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Just Say No to Drug Legalization

Peter Wehner asks whether the Republican Party should "get with it" by supporting drug legalization.  His answer is "no."

CJLF takes no position on legalizing pot.  Colorado and Washington voters supported it; Oregon and California voters (in Prop 19) declined.  No state has legalized the harder drugs and, to my knowledge, none is even considering doing so.

With all respect to my libertarian friends, I oppose legalization for the reasons Wehner explains in his thoughtful essay.  Here, I will only repeat its conclusion:

[I]n some liberal and libertarian circles, the "language of morality" is ridiculed. It is considered unenlightened, benighted and simplistic. The role of the state is to maximize individual liberty and be indifferent to human character.

This is an impossible stance to sustain. The law is a moral teacher, for well or ill, and self-government depends on certain dispositions and civic habits. The shaping of human character is preeminently -- overwhelmingly -- the task of parents, schools, religious institutions and civic groups. But government can play a role. Republicans should prefer that it be a constructive one, which is why they should speak out forcefully and intelligently against drug legalization.

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