The tragic death of pop singer extraordinaire Whitney Houston at age 48 provides a real-life cautionary tale about the damage drug addiction can do to one’s life. In Houston’s case, the contrast between pre-drug Whitney and post-drug Whitney could not be starker, providing undeniable proof of the shattering impact illicit drugs can have once a person is hooked.
I wonder, in the wake of this tragedy, what the Ron Paul die-hards are saying now about their candidate’s laissez-faire position on drug legalization. After all, Whitney Houston was a big-time celebrity; but a mere speck of sand in the beach of life when it comes to the numbers of lives ruined by drug abuse. A 2009 study showed drugs (both legal and illegal) as the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S. But death is often preceded by years of hell on earth as the addict’s life spirals out of control. Whitney Houston’s last days were apparently spent in an alcohol and/or drug-filled haze, as alcohol too often supplements other drugs of the illegal variety in the addict’s life. And even if it turns out that prescription drugs were also involved in Houston’s death as is being speculated, it’s obvious that those too can be abused, and that they are sometimes the last stop after layovers with marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, etc. These are the drugs Rep. Paul, a physician no less, has no trouble with legalizing.
Paul seems to have a youthful following, which seems a bit strange on the surface since he is old enough to be a college student’s grandfather, and then some. Forgive my skepticism, but his relaxed attitude toward drug legalization surely must have something to do with this. For instance, Paul’s position on heroin seems to be, if it was made legal tomorrow, would we all run out and buy some? Of course not, but that isn’t the issue. If legalization makes it easier for even one young person (or older person for that matter) to get hooked, then it’s not the right thing to do—period.
Perhaps the so-called War on Drugs hasn’t exactly been a resounding success, but it should be noted that those fighting the war often have been forced into battle with one hand tied behind their backs. And it’s interesting that liberal sources provide the harshest critiques of the drug war, lamenting the large sums of federal funding spent on programs that did not reduce usage and addiction rates. This logic train is ironic coming from liberals, since we could use the same argument with them about the utter failure of welfare programs, and they would insist that trillions of dollars later we simply haven’t done enough yet.
Ron Paul claims to be a Constitutionalist, and he may indeed know more about it than I do. However, I know this much and believe it with everything that’s in me: John Adams’ claim that our form of government was meant for a moral people, and was wholly inappropriate for any other, rings truer today than ever. And somehow, I just cannot square the legalization of illicit drugs with anything approaching moral behavior. Especially when I ponder the untimely death of a beautiful, amazingly talented singer who sank into the trap of drug addiction.