George Will has a column on why legalizing pot is a bad idea. I haven’t read it and I don’t intend to.
First, because I already agree with his basic premise. And two, because the reason I don’t want pot legalized has nothing to do with fancy arguments and everything to do with petty personal prejudices.
I wager that’s the reason many people believe what they believe, too.
Yesterday I got an invitation for a far-away event with Yaron Brook, the new public face of Objectivism. I can’t go but I’d like to. Ever since Brook started appearing on Fox News, my sympathy for libertarianism/Objectivism has increased fivefold. Why?
Well, he does present compelling arguments much of the time.
But mostly it’s because he doesn’t seem like a complete jackass.
Most libertarians I’ve met are twitchy overgrown adolescents who are one step up from Trekkers on the appealing personality scale. They are curt, bitchy, brittle and huffy. When you’re around a libertarian, it’s always Thanksgiving dinner and they’re the teenaged cousin with the giant anime collection who’s read one book too few and stays coiled in his chair, waiting to blurt out some “shocking” comment he thinks is ahead of its time but is actually two hundred years old, in a boorish, loudmouth Penn Gillette way.
I just don’t like them. They bug me.
Brook doesn’t seem to be these things in public, and that’s half of why his message is getting across. Whatever the Ayn Rand Center is paying him isn’t enough.
Which brings me back to pot. I quite simply have a recovering alcoholic’s inante snobbery about other people’s substance abuse; “Well, at least I was never hooked on illegal stuff!” It makes no sense. Neither does much of life as we know it.
Plus I’ve met a lot of pot heads, and can’t stand them. They are fat, lazy, dimwitted, unambitious, not as smart as they think they are, don’t know when the joke’s over and are mostly lefties. They are an entire race of Jack Blacks. One is more than enough.
All the legal and moral arguments in the world don’t matter to me. I don’t want pot legalized because I just don’t like these people, either.
Who hates Islam because they’ve studied the Koran and been disgusted by lots of it and downright confused by the rest? Besides Robert Spencer, probably about fifty people.
People hate Islam because they hate hijackers and suicide bombers and beligerent burka-lovers and bullies, and all the other disgusting public faces of Islam.
The same with Christianity. Christian apologists are mostly wasting their time. People hate Christians because they find individual Christians repellant.
Last week my coauthor inadvertently sucked me into a flame war on Facebook. He’d quoted something I’d written approvingly, about how “Mafia Wars” wasn’t harmless fun but a sick commentary on how we view crime as entertainment as long as it is sufficiently glamourous.
To my surprise, a small band of Catholics (the types you just know wear those corny “fetus footprint” lapel pins and say “Our Blessed Mother” and “the Holy Father” instead of “Mary” and “the Pope) weighed in and demonstrated their complete inability to comprend my straightforward and frankly uncontroversial statement. They compounded their obtuseness and ignorance with the usual dose of out of context bible verses and some tedious Chesterton quote.
I emailed Pete: “Your friends are the reason people hate Christians.”
No, none of this is logical. It’s petty and silly. But it is why ad hominem attacks on everyone from Michael Moore to Sarah Palin are so enduringly popular.
Logical types who are caught up in Robert’s Rules of Order and all those ancient boring and frankly arbitrary rules for debate and rhetoric just don’t get it; the average person doesn’t care about your elaborate arguments and statistics and clever quotations, which are probably read only by people who more or less agree with you already.
They just know Al Gore seems like a fat pushy scold with too much money, and Sarah Palin has too many kids for their liking, and Ron Paul is as cuddly as a rusty bear trap, and I have an ugly voice and frown all the time.
They’re too busy living ordinary lives to spend hours reading Ayn Rand or Koranic apologists or William F. Buckley or to find out that the number of Catholic priests who’ve abused children is about 0.1%. They make judgements based on the evidence of their senses, then rush off to the next thing.
It’s all very shallow. Most of us are.
UPDATE: Rick McGinnis via email:
You hit the nail on the head, but forgot a few other, not scientifically or statistically provable, facts about pot.
1. It makes people think Pink Floyd were a good, even great, band, instead of a sporadically interesting psychedelic artifact who outright sucked by the time they released The Wall.
2. It’s the reason why music stores can lease-to-buy instruments at terms that would make the mafia blanch, because their time-installment purchasers would rather pay ten dollars a month for a hundred years than come up short when it comes time to pay their pot dealer.
3. Because their parents proudly admit to smoking it, it’s deprived the children of boomers of their last chance to reject their parents as high-handed, hysterical, out-of-touch conformists and made regular law-breaking socially acceptable.
4. It’s made British Columbia and its underground economy far too viable; without it (and Chinese real estate speculation), the province would be just another geographic catch-basin for the country’s cranks, flakes and dimwits – like California without either Hollywood or Silicon Valley.
5. Jam bands.