Column on Obama the Wuss

Obama the Wuss!

Tibor R. Machan

Here is why President Obama is a wuss. He has never shown much taste for the war on drugs yet he has done nothing to stop it. He could save a bundle of money (certainly vital in these times) and more importantly get people out of jail and prison who shouldn’t be there if he urged its end. It would strengthen America’s reputation as a bona fide free country. It would embarrass the Republicans — maybe even many Tea Party people — by showing them up for the petty tyrants they are by backing this insane “war.”

Yet, what does Mr. Obama do? He lets the feds raid even medical marijuana clinics in California as a show of force. He misses showing up the Republicans up for their hypocrisy about state rights and federalism, two principles they keep championing in the abstract but betraying in practice in this case for sure.

Of course the main issue shouldn’t be one of showing up the other party for being hypocrites. The main thing should be getting rid of the despotic policy and here Obama could even count on his base, many of whom are supporters of people’s liberty to consume drugs of any kind, even those that may well harm them. (After all, a free citizen is one who may exercise his or her liberty by engaging in bad practices, like producing rotten works of art and worshipping false idols.)

Sadly while in some matters the current crop of Republicans are favoring human liberty, in others they do not. They keep rationalizing their war on drugs by reference to phony theories about how drug consumption is not a victimless crime after all since the perpetrators sometimes harm others under the influence. If that’s so, prosecute and punish them for violating the rights of others, not for being under the influence. (People can embark on violating the rights of others for hundreds of highly varied reasons which cannot and ought not to be the target of laws, only of education and persuasion — that is the civilized way of dealing with people’s bad habits!)

The president is very fond of giving speeches and answering press conference question by stating what he wants people to do. You know, “Pass this bill,” which is actually an order and not becoming of the presiding officer of the government of a free country. But if he is so inclined, why not order the abolition of the villainous war on drugs? Go out and rally his team to do something worthwhile.

It seems that despite the widespread acknowledgement of the disaster of the country’s experience with alcohol prohibition, history is being repeated almost perfectly. What a shame that is. As a refugee from a Draconian tyranny, the so called communism (actually fascism) imposed on Eastern Europe and my original country, Hungary, I am truly disgusted and saddened by America’s drug war. Who do these people think they are to throw people in jail for taking huge risks with and even ruining their lives? (People take risks all the time, e.g., when they drive or go skiing, or … well anyone can fill in the rest of this sentence with but a minimum of thought and observation!)

A few years ago I made a friend from Bulgaria, a former commie country and one that still suffers much from that disastrous episode in its history. Yet places of entertainment in Sofia, the capital city, can stay open much longer than ones in America. That may not be very important to some folks but it does illustrate just how often Americans are willing to tolerate various tyrannical measures in their midst. Which allows its enemies to point a finger at how many people linger in prisons for various victimless crimes. It allows its detractors to discredit the country’s supposed exceptionalism.

For those of us who love liberty and used to love America for a system that was at least approximating the free society and had gotten rid of slavery, the most blatant contradiction of its free heritage, this situation is really distressing. Hopefully it will turn out to be yet another fading legacy of the governmental habit.

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