There’s an excellent post by washunate at the progressive blog FireDogLake: The 2010 Drug Control Strategy is still Anti-Science
The article picks apart the new drug control strategy and also takes a look at the media coverage (and government spin) around it.
The perspective I want to bring tonight is the specific assault on science enshrined in the drug war. We Democrats like to condescendingly snub our noses at those ignorant backwater redneck moran hillbillies â€“ aka Republicans â€“ who are so gosh darn awful for their scientific silliness of [insert view here]. We reference studies like the one conducted recently by the Pew Center which found that only 6% of scientists openly identify as Republican.
But the trouble is, that comes off as pretty elitist, and ridiculous, when we have such blind spots ourselves on certain policy areas when it comes to science. And the drug war is particularly interesting for this kind of perspective because it involves absurdities in both the â€˜hard sciencesâ€™ and the â€™social sciencesâ€™.
It’s heartening to see this kind of self-awareness building within pockets of the progressive community (particularly at FDL). Democrats have had a history of being portrayed as more progressive on drug laws, when in fact their actions have generally been little different than Republicans. For decades, liberals have been demonized by social conservatives as being soft on drugs, yet they’ve been afraid to speak out about drug policy lest the social conservatives demonize them for being soft on drugs. If you can’t win the perception battle anyway, then perhaps it’s time to just support good policy based on science.
The “Oh yeah? Well, we’re as tough on drugs as the Republicans.” approach hasn’t worked. It hasn’t worked politically and it’s been disastrous in terms of policy.
Anyway, this post at FDL is definitely worth reading. Some very nice work.