The DEA’s Classification of Marijuana as a Schedule I Substance

Recently, the Drug Enforcement Agency once again declined to change marijuana’s classification from Schedule I to Schedule II.  While not unexpected, to my mind this is one of the least defensible decisions of current government policy.

A bit of background may be helpful.  Schedule I substances are defined as having “no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.”  Examples of substances in this category are heroin, LSD, and Ecstasy.

Schedule II substances are defined as having “a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.” Examples in this category are methadone, OxyContin, morphine, and Adderall.  While schedule II substances can be prescribed for medical treatments, schedule I substances cannot because there are “no currently accepted medical uses.”

Schedule III substances are defined as having “a potential for abuse less than substances in Schedules I or II [where] abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.” Examples include Vicodin and anabolic steroids such as Depo-Testosterone.

Read More

Bludgeoning Aspiration to Get to Equality

Meritocracy concept. No entry. Stairs up blocked.

There is no more fateful failure of modern political thought than its failure to distinguish between elitism and social exclusivity. From this failure stems an enormous, costly, and increasingly intolerant attempt to rectify what is not wrong in the first place. One fights chimeras the better to avoid confrontation with real enemies.

Read More

The View from Berlin

Brandenburg Gate

My preceding post noodled over non-German authors’ contributions to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s “Crumbling Europe” series.  Today, a few of the Germans. Their contributions are charitably described as disappointing; if you’re seriously worried about the EU, hair-raising is a better adjective. The general pattern is 1) a resolute unwillingness to re-think the EU project, coupled with 2) an unnerving insistence of projecting Germany’s political preferences and attitudes onto the EU and 3) not one word of acknowledgment that the EU is confronting a central, blazingly obvious German problem (see my earlier post).

Read More

A Campaign for a Seamless Rule of Law

Justice Statue

In this year’s presidential campaign, it would be a wonderful contribution to the republic and perhaps a winning move to run credibly on a rule of law platform. This kind of platform is to be distinguished from a “law and order” one, because it emphasizes that in a well-ordered republic that government must enforce order only through law.  And this slogan also underscores that the problem we face is not simply or indeed mainly lawlessness on the streets, but lawlessness in government. Respect for law must begin at the top.

Read More

Originalism, Changing Meanings, and Stable Meanings

One of the criticisms made against originalism by historians is that originalism fails to take into account that word meanings change over time.  In particular, historians argue that during important periods, such as the time leading up to the Constitution, word meanings changed.  Therefore, originalism is problematic because it assumes that traditional word meanings are stable. Unfortunately, this charge by historians turns out to be largely mistaken.  If some originalists assume that word meanings were stable, then that would be an argument against those originalists.  But it would not condemn originalism generally, since nothing in originalism requires that word meanings be…

Read More

Rise of the Teen Dystopias

last-star

When Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games came out nearly a decade ago, it was a phenomenon. Named one of the best books of 2008 by Publishers Weekly, it spent a hundred weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, sold nearly 18 million copies, spawned two sequels, and was turned into a successful movie in 2012.

Collins did more than ensure her own success, however. Ever since J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter books became super-bestsellers in the late 1990s, the venerable genre of young-adult fiction grew to become the largest market for contemporary novels. Pure dystopias were rarely thought appropriate for young teen readers even then—not until the appearance of The Hunger Games somehow established them as a new subgenre. Publishers took Collins’ work as a template for the literary assembly line, and have been flooding the market with one dystopian series after another.

Read More

Does California Care about Students who Question their Sexuality?

California Senate Bill 1146 (SB 1146) created an earthquake of controversy.

Read More

What Do We Hold in Common?

Grunge ripped paper USA flag pattern

In Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, Gil Pender vacations in Paris with his fiancée and her parents. One night Pender takes a walk to escape the insufferable egotists who surround him and stumbles upon an antique Peugeot. It takes him to the 1920s, the golden age for which he has always yearned. He falls in love with Picasso’s lover Adriana, who herself has always longed for the 1890s’ Belle Époque. After a horse and carriage pass them by and whisk them to that period, and after the Impressionists they meet yearn for the Renaissance, Pender realizes that no age is as golden as we imagine and concludes that it is better to live in the reality of the present.

Yuval Levin’s The Fractured Republic is an extended essay on the same theme.

Read More

Freedom and the Natural Law: A Conversation with John Lawrence Hill

natural lawIs the natural law necessary for any enduring consideration of freedom and responsibility? Answering in the affirmative is John Lawrence Hill who joins us in this edition of Liberty Law Talk to discuss his latest book, After the Natural Law.

The Vicar’s Revenge: The FDA, the New Regs, and Freedom up in Smoke

smoking cuban cigar over box  on wood background

In his 1936 short story “The Verger,” W. Somerset Maugham provides a parable for how economic liberty rewards the canny, intrepid owner of a small business no matter how humble his origins.

Read More