The residents of Colorado and Washington state have voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, and all hell is about to break loose — at least ideologically. The problem is that pot is still very much illegal under federal law, and the Obama administration must decide whether to enforce federal law in a state that has rejected the substance of that law.
What makes this development fascinating is that it brings into conflict two important strains of political thought in America: federalism and moralism.
Federalists, who seek to limit the power of the federal government relative to the states and individuals, will urge a hands-off approach. Moralists, on the other hand, strongly believe in the maintenance of an established social order and will argue for continuing enforcement of federal narcotics laws.