A Lone Voice of Reason
"Why are we at the point now that we permit the war on drugs to be fought without due process of law? All they have to be is a suspect. All we have to do is have cash these days, and the government will come and take it from us. Then we have to prove our innocence. That is not the Constitution. We have gone a long way from the due process."Ron Paul, Republican Representative (TX) , May 5, 1998
Last October, House Resolution 267 was introduced and deferred to committee. On May 5 it was put to a vote and every Representative in the House voted for itDemocrats and Republicans alikeexcepting one. Ron Paul was the lone dissenter and following the text of the Resolution you can read what Ron Paul had to say to his congressional colleagues about America's "failed drug war."
It is our hope that other members of Congress will begin to stand to voice their concerns with where the Drug War is taking us as a nation. When they stand, they must be reassured that while they may stand alone in Congress, they stand with a large contingency of American citizens.
House Resolution 267
In the House of Representatives, U.S., May 5, 1998.
Whereas recently released statistics demonstrate the battle to keep young Americans drug-free.
Whereas the results of these studies show that 29 percent of high school students state that a student in their school died from a drug-related or an alcohol-related incident in the last year;
Whereas 76 percent of high school students and 46 percent of middle school students claim drugs are kept, used, or sold on their school grounds;
Whereas studies show that 61 percent of high school students claim they can buy drugs within 1 day and 35 percent claim they can buy drugs within 1 hour or less;
Whereas it is reported that the use of heroin is increasing and that 90 percent of new heroin users are under 26 years old;
Whereas the use of drugs at a young age dramatically increases the risk of failure to complete high school, increases the likelihood of committing crimes, and reduces future prospects in education, athletics, and careers;
Whereas it is known that safe, drug-free, and orderly classrooms are key to an effective learning environment;
Whereas parental involvement is critical to helping young Americans resist the temptations of drugs and to establishing a healthy learning environment;
Whereas violent crime rates across the United States have declined due to strong parental involvement and cooperation among local, State, and Federal law enforcement agencies;
Whereas the same unified effort and commitment are needed to fight drugs in our schools, playgrounds, and communities; and
Whereas Congress has the unique ability to provide leadership on this issue by raising awareness of the dangers of drugs in schools in every community across this great Nation: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That it is the sense of the Congress that"
(1) all schools should be drug-free;
(2) the distribution, sale, and use of illegal drugs in the Nation's schools is unacceptable;
(3) all Federal, State, and local drug fighting agencies should work together with schools and parents to ensure that a renewed effort is made to fight the distribution, sale, and use of illegal drugs in our schools and to America's youth;
(4) all governmental leaders, educators, and parents share a role in raising the awareness of this issue and offering constructive alternatives to illegal drug use; and
(5) Congress and the President should work to end the distribution, sale, and use of illegal drugs in the Nation,s schools and, work with local communities, schools, and parents to implement meaningful policies.
Excerpts from U.S. Representative Ron Paul's voice of opposition druing House debate on House Resolution 267:
May 5, 1998
"Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this bill, not so much in any objection to what the goals are. The goals are very laudable. The first time I read this resolution, I was in agreement with everything until the very end. Then I had some disagreements with it.
I have taken this time so I would have adequate time to explain my position and why I oppose this bill. Obviously, this country is facing a serious problem with drugs. As a physician, I can attest to it. We have major problems in this country, something should be done. But I thought it was necessary to take some time to point out that what we have done for 20 to 25 years has not been all that good. And I see this resolution as an endorsement of the status quo, not an introduction of one single new idea about how to approach this problem. And it is for this reason that I have taken this time to try to get people to think about maybe an alternative some day that we might look at, because so far the spending of the money and the abuse of our civil liberties that has occurred with the war on drugs has not accomplished a whole lot."
"To dwell on the drug war and casually and carelessly violate civil liberties, as we so often do, and have confiscation and seizure of property that we just blow it off because we are fighting the drug war, I think we are going in the wrong direction. We need some new ideas and new proposals on this drug war. I hope today to have time to make some of these suggestions on what we might do about the drug war."
"Now, there is a lot more that has to be said, especially if we can someday open up the debate and go in a new direction, have some new ideas dealing with the drug program. But I want to pause here for a minute, and I want to emphasize just one thing; that is, that, constitutionally, it was never intended that the Federal Government fight the war on drugs. And they never did until recent years. For 25 years now, we have done it. We have spent $200 billion.
It is failing, and we are not willing to stand up and say, hey, maybe we are doing something wrong. Maybe we ought to have another idea. Maybe we ought to have a new approach.
I think when we talk about not only looking at this outer perspective of other problems that we have in the country, but also the serious consequences of the drug laws which we all should be concerned about because it involves property rights and civil liberty rights, maybe we can get around to the point of saying maybe could there be a new approach."
"For instance, we have had this war on drugs, and there is no evidence even that we have been able to keep drugs out of our prisons. So maybe there is something we are doing wrong. Maybe we are treating a symptom rather than the cause of the problem. Maybe the cause is not legislatively correctable. That is a possibility. Obviously there is a problem there, but we need to think about it. We need to take a consideration, and not ever to write off those of us who might say we do not endorse the current approach as being one that might not be concerned about the issue."
"Why are we at the point now that we permit the war on drugs to be fought without due process of law? All they have to be is a suspect. All we have to do is have cash these days, and the government will come and take it from us. Then we have to prove our innocence. That is not the Constitution. We have gone a long way from the due process."
"Again, we cannot distract from the serious problem of the drug war, but I do beg and plead for my colleagues to just look at the truth. Let us read the news carefully, let us look at the Constitution, like we do when it is convenient, and let us consider another option. It cannot be any worse than what we are doing.
"We have too many people on drugs, and this resolution makes my point. The war on drugs has failed. Let us do something different. Let us not pursue this any longer."
In 1988, Dr. Paul was the Libertarian Party nominee for the US Presidency. He has written numerous books, including Challenge to Liberty and The Case for Gold. He has been a distinguished counselor to the Ludwig von Mises Institute and, as a physician, has delivered more than 4,000 babies in his obstetrics/gynecological practice.
You can write Representative Ron Paul at:
Project Freedom, The Official Web Site of Representative Ron Paul http://www.house.gov/paul/