Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tosh.0, Doobies, and Other Non-Intellectual Pursuits

My sophomore year I almost got a job doing database entry for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and the only questions they asked were if I had ever smoked marijuana or been convicted of a crime. Anyone seeking a security clearance is asked the same question on marijuana - this government is serious about preventing hardened criminals from infiltrating the system. Yet assuming the nation becomes more reasonable and legalizes the substance, is this question still appropriate? Personal feelings of how idiotic present drug laws are aside, it begs a pondering.

The reversal of a law denotes an acknowledgment of either 1. misplaced judgment in crafting the original statute; or 2. a change in circumstances making the original reasoning no longer relevant. An altered marijuana policy scenario is likely both - present policy is wrong, which was reflected by a change in public opinion which shifts to legalization. However, there's no real moral high ground in breaking the current law - it's a law you're expected to abide by, even if you don't agree with it. A democracy is generally better off when people follow the laws prescribed by government. Problems arise when individuals only obey what they believe should apply to them, for no individual should be above others.

So, is it appropriate to expect a security clearance seeker to have abstained from the sticky icky, even after its legal reception? While I believe it should not be a question directly asked, abstinence remains an expectation. Though the codified criminal code is currently an infringement on civil rights, there is no moral righteousness in subverting it. Public defiance for the purpose of bringing attention to the issue is one thing - rolling a doobie and watching Tosh.0 in your living room is not. You've broken the law, yet in doing so failed to influence the trajectory of marijuana policy. Because even if I can provide a damn solid case against current policy, to say I'm more judicious than our lawmakers is more pretentious than cause for absolution - even if it's true.

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