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.
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
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
Why Game of Thrones felt rushed
One of the biggest criticisms the eighth season of Game of Thrones received was that the final season was rushed. However, the given the numerous deviations from the source material, not only did DB Weiss and David Benioff not rush the show, they dragged out the plot. For those who noted that the eighth season of Game of Thrones needed to be longer, they would have to answer the question of what fills the four additional episodes. In my opinion there really is nothing. Episode 2 was a filler episode before the Battle of Winterfell. Under the guise of “character development” prepubescent Arya had sex with bastard Gendry. This move then had to be undone in episode four, as a clear indicator that the moment was a pathetic instance of fan service, along with Jaime and Brienne, which the show also undid. D&D didn’t put much thought into building a plot, but they didn’t really have to. Their job was to adapt the novels into film, a challenging task. People tend to forget that the first four seasons were based on the first three books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Season five was based on half of book five, A Dance With Dragons. Book four was, with exception to Arya, passed over until season six, where D&D doubled back into A Feast For Crows in a rushed attempt to… I don’t know… fill the time and bring back old characters. D&D essentially followed books 1-3, skipped book four, went to book five, inserted non-existent and forgettable plots(Dorne), then went beyond canon, then rushed through book four, then went back beyond. If Game of Thrones only now feels rushed to you, you have not been paying attention. So what am I saying? Two arguments. One Game of Thrones cut out and deviated so much from the books that they did not have enough plot points to build to a longer series. Second, D&D, instead of writing substitute plot points, they chose to drag out a plot remaining plot but instead of building up to it with actual plot points, the filled the time in-between with fast travel, fan service in the form of plot armor and nostalgia, and contradictory story elements. So, in order to build a non rushed series, we truly have to go back and redo season five onward.
However, in correcting a major mistake in the Tyrion arc, in season four, Jaime will confess to Tyrion that his first wife Tysha was as she seemed and not a whore. However in keeping Episode 4.10 the same, we can have Lord Varys deliver the news to Tyrion. Tyrion will begin season five wondering “wherever whores go.” Sansa will not be married to Ramsay Snow/Bolton. She will end the season witnessing the genius of Petyr Baelish as he takes over the Vale as its de facto lord. Instead, the show will proceed with Fake Arya. Jon Snow still becomes Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and makes a pact with the alive Mance Rayder and chooses to spare his son over Craster’s. The viewer will actually get to see Cersei suck at ruling as Queen Regent and burn the tower of the hand. The viewer will also get to see Daenerys suck at ruling Mereen. Ser Barristan will not be killed. The Ironborn plot will be introduced here. Euron Greyjoy will be more than just bumfinger. The Dornish plot will feature Arianne and Quentyn Martell. Jaime goes to the Riverlands, with Bronn(a deviation from the books I can support). Most importantly, Young Griff will be featured.
The hardest part of the new season five would be coming up with a sufficient “episode nine” which has a massive reputation to live up to. The Dornish plot is one instance where this could climax. The viewer could get to watch Ser Areys Oakheart die. Daenerys flying off on Drogon in the fighting pits is another good move.
Now season six would be like season four was to season three, just nonstop excitement as the viewer reaches the climaxes of the fourth and fifth books. The Siege of Mereen would persist and Ser Barristan Selmy muscles his way to clean the mess created by Daenerys. Tyrion becomes a more malicious schemer. Cersei walk of shame. Mance Rayder killed by Ramsay Bolton. Theon rescues Fake Arya. Prince Doran drops a big reveal. Baelish announces his northern ambitions to Sansa. Stannis is defeated, and not killed by Brienne. We get the Pink Letter! Jon Snow is killed.
The Siege of Mereen is lifted. Tyrion rises to power. Davos retrieves Rickon Stark (speculation). Jon becomes King in the North after the Battle of the Bastards where either the Knights of the Vale arrive before the battle begins or Sansa and Jon are not in communication so the Vale surprises in the end, much like Stannis and the Night’s Watch. Daenerys gets a Dothraki army. Cersei defeats her enemies via wildfire. Young Griff and the Dornish form an alliance (speculation). Young Griff arrives in the Stormlands makes an alliance with the Dornish.
Daenerys arrives to Westeros. Battle of Winterfell, with actual military tactics applied. Jon Snow and Daenerys love story. One of the major claimants falls.
Jon Snow vs Daenerys vs Cersei vs Young Griff (speculation) vs Euron (less one of these.) Daenerys sours and is betrayed for love.
Game of Thrones Rushed or Gutted?
I could go further into detail, but I know not the bullet points D&D were given. Which surely would have had more than the less than two hundred words of plot above that go beyond the books. All of the sudden, if the show follows the books the series doesn’t seem rushed or dragged out. Imagine a pyramid. Each story arc is a corner on the base that all comes together at the end. What D&D did is not reset the pyramid like George RR Martin does in the books. So, the plot comes together much sooner than it would have if they had followed the books. Therefore seasons seven and eight had so much nostalgia and filler. The source material and reasonable speculation paved the path to writing a much better series that what fans saw on the back half of Game of Thrones. It’s pressingly clear, D&D never read the books or in their hubris thought they knew how to honor the source material better than the author or its more devoted fans. Game of Thrones was not so much rushed, as it was gutted, for the fans only saw the skeleton of the real story.
Graham Ledger: Democrats, mainstream media panicking over William Barr’s upcoming investigations
It’s human nature for people to talk about one of two things: What they want the most and what they fear the most. That’s why the rhetoric coming from the Democratic Party and their lapdogs in mainstream media for the last month has all surrounded Attorney General William Barr, the people working with him, and Barr’s boss, the President of the United States. The left has been inconsolable ever since the Mueller report did not send the President into the tailspin they so desperately sought.
One America News anchor Graham Ledger called them out for the hypocrisy surrounding their unhinged reactions to Barr’s upcoming investigations. There are several and all point to the notion that the Obama administration and progressives in the FBI sought to derail then-candidate Trump’s campaign so Hillary Clinton could win the White House.
It’s a conspiracy theory, one that seems very close to being pronounced a verified conspiracy. Every day more evidence emerges that the Democrats were playing dirty and potentially illegally when they tried to stop the election of Donald Trump. And as this truth comes to light, the Democrats and mainstream media are doing everything in their power to keep the conversation from heading in the proper direction of focusing on the real scandal surrounding the Russia investigation.
It may be months or even years before we know the whole truth. In fact, if President Trump is not reelected, we may never know the whole truth. That’s not the biggest reason to vote for him, but it’s quickly becoming a hot talking point among Independents who are sick of the corruption that seems to be pervasive in the Democratic Party as a whole.
Things haven’t been working out the way Democrats or mainstream media expected. In their wildest dreams they didn’t think they could get caught in so many lies, but as Graham Ledger pointed out, that’s exactly what’s happening.
Carlson vs. Shapiro: A way forward
Tucker Carlson has recently caused quite a stir. He’s taken a very populist view of the role of government when it comes to intervening in the market, going so far as to suggest such things the mandated limiting of automation. To justify this, he points to the fact that as the market changes and certain skills become more or less in demand, many people get left behind. As coal plants shutdown, miners are left without work, as kiosks are deployed, fast food workers are back on the street, and truckers may soon be replaced with self-driving trucks. The solution to these issues, Carlson suggests, lies in retraining programs dictated by the government or subsidies to keep unprofitable businesses going.
On the other side of the issue are those who count on the free-market to work things out, people like Ben Shapiro. Shapiro and others acknowledge that some people will get left behind by technological advancement and the market changes that follow. However, they point out that in the end, most of those people can and do relocate or retrain on their own, and ultimately more people are helped by those changes than are hurt by them.
Both make good points. Carlson is right that it isn’t fair that people have to suffer in the name of progress and Shapiro is right that government intervention tends to exacerbate the problem. After all, many of those miners would still have jobs if government regulations weren’t making the coal plants shutdown in the first place. Yet, I think both are missing something important.
To get at what that is, we need to go all the way back to 2007 and the election of Barack Obama. Much was made – on both sides of the isle – about Obama’s background; particularly that of his role as a “community organizer.” Democrats considered it a positive, showing his concern for the people around him. Republicans mocked it almost universally because… few every really said. There was actually a solid line of attack on this – much of Obama’s work was with Acorn, a now discredited organization that did little more than encourage people to sign up for government benefits. Yet, that’s not what was done. During the Republican Convention that year, the likes of Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin spoke of Obama’s community organizer background in terms and tones of obvious mockery and derision, as though the concept were beneath them. This struck me as strange. Wasn’t the GOP the party of personal responsibility? Of small government? Wouldn’t someone who worked within his community to make it better be someone to lift up? Shouldn’t the GOP be wishing for more community organizers who worked along small government and free market principles rather than those of Acorn? If any of this was discussed, it didn’t make it to my eyes and years. As such, it seemed that the Republican Party was undermining its own principles with this attack. Many others thought so as well. I read more than a few comments from people saying that this attack and others like it were pushing people away from the GOP.
Fast forward four years to the Romney campaign. Everyone remembers the “47% percent are going to vote for Obama no matter what” remark and the damage that did. It made Romney seem even more elitist and out of touch. Again, this was largely self-inflicted, instead of leaning into the comment and explaining why that was, emphasizing the fact that the support for Obama and Democrats in general was largely based on false pretenses, the campaign tried to backtrack. Some of the right wing commentators actually did own it and try to use it as a positive. Unfortunately, it morphed into a “makers and takers” narrative, dividing the country between those who create new products and jobs and those who don’t.
The main problem with his line of thinking is that it tends to lump in the average blue-collar, and most white-collar, workers in with people who are happy to stay in the welfare system. Naturally, most people fit into this category, people who go to work every day so they can collect a paycheck and continue to raise their families. The maker vs. taker outlook naturally makes them feel left out, as though their own contributions are without value. The result is that people either stay home on voting day or vote for the side that at least pretends to care about them. If not for the candidacy of Donald Trump and his deliberate appeal to those very same voters, we would still be stuck in that same narrative.
However, we really haven’t found a solid replacement. The Carlson view tends to elevate the role of government more than conservatives are comfortable with while down-playing the market’s benefits. The Shapiro view tends to dehumanize the individuals who work down in the trenches every day, treating them more like cogs in the free-market machine. For the record, I think Carlson is aware of the potential dangers of government intervention and Shapiro doesn’t actually think of people as cogs. The issue that both are struggling with is to find a way to talk about the way a changing market affects people without falling into either trap.
So how do we resolve this? How do we begin to address the individuals that make up our society and recognize their individual worth and dignity without invoking the state in a misguided attempt to enforce it?
I had been puzzling this for some time, unable to find a satisfactory answer until the daily Mass readings brought to my attention a passage I’d read many times before. This time though, it seemed like a giant neon sign point the way to an answer. In Romans, St. Paul addresses the congregation in Rome, a group of Christians that apparently was having a problem with some people acting like they were better than others, and with the subsequent envy of those who don’t have the more visibly prominent gifts. I’ll let St. Paul explain (Romans 12: 3-8):
For by the grace given to me I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than one ought to think, but to think soberly, each according to the measure of faith that God has apportioned.
For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ* and individually parts of one another.
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them: if prophecy, in proportion to the faith; if ministry, in ministering; if one is a teacher, in teaching; if one exhorts, in exhortation; if one contributes, in generosity; if one is over others, with diligence; if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
What St. Paul is telling us, is that we all have different gifts and as such, a different part to play. Some are more obvious than others, more significant. Yet, that doesn’t mean that others are not worth doing, even necessary. St. Paul applies the same thinking elsewhere, pointing out how silly it is to worry about whether the head or the foot is more important. The thing to keep in mind is that they need each other. The head isn’t getting far without the feet and the feet won’t have a place to go to without the head making decisions. Sure, the head has the bigger role, but it still needs the feet.
To bring it back to the Carlson/Shapiro debate, we need to reframe our discussion of economics to recognize the reality that St. Paul is pointing us toward. We all have a role, from the janitor, to the burger flipper, to the CEO. Clearly, the CEO has the bigger impact on society, yet he still needs others to perform their roles well. Bill Gates needed a team of programmers to turn his ideas into reality. Even more than that, patent clerks, lawyers, construction workers, and countless others had to do their jobs well in order for Gates to build his idea into the giant that is Microsoft. Are their contributions smaller? Yes. But they are no less necessary. Even President Trump owes some small part of his success to some guy with a shovel who broke ground on one of his properties.
What is the point of this? Why bring this up at all? By taking our cues from St. Paul, we can remember that every person, no matter their role has value, that they are contributing. That success need not be defined by whether or not you own your own business. That just because you are working by the hour and punching a clock, you are not a taker. You are a worker and a maker, making a life for yourself and those you love.
There are many questions to be explored in later articles such as social mobility, the role of automation, and how to manage when a business closes. This is not an end to the debate over how we should manage economic and technological change. Rather, it is a way to breathe some much needed fresh air into this debate.
Why Game of Thrones felt rushed
Graham Ledger: Democrats, mainstream media panicking over William Barr’s upcoming investigations
Carlson vs. Shapiro: A way forward
Sanctuary policies fail 14-year-old Ariana Funes-Diaz again as her suspected MS-13 murderers released a second time
Love is often a one-way street between Evangelical Christians and Jews (and that’s okay)
The rise of citizen journalists
Strait is the gate and narrow is the way: Churches, stop pushing a ‘wide gate’ doctrine
Did Jesus die exactly 1000 years after King David died?
The sons of God in Genesis 6 were not the sons of Seth (and Nephilim were really giants)
True inclusion is narrow and pure as Matthew 7 teaches
Jeremiah 23:5 – ‘a King shall reign and prosper’
Jude 1:21 – ‘in the love of God’
Proverbs 4:18 – ‘path of the just’
Exodus 20:8 – ‘the sabbath day’
Luke 5:31-32 – ‘sinners to repentance’
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