Is U.S. going to pot?
By Pat Buchanan
Published: Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Smoking is forbidden in bars in New York City. But buying, selling and smoking marijuana is legal in Colorado.
It doesn't take a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.
One certain result of marijuana's legalization is that there are going to be more potheads, more dropouts and more deaths on highways — and more rehab centers.
Scores of thousands of Coloradans may relish the freedom they have voted for themselves. But the costs will be borne by society and the families of future victims of potheads behind the wheel.
Just as beer opens the door for the young to bourbon, scotch, gin and vodka, marijuana is the gateway drug, the escalator drug, to cocaine and heroin.
Undeniably, the cultural revolution is gaining converts and picking up speed. The haste with which some Republicans are deep-sixing the social issues to focus on tax cuts testifies to this.
It was half a century ago that pot first began to replace alcohol as the drug of choice for baby boomers arriving on campuses in 1964. Yet not until the boomers began moving onto Social Security rolls did the first state legalize marijuana for personal enjoyment.
America is not only diversifying racially, ethnically and religiously as a result of continuous mass immigration, legal and illegal. We are diversifying, and disuniting, morally, culturally and politically.
Not so very long ago, the U.S. government enforced Prohibition, pronounced smoking a menace to the national health, punished gambling as organized crime and declared a war on drugs.
Now the government has shouldered aside organized crime to take over, tax and regulate the rackets. At federal, state and local levels, the government rakes off vast revenues from taxes on booze, bars, cigarettes, casinos and, coming soon, online poker.
Yet traditional America is not rolling over and playing dead.
As the A&E network discovered when it sought to suspend “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson for his biblical reflections, the silent majority remains faithful to the traditional morality.
And while a libertarianism of the left appears ascendant, there is also a rising and militant libertarianism of the right.
We have seen it manifest in the explosion of “stand your ground” and concealed-carry laws, opposition to federal background checks for gun owners and ferocious resistance to the outlawing of assault rifles and 30-round magazines.
The triumph of the sexual revolution has not been without its casualties — an endless supply of new HIV/AIDS and STD cases and a national illegitimacy rate of more than 40 percent of all births.
And the correlation between that illegitimacy rate and the dropout rate, drug use rate, delinquency rate, crime rate and incarceration rate is absolute.
Undeniably, the claims of the individual to maximum autonomy and freedom appear triumphant over the claims of the community. But in yielding, America has not only tossed overboard the moral compass that guided us for two centuries. We no longer even agree on what is “true north” anymore.
Pat Buchanan is the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?”
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