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Friday, April 25, 2014

Townhall: Opinion: Jacob Sullum: Pot, Poker, Prohibition: Do Republicans Really Want to be the Party of Unprincipled Killjoys?


Townhall: Opinion: Jacob Sullum: Pot, Poker and Prohibitionism: Do Republicans Really Want to be the Party of Unprincipled Killjoys?

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger  

Yesterday, Matt Welch had a column in the libertarian magazine, Reason, talking about big government paternalists on the Left.  He said that Progressives not only want to manage American's economic lives but their personal lives, as well.  Links to that article and to a post byThe New Democrat will be on this blog.  Welch was basically talking about what he sees as paternalistic and prohibitionist Progressives, people who want to outlaw fun things for Americans' own good.

Today, Jacob Sullum, an editor at Reason, had a column in Townhall talking about prohibitionist, big government, statist Republicans.  They want Uncle Sam to outlaw things that think are dangerous and deny Americans and the states the right to make these decisions for themselves.  Today's Tea Party Republicans like to talk about principles and standing by them.

Before you can stand by your principles you have to have some and you can't abandon them every time  somebody in the private sector or at the state level gets involved in activities that you personally do not like.  If you invoke a Federal solution in such cases, you are putting yourself in the position of some kind of god or something that has the moral judgement and authority to make such decisions for the entire country.  Except for Rand Paul and Rick Perry, you don't see a lot of Federalists in the Republican Party, right now.  

The paternalistic statists on the Left  want to outlaw, at the Federal level, hate speech, gambling, soft drinks, firearms, tobacco, and, perhaps, alcohol.  Some of them want to continue marijuana prohibition and, even, outlaw right-wing media. This statist wing of the Left definitely exists and is the farthest left that the left wing gets, while still believing in some form of democracy.

There are paternalistic statists on the Right as well.  If the crews of Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann ever had their way, pornography, gambling, same-sex-marriage and, perhaps, homosexuality would all be illegal at the Federal level with no provisions for options at the state level.  And, of course, marijuana would remain illegal.

Labels and principles have real meanings.  If you are going to call yourself a Federalist and a believer in individual freedom, you should know what those words mean and realize that you live in a liberal democracy where other people have the freedom to do things of which you personally do not approve. You should know, as well, that we are a Federal Republic with the police powers reserved to the fifty states by the U.S.Constitution.  If you don't, then when you put labels on yourself, you are just calling yourself names.