Conservative hypocrisy on liberty

January 13, 2014

David Brooks’ column, “Moving on from marijuana makes you a better human being,” which appeared in the Jan. 6 edition of the Observer-Reporter, is another clear example of a liberty-loving conservative’s hypocrisy.

I assume that Brooks favors the status quo – labeling marijuana users as criminals because their choices keep them from living lives that he finds provide the “highest pleasures.” Drinking a gallon of sugary soda every day will surely harm a person’s health, and we can’t enjoy our “highest pleasures” if we are ill. Yet conservatives railed against an attack on our liberties – rightfully so – when limits were placed on the consumption of sugary drinks in New York.

Some behaviors that would be criminalized if conservatives like David Brooks, Mona Charen or Rick Santorum had their way, because they fail to meet honorable standards and prevent us from being “the sort of person most of us want to be,” are: drinking alcohol; smoking cigarettes; eating sugary, fatty foods; eating fast food; gambling; purchasing pornography; getting divorced; and having sex for any reason other than procreation.

At least Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is consistent. His concept of liberty aligns with that of most conservatives – liberty to pollute, to underpay employees, to cut corners on safe working environments, to pay minimal (or no) taxes. But he and his father, former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, recognize individual liberty and that sometimes it comes with warts on it.

Don DeAngelis



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