Letter to Journal on Pot and Jason Riley

Dearest Editor,

Jason Riley fails to make his point in “Legalizing Pot Is a Bad Way to Promote Racial Equality” ( Aug. 9 Wall Street Journal). The War On Drugs is a war on responsibility. When we are truly liable for our mistakes in life we quit making those mistakes. As long as the welfare state exists, drug use that has negative effects will continue. Drug users who quit do so because they want to improve their lives, not because some authoritarian busybody sics a uniform on them.

Riley departs from his usual principled view in the direction of restitution and affirmative action. Consistent opinions are more credible than those backed by emotional calls for “somebody must do something in this special situation.”

By the way, in an Alaskan logging camp in the seventies, pot was allowed, but possession of alcohol would get you canned.


Love, Fritz

If It Isn’t Here, It’s Somewhere Else


In the news this morning, “Nearly 300 members of Sioux City’s Iowa Air National Guard 185th Air Refueling Wing will be deployed overseas beginning in October.” Also in the news, Iowa’s aging roads and bridges are in desperate need of repair.

As I drove through Dumont the other day I saw a neighbor and his crew eating lunch by their worksite. I stopped to say hello. The neighbor’s main helper had just quit to take a job with the windmills (which wouldn’t exist if not for your tax money). It was also the last day for two young men who were quitting to go out for the football team. To me, that’s three more productive people lost to a declining civilization.

As a kid, I was an LA Rams fan. (The team that inspired the label on modern consumer goods, “choking hazard.”) Then I adopted the Oakland Raiders because I moved there and because they were a team of misfits and has-beens. I look at the colonists of 1776 as being in the same groove. Now the Raiders are moving to Sin City (Las Vegas), where their bad boy image will fit better anyway. I can easily abandon any dedication to the modern day version of Karl Marx’s opiate of the masses. No big loss for me.

Adding to my disdain for the NFL is a new study of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopothy) published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The gist of this study is that 87% of brains donated for study from deceased football players from high school through the NFL showed signs of CTE. The kicker is, of the 111 brains donated for the study from NFL players, all but one showed evidence of CTE.

No amount of improved protective technology will eliminate the danger to our kids. The brain makes sudden moves because it is there. One commentator said the best way to make football safer would be to eliminate helmets and let self-preservation take over. Other body parts can be repaired or heal but as Steelers’ quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger says, “You can’t have a brain transplant.”

The Iowa National Guard has a responsibility to guard Iowa and the nation, not Qatar, United Arab Emirates, or Kuwait. How is it that no connection is made between sending able bodied workers and cash over there, and the same to football practice or a bunch of wasteful bird killers?

Some of us voted for a man who claimed to see the folly of intervention, both foreign and domestic, but nothing changes. Local tradesmen lack not for skilled workers provided by state schools, but for workers who care about their work.

The state can’t outguess the market. Young people entering the workforce should be free to find their niche without distortions like government trade schools, foreign intervention, phony energy schemes, or modern-day gladiator events.

The evidence is now available; football risks permanent disability, foreign intervention doesn’t bring peace, and domestic intervention (such as government trade schools) diverts scarce resources to wasteful uses.

Much of this is out of our hands. Government officials are mere tools of industry. Their original purpose of preserving our rights as individuals was sold a long time ago. But there is something we can do. As parents, we have a responsibility to help our kids find alternatives to football.

Government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way.” -Henry David Thoreau