The Danger of Dogma

Factual evidence should guide our political opinions

Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Dogma is defined as “strongly expressing beliefs as if they were facts.” In my mind, the election of Donald Trump was largely driven by segments of the population who have a dogmatic belief that Republicans are better for the American economy.

Economic facts clearly demonstrate that reality is much different than the great sales job Republicans have managed to pass off on the average American for decades. When reviewing local and national economic statistics, it’s obvious that almost without exception, liberal blue states, counties and cities outperform their conservative red counterparts. The wealthiest states are all blue: Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, California and Washington. The poorest are all red: Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia and Kentucky. Blue states tend to contribute more tax dollars on average to the federal government than their red state counterparts. The same holds true for blue cities vs. red cities, blue vs. red counties, housing prices, etc. Bottom line: Where you find liberal Democrats in power, the economic conditions are almost always superior to similar locations run by conservative Republicans.

Once someone takes the time to do the actual research, dogmatic thinking is the only way to explain middle class support for Republican economic policies — unless an individual actually wants to be poor and undereducated!

For further proof, look at our current president’s track record. Trump, who loves to boast about his business acumen, is a great example of “do as I say, not as I do.” Every single Trump hotel and high-rise in the U.S. is located in a blue city (Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas, Honolulu and Washington, D.C.). Trump has not built in a single red city. In other words, the president — who was elected largely by support from red America — only invests his own cash in blue American real estate.

Dogma is a strange thing. As I said earlier, it causes people to believe things whether or not there is any factual reason for that belief. Dogmatic thinking is also largely responsible for the prohibition of marijuana for decades. Just as many people believe Republican economic policies lead to greater prosperity and job opportunities despite a wealth of information to the contrary, they also believe marijuana is dangerous, addictive, a gateway to other drugs and causes crime. We know this is not true. We also know from experience in Washington and Colorado that a legal, regulated marijuana industry reduces black market crime, greatly increases tax revenue and allows police agencies more time to go after real criminals.

In case you get into it a discussion with someone who is driven by anti-marijuana dogma — which means they are unlikely to listen anyway — here are seven good reasons for legalization:

  1. Marijuana is safer in states where it is legal because it’s tested, appropriately labeled and in child-proof containers.
  2. Taxing and regulating marijuana is better than supporting drug cartels. Washington and Colorado take in nearly $400 million apiece from legal cannabis sales.
  3. Marijuana is not a gateway drug. It’s actually an “off-ramp” that helps some people to get off dangerous opiates.
  4. Legal marijuana is better for the environment: When it’s grown commercially, it’s not hidden in parks and forests where growers disrupt the land, divert streams and leave their garbage in otherwise pristine public lands.
  5. Marijuana is not a killer. It does not bind to respiratory cells and is not lethal. It is safer than alcohol.
  6. Marijuana creates jobs. Thousands of new jobs have been created in states with legal pot. Marijuana is now Washington’s third-largest cash crop.
  7. Hemp (cannabis) is a good substitute for wood in the creation of paper and building materials. Cannabis is renewable, old-growth forests are not.


Greg James




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