Washington Post columnist and former Bush speech writer, Michael Gerson, gives a strange argument against Ron Paul. Paul had defended people’s right to put what they want in their own bodies, up to and including heroin. To make fun of the idea that laws are what are preventing most of us from using heroin, Paul said:
“How many people here would use heroin if it were legal? I bet nobody would.”

The way Paul did it was funny and many in the audience got it. As Gerson pointed out, Paul said it “to applause and laughter.” But then Gerson writes:

Paul was claiming that good people — people like the Republicans in the room–would not abuse their freedom, unlike those others who don’t deserve our sympathy.

How does Gerson get from Ron Paul’s words to the conclusion that people who do or would use hard drugs “don’t deserve our sympathy.” I don’t know Ron Paul’s view about them but I would be willing to bet that he is sympathetic.

Gerson claims there is, “de facto decriminalization of drugs in some neighborhoods–say, in Washington, D.C.” Of course, there’s not: not even close. How do you tell? By seeing whether people ever get attacked by police and charged with a crime for buying, selling, or using. Do they? Gerson might want to hire a fact checker.

And how does Gerson want to show his compassion? The point of his article seems to be that drugs like heroin should be illegal. So his idea of compassion for drug users is to threaten them with prison.

The danger is not those who would leave us alone but those who want to use force against us because they don’t approve of our choices. Even if Ron Paul doesn’t feel compassion for drug users–and I’m willing to bet he does–I’ll take his “second-rate values” (Gerson’s term) over Gerson’s apparently first-rate values–throw them in prison–any day.