War on Drugs is "One of the Most Repressive Aspects in American Life"

Last night's ACLU Membership Conference gala titled "Celebrating Liberty" — stepped it up a notch, from just plain inspiring to outright rousing. Although Ozomatli concluded the night by whipping the gathering into a frenzy, for me the greatest thrill was witnessing the innovative philanthropist and political activist George Soros speak about his personal history and convictions.

Soros has given away over $6 billion during the past three decades, and is founder and chairman of the Open Society Institute. Although Soros' philanthropic efforts have focused primarily on promoting democratic governance and human rights in Central and Eastern Europe, he has increasingly supported reform within the United States over the past decade — including the work of the ACLU.

Last night, Soros discussed the American public's shifting outlook on the civil liberties onslaught that followed 9/11, stating that, "The country has come to its senses." He described the aftershocks of 9/11 in psychological terms, saying that the U.S. government's response to the attacks took advantage of our "fear of death". He later elaborated, "The War on Terror exploited a combination of the War on Drugs and the fear of death."

Soros has been one of the key figures in the movement to reform our nation's catastrophic drug policies and to end the failed "War on Drugs." During his talk, Soros stated plainly, "The War on Drugs is one of the most repressive aspects in American life."

Soros also discussed the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. He commented on the irony that while one of the purposes for attacking Iraq was to demonstrate the United States' "unquestioned dominance in the world," it has achieved the exact opposite result. (The parallel to the wars on drugs and terror is striking — while they are supposedly intended to eradicate drugs and terror, they have also served to accomplish the exact opposite.)

Soros concluded by touching on the energy and hunger of today's youth to work for socioeconomic justice and political reform, stating that it is "important to give young people the opportunity to fight for their principles."

Until we reign in our nation's counterproductive wars on abstract concepts such as drugs and terror, our youth will have no shortage of principled causes with which to grapple. The question is — will young people take the opportunity? Only time will tell, but judging from the numerous, fervent contingents of youth participating in this conference, I can't help but be instilled with budding confidence.

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I'm probably going to be downmodded for this, but I'm sick and tired of seeing these articles. I get it. The War on Drugs sucks. We all want to smoke weed, and the government is keeping us from doing so. Hell, I agree. But I can't tell you how many times I've seen the exact same thing be said by so many people. And we all just go into this huge hype about it every single time. Please. For the sake of (what's left of) my mind: I've had enough. Put these into a subreddit and let me have some time away from them.

jsknow

I'm glad to see so many people agree about policy. It's time to fire all the promoters of harmful and wasteful policy worldwide, especially drug prohibition which is probably the most destructive policy of all. PROHIBITION never works it just CAUSES CRIME & VIOLENCE. Illegal drugs are way easier for kids to get than legal ones. The USA spends $69 billion a year on the drug war, builds 900 new prison beds and hires 150 more correction officers every two weeks, arrests someone on a drug charge every 17 seconds, jails more people than any nation and has killed over 100,000 citizens because of the drug war. In 1914 when ALL DRUGS WERE LEGAL 1.3% of our population was addicted to drugs, today 1.3% of our population is STILL ADDICTED TO DRUGS. The only way to control drugs is to REGULATE THEM AND END THE PROFITS AVAILABLE TO CRIMINALS just like ending alcohol prohibition did. There’s only been one drug success story in history, tobacco, THE MOST DEADLY and one of the MOST ADDICTIVE drugs. Almost half the users quit because of REGULATION, ACCURATE INFORMATION AND MEDICAL TREATMENT. No one went to jail and no one got killed. JOIN EMAIL LIST, WATCH VIDEOS:
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Bill Moore

With the highest percentage of 'population in prison' IN THE WORLD, we MUST do something. Reforming drug laws is the first critical step.

John thomas

Wussup with all the pot busts recently? Leave the pot growers alone, a little pot never hurt anyone man.

JT
http://www.Ultimate-Anonymity.om

nikolai

The problem with the "War on Drugs" is the same for "The War on Terror". MONEY. The war on drugs and the war on terror have created their own economies. The "good guys" profit from it (more police hired/employed, confiscations of weapons, vehicles, property, cash, etc) and the "bad guys" profit from it (enormous profit for minimal investment, and NO taxes) the only thing that's difficult to understand sometimes, is who's the "good guy" and who's the "bad guy".
Do the "bad guys" want the war on drugs stopped? Hell no! They are raking in millions of dollars! Do the "good guys" want the war on drugs stopped? Hell no! They are raking in millions of dollars! The same thing for the "war on terror", only the "good guys(?)" are making most of the bucks here...

Natasha

If big tobacco were selling pot everybody would be screaming bloody murder and not saying "a little pot never hurt anybody". And prohibition, you aren't against it for pot saying it causes nothing but problems and doesn't stop things, but you sure are for it for guns. As if there isn't and wouldn't be a black market for guns. You guys are full of yourselves.

C MILLERI

THE FIRST THING WE MUST DO IS SEND ALL THE ILLEGAL ALIENS ESPECIALLY THE ONES IN JAIL BACK WHERE THEY COME FROM AND LET THE THEM GET IN LINE TO COME BACK LEGALLY. THIS WOULD TAKE CARE OF ALOT OF THE PRISON POPULATION. WE SHOULD TAKE THE PRISONERS WITH LIFE SENTENCE'S TO IRAN TO LIVE OUT THERE SENTENCE'S THERE. THE ACLU IS GOING DOWN! THIS COMMUNIST ORG. IS ALL ANTI-AMERICAN AND WE DON’T NEED THE LIKE’S OF THIS HITLER ORG. IN AMERICA. THIS IS THE HOME OF THE FREE AND THEY WANT TO GAG THE FREE SPEECH OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

LFMF

Let's not overlook that The War On Drugs is also a war on medical freedom.
Many medicines are politically designated as non-medicines and illegal to obtain or use.
An enormous number of medicines are legally obtainable only if a government licensed professional thinks they are appropriate for a "patient" and is willing to prescribe them. The judgement of these professionals is usually tainted by Prohibitionist ideology. Their integrity and behavior is generally degraded by fear of losing their licenses if some government agency disaproves of their prescribing practices. Nonprescription, underprescription and prescription of inferior substitutes for the most appropriate medicines frequently results.

Access to medicines and government approved sources of medicine can be a serious, even insurmountable, burden. The quasi-religious War On Drugs impairs or destroys the liberty of individuals to use medicines in the manner they deem best suited to their needs and welfare.
Perhaps the best known passage of the Declaration Of Independence is "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Who can sincerely argue the War On Drugs is consistent with this statement of principles justifying the creation of our government?

Pat Rogers

As much as I hate the war on drugs I am coming to really despise all of the self-aggrandizing drug reform leadership that is NOT leading anyone anywhere lately.

The reform movement is NOT participating in this election cycle as aggressively as it can and should be. There are dozens of things that we can and should be doing to raise the profile of the issue and put the politicians on the spot for their continued support of the drug war. I see no real political creativity or inspiring political actions going on. Just fund raising. Endless self-serving fund raising.

There is simply too much complacency and not enough leadership in the reform movement of 2008.

nate

Who cares that white kids are getting repressed? Look at the violence and death in mexico right now. The war on drugs is responsible for that. That should be the motivation for reform and not appeals to freedom of choice, because in all honesty the former is of far greater importance.

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