Sunday, July 17, 2016

Allegany County v. McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky

By Mathew Goldstein

Eleven years ago the Supreme Court decided in a 5-4 decision that Ten Commandments documents displayed in a government court building in Kentucky violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.  The same day the Supreme Court decided 5-4 that a Ten Commandments monument on the property of a government court building in Texas was constitutional.  Justice Breyer voted differently on the two similar disputes because he concluded that the monument in Texas was more secular than the framed wall displays in Kentucky for various trivial reasons, including that the Texas monument was one of more than a dozen different monuments on the court building property.  Justice Stevens dissented from that second decision, Van Orden v. Perry, arguing that the display "has no purported connection to God's role in the formation of Texas or the founding of our Nation ..." and therefore could not be protected on the basis that it was a display dealing with secular ideals. Stevens said that the display transmits the message that Texas specifically endorses the Judeo-Christian values referenced in the display and thus violates the establishment clause.

Justice Stevens was correct, although his implied endorsement of the existence of God as a secular fact was biased.  Justice Breyer's hair splitting distinctions between the Kentucky and Texas Ten Commandments appears to reflect an effort to balance his discomfort with the displays with his discomfort with confronting public opinion.  He appears to have ruled against one display in accord with his honest preference that such religiously partisan monuments not be displayed on government property, to try to limit the harm, while carving out an exception big enough to ensure any government could continue displaying the Ten Commandments anyway.  These two inconsistent decisions place the dispute in an unresolved status that encourages more litigation.

A self-identifying secular humanist and atheist who owns property in Allegany County, Jeffrey Davis, recently filed a lawsuit in Allegany County seeking to have the McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky decision re-applied to a Ten Commandments monument on the property of an Allegany County court building.   The granite monument is one of hundreds (the total number is disputed) purchased and donated over ten years by the Fraternal Order of Eagles to promote the 1956 Cecil B. DeMille Ten Commandments movie.  The Fraternal Order of Eagles is a theists only membership organization, with an initiation ritual that features a Bible and religious phrases and prayers, that restricted membership to Caucasians in the past.  There is also a George Washington monument somewhere else on the same property.  Davis is writing the arguments himself although he is not a lawyer.  He expresses an interest in obtaining assistance from experts.  Apparently the Maryland ACLU (no surprise here) and the AHA have so far refused to assist him.  

Meanwhile the county is spending lots of money on a non-profit law organization, Alliance Defending Freedom, to try to convince the judge to retain the Ten Commandments monument.  Alliance Defending Freedom is a conservative Christian organization that describes itself as "defending the right to hear and speak the Truth".  We would never argue that our government institutions should display the secular humanist manifesto to respect our freedom of expression to communicate the fact that there is most likely no God and that religions are fictions.  Our government does not function as our vocal chords, keyboards, printers, Internet, billboards, etc.  When our government remains silent regarding theism versus atheism our government does not thereby deny anyone's freedom to express themselves.  There is a time and place for conducting business and another time and place for expressing convictions about (an imaginary) god within every 24 hour day, with time remaining for eating, sleeping, etc.  Or watching T.V., it's your choice.

Ten Commandments monuments on the property of a government institution never were, never will be, never can be, a secular display in any country where a majority of citizens profess those commandments came from God as revealed in a (too often primitive and barbaric) holy text that designates death penalties for violations.  No judge, no team of well educated lawyers from an expensive law firm, no biased popular opinion, declaring otherwise will change this basic fact.  The Ten Commandments is religious by origin, by content, by usage.  It is a thoroughly religion drenched biblical document that also has some incidental secular content.  When judges falsely claim such displays are secular they demonstrate that they, and our laws, sometimes lack integrity. As secular humanists we should say this publicly, repeatedly, and unequivocally.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Ayn Rand was not a good philosopher or economist

By Mathew Goldstein

For about three years Adam Lee has been criticizing Ayn Rand's book Atlas Shrugged chapter by chapter, section by section, on his Daylight Atheism blog.  His criticisms of that book, and of Ayn Rand, were also critical of Objectivism.  Objectivism is the name given to the world view that the atheist, and self claimed advocate for reason and individualism, Ayn Rand tried to promote with her books.

Atlas Shrugged the Ideologocal Event Horizon summarizes Lee's criticisms of Ayn Rand and her Objectivist movement.  He argues that Ayn Rand's Objectivism fails to deliver on its claims of being rooted in reason and individualism.  Ayn Rand's fictional books are indeed unrealistic fantasies that attempt to promote a flawed philosophy.  Various Republicans reject Objectivism as being tainted by its link to atheism (as if that link automatically defeats the philosophy), but they continue to promote her books anyway as providing insight into good economic policy.  As a guide for economic policy we lack sufficient reasons to think her writings are any more sophisticated or realistic than her Objectivism philosophy.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

I don't like to boast but...

By Gary Berg-Cross

You may find it surprising, but I've been thinking about boasting and self promotion a bit these days. Well OK, in today's campaign environment this is perhaps not that surprising as we are confronted with naked forms of narcissism than usual . I'm thinking here, of course, of various claims that flow, or overflow, out of candidate Trump's mouth. In March, for example, on Good Morning America D. Trump claimed, “ No One Has 'Done So Much for Equality as I Have' Evidence? His clubs are open to everyone.

"You take a look at Palm Beach, Florida. I built the Mar-a-Lago club, totally open to everybody. A club that, frankly, set a new standard in clubs and a new standard in Palm Beach and I've gotten great credit for it. That is totally open to everybody."
Speaking to AIPAC he boasted “I've studied the Iran nuclear deal more than anyone.” The AIPAC audience laughed, maybe nervously. One reporter labeled it a “Crazed Speech Filled With Self-Promotion And Delusion.” 
Doonesbury  documented 20 such boastful delusions including claims of being # on Bible reading, women's issue, trade etc.



It's all consistent with Dan McAdam's Mind of Trump article ( a psychologist investigates how Trump’s extraordinary personality might shape his possible presidency) in The Atlantic which provides such labels to the Donald personality as:

  • narcissism,
  • disagreeableness,
  • grandiosity

These ingredients offer some idea of why Trump trumpets himself. He thinks we need to know how awesome he is. He just lacks or does not find useful the methods by which many of us engage in humble boasting. Where we may not want to let our audience on to how we are dying to brag about our kids or grand kids, new job, great investment, well Trump is on to the direct bragging path. And like a super stereotyped New Yorker he anticipates a good return on investment with little cost.

Generally, research suggests that people dislike direct, explicit self-superiority claims such as being better than others, chosen, gifted or favored by fortune. It is perhaps a comparative thing with thelistener being put one down. You can read all about the dynamics of “humble boasting in another Atlantic article by MATTHEW HUTSON called “How to Boast on the Sly A guide to bragging better.”

While we can't expect Trump to be guided by factors that influence day to day boasting as opposed to national level ones there are some factors in here that may eventually come into to play at least for some voters, outside of the Trump tribe, who are entranced with a blinding, boastful, self delusional and self promoting vision of change and leadership.

For example, as noted by Hutson when we brag overtly, we miscalculate how others will react. That is, studies suggest that self-promoters overestimated the extent to which their audiences would feel “proud” and “happy,” and they underestimated audience annoyance. A way around this is to “hire” someone to do the boasting for you. There is plenty of that in politics but again, Trump likes to toot his own boast organ himself so he may run into a limit here as praise from the usual suspects seems to be hard to hear.

One wonders if we will see a turn off from DT's explicit self-superiority claims (“I am better than others”). Of course in a campaign such claims are always there is some form maybe a bit more humbly implied. One warning to Hillary, as Hutson notes:

"Women appear to pay the greatest price for bragging. When job candidates in one study self-confidently highlighted their accomplishments, they were seen as more competent than when they spoke modestly. Yet the women who self-promoted were seen as less likable than the self-effacing women. "

Another cultural hurdle for women to clear.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Off target, the Air Raid podcast

By Mathew Goldstein

The Secular Coalition of Maryland (SCMD) is "... a radical left-wing lobbying group that wants to ensure that people of faith do not have the ability to practice their religion freely."  Or so claims Brian Griffiths who is Editor in Chief of the Red Maryland Network where his recent comments can be found on his The Air Raid podcast.  He is a former Chairman of the Maryland Young Republicans for two terms who also served four years on the Maryland Republican Party Executive Board, was President of the Anne Arundel County Young Republican, and was Assistant Secretary and Northeast Regional Vice-Chairman of the Young Republican National Federation.

He characterizes SCMD as a "left wing hate machine" who seek "to force people to participate in" what he characterizes as "state sanctioned homicide" (this is referring to the bill that proposed legalizing physicians prescribing a lethal dose of barbiturates to the terminally ill).  To make his case he cited, among other things, our opposition to the bill titled "Health Occupations - Health Care Practitioners - Exemption From Participation in Aid in Dying". That seemed to particularly annoy him.

After reading some of the contents of the SCMD web site and identifying bills SCMD opposed he devoted most of the remaining time mischaracterizing SCMD positions.  He ignored that SCMD opposed only particular provisions of some of the bills, falsely claiming that we opposed the bill sponsor's stated goal in its entirety each time. He conjured a straw man negative stereotype of SCMD and then attacked the straw man he created.  He appears to have close to zero tolerance for every legislative outcome that SCMD seeks and focused more on negatively labeling us than on making an effort to engage in any two way discussion on the substance of the issues.

SCMD argues that Maryland's health provider conscience law should be amended to clarify that the clauses granting institutions a conscience right to refusal apply only when the institution is privately controlled.   Also, freedom of conscience is not a one way street that applies selectively only to the people who adopt one side of the two opposing sides.  Whenever institutions objecting to some medical procedures can mandate refusal to provide them on freedom of conscience grounds it necessarily follows that institutions that support those same disputed medical procedures are entitled to the corresponding right of conscience to mandate agreement to provide them.

A good freedom of conscience bill for health care providers would prioritize freedom of conscience for individuals over that of institutions (since these two goals unavoidably conflict) by restricting institutional level employee mandates to privately controlled institutions.  A good bill would also be reciprocal and not privilege institutions that want to opt-out over those institutions that want to opt-in.  With those two modest adjustments that bill would become a reasonable and balanced bill that allows individuals working in public institutions to opt-out and allows privately controlled institutions to fully opt-out or opt-in.

It is clear that the perspectives of the SCMD and those of Mr. Griffiths are very far apart and in conflict.  Mr. Griffiths' views appear to align with those of his church.   Religious institutions take their theology seriously, they are inclined to claim that they are defending the will of God, which can generate conclusions that conflict with people who think differently about what God wants, or think that there is no knowledge of what God wants, or think that there is no God.  What is unclear is if there is a genuine willingness on his side to argue on the substance of our disagreements.  His commentary sounded like an effort to shut down the possibility of a discussion.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Mark Twain on Bob Ingersoll

by Gary Berg-Cross


It is always a pleasure to read Mark (Sam C) Twain and The Mark Twain Project makes that easier than ever with many of his letters and 3 volumes of his later in life Autobiography online.

One very pleasant surprise for me was to read on Twain commenting humorously but insight-fully about Bob (Robert) Ingersoll. There's a section in part 1 of his Autobiography where he talks about his 3 viewing General Grant in 1879, when Grant  had just returned from a journey around the world, and now was to be feasted in Chicago by the veterans of the Army of the Tennessee in what was called The Great Banquet.
He makes himself the audience (although he was to be the final speaker) viewing a contest among the best speakers:

"The speakers were of a rare celebrity and ability.....Colonel Vilas was to respond to a toast, and also Colonel Ingersoll, the silver-tongued infidel, who had begun life in Illinois and was exceedingly popular there. Vilas was from Wisconsin and was very famous as an orator. He had prepared himself superbly for this occasion.
He was about the first speaker on the list of fifteen toasts, and Bob Ingersoll was the ninth."

Twain notes that prior speakers, like Gen Vilas make it hard on Bob Ingersoll who rises to the occasion. You can read that long section in http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200551h.html

Below is what Twain wrote in a more direct report to his lifelong friend and co-author Willain Dean Howells

 ".....and the last and greatest by Robert Ingersoll, whose eloquence swept the house like a flame. The Howells letter continues:

I doubt if America has ever seen anything quite equal to it; I am well satisfied I shall not live to see its equal again. How pale those speeches are in print, but how radiant, how full of color, how blinding they were in the delivery! Bob Ingersoll's music will sing through my memory always as the divinest that ever enchanted my ears. And I shall always see him, as he stood that night on a dinner-table, under the flash of lights and banners, in the midst of seven hundred frantic shouters, the most beautiful human creature that ever lived. "They fought, that a mother might own her child." The words look like any other print, but, Lord bless me! he borrowed the very accent of the angel of mercy to say them in, and you should have seen that vast house rise to its feet; and you should have heard the hurricane that followed.  from http://mark-twain.classic-literature.co.uk/mark-twain-a-biography-volume-ii-part-1-1875-1886/ebook-page-39.asp"

You also get some of Twain's enthusiasm in a letter to his wife, Livy which is copied below:


I’ve just come to my room. Livy darling, I guess this was the memorable night of my life. By George, I never was so stirred since I was born. I heard four speeches which I can never forget. One by Emory Storrs, one by Gen. Vilas (O, wasn’t it wonderful!) one by Gen. Logan (mighty stirring), one by somebody whose name escapes me, & one by that splendid old soul, Col. Bob Ingersoll,—oh, it was just the supremest combination of English words that was ever put together since the world began. My soul, how handsome he looked, as he stood on that table, in the midst of those 500 shouting men, & poured the molten silver from his lips! Lord, what an organ is human speech when it is played by a master! All these speeches may look dull in print, but how the lightnings glared around them when they were uttered, & how the crowd roared in response! Ah, It was a great night, a marvelous night, a memorable night. I am so richly repaid for my journey—& how I did long wish with all my whole heart that you were there to be lifted into the very seventh heaven of enthusiasm, as I was. The army songs, the military music, the crashing applause—Lord bless me, it was unspeakable.

http://www.marktwainproject.org/xtf/view?docId=letters/UCCL01715.xml;query=bob%20ingersoll;searchAll=;sectionType1=;sectionType2=;sectionType3=;sectionType4=;sectionType5=;style=letter;brand=mtp#1


This was the first time that Twain heard Ingersoll and his subsequent affection for Bob is shown in a letter he wrote to the orator's daughter after his death in 1899.
"Except my daughter, I have not grieved for any death as I have grieved for his. His was a great and perfect spirit; he was a man—all man from his crown to his footsoles. My reverence for him was deep and genuine: I prize his affection for me and returned it with usury."


from The Robert G. Ingersoll Museum in Dresden, New York
by Herbert A. Wisbey, Jr.

http://www.crookedlakereview.com/articles/34_66/65aug1993/65wisbey.html

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Maryland General Assembly 2016 report cards

By Mathew Goldstein

This year two lawmakers agreed with the Secular Coalition for Maryland (SCMD) more often than anyone else.  They were Delegates Alfred C. Carr Jr. of District 18 in Montgomery county and Eric Ebersole of District 12 in Baltimore and Howard counties. Eighteen additional Delegates and one Senator frequently agreed with SCMD.  Two Delegates disagreed with SCMD more often than anyone else.  They were Delegates Susan K. McComas of District 34B in Harford county and Tony McConkey of District 33 in Anne Arundel county. Three additional Delegates and three Senators often disagreed with SCMD.  A 2016 legislative recap describes some of this year's issues.

The SCMD recently published a Maryland 2016 GA Report Card spreadsheet with scores ranging from 8 to -4 for each lawmaker so that you can see how your elected representative fared.  Senators are identified by light blue rows.  Delegate Zucker became Senator Zucker in February.  He is identified as a Senator but on some bills he voted as Delegate.  The House bills opposed by the SCMD are followed by the Senate bills we opposed.  Then the House bills and Senate bills we supported are listed.

Bold bill numbers indicate a final floor vote.  Underlined indicates final floor votes in both chambers.  Italics indicates the floor votes were unanimous.  Unanimous floor votes in either or both chambers are not counted.  Sponsorship and cosponsorship are counted when there was no final floor vote in the originating chamber.  Committee votes are counted separately.  Committee votes are prefixed or suffixed with a "c".

No vote and no sponsorship or cosponsorship is assigned a zero.  If SCMD agrees with the vote or sponsorship or cosponsorship then it is assigned a one, otherwise it is assigned negative one.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

"Great Author" yes, "God" no

By Mathew Goldstein

The article George Washington: Recognizing God’s hand in America by Dennis Jamison argues that "Washington inserted the words, "So help me God" into his oath of office; there's a movement to yank them out, history and tradition be damned with the Almighty." Mr. Jamison identifies himself as an adjunct faculty member of a community college.  However, the college's web site identifies him as a community instructor with no academic credentials and no expertise in American history.  He is determined to convey his strong conviction on this topic but he is allowing his convictions to substitute for the historical facts, which is the mistake that academics and historians are trained to avoid.  Mr. Jamison confidently makes several firm factual assertions, but he offers no evidence to back them up because there is none.

One such assertion that fails to be supported by historical evidence is "This first inauguration set the tradition, and subsequent inaugurations have change little since Washington’s day."  Since his article is arguing that his presidential oath of office was theistic, this implies all of the subsequent inaugurations included kissing a bible.  Yet there is no evidence that George Washington's second oath of office featured a bible. There are no known inauguration Bibles for presidents John Adams through John Tyler; in fact, there's no concrete evidence that those early presidents used a Bible at all for the oath. Theodore Roosevelt did not use a Bible when taking the oath in 1901. John Quincy Adams swore on a book of law.  Nor is their any evidence that any president appended "so help me God" to his oath office until maybe Lincoln at the earliest. But the evidence that Lincoln did this is weak and contradicted.  Chester Arthur was the first president widely reported to have appended that phrase. So if president George Washington did this, as Mr. Jamison claims, then that did not set a precedent that the other presidents followed.  Nor was the Chief Justice prompting for this theistic codicil, as has been the case since the 1930's.  That is a substantial change, and a relatively recent change. Originally the Chief Justice recited the oath and asked the president elect to affirm, now the Chief Justice recites the oath one sentence at a time and asks the president elect to repeat each sentence.

Another such factual assertion that lacks supporting evidence is 'It is reported that after the official oath, Washington said “so help me God,” and bent down to kiss the open Bible."'  Now, if by "it is reported" Mr. Jamison means that there are people who have asserted that Washington said that then technically he is correct.  But then so what? Many people throughout history have thusly reported many false claims, it merely takes one person to falsely assert something and other people to repeat the same false assertion, which demonstrates nothing at all about what actually happened.  That is exactly the situation here.  There is one, and only one, eyewitness account from someone standing on the balcony that quotes the oath recitation and that account does not include a theistic codicil. Sixty five years later several biographies were published that claimed for the first time that George Washington spatchcocked that phrase to his oath of office, but they are not eyewitness accounts and thus lack credibility.

He then makes the following misleading statement "Those final words have raised controversy among some Americans. Some claim that Washington never said them, as they are recorded nowhere in the official records of the ceremony."  This is false. I have never heard anyone argue that because the words are not in "the official records of the ceremony" they were not spoken.  The actual argument is that there are no contemporaneous eyewitness accounts that George Washington appended that phrase.  None.  Zero.  Neither in "official" records nor in "unofficial" records.  Nor is there such evidence for any other president until Chester Arthur, with weak and contradictory evidence for Lincoln's second oath.  Therefore we lack proper justification to claim that George Washington, or any other president until Chester Arthur, appended that phrase to his oath office.

Mr. Jamison also wrote: "He tended to make references to God in his speeches."  Now it is true, as the two examples in his article show, that George Washington employed multiple different euphemisms for divinity such as the "Almighty Being", "Great Author", "benign parent of human race", etc. He is not known to have utilized the word "God" more than once or twice in his entire life, and then it was while reading a document out loud that was written by someone else.  This is a fact about George Washington that disfavors the conclusion that he said "so help me God" after is oath of office.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

DC Marijuana Protest

by Don Wharton

I attended the protest demonstration in front of the White House held April 2, 2016. Their 51 foot long plastic joint, inflated by a fan, said “Obama Deschedule Cannabis Now.” This referred to Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, which lists drugs with a high potential for abuse, no medical use, and no safe use even under medical supervision. Marijuana does not belong on Schedule 1.

A number of speakers described how some variety of cannabis was needed to deal with their seizures, pain, or side effects of cancer. There are many more medical uses for marijuana with various levels of credibility in the published literature. A religious fanatic pranced around the demonstration holding a Bible above his head and spouted various verses. Not until he appeared right next to me did I find out the Healing Church had won a court case defining marijuana as a sacrament. The passages he cited were ones he thought referred to cannabis. It shows how the metaphorical language of religion can justify just about anything.

The single most common reason people cite for using cannabis is to enhance their delight in the world. I consumed some edibles someone gave me at the demonstration. I had five hits from joints that people shared with me including one from Adam Eidinger, organizer of the event. This was in a sea of cameras so there is likely to be ample evidence I was violating the law as a point of civil disobedience. I also got royally stoned for the first time in decades. I love life as it is, so I feel little need to chemically enhance things. My choice to engage was purely political.

That said, the experience was quite delightful. I use mindfulness meditation where the goal is let go of all ideas and abstract understandings to attend solely to what is real. Perception can be maximized by choosing to place attention only on one's physical being and surroundings. The cannabis enhancement of this effect brings it to an amazing new level. I was richly reminded of the peak in joy that can occur when someone feels totally unified with everything that is. Many people have mistakenly presumed such peak experiences are a transcendental communicating with God. The vibrancy of flowers and the singing of birds are examples of experiences that become massively richer. A wren landed a few feet in front me. I stopped walking and attended to the bird. I was amazed this small wild creature showed no fear. It cocked its head five different ways to look at me. It felt like a quasi-conversation where each of us shared awareness of the consciousness of the other.

Given my delight in interacting with the wren it was obvious I was enjoying my abstract understanding of what happened. I then looked what I was doing in front of the White House. There were five million people arrested for marijuana just during the Obama administration. Some of these suffered radically outsized penalties such as the veteran who got life in prison for the two pound stash used to manage the pain from his wounds. Ehrlichman in the Nixon administration had made it clear the motivation for the war on drugs was to target their major political opposition, the anti-war left and blacks. The facts about marijuana literally did not matter. What mattered was allocating power to the pro-war conservatives who supported Nixon. I loved the idea of being there in civil disobedience against the repressive stupidity of that drug war. I was standing against the pain and destruction of millions of lives because a power elite deemed segments of the population to be their political enemy. These ideas and many others covered by the protest speakers were included in one massive non-verbal network of ideas that somehow appeared in my mind as a single unified whole. It became clear that ideas could be as awesomely vibrant and luminous as direct sensory perceptions. With this awareness the goal ceased to be a mindfulness empty of ego and abstractions. Instead I became aware of the vast range of choices possible concerning consciousness and savored exploring that range. Later I spent an extremely delightful evening with my loving significant other with no hangover the next day. In fact the next day had a wonderful afterglow of happiness.

A central scientific claim by those who support keeping cannabis on Schedule 1 is that there is no safe use and no medical use. It is not a goal of this article to do an extensive review of either the benefits or possible negatives, but we do need to review the major problems and fears. There are some allergic reactions which can be severe. Some people get panic attacks. Some cannabis supporters claim that users do not get addicted. Routine use does increase the prevalence of cannabinoid receptors and there are some negative symptoms such as irritability upon withdrawal. The fact the percent who get addicted is much lower than the case for alcohol and tobacco and the symptoms more mild is no excuse to pretend that cannabis addiction does not occur. It does. There are no deaths whatsoever from the direct chemical effect for average people. It is nominally even safer than caffeine. Caffeine has a lethal dose level only 75 to 100 times the typical dose in a cup of coffee. With marijuana the lethal dose of tetrahydrocannabinol is not know with precision but it is certain to be thousands of times greater than the amount required to saturate all cannabinoid receptors in the human body and produce the maximum possible psychoactive response.

Obviously, it is highly recommended that people not drive or engage in dangerous activities while under the influence of marijuana or any drug. The possible harms from marijuana are the exception and it is clear the vast majority of people can safely use it. Medical services are needed only to determine which variety and dosage is required to provide benefit and to respond to the small percent who have the unfortunate responses noted above.

Bernie Sanders has introduced a bill, S. 2237, titled "Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015"1. In his opinion it is crazy to continue having marijuana on Schedule 1. A recent Gallup poll had 58% of American favoring legal use of marijuana2. As with LGBT rights there is a sharp differential across generations. A PEW Research poll earlier found 68% of the millennial generation supporting legal use3. Personal quotes cited in the PEW report:
“It is not as harmful as alcohol. [...] It also helps medical conditions as a more natural substitute to pharmaceuticals.” Female, 46
“My grandson was diagnosed with epilepsy a year ago and it has been proven that it helps with the seizures.” Female, 69
“I think crime would be lower if they legalized marijuana. It would put the drug dealers out of business.” Female, 62
“Because people should be allowed to have control over their body and not have the government intervene in that.” Male, 18
“I think that we would have more control over it by allowing a federal agency to tax and regulate it like alcohol.” Male, 25

Footnotes
1: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/s2237/text
2: http://www.gallup.com/poll/186260/back-legal-marijuana.aspx
3: http://www.people-press.org/2015/04/14/in-debate-over-legalizing-marijuana-disagreement-over-drugs-dangers/