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George Soros Letter

George Soros Letter

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Published by: Nick on Jul 27, 2012
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07/27/2012

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GEORGE
SOROS
DearFriend,Ifthereisoneprinciplethathasguidedbothmyworkinthefinancialmarketsandmyeffortstopromotetheidealknownasthe"opensociety,"itisthefactofhumanfallibility.
It
wasanideaIfirstencounteredstudyingphilosophyattheLondonSchoolofEconomics:Wecanprovewhatis
not
true,butwecannotsayconclusivelywhat
is
true.Hencethenecessityoftheopensociety-oneinwhichanypropositioncanbefreelyandpeacefullydiscussed,challengedanddebated.Perhapstosomestudents,thisideaofhumanfallibilitywasaphilosophicalabstraction.ButhavingescapedboththeNaziandcommunistoccupationsofHungary,Isawitsimplicationsimmediately:Anyregimethatclaimstopossesstheabsolute,unchallengeabletruthismakinganempiricallyfalseclairn-c-andcanonlysustainitbyshuttingdowndissent.Ihavedevotedmylifesincethentohelpingbuildopensocietiesandovercomeclosedones.Today,IamengagedinthatfightrighthereintheUnitedStates.Hereinourowncountry,nothingsoresemblestheclosedsocietythanthetragicfailureknownasthewarondrugs.Thewarondrugshasallthecharacteristicsofaclosedsociety:theabsolutepowersclaimedbytheauthorities,theattempttosilencecriticsratherthanengagethem,and,ofcourse,thehumancoststhatinevitablyresult-sourfailuretodealwithaddiction,theviolentcrimeourdrugpolicieshavespawned,andmore.Thatiswhy,amongthemanycausesinwhichIaminvolved,IsupportanexceptionalgroupcalledtheDrugPolicyAlliance.Anditiswhy,today,Iamurgingyoutodothesame.TheDrugPolicyAlliance-c-orDPA,astheyareknown-s-isamovementofmainstreamAmericansworkingtoendthewarondrugsandreplaceitwithsensiblepoliciesthatactuallywork.Inapoliticalenvironmentwhereanyonewhodarestocriticizethewarondrugsislabeledwiththeepithet"softoncrime,"DPAisunafraidtostatethetruth.Andequallyimportanttome,theyachievetangibleresults.TheDrugPolicyAlliancehasplayedacrucialroleinpassingmedicalmarijuanalawsinmostofthe15stateswheremedicalmarijuanaisnowlegal.TheyledthewayinreformingNewYorkState'sdraconianRockefellerThugLawsthatmadeanexampleofjustabouteveryoneconvictedofadrugcharge.
(Over,please)
 
-2-InCalifornia,theyspearheadedProposition36,thesinglebiggestsentencingreformintheUnitedStatessincetherepealofalcoholProhibition.Thankstotheinitiative,over300,000peoplewhowerearrestedforpossessingasmallamountofdrugshavebeendivertedfromprison.
<,
Andtheirhighlyrespected"SafetyFirst"curriculumspeakstoyoungpeopleaboutdrugsinarealisticandrespectfulway-awaythattheycanhear.TheDrugPolicyAlliancehasachievedallthiswithastaffofpoliticalprofessionalsandpolicyexpertswhoarerespectedonbothsidesoftheaisle,fromCapitolHilltostatecapitalsacrossthecountry.ButthebackboneofthismovementisthesupportofAmericansjustlikeyouwhoareunwillingtopayeverhighercosts-measuredinourtaxesaswellasourliberty-forwhateveryseriouspersonknows,andwhatmanypoliticiansprivatelyadmit,isanabjectfailure.ItooamoneofthoseAmericans,andthat'swhyIamproudtoactivelyparticipateonDPA'sboardandtocountmyselfasoneofthemorethan175,000memberswhosupportthisvitalorganizationasdonorsandactivists.Imaynotknowwhattheanswertothedrugproblemis-butIknowwhatitisnot.Iknowtheanswerisnottofillourprisonswithnonviolentpeoplewhoneedhelpovercomingthemedicalproblemofaddiction.Iknowtheanswerisnottodenyrelieftopatientswhosedoctorstellthemmarijuanamightlessenexcruciatingpainorotherdebilitatingsymptoms.Iknowtheanswerisnottoempowerpolicewithquasi-militarypowersthatstretchtheConstitutionpastthebreakingpoint.IknowallthisnotbecauseIhavetheanswers,butratherbecauseirrefutableevidencehaspiledupfordecades.Thedrugwarisafailure.Caseinpointisourapproachtomarijuanaregulation.ThecriminalizationofmarijuanadidnotpreventthatdrugfrombecomingthemostwidelyusedillegalsubstanceintheUnitedStatesandmanyothercountries.Butitdidresultinextensivecostsandnegativeconsequences.Lawenforcementagenciestodayspendmanybillionsoftaxpayerdollarsannuallytryingtoenforcethisunenforceableprohibition.Theroughly750,000arreststheymakeeachyearforpossessionofsmallamountsofmarijuanarepresentmorethan45%ofalldrugarrests.Regulatingandtaxingmarijuanawouldsimultaneouslysavetaxpayersbillionsofdollarsinenforcementandincarcerationcosts,whileprovidingmanybillionsofdollarsinrevenueannually.
It
alsowouldreducethecrime,violenceandcorruptionassociatedwithdrugmarkets,andtheviolationsofcivillibertiesandhumanrightsthatoccurwhenlargenumbersofotherwiselaw-abidingcitizensaresubjecttoarrest.Policecouldfocusonseriouscrimeinstead.Butadvocatesforthewarondrugstreatthesefactsinthesamewayalladvocatesoffailedideologiesattempttodo:byspreadingmisinformationandshuttingdowndebate.
(Nextpage,please)
 
-3-
Theyhaveintimidatedtheirpoliticalopponents,substitutedepithetsforargumentsandsilenceddissent.Thisistheveryepitomeoftheclosedsociety.DPAisansweringwiththevaluesofanopensociety-acourageouswillingnesstostatethefacts,challengetheconventionalwisdomandaskthehardquestions...andasteadfastconfidencethatdoingsowillexposetheideologyofthedrugwarasthefailurethatitis.Willyoujoinmeinthiseffort?Willyourefusetoaccedetothesilenceonwhichthedrugwarthrives?Ihopetheanswerisyes,andthatyou'llbecomeamemberoftheDrugPolicyAlliancetoday.YourcontributionwillfundDPA'seffortstoendthewarondrugsandreplaceitwithconstructivepoliciesthatreducetheharmsofdrugmisuse,helppeoplewhohaveproblemswithdrugs,andpreparechildrenrealisticallyfordifficultdecisionsaboutdrugs.TheDrugPolicyAlliancehasalreadyachievedsomuch,eveninapoliticalenvironmentthatdiscouragesdissentonthisissue.Imaginehowmuchmoretheycanachieveatthisextraordinarymomentofpoliticalopportunity,withaPresidentinofficewhohascriticizedthedrugwar,effortsunderwayinCongresstoreformcriminalsentencing,andmore.Thisis-orcanbe-ahistoricmoment,butonlyifyouandIseizeitbyspeakingoutagainstthewarondrugsandpushingforchangethroughtheDrugPolicyAlliance.Iaskyoutodothisforthesakeoftheopensocietytowhich
I
avecommittedmylife.
I
askyoutodothisinoppositiontotheideaoftheclosedsocietyfromwhich,asachildandthenayoungman,
I
led.Mostofall,IaskyoutojointheDrugPolicyAlliancebecausenoneofuscansaywithcompletecertaintywhattheanswertothedrugproblemis.Butallofuscanbecertain,onthebasisofmassive,irrefutableevidence,thatthewarondrugsisnotit.Pleasejoinmeinspeakingouttoday.P.S.Thedrugwarisfailingus.Asaparent,grandparentandconcernedcitizenofthiscountry,Imustspeakoutagainstit.Ihopeyouwilltoo,andthatyouwilljoinmeinsupportingtheDrugPolicyAlliancetoday.ThankYou.
DPA45597C08

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