Ron Paul, the Birchertarian who just announced that he's running for President in 2012, made one of the most idiotic claims I've ever heard over the debate to legalize all drugs or at least give the states the right to make that determination. Here's what he said to Chris Wallace at that silly Fox News GOP Debate in South Carolina:
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS, DEBATE MODERATOR: Are you suggesting that heroin and prostitution are an exercise of liberty?
PAUL: Well, you know, I probably never used those words. You put those words someplace. But yes, in essence, if I leave it to the states, it`s going to be up to the states. Up until this past century, you know, for over 100 years they were legal. What you`re inferring is, You know what? If we legalize heroin tomorrow, everybody`s going to use heroin. How many people here would use heroin if it was legal? I bet nobody would put their hand up, Oh, yes, I need the government to take care of me. I don`t want to use heroin, so I need these laws!
He has to cling to his free-market Gospel and his hatred for the federal government so much so that he actually makes the argument that if heroin were legal, it wouldn't lure people into taking it because it's all just a matter of choice. Raise your hands, kids: Would you be tempted to do it if it were legal? You see, Chris. It doesn't matter. This naivete is so juvenile. There is an argument to be made for the legalization of drugs or marijuana, but does he really believe that teenage use wouldn't skyrocket if heroin were sold at your local Target store? Please, then I'd check to see if he has any interests in thirty-day rehab centers, because that would become the new dot-com bubble business, although it wouldn't be a bubble. It would be a gold mine for private investors, but a terrible thing for society. How many drinking parties do we now see across America after prohibition was lifted? How many drunk driving deaths are racked up each year? It takes a tremendous amount of alcohol to become physically addicted, but not with heroin. Cocaine and marijuana are mostly without the physical complications, but the mental part is just as hard to break.
Paul's anti-war and civil liberties stances are in line with most liberal values. And legallizing pot or reforming the unjust laws prosecuting drug offenders are also becoming much more mainstream ideas. But that's not the case with smack.
And then we get the ridiculous argument now being made that the Civil Rights Act shouldn't have been passed because since it's 2011, all businesses that put up "Whites Only" signs would be boycotted. Right. That bill flipped the entire South to become Republicans, and it wasn't because the feds passed the act. It was because of racism that lasted for decades and is still with us today.
Chris Matthews presses him on Hardball about these ideas, and his fallback position is that he's for freedom.
MATTHEWS: Well, your people out there in the crowd certainly agree with that. But let me ask you, as a citizen of Texas, if that came up for a vote, if you had to vote on the issue as a citizen supporting a candidate or whatever, do you think the state of Texas should legalize heroin and prostitution?
PAUL: I think that under the right circumstances, we should legalize freedom, and that is part of it. As long as people don`t force things on other people, I don`t feel threatened by that. It`s sort of like legalizing gambling. I don`t gamble and I don`t get involved, but I`m not going to take that right away from you. So all these things are things that you can do in a free society.
But today, I gave a long talk about this very issue and I emphasized the fact that the reason I argue for freedom of choice is I want people to decide what medications they can take and whether they want alternative medicine, whether they can drink raw milk, whether they can use marijuana when they`re sick, and that we shouldn't depend on the government for that guidance. But if you do need guidance with children, if a law is the there to try to protect children, that`s a different story.
But it`s the concept of legalizing freedom, making choices by individuals and assuming responsibility for themselves. And even though that was a special statement about how many people would do it if it were legalized, you know, most people aren't going to use heroin. More people use heroin because it`s illegal. So making it illegal doesn't help that much. Kids can go out and get marijuana easier than they can get beer, so beer can be regulated in a way to prevent the kids from getting it. Most of our history, our early history, there were no laws against this --
MATTHEWS: I guess I have to get down to the question -- you think -- you`re saying -- I`m not sure what you`re saying. If a mother who has children to be responsible for, a husband, a father, should they be allowed to be heroin addicts? Because this is how far you`re going with your libertarianism, it seems, even now.
PAUL: Well, the whole thing is addictions are a disease. We don`t put alcoholics in prison. So I`m just against the war on drugs the way it`s happening. There`s other ways you can handle it. But if you treat it like a crime and throw these kids, like we have for decades, in prison because they smoked a little bit of marijuana, and they come out violent criminals, that war on drugs has failed. And believe me --
MATTHEWS: OK. You want --
PAUL: -- the people know that. And so I`m against the federal war on drugs. I`m not pro-drug usage. As a matter of fact, I`m very critical of the carelessness of doctors who give way too many pain pills. There`s more people addicted to prescription drugs than they are to illegal drugs.
MATTHEWS: OK. Just to finish this conversation on this point -- you have complete freedom to answer this question, yes or no. Should we legalize -- legalize heroin?
PAUL: I want to legalize freedom and let --
PAUL: -- and the states deal with the regulations.
Addiction is a disease, but if you never drank or did drugs you would never know you had it. And there's something really funny about drugs. They obviously make you feel good or people wouldn't be doing it. By the way, Americans can drink almost any kind of milk they want and it won't turn them into addled and dependent addicts.