Part of the new Liberal equation, is coming to terms with the true realities that face us. From my perspective, elements of denial and "fresh coat of paint" mentalities still exist, and a few clues to date suggest no revolutionary thinking is taking place, apart from hollow platitudes. One exception- a breath of fresh air- has been Rob Silver and his commentary. In fact, of all the voices I'm listening to chime in on Liberal reform, Silver seems to start from a necessarily sober place and the thinking develops from this realization. It's not about agreeing with all suggestions but forth, but we need more people who are pushing ideas that challenge current sensibilities, in fact that's the only posture that will stave off outright eventual extinction.
In his latest missive, Silver argues the Liberals should come out and favour legalization of drugs. The idea has "risk", and as we know Liberals are risk adverse, now so political correct to be neutered and vanilla. I still recall the disappointment when Ignatieff basically mirrored the Conservatives on marijuana legalization, stale, bland, and not compelling in the least.
If Liberals are to re-energize their brand we need to step on some toes, we need to dare to offend. Liberals shouldn't be reckless in this regard, but we should adopt policy that is intellectually logical, coherent positions that provides philosophical foundation. I'm not sure legalizing all drugs is on the table, but at the very least Liberals should counter the Conservatives, stop playing defence and take some progressive stands that speak to conviction, rather than pandering nothingness. The kicker for Liberals, there is actually a reservoir of public opinion that favours decriminalization of soft drugs, so bold isn't really all that outlandish.
The war on drugs has failed. Why not develop a policy that favours legalizing marijuana, then perhaps use the proceeds for further education, particularly when it comes to more harmful drugs? What if Liberals devised a position wherein half of all new tax revenue went into educating teens about the dangers of crystal meth, or even why marijuana should be avoided? The other half of newfound tax revenue could go to policing for other more serious crimes. In other words, the entire premise would be revenue neutral, all monies collected from legalizing marijuana put back into the system to give young people more information, police more tools to defend citizens. I'm just throwing this idea out as one possible direction, moreso as a general way to show a way to pivot off the obvious wedge issue. In this way, legalizing marijuana becomes a positive in society, and all it requires is common sense in realizing that marijuana is here to stay, past polices forever doomed to fail.
Rather than reacting to the Conservative agenda- even worse MIRRORING in some cases- why not develop a true pushback position, that challenges everyone and demands some serious rethink? Liberals need to adopt some colour, and on drugs were are the most boring of beige. I firmly believe we can move public opinion over time, particularly with a serious strategy that addresses the entire status quo position. All that is required from Liberals: a certain moxy that confidently articulates deemed wise policy, without worrying about stirring the pot. Step one for Liberals is stop trying to be all things to all people, because you end up being pretty much nothing to everybody. Advocating marijuana legalization, woven within a policy with many tenticles, would be a good start...