At some point, the Libertarian Party had a revelation. While classic Libertarians like Ron Paul had always run their platform as deeply ideological, the Libertarian Party could simply do away with the complicated thinking. They didn’t need the whole complicated thoughtful policy shtick; they could strip the party down to gays, guns, and weed. Gun owners’ votes were in the bag. All they had to do was promise to let people smoke up and the votes should pour in. Soon they rolled out their new face for these ideas; Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party pumped out weed signs, weed hats, and weed bumper stickers. So did it work?
Ron Paul vs the Libertarian Party
The success of Paul’s campaign compared to Johnson’s campaign speaks for itself. Ron Paul exposed deep libertarian thought to the wider public and they devoured it, almost as if Americans were waiting for someone to finally say the words they knew deep down to be true.
The 2012 race left the Libertarian Party with an organic movement, stoked with libertarian thought and still burning red hot with exuberance. The Libertarian Party managed to dilute the good ideas with shallower ones, filing down radical ideas for single-issue voters, effectively dousing any fire Ron Paul started. They have since even shown coldness towards Paul, not inviting him to their last convention, sparking controversy.
Free votes sound good; it’s why the Democrats quickly flipped on a major policy stance to import tens of millions of to-be-Democrats in the form of illegal immigrants. But it’s also why the Libertarian Party took a dirty trick out of the modern Democrat playbook. It’s easy to get caught up in politics and see cheap votes to be gained by simply participating in à la carte Democracy, even if it means compromising on the ideals which made you popular in the first place. The Libertarian Party compromised so much they got this one wrong: the government shouldn’t legalize weed.
Don’t Legalize Weed
There is a better question to ask. Rather than beg our ivory tower ruling class for permission. Why are we asking the government to legalize weed?
This paradigm is artificial and structured. Weed was never the government’s to ban, and the atrocious history between the U.S. government and drugs shows they should be the last group with this authority. Our country and its founding principles prove that commerce exactly like this is free from State intervention. Revolutionaries fought back fiercely against intervention into tea and alcohol. America’s respect for free trade is so strong we even amended our Constitution to legalize alcohol after the prohibition.
While Americans clearly value the libertarian ideals of voluntary commerce, the same is not true of the U.S. government. For 32 years, the government illegally regulated weed with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which the Supreme Court eventually shut down. Despite personal possession of weed seemingly outraging the government so much that they subsidized crime through the War on Drugs, our politicians don’t seem to mind supporting drugs as long as it temporarily fits their objectives. The U.S. government throws cash at drug lords, broke the Nuremberg Code to drug Americans with LSD, and even helped traffic heroin in Laos.
Accepting the Legitimacy of Rule
Despite the massive War on Drugs, millions in the United States easily evade the law. State governments defy the Constitutional structure of law by ignoring valid federal law as the federal government sits idly by. The government legalizing weed would be like a superficial shot of Botox when we need a brain transplant.
Even worse, recognizing legalization as legitimate further secures the luxury of government to make problems worse through intervention. Then, if the public even notices the government’s wrongdoing, they forgive them by slightly lessening their aggregation of the problems they created. Every time we accept the government graciously giving us back liberties that were never theirs to take, we perpetuate a toxic cycle.
While some libertarians may be willing to trade the necessary evil of legitimizing state violence for a reduction in state violence, these quid pro quos are not a good deal. They embolden the government and confuse the public into allowing the government to heavily tax and regulate the privilege our crowned barons gifted to us. Private, voluntary, personal interactions don’t need to be ordained by test tube politicians; the right to private property is inherent upon birth. This right is optional to not even the largest and most secretive coalition of criminals, be it cartels or governments.
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