The Corner

I Have a Good Idea What Prager Is Smoking

And it isn’t kush.

I am mystified by Dennis Prager’s column today. Setting aside the particular question of the legalization of marijuana (which I favor), what seems odd to me is Mr. Prager’s argument that smoking marijuana is much more likely to make you a “loser” than is smoking cigarettes, that smoking marijuana is much more likely to cause you to be in a car accident than is smoking cigarettes, etc. I do not debate any of this, but the relevance escapes me: Surely the more apt comparison is between marijuana and alcohol rather than marijuana and cigarettes? I understand Mr. Prager’s consternation that we are liberalizing our marijuana laws while restricting tobacco use, but our national approach to tobacco has always been kind of stupid: We subsidize its production but work against its consumption.

As a public-health concern, marijuana is a minor issue. Alcohol is a major issue: Estimates vary, but as many as one in ten Americans have a drinking problem, and about one in five children grow up in a home in which there is an alcohol abuser. Alcohol kills a great many people; it may be possible to overdose on THC, the active substance in marijuana, but as a practical matter it is impossible to do so by smoking pot. (The FDA believes that people have overdosed on synthetic THC pills.) The list of chronic disabilities associated with alcohol use is long. That does not make prohibition a retroactively good idea.

People may scoff at my saying so, but there is such a thing as a marijuana addict, and marijuana addicts are as miserable as any other addict. Alcohol addicts are much more common, and generally worse off. Sure, a cigarette is less likely to cause you to drive into a tree, but that is the definition of a trivial truth.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More