William F Buckley was a miraculous man in several regards. Born with a platinum trust and a silver tongue he invented the Public Intellectual as we know him today; the glib proprietor of some venue, inviting in those with similar ambitions but divergent opinions for a quick flensing before a hostile scrum. He was quite nearly the inventor of modern conservatism, the ungay marriage of dusty, rarely followed moral precepts and musty, never followed fiscal principles. An iconclast, he managed to be unpredictable enough to rise to be the ONE out and proud conservative to be grudgingly admitted a modest intelligence. Somewhat famously, later in life, he made libertarian-based drug legalization his personal hobbyhorse and the open editorial position of The National Review. Less famously this came after a rather sanguine philosophical failure.
When it came to drugs, Buckley was against them before he was for ’em. The internets only reveal evidence of Mr Buckley’s climb-down; a debate he engaged in with Charlie Rangel where he opposes Rangel’s nanny-state based expansion of the nation’s longest war by far, today’s War on Drugs. But I remembers it, oh yes I does. In the vid you will see Buckley state nonchalantly that he favors the execution of drug dealers to children, meaning minors. Before you break your neck in enthusiastic agreement with this bit of Hunnism, recall that the majority of those selling drugs to teens will likewise be teens, a complication not considered by the Buckley of ’91. And the Buckley prior was both more consistent and more savage. He was for a level of surveillance, intrusions and criminal sentencing that would make Mussolini crap his drawers. Perhaps Buckley’s writings contain something other than the usual ignorant braggadocio of the Drug Warrior to support this position but my memory of thirty years vintage states otherwise. Yes, Buckley was for prohibitions across the board enforced through capital punishment. But at least this would-be Caesar proved more educable than his peers. At least with the dramatic failures, costs and depredations decades of the Drug War revealed, he was able to moderate his position; really invert half of it and double down on the balance. Thus he arrives where he calls for decriminalization generally but capitalization as regards minors.
There was however an interim step. For years, as I recall it, Buckley was for SUPER-criminalization, using his slouch and chuckle to persuade his audience and his guests that nothing less than a campaign of prison-cities and mass hangings could stem the “disaster” of drug proliferation. Further, anyone who was not down for Terminator without the robots was “not serious” in their opposition to drugs.
This was a very weighty charge indeed, perhaps more so then than even now. To be unserious on drugs was to laugh at Len Bias’s funeral or to rejoice over John Belushi’s body bag. So any fool standing in the cockpit of Buckley’s ship had best be equipped with a pocket full of no no noes and but but buts. The result of course was that the public pressures worked a ratchet; harshening sentences, expanding enforcement and deranging the dialogue. Privately, well, do you think a Buckley or a Gore or a Kennedy or a Bush would be subjected to such a regimen? We know better, some of us personally. Here the charge of malicious and debilitating racism is quite well founded. Plain old favoritism also obtains. So the whole edifice is rotten, contradictory and not working, some would say unworkable. Yet it thrives and not least because of the ancient machinations of William F Buckley which he came to revise but not publicly regret. Even later he became a fanatic prohibitionist of that most deadly of consumer products, tobacco but only after the death of his beloved wife (at a ripe age) to smoking related illness. What we must conclude, with some surprise, is that the giant Bill Buckley was not, in the end, a man of principle.
Nope, he was a reactionary and subject to manic passions. How else can we explain his flips, his flops and most damaging of all, the fact that neither he or anyone else in public office ever denounce these grotesque usurpations on principle. Isn’t this the interminable bleat of the proud “conservative”? Where ever the Conservative looks he sees a breach of the Constitution. So riddle me this? What enumerated power in the Constitution validates the War on Drugs? The response will be a hemming and hawing at the Commerce Clause that makes Obamacare’s presumptions sound convincing. And yet still, excepting only the Pauls, there are none in public life who will ask this obvious question. And why? Because it has an obvious answer. No Virginia, there is NO Constitutionally valid foundation for forbidding anyone to pick a plant from the ground and put it into their body.
And Lefties, you can just quit smiling. The simple and factual declaration of Dr Paul on our natural born freedoms were used as a cudgel to rubbish the Republican debate and any sprouting dissent on the Drug War in one whack. This is the pattern and you know it. It is plain that questions on medical marijuana or drug issues generally are scrubbed from Obama and Democratic town halls. How much of Obama’s support came from those who thought he had a secret desire and plan to mitigate the Drug War? And yet what has been the result? The only softening, predictably, is in the public but quiet surrender of the term, War on Drugs while Kinetic Incarceration Action continues unebbed.
Waive away all these old grudges and throw out the ledgers. Now, clowntime is over. There is a threat too great for any of us to ignore. The devil’s comin’ out of Georgia and he’s lookin’ for a poll to steal….
Newt Gingrich. Newt Gingrich. Feel the stench of that name in your throat because Newt Gingrich is grooming himself for a bust in the Mad Tyrant Wing of whatever museum might survive his existence. For Newt has taken a page from Buckley; he embraces execution of so-called “drug dealers” on a Singaporean model. Now, in this instance he was not burping up his own idea, a fondness for Singaporean Justice was slo-pitched him by OReilly, that dim-witted model for wrinkle cream. But neither of these besuited offenses to public decency could spare a syllable for the differences between ourselves and the Chinese nationalist relic in the swamp that is Singapore or whether those differences might be there for a reason. These chumps seem to think we will scarcely notice a smooth transition to Singaporean norms which also outlaw chewing gum and feature public floggings for things like vandalism. Where is THAT in the Constitution, I long to learn.
Some may complain that this animated effigy of Bilbo Baggins is a harmless sort. Look at him snigger and jig. And maybe in his heart, he is a good leprechaun, but that is worse. That would mean that he knows good and well that the Drug War is unworkable, illegal and in full measure un-American. Yes, it certainly is within the habits of the Newt we know for him to conciously ape that long transformation of Buckley’s, later to become the libertarian champion of de-crim as Buckley did. But to achieve this aim he will promote a tyranny over citizens that even Hitler did not. That’s not hyperbole folks, that is fuckin’ fact. Maybe it IS Newt’s goal to scare us straight but as the super-smart historian he claims to be, certainly he must know that many a war or other disaster has come from the untimely detonation of this kind of reverse vulcan nerve pinch maneuver in the perpetrator’s face. But it would be just like him to know this and believe that his knowledge would protect him from such a misfortune. He is about the only figure we know that would try to cynically claim the mantle of the toughest Drug Warrior of all time and then cynically burn that as a sacrifice to emerge as the generous despot, ceremonially opening the granaries that had been filled through confiscation.
Of course to do that he would have to go further than Buckley, especially since he will be, if the plan works out, President of These United States. Newt of course will have to ACTUALLY hang some drug dealers. He will have to hold court over a vigorous few years at least of random citizen drug tests, thoroughly patrolled and controlled borders, doubled, tripled, quadrupled drug sentences famously including death and then, when the time is ripe and disaster has touched every street and every life, regretfully accept his failures.
Oh yeah, THAT’S the Newt we know!
This loon needs stopping and I don’t mean soon.