Pubdate: Sun, 21 Apr 2002
Source: Tribune Review (PA)
Copyright: 2002 Tribune-Review Publishing Co.
Author: Peter Webster
Bookmark: (Higher Education Act)


In reference to your April 14 editorial "One lousy message," regarding Yale 
University's reimbursement of students who lose financial aid because of 
convictions for drug possession:

With your strident view that flouting the law is irresponsible behavior, 
you ignore the possibility, no, the certainty that not all laws made by 
mere humans are good ones, and according to basic principles of free 
societies, bad laws are to be resisted as a public duty, especially when 
lawmakers cannot be persuaded to change them in a timely manner.

American constitutional scholar Alexander Bickel went so far as to say:

"We cannot, by total reliance on law, escape the duty to judge right and 
wrong. ... There are good laws and there are occasionally bad laws, and it 
conforms to the highest traditions of a free society to offer resistance to 
bad laws, and to disobey them."

Now, you may believe present federal drug laws are good ones, but that is 
far from generally agreed today. That institutions of higher learning in 
the United States are now as a matter of principle beginning to resist what 
many perceive as ill-considered drug law is to be welcomed, not condemned 
as irresponsible.

Perpetrators of atrocities have always and everywhere stated that they were 
merely "following the law." Beware aligning yourself with them.

Peter Webster

Auvare, France
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