In his dialogues, Plato taught that no man is a citizen alone. Individuals and families need support in society and the public arena. Today, many parents rightly believe the culture is against them. Government policies should stand with responsible parents — and under no circumstances actively undermine them.
Drug legalization would do exactly that. It would send an unmistakable signal to everyone, including the young: Drug use is not a big deal. We’re giving up. Have at it.
In taking a strong stand against drug use and legalization, Republicans would align themselves with parents, schools and communities in the great, urgent task of any civilization: protecting children and raising them to become responsible adults.
But the argument against drug legalization can go even further. As the late social scientist James Q. Wilson noted, many people cite the “costs” of and “socioeconomic factors” behind drug use; rarely do people say that drug use is wrong because it is morally problematic, because of what it can do to mind and soul. Indeed, in some liberal and libertarian circles, the “language of morality” is ridiculed. It is considered unenlightened, benighted and simplistic. The role of the state is to maximize individual liberty and be indifferent to human character.