A Note on Rand, Playing Politics and Constitutional ArgumentsSubmitted by Marc Clair on Tue, 05/14/2013 - 13:56
After my article yesterday regarding Rand Paul's recent statements
regarding drug legalization, I received some criticism particularly over at the Daily Paul for coming down too hard on Rand. "After all", the argument goes,"he is just taking the Constitutional position and leaving it up to the states to decide. Rand is on our side".
To be clear, in the specific statements Paul made regarding drug legalization, there was no distinction between "federal" and "state" legalization of drugs. He simply stated that he "wasn't for that (legalizing heroin)." And yes, I am well aware that this is a more politically palatable position, as I've been reminded over and over, because Rand needs to do what he has to do to "win". This attitude implies that it's not ideas that are important, but political victory itself.
I believe this is the opposite of how politics should be viewed as a tool for advancing liberty. Political victory should come as a result of expressing the correct ideas about liberty. If liberty positions must be "muddled" and "filtered", what is gained by any victory? This is an example of the problem, as I've discussed before, with simply using Constitutional arguments when developing positions. If one simply relies on the Constitution for framing all of their arguments, one can quickly lose moral high ground in debate over an issue.
This is how libertarians get into trouble when they say things like "well, drug laws should be left to the States...that is what is Constitutional". But this is a backwards way to make an effective argument. Rather, it should be explained that it is wrong to use force on someone simply for putting a substance into their body. It should then be argued that federal drug laws should be repealed for this reason.