Some in the conservative movement seem confused by the rush to legalize marijuana. Maybe we should run with the crowd, these folks are asking themselves. Maybe we’ll be more popular with the young. Maybe the elders of the tribe should follow the youngest one, they say.
Maybe NOT. We elders have all been 18; none of these young Americans has been fifty yet. And we want them all to get to be fifty.
My friends Bill Bennett and Seth Leibsohn have penned this important column in the Los Angeles Times. Here, they raise an important warning about the rush to reefers.
What I like best is their quote from Lincoln. The purpose of government is to “clear the paths of laudable pursuit.” This might be called the Lincoln Corollary to the Declaration of Independence. When some mistakenly think that Jefferson’s wonderful phrase “pursuit of happiness” implies hedonism and nihilism, or a laissez-faire attitude toward personal and public morality, Lincoln gets us back on track with that laudable pursuit line.
Do we have too many young men finishing school, pursuing skilled vocations, signing up for the military, marrying, fathering children, serving in local volunteer fire departments, and coaching Little League?
If you are in favor of legalizing pot, do you think we haven’t had enough Fergusons or Baltimores?
We owe the young our best judgment. I didn’t do drugs as a young man, but I was an avid smoker. I really enjoyed lighting up. I valued the camaraderie of a smoke break with my buddies in the military.
Last October 27, I was leaving my local convenience store with my coffee in hand. A fellow in front of me held the door and, just as I exited, he lit up.
I did inhale. It was my first inhaling in thirty-seven years. And I instantly remembered why I liked smoking cigarettes.
We shouldn’t “play the Pharisee,” another great Lincoln phrase. We shouldn’t act holier than thou. But we owe our young friends our best guidance for them and for ourselves.
Or else, what are those “better angels of our Nature” for?