Mike Huemer is a Professor of Philosophy at U. of Colorado. Some fairly recent essays/articles:

Is there a right to own a gun? home/sprynet.com/~owl1/politics.htm

America's unjust drug war. http://home.sprynet.com/~owl1/drugs.htm

Is there a right to immigrate? home.sprynet.com/%7Eowl1/Immigration.pdf

Jury Rights Day Video--September 5th

AVLP members Deanna Peugeot, Richard Huemer, and Jason Gonella, among others, observed Jury Rights Day by handing out  literature on jury rights at the Lancaster courthouse. The framed proclamation is from Palmdale Mayor James C. Ledford, Jr. The L.A. Board of Supervisors also voted   to commemorate Sept. 5 as Jury Rights Day, as we suggested. 

CLICK HERE: review & comment on A Return to Healing

Rethinking the war on drugs

Our nationís seven-decade war on drugs is akin to fighting an invasion of cockroaches with a hammer: lots of collateral damage, but the bugs keep coming.

 I see the issue not as one of law enforcement but of health care. Recreational drug users, complete with good jobs and familiesónot violent criminalsóare typical of the individuals Iíve encountered.

 My new bride and I were injured, and our car wrecked, in a collision with a drunk driver more than 40 years ago. I didnít seize upon the horrifying accident as an argument for reinstating alcohol prohibition, nor would I have thought it justified marijuana prohibition if the driver were high on that.

 The problem isnít legal status of the intoxicating substance that a DUI driver uses, but the fact that he or she has chosen to drive under its influence. Lock íem up! But let the rest of us have our intoxicating substances, so long as we donít injure someone else.

 Not that I employ intoxicating substances (well, beer sometimes). Drugs of abuse are generally harmful to the user (although some have legitimate medical benefits), so I cannot recommend taking them without medical supervision, even though one has a right to.

 The issue here is not how bad drugs are. Itís that the drug war is worse: 

  • Nearly half a million people are behind bars in the U.S. for drug offenses, more than the number of all criminals incarcerated in Western Europe (which has a larger population).
  • Restricted access to clean needles favors the spread of diseases like HIV and hepatitis.
  • The 800,000 annual arrests for marijuana possession include people with AIDS, cancer, and other dread diseases who need the drug medically.
  • Zero-tolerance policies can punish the innocent, and are applied in a racist, classist, and inhumane manner.

 Children of people in prison for drugs risk educational failure, delinquency, and joblessness. Moreover, 83 percent of those charged with marijuana possession in the last decade were black or Latino, even though European-Americans are more likely to use the substance.

 Yes, but if drugs were decriminalized and prices fell, wouldnít everybody start using and just take more and more?

Not likely. Not everybody enjoys the drug experience, nor is everyone equally addiction-prone. Moreover, the available evidence (admittedly scanty) indicates that users of heroin, at least, do not generally keep ramping up the dose.

 The Victoria Times Colonist reported that a major study of addicts in Montrealóall of whom had failed methadone treatmentóshowed that injection of pharmaceutical-grade narcotic was followed by stabilization of dosage and sometimes by reduced frequency.

Study participants, who received the drug gratis, also in some cases gained weight, found jobs and gave up prostituting themselves for drug money.  

 I would like to see a share of the $40 billion annual spending on the drug war diverted to research, rehabilitation, and, yes, pure and sterile drugs for the hopelessly addicted.

 In the final analysis, we must wonder why people take these drugs in the first place. Thatís more of a social than a medical question, with the answer often being to transcend their dreary and mundane existence. I donít know how to cure social ills, but I submit that drug prohibition and prison-building are not alleviating any of them.

Albert Hofmann, who discovered LSD, didnít think people needed drugs for transcendence. In all his 92 years, during which he took LSD many times, he never had keener experiences than the occasional outstanding ones of normal living. His advice: ďGo to the meadow, go to the garden, go to the woods. Open your eyes!Ē --Richard Huemer in the Antelope Valley Press, 7/14/08, page D1

A Dangerous Man  and a  Dangerous Place

"To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve." --John Ashcroft

Picture source: email, artist unknown


(This started out as a private letter to Ramona Ripston, Executive Director of ACLU of Southern California, who failed to answer it.)

Dear Ms. Ripston:

I am returning my ACLU membership card. I request that the ACLU cancel my new membership and refrain completely from mailing any solicitations or other literature to my residence...

The source of my deep disappointment with ACLU is the exultant report in ACLU Open Forum of your organization's role in the defeat of Proposition 54. Before now, I was not aware of the part you had played. ACLU does a lot of good things, but this blunder offsets much of the good.

As an educated person, Ms. Ripston, you must be aware that there is not actually such a thing as "race". It follows no known pattern of inheritance, Mendelian or otherwise. The Human Genome Project revealed no "race genes". There is no biochemical test for it. It's not an inherent biological property of human beings, so it isn't relevant to medical research.

At best, the idea of race is a "fuzzy set" of phenotypic characteristics with large intra-group variances. Those are so large, in relation to the between-group variation, as to render the concept essentially useless as a way of classifying people.

It's quite useless scientifically, although not politically. Since the time of Columbus, this wickedly divisive notion has been used by governments to oppress, demean, enslave, disenfranchise and kill Native Americans, African Americans, Chinese Americans, and pretty much any group lacking power. Politicians now use it to gain votes and money by dividing Americans against each other.

Californians had an opportunity to begin dismantling an ancient lie--the notion of "race"--that has enslaved or killed millions over the centuries. Thanks to ACLU, that won't happen for a while.

Yours truly,

Richard P. Huemer, MD (10/17/03)

REFERENCE: Huemer, A.A.: The Invention of "Race": The Columbian Turn in Modern Consciousness. Agathon Books, Lander, WY, 1998; ISBN 0966244370

LIBERTARIANS: Has your brain been befuddled by Dr. Thomas Szasz's looney-tunes notions about mental illness? CLICK HERE to read Dr. Richard Huemer's article on mental illness and the mind-body problem.

Harry Browne [June 17, 1933 - March 1, 2006]

In place of "The Blue Screen of Death: An Open Letter to Harry Browne", which has been posted in this space since shortly after the events of 9/11, we offer this appreciation of Harry Browne, author, financial advisor, and twice Libertarian Party candidate for the U.S. Presidency. The press notice (from www.downsizeDC.org) reads, in part, as follows:

Browne broke into national prominence in the early 1970s with three best-selling books. “How You Can Profit from the Coming Devaluation” was the first to make the best-seller lists. His next book, “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World,” is widely regarded as a modern libertarian classic and has gone through many printings and editions. His third book, “You Can Profit from a Monetary Crisis,” reached #1 on the New York Times best-seller list. Browne was also the author of 11 other books, including “Why Government Doesn't Work” and “The Great Libertarian Offer.” Browne twice ran for President as the nominee of the Libertarian Party in 1996 and 2000. He was a frequent guest on radio and TV, both as a political and financial commentator. Browne was a co-founder of DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

We were privileged to meet Harry Browne one time, back in 2002. It was at an investment seminar in San Francisco. After his lecture, he graciously agreed to our request for a photo with him. He also emailed us "The 16 Golden Rules of Financial Safety." We have consulted those rules many times when we've felt bewildered by the financial world, and more than once they've saved our bacon.

In this way, and as a spokesman for liberty, Harry touched our lives--as he did the lives of hundreds of thousands of others, according to the press notice. We wish we'd had the chance to know him personally, but we're grateful that his words will live on to guide future generations. --R.P.H.

Want more? Check out some of our favorite libertarian sites:

www.lp.org National Libertarian Party
www.cato.org Cato Institute
www.free-market.net The Freedom Network
www.eff.org Electronic Frontier Foundation
www.fija.org How juries can nullify bad laws
www.forhealthfreedom.org Keep medical info private!
www.libertarian.org The name says it all


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