A few more comments on Root and Libertarianism

First, I’d like to restate my bafflement about the libertarian idea that state and local governments are inherently less corrupt and less tyrannical than the federal one. As I pointed out in the original post, if you want to look at your basic, dehumanizing, mean-spirited everyday tyranny, the states are where its at. From Oklahoma’s reprehensible vaginal ultrasound and legalizing malpractice legislation, to Arizona’s Papers Please Act of 2010 and its companion All History is White History Act, the states are where the tyrannical action is. It just may be that those prejudices match up with the prejudices of states’ rights libertarians or (both more and less charitably) that state politicians are easier to manipulate (see, please, the politics of Alaska, New Jersey, Louisiana, Illinois, etc).

Second, medical marijuana. Root devotes all this time to talking about medical marijuana, and none to legalizing recreation marijuana. Similarly, the Obama administration has announced that it’s backing off prosecuting medical marijuana dispensaries, but opposing the decriminalization referendum in California. So what’s the difference?

My two main thoughts are political palatability and race. We have, to this day, a distinction in our cultural minds about God’s Poor and the Devil’s Poor. Some people are struck down by circumstance, and deserve help, and some people are shiftless vagabonds and ought to be grateful we don’t just hang them. My working theory is that for the Libertarian Party, whose electoral success depends on drawing off conservatives, recreational marijuana is a bridge too far, but cancer patients are the God’s Poor, and so medical marijuana is ok. My other thought it that perhaps medical marijuana is coded as something that white people do, where recreational marijuana may still be coded as black. It may also be a class thing (who’s going to be able to visit a doctor for a prescription?). So it’s safer, politically, to be in favor of medical marijuana than recreational marijuana.

As a final note, I’m going to make a rash prediction about the legalization of marijuana. No Democratic president, under the current set up, is going to legalize or decriminalize cannabis for for recreational use. Assuming the moderates win the Republican factional infighting – either by taking back control of the party or by the teabaggers and theocrats forming their own party – a Republican president will use it as an early-term gesture of bipartisanship. That, anyway, is my guess.

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  1. March 21st, 2011

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