Last week professional idiot Ross Douthat was ranting about how big gobmint’s forcing people to buy health insurance (eventually no doubt under threat of being sent to the FEMA camps) would be a terrible encroachment on personal liberty, but this week Douthat seems to be in love with the big daddy state, arguing that casinos and pot will destroy families. Like Lenin he believes that liberty is so precious, it must be rationed.
His “argument” begins incoherently, and remains so throughout. He starts off with this statement: “Based on what stirs passions and wins headlines it would be easy to imagine the the only cultural debates that matter in America are the ones that have to do with sex.” Grammatically it’s a complex sentence, but what does it even mean?
Where has he been reading these headlines? The National Enquirer? Which “cultural debates” are he referring to? Could it be gun control? How is that related sex? Is he agreeing that the bigger the gun, the smaller the dick and the whole thing is about the fear of castration? Or is he talking about marriage equality, which is only “about” sex to those who spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about how other people do it? Could he be referring to abortion? Sex does lead to pregnancy. But I thought the anti-abortionists were all about the right to life, and not simply out to punish women for sinning or getting raped? Maybe he’s referring to contraception, and how forcing employees to provide health insurance that covers it is wrong because that leads to non-reproductive sexy time?
Douthat continues – “the way we think about sex and reproduction have wider repercussions as well.” Well yeah, I can see that. I mean if you think everything is about sex, and sex outside of a very narrow parameter is the worst, then yeah that has repercussions. And apparently that is how Ross thinks because then he rants about casino gambling for a couple of paragraphs, somehow linking pro-casino to pro-marijuana legalization. Douthat sees both as part of some kind of “social libertarian” conspiracy. But he never shows how the two issues are aligned. Are bills coming up that link both? Are the same groups that work on casinos also working on pot legalization?
Somehow I don’t see a bunch of pot-farmers worried about the feds seizing their land really caring a whole lot about casinos, nor do I see casino owners who’d much rather see people drunk (and uninhibited) rather than high (and sleepy) lobbying to legalize pot.
Funny, I thought libertarianism was going to be the GOPs next brand — fiscally conservative but staying out of your private life? Ross didn’t get the memo. He’s an old-timey conservative – the kind who wants a society where there’s a tight lid on personal liberty AND lower taxes.
His rant about pot is all over the place.. Since even he can’t suggest that marijuana is worse than alcohol or tobacco, he offers a few statements pulled directly out of his ass, including the idea that legalization will “certainly” increase use. Really? Then how does he explain that cigarettes are still legal, but use in the US has declined considerably, or that the era of the “three martini lunch” is long gone, without much change in the law – other than harsher penalties for drunk driving.
Douthat makes a couple more unsubstantiated claims about marijuana, including that it limits educational attainment and economic mobility. And this is because only kids in the hood light up a dooby before school? Or maybe Douthat believes it’s only bad for the poors. You know what really limits education and economic mobility, Ross? Being stopped and frisked on your way to school, lengthy prison sentences, no access to student grant programs because of “drug violations,” growing up in a single parent home or being raised by relatives because one or more parents are in prison for dealing pot. You know what else limits education? Really crappy schools, lack of equity in public education, and, oh yeah, poverty.
Then he makes one of his trademark irritating leaps into what he thinks goes on in the minds of “liberals” – “social liberals and libertarians regard the costs of family breakdown as a price worth paying for emancipation from sexual repression.”
I thought we were talking about marijuana? Or casino gambling? Or marijuana and casino gambling? Why is he bringing sexual repression into this? Could it be that he’s simply obsessed with sex? I’m just asking the question.
He then goes into the idea that “what seems like a harmless pleasure to the comfortable can devastate the poor and weak.”
Ok. So basically he’s going with the exact same argument used by the pro-temperance forces back in the early twentieth century because that prohibition worked out so well. Maybe Ross would be happier if we lived in a land where we simply had one set of laws for the poors and another for their betters.
And then he brilliantly ends with “pots and slots no less than bread and circuses, it can simply distract their minds, dull their senses and make them easier to rule.”
Silly me. I thought the bread and circuses were spectacles like the Ted Cruz faux-filibuster, or Benghazi-gate, or hearings about how forcing employers to pay for health insurance encroaches on religious freedom, or maybe the government shutdown. Aren’t Sarah Palin, the Donald and Rush supposed to be clowns? Isn’t everything on Fox news meant to distract and dull the senses?
(If you enjoyed this rant, you might really enjoy reading an entire novel written by Marion, or maybe starting off with a shorter work.)