Author: Damien M. Schiff
The afternoon prior to President Obama's State of the Union address, the nation's chief executive answered questions posted on YouTube. The top ten questions all concerned the nation's drug laws and policies, especially as applied to marijuana.
What can one take away from this? It seems to me that, for the YouTube generation, the availability of drugs is more important than many other foundational principles, such as limited government, or strong protection of private property rights. One wonders whether, had YouTube been around in 1930, the majority of questions would have been about ending Prohibition. I rather doubt it. My sense is that back then Americans would have had a better sense of prioritization and a better grasp of what the essentials of a just and free society are.
Are the nation's drug policies immoral or ineffective, or both? That's an important question, but is it today the most important question, or the one that the YouTube generation should be most concerned about? Is it not fairer to say that these teens and twenty- and thirty-somethings should be as concerned, if not more concerned, with the general expansion of government and its spending, high taxes, anti-innovation policies, nationalized healthcare, and the like? Perhaps the president's YouTube interlocutors are merely the modern instantiation of the Romans of old, satisfied with "bread and circuses."