doing whatever he thinks he can get away with.

CHINA

Likewise, when our Secretary of State left Hanoi after the Circus Summit between Trump and Kim, he stopped over in Manila to assure Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte that the United States has his back in dealing with China in the conflict in the Spratly Islands.

To say that the current Philippine President is unorthodox and undiplomatic, while true, would obscure the fact that he is at least a realist. He knows the tiny Philippines cannot go to war with a mega-power like China.

But right now he has a dilemma to sort out. Was Mike Pompeo just being a diplomat and saying what diplomats say, or would the United States really confront China militarily when Beijing occupies islands long claimed by the Philippines?

One thing is certain. Trump response will be exponentially greater than the Obama response would have been. But nobody is going to risk global nuclear war over a few specks of land in the South China Sea. Not even for the Philippines which is our closest ally in Asia and was our only long-term colony in the region.

That’s why rather irresponsible statements like saying Washington has Manila’s back against Beijing can lead to unanticipated and undesirable consequences. If such things are said at all, they should be behind closed doors and not made public.

So what is the United States doing to deter China’s worldwide ambitions for economic and military influence, if not outright control? China’s debt trap diplomacy is now moving beyond the Pacific Basin into Scandinavia and the Baltics as Beijing offers to finance an undersea tunnel between Helsinki, Finland and Tallinn, Estonia.

U.S. COAST GUARD

Well for one thing, oddly enough, the U.S. Coast Guard which is part of the Department of Homeland Security now has Coast Guard Cutters in the Western Pacific reporting to the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet, showing up in places like the Taiwan Strait.

South China Morning Post, April 21, 2019, ‘Oversubscribed’ US Navy leans more on coastguard to help counter China

“The coastguard brings some authorities below the threshold of war. We’re US warships, but we look different, with a white hull and an orange stripe.”

While keeping a wary eye on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, United States resources at this point must focus primarily on both the People’s Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran. But, those are just the nation states that we must contend with.

TERRORISTS

It’s a lot trickier to deal with non-state actors such as Al-Qaeda, ISIS and an indigenous group from southern India and Sri Lanka that is thought to be responsible for the Easter Sunday Massacre. Our diplomats and other personnel assigned at our embassies abroad need to do their jobs. That obviously would include CIA Station Chiefs under whatever may be their diplomatic cover.

It is significant that the former United States Pacific Command not long ago rebranded itself the Indo-Pacific Command. This was obviously in recognition of the expanding role of the United States military along with the interconnectivity between the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean and the countries around them.

Now, along with U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Defense, the Trump Administration is superimposing U.S. Department of Homeland Security into the picture. New Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenen has his work cut out for him in overseeing the U.S. Coast Guard role in joint patrols with the U.S. Navy to counteract China’s influence.

Oh, yes, plus that other little matter of securing our border with Mexico at the same time. All the while, the U.S. Coast Guard will be hard-pressed to continue drug interdiction patrols in the Eastern Pacific and Latin America as they also shadow China at the behest of the U.S. Navy.

Remember that Coast Guard also does search and rescue missions for boaters in trouble, plus deals with oil spills and water pollution and myriad other non-warfighting duties. It remains to be seen whether using the Coast Guard to augment the Navy is a stroke of genius or whether it is just spreading our resources too thinly.

WHERE THE BUCK STOPS

It all really comes down to the guy at the top and his key advisers. Donald Trump undoubtedly appreciates the requirements of national security far better than his predecessor. So that’s why it’s crucial that he recruit and maintain the right advisers.

John Bolton obviously has the President’s ear. He is more knowledgeable and trustworthy to offer good advice than is Mike Pompeo. Kevin McAleenan would be an excellent choice to be nominated as permanent Secretary of DHS. The President should respectfully consider his recommendations for enforcement posture.

SECOND BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT

Members of Congress need to get their act together. The considerations we’ve been discussing here will have a much greater impact upon the future of our country than anything related to the Mueller report.

Remember, Senators and Representatives, you hold the purse strings to this government. Ponder that when you put your head on your pillow tonight. Cut out the cable talk shows and news conferences. By all means, tweet a whole lot less! Go back to Capitol Hill and do what we sent you there to do. Legislate rather than pontificate!

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