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Friday, June 06, 2008

Question Period with Dana Larsen

Dana_and_lily_3In an exclusive interview with the Western Standard, marijuana legalization activist and federal NDP candidate Dana Larsen makes the case that “the New Democrats are the most libertarian federal party.” Larsen points to his party’s “consistent stand against the drug war, against the Afghan War and against measures like no-fly lists and secret trials” as evidence that the NDP “are a strong political voice for less intrusive government and greater civil liberties.”

It’s a bold claim, and one that newly elected Libertarian Party leader Dennis Young would no doubt challenge. But while I’m not sure that the NDP could ever be mistaken for a genuine libertarian party, Larsen has certainly proven himself a dedicated and sincere champion of civil liberties.

Larsen is running in the BC riding of West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea-to-sky Country. To learn more about him, read “Question Period with Dana Larsen” here.

Picture: Dana Larsen with his daughter Lily 

Posted by Matthew Johnston on June 6, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink

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Comments

Apparently Mr. Larsen has confused libertarianism with Leftism. Notably absent from his roster of topics are scrapping the gun registry, enshrinement of property rights, and market solutions instead of government regulation to solve the energy crisis. He's just rebadged the same old anti-American boilerplate with a trendy new name.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-06-06 11:01:25 PM


You should have asked him what he plans to do with all the cops who'll have nothing to do when pot is legalized. When alcohol prohibition was repealed, they solved the problem by going after pot. I hope they find a legitimate boogey man this time.

I caught some of an interesting movie called "The Union" this week. Pretty well everything they had to say was exactly what I've known for decades. I suppose someone who believes pot should be illegal would have a completely different take on the story. It's hard to change peoples opinions. In time I suppose the message will get through.

I'm not sure I support legalization enough to vote NDP though.

Posted by: dp | 2008-06-06 11:11:30 PM


DP, do you honestly believe that marijuana was outlawed for the sole purpose of providing police officers with employment? Don't forget this was the "public enemy" era that saw the birth of the FBI; the automobile had given criminals a new sort of mobility that had not existed 20 years before. They could be miles from the crime scene in minutes, and across the state line before word could spread. Many of the most famous interstate criminals of this era were not bootleggers, but bank robbers and kidnappers.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-06-06 11:26:49 PM


After marijuana is legal, the laid off cops can be rehired as postal workers and we can finally return to door-to-door delivery of mail everywhere. Maybe even weekends too. Cops and posties make about the same $, and given dogs and other hazards, deserve about the same.

Posted by: Bob | 2008-06-06 11:27:02 PM


Bob: I have a better idea. By stiffening sentences for druggies, like say a few months at labor, we can get them to do all kinds of jobs for next to nothing.

Think of it! Smoke some weed, and you'll go pick lettuce somewhere for .25 an hour for 90 days. It could solve so many problems.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-06-06 11:42:38 PM


Amazing how some fool such as Larsen can denounce the maintenance of law and order , the preservation of national security and our right to get on an airplane without fear of being blown out of the sky , all in the same sentence . What is his plan ; suspend all laws , so he can party for the next 3 or 4 years , then after the inevitable crime wave hits the streets and his homo friends start their whining , bring on the Conservatives to build it all up again .
What a jackass.

Posted by: daveh | 2008-06-07 6:20:37 AM


Thank you Dana, in a short interview situation you put forth many thought-provoking ideas. Reading the comments about your interview was far more thought-provoking, however, with closet case "daveh" reminding me of what kind of mentality still arises from denial.

Perhaps Z. pike would like to research how much CPP, EI and taxes the "pot smokers" of this country pay in every month, and consider the loss of this, and their ability to support themselves and their families with an arrest to "go pick lettuce" in a state-sponsored institution where ALL taxpayers can pay for their keep, and their families can go on welfare.

Sometimes it makes me wonder if people see beyond the end of their own noses. Onviosly they see far enough to make it to the keyboard....

Sure, Dana is wishing for solutions to some deep-seated and very distressing situations. Me too, and same with all my friends. We see the status quo and know that we can't afford to keep diminishing our civil liberties, paying for a lavish government and its mistakes, and putting our citizens through courts and in jail for health-related situations (mj), among other issues.

He is not re-badging anything, the sentiments he expresses have been around for a long time, he is just continuing....as he has been for a decade, this guy isn't just a flash in the pan. I'm sure he has some very interesting insights on other topics that concern canadian and global citizens, just this interview doesn't get to them.

Keep up the good work, scroll through the negative postings, Dana, they are from people without vision.

Amanda

Posted by: Amanda | 2008-06-07 8:47:54 AM


You funny people still try the old back handed insult ploy . Forget it ; it doesn`t work anymore. And try getting a job , your outlook might change.

Posted by: daveh | 2008-06-07 8:57:21 AM


Amanda:

First, avoid the use of the phrase “closet case.” It makes you sound like a petulant GLBT who’s mad at the world. One thing that has always struck me about vocal gays is their lack of maturity.

Second, we’re talking about a two- or three-month stint of back-breaking labour at prison-wage rates. The value of such labour is likely to more than offset any taxes or CPP they might have paid meanwhile, especially considering the kind of work your average doper is likely to get. Loss of ability to support one’s family is a consequence of all criminal sentences and ought to be considered before flipping Her Majesty the bird and toking up for no reason at all.

Three, “civil liberties” do not include the right to terminate inconvenient unborn, wander around in a perpetual daze, litter the streets with discarded needles, steal other people’s electricity, or trash your landlord’s premises by using it for a grow op. Addiction of any kind is strictly speaking NOT a health issue, because there’s no underlying pathology. It is the result of a conscious act. The authorities merely find it convenient to treat it as a health issue because it does require treatment, the same way a leg broken from jumping over 15 1/2 buses requires treatment.

Four, I am well aware that these sentiments have been around for a long time; in fact, that’s my point. These ideas are not new, but they’re being sold under a new brand in order to appeal to a supposedly new generation of voters who like the Leftist trappings of the NDP but don’t want the union baggage. As for whether he’s a “flash in the pan,” well, let’s just say he has yet to win a seat.

Fifth, “people without vision,” “limited,” “unenlightened,” “lacking awareness”; these are self-aggrandizing terms used primarily by the Left to demonize their opponents while asserted their supposed moral and intellectual superiority. They do not require proof and are largely subjective in nature, which makes them ideal tools for the frustrated Leftoid. The irony is that their over-reliance on emotional rhetoric and inability or unwillingness to see the truth in the name of ideology makes them the ones who are truly blind—on the few occasions when they might even be inclined to look outside their little one-man smoke screens.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-06-07 9:25:29 AM


You took the words right out of my mouth !

Posted by: daveh | 2008-06-07 9:47:01 AM


ZP wants to enslave people who are taxpayers and have not committed a crime against a person or property. Now I see why Harper is so popular with the socialists.

Posted by: Soundbite | 2008-06-07 12:06:47 PM


Though at opposite ends of the political spectrum socialists and libertarians do have one important thing in common. When it comes to the adult responsibility of defending ourselves from Islamic extremists socialists are no more irresponsible and childish than libertarians.

Posted by: Terry Gain | 2008-06-07 2:17:35 PM


If giving people three months of community service for breaking a law amounts to enslavement, Soundbite, we might as well legalize slavery. Anyone who purchases marijuana or any other illegal commodity is only feeding the cycle of crime and violence that surround its distribution and use.

It is a measure of just how self-absorbed and narcissistic pot smokers are that they are willing to allow innocent people to die rather than alter their lifestyle. They abhor the idea of blood for oil, but are perfectly fine with blood for pot.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-06-07 2:21:06 PM


Right Shane you gullible sap. The list of all the violence we see from marijuana could be written on the head of a pin. How about the violence in the alcohol trade before it was legalized? Are you against the legalization of beer?

FYI Shane, if you imprison people who have not committed a crime against people or property, you DO believe in slavery. I'm beginning to believe the neo-cons (global socialists through war) are more dangerous than the lefties (global socialists through lies). You are both fearful little pukes who need government protection. Whatever happened to Canada being the land of courage? For the record, I believe in a strong national defence, but I don't believe in murdering innocent foreigners (collateral damage). It's obvious you went from your mommy's tit to the government. Grow up.

That goes for Terry too. Neither of you understand libertarianism. We believe in the strength of the individual and the nation something like the Swiss in that regard, although it would have to be set up differently. Are the Swiss cowering in the beds like you guys and sending soldiers to go die for socialism? Of course not. They have a "libertarian" view of national defence. You two are far more dangerous than any MJ smoker because you lack courage, knowledge and the ability to think. Fear is your only motivation.

You cower, soldiers die. You are the enemy of your own troops.

Posted by: Soundbite | 2008-06-07 3:46:06 PM


Why Soundbite? You sound afraid of doing some hard time repairing highways in the hot sun for a few months. Well, you could always kick your habit and rethink your life. Not too late!

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-06-07 4:36:28 PM


No one listens to the NDP. They are all whackos, jsut like the Llibertarians. They deserve each other.

Epsi

Posted by: epsilon | 2008-06-07 5:18:07 PM


Soundbite:

First, what about those six gangland shootings that took place in a high rise right across the street from where my wife works—a massacre that included two innocents? What about the tripwire-equipped shotguns outdoor growers set up so no one discovers their illegal crop? What about the grow-rips, the gang wars? There’s plenty of drug violence around, my friend. As for alcohol, it was never illegal in Canada, and only in the U.S. for 14 years, and during those 14 years, I wouldn’t have drunk either, certainly not with the knowledge the money would go to the likes of Al Capone.

Second, slavery as an institution where a human being can be owned by another. The definition does NOT include involuntary servitude, although that is the usual purpose. I really don’t give a rat crap what you believe, and you’re a fine one to talk about courage when you won’t even give us your real name, coward.

Third, don’t presume to tell us what we do and don’t understand. Libertarianism is a big tent, just like liberalism and conservatism, and the terms by necessity are very broad. I am actually a classical liberal in the tradition of Voltaire and Jefferson, one who believes in individual liberty yet also in a well-ordered and productive society.

If it’s government encroachment you bemoan, there are far better vehicles to make than case than your self-styled right to get stoned. What a loser. What a weenie. What a fucking cucumber.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-06-07 6:19:55 PM


Larsen is running in the BC riding of West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea-to-sky Country.
Posted by Matthew Johnston on June 6, 2008

Who the hell came up with a riding name like that?

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-06-07 7:37:02 PM


Shane- You realize of course that none of those violent events would have happened if pot was decriminalized?

Posted by: dp | 2008-06-07 7:44:35 PM


You realize of course that none of those violent events would have happened if pot was decriminalized?
Posted by: dp | 7-Jun-08 7:44:35 PM

Pot would have to be legalized, not decriminalized.And that assumes that the growers would go legit. Do bootleggers still exist?

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-06-07 7:55:28 PM


I think decriminalization is the closest we'll ever come to legalizing pot. Even so it would end a lot of the organized crime involvement.

There are still bootleggers, where there's limited access to booze. In the Maritimes they make a good living selling in communities with no "government store". They do a brisk business on weekends and holidays. I imagine there are still some operations in northern communities as well. And of course a big chunk of their business comes from underage customers.

I haven't heard many stories about bootleggers killing each other recently. Just the odd beatdown by an irate father whose kid got drunk on bootlegged rum.

Posted by: dp | 2008-06-07 8:41:56 PM


DP wrote: "Shane- You realize of course that none of those violent events would have happened if pot was decriminalized?"

Of course they would. Because pot would still be illegal in the rest of the world and most of B.C.'s pot is destined for export anyway. What you say would be true only if at least a majority of countries legalized pot simultaneously. What are the odds of that?

You know what would totally, absolutely stop the violence? If people stopped smoking pot. This is not the impossible dream it might seem. It's not a part of history and culture like alcohol; until a few decades ago no one had ever heard of it.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-06-07 9:57:03 PM


Almost coughed out my drink reading this thread. Don't you get it, people? Shane Matthews and the like are either trolls or totally and blindly committed to authoritarian solutions for everything.

You know, the kind of people that go to the dungeon for some whipping? :) And if you're not into that, well, ask Velvet Vic and others from the Tory caucus that like "alternative" lifestyles.

Posted by: Tim Meehan | 2008-06-08 12:13:18 AM


Ah, yes, Tim; the Leftist need to rebel. It's a phenomenon found primarily among petulant adolescents, but on the other hand some people simply never grow up. Tell me, do you also protest against carbon taxes and laws protecting the environment--also top-down, authoritarian solutions? Or is it not so much the model of law enforcement that riles you as the laws themselves?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-06-08 12:25:29 AM


My goodness, there are a lot of brainwashed Friedmaniacs posting on this site. Goebbels would be so envious. The chance of getting bumped off by a "terrorist" (GW Bush, notwithstanding) are pretty slim here in Canada. Some shallow thinker here attests that abortions are merely terminating an "inconvenient" birth! Obviously, he's not a woman faced with making that horrendous decision: poverty or aborting. Maybe he thinks that aborting is akin to squeezing a pimple (in which case the rightwing shallow sscribes here would be squeezing out what's best in them)! It seems some people haven't got a clue about the issues around poverty. The world is overpopulated by humans, and our resources are shrinking at the same time the super rich are taking the lions' shares. We're facing extinction as a species, the Arctic ice is melting, and some guys here think enslaving potsmokers would be really good for The Economy! DUH. I'm not enchanted with any kind of smokers, either, but as long as I don't get to breathe one bit of that crap, I think we have more important problems to solve.

Posted by: Marysue | 2008-06-08 1:00:55 AM


We're facing extinction as a species, the Arctic ice is melting,
Posted by: Marysue | 8-Jun-08 1:00:55 AM

The sky is falling, the sky is falling, the sky is falling...........................

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-06-08 6:44:57 AM


"Goebbels would be so envious"

marysue, in your rambling inane post you are correct about one thing, Goebbels would be proud of the propaganda war that has idiots like you believing in the great global warming scam.

It is a pinnacle in the success in mass propaganda, as is the leftist line about how all success in the western world is evil and the only atonement for our sins is self emasculation.

Your reference to Bush as a terrorist only further displays your idiocy as well as your ignorance.

But hey, what can one expect from "stoner" power.

Posted by: deepblue | 2008-06-08 10:29:46 AM


Marysue:

First: Don’t begin your post with a mass insult. It makes you look like an underachieving fucktard. I would pit my knowledge of Nazi Germany against yours any day.

Second: Some Islamic terrorists were caught at a “training camp” north of Toronto, with a vague plot to storm Parliament and behead Stephen Harper. A terrorist was caught at the B.C./U.S. border with explosives and a plot to blow up the Space Needle. Osama bin Laden has mentioned Canada specifically in his list of targeted countries.

Third: Don’t give me the “You’re not a woman; you couldn’t understand” horseshit. The fact that you are a woman in that situation (in spite of the numerous methods available to avoid pregnancy) does not change the underlying facts. Poverty is not an excuse for murder, nor is it an excuse for stupidity. You can’t take something loathsome and despicable and turn it into something just and honourable by prepending the words “poor man’s” to it.

Fourth: I know all too well the issues surrounding poverty. Most poor people who stay poor into adulthood either have some sort of mental disability or else are just mean, lazy, and stupid (a category that includes drug addicts). Canada’s birth rate has fallen below the break-even point; but for immigration, our population would be DROPPING. But if you still feel the world is overpopulated, you’re more than welcome to knock yourself off. Take one for the Earth.

Fifth: “Facing extinction as a species”? Based on what? A little wonky weather? For a species on the brink of extinction, we’re sure being fruitful and multiplying—you said so yourself. I love Leftist logic, the way they will, with the slightest nudging, talk themselves into a complete circle and spend the next hour chasing their tails. It’s kind of like putting a few drops of alcohol on a scorpion and watching it sting itself to death—at once comical and infinitely pathetic.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-06-08 11:14:45 AM


The arctic ice is melting? I hope so. If it were growing things would get interesting in a hurry. The warming is what Canada's entire existence is founded on.

The world is overpopulated by humans? Agreed. Why don't you leave Marysue? I'm staying, and so are my 3 kids. By the way, we're white. Eat your heart out.

Since I don't use marijuana, this is not a make or break political issue for me. If the right party includes the legalization issue in its platform, it wouldn't prevent me from supporting them. No one other than a fringe party will ever use this as a platform.

My opinion of pot legalization is this. I think it would save valuable police resources that could be used to fight gang violence. It would take a bite out of organized crime. It probably wouldn't be the medical miracle some claim it will, but it might give comfort to some people. I'll still be abstaining, and discouraging people from smoking pot, smoking tobacco, drinking booze, and using any illegal drug.


Posted by: dp | 2008-06-08 11:32:44 AM


First of all Shane. I have a long history of doing things that take courage. Things you wouldn't dare to go near. I'm the kind of guy pukes like you hide behind. How about a face to face meet up? Do you have the balls? I'll tell you my name then. So, put up or shut up.

2nd:Slavery is the act of involuntarily working to the benefit of another. Something all you Harperettes believe in.

3rd: You branding morons can't see a point until it's pounded into your miniscule brains. Who cares if Marc Emery smokes pot? It's what he's saying (that you will never understand) that's important. You've chosen (as all cowards) big government of a particular stripe over freedom. You've betrayed the soldiers you hide behind.

Posted by: Soundbite | 2008-06-08 11:34:55 AM


Soundbite-me

Grow up moron. Threatening someone with physical violence on a blog simply shows you for the moron you so obviously are.

I don't care if Emery smokes pot, but I do have a problem with assholes like you holding him up as some kind of demigod, and trying to persuade the rest of us such "freedom" of thought and actions as smoking pot makes you some kind of special patriot.

What a completely moronic stance.

Harper is doing what he can, how do you expect him in a minority status thrust into a completely far left bureaucracy to affect much change?

If not for Harper we were/are faced with a totalitarian, one party far left fascist establishment.

It took decades of Trudeau's totalitarianism to f**k up this country, it will take hard work and patience to try and right this ship.

Smoking pot and daydreaming of anarchy are hardly useful pursuits when running a country.

Posted by: deepblue | 2008-06-08 12:01:20 PM


Soundbite wrote: “First of all Shane. I have a long history of doing things that take courage. Things you wouldn't dare to go near.”

Like attaching your real name to your opinions, for example?

Soundbite wrote: “I'm the kind of guy pukes like you hide behind.”

I’m not going to even speculate as to why you would want me behind you.

Soundbite wrote: “How about a face to face meet up? Do you have the balls?”

Threatening violence, what an intelligent debating tactic. Listen, worm, not to put to fine a point on it, but I’m ex-military (744 Comm Regiment), weigh 300 pounds, can hike the Grouse Grind (with load), and am a crack shot. But my favourite weapon is the knife. You don’t want a face-to-face with me, if your intent is to do violence. I don’t fight for “fun” or “honour,” or whatever else compels two drunks to pummel each other in the gutter. I fight for my life, and if you approach with intent of violence, I shall assume it’s in danger and react accordingly. And you should be ashamed of yourself for even suggesting it.

Soundbite wrote: “I'll tell you my name then.”

How about now? Do YOU have the balls? Or is your snarling, gnashing bark intended to conceal a feeble bite?

Soundbite wrote: “2nd:Slavery is the act of involuntarily working to the benefit of another. Something all you Harperettes believe in.”

Not according to the law, it isn’t.

Soundbite wrote: “3rd: You branding morons can't see a point until it's pounded into your miniscule brains.”

“Branding moron?” I Googled that and got nothing definite. I’m assuming you type as well as you argue.

Soundbite wrote: “Who cares if Marc Emery smokes pot?”

The cops, the courts, the government, many Canadians, most Americans, most of the world…

Soundbite wrote: “It's what he's saying (that you will never understand) that's important.”

Marc Emery is a drug smuggler with a Messiah complex. The only words I want to hear from him now are “Guilty, your Honour.”

Soundbite wrote: “You've chosen (as all cowards) big government of a particular stripe over freedom. You've betrayed the soldiers you hide behind.”

All of this, just because you’re not allowed to smoke pot? One day we really must discuss the implications of consumption taxes versus income taxes, and progressive versus flat taxes. Those are big-government policies that affect a lot more people a lot more profoundly than getting stoned. Are you up to it—or are you only here because the cops won’t help you find out the lowlife who ripped off your grow-op? By the way, the soldiers in Afghanistan aren't fighting for our right to get high. They're fighting for our right to exist.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-06-08 12:13:39 PM


Nice resume Shane. One question: can you handle deep snow. If so you'd have no problem making big bucks in my line of work. I can hook you up with my nephew in Grande Prairie. He'll have you breaking trail, and enjoying the fresh air. You can carry any weapon you want, and nobody will say a thing about it.

It's like being there before all this crap happened. Almost a time warp, except for the high tech gadgets we use now. Once you've done it, you'll be hooked for life.

Posted by: dp | 2008-06-08 12:56:21 PM


That wasn't a threat DB: Shane called me a coward because I won't reveal my name. I told the little poofter that if he wanted my name we could meet and measure our courage against each other in a direct way. Of course he evaded the question because he knows he's guilty of his own accusation.

And the law will never define slavery as slavery as long it helps enacting it. You're so gullible.

Posted by: Soundbite | 2008-06-08 2:06:36 PM


Hi DP,

Unfortunately that's a negative--I'm too short for deep snow (without skis or showshoes), even though I adapt well to the cold. I also think it's too late for me to change my specialty. Oh well--there's always hunting season. :-)

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-06-08 2:12:00 PM


*Deep sigh*...

Look, I know conservatives and libertarians will disagree about marijuana. No problem. But why all the insults? Here's my position: I believe legalizing pot is a good idea for several reasons: 1. I believe in individual liberty, which means the freedom to read or ingest just about anything you'd like (typical caveats apply: have sufficient information/know what you're doing/etc.).

On my more charitable days, I believe that conservatives also value individual liberty. So we should be agreed on this point. Here's a conservative caveat:

1.CC: Free to read or ingest whatever you'd like, provided that it does not diminish/destroy autonomy.

Sometimes 1.CC is read as being a friendly amendment to individual liberty. It is part and parcel of individual liberty to have the ability to make certain choices. Other times, it is read as a substitution of primary values (like this: What matters is not individual liberty, but autonomy. Since individual liberty and autonomy have different implications, they are fundamentally different values. And autonomy trumps individual liberty. So we can stop drug use *for the sake of* autonomy, even while recognizing that it violates individual liberty).

1.a. I don't believe that marijuana hampers autonomy. Please don't misconstrue this point: I agree that, while on pot, it is better that you not sign contracts, or that you not try to do anything that requires a lot of mental concentration. But moments of non-autonomy do not undermine autonomy-in-general. I get too much sun sometimes, and I drink too much alcohol sometimes, and I get insufficient sleep sometimes. But none of those things are bad for my autonomy in general, since I can be responsible in those cases and shy away from making big decisions while on Vicodin (which I had to take for my shattered pinky finger).

2. I believe that marijuana is not harmful. Before anyone calls me an "idiot" I want to point out that I've read boatloads of literature on marijuana. Boatloads. And not just medical studies, but economic studies (like the Fraser Institute's amongst others), and others. There is, as of yet, no significant medical evidence to show that marijuana is harmful to the user beyond a threshold that would justify outlawing it.

3. The harm that is caused through pot can be attributed to the fact of its being illegal, and not to the drug itself.

Since 2. and 3. are empirical beliefs, they are open to empirical objection. It is not a statement of values, it is an analysis of the studies. You might have access to studies that I don't have. You might, yourself, have a theory that will turn out to be true about the "real" source of the harm. Okay, I'm all ears. But please don't be dumb and cite some anecdotal evidence. This one time, I could just about swear that chicken soup cured my flu. But that's about as scientific as taking a straw poll of your friends to see who will win the next election.

And then this: I am glad that Dana is a friend of liberty, at least to some extent. I don't know what his economic views are, although the NDP are bad, bad, bad at economics, and so I can assume that Dana is bad, bad, bad at economics as well. Nevertheless, I appreciate the fact that he does have a commitment to civil liberties. That is laudable, and worthy of support.

Thanks for speaking with the WS, Dana, even though you must have known that you would open yourself up to all kinds of anger and ridicule.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-06-08 2:13:57 PM


Soundbite, do you always demand that people meet you in single combat before you give them your name? That must be awfully awkward at job interviews. By the way, why should we take your definition of slavery over the law's, the dictionary's, the encyclopedia's, and the word of just about every authority one cares to mention? Or are you going to threaten to beat them up too unless they change it?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-06-08 2:14:12 PM


Hey you called me a coward. I just wanted to illustrate your cowardice and set the record straight. I love it when a coward changes his tune and scurries back from the light. think we've cleared that issue up.

And uh, slavery from dictionary.com:

The state of being under control of another person.

It is the opposite of liberty. Get it? I didn't think so.

Posted by: Soundbite | 2008-06-08 2:22:58 PM


A thoughtful piece, P.M., but it fails to address the following:

1. Since most B.C. Bud is destined for export and those "client" countries have shown little inclination to legalize it, how do you expect legalizing it within Canada to reduce the criminal element? It could easily have the opposite effect.

2. What, exactly, is this "threshold" that would "justify outlawing it"? Are you saying that possession of pot in large quantities should still be illegal? And how to account for the fact that pot's psychedelic effects, while short-lived, are much longer-lasting and less predictable than those of alcohol, whose impairment/time table is easily charted and allowed for?

3. Numerous studies show that pot is a "gateway" drug; those willing to take pot are much more likely to switch to the hard stuff later on. It can be argued that this is because only those with addictive, thrill-seeking personalities are apt to do drugs to start with, and pot is a relatively safe way of getting your feet wet, but if pot were not available, chances are many of these people would not be willing to dive head-first into heroin addiction and avoid drugs altogether.

4. Getting high is not a civil liberty; neither is getting drunk or smoking tobacco. A civil liberty is not defined as the right to perpetrate a "victimless" crime, or to turn yourself into a useless object. Whether you have the right, or ought to have the right, to do these things anyway, or whether the state has the right to restrict them, makes for interesting debate, but not within the context of civil liberties.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-06-08 2:26:02 PM


Jaws, you are such a gulible apologist for drug addicts.

I bet you did not talk to a single family doctor, social worker, school principal or social worker did you?

All you did was read studies. Wow. Talk about an out of touch elitist preaching from on high.

Eps

Posted by: epsilon | 2008-06-08 2:27:04 PM


Right Epsi: Let's not let in-depth studies and facts get in the way of a pack of animals and their "instincts." In fact, why not just dispense with any education and just have Harper tell us our opinions? Whew!!

Posted by: Soundbite | 2008-06-08 2:33:49 PM


Soundbite wrote: “Hey you called me a coward. I just wanted to illustrate your cowardice and set the record straight. I love it when a coward changes his tune and scurries back from the light. think we've cleared that issue up. “

Refusing to brawl in the street isn’t a sign of cowardice; it’s a sign of intelligence and maturity. Offering to settle a debate with your fists, on the other hand, is a sign of being an adolescent asshole. And you still haven’t given us your real name. You haven’t illuminated anything; the bulb above your head doesn’t use enough juice to tickle a mosquito.

Soundbite wrote: “And uh, slavery from dictionary.com: The state of being under control of another person. It is the opposite of liberty. Get it? I didn't think so.”

Sure, NINTH DEFINITION DOWN. The first quartet has a comment beneath that reads, “Slavery emphasizes the idea of complete OWNERSHIP and control by a master.” Funny thing happens when you give references…sometimes people actually check them. Here, get the snack.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-06-08 2:35:38 PM


Soundbite wrote: "Right Epsi: Let's not let in-depth studies and facts get in the way of a pack of animals and their 'instincts.'"

This from the guy who cocked up looking up a word. Haw, haw.

Soundbite wrote: "In fact, why not just dispense with any education and just have Harper tell us our opinions? Whew!!"

Lord knows, you could use some new ones, Slugger. (ROTFLMAO) Sorry, couldn't resist.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-06-08 2:38:37 PM


And a thoughtful response, Shane. I'll address your points in a second, because they are worth discussing at length.

Epsi: I have learned not to disrespect you, because I know you homeschool your kids. That, to me, is a sign of an intelligent person who cares deeply for her children. I respect that.

But your comment runs afoul of my request not to go straight for insults.

You wrote:

"Jaws, you are such a gulible apologist for drug addicts."

There's no reason to think that I'm "gullible." Unless you call taking the word of the New England Journal of Medicine and the Fraser Institute as a sign of "gullibility." But then, I'm curious what your beef with them is anyways. And I'm defending the legalization of marijuana, not any particular user of the stuff. And I don't have a personal stake in this: I don't smoke pot, and have no plans to.

"I bet you did not talk to a single family doctor, social worker, school principal or social worker did you?"

I spoke with my doctor about it. He's in favour of legalizing pot (he's the guy who fixed my finger), and he's an American (I live in Ohio). I don't know if I did or did not speak with those people, I don't inquire as to what people do for a living when I debate them or ask them questions. It's very possible that I spoke with people who work in those fields, but I don't know for sure. But explain this to me: Suppose that *all* of the medical and economic studies agreed, and said that pot should be legal. But social workers and school principals disagreed, saying that pot should be illegal. Would you really take the word of the bureaucrats over the academicrats? Why? We can agree to disagree on who counts as a reasonable guide, and so have a point of disagreement that will require more working out in future.

"All you did was read studies. Wow. Talk about an out of touch elitist preaching from on high."

Oh, Epsi. How outlandish. I wasn't "preaching." I was merely reporting my opinion (please re-read my post. I didn't say: "This is what you all must believe," I said, "here is what I believe." There is a world of difference between the two). And why go in for the name-calling? Would it matter to the truth of the claim that I am making whether or not I were an "elitist" and "preaching" and actually were from "on high"? No. So I charge this last part with utter irrelevance. You may as well have said, "talk about cheese on a doughnut with sprinkles."

Look: I'm being sincere in expressing my opinion. It matters to me very much, as I'm sure it matters to you. Let's pretend that both of us want what's best, and are having a friendly discussion about what will, in fact, lead to the outcomes that we both want. We can insult each other later, about things that don't matter as much as this discussion (like whether white pants are appropriate). Okay? Hugs?

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-06-08 3:05:03 PM


Shane:

"1. Since most B.C. Bud is destined for export and those "client" countries have shown little inclination to legalize it, how do you expect legalizing it within Canada to reduce the criminal element? It could easily have the opposite effect."

That's a good point. Just to be clear, I was expressing a belief about the status of pot not just in Canada, but in the U.S. as well.

But you're right, and I concede the point: If we legalized pot in Canada, it may make for a worse relationship between us and the U.S. And that's a reason not to legalize pot in Canada. I believe it is outweighed by other facts, but I can understand those who place a very high value on the relationship (I myself benefit a great deal from NAFTA, and would probably have a much harder time doing what I'm doing if the U.S. got miffed with Canada).

"2. What, exactly, is this "threshold" that would "justify outlawing it"? Are you saying that possession of pot in large quantities should still be illegal? And how to account for the fact that pot's psychedelic effects, while short-lived, are much longer-lasting and less predictable than those of alcohol, whose impairment/time table is easily charted and allowed for?"

The "threshold" was a fudge term on my part. I hope you'll allow it, since my point was, whatever the threshold (and I don't know what it is, just as I don't know exactly how many trees, and in what configuration, make up a forest. But I do know that there is a difference between trees and forests, and think we can make definite distinctions in some cases, even if there will be gray areas), pot will fall below it, even if other things, like heroin or bleach, might fall above it.

Also, I've heard the line about the unknowability of pot, but I'm a little skeptical about it. Can you tell me more? How often are these recurrences, and just how serious are they?

"3. Numerous studies show that pot is a "gateway" drug; those willing to take pot are much more likely to switch to the hard stuff later on. It can be argued that this is because only those with addictive, thrill-seeking personalities are apt to do drugs to start with, and pot is a relatively safe way of getting your feet wet, but if pot were not available, chances are many of these people would not be willing to dive head-first into heroin addiction and avoid drugs altogether."

I'm also very skeptical about the gateway drug argument, and for the reason that you mention. Cigarettes and alcohol would fit that argument as well, as would long-distance running.

"4. Getting high is not a civil liberty; neither is getting drunk or smoking tobacco. A civil liberty is not defined as the right to perpetrate a "victimless" crime, or to turn yourself into a useless object. Whether you have the right, or ought to have the right, to do these things anyway, or whether the state has the right to restrict them, makes for interesting debate, but not within the context of civil liberties."

Oops, if I said that, then I didn't mean it. I meant "individual liberty," not "civil liberty." I know the difference, I was just being sloppy.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-06-08 3:16:31 PM


Pot is not a gateway. Pot dealers are a gateway. It's the association with criminals that exposes pot smokers to hard drugs. Sort of like alcohol exposes young adults to gambling and prostitution.

Posted by: dp | 2008-06-08 3:34:36 PM


PM,

1. It isn't just the United States. Pot is illegal almost everywhere, with the almost sole exception of Holland. And even there, 60 percent of the marijuana produced is for the black market. It seems people aren't content with being allowed to smoke it only in coffee shops. Faced with such severe real-world repercussions, it's hard to justify legalizing pot on an abstract notion of individual liberty alone.

2. Pot remains in your system for many days and can affect your mind for as long as 24 hours after ingestion, and from what I understand, the tapering-off of the effects are not necessarily as linear as with alcohol. To my knowledge, there is no time/impairment/amount smoked table for pot, the way there is for booze, and it may even not be practical to create one, even if chemically possible, because most people do not measure their marijuana as carefully as they do their booze (it usually comes in "drink"-sized portions, making counting easy).

3. Statistics from various sources I've consulted leave little doubt that marijuana is a gateway drug; the issue is whether smoking marijuana CAUSES addiction to hard drugs later on. Let's be frank; of course it doesn't. Does it FACILITATE it or ENCOURAGE it? Well, it looks like it might.

4. The difference between civil liberties and individual liberties from a legal standpoint as that the latter are much more easily quashed, because they are not recognized cornerstones of freedom, as are civil liberties. You could claim an individual liberty to do anything. For instance, the law against murder prevents you from killing other people. To accept that law, you have to accept that killing people is bad. The irony is that you can more often JUSTIFY killing someone than you can smoking pot, probably because the stakes and potential cost of inaction are higher.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-06-08 3:40:36 PM


P.S. Under number 2., I forgot to add that THC is fat-soluble and can be released into your system without warning any time you start burning fat, such as during hard exercise. So if you're a regular smoker, a several-day "dry" stretch does not guarantee freedom from effects; start anything that requires both exertion and coordination, and there can still be a nasty surprise in store.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-06-08 3:45:20 PM


We used to call that a flashback Shane. LSD is also fat soluble. It makes dieting an adventure. Thank goodness I was a skinny kid during my excellent adventure. Or should I call it a bogus journey? Sound funny coming from a middle aged redneck?

Posted by: dp | 2008-06-08 3:53:50 PM


Brought to you by pathetic apologists for the promotion of degenerate youth and family destruction.

You morons are a real piece of work. You have no exposure to the REAL impacts of what you advocate do you?

Forget that intelligent people are buying organic, eliminating transfats and overall making healthier choices for living. You idiots are promoting the exact opposite. And you cite your pathetic studies and tout your silly little Llibertarian philosophies to justify the destructive lifestyles you would seem to promote.

Do you realize just how DUMB you look?

Epsi

Posted by: epsilon | 2008-06-08 5:21:06 PM


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