I wish the title of this post, which – I kid you not – synopsizes David Brooks' latest op-ed, was exaggerated. Actually, I take that back. I absolutely love that it accurately reflects the bumbling, moral drivel Brooks just passed off as intelligent thought in a post entitled "Weed – Been There. Done That."
Please, I beg of you, read his entire piece, most of which chronicles how he and his friends got high as teenagers and behaved like, well, foolish and carefree stoners. I'm not joking – this is most of his piece, with my most cherished selection below:
Stoned people do stupid things (that’s basically the point). I smoked one day during lunch and then had to give a presentation in English class. I stumbled through it, incapable of putting together simple phrases, feeling like a total loser. It is still one of those embarrassing memories that pop up unbidden at 4 in the morning.The purpose of Brooks relating his stoned-out ventures, and the fact that all of his friends eventually became more 'refined' and moved beyond marijuana, is to somehow show the moral inferiority of pot.
Seriously, this is all Brooks brings to the table before arguing against the legalization of pot: I was a loser. I mean, my God. This is the balance of Brooks' argument:
Pot makes you feel like a loser, and we don't want a nation of losers, because losers are not productive or refined or enlightened.Before getting to his op-ed's grand finale, Brooks opines that he and his friends quit pot because, well, they "had a vague sense that smoking weed was not exactly something you were proud of yourself for. It’s not something people admire."
Don't be like Colorado and Washington and legalize us becoming a nation of losers.
After which he goes in for the kill, utterly destroying with ninja-like strokes the notion that marijuana should be legal by ... aw hell, just read how he finishes:
Laws profoundly mold culture, so what sort of community do we want our laws to nurture? What sort of individuals and behaviors do our governments want to encourage? I’d say that in healthy societies government wants to subtly tip the scale to favor temperate, prudent, self-governing citizenship. In those societies, government subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned.A moral ecology?
In legalizing weed, citizens of Colorado are, indeed, enhancing individual freedom. But they are also nurturing a moral ecology in which it is a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be.
I'm sorry, but was David Brooks high when he wrote this? Because if so, I bet he feels like a total loser.
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, just out from Oneworld Publications.