The other day an advertisement came up at the bottom of one of the stories I was reading on the web. The ad showed former Speaker of the House John Boehner looking very prim and prosperous and telling investors to “go all out” on marijuana stocks. The ad was for, of course, a stock picking service that had something to gain from selling weed shares to investors.
But what was striking, of course, was that this was Boehner, GOP stalwart and long-time sworn enemy of grass in all its incarnations. Yet, early this year, and not long after he left the House, Boehner had discovered the marijuana industry with a passion. He joined the advisory board of Acreage Holdings, a company which “cultivates, processes and dispenses cannabis in 11 U.S. states.”
The rosy predictions for the future of the cannabis industry may prove true. I hope so, for the people who are investing their savings in the thing, and for those whose medical conditions may benefit from cannabis-derived drugs, and, well, just for those who enjoy the stuff on a recreational level.
But what really intrigues me about all this is Boehner. In less than a year, he went from a hard-nosed drug warrior to an “all out” advocate for the weed industry. There is something instructive about that. To wit, Marx may have been right. Ideology follows profit. We adopt the belief-system which justifies the ways we make money.
And that is what explains Boehner’s conversion. In Congress, he profited from the role of policeman. Outside Congress, weed was his ticket on the gravy train.
I suspect, too, that while we can see this phenomenon on the Left as well as the Right, it is conservatives who are uniquely vulnerable to it. After all, many of them expose some form of libertarianism, and that ideology says that if you can make money doing something, then go for it. And besides, today’s modern Right, which is so beholden to large donors, and has been basically been crafted to do the will of rich people…well, for them, “selling out” is a simple thing. The work of but a moment.
Which provides an interesting thought. If we could just figure out a way to make losing seats in Congress profitable, and losing the White House a sensible investment…
We’d have a Blue Government in twenty-four hours.
And a very good thing to be sure.