David Brooks’ Anti-Pot NY Times Col No Dumber Than His Paper’s Editorial

So we all had a good laff last week over David
anti-pot column
in the New York Times (read
Jacob Sullum
Matt Welch
for complementary smackdowns).

Russ “Mugger” Smith of the invaluable
Splice Today
points out something worth remembering. The Times’
house editorial, which was published just two days after Brooks’
piece, is even worse, and not just because it supposedly carries
the imprimatur of the wise folks at the Gray Lady.
Writes Smith:

[The Times’ editorial] “The Marijuana Experiment” …
[takes] a very critical stance on the rapidly moving trend in
states across the country that have either legalized pot or are in
the process of doing so. The Times editorial
board is clearly against such a populist movement—even though:
abortion, check, gay marriage, check, unisex bathrooms, coming
up—and it’s my guess that one of Brooks’ superiors at the paper
suggested he write such an essay to gauge opinion. Otherwise, why
would the editor who presumably reads Brooks’ columns before
they’re published leave him open for such scorn?

Marijuana legalization—or decriminalization—is an issue that
gains supporters every day, so
the Times triumvirate of publisher Arthur
Sulzberger, Jr. (62), executive editor Jill Abramson (59) and
editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal (57) knows the paper will
have to take a more definitive stand in the coming months,
particularly since New York’s governor and possible Democratic
presidential candidate Andrew Cuomo has proposed the very minor
step of allowing medicinal marijuana in 20 hospitals across the

I don’t buy Smith’s suggestion
that Brooks was strongarmed into writing a column he didn’t believe
in, but Smith is right that
the Times house editorial is suffused
with a slow-twitch,
pre-senility panic about all the terrors that might be unleashed
upon the world now that weed can be smoked without a potential
arrest harshing the buzz. Curiously, the Times editorial doesn’t
comment on whether the Colorado law is a good or bad thing,
choosing instead to lay out a litany of things that might go
terribly, terribly wrong.

The Times list of “what to watch for in the early stages of this
experiment” include under-age smoking, marketing to youths,
driving while drunk and high, and interstate
 About the only thing
missing from the list is
 a Harry Anslinger-inspired
about whether easy access to dope will increase the
desire among “white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes,
entertainers, and any others.”

What does it tell you about the state of mainstream
establishment journalism when the liberal New York Times is
tut-tutting about “what to watch” for in Colorado at the same time
that the conservative National Review
is editorializing
that “Colorado has become the first state to
make the prudent choice of legalizing the consumption and sale of

It tells you a lot – and nothing that reflects well on the
New York Times.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/07/david-brooks-anti-pot-ny-times-col-no-du

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