Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Doing The Conservative Thing

I’m still waiting to see a Conservative stance on the drug war:

“We should do the conservative thing and go back to the way things were before Progressives screwed it up with their ideas of prohibiting plants and plant extracts in order to gain moral uplift.”
Conservatism these days is not a thought out ideology. It is just a series of conditioned reflexes.

The idea that government can provide moral uplift either directly or by contracting out the job is non-sense on stilts. The incentives are wrong. Of course the other conceit is that by either macro or micro policies including a series of punishments and rewards the government can produce a producing economy.

But real economies are different. The real economy is really a series of blind amoebas searching out higher concentrations of useful nutrients. i.e. What job needs to be done. Can I do it at a profit? Are there higher profit opportunities available? Are the rewards commensurate with the risks? What is the opportunity cost? What to do about low profit potential but vital support functions?

You know. The kinds of things government doesn't like to think about.

Any way, with government there is no incentive to solve a problem. The incentive is to get more money to solve a problem. Every year. As it is with economics. So it is with morality and culture.

This rant inspired by something from The Other McCain.

Cross Posted at Classical Values


Tom Cuddihy said...

Simon, if anything is a conditioned reflex as opposed to thought-out idealogy, it is your continual insistence on this blog that ending drug prohibition ought to be the cornerstone of modern conservatism.

That is just nuts. It is one tiny tiny issue among many big big liberty issues that is under assault by big government today.

Agreed that legalizing marijuana, like ending the NEA and abolishing Davis-Bacon, are comparitively minor actions that would make a drastic difference in Americans' actual freedom at no cost. But like all the others, it is politics, not ideological reflex, that keeps pot on the back burner.

And when you think about it, in the enclosed space of conservative comment, isn't a warm back burner where you want the aromatics?

BaldnForty said...


I think ending the war on drugs should be a major conservative issue.

And, contrary to popular belief, the subject is not the 3rd rail of politics. It's just perceived to be that way.

Trust me, if the Republican party set ending the war on drugs as a goal, they would sweep in the next election.

Americans are just tired of it. The war on drugs was lost before it started, and now it's become mostly a war on liberty.