"get the stomach"

I don't know whether to title this post "why I am not a conservative, Part XXVI," but every once in a while I find myself so appalled with conservatism (Republicanism?) that I feel an overwhelming need to speak out and distance myself from, um, it? (From them?)

In this case, I'm not talking about the WorldNetDaily crowd, but Newt Gingrich, whose conservatism is as Republican as apple pie. Not merely content with advocating the continuation of the disastrous Drug War, he's now clamoring for stepped up enforcement -- along blatantly totalitarian lines. On the O'Reilly show the other night, he called for a "dramatically stronger anti-drug program" -- including Singapore-style drug testing of American citizens, and even opined that it's time that we "get the stomach" for executions!


O'Reilly: ...this is what they do in Singapore. If you're caught possessing drugs -- and that means drugs in your bloodstream, they have a little hair thing and they put it in there -- then you have to go to mandatory rehab. And they have centers where you go. Now, they have no drug problem in Singapore at all, number one, because they hang drug dealers -- they execute them. And number two, the market is very thin, because when they catch you using, you go away with a mandatory rehab. And you go to some rehab center, which they have, which the government has built.

The United States does not have the stomach for that. We don't have the stomach, Mr. Speaker.

Gingrich: Well, I think it's time we get the stomach for that, Bill. And I think we need a program -- I would dramatically expand testing. I think we have -- and I agree with you. I would try to use rehabilitation, I'd make it mandatory, and I think we have every right as a country to demand of our citizens that they quit doing illegal things which are funding, both in Afghanistan and in Mexico and in Colombia, people who are destroying civilization.

Sorry, but reading that, I don't have the stomach for Newt Gingrich. Sick as I am of President Obama, the idea of a guy like Gingrich as president fills me with fear and loathing.

Does he represent the future of conservatism? If so, then count me out.

It's looking like a tough time to be a libertarian.

posted by Eric on 04.04.09 at 07:54 PM










Comments

Has there ever been a time when it was easy to be a libertarian? ;)

These times are especially hard though. I find myself in a near constant state of dizziness due to all the eye rolling I'm forced to do.

Pax   ·  April 4, 2009 8:42 PM

The economy is tanking, free enterprise is under assault, and Congress is looking for more ways to nickel, dime and nanny-state us.
With all the obvious raw meat the Republicans could chew on, Gingrich decides to address the failed WoD on one of the largest shows in the country.
NO one the Republicans have lost, and lost me in the process.
I never knelt at the altar of Reagan, he's a conservative man, not a saint, and could not reconcile Gingrich's personal conduct with his words.
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am...

Rob   ·  April 4, 2009 8:46 PM

We don't have the stomach for it, THANK THE GODS!

And talk about burning stupid:

"I think we have every right as a country to demand of our citizens that they quit doing illegal things..."

I think, we as citizens, have every right to demand that our government not make and enforce stupid laws.

Donna B.   ·  April 4, 2009 10:07 PM

I would add Gay Marriage and Abortion to the list that "true" Republicans support. I am a Republican. I thought that the Republican party stood for individual freedoms and I can not square that with the rigid stance on these two issues. Does that make me a Libertarian? I am most certainly not a Dem.

LYNNDH   ·  April 4, 2009 10:36 PM

Gingrich lost me when he failed as Speaker to do the things he was elected to do.

Larry Sheldon   ·  April 4, 2009 10:48 PM

Marriage is not an issue for the national government.

The taking of innocent lives is wrong. Period.

Larry Sheldon   ·  April 4, 2009 10:50 PM

Eric, the only reason why a lot of right leaning people don't favor legalizing drugs is because the welfare rolls would expand dramatically. Eliminate welfare/governmet health care and we would sign on to legalizing drugs.

Illegal drugs hurt you. And you should the right to hurt yourself.

RM   ·  April 4, 2009 11:19 PM

Newt may be a conservative, but he certainly is not a libertarian. He wants a big, powerful and efficient government that does what he wants.

I guess that makes me a libertarian.

andrewdb   ·  April 5, 2009 12:08 AM

I would disagree with RM. The reason that large majorities of Americans (left and right) oppose legalization isn't just the expansion of welfare, but the enormous damage that drug abuse (including alcohol abuses) causes to loved ones. I'm spending the weekend with my mother and brother right now. Would my brother have taken the schizophrenic spiral downward if not for LSD and marijuana 40 years ago? It's hard to say for sure, but the correlation is strong enough to think that they played a part.

The current War on Drugs doesn't work. Interdiction should be, at most, only a part of the effort. (And death penalties for traffickers pretty well guarantees jury nullification.) But proponents of legalization need to face the reality of why such a vast majority of Americans support some effort to discourage intoxicant abuse.

Clayton E. Cramer   ·  April 5, 2009 12:13 AM
I would add Gay Marriage and Abortion to the list that "true" Republicans support. I am a Republican. I thought that the Republican party stood for individual freedoms and I can not square that with the rigid stance on these two issues.
The problem is that gay marriage isn't an individual freedom. What you do in private is, but state sanction marriage is hardly private.

Whether abortion is an individual freedom issue or not depends on whether that lump of flesh is a human life or not. If it is a human life, then abortion is a bit more complex problem, isn't it? And if it isn't human life, then we have a lot of terribly inconsistent laws.

Anonymous   ·  April 5, 2009 12:17 AM
I would add Gay Marriage and Abortion to the list that "true" Republicans support. I am a Republican. I thought that the Republican party stood for individual freedoms and I can not square that with the rigid stance on these two issues.
The problem is that gay marriage isn't an individual freedom. What you do in private is, but state sanction marriage is hardly private.

Whether abortion is an individual freedom issue or not depends on whether that lump of flesh is a human life or not. If it is a human life, then abortion is a bit more complex problem, isn't it? And if it isn't human life, then we have a lot of terribly inconsistent laws.

Clayton E. Cramer   ·  April 5, 2009 12:18 AM

Have you noticed how often the word "folks" is substituted for "people" by both Obama and the MSM? Isn't the German word Volks?
As a libertarian I worry more about the megalomania of Obama, than the shrill rants of powerless ex-pols like Gingrich.
But then I'm not a registered Republican, or RINO.

Anonymous   ·  April 5, 2009 1:09 AM

Whether abortion is an individual freedom issue or not depends on whether that lump of flesh is a human life or not. If it is a human life, then abortion is a bit more complex problem, isn't it? And if it isn't human life, then we have a lot of terribly inconsistent laws.

Indeed, the right of the fetus to live outweighs the reproductive right of the mother. I think that's why most people support abortion only if the life of the mother is at risk.

As far as gay marriage, I think the gay rights activists made a huge mistake when they decided to legislate gay marriage through the judicial system. A lot of us younger conservatives don't really care one way or another about gay marriage. However, judicial activism or sh*tting on the constitution, if you will, makes our blood boil. The gay rights movement right now consists of these enemies of the Constitution. Hence, they are my enemy.

RM   ·  April 5, 2009 1:56 AM

Eric, the only reason why a lot of right leaning people don't favor legalizing drugs is because the welfare rolls would expand dramatically.

Where is the evidence of that proposition? If drugs are widely available (the are) then any one who wants them is already getting them.

The only question then is do we want to deal with a drug problem or a drug+criminals problem.

It still amazes me that there are people who think that "government enforced prohibition" = unavailable. Evidently there are a lot of humans who are easily confused by words and who take the simulation of reality going on in their brains for reality. Which is fine if their is a reasonable correspondence. However when we have are reality of "prohibition" = more availability (pot is easier to get than beer for those under 21) then such a model blows up in one's face.

M. Simon   ·  April 5, 2009 6:51 AM

Whether abortion is an individual freedom issue or not depends on whether that lump of flesh is a human life or not.

Uh. No. It depends on what an effective enforcement regime would look like.

How will you deal with the "morning after" pill? RU-485? Menstrual Extraction Parties? A surgical abortion black market? Abortion tourism? etc.

Will we go the route of drug tests and require that women be subject to regular pregnancy tests?

America is one strange country. Most folks think that prohibition is the answer to every problem (just not the same problems for everyone). Some folks think gun prohibition will work. Others think that drug prohibition will work. And for others prohibition is the answer to the abortion question.

But you know in every one of those cases where a significant fraction of the population who says "it won't work". I agree. Where ever you have a significant market and no complaining witnesses enforcement is generally a failure.

The overall difficulty is that America was founded on the principle that if the governed are unhappy with a law they need not obey it. I don't see any fundamental way of fixing that problem unless America is no longer America.

M. Simon   ·  April 5, 2009 7:11 AM

Clayton says:

The reason that large majorities of Americans (left and right) oppose legalization isn't just the expansion of welfare, but the enormous damage that drug abuse (including alcohol abuses) causes to loved ones.

And of course since the government has prohibited drugs your family members can't get them.

Dr. Marks in England showed that about 1/2 of people's problems with illegal drugs are caused by the price. A $100 a day black market heroin habit is a heavy load. A $1 a day white market heroin habit can be supported by panhandling. It is true that drug users can be quite a burden. Heroin addicts like Thomas Edison and Surgeon Wm. Halsted should have been properly persecuted for their dug habits. And that Olympic Gold Medal guy? Pot just ruined his life.

A lot of the problems attributed to drugs are actually caused by forcing distribution to the black market.

M. Simon   ·  April 5, 2009 7:32 AM

Just about every American advocates some form of government tyranny. Shame on us.

Brett   ·  April 5, 2009 8:24 AM

It seems there is no way to rid ourselves of the militant xtian rabble that insist on govt control of social values. The lefty rabble who insist on govt control of the rest of life are already in power.

All that is left for us is monarchy, anarchy or emigration.

dr kill   ·  April 5, 2009 8:35 AM

Most traditional conservatism is also composed of Nixon’s law and order. Conservatives want things to remain traditional. So it is often a mish mash of rigged individualism, anti gambling, anti gay, anti radical, anti drug and civil disorder.

Drug and gang wars in cities promote civil disorder. Treating drug addiction and taking care of the offspring of drug addicted dysfunctional parents is a major cost that conservatives resent.

You may be a pro drug or legalize drug libertarian and many conservatives who lean libertarian agree to a small extant but do not want to live in a chaotic world of drug addicted children and the resultant crime and costs.

No making drugs legal may reduce the cost but I still think that those who are addicted and have no income may go to a life of crime since their addiction is the highest priority.

So I don’t not want marijuana, cocaine, heroin legalized

RAH   ·  April 5, 2009 8:57 AM

Britain damaged China by introducing opium. The use of drugs to damage the viability of a society shows that drugs do have damaging effect.

The reason drugs were made illegal was the societal costs. I suggest since libertarians have this as an issue they research the arguments back then.

I live near DC I remember the horrific damage crack addicted babies and welfare drug moms that has many children but left them in feces and non fed to address their drug habit. Some even sold their children as sex objects for drugs.

So based on principal I could be for legalization but my experience indicates legalization is a bad idea.

RAH   ·  April 5, 2009 9:07 AM

"But proponents of legalization need to face the reality of why such a vast majority of Americans support some effort to discourage intoxicant abuse."

Vast majority, I doubt that, prove it.

"Britain damaged China by introducing opium. " So opium was unknown and unused by the largest nation in Asia until the Brits introduced it? Silk road, goes both directions, ages of trade, I think you're incorrect.

"I live near DC I remember the horrific damage crack addicted babies and welfare drug moms that has many children but left them in feces and non fed to address their drug habit. " Which came first, the baby, the crack, or the welfare? Let's blame the drugs and ignore the other two.


Rob   ·  April 5, 2009 9:31 AM

Conservatives have strong libertarian philospohies but not to the point of suicide as a society. Drug use and the cost and crime associated with it have been enfemic in the last 20-30 years. I would be agreeable to states experimentation like CCW was done to see the results. Maybe then if the results were good conservatives which do not like change may be willing to try it.

RAH   ·  April 5, 2009 9:33 AM

You may be a pro drug or legalize drug libertarian and many conservatives who lean libertarian agree to a small extant but do not want to live in a chaotic world of drug addicted children and the resultant crime and costs.

So explain to me how making pot easier to get than beer prevents addiction in children? How does that work?

You know what I think? Drugs make conservatives stupid.

M. Simon   ·  April 5, 2009 11:21 AM

Britain damaged China by introducing opium.

Ignorance is a bad thing so let me correct yours:

Britain damaged China by introducing opium prohibition and then supplying the prohibited opium from their farms in India. Of course that trade has now migrated to Afghanistan.

"If the trade is ever legalized, it will cease to be profitable from that time. The more difficulties that attend it, the better for you and us." -- Directors of Jardine-Matheson

http://www.ctrl.org/boodleboys/boddlesboys2.html

M. Simon   ·  April 5, 2009 11:32 AM

Conservatism (and "regular libertarianism") should have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward drugs (and most other "deviant" personal preferences/behaviors). The problem with "liberal libertarianism" is the requirement that society, quite publicly, shrilly, and stridently, declare its approbation for all such "deviant" behavior. You know that once drugs are legalized, the Courts will be finding new rights for drug addicts throughout the Constitution... and the Congress? Ooof.

Mike Foster   ·  April 5, 2009 10:11 PM

Conservatism (and "regular libertarianism") should have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward drugs (and most other "deviant" personal preferences/behaviors). The problem with "liberal libertarianism" is the requirement that society, quite publicly, shrilly, and stridently, declare its approbation for all such "deviant" behavior. You know that once drugs are legalized, the Courts will be finding new rights for drug addicts throughout the Constitution... and the Congress? Ooof.

Mike Foster   ·  April 5, 2009 10:11 PM

Most of the "conservative" arguments against drug legalization, or decriminalization, or whatever the term du jour is, seem to me to be strawmen.

I suppose the problem I have with both liberals and conservatives is the lack of trust in human nature.

I'm not saying human nature is benevolent -- far from it! I'm saying one can trust it not to be. If there is no profit to be made from illegal drugs, humans will look elsewhere for profit.

If violence increases profits, humans will be violent.

We've had a long experience with alcohol. It damages families, causes grief, etc. As do many other human actions.

Prohibition didn't solve any of those problems, it merely added violence to them.

Donna B.   ·  April 5, 2009 11:22 PM

Britain damaged China by introducing opium prohibition

According to the article you linked to, it was the Chinese government that imposed prohibition on opium in China.

Also from your linked article:

"...mass consumption, as it exists in modern society, began with drug addiction. And, beyond that, addiction began with a drug-as-commodity."

"Drug trades destabilized existing societies not merely because they destroyed individual human beings but also, and perhaps more importantly, because they have the power to undercut the existing political economy of any state. "

According to Wikipedia, opium was never a problem in Britain during that period because it was limited to the upper class due to its cost. It only became a problem in China when massive imports by the British cut the price to a level that even peasants could afford.

So, it seems logical that lowering the price by repealing prohibition in the U.S. *may* lead to massive rates of addiction, and probably will in my estimation.

nash   ·  April 6, 2009 1:48 AM

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