“Listen, I think it gives a lot of people joy. And we need more joy.”
—Senator Kamala Harris (D-Ca), giving a wildly irresponsible answer to a question about the legalization of pot.
Ethics Alarms is on record, now and forever, as opposing the legalization of marijuana as an inevitable societal disaster on many fronts, but there are arguably legitimate arguments for legalization. Harris’s isn’t one. It’s facile, intellectually dishonest, a disgrace for a lawyer and former prosecutor, and a direct pander to the shallow, stupid, and drug-addled among us.
There are many, many kinds of conduct that give people joy that would cripple society if we allowed them without restriction and criticism.. Rape gives some people joy. Swindling gullible people gives people joy. Bullying. Cheating. Lying. Stealing. Sadism. (Professional football….) Moreover, drug-induced joy is the lowest form of the emotion, false, artificial, temporary and without substance. The “joy” pot provides is no more desirable than the joy provided by ecstasy or heroin. Indeed, one of the societal harms created by recreational drugs is that the kind of joy that is real and earned—the joy of creating something, the joy of self improvement, the joy of discovery, the joy of helping others, the joy of loving and being loved, the joy of making one’s community, society and the world better—are too often crowded out by Harris’s chemical joy.
Statements like Harris’s usually signal a politician who lives by smug half-truths, deception and exploitation of the foolish.