Reminder: The Media Isn’t Liberal, It’s Statist

Monday, November 5th, 2012

The Boston Globe today editorializes against medical marijuana and physician-assisted suicide today, both of which are on the ballot in Massachusetts. Why? Because neither ballot measure gives state bureaucrats sufficient control over over the lives of people who live in Massachusetts.

From the marijuana editorial:

With any other legal drug, patients would expect straight answers — they’d assume, almost unconsciously, that the FDA was protecting them. There’s no such backstop for medical marijuana. Even the wisest physicians wouldn’t have enough data to make definitive judgments . . .

Certainly, any regimen for medical marijuana that’s finally adopted should ensure that only those who demonstrably need the pain relief are getting it.

But in the end, Question 3 isn’t the right answer to a complicated policy issue. There are simply too many inherent problems in asking state officials to oversee a legalized system of growing and distributing a drug that hasn’t been subjected to the federal approval process.

Question 3’s heart is in the right place, and its architects have made a solid effort to learn from the mistakes of California and Colorado. But ultimately, the only truly safe way to legalize marijuana will be through the FDA, with doctors providing prescriptions and licensed pharmacists dispensing the medication.

In the meantime, let the patients suffer, the black markets prosper, and the raids continue. I mean, God forbid we pass a law that gives your average rube the tiniest bit more power to make his own decisions about what he puts into this own body. I mean, what if this law were responsible for someone using marijuana to get high?

And from the physician-assisted suicide editorial:

Reasonable people can disagree passionately about Question 2, but a yes vote would not serve the larger interests of the state. Rather than bring Massachusetts closer to an agreed-upon set of procedures for approaching the end of life, it would be a flashpoint and distraction — the maximum amount of moral conflict for a very modest gain . . .

Instead, Massachusetts should commit itself to a rigorous exploration of end-of-life issues, with the goal of bringing the medical community, insurers, religious groups, and state policy makers into agreement on how best to help individuals handle terminal illnesses and die on their own terms . . .

Physician-assisted suicide should be the last option on the table, to be explored in a thorough legislative process only after the state guarantees that all its patients have access to all the alternatives, including palliative care.

” . . . would not serve the larger interests of the state.” Doesn’t get much clearer than that, does it?

That last bit of emphasis is mine. Interesting what happens when you take these two editorials together. We can’t trust doctors and terminally ill patients to come to a decision about allowing a patient to peacefully, painlessly end his own life, because all of the experts, politicians, and elites haven’t yet decided what’s best for the patient. And we can’t let that same patient relieve his pain with marijuana, because the experts aren’t yet in agreement about the benefits of the drug (in part because the same bureaucratic structure refuses to allow the drug to be used for medical research), and in any case, because the proposed law doesn’t give nearly enough power to government to keep the drug away from people. (The Globe also endorses restricting access to prescription painkillers, by the way.)

The message the Globe editorial board is sending to people with chronic pain and terminal illness is pretty clear: Government power is far more important than your pain. So just fucking suffer.

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59 Responses to “Reminder: The Media Isn’t Liberal, It’s Statist”

  1. #1 |  divadab | 

    @B – You say – “If I-502 (our legalization measure) fails, we need to consider seriously the possibility that medical MJ was tactically useful in the short-term, but probably a strategic mistake in the long-term.”

    This is not a horse race! Hemp Flower medicine is MEDICINE! It’s not a stalking horse, it’s about actual patients whose lives are actually improved by this wonderful natural medicine.

    If I-502 fails, Washington’s medicinal marijuana cottage industry will continue. If I-502 passes, Washington’s medicinal marijuana cottage industry will continue.

    I-502 will immediately stop arrests of adults for possession of less than an ounce of hemp flower. This is good. If it doesn;t pass, do you think people will suddenly stop smoking weed?

    Give your fricking head a shake and stop watching teevee – they don’t call it programming for nothing, eh?

  2. #2 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 


    The important thing isn’t the patients who benefit (or don’t) from smoking pot. The important thing is to end the prohibition on a drug so common that it isn’t unheard of to find it growing (as a weed) in Police property. The War on Drugs does far more damage to us as a society than the presence or absence of ‘medical’ marijuana. It is a threat to our liberties and our civil rights almost unequaled in the whole litany of Government stupidities.

    If legalizing medical marijuana helps bring down the Drug War, then it is a good thing. If it prolongs the Drug War then it is a bad thing.

  3. #3 |  Roget | 

    I totally agree with this article and as a MA resident I and my wife will be voting in favor of both the medical marijuana and right to die.

  4. #4 |  Personanongrata | 

    According to the Boston Globe freedom is just another word for doing what your told.

  5. #5 |  croaker | 

    Libertarian author L Neil Smith has decided to vote against the marijuana initiative in Colorado because it gives government too much power.

  6. #6 |  Cyto | 

    “So why are the liberal media more statist than the average liberal probably is?”

    That’s by design. They see themselves as a part of the state. The all-important 4th estate. They exist to make sure that the proletariat gets the right information. The good ones see this as some sort of divine mission. Because they have the power to control the information flow, they get to set the agenda for the nation.

    Back in the 70’s this was very explicit – and not limited to the news media. The big papers and the network news would coordinate with the TV producers in Hollywood to focus on specific messages: mental hospitals are evil, disabled is a bad word – use handicapped (and later “handi-capable”), child abuse is bad, etc. Every news show would hammer the same story, every sitcom would have characters reading from the pamphlet. Even kids shows would get in on the act. The ABC After School Movie would push the topic. Then the politicians would respond.

    It still happens, but it is much less obvious and much more sophisticated. Also more chaotic with all of the information conduits available.

    The point is, the media believes that they have the power to control the state. So having more power available to control is a good thing.

  7. #7 |  Reminder from Radley Balko | mad libertarian guy | 

    […] media isn’t liberal; it’s statist. Interesting what happens when you take these two editorials [concerning medical marijuana and […]

  8. #8 |  Mike T | 


    Yeah libertarians think the state *never* punishes doctors…

    Brush up on your reading comprehension, Nick.

    Mike T. where do you come down on abortion? Review boards, doctor sign-offs in triplicate, parental notification, waiting period. You support all that right?

    Complete outlawing on the basis that it is a biologically distinct organism of the genome homo sapien and a general rejection of the idea that people can initiate force against one another.

  9. #9 |  Articles for Thursday » Scott Lazarowitz's Blog | 

    […] Radley Balko: The Statist Media […]