Editor’s Note: When asked to characterize the “politics” of Points, it’s become my habit to describe our collective vibe as “Left-Libertarian.” The term may sound like an oxymoron in this moment of Tea Party ascendancy, but as I noted last week, though the two stances are typically depicted as mutually exclusive in mainstream political culture, folks interested in drug history and policy tend to embrace elements of both: I’ll have a little less government when it comes to criminal justice and personal liberties, but I’d like to keep my structural (rather than rational choice) explanations for crime, addiction, and dysfunction, and of course I want government programs to help me address the social problems they cause. Two great tastes that taste great together! If they aren’t busy being raptured on October 21st, maybe a few smart people from Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party can take the day to sit down together and try to figure out a coherent theory of government that can contain both positions– hell, maybe Ron Paul got one from the aliens already.
For now, at least, Points is a blog, not a think tank, so we’re not likely to come up with such a theory on our own. But what we can do is to keep pressing on policy issues with tools from various academic disciplines–and also insist that we view (and re-view) them through diverse political lenses. The academy frowns on such intellectual mash-ups, and god knows the segmented traditional media don’t want to sully their echo chambers with any contrarian voices (yeah, Rupert Murdoch, I’m talking to you AND to you, Katrina Vanden Heuvel).
It’s with this aggressive heterodoxy in mind that Points presents today a cross-posting from the libertarian organ Reason–Senior Editor Jacob Sullum’s in-depth look at President Obama’s dismal performance in the drug policy arena.