Pubdate: Mon, 15 Apr 2002
Source: Yale Daily News (US CT)
Copyright: 2002 Yale Daily News
Authors: Allan Erickson, Peter Webster


To the Editor:

The Yale Daily News article ("U.S. Rep., Yalie debate Higher Ed. Act,"
4/11), was good news. The fact that a U.S. representative is debating
a university student over drug policy in the media indicates that drug
policy reform is making strides.

In the CNBC debate with Andrew Allison '04, Republican Rep. Bob Barr
of Georgia said, "They're undercutting the entire value system on
which this country is based."

Isn't this the same U.S. representative who successfully quashed a
bona fide election? Doesn't holding Washington, D.C., votes on their
Measure 59 -- which would have allowed medical cannabis users to
possess small quantities of the substance -- hostage for 10 months
undercut our value system? In fact, isn't it directly contributing to
the erosion of constitutional principle?

When tyrannical social moralists like Barr subvert our electoral
processes, they openly display prejudices that should preclude their
participation in such debates.

Allan Erickson

April 14, 2002

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To the Editor:

Criticism of Yale's decision to reimburse students for aid lost under
the federal Higher Education Act has been quite vigorous, with some
lawmakers and much of the U.S. press stating outright that the
decision amounts to "flouting the law and irresponsible behavior."

Such views ignore the possibility -- no, the certainty -- that not all
laws made by mere humans are good ones, and that according to basic
principles of free societies, bad laws are to be resisted as a matter
of public duty, especially when lawmakers cannot be persuaded to
change them in a timely manner.

Some may believe that present federal drug laws are good ones. But
that is far from generally agreed upon today. That institutions of
higher learning are now as a matter of principle beginning to resist
what many perceive as ill-considered drug laws is to be welcomed.

Perpetrators of atrocities have always and everywhere stated that they
were merely "following the law." Those who blindly align themselves
with those perpetrators are in their ignorance more dangerous foes of
democracy than any would-be tyrant.

Peter Webster

April 14, 2002

The writer is the review editor of the International Journal of Drug
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