I can only wonder sir, how life would have turned out for you had you been taken into the criminal justice system in your wayward youth, instead of suffering the humiliation of a failed presentation in English class? What would the David Brooks that had been given 5 years in a state penitentiary have amounted too? Would he have joined the Aryan Nation to protect himself from other prison gangs? Would he have paid his debt to society and moved on to become a columnist for the New York Times?
Mr. Brooks dutifully notes that marijuana eventually suggests its’ own disuse, for most of us anyway, but I would venture to say that a lot of people who used it more moderately in their teens may still be disusing it more moderately in their senior years, than the lightweights and heads of yore, who moved on from weed to alcohol, from revolutionaries to establishmentarians, and from hippy wannabes to war mongers and profiteers. I think I may be safe here, over generalizing my generation, but by the time I was a Senior in High School most of the jocks were toking too, and everyone would imbibe the hootch. I doubt much has changed today either.
So lo, all these years on, Mr. Brooks and I agree,
But, of course, these are the core questions: Laws profoundly mold culture, so what sort of community do we want our laws to nurture? What sort of individuals and behaviors do our governments want to encourage? I’d say that in healthy societies government wants to subtly tip the scale to favor temperate, prudent, self-governing citizenship. In those societies, government subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned.
Why go from the general to the specific sir? Our government doesn’t encourage being drunk either, but it doesn’t impose on society a criminal sub-culture, any longer, because some of my fellow citizens choose to drink alcohol. Current laws take those same wayward youths of Mr. Brooks and myself and makes them into bootleggers and smugglers, and encourages a gangster mentality among those most susceptible to its’ influence in our society, the youth.
Mr. Brooks. I assume, is also aware that sometimes it’s hard to be someone, but it all works out, it doesn’t matter much to me.
That is I think I disagree.