Ron Paul and Barney Frank make odd bedfellows, but one hopes theirs is more than a one-night stand.
On June 23, the two congressmen co-sponsored a bill to allow states to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana. While there are numerous arguments for legalization — tax revenues, the failed war on drugs, prohibition-induced corruption — the media have largely ignored Frank and Paul’s avowed support for individual liberty. The belief shared by the two should not be surprising; Democrat Frank has long felt that the “vast amount of human activity ought to be none of the government’s business,” and that the government should not “tell you how to spend your leisure time.” Libertarian Paul, in the first Republican presidential debate, drew the loudest cheers when he said, sarcastically, “Oh yeah, I need the government to take care of me, I don’t want to use heroin, so I need these laws.” Frank and Paul have more in common than last names that can also be first names: they support drug legalization because of a shared philosophy geared to individual rights, and demonstrate how pols — and all citizens — can unite in support of a wide range of liberties even if they disagree on issues like economic regulation.
Read More: Are Civil (Liberties) Unions America’s Best Hope?
The Boston Phoenix, July 12, 2011