Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

Dear editor,

David Adams op-ed: The GOP should be the party of cannabis, likens prohibition of drug use with an assault on liberty. His argument is predicated on the definition of liberty. If liberty means that one can do whatever they want without restraint then Adams has a point. But it is an argument foreign to our history. America’s Founding Fathers understood that choices have limits and that with freedom comes responsibility. They were not libertarians. They believed that maximum freedom was only possible when individuals tempered by self-discipline pursued virtue.  John Adams said as much: "Our Constitution was made for a moral and a religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

Without a moral reference point, freedom becomes like silly putty in the hands of a person who wants to justify any behavior or vice.  Life without virtue and inner restraint becomes destructive to the individual and harmful to those around them. Drugs like crack and meth are incompatible with the idea of freedom because they are destructive on many levels.  In fact, they enslave and shackle the user, quite the opposite of freedom.  In the end freedom without restraint will inevitably destroy freedom.

Adams calls on “freedom loving people” to “restrain government encroachment.” A better rallying cry would be to encourage Kentuckians to pursue virtue and practice goodness. That would in fact strengthen our freedom and it’s a message that all political parties would do well to promote. Should the GOP become the party of pot as Adams recommends, it is a party that will likely go up on smoke.

Sincerely yours,
Richard Nelson
Executive Director
Commonwealth Policy Center

Note: This  letter is  a response to David Adam's op-ed in the March 19 edition of the Louisville Courier-Journal: GOP should become party of cannabis.