Smoking Marlboros in New York City is forbidden in many bars and other locations…but buying and selling marijuana is entirely legal anywhere in Colorado as well as in the state of Washington.
It doesn’t take a weatherman to tell which way the wind is blowing.
One certain result of the legalization of marijuana is that there will be many more potheads, more dropouts, and more fatal highway accidents from those who are high on the canabis weed. Oh, and we’ll be building more rehab centers, too.
Tens of thousands of Coloradans may relish the freedom they have voted for themselves, but the costs of that freedom will be borne by society and by the future victims of potheads behind the wheel.
It happened precisely the same way with alcohol. All of us can recall classmates injured and dead in auto accidents, jobs lost by friends, lives destroyed and families smashed because of booze.
Just as beer opens the door for a further exploration of bourbon, scotch, gin, and vodka, marijuana has proven itself to be the preferred gateway drug, the escalator drug, to cocaine and heroin.
And, if marijuana sales bring in the revenue Colorado is hoping for, other states will follow suit. Some state will be the first to decriminalize cocaine, making its use “recreational,” just like pot.
Undeniably, the cultural revolution in the US is gaining converts as it picks up speed. It was half a century ago that pot first began to replace alcohol as the drug of choice for baby boomers in college. Now that the boomers are moving into their Social Security years, marijuana is being legalized for “recreational use” and personal enjoyment, not just for the occasional medical application. With same-sex marriage now legal in a third of our states, the legalization of marijuana appears to be another idea whose time has come.
What does this tell us about our country?
America is not only diversifying racially, ethnically, and religiously as a result of continuous mass immigration both legal and illegal, we are also diversifying — and disuniting — morally, culturally, and politically.
Not so very long ago the US enforced Prohibition, pronounced smoking a menace to our national health, punished gambling as organized crime, and declared a war on drugs. Now the government has pushed organized crime aside as it has decided to take over, tax, and regulate the rackets. At federal, state, and local levels the government makes sure it collects vast revenues from taxes on booze, bars, cigarettes, casinos, and soon, online poker.
NORM ‘n’ AL Note: It’s gettin’ so its dern near impossible to make a good livin’ being a crook anymore! Dadgum gummint is crowdin’ out everybody!
Why play the numbers, run by your neighborhood mafia, when you can legally play dozens of lotteries with much bigger potential paydays?
In 1965, in Griswold v. Connecticut, the Warren Supreme Court discovered a constitutional right to privacy and overturned a state law which prohibited the sale of contraceptives…which, of course, are now handed out to high school students and made a right as part of the new Obamacare law.
Abortion and homosexuality used to be scandalous. Now they are constitutional rights as well as popular social causes, and same-sex marriage is the new civil rights “banner cause” of the 21st century.
As Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has noted, if tradition, religious beliefs, or community opposition is not sufficient to restrict private behavior, upon what legal ground do we outlaw polygamy, adult incest, or prostitution?
Traditional America, however, is not ready to roll over and play dead. “Abortion rights” face new restrictions in state after state as a new adult generation appears more pro-life than its parents. As the “Duck Dynasty” producers found when they tried to oust Phil Robertson for his Biblical reflections, the silent majority seems to remain faithful to traditional morality.
On the other hand, while a libertarianism of the left seems to be growing, there is also a rising and militant libertarianism on the right. We have seen it manifest in the explosion of “stand your ground” and concealed carry laws, opposition to federal background checks for gun owners, and ferocious resistance to the outlawing of assault rifles and 30-round magazines.
In the same Colorado where pot is now legal, state senators have been recalled for insufficient devotion to Second Amendment rights. And there are bubbling secessionist movements, in Colorado and other states, put forth by folks who would like to separate themselves altogether from current state governments they see as weak and ineffective.
The triumph of the sexual revolution, if we can call it a triumph, has not been without its casualties. Among them are an endless number of new HIV/AIDS and STD cases, not to mention a national illegitimacy rate of more than 40% of all births. The bigger problem is that the correlation between that illegitimacy rate and the dropout rate, the drug use rate, the delinquency rate, the crime rate, and the rate of incarceration is absolute, that is, beyond any doubt whatsoever.
There is no denying that the claims of the individual to maximum autonomy and freedom appear triumphant over the claims of community. Whether me should always prevail over us, however, is far from absolute; we no longer have the moral compass that guided us since our founding days. If we need a reference as to how that attitude is going to resolve itself, we have only to look at the book of Judges in the Bible, where we are told in the days before King David “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
[by Pat Buchanan, well-known nationally as a columnist and author, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and on the White House staff of three US presidents. NORM ‘n’ AL had a small part in editing this piece for blog publication.]
As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by
NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis