He confesses to criminal behavior. He smoked marijuana in high school, although he later stopped.
I think we gave it up, first, because we each had had a few embarrassing incidents. Stoned people do stupid things (that’s basically the point). I smoked one day during lunch and then had to give a presentation in English class. I stumbled through it, incapable of putting together simple phrases, feeling like a total loser. It is still one of those embarrassing memories that pop up unbidden at 4 in the morning.
I’ve read his essays in the New York Times, and given that response to smoking weed, I suspect he’s still lighting up a couple of times a day.
But here’s the weird disconnect in this particular story: He and his buddies smoked weed back in the day.
It was fun. They went at it for a while, and then
It just sort of petered out, and, before long, we were scarcely using it. I’ve never done the stuff myself — I have kind of a phobia about smoking anything, from growing up in a house with chain-smoking parents — but that’s what I saw in all my friends, too. There might have been a brief stoner phase, but then they gave it up, or maybe would just have an occasional joint at a party, but it was not a serious problem. I knew more people lost to alcoholism than to marijuana.
Yet the point of Brooks’ column is that Colorado and Washington have made a major mistake in legalizing marijuana! Apparently he was a wise and sensible human being who could try a drug a few times without harm, but all those kids in those Western states? Not to be trusted. And how dare the government abstain from scolding activities that he once enjoyed!
But, of course, these are the core questions: Laws profoundly mold culture, so what sort of community do we want our laws to nurture? What sort of individuals and behaviors do our governments want to encourage? I’d say that in healthy societies government wants to subtly tip the scale to favor temperate, prudent, self-governing citizenship. In those societies, government subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned.
In legalizing weed, citizens of Colorado are, indeed, enhancing individual freedom. But they are also nurturing a moral ecology in which it is a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be.
Right. Subtly discouraging
lesser pleasures involves throwing young people in jail.
It’s bizarre. Brooks really is a prim little snob; what he got away with should not be allowed for Youth of Today, and he’s got this weird thing going where he wants less government except that the government should be using threats and the police to make damn sure the kids like the arts rather than partying. So…does he also favor shutting down all state-run liquor stores? It would be the only consistent position to take, after all.
But it doesn’t matter. Brooks needs to be jailed, just to encourage a nurturing moral ecology for the rest of us and to get him off the pages of the NYT. If they can’t get him on drug charges, how about arresting him for wanton cruelty to logic and reason?