What do David Brooks, Tina Brown, Joe Scarborough, and Pat Buchanan* have in common, besides their lily whiteness and comfy careers nurtured in the ivory halls of corporate media? Answer: They’re all baby boomers– a historically wavering demographic on all weed related issues — who spoke out against the recent legalization of cannabis in Colorado. Not one of them presented a convincing argument as to why.
In a bizarre New York Times op-ed penned by David Brooks (born 1961), the overprivileged columnist talks about the dangers that legal cannabis will wreak on our “moral ecology,” LOL.
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.
In legalizing weed, citizens of Colorado are, indeed, enhancing individual freedom. But they are also nurturing a moral ecology in which it is a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be.
He’s also just not that into weed and presumably prefers croquet and wine tasting:
I think being stoned is not a particularly uplifting form of pleasure and should be discouraged more than encouraged.
Former Newsweek/Daily Beast money burner and former media mogul Tina Brown (born 1953) echoed (and praised) Brooks’ sentiments on Twitter. She added an even more dubious claim of her own, tweeting how it essentially makes the U.S. less of a superpower:
[L]egal weed contributes to us being a fatter, dumber, sleepier nation even less able to compete with the Chinese.
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough (born 1963) added his two cents in the stupidest way possible:
It just makes you dumb. Pot just makes you dumb.
Not to be outdone by his outdated peers, Pat Buchanan, the oldest of the bunch, really went in and rambled about it leading to less college graduates and more injured people:
[T]here will be more potheads, and more high school dropouts and more automobile accidents involving marijuana.
That’s not the worst of it. The real danger potentially lies South of the border and is just the type of opportunity Mexican cartels have been waiting for:
I think it’s going to be a real incentive for the cartels to get into the business of moving marijuana and their other drugs here.
But can we really blame these aging old people for their deep-seated prejudices? They represent a segment of the population who have been subjected to decades of government propaganda and misinformation. From the early days of Reefer Madness in the late 1930s to the mommy state antics that helped create a genre of now hysterical, parody-like anti-pot commercials that flourished during the early 1980s, the prevailing attitude towards cannabis has been, for the most part, a predominantly negative one.
So, it’s no wonder that none of these pundits discussed the racial disparities — in both arrests and sentencing — that affects minority offenders compared to their white counterparts. They made no mention of how the War On Drugs is actually a War On Pot which in reality is a War On Lots of Americans, as it’s the most popular illegal drug in the United States that accounted for nearly half of the 1.5 million drug arrests made nationwide in 2011, according to the FBI.
Also absent from the baby boomer narrative is how we’re already losing the battle with China by shifting our manufacturing base out of the country and not producing anything but debt. The biggest upside to legalization is that it allows the U.S. to develop a homegrown industry, literally; an industry that it excels at and does so without shipping jobs overseas. No one in the world is better at growing weed than Americans. Someone should tell Tina Brown that the nation is already sleepy through its abuse of opiate-based prescription pills, which still has less of a social stigma than the far more benign weed precisely because weed is illegal and the rhetoric spewed by people like Tina Brown and her ilk. And don’t expect these curmudgeonly journalists to speak about Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, an organization that is committed to exactly how its name sounds.
The rationale of these pundits — like virtually all U.S. policy against pot — is not based on science. It’s based on good ol’ fashioned politics and gut feelings which have been systematically nurtured by a government that’s not only anti-cannabis, but even anti-hemp, a crop more akin to cotton than pot. But that hasn’t stopped the DEA from deeming it a controlled substance, making it illegal to grow. It’s in this type of draconian atmosphere that this old way of thinking has flourished.
Can you guess which age group was still the most behind the curve in a relatively recent poll on legalization? You guessed it, the boomers. Baby boomers: Not to be trusted.
*Pat Buchanan is so old there’s no category to put him, but he still fits the baby boomer psychographic.