Does this image look familiar? You’ve probably seen countless posters, fliers, graphics, posts, and billboards like this. What a wonderfully persuasive and cogent argument, right? Once all of the prongs of this airtight case are disseminated, we will win the day on this issue! The recent passages of medical marijuana legislation are a step in the right direction, right? Well, I’m afraid not. The horrible truth here is that these types of messages actually do nearly irreparable harm to the cause of liberty and if we are to effectively carry our position forward, this is precisely the sort of paradigm and reasoning that must be discarded.
Let’s observe that among the “Top 10 Reasons To Legalize Marijuana,” the fact that it is our right is number nine. The higher-ranking reasons include crime rates, expense reports, and prospective medical and industrial benefits of pot. How could advocacy of this kind be considered a bad thing? — you may ask. It shows raw empirical support for marijuana legalization, a pro-liberty policy. But a painful lesson that must be absorbed by all of us in the liberty movement is that the correct conclusion is almost meaningless if your premises are flawed.
This position states that the proper basis for sweeping legal policy lies in statistics, percentages, and surveys. Therefore it also implies that if these calculations were different, and fell in the opposite direction, then marijuana prohibition would not only be proper, but necessary. The evidence would demand it. Thus, there is no stable ideological foundation to this stance. It is completely malleable according to what the latest numbers reflect.
Are we starting to see where this argument falls apart? These premises place complete deference on analytical findings and completely ignore, and thus negate, the underlying moral principles, which would lead us to the two very simple questions that define this debate: To whom does one’s body belong? So who may properly decide what goes into it? The answers to these questions are not determined by, nor alterable by any statistical sampling or data reporting.
Topics such as this are of grave importance to the preservation of our individual rights. To reduce them to petty mathematical quibbling between bean counters and pollsters is to concede that principles do not matter and that we have no rights. It declares that every human action is a privilege that we may exercise only as long as the empirical data deems it favorable.
As pro-liberty advocates, we must not fall into this trap. Do not allow a lost soul to lure you into a war of graphs and pie charts. By defining your principles, and revealing theirs (or their lack thereof), victory will be yours, brothers and sisters.Published in