Friday, January 3, 2014

David Brooks's Flaccid Defense of Drug Prohibition

Most talking heads who are willing to go on record against drug legalization are deeply invested in preserving it--either to maintain their antiquated view of 'law and order,' or because they hold the singular belief that drugs are evil and invariably rot the human soul. Neither of these can possibly justify the punitive structure of our drug laws, let alone the United States' criminal justice leviathan, but such arguments, while misguided, at least approach the issue from principle.

Today, however, the New York Times's David Brooks finds a third way--a stunningly flaccid defense of the status quo. In my years of arguing against drug prohibition, I cannot recall a less-inspired, more ineffectual, and heartless piece of writing against my position. To say this column was phoned in insults the effort it takes to pick up a phone, find stored contact information, and press send.

Missing among the 803 words used to defend impotently mutter his position were: "criminal," "arrest," "incarceration," "jail," "prison," "misdemeanor," or "felony." (Note also that the piece is utterly devoid of conviction in any sense of the word.) To completely ignore the criminal implications of our current laws is even more dishonest than the mealy mouthed nonsense that usually comes from the ONDCP. The state of American criminal justice has even forced them, the federal government's anti-drug mouthpiece, to acknowledge that criminalization has had devastating unintended consequences and that, as a result, their tactics must change (if only rhetorically). Brooks, apparently, could not muster even that much honesty.

For shame.

bellum medicamenti delenda est

1 comment:

Tara Davenport said...

After reading Brooks's column this morning, I'm now convinced that there is no profession more intellectually vacant than "New York Times Opinion Writer." I'm pretty sure I can jerk out 800 words about... (just whatever the f**k I happen to be thinking that moment?) each week without regard for intellectual honesty or rigor. Can I be a Times columnist?