My friend Jon Rowe, a libertarian blogger and college professor, has written a thoughtful post responding to my debate with Mary Grabar on marijuana legalization, conservatism, and the counterculture.
Over the years I’ve found Jon’s blogging on the founding to be tremendously erudite and engaging. If you haven’t been following his writing then you really should.
I knew Dave Swindle when he was less of a somebody (when he wrote for his college newspapers). He always had nice things to say about my work and still does. Back then he was an enemy of David Horowitz. Now he’s an editor for Horowitz’s Frontpagemag. He still has the same more or less libertarian worldview, but has switched from progressive politics to conservative. For that (libertarian) reason, I’m one of his friends from the past who hasn’t been at all bothered by his move (truth be told, he probably moved closer to where I am politically).
Not that it need be said, but I think Swindle is obviously correct. I’m tempted to just insult Dr. Grabar’s post with an ad hominem and move on. But I won’t. There’s way too much for me to respond to, so I am going to pick my battles.
Her first passage that stood out:
[Marijuana] is not safe. It has serious health effects. It is addictive. I personally know people who smoke it every day. They started young. One started after being in a motorcycle accident and used it for pain. These are people who are supporting themselves, true. But they are people who are operating way below capacity, who have lost the ability to think logically or to care enough to argue logically. Their emotional relationships are shallow. They have lost initiative and that fighting spirit that defends the idea of liberty.
Why now put the imprimatur of legality on a substance that does this?
This is just refer madness style, meaningless anecdotal citation, making stuff up about pot, hitting and running with it.
Neither she nor her authorities prove MJ is “unsafe” or that is has “serious health effects.” As far as it being addictive, no evidence shows it is in a physical sense (like alcohol is for some, and tobacco, heroin/opiates, for many more). Is it psychologically addictive? For a great many, yes. But ANYTHING can be psychologically addictive. (Think about how much time YOU spend on the Internet.)
As for her claim, “[b]ut they are people who are operating way below capacity,” and the rest of the passage that follows, I could flip every assertion she makes on its head and would have as much anecdotal and empirical evidence from which to draw. But I won’t waste space.