Libertariansí Forum Examines The War on Drugs

Libertariansí Forum Examines The War on Drugs
Posted by CN Staff on March 11, 2003 at 10:45:05 PT
By Joe Howley, Retriever Weekly Staff Writer
Source: Retriever
The War on Drugs is an unconstitutional and wasteful policy, according to Keith Halderman, who spoke at the UMBC Libertariansí War on Drugs Forum last week. Halderman, a graduate student at American University who has written extensively on drugs in American society and in particular the War on Drugs, cited ineffectiveness, hypocrisy and violation of civil liberties in his critique of the United Statesí domestic drug policy. 
The Libertarians had also arranged for a speaker in support of the War on Drugs, according to Rich Goldman, club president. Bill Hocker, Public Information Officer of the Baltimore Drug Enforcement Agency was supposed to speak at the forum as well but had to go out of town on business. Halderman, speaking opposite an empty podium, addressed a series of basic questions about the War on Drugs. His essential argument was one of effectiveness. "It doesnít keep people from using drugs," he said. Halderman noted first that there is "no democracy" in U.S. drug policy, as the classification of drugs is entirely in the hands of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He argued that the FDA approves for medical use substances that are potentially far more harmful than, for example, marijuana. Marijuana is classified as "schedule one," the most dangerous and heavily restricted level of controlled substance. The War on Drugs is an important issue for the Libertarians. "We think the war on drugs epitomizes what happens when government strays from its proper role of protecting individuals life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, and starts dictating to individuals their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness," said Goldman. "Libertarianism is about living your life, your way, without interference, so long as you respect the equal rights of others," he explained. Halderman also said that the War on Drugs benefits "special interests," ranging from the pharmaceutical industry, which makes money off of legal substances, to newspapers, which Halderman says reap the benefits of running sensationalist stories about drugs. Halderman frequently cited prohibition of alcohol in the early twentieth century as an example of why the War on Drugs should be ended. The prohibition of drugs only increases their use, he said. Now-illegal drugs could instead be sold along with alcohol under controlled circumstances. "I think that the alcohol model is perfectly serviceable for any of these drugs," Halderman said. Legalization of drugs, Halderman argued, would also free countless government resources for more important tasks. He noted that on the day before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the number of FBI agents engaged in fighting drug crimes numbered in the thousands, while only several hundred were doing anti-terrorism work. Himself a Libertarian, Halderman stressed the importance of allowing citizens to make their own lifestyle choices. "We each have a right to decide our own vices," he said. Many in the audience seemed to agree with Halderman. One student had a bleak view of the future of the War on Drugs. "Until it benefits the government for drugs to be legal, itís not going to be legal," she said. The forum is held every semester by the Libertarians, said Goldman, as a way of involving the campus with an interesting and relevant subject. "Itís much more entertaining and popular than, say, stable monetary policies," Goldman said. "Not everyone may agree with us on all the issues, but if we can show them where we already agree, hopefully theyíll hear us out more on other issues." Goldman estimated turnout around twenty, and felt this was a success. "For an event at UMBC, I think thatís pretty good," he said.Source: Retriever, The (MD Edu)Author: Joe Howley, Retriever Weekly Staff WriterPublished: March 11, 2003Copyright: 2003 1999 UMBC Student MediaWebsite: editorinchief trw.umbc.eduRelated Articles & Web Site:Libertarian Party Off Useless War on Drugs Say Yes: Legalization is The Only Way
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on March 12, 2003 at 21:19:21 PT
On World Link TV
America Alone? Wed, Mar 12, 7:00 PM ET (Wed, Mar 12, 4:00 PM PT)Thu, Mar 13, 12:00 AM ET (Wed, Mar 12, 9:00 PM PT)Thu, Mar 13, 6:00 AM ET (Thu, Mar 13, 3:00 AM PT)and more dates.WorldLink TV links American viewers to participants at January's World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland and World Social Forum (WSF) in Porto Alegre, Brazil, to explore the unique role the U.S. plays in the world. Hosted by noted NPR journalist Holly Kernan. Guests include: in San Francisco - Ken Jowitt, Senior Fellow Hoover Institution in San Francisco, and Mark Danner of the UC Berkeley School of Journalism; In Porto Alegre - Boris Kagarlitsky, Director of the Institute of of the Institute of Globalization Studies in Moscow and Oded Grajew, Advisor to Brazilian President Lula da Silva and founder of the WSF; in Davos - Dr. Shafeeq Ghabra, Director of the Center for Strategic and Future Studies at Kuwait University and Hyeku Kang, Paris correspondent for the Korea Economic Daily. (Re-broadcast of a live program first aired on 1/24/03)Link: Active Opposition - Iraq: The Campaign for Hearts and Minds Thu, Mar 13, 9:00 PM ET (Thu, Mar 13, 6:00 PM PT)Fri, Mar 14, 3:00 AM ET (Fri, Mar 14, 12:00 AM PT)Fri, Mar 14, 9:00 AM ET (Fri, Mar 14, 6:00 AM PT)Host Peter Coyote and selected guests examine the Bush Administrationís ďIraq messageĒ, and its particular mix of rational and emotional arguments to rally the American people behind its buildup to war. Using video clips from recent speeches by George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft, the program focuses on the administrationís media strategies which appeal directly to human emotions, including:Link: more information about the crisis in Iraq, click here: Online Against War:
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on March 11, 2003 at 18:00:11 PT
Nuevo Mexican I Put Together a Page on Protests
I found this article in the WP today and had time so I put it together.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on March 11, 2003 at 12:25:49 PT
Nuevo Mexican 
I did post the story in a comment about the young man jumping. I don't want to post a sad story when the young man's name is mentioned because of pain it could cause the family. I really try to think how I would feel if it happened in my family so it is a respect issue for me.
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Comment #4 posted by druid on March 11, 2003 at 12:19:47 PT
Money Well Spent- Yea Right!
French Fries Get New Name in Congress
By JIM ABRAMSWASHINGTON (AP) - House cafeterias will be serving fries with a side order of patriotism Tuesday with a decision by GOP lawmakers to replace the ``French'' cuisine with ``freedom fries.'' couldn't think of anything better to spend our tax dollar on than to redo a bunch of menus.Does this seem a bit childish to anyone else?
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Comment #3 posted by Nuevo Mexican on March 11, 2003 at 12:18:57 PT
Cannabis activist need to adopt anti war tactics..
as the same old, same old ain't gettin' it! Off your duffs and into the streets, our issue will get lost if not integrated into successful massive movements friendly to our cause. Anti-war is anti-prohibitionist, and if anyone can't see that, this movement is doomed. Get out there with your 'smoke pot, not Iraq' signs, or something equally creative, as pot-smoking has always been associated with healing, peace, relaxation, the sixties, etc. Get out of the box and do it now! May is coming and we need a huge turnout for our cause! Reach out and touch someone, preferably at your next rally, the people are with us, but need to be engaged and war and prohibitions direct connections need to be pointed out! Sorry to lecture, but this is a time to take advantage of the political landscape, not to get buried by it!
Here is a horrifying story that should be posted at C-news:
Student Jumps 11 stories To Flee Pot Police:
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on March 11, 2003 at 12:06:29 PT
Off Topic But Not Really
Ashcroft Pushes DNA Initiative From the Washington Politics & Policy DeskPublished 3/11/2003WASHINGTON, March 11 (UPI) Attorney General John Ashcroft Tuesday urged congressional approval of new DNA funding to catch criminals.The administration's "DNA initiative" calls for spending $1 billion over the next five years.In prepared remarks to reporters at the Justice Department, Ashcroft said he met with President George W. Bush earlier in the day "to discuss the president's new DNA Initiative, entitled: 'Advancing Justice Through DNA Technology.' The President is committed to realizing the full potential of DNA technology to solve crime and protect the innocent."Complete Article:
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Comment #1 posted by pokesmotter on March 11, 2003 at 11:36:00 PT:
good stuff
"Goldman estimated turnout around twenty, and felt this was a success. "For an event at UMBC, I think thatís pretty good," he said."20 people sounds like a low turnout to me. The content of the forum was great though. Good arguments.
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