I once suggested to Big Hollywood editor John Nolte that to draw a tidal wave of comments we needed to somehow figure out a piece where I simultaneously attack birthers, praise Sarah Palin, and raise issues involving Star Trek. Now, I guess I’d have to somehow work in drug legalization, too.
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The tsunami hit in the wake of my recent column on Sting, Soros and their pro-drug partnership, which both cast doubt on the sacred truths of the very vocal drug legalization fans and defied George Soros. Accordingly, I had to be stopped. What happened next tells us much about the tactics, techniques and procedures we will come up against fighting for our culture – and how we can fight back.
The counter-attack came first came in the form of over 400 angry comments from drug legalizers (oh, sorry – “decrimminalizers”) and bong-fueled Twitter tweets from hemp-focused lay-abouts. Next came columns by Huffington Post nonentities and other dope-o-centric fellow travelers. Topping it off came at least one semi-veiled threat.
The main effort, and a clever one – is part of a continuing efforst to use the drug issue as a wedge within the conservative movement. You can see that in the comments, many of the commenters excoriating me describe themselves as “true conservatives” or “libertarians.” Far from being the kind of mellow, Lebowski-like stoners one might expect, most of them were quite angrily convinced that my skepticism about Sting’s support for turning our society into a cornucopia of pharmaceuticals was simply proof positive of my dedication to tyranny, fascism and general meanness.
As the creepy Soros/Sting video implies, apparently the only possible reason anyone could ever think that selling angel dust over the counter at every corner liquor store is a bad idea is some sort of amorphous delight in human misery.
The Left sees that there is a serious debate within the Right on the best way to address the drug question. It is the conservatives and libertarians in publications like National Review and Reason (as I mentioned in the article but the commenters overlooked) who make the most interesting and trenchant critiques of current drug policy – most liberal drug policy critiques just whine about racism or go on and on about how groovy hemp is because Patrick Henry grew it in his back yard.
For that reason, fomenting discord within the Right about drug policy is a profitable enterprise to people who would much rather see us beating ourselves up over whether government has a right to keep smack addicts from shooting up on the subways instead of uniting on real issues like stopping the Administration from nationalizing pretty much everything while spending every dime we don’t have.
Actually, I sympathize to some extent with the conservative critiques of drug policy but, because I dared to point out the dubious assumptions often underlying those arguments – like that criminals will just stop being criminals if drugs are legalized – I became the enemy. Since it really wasn’t a piece on how I felt about drug legalization but about how celebrities lecture us peasants then retreat back into their castles while we deal with the consequences, I broke my standard rule of letting my columns speak for themselves and added a long multi-part, comment of my own. Pointing out the legalizers’ total failure to address legitimate concerns about drugs’ effects on society only got them madder.
Their second axis of attack was through critiques on other web sites – most of them focusing on how horribly out-of-step with progressive social values people like us are. Many of these come from such junkie-friendly precincts of the internet as “drugwarrant.com” and “stopthedrugwar.org.” However, one came from a blogger I have a great deal of respect for, libertarian Radley Balko, who does great work exposing government abuses. Unfortunately, his reference to the column falls in the legalization echo chamber trap:
Yes, there are still people who think like this though their ranks are dwindling, even in conservative circles.
I should point out that if anti-legalization is the hip new position among the cool kids, none of the politicians seem to think so since no major candidate will run on the syringes-in-every-supermarket agenda of the most ardent legalizers.
Naturally, the Huffington Post, as part of its we-know-where-our-bread-is-buttered program, weighed in with a piece blasting my critique of the Drug Policy Alliance written by – surprise – some guy from the Drug Policy Alliance. I guess Sting’s daily tantric hoe-down was too important to interrupt for him to have one of his minions write a column for him. In any case, the thrust of it seemed to be that I didn’t criticize Rush Limbaugh, which I guess is supposed to be is significant . . . somehow.
And since none of that worked – I was unrepentantly responding both in the comments and on Twitter – then why not try some intimidation, since that seems to be the hot new tactic for frustrated leftists?
It came in the form of comments by Tony Papa, the ex-jailbird and designated drug war victim idolized by – and apparently employed by – the Drug Policy Alliance. He is unhappy with me, possibly because I expressed little sympathy for the fact that he went to jail because he, well, committed a crime. Writing as “tonypapa123,” he commented:
Kurt Schlichter you are a two bit shister (sic) laywer (sic) wannabe writer who confuses your mouth for your A-hole – attacking myself and others with rude remarks that have no substance other than making you look like the f—— A-hole that you are. I would like to meet you one day so I can really tell you how I feel about the piece you wrote in person scumbag – put that in ur (sic) comedy routine
Putting aside the creative spelling and disturbing anal fixation (he also called me an “asshole” twice in a two-line comment he added to the HuffPo piece), this seemed to me pretty clearly to be a veiled threat (You can make up your own mind). Unable to let what I saw as a clumsy attempt at intimidation stand, I again broke my “no comment” rule to reply:
I may be a “two bit shyster lawyer wannabe writer” but I’m not a convicted felon. So, convict, save your threats – you don’t wanna get in trouble with your parole officer.
At that point, it probably occurred to Mr. Papa that perhaps being a convicted felon transmitting via interstate electronic means what could be perceived as a threat in writing and in public was the same kind of criminal mastermind move that got him locked up for a dozen years over a $500 blow deal. So the tap-dancing began:
shyster – its (sic) not a threat – I am just pointing out your good qualities as a human being – Read my book – “15 to Life” which is becoming a feature film – maybe I will give you the part as the shyster piece of crap lawyer that defended me and sold me out
His editor must have had his work cut out for him. In any case, I enjoyed the segue from how he wanted to tell me “how I feel about the piece you wrote in person scumbag” to whining that his stint in stir for the crime he committed was all his lawyer’s fault. I replied:
I’m glad you clarified it wasn’t a threat. The Feds don’t like threats made across state lines. I think you ought to read my 4-part comments and thoughts on the issue of legalization in the comments – my column focused on something else. And I don’t do criminal law – I don’t like criminals. But if I did, and if I defended you, and you did nothing wrong, I bet I would have won. But if you participated in a conspiracy to distribute narcotics, well, you knew the price of admission to that show going in. And if you did what the jury (or judge) thought you did, or what you pleaded guilty to, no one was going to be able to help you.
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So, what does this episode teach us about our struggle? The first thing is that the other side is clever enough to use wedge issues to try and divide natural allies. Sure, it might seem like traditional conservatives have little in common with bong-hitting hemp fanciers and hardcore libertarians who think that coke ought to be on the Safeway shelf next to Coke because Ayn Rand would have thought so. While we may have some dramatic disagreements on this point – though, if they would be a little less dogmatic and more rational in their approach to dealing with the very real costs of drug abuse they might get a more favorable hearing – they still have much more in common with us than with the nanny-state neo-socialists of the authoritarian Left.
If the legalizers think the people trying to tell us how much salt and trans-fat we can scarf up will just sit back and let them Cheech and Chong themselves in peace, they are already high.
The second point is that there is a media network on the Left that attempts to leverage a sense of inevitability about their agenda into momentum for it. They do it about everything – here, it’s about legalizing drugs. That false sense of inevitability about irresponsible mutations to our society needs to be punctured at every turn – a specialty of Big Hollywood and its brethren Big Journalism and Big Government.
The lesson: Never – ever – allow them to seize the initiative. Never – ever – allow yourself to believe you are beaten, no matter how uncool, unhip and unfashionable they try to make your traditional beliefs appear. Finally, when they get desperate and make threats – and they will – you call them on it. You can comment. You can Twitter. You can blog. Regardless, engage in the battle, because, in the end, we only lose when we give up the fight.