Drug Policy and My Pal, Cal 

Drug Policy and My Pal, Cal 
Posted by FoM on September 02, 2000 at 08:04:35 PT
Random Fire By Joel Miller
Source: WorldNetDaily 
So what do you do with Cal Thomas? The man is one of the most widely respected, widely read, widely controversial columnists around and has been for years. I just wish I could figure him out. Regarding tobacco, the venerable conservative columnist says that the government shouldn't butt into our lives. "I do not like tobacco," confesses Cal in a July 18 column. "I choose not to smoke, inhale, chew or dip it. But the Florida court decision awarding $144.8 billion in punitive damages to 500,000 smokers is another example of big government attempting to save us from ourselves." 
"What ought to bother us as Americans is that, once again, government has intruded on individual choice." I'm with you, Cal. Nobody wants the government butting in with messianic intentions of statist salvation. Unless, of course, you're ... Cal Thomas. What? The anti-buttinski supports butting-in? Back in March 1996 Cal countered William F. Buckley Jr. and National Review essayists for their work "declaring the war on drugs lost and retreating from unsuccessful attempts to stop drug use" by arguing that laws preventing people from damaging their bodies "have merit." Apparently a lucky strike for the cigarette-smoking goose is a bad trip for the bong-toking gander. Cal defenders may counter that there is an important distinction here: drugs are illegal, tobacco isn't. Been there, done that, bought the hardcover -- to be specific, Thomas' 1993 book, "The Things That Matter Most." "The most popular drugs of choice (and the most addictive) are legal," explains Cal in part 3 of that book. "Young people in the sixties responded to the condemnation they received from adults from trying marijuana, LSD, and other illegal drugs by pointing to their parents' liquor cabinet or refrigerated beer, or the pack of cigarettes in their pockets or purses," recounts Cal. "Parents argued, 'But alcohol and cigarettes are legal. Your drugs are illegal.'" Apparently excited about the prospect of being hoisted on his own petard, Cal follows that statement by adding that the parents' "argument carried little moral weight. The kids saw drugs as drugs, and they were right." "...they were right." Catch that? Cal says the government shouldn't tell you what to do regarding tobacco, but then says it should regarding drugs, and then says there's no real difference between tobacco or dope. "The kids saw drugs as drugs, and they were right." Does that make Cal wrong? After all, if it's bad for the government to hound tobacco, why is it OK to go after drugs? In his March '96 column, Cal argues that if humans are "merely a more complicated evolutionary product than a cabbage," then a utilitarian standard should be introduced to see if we should ditch drug laws. He, by the way, admits that the utilitarian arguments hold a lot of water, specifically recapping problems with drug-law enforcement and constitutional violations; that hard-core users are a small percentage of the population; and that casual users are relatively harmless. But, alas, for Cal, that's not good enough -- wanting instead a standard more lasting and eternal than a cost vs. benefit analysis. If "our bodies are 'Temples of God,'" he postulates, "and if laws are for the purpose of restricting behavior that damages the temples of those who are not constrained by a higher power, then anti-drug laws have merit." So anti-drug laws are good and justifiable because they prevent godless people from abusing their bodies. Got it. But what about other abuses? "There are plenty of things not good for us and plenty more whose manufacturers make questionable assertions in their advertising," writes Cal on July 18, defending tobacco companies and their advertisements. "Dueling ads make claims that one product is superior to a competitor's. The choice is left to the consumer." Unless, apparently, that choice is drugs. Considering Cal's previous statement about one drug being the same as the next, I think that qualifies as petard shot No. 2. Ready for No. 3? According to Cal in March '96, stuff that harms your body should be restricted. Since in "The Things That Matter Most" Cal points out that alcohol and tobacco kill more people every year than "all other drugs combined," shouldn't that mean that Cal should actually be supporting the tobacco suits? Possibly even pushing for reinstatement of the Volstead Act? Further, shouldn't he also be supporting federal drives to regulate obesity? Fat kills and, according to a Sept. 16, 1999, Knight Ridder report, some 97 million American adults (50 percent of us) are putting more pressure on their floor joists than they should. So, if laws for drugs are great, why not laws for gluttony? Why not have laws regulating fat content in food and candy? Laws forcing diet and exercise regimens? Imagine it: no-knock raids for contraband Twinkies; beepers going off in high-school locker rooms because the five-crate shipment of doughnuts just arrived; roaming wire taps looking for any talk of cream-cheese Danishes. Always wanting to stir up confusion, however, in his July 18 column on the tobacco suit, Cal is worried about the same sorts of extremes. "If the government will now determine whether a company deserves to be punished when people use its legal products, we might reasonably ask where this will stop," he notes, then specifically cites cases of food, pornography, gambling and booze addictions. So what's it going to be, Cal? If we don't want the feds going after tobacco, booze, porn and chocolate mousse, then we shouldn't be urging them to go after drugs. By your own argument in '96, after all, the feds should do just that. Harm is harm and drugs are drugs -- type hardly matters. How'd that go again? Oh yes: "Parents argued, 'But alcohol and cigarettes are legal. Your drugs are illegal.' The argument carried little moral weight. The kids saw drugs as drugs, and they were right." If the kids are right, I don't know how you can be too. If you can think of any way to sort this out, I'd be very grateful -- because, and I think you'd agree with me, consistency is one of the things that matters most. NewsHawk: Joel MillerManaging EditorWorldNetDaily Publishinghttp://www.WND.comSource: WorldNetDaily (US Web)Copyright: 2000,, Inc.Contact: letters worldnetdaily.comAddress: PO Box 409, Cave Junction, OR 97523-0409Fax: (541) 597-1700Website: Policy and My Pal, Cal - Random Fire By Joel Miller Articles By Joel MillerPoliticians and Media Hype Drug Fears Way on Drugs? Would Jesus Do About Dope? Toke Over The Line, Sweet Jesus? Yak, Don't Talk Smack 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #1 posted by observer on September 02, 2000 at 12:46:40 PT
Kudos / Illegal Things Are ... Illegal
Wow! Joel Miller is taking ground here! Excellent work as always! Parents argued, 'But alcohol and cigarettes are legal. Your drugs are illegal.'" Yes, of course, people who say that illegal drugs are illegal are correct. But that is not relevant to discussing whether or not a substance should be made illegal, or if the current legal status of some act is correct.In contrast to most other laws, drug laws seem to be, for many people, good in and of themselves. It is not so important that drug laws are required to have an actual basis in truth, or public safety: it is enough that they exist. As laws go, drug laws are not to be questioned, unless it is to make them more harsh. Any attempt to compare legal vices with illegal drugs is, in such thinking, invalid, since "(illegal) drugs are illegal", and as such are "wrong." (Followed by the imperial red-herring, "and 'we' don't 'need' another" legal drug like alcohol, etc.)Thus, for the special case of drugs, the drug laws become ends in and of themselves, and are therefore unquestionable. Drug law prohibits the sale and use of drugs, yes; but moreover, the law itself against drugs becomes reason to prohibit also the very discussion of changes in the law. After all, "drugs are illegal."Discussing changes in the drug laws (unlike other laws) is taboo. Merely talking about changes in drug law is the same as "genocide", or at least some power hungry UN bureaucrats are licking their chops with eyes cast in that direction. . . . see All for The Children, of course.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: