Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan called the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington part of a “deeply libertarian trend” sweeping through both sides of the American political spectrum.
Buchanan discussed legalization with John McLaughlin during Saturday’s “The McLaughlin Group,” with McLaughlin asking whether “the era of pot prohibition is coming to an end.”
“I think it is, to a degree, coming to an end, which means there will be more potheads, and more high school dropouts and more automobile accidents involving marijuana, John,” he said.
The traditional conservative bemoaned the political rise of the individual, which he said will lead to societal discord.
“There’s no doubt that there’s a real trend in this country, a deeply libertarian trend,” he said. “On the left, it favors same-sex marriage, gambling, even prostitution legalization — all of these things which used to be considered vices, and because of the revenue involved and the beliefs that individuals should have autonomy.”
“And on the right there’s a libertarianism as well,” he continued, “where everybody has to have his AR-15 rifle and its 30-round clip. But this is the sentiment in the country, i think, sort of a decline of community and the rise of the idea of the autonomous and privileged self. This is a trend and its going to continue.”
Buchanan has a complex relationship with libertarianism and its proponents. He describes himself as “more of a traditional conservative than a libertarian,” and has worried in the past that the ideology’s inflexible adherence to the rhetoric of freedom could precipitate a big government backlash. But he has supported many economic ideas embraced by libertarians, expressed admiration for Ron Paul and noted that “smaller government is obviously consistent with Republican philosophy.”
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