David Brooks: I’ve smoked weed but you probably shouldn’t be allowed to

posted at 2:31 pm on January 3, 2014 by Allahpundit

Ninety percent of the reason this is getting buzz online, I’m convinced, is simple amusement at the thought of Mr. Reasonable toking himself silly as a teen. There’s no member of the commentariat who better fills the niche of well-meaning but paternalistic establishmentarian; as such, this is like watching an old episode of “Father Knows Best” where Robert Young reminisces about doing keg stands in his youth.

Alternate headline via Matt Lewis: “Smoke weed and you too might grow up to be a nationally famous columnist for America’s most respected paper.”

Smoking was fun, for a bit, but it was kind of repetitive. Most of us figured out early on that smoking weed doesn’t really make you funnier or more creative (academic studies more or less confirm this). We graduated to more satisfying pleasures. The deeper sources of happiness usually involve a state of going somewhere, becoming better at something, learning more about something, overcoming difficulty and experiencing a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment…

We now have a couple states — Colorado and Washington — that have gone into the business of effectively encouraging drug use. By making weed legal, they are creating a situation in which the price will drop substantially. One RAND study suggests that prices could plummet by up to 90 percent, before taxes and such. As prices drop and legal fears go away, usage is bound to increase. This is simple economics, and it is confirmed by much research. Colorado and Washington, in other words, are producing more users…

[T]hese are the core questions: Laws profoundly mold culture, so what sort of community do we want our laws to nurture? What sort of individuals and behaviors do our governments want to encourage? I’d say that in healthy societies government wants to subtly tip the scale to favor temperate, prudent, self-governing citizenship. In those societies, government subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned.

That’s a more elegant version of the point I flagged yesterday, that we should keep the ban on weed not because marijuana’s dangerous but because there are enough legal vices already luring us away from “higher pleasures.” The higher/lower pleasures argument is clever in that inevitably a few legalization advocates will be baited into countering that smoking is as edifying as any intellectual or professional pursuit, which plays directly into middle America’s fear of legalized weed turning the country into a bunch of lotus-eaters. The better counter, as Brooks’s own career illustrates, is that most people interested in the higher pleasures can and will chase them notwithstanding indulgence in the lower ones.

If he’s this serious about nurturing a nation of museum-goers, though, there’s really no reason to stop at pot. It’s easier to keep a lid on weed because it’s already banned in nearly every state, but if we’re all about promoting higher pleasures by pushing lower ones underground, alcohol and porn (and fatty foods?) should be next up for restrictions. That’ll take more effort — cultural biases towards permissiveness will have to be changed and legislation will have to be enacted — but effort is a small price to pay to engineer a more enlightened citizenry. Think of the, er, man hours we’d save if Internet porn suddenly became more difficult to access. (Or better yet, don’t. No one wants to read a David Brooks column on youthful experimentation with porn.) What do we do, though, if/when people deprived of porn, booze, and weed decide to spend their time playing “Grand Theft Auto” or watching the Kardashians instead of reading a book or visiting MOMA? How much engineering are we prepared to do here? Hard to believe that America’s appetite for “lower pleasures” is basically tolerable at its current level but would be pushed into the danger zone by legalizing something that’s already widely practiced illegally. If you want to clean up the culture through legislation, there’s no reason to stop at marijuana except laziness.

The other, bigger problem:

We’re breaking an awful lot of eggs to make this “higher pleasure” omelet — in David Freddoso’s words, “the wasted human capacity that is rotting in our prisons, the racial disparity of enforcement, the proliferation of paramilitary police tactics (and thus costly or deadly police mistakes), the intrusive financial surveillance (what would happen to the drug war if we replaced the income tax?), and the violence of the black market.” And ironically, the more broken the offenders are, the less likely Brooks’s omelet is to happen. If you’re frozen out of decent-paying jobs as an adult because you did time in your early 20s for selling weed, maybe you’ll turn to books and museums as your pastimes. But I wouldn’t bet on it. Which leaves us with a paradox: If the point of keeping pot verboten is to encourage citizens to better themselves, why make the punishment for using it so heavy that certain crucial means of self-betterment end up being foreclosed afterward? Rand Paul likes to make the point that if Obama had been busted as a teen over marijuana, his career prospects might have been so damaged that he’d never have become president. That’s a … nuanced argument for decriminalization to try on an Obama-hating conservative crowd, but it’s a stark way of expressing how steep the professional price can be for a victimless crime committed in one’s youth. Dubya, in fact, would have been disqualified too, despite having a more serious problem with alcohol into adulthood that carried no legal penalty.

What we’re really arguing about here is how many people would or should be sacrificed in a legalization regime versus a prohibition one. Brooks wants to save some fraction of pot users who wouldn’t try the drug but for legalization and will become consumed with it once they do. Legalizers want to save that fraction of pot users who, like David Brooks, have no problem managing their use and may eventually “age out” of it but end up in prison anyway because they got caught. How many of the latter should be sacrificed for the former? Or vice versa?


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

Obviously the privileged class is allowed to do things that the mere plebes are prohibited from doing.

besser tot als rot on January 3, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Meh, I walked away from all that after college. Was happy to get my brain back.

rbj on January 3, 2014 at 2:43 PM

One good thing about pot, it allows you to judge how great a man will be as president, based on the crease in his pantleg.

rightside on January 3, 2014 at 2:45 PM

I don’t understand the point of the discussion. I have no interest in a national pot debate. It’s an issue that should be left to the states, end of story. Nationalizing the “discussion” also means nationalizing the laws in today’s world, unfortunately. I want federal laws on prohibition gone (at least as far as their interference with state sovereignty is concerned), but I have no interest in federal legalization.

And Brooks mumbling about his soft-headed elitist notions of the world are coma inducing.

NotCoach on January 3, 2014 at 2:46 PM

Reading the NY Times shouldn’t be encouraged by the government. Make it illegal.

malclave on January 3, 2014 at 2:46 PM

Alternate headline via Matt Lewis: “Smoke weed and you too might grow up to be a nationally famous columnist for America’s most respected paper.”

Better Alternative Headline: David Brooks says if you smoke weed, you’ll end up like him; Nation Recoils in Horror =D

Stoic Patriot on January 3, 2014 at 2:46 PM

Laws profoundly mold culture, so what sort of community do we want our laws to nurture?

Real Simple….. LIBERTY…. where individuals are free — rather than prohibited — to engage with one another on their own terms and to control their own lives.

ain’t rocket science …. sport

roflmmfao

donabernathy on January 3, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Most of us figured out early on that smoking weed doesn’t really make you funnier or more creative (academic studies more or less confirm this).

I defer to academic studies on what’s funny and creative.

/you GOT to be kidding me

Paul-Cincy on January 3, 2014 at 2:48 PM

David Brooks: I’ve smoked weed…

Why am I not surprised?

CurtZHP on January 3, 2014 at 2:48 PM

One good thing about pot, it allows you to judge how great a man will be as president, based on the crease in his pantleg.

rightside on January 3, 2014 at 2:45 PM

It may allow you to judge, but it doesn’t allow you to judge well.

besser tot als rot on January 3, 2014 at 2:48 PM

How many of the latter should be sacrificed for the former? Or vice versa?


How about we decriminalize it the way Ohio did DECADES ago?

Up to certain weight, it’s a misdemeanor ticket – not a felony – you pay a fine and the taxpayers aren’t funding the “criminal education system” (aka known as prison) for potheads.

Even more radical?

Defund the DEA proportional to their (hard drugs busts)/(marijuana drug busts) for the previous year.

The “war on drugs” spends tens of billions of dollars every year and making the bulk of their busts catching such a small percentage of the overall marijuana traffic it would be cheaper to just have the DEA agents buy it on the street and incinerate it.

PolAgnostic on January 3, 2014 at 2:49 PM

I defer to academic studies on what’s funny and creative.

/you GOT to be kidding me

Paul-Cincy on January 3, 2014 at 2:48 PM

I think he’s kidding me, but to know for sure, I’D NEED AN ACADEMIC STUDY FOR THAT!!!!!

Paul-Cincy on January 3, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Obviously the privileged class is allowed to do things that the mere plebes are prohibited from doing.

besser tot als rot on January 3, 2014 at 2:42 PM

MSNBC and the illegal 30 round AR magazine on National Television without prosecution in Washington DC come to mind.

Johnnyreb on January 3, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Oh come one….I suscept vey few occasional marijuana users have ever served jail time. If you’ve gone to jail for pot use more than likely you were toking up everyday.

How about instead of legalizing it we relax the laws a little bit.

terryannonline on January 3, 2014 at 2:54 PM

David Brooks has written columns before, too, but he probably shouldn’t be allowed to.

cartooner on January 3, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Just like the war on Terror….Winning the war on drugs is the same as losing the war. THE MONEY STOPS FLOWING.

The fight must continue.

roflmmfao

donabernathy on January 3, 2014 at 2:56 PM

David Brooks … what a worthless p***y. I bet he voted for de Blasio. Hell, that’s probably who he bought his weed from back in the day.

M240H on January 3, 2014 at 2:57 PM

The national debate is actually over; the decriminalizers (of pot) have won. Agree or disagree, that’s a fact.

What conservatives need to figure out is how to get on the right side of the issue. And I’ll tell you this, the Brooks kind of moralizing isn’t the leg to stand on.

Standing on the side of liberty against the disgusting growth of government, the surveillance state, and military tactics used against civilians seems a lot more sane for small government conservatism.

Nessuno on January 3, 2014 at 2:57 PM

David Brooks has written columns before, too, but he probably shouldn’t be allowed to.

cartooner on January 3, 2014 at 2:55 PM

High-larious. Well done, sir.

M240H on January 3, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Smoking was fun, for a bit, but it was kind of repetitive. Most of us figured out early on that smoking weed doesn’t really make you funnier or more creative (academic studies more or less confirm this). We graduated to more satisfying pleasures.

Like what? Doing crack like the mayor of Toronto?

Steve Z on January 3, 2014 at 3:02 PM

I’ll just betcha he was always smokin’ someone else’s weed, all the while having secret contempt for the guy who actually bought — and paid for — it.

Rational Thought on January 3, 2014 at 3:02 PM

The national debate is actually over; the decriminalizers (of pot) have won. Agree or disagree, that’s a fact.

Nessuno on January 3, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Right, and the national debate on Obamacare was over in 2009.

We’ll see if pot legalization works as well when it’s implemented.

kcewa on January 3, 2014 at 3:03 PM

Why is it anyone’s business if someone else smokes pot?

If you think smoking pot leaves people’s lives in ruins, that is their choice to make, not yours.

Lots of things can ruin your life: alcohol, having kids out of wedlock, taking a major in Lesbian and Alternative Lifestyles, but none of those things are illegal.

I don’t even want to smoke marijuana – but why do so many people feel it’s their obligation to use nanny-state big government to coerce me into not doing so?

Leave me the eff alone!!!

DRayRaven on January 3, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Wait, making pot legal will cause huge chunks of the population to lose interest in succeeding and reaching for lofty life goals…yet welfare, foodstamps, Obamaphones, free healthcare, etc cause them to reach for the stars and succeed?!?!

nextgen_repub on January 3, 2014 at 3:07 PM

the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature,

LOL.

IOW, Brooks loves finger painting with his own feces … when he’s not obsessed with the pants creases of some dog-eating retard.

No, the “arts” are not among “the highest pleasures” for anyone serious and “being in nature” also falls far, far behind anything serious. Thinking beings enjoy using and changing Nature to suit ourselves more than the idiots’ dream of “being in nature”.

Hey, Dave, stick to fashion assessments as political determinations.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on January 3, 2014 at 3:07 PM

Well, we already have a third world style administration and now we get a fitting third world drug program for the masses.

Soma cant be far behind, can it?

Valkyriepundit on January 3, 2014 at 3:08 PM

If you’re frozen out of decent-paying jobs as an adult because you did time in your early 20s for selling weed,

Well at least this has the decency to say it is people selling that are going to jail and no this BS about smoking or possession. Are people in their early 20s not adults? Everyone seems to sidestep the issue here and that this person was a drug dealer. They could have made getting a decent paying job their priority but they obviously decided committing a felony was a better way to go. I would ask why everyone treats this like a life sentence or something? After 5-10 AND a clean record they can apply to get it expunged.

Rocks on January 3, 2014 at 3:09 PM

One good thing about pot, it allows you to judge how great a man will be as president, based on the crease in his pantleg.

rightside on January 3, 2014 at 2:45 PM

“Like, wow, that is one freakin’ cool crease, man! I’m serious! That dude would make one bitchin’ prez, you know?”

SacredFire on January 3, 2014 at 3:12 PM

Brooks has OBVIOUSLY “done” a LOT more than “Smoke Pot”

— He CLEARLY spent innumerable years incoherent on LSD and NO2

— He’s a LONG TIME “huffer” of gasoline, airplane glue and PAM

— He’s a LONG TIME “huffer” of Obama’s Used Underwear – that he concentrates by placing in plastic bage before “huffing” them

….not to mention he’s CONSTANTLY DRUNK!

williamg on January 3, 2014 at 3:12 PM

We graduated to more satisfying pleasures. The deeper sources of happiness usually involve a state of going somewhere, becoming better at something, learning more about something, overcoming difficulty and experiencing a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment…

Why doesn’t he just say it… liquor.

Fallon on January 3, 2014 at 3:14 PM

At this point, the enforcement needed to completely eradicate MJ from the country would result in an overbearing police state (some would say we’re halfway there already)… and that is completely unacceptable to me.

Keep it legal, treat it like liquor. Concentrate your energies on preventing kids from buying it (except for carefully monitored medical use), supporting rehab clinics for those who can’t handle it, and let the free market work its magic for those who CAN handle it.

TMOverbeck on January 3, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Wait, making pot legal will cause huge chunks of the population to lose interest in succeeding and reaching for lofty life goals…yet welfare, foodstamps, Obamaphones, free healthcare, etc cause them to reach for the stars and succeed?!?!

nextgen_repub on January 3, 2014 at 3:07 PM

I understand the point you’re making, but the point could also be made that all those freebies are what allow the “poor” to afford to sit around on their asses and do drugs, including, of course, pot. That is already happening and is likely to increase with legalized dope.

JannyMae on January 3, 2014 at 3:15 PM

….not to mention he’s CONSTANTLY DRUNK!

williamg on January 3, 2014 at 3:12 PM

Like minds…

Fallon on January 3, 2014 at 3:15 PM

[T]hese are the core questions: Laws profoundly mold culture, so what sort of community do we want our laws to nurture?

But, can laws profoundly culture mold? I think that’s a core question too…

Marcola on January 3, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Why is it anyone’s business if someone else smokes pot?

DRayRaven on January 3, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Because they have to work alongside that person. Or rely on that person’s judgement for their safety.

We already have enough problems with drugs in our society. Why experiment with legalizing pot?

kcewa on January 3, 2014 at 3:17 PM

@rock

That was the point I was trying make. Its a dumb argument that peoples’ lives are ruined for occasional drug use because of jail time. The people going to jail aren’t occasional users and are frankly dealers. They aren’t all innocent youth experimenting.

terryannonline on January 3, 2014 at 3:17 PM

Had a roommate–”Andy”–in the dorms in college. He had started his college career at the Naval Academy with an interest in becoming a USMC officer, but had left after his freshman year (I never did know for sure whether he quit or was expelled) when it became clear that his love of smoking marijuana far outweighed his interest in a military career. I was a freshman at the time, Andy was a junior, and my memories of him mostly revolve around images of a vague figure in the corner of the dorm room, obscured by wafting clouds of marijuana smoke.

I ran into Andy again a few years later, when by coincidence we both became tenants of the same apartment building off campus. By this time, I was a senior, a couple of semesters away from graduating and being commissioned through the ROTC program. Andy, on the other hand, was… still a junior.

Anecdotal, yes. But it’s true that I’ve never met a hardcore pothead who wasn’t a total loser and didn’t suck at life.

That said, I approve of decriminalization of marijuana, and think that if someone wants to be a loser and smoke their lives away, that’s their prerogative.

And Trouser Crease is still an idiot.

Hayabusa on January 3, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Now the whole Brooks thing makes sense. For the NYT a conservative columnist is a liberal who quit toking up.

tommyboy on January 3, 2014 at 3:19 PM

But, can laws profoundly culture mold? I think that’s a core question too…

Marcola on January 3, 2014 at 3:15 PM

You hit it. Laws are a reflection of culture and not the other way around. More specifically, the Rule of Law, itself, is a feature of Western culture, though Barky and his panty-sniffers prefer “empathy” (arbitrary Rule by the whim of emotional basketcases and mental defectives) in order to be more in line with the noble savages (and Nobel savage) they idolize.

You cannot really fight culture with law. The absence of law, however, can allow culture to disintegrate – which is where the left wants to go. Nihilism and dog-eating savagery for all!

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on January 3, 2014 at 3:20 PM

Encouraging children to be criminals and chronic drug users is not a victimless crime.

Observation on January 3, 2014 at 3:20 PM

They could have made getting a decent paying job their priority but they obviously decided committing a felony was a better way to go. I would ask why everyone treats this like a life sentence or something? After 5-10 AND a clean record they can apply to get it expunged.

In some of these states, it might as well BE a life sentence.

F—ing mandatory minimums, how do they work?

TMOverbeck on January 3, 2014 at 3:20 PM

Uhhhh, what were we talking about again?

forest on January 3, 2014 at 3:26 PM

I’d say that in healthy societies government wants to subtly tip the scale

The government needs to keep its hands off my scale. It will mess up me weighing my weed.

WhatSlushfund on January 3, 2014 at 3:26 PM

David Bogard Brooks, making a name for himself…

claudius on January 3, 2014 at 3:26 PM

YO DAVE….. who da f0ck wants to grow up to be a columnist?

The kid that wanted to be a junkie but couldn’t pass Phlebotomy 101

roflmmfao

donabernathy on January 3, 2014 at 3:26 PM

Oh, he smoked weed, but it’s you who should be put in the slammer for it.

We think Brooks would be speaking a different tune if he himself had been put in Big House for 20 years. Actually he’d probably be just mumbling incoherently now, as good as lobotomized. No, we don’t need any more of the liberal Republican self-righteous “I’m so enlightened that I can even go against the grain of what is considered to be enlightened” enlightenment. Put a plug in it.

anotherJoe on January 3, 2014 at 3:27 PM

Why is it anyone’s business if someone else smokes pot?

DRayRaven on January 3, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Let’s just say for example the pot smoking dude is working next to me on the Flight Deck of an Aircraft Carrier, or maybe the stoned kid putting the tires on my car at Sears, or the high guy driving next to me down the road to get to Pizza Hut to satisfy his craving. That’s why.

Johnnyreb on January 3, 2014 at 3:27 PM

We don’t have to have full legalization to keep mere users out of prison. I don’t think there are small time users in jail in large numbers anyway, they are usually connected to dealing or other crimes.

echosyst on January 3, 2014 at 3:29 PM

“Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

― H.L. Mencken

Get a Life Dave

roflmmfao

donabernathy on January 3, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Uhhhh, what were we talking about again?

forest on January 3, 2014 at 3:26 PM

Thread winner.

Paul-Cincy on January 3, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Didn’t this jackwagon support obama. Go away.

crosshugger on January 3, 2014 at 3:32 PM

One good thing about pot, it allows you to judge how great a man will be as president, based on the crease in his pantleg.

rightside on January 3, 2014 at 2:45 PM

given the caliber of his musings, I’m wondering if he really did quit pot or did he “quit” quit pot?

AH_C on January 3, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Laws profoundly mold culture, so what sort of community do we want our laws to nurture?

J.E. Dyer had a very good post yesterday that laws designed to mold society are evil and unconstitutional in that they deny the citzen to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Her object of discussion was the Incandescent Bulb ban – not just imoral, but evil:

The light bulb ban is evil because it treats people as if we are, in the aggregate, a “system” to be tinkered with. Change an input here, and the output will change there.

Humanity and our aggregate actions and decisions, our interactions with each other and the physical world, the physical world’s effects on us – the sum total of these things is seen, in the progressive-left philosophy, as a great “system,”

Read More…

AH_C on January 3, 2014 at 3:41 PM

If the point of keeping pot verboten is to encourage citizens to better themselves, why make the punishment for using it so heavy that certain crucial means of self-betterment end up being foreclosed afterward?

For Statists, it’s not about the actual outcome, it’s about the control.

For example, the clearly proven fact that second-hand smoke has no measurable affect on health will have zero impact on anti-smoking laws. That’s because second-hand smoke “dangers” were the lever to push anti-smoking laws, not the reason for them.

Clark1 on January 3, 2014 at 3:44 PM

Defund the DEA…

The “war on drugs” spends tens of billions of dollars every year and making the bulk of their busts catching such a small percentage of the overall marijuana traffic it would be cheaper to just have the DEA agents buy it on the street and incinerate it.

PolAgnostic on January 3, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Problem is it’s not about cheapness or effectiveness or even winning. The thing is the politicos that are for the W.O.Drugs just like the idea that they are “law and order” types and get a little thrill that the underclass and amoral scums are being at least bullied and sideswiped by their big SWAT teams and big prison guards (& their unions!). The law enforcement and SWAT teams themselves don’t give even a flying leap about the law; many have retired and joined LEAP or Law Enforcement Against Prohibition; anyway, the SWAT members are recruited with films showing their big door busting busts, and they are all into their reactive body armor and “shoot around corners” guns and the buzz of the 3am dog kill.

anotherJoe on January 3, 2014 at 3:45 PM

we should keep the ban on weed not because marijuana’s dangerous but because there are enough legal vices already

So what you’re saying is that it’s okay for people to get drunk and kill people while driving. It’s okay that domestic violence is a byproduct of drinking. It’s okay for all the insane acts drinking produces all because it’s legal.

Question – how much of the above is involved in marijuana smoking? What is the actual harm done by smoking pot? I’ve smoke pot over 30 years, have a job with a 6 figure salary and do not commit crimes other than smoke pot. I don’t drink because of the bad side effects of alcohol.

Whatever happened to personal liberty and responsibility? Someone needs to make a valid argument why pot, which is a god created thing, is bad for society. Pot has been around since the beginning of time and was only outlawed in the last century. What does that tell you about the harmfulness of this drug?

el hombre on January 3, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Let’s just say for example the pot smoking dude is working next to me on the Flight Deck of an Aircraft Carrier, or maybe the stoned kid putting the tires on my car at Sears, or the high guy driving next to me down the road to get to Pizza Hut to satisfy his craving. That’s why.

Johnnyreb on January 3, 2014 at 3:27 PM

This is generally my concern with legalizing pot. I am for decriminalizing, but worry about societal impacts. We can test an impaired driver for alcohol, and punish accordingly. Can we do the same with THC? (meaning: on the spot, “blow into this” and have a verifiable answer)

Coolidge_Conservative on January 3, 2014 at 3:56 PM

It is amazing that many here are advocating for legalizing marijuana… Marijuana users are not only hurting themselves but hurting others just like alcoholics and other drug users… They cost us lot of money to take care of their failures…

mnjg on January 3, 2014 at 3:56 PM

Uhhhh, what were we talking about again?

forest on January 3, 2014 at 3:26 PM

Cookies

Rio Linda Refugee on January 3, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Allah,

Who says Brooks has aged out of toking? Based on some of what he has said . . ..

EB

EdmundBurke247 on January 3, 2014 at 3:58 PM

No one wants to read a David Brooks column on youthful experimentation with porn.

we already did, it was about a senator and his pant crease. It wasn’t weed Brooks was smoking that day.

bannor on January 3, 2014 at 3:58 PM

Brooks smoking weed?

That is one toke over the line.

faraway on January 3, 2014 at 3:59 PM

I’d say that in healthy societies government wants to subtly tip the scale

I’d say that allowing the government anywhere near the scales is unhealthy for freedom and personal liberty.
Not only that, once one notices that government has “subtly” tipped the scales your liberties are about to be tipped over into a pile of rubble.

Rio Linda Refugee on January 3, 2014 at 4:01 PM

Brooks smoking weed?

That is one toke over the line.

faraway on January 3, 2014 at 3:59 PM

. . . .. . . . . . . . . . . ,.-‘”. . . . . . . . . .“~.,
. . . . . . . .. . . . . .,.-”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .“-.,
. . . . .. . . . . . ..,/. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ”:,
. . . . . . . .. .,?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .\,
. . . . . . . . . /. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,}
. . . . . . . . ./. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,:`^`.}
. . . . . . . ./. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,:”. . . ./
. . . . . . .?. . . __. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . :`. . . ./
. . . . . . . /__.(. . .“~-,_. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,:`. . . .. ./
. . . . . . /(_. . ”~,_. . . ..“~,_. . . . . . . . . .,:`. . . . _/
. . . .. .{.._$;_. . .”=,_. . . .“-,_. . . ,.-~-,}, .~”; /. .. .}
. . .. . .((. . .*~_. . . .”=-._. . .“;,,./`. . /” . . . ./. .. ../
. . . .. . .\`~,. . ..“~.,. . . . . . . . . ..`. . .}. . . . . . ../
. . . . . .(. ..`=-,,. . . .`. . . . . . . . . . . ..(. . . ;_,,-”
. . . . . ../.`~,. . ..`-.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..\. . /\
. . . . . . \`~.*-,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..|,./…..\,__
,,_. . . . . }.>-._\. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .|. . . . . . ..`=~-,
. .. `=~-,_\_. . . `\,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .\
. . . . . . . . . .`=~-,,.\,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .\
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . `:,, . . . . . . . . . . . . . `\. . . . . . ..__
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .`=-,. . . . . . . . . .,%`>–
Sweet Jesus.

Rio Linda Refugee on January 3, 2014 at 4:03 PM

“this is getting buzz online…”

Isn’t the term “getting buzzed?” Hahahaha!

RMCS_USN on January 3, 2014 at 4:03 PM

Why would anybody be interested in this boring twit or what he had to say?

rrpjr on January 3, 2014 at 4:05 PM

anotherJoe on January 3, 2014 at 3:45 PM

This is a nice concept but it is silly. Weed is now legal in CO but you know what still isn’t? Selling, at least not without a license. That same poor early 20 something mentioned will still get his life ruined for selling a few joints at the frat party. The War on drugs will simply become the war on anybody selling drugs the state doesn’t want too. The raids will go on. People legally growing weed will get busted because they failed to notice that 7th plant which cropped up in the pot patch and they will be checking. It won’t be the War on Drugs anymore but just another part of the war on people trying to avoid taxes. A War the government spends far more on and takes far more seriously than the War on Drugs.

Rocks on January 3, 2014 at 4:05 PM

It seems like, to me, heroin — as a recreational user — would be more desirable than a joint. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there!

Lickmuffin on January 3, 2014 at 4:05 PM

It seems like, to me, heroin — as a recreational user — would be more desirable than a joint. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there!

Lickmuffin on January 3, 2014 at 4:05 PM

I prefer LSD personally extremely more enlightening.

Rio Linda Refugee on January 3, 2014 at 4:08 PM

Before entering a museum, smoke a joint. Best of all worlds.

BL@KBIRD on January 3, 2014 at 4:09 PM

I’ve often thought the NY Times’ highest purpose was either rolling paper or fish wrap.

Marxism is for dummies on January 3, 2014 at 4:12 PM

Note to David Brooks….Being a pothead as a youngster led to your embarrassing obsession with trouser creases…

workingclass artist on January 3, 2014 at 4:27 PM

BTW, growing and smoking weed in your own home in Alaska has long been legal – something like up to 4 plants. That said, years ago when I was in Alaska many of them were blowing all their Valdez money (and there was TONS of it) on coke and freebasing (which I never understood … to be doing coke in the middle of nowhere …).

I had heard that the pot laws were changed some time later but I’m not sure. It was a weird situation. It was illegal to sell or transfer or transport any weed or seeds, but if you could smuggle seeds into your house you were good to go.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on January 3, 2014 at 4:28 PM

It seems like, to me, heroin — as a recreational user — would be more desirable than a joint. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there!

Lickmuffin on January 3, 2014 at 4:05 PM

I’ve known people who have done heroin recreationally yet managed to keep it under control and then eventually leave it behind as a youthful interest. I’ve know a lot more who have had it destroy their lives. Heroin is a very different beast than weed.

I’ve never done it, but I was never into opiate-type drugs. I never really understood what people liked about them. They just put you to sleep. But some people just take a shot or a line of heroin, and that’s it, their days are numbered. Jail or dead.

WhatSlushfund on January 3, 2014 at 4:30 PM

I prefer LSD personally extremely more enlightening.

Rio Linda Refugee on January 3, 2014 at 4:08 PM

I’ve done LSD literally hundreds of times. Back in my stoner days, I did it religiously once a week for years and years.

I’m in no way advocating it. People are free to make their own choices, and they should be aware of what they’re getting into. Lots of people that I’ve known who were really into other drugs (coke for example) didn’t like LSD. I obviously liked it a lot. I haven’t done LSD since college, and it’s not something that I seek out today. I only drink beer today.

WhatSlushfund on January 3, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Wow, is this guy COOL or what!??

Yeah, I’ll tell you…why I used to buy bags of Columbian
Gold Bud for $30 back in the day….also, used to
down enough Whiskey to float a battleship around
(O.K., that’s a lyric from a Skynard song), and I used
to Toke Lebanese Hash, and when my buddies and
I were really lucky, we’d score on some Hash Oil!,
and I used to do enougn Blow in the 80′s to hold
a Winter Olympics..

..so when I grow up, can I be just like you Davy??

ToddPA on January 3, 2014 at 4:47 PM

Rocks on January 3, 2014 at 4:05 PM

Good points you make. Sometimes we got to go one step at a time though. And remember also that though your arguments are valid for CO, a few years ago in CA, financed chiefly by the prison guard union and medical marijuana sellers, the same kind of points were made that the legal pot initiative in CA wasn’t offering “true freedom,” and it was thus defeated (with wall to wall commercials run by the prison guard unions). Now apparently another initiative is on the ballot for this year for CA. We don’t want the prison guards again succeeding in taking it down. Again, not that I care personally, because I don’t smoke the dubious stuff, it’s the gd police state that I don’t like. And people are smart enough, or at least have to be accorded the responsibility, to make their own choice. Leave it at that. And truth is, once pot becomes legal, those who point out the dangers of pot are going to get a lot more traction, because it won’t be so cool anymore, and the downsides suddenly will be paid attention to.

anotherJoe on January 3, 2014 at 4:47 PM

Three more years of Obama.

We may all need some weed.

trigon on January 3, 2014 at 4:55 PM

So, are there any prohibitionists left? I mean, who wants to be on the same side of the issue as Brooks?

MJBrutus on January 3, 2014 at 4:56 PM

Legalizing pot won’t make drug users out of non-drug users. Whether you do drugs or not, is a function of your personality and character, not a function of the law. The drugs are readily available for anyone who wants them. All it would do is is stop making criminals out of non-criminals.

And THAT is what the social conservatives don’t like about legalization. They want to be able to punish the users. They say it is about deterrence, but obviously drug laws don’t deter. All they do is allow a mechanism for punishment.

Social cons have got to do. Let them form their own party. The official opposition to socialism needs to rise above this culture war trap.

keep the change on January 3, 2014 at 4:59 PM

Dave Brooks’ Not Here.

Del Dolemonte on January 3, 2014 at 5:27 PM

I had a friend back in the day who liked to get high and then go to the theater to see an action movie. He would sit right up front in the middle when the movie house would put those seats really close to the screen. He would just…stare at the movie up there in front, didn’t move, just stared.

Bishop on January 3, 2014 at 5:33 PM

David Brooks: I’ve smoked weed…

…as recently as the other day before settling in to write my latest column.

FlameWarrior on January 3, 2014 at 6:13 PM

David Brooks: I’ve smoked weed…

…not a lot, but just enough to get myself — like my ideas — half-baked.

FlameWarrior on January 3, 2014 at 6:15 PM

David Brooks: I’ve smoked weed…

…because it’s important to me as a conservative to “fit in” with the cool crowd and not be stuck at the dweeb table with the rest of you Hot Air-type squares.

FlameWarrior on January 3, 2014 at 6:21 PM

Maybe we should treat marijuana like sex. You can do it alone or with as many people as you want as often as you want as long as you don’t charge anything for it. Or maybe we should just make sex illegal unless it’s medical sex for getting pregnant. After all, there are a lot of negative and unhealthy consequences that can come from sex.

xblade on January 3, 2014 at 6:41 PM

I think the legalization argument is moot at this point. The trends are obvious to anyone paying attention. It will be legal everywhere if not by the letter of the law at least by the lack of enforcment of the laws. This particular battle is over time to move on.

steel guy on January 3, 2014 at 7:18 PM

Does anyone really care what steam pressed boy thinks anymore anyway?

WryTrvllr on January 3, 2014 at 8:08 PM

David Brooks: I’ve smoked weed…

…yes…well…he’s probably done Lizzy Warren and Hillary too!…not interested in what he has to say!

KOOLAID2 on January 3, 2014 at 8:24 PM

I’d say that in healthy societies government wants to subtly tip the scale to favor temperate, prudent, self-governing citizenship.

Therefore, the Democratic administration (aka government) must hate healthy societies.

AesopFan on January 3, 2014 at 9:42 PM

Now we have to read David Brooks through two lenses: the clear-thinker or the pot-head. Which is he, this time?

Was the Obama pants rhapsody a blinding flash of lucidity or another night of weed-induced stumbling-for-copy?

virgo on January 4, 2014 at 3:08 AM

Legalizers want to save that fraction of pot users who, like David Brooks, have no problem managing their use and may eventually “age out” of it but end up in prison anyway because they got caught

Seems like there’s a middle ground here. Like you said in the other post, this is first experiment with fully legalizing pot in the entire world, not just the US. Amsterdam, though known for its high tolerance of pot, hasn’t legalized it. If the main concern is not sending people to jail just for smoking, do we need to go as far as legalizing it? Plus, in that last post, you seemed to agree that legalization might lead to more users as it mainstreams the drug.

I don’t buy into any hysteria against pot, but I’m also not persuaded by the idea that we have to legalize it just because we’ve legalized alcohol, which is in many ways worse than pot (though I’d argue alcohol is better in moderation). If anything prohibition has shown us how difficult it is to literally try to put the cork back in the bottle on something that has become mainstream.

I’m not against legalization, but I’d rather decriminalize it first. It addresses the concern of lives being ruined over a victimless crime but also the concern that pot shops will encourage use. I mean, I’ve been to Amsterdam. That’s not a city that’s bothered much by the fact that it isn’t fully legal.

Esthier on January 4, 2014 at 8:59 AM

One RAND study suggests that prices could plummet by up to 90 percent,

plummet
  Use Plummet in a sentence
plum·met
[pluhm-it] Show IPA

3.
to plunge.

Apparently being able to use English accurately is not a job requirement at the NYT.

vityas on January 4, 2014 at 9:09 AM

Typical liberal hypocracy. Do as I say, but not as I do.

kemojr on January 4, 2014 at 9:47 AM

I find the arguments about pot legalization to be mostly off-target (I find David Brooks to be 100% off-target).

Marijuana has been readily available in the U.S. since the 1970′s. That availability was due to the laws being either ignored or unenforceable. Billions of dollars have been spent on enforcement and there is more marijuana available in every state than ever before.

Colorado already has more than 500 medical marijuana shops where people (mostly with prescriptions for phantom medical conditions) can choose from a menu of very high-grade marijuana.

Just like allowing people to drive cars, own cell phones, or consume alcohol, there will be problems with retail marijuana. I believe there will be far fewer problems and far less expense to society than the current situation.

pilsener on January 4, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Not a nice man.

David Blue on January 4, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Two things. 1. I actually read the synopsis on the law. Typical doper moment. They are all excited about “legalization” of pot. Yet it is still illegal by and large if you have over an ounce. If you give it away or give it to a juviecit is crime. More than six plants is a crime. Trafficking etc still a crime. So what is the big deal? If allows you to hold a small amount. That is it.

The people most excited here is the politicians. Here is a hint. If the Tax collectors are giggling you are getting screwed. Colorado thinks it will have 500 million in sales- taxable sales.

2.
I wrote about the folly of legalization years ago. Google pot peeling the onion to find the articles. I have had the argument with my yuppie dope smoking buddies and pointed out exactly how their arguments fail.

A- “too many dopers are in jail.” Bull. I lived to police life and know it takes a lot to go to jail for dope. Most dopers got fines or probation, much like what you see in Colorado now. Besides now that it is regulated and we see the official price higher than the street price (the non taxed price) how is Colorado going to stop the black market? Dopers are nothing if not frugal with their money! So all you will get is arrested dope dealers and tax evaders sitting in jail.
B- “it will stop violence” Why? Dope equals a lot of cash. Cash breeds greed. Greed breeds violence. You think the street corner hustler having a dispute with another will now sue instead of throw rounds? Right….
C-prices will go down. I rest my case on day two. I read the Cost is 400 for approved vs 250 for street. And that is not including taxes!
D- And my favorite- it won’t bother kids. Read the articles. Trust me it will send far reaching bad messages. And create dealers who deal to underage kids and guess what…go to jail!

Years ago I told libertarian friend I knew what this was really all about. Her and her yuppie boomer friends wanted to be able to drink their wine, eat their filet mignon and smoke a little weed on the weekends and not worry about 5-0 kicking down their door.
The rest of society and its children be damned.

archer52 on January 4, 2014 at 4:27 PM

Comment pages: 1 2