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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Why Doesn’t Obama Turn Himself In?


In a Washington Times article on the drug war today, Steve Chapman points out that Barack Obama was for decriminalization of marijuana before he was against it. According to Chapman, who cites a Washington Times story on the matter, in his 2004 U.S. Senate race Obama came out for decriminalization. Now that he’s running for president, however, he’s come out against decriminalization.

That means, of course, that Obama, like all the other presidential candidates except Ron Paul, believes that people should be punished by the state for possessing marijuana (and other non-approved drugs).

So, the obvious question arises: Why shouldn’t Obama, as a moral matter, turn himself in the authorities and ask to be punished for his crime?

After all, Obama has openly admitted to possessing and consuming marijuana — and even cocaine — in his younger days. As a strictly legal matter, it is entire possible that the statute of limitations has run on prosecuting him. It is also possible that the state might have difficulty in compiling the necessary proof to convict Obama of a drug-law violation before a jury of his peers.

However, we’re talking here about a moral principle. Obama obviously believes that people who possess and consume drugs need to be punished by the state. Okay, fair enough — that’s what any good statist believes. But then, as a moral issue why should Obama exempt himself from the principle to which he subscribes?

There is nothing to stop Obama from appearing before a state judge and declaring, “Your honor, I firmly believe that people in our society who break the law by possessing non-approved drugs, including marijuana and cocaine, need to be punished by the state. I confess to you, under oath, that I have broken the law by possessing and ingesting both marijuana and cocaine. While my offenses occurred many years ago, I do not feel that that should affect the principle in which I believe — that people who break drug laws need to be punished by the state. Because I believe that this principle should be applied universally and because I wish to avoid being considered a hypocrite, I am here requesting the state to punish me, in accordance with the principle that I believe should be applied to others.”

To ensure that Obama’s guilty plea is accepted, he could even have any witnesses with whom he consumed dope appear before the judge to verify and confirm that he is truly guilty of the offense that he has openly admitted.

Why won’t Obama do this? Because like all the other presidential candidates who have admitted to possessing or consuming drugs, including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry, he’s a hypocrite. While believing that society would be well-served by the state’s punishing those drug users whom it catches in the act of possessing drugs, the hypocrites obviously feel that society would not be well-served by the state’s punishing those drug users it doesn’t catch, especially those drug-law violating politicians who have openly admitted to breaking the law so that the revelation doesn’t bite them during their presidential campaigns.

It’s all reminds me of what the famous Texas criminal-defense lawyer Percy Foreman once said: “My clients don’t want justice. They want freedom.”

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.