The election results on Tuesday weren’t all positive. While Massachusetts’s new Republican governor-elect addresses a statewide scourge of opiate addiction, voters demonstrated the flip side of democracy by voting to legalize weed:
“It’s time to move on to taxing and regulating marijuana,” said John Leonard of the Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts. “Let’s focus limited police resources where they are needed, to deal with victim crimes.”
Does marijuana trade and use have no victims? Contrary to what John Leonard says, “limited police resources” will be strained further by people infantilized by weed. Stoners drain social capital, which is to say they’re less able to manage their lives without heavy-handed, paternalistic government. The resulting dislocation is more taxing for police than stopping kids from becoming stoners to begin with. Resources are best spent at the bottleneck of drug trafficking and use before the problems of drug abuse broaden out.
As the movie Flight shows, there’s more liberty in sobriety than in the supposed “right” to poison yourself. Libertarians need to understand this. They have this warped view of people as isolated individuals, and a warped view of the law that it starts at the tips of the hairs on your skin. What exists between is not a network of interdependencies, culture, and history, but an imaginary, anarchic playground libertarians believe in with cult-like fervor.
The saying goes: “My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins.” Imagine a country of people swinging their fists within an inch of their neighbors’ noses. It’s a picture of hell, not a civil society.
This isn’t a screed about what the law should be. It’s about what the people should want. The law can only be as good as the people it governs.