Newsletter 86 - Summer 2017
Are you sure about that? – Making decisions isn’t easy. Our own goals may not be fully consistent – others have conflicting interests – information about the consequences is imperfect – available resources (time, effort & money) are limited.
Education is not a panacea. Consider this excerpt from a letter to the Wall Street Journal, 5/5/17: “The most profound medical lesson I’ve learned was on my first day of medical school: ‘Half of what you will learn over the next four years and the rest of your lives will be wrong. We just don’t know which half.’”
There is a tendency to go along with current sentiment for a policy change, without considering contrary evidence. An article in this issue by SAFE Director Suzie Dickson notes some of the drawbacks of legalizing marijuana, which Delaware legislators will hopefully consider before voting on the DE Marijuana Control Act.
Everyone should welcome robust, reasoned discussion of controversial issues, but people don’t necessarily do so. Campus unrest summarizes a talk by Neil Longo of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, who explained how ISI is working to ensure conservative viewpoints won’t be stifled. This program for the Retired Men’s Luncheon Club was arranged by SAFE Director Jerry Martin.
Another principle is to honor the past. Thus, The Greatest Generation recaps a talk by Dr. Howard Horne to the RMLC (again arranged by Jerry Martin) about some of his wartime experiences as a military intelligence officer.
In memoriam was prompted by the passing of Joe Reed, the last of a core group that founded SAFE over 20 years ago. Although SAFE has never succeeded in changing the trajectory of the AARP, we’ve had a good time advocating for smaller, more focused, less costly government.
While it’s not always easy to come up with answers that are assuredly “right,” one can at least try to ask good questions and hope they will bear fruit. New HLS dean relates how an offhand comment by yours truly may conceivably have had an impact.
Also in this issue: Weigh in, SAFE Board and About SAFE.
DE Marijuana Control Act, Suzie Dickson – Reefer Madness (1936) was intended to warn teenagers about drug pushers and the effects of marijuana. Although this film was panned as melodramatic, the events shown aren’t all that farfetched, e.g., a hit and run accident, manslaughter, suicide, attempted rape, hallucinations, and descent into madness due to addiction.
Delaware legalized medical marijuana in 2011, and there is a move afoot to go further. Per the bill summary, the Delaware Marijuana Control Act (HB 110) would regulate and tax marijuana in the same manner as alcohol, and allow adults over the age of 21 to legally possess and consume under one ounce of the drug. People would not be permitted to grow their own marijuana.
Delaware legislators should weigh the drawbacks of legalization. Here’s some of the fallout in Colorado, which legalized marijuana for medical purposes in 2000 and for personal use in 2012.
According to the American Tinker, Colorado “has seen a massive increase in crime since it legalized pot….This rate of increase is five times the population growth…”. Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler says “10 of the last 15 murders in his jurisdiction were connected to marijuana.”
Marijuana-related traffic deaths in Colorado increased from 37 fatalities with drivers testing positive for marijuana in 2006 to 94 in 2014.
About one in 10 Colorado teenagers now use marijuana, well above the national average. A 40% increase in drug-related school suspensions and expulsions has been reported.
A medical journal article by physicians at the Univ. of Colorado notes that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) “is associated with psychosis, anxiety, and depression symptoms,” and exacerbates underlying psychiatric disorders.
Dr. Jon LaPook at the St. Mary Corwin Medical Center says “heavy teenage use may be linked to long-term damage in an area of the brain that helps control cognitive functions like attention, memory, and decision-making.” He also worries about the growing number of newborn babies who test positive for THC. “Research suggests [they] may develop verbal, memory, and behavioral problems during early childhood.”
Campus unrest – Neil Longo of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute spoke to the Retired Men’s Luncheon Club on May 19. The program was arranged by SAFE Director Jerry Martin.
Out of college about five years, Neil is an associate regional director of ISI. He is running outreach programs to students at over 20 universities, mostly in the western United States.
ISI seeks to support the development of college students by organizing student groups on campuses. These groups typically have a conservative orientation, but ISI seeks to facilitate the expression of divergent opinions rather than promoting any particular point of view.
The core issue is “free speech.” What is it, and what should colleges do to support it? Free speech doesn’t mean students should be able to say anything they want. Limits are properly set based on public safety, respect for tradition, and courtesy. Questions then arise about whether the rules make sense, have been clearly communicated, and are enforced in an appropriate way.
How can conservative college students cope with speech and behavior that is designed to deride or drown out their views? Neil has noted three general approaches: (1) Go along to get along, while submerging one’s true opinions; (2) Suffer in silence, turning into a bitter and isolated extremist; or (3) Engage in self-examination, develop a clear understanding of the basis for one’s opinions, and learn to express said opinions in a way that will command respect. The third way seems best, but may be easier said than done.
One common situation is that a university group invites a conservative speaker, e.g., Ann Coulter at UC Berkeley. Liberals then disrupt the event by “shouting down” the speaker, destroying property, and even engaging in physical attacks.
Universities shouldn’t tolerate this kind of behavior, but sometimes they do. There had been a major outbreak of violence to protest a previous speaker at UC Berkeley, which is one of Neil’s colleges, with none of the protestors being arrested or expelled. The local police were present, but their attitude seemed to be that they wouldn’t act unless someone was about to be killed. After much discussion, Coulter’s speech wound up being cancelled.
The harm that results from discouraging or drowning out unpopular opinions is not limited to the minority group. Sheltered liberals may face a rude awakening after graduation, as they adapt to how things work in the “real world” and learn the necessity of getting along with people who don’t happen to agree with them.
Recent campus protests are reminiscent of the anti-war protests in the 1960s, but those protests were typically organized by the students. Now there is more evidence of protestors being encouraged or even paid to engage in disruptive behavior. The Communist Party-US has reportedly sponsored some of the recent demonstrations.
The Greatest Generation – Dr. Howard Horne spoke to the Retired Men’s Luncheon Club on April 21 about his World War II and Korean War experiences as a military intelligence officer. His talk was arranged by SAFE director Jerry Martin.
When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Horne was a freshman at Penn State. He recalls his reaction on hearing the news: “Now I’m never going to finish college.” Horne and millions of others would participate in the huge military effort that was to come, and he spent much of the next four years as an intelligence officer embedded with a partisan group in Italy and reporting by radio on enemy capabilities and movements.
Horne related his wartime experiences in a matter of fact way. The Germans often gave chase and shot at him, for example, but he was a fast runner and they were “lousy shots.” His radio conked out in February 1945, so he didn’t learn the war was over until September.
Once the Army succeeded in verifying Horne’s identity, which took several months because he had been sent out in the field without any paperwork, he was transferred back to the US and mustered out. He happily resumed his studies at Penn State in the summer of 1946.
Horne went on to complete his graduate work (culminating with a PhD from Univ. of Cal-Irvine), be recalled as an intelligence officer in the Korean War, have a career with DuPont in the Employee Relations Department, and serve as the national president of the Sons of the American Revolution.
Quite a story, and well told! This country was fortunate to have men like Dr. Horne during that difficult period, and we can only hope that today’s young people will cope with the challenges that arise in an equally capable manner.
In memoriam - The recent death of Joe Reed reminded us of how SAFE came to be.
SAFE had its beginnings in 1995, with private discussions among AARP members concerning the huge federal debt resulting from federal spending. Those involved . . . were Bill Morris, Warren Foster and Joe Reed of Wilmington DE and Ted Hill of Claymont DE. We felt . . . senior citizens should help encourage decreased spending to avoid leaving a large debt for the next generations to pay.
Joe was predeceased by Warren Foster, Ted Hill & Bill Morris (SAFE newsletter, fall 2013).
New HLS dean, Bill Whipple – Early this year, a notice was e-mailed to Harvard Law School graduates that Dean Martha Minnow would be returning to an academic role. “I write to launch the search for a new dean,” wrote Harvard President Drew Faust, “and to invite your advice and counsel.”
“When I attended Harvard Law School,” I responded, “it never occurred to me to think of it as a politically slanted institution. However, things have changed. I gather that the school (faculty and most students) is currently far left of center . . . It wouldn’t be a bad idea to appoint a new dean who would have the inclination to bring things back into better balance . . .”
“I appreciate having the benefit of your perspective,” President Faust replied, “as the search for a new dean gets under way.” And that was that until the Wall Street Journal published an “are you sitting down?” editorial on June 6.
John Manning, the new HLS dean, was a conservative! He had clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia and Judge Robert Bork, and he reportedly believed that lawyers and judges should interpret laws based on the “plain text.” Perhaps his role as deputy dean had made Manning a natural choice, “[b]ut in an academy that usually treats conservatives like the walking dead,” Harvard deserved credit for promoting him on the basis of merit.
Far be it from me to claim credit for this outcome, but maybe my comment helped in some way. Moral: If you have constructive thoughts about something, share them. What have you got to lose?
Weigh in – Attention readers, why should your hardworking editor have all the fun? Every person has a story, and I’d be glad to consider yours for publication in this newsletter (next issue circa Oct. 1). The ideal length is 400-500 words, and submissions may be sent to email@example.com
Andrew Betley, (302) 239-9679
Dan Kerrick, treasurer, (302) 658-7101
Steve McClain, (302) 998-3910
Jerry Martin, (302) 478-5064
rycK Stout, (302) 478-9495
Bill Whipple, president, (302) 464-2688
For e-mail addresses see: link
About SAFE - SAFE is a non-partisan, all-volunteer organization that was founded in 1996. We advocate smaller, more focused, lower cost government, to be achieved by cutting spending, restructuring “entitlements,” simplifying taxes, and rationalizing regulations.
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