There’s a point that I think I need to clarify for some folks. Just because I point out that a government has a particular power doesn’t necessarily mean I think it should use that particular power.

For instance, the federal government has the delegated authority to regulate interstate commerce. That doesn’t mean I support every federal effort to regulate interstate commerce.

In fact, I don’t.

Also, states have all kinds of powers that the federal government does not have. Just one example — state governments have the legal power to prohibit marijuana. When I point that out, it doesn’t mean I think states should exercise this power.

Sometimes people get confused and think because I point out a legally legitimate government power that I’m saying it’s OK for the government to use it, or even that it’s a good thing. Or when I say that the government doesn’t have the power to do X, people assume I must be against X.

One doesn’t follow the other.

In the current hyper-politicized environment, a lot of people automatically assume you must be taking a partisan position no matter what you say. If I point out “states have the power to criminalize marijuana,” people say, “Mike must be a right-winger and a drug warrior.” And if I say, “the feds have no constitutional authority to criminalize marijuana,” people say, “Mike must be a liberal, and he hates law and order.”

In fact, I’m just making factual statements about government power in the American system. You can’t extrapolate my positions on an issue based on anything I say about the powers of governments.

Again — to be completely clear — just because the government can legally do something doesn’t mean I think it should.

And in most cases, I don’t think it should.

Mike Maharrey

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