A Conservative Approach

I'm always bashing the Cornerites for not being conservative, so it behooves me to point out when the kind of conservatism I admire reveals itself. Jonah Goldberg is not what most would call a drug-legalizer (with the possible exception of pot). But neither is he a defender of the current "drug war." (I don't know how anyone with a base-line intelligence and concern for individual liberty could be.) And so his position is inherently unsatisfying: the kind I admire but am not that temperamentally suited for. I'd legalize pot and soft drugs, and focus on meth, heroin and those drugs that can be shown to have unusually serious social consequences. But it's worth conceding that there's much we don't know, and that any approach is worth pursuing gingerly and with pragmatic care. Anyway, this is the kind of thing we need to hear more of among the dead-certain conservative moralists out there:

What's my solution? Well the first answer has to be, I don't know. In fact, I'm not sure we can know. Some problems are hard and if not permanent certainly enduring. I don't have a solution to robbery, murder, or rape. All I have is an idea of how society should respond to such things in order to minimize their occurrence and to apply justice to those who perpetrate them (these are related but not identical issues). Secondly, much as with global warming and all sorts of things, I place my hopes on technology. I think treatments will only get better as we understand the brain and neuroscience better. And, I'm pretty sure we'll come up with much better drugs that will make smoking crack or shooting heroin seem comparatively unappealing but will also be far less destructive.

In the meantime, I'm all in favor of thinking creatively and, as a consistent federalist, I would be willing to tolerate local experimental legalizations even though I think such policies are folly.