The Corner

Re: Kurtz On Bennett

I think Stanley and I agree on many particulars — but still disagree about Bennett. In short, I think that Stanley’s points are either nonresponsive to Randy Barnett’s and my criticisms, not applicable to Bennett, or both. First, Barnett, unlike Bennett’s other critics, did not charge him with hypocrisy. To the contrary, Barnett disavowed that charge. Second, while we agree that “believing there is a legitimate debate is not incompatible with a zero tolerance view,” this has never been Bennett’s position. As Barnett pointed out, Bennett consistently scoffed at pro-legalization arguments and refused to engage them in debate. Finally, the primary moral defense of Bennett’s gambling (in my view) was that he never acted irresponsibly (e.g. gambling the “milk money”). Yet Bennett has consistently maintained that there is no equivalent moral defense of recreational drug use. This is, in my view, a glaring inconsistency (though not, I would reiterate, basis for a charge of hypocrisy).

Jonathan H. Adler — Mr. Adler is an NRO contributing editor and the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. His latest book is Marijuana Federalism: Uncle Sam and Mary Jane.

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