(’76 Editor) Since our big debate on Colorado drug policy, Feb. 17 at CCU, I’ve been repeatedly asked who won or what conclusion emerged. There’s no simple answer in light of the cross-cutting perspectives from our five debaters – legislators Shawn Mitchell and Tom Massey, psychiatrist Chris Thurstone, and attorneys Carol Chambers (opposed to outright legalization of marijuana) and Jessica Corry (in favor of same) – and the three-layer complexity of the subject.
(1) How to regulate medical marijuana, (2) what to do about marijuana’s illicit recreational users, and (3) how much to use state power for the individual’s own good, were all topics in play during the 75-minute discussion.
Questions from the panelists on stage (myself, CCU senior Natasha Starceski, and CCU freshman Drew Goorabian), along with written questions submitted from the audience, most of which weren’t put to the debaters because of time limitations, are tabulated in full below. They reflected a commendable degree of thoughtfulness on a difficult matter of governance and civic standards, I believe.
Moderator's Opening Question: What difference can you see, if any, between America’s failed experiment with alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, and the marijuana prohibition of today, with or without a medical exception?
Is the federal heavy hand on marijuana an example of the welfare clause gone amuck or do we actually need a stronger federal government than Mr. Madison believed? Was Madison wrong?
What do you think of legalizing marijuana but requiring drug testing for welfare/tax supported programs?
Would the legalization of marijuana in Colorado provide an economic boost within the state; does the economic boost outweigh the detrimental effects on society as a whole?
If marijuana is legalized, what can be expected when it comes to the price and legal limit? How much is too much, and what will the legal buying age be?
If marijuana is legalized, should its regulation be handled by state or federal authorities?
It is common knowledge that the prohibition of alcohol did not work – why do you think the prohibition of marijuana is any more effective?
Generally, marijuana has the same psychological effects as alcohol and the same physiological effects as tobacco, yet alcohol and tobacco are legal. Alcohol, if used in excess, can lead to alcohol poisoning and kill a person, but it is impossible to O.D. on marijuana. Why then is tobacco and alcohol legal, but marijuana is not?
Dr. Thurstone: Could you please explain smoked marijuana verses a pill or the patch?
Ms. Corry: Part of your stance is that legalizing marijuana will help reduce our deficits… How do you balance that with the cost that this issue has placed on local government at a time when they are struggling to provide basic services in this economy?
Ms. Corry: Is there any free market (perhaps human sex trafficking) that government should limit or eliminate?
Why is medicinal marijuana so much more expensive than illegal marijuana?
Dr. Thurstone suggests that marijuana increases violent behavior; however, anyone who has used it knows that this is false. Has he ever had any personal, legitimate experience with marijuana?
Would you all agree or disagree that seniors may be more likely to treat ailments such as arthritis with marijuana if it were legalized?
Micah 6:8 says, “Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with the Lord your God.” Since laws are meant to punish those who cause harm to others, how can we justify laws that are more harmful to our citizens than the substances they ingest?
When does state law trump federal law? How does that affect federal dollars to our state for drug enforcement
Marijuana is known as a “gateway” drug – will this therefore lead to increased use and incidents of heroine, cocaine, meth, etc.?
Rather than enacting immediate government regulation, why don’t we allow the free market to handle the over supply?
Many “conservatives” profess a belief in state sovereignty and the 10th Amendment, yet support the DEA’s recent arrest of a medical marijuana grower who was in compliance with Colorado law. How can one reconcile those two positions?
Making marijuana legal will not prevent the crime we are seeing now like robbery or dispensaries – nor will it prevent a black market. Will your view tolerate this associated crime?
Cain asks God: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” If the answer is yes, how forceful should I be in protecting my brother from marijuana, or fatty foods, or whatever? Man needs free will to serve God or not and otherwise behave.
I could understand legalizing marijuana if Medicare and Medicaid did not pay for the consequences thereof. Why should Medicare pay for a new liver for an alcoholic?
If drug abusers were allowed to die on a Denver sidewalk, cry out in pain for another joint, then legalization would make some sense. We could make sure our children could see the miseries of a dopey life.
Do you think prohibition of marijuana leads to more problems than just if it was legalized?
Marijuana is known for being a "gateway" drug - therefore, do you foresee an increase use and abuse of other illicit drugs if marijuana were to be come legalized? Would this in turn lead to higher incidence of drug-related crime
Students know it is possible to fake ADD symptoms and get a Ritalin prescription (“my new homework buddy”), so wouldn’t it also be easy for young people to fake and lie their way to a medical marijuana card?
If we legalize marijuana, should we therefore legalize ALL drugs?
Moderator's Closing Question: What is the single most compelling reason Colorado should not go ahead and legalize all marijuana?
('76 Editor) This week Centennial Institute officially begins its second year. We're working to become known in Colorado and nationally as the open forum where current issues are tested against timeless principles.
Our Spring 2010 events calendar features topics from drug policy to mobility strategies to the Christian testimony of an ex-Muslim terrorist. We'll also feature Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute on capitalism in crisis, Douglas Bruce on taxpayer protection in Colorado, and Michael Poliakoff on the classical legacy of Vergil.
The full schedule, confirmed with a few exceptions, is below. There's no charge for these events, but space is limited, so you will need to reserve early.
For reservations, email Centennial@ccu.edu or call 303.963.3424.
Wednesday, February 17, 7pmCCU Music CenterDebate: "Why Not Legalize All Marijuana?"State Rep. Tom Massey, State Sen. Sean Mitchell,DA Carol Chambers, Attorney Jessica Corry----------------------------------------- Monday, February 22, 7pmCCU Business School 101Issue Monday: "Mobility Solutions for Colorado"Randal O'Toole, Author of "Gridlock"----------------------------------------- Wednesday, March 3, 12 noonCCU Dining Commons AnnexLuncheon Briefing: "Confronting Radical Islam"Tawfik Hamid, Author of "The Roots of Jihad"----------------------------------------- Monday, March 15, 7pmCCU Beckman Center 202Issue Monday: "Vergil's Epic of Western Civilization"Dr. Michael Poliakoff, Former Academic VP, University of Colorado----------------------------------------- Friday, March 19, 730amBrown Palace HotelPolicy Breakfast: "Reviving Democratic Capitalism"Arthur Brooks, President, American Enterprise Institute----------------------------------------- Wednesday, April 7, 12 noonCCU Dining Commons AnnexLuncheon Briefing: "From Muslim Terrorist to Christian Believer"Kamal Saleem, Author of "The Blood of Lambs"----------------------------------------- Wednesday, April 14, 7pmCCU Music CenterLecture: "Defending Liberty"Wayne LaPierre, President, National Rifle Association (invited)----------------------------------------- Monday, April 19, 7pmCCU Beckman Center 202Issue Monday: "Taxpayer Protection in Colorado, 1985-2010"Douglas Bruce, Author of the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights
||medical marijuana, arthur brooks, wayne lapierre, douglas bruce, radical islam, terrorism, tabor amendment, randal o'toole, carol chambers, jessica corry, tawfik hamid, kamal saleem
||Centennial Institute | Colorado | Culture | Policy
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('76 Editor) Particularly a college such as CCU, devoted to the same biblical truths and principles as most of our Founders? Centennial Institute asked for advice on teaching our country's history to college students, from a dozen of the most thoughtful Christian conservatives in America today. Their recommendations on the most important ideas to be taught, and the best books to help do that, add up to a rich intellectual feast. Our Centennial Institute report, "How Should an American College Teach American History?", contains a summary in the survey respondents' own words. Respondents included David Barton of Wallbuilders, Morton Blackwell of the Leadership Institute, J. Budziszewski and Rob Koons of the University of Texas, Kenneth Cribb of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Alan Crippen of the John Jay Institute, Michael Farris of Patrick Henry College, Douglas Groothuis of Denver Seminary, author Peter Marshall, Marvin Olasky of The King’s College and World magazine, Paul Prentice of the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs; and Lawrence Reed of the Foundation for Economic Education.
Here is a link to the report: centennial - teaching history.doc (76.50 kb)
We look forward to your comments on the report. While it's true, as I often remind patriotic friends, that America isn't specially anointed in the Bible, Lincoln was right when he suggested our moral and spiritual heritage confers upon us special opportunities and obligations as an "almost-chosen people." Colorado Christian University, along with any Christian college and for that matter any intellectually honest college, must strive to convey these objective realities to all its students. CCU's newly revised curriculum is a response to the challenge. It took effect last fall, as explained here: ccu curriculum revision nov08.doc (159.00 kb)
('76 Editor) Student conservative leaders from three colleges told a Centennial Institute forum last night that they sense growing receptivity among their generation for a right-trending political mood of self-reliance and limited government.
Issue Monday, our regular monthly series resuming in 2010, packed a CCU Business School classroom with an audience ranging from teens to senior citizens. Also present were two congressional candidates and a recent CCU graduate who is running for State House.
I served as moderator for the 90-minute session (linked here as a podcast) where Sean Doherty, Jimmy Sengenberger, and Megan Brophy related their political experiences, quizzed each other about lessons learned, and took questions from the audience.
Brophy, the daughter of Colorado State Sen. Greg Brophy, said her College Republicans chapter wants to tap CCU's potential to "become the Hillsdale of the West." Sengenberger, a regular contributor on this blog, told how his weekly Internet radio show helps him warn fellow students that "politics affects everything you hope to do or be." Doherty, who started a constitutional-themed newspaper on his campus -- which administrators tagged "extremist" -- drew on his marketing studies to recommend a "listen to the customer" approach for political outreach.
Click for the "Seng Center" online talk show hosted by Jimmy Sengenberger. Click for the Constitutional Reporter paper edited by Sean Doherty.
From right: Sean Doherty of Metropolitan State College, Jimmy Sengenberger of Regis College, Megan Brophy of Colorado Christian University.
('76 Editor) What's the practical meaning of Centennial Institute's goals about teaching citizenship, renewing the spirit of 1776, advocating for faith, family, and freedom? The Centennial Program Board, a new group that held its second monthly meeting on Jan. 19, helps me tackle those questions.
The board is made up of CCU students from all four classes -- including Lawson Cheek and Natasha Starceski ('10), Joni Mitchell ('11), JT Weinroth ('12), and Drew Goorabian ('13) -- plus faculty members Bill Saxby, Chuck King, and Greg Schaller along with retired pastor Jerry Nelson and businessman Kevin Miller and Wil Armstrong. Several of the latter are also Centennial Institute Fellows.
Got a suggestion for the Centennial Program Board in their advisory role with me, Director John Andrews? Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
('76 Editor) Tune in tonight, Thursday, Dec. 17 at 7pm on 710 KNUS in Denver and streaming at 710knus.com, when Centennial Institute presents the Republican finalists for Governor of Colorado, Scott McInnis vs Dan Maes.
Recorded at Centennial's candidate forum on Nov. 3 and edited to reflect Josh Penry's exit from the race. McInnis leads incumbent Bill Ritter by 48-40 in the latest poll. What does the potential next governor have to say for himself? What makes Maes, the dark horse, run?
Video highlights of both the Governor and Senator forums.
(CCU Faculty) My conservatism is not due to either nature or nurture. Neither my parents nor my grandparents were religious or conservative. In fact, everyone in my family was Democrat until the Reagan administration, yet now none of them are.
My conversion to Christ came in the early 70s after four years of college as a history major, specializing in ancient history. I became more and more fascinated with how the Bible fit into history, how archeology seemed to confirm events in the Bible, and how Christianity so effectively described the human condition.
My conversion to limited government came in the mid-70s while stationed with the Army in Berlin. I lived near the wall and spend my time listening to the phone calls of Communist East Germans. In the late 70s I began a graduate program in Modern European History at a campus of the University of California, where I specialized in totalitarianism (specifically Fascism, Nazism, and Communism). In 1976 I voted for Jimmy Carter, but by 1980 my enthusiasm for big government solutions began to wane. In 1984 I tried to convince my grandmother to vote for Reagan instead of Mondale. She replied that she was a Texan who had never voted Republican, and that to vote for one would be to disgrace her ancestors who were all from the South.
My conversion to free market economics came in the 80s, after teaching high school several years on the east side of LA. The state of California passed legislation requiring that every high school senior take a semester of economics. In less than a year an economics teacher had to be found for every high school in the state. My principal discovered that I was the only member of the faculty who had taken several economics courses as an undergrad, so he told me that I would teach the new course. Unfortunately, I had attended a Cal State campus, where my professors were Keynesian and taught economics is a manner which seemed incomprehensible. I told my principal that I was not up to the challenge, but he informed me of a summer program at UCLA run by the Academy for Economic Education, where I could be adequately equipped to teach the course. My instructor was an economics professor from Pepperdine, who convinced me that free market economics was vastly superior to what I was taught at Cal State. Over the next several years as I taught the course, the superiority of the free market was confirmed by how Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan had transformed their economies.
There are still a few conservative ideas which I have a few problems with, but in every case they seem to be far better than the liberal or socialist alternative.
('76 Editor) Recovering the Founders' Constitution in American state and federal government, and reviving the civic virtues and character our Founders saw as indispensable to liberty -- one huge challenge in the political realm and another in the cultural realm -- these were the action points emerging from "Constitutional Principles for Legislation," a conference for state legislators from throughout the West, sponsored by the Centennial Institute and the Rocky Mountain Family Council on Oct. 30-31 at Colorado Christian University. Fifteen state senators and representatives from five states took part, along with participants from think tanks and policy organizations, CCU faculty and students, and guests from metro Denver. The legislatures of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and New Mexico were represented. Schedule conflicts prevented the attendance of interested legislators from Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, and North & South Dakota. Former US Senator Bill Armstrong, now president of Colorado Christian University, gave the keynote address on "Mapping Our Way out of the Wilderness." Other speakers and panelists included Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute, Shari Weber of American Majority, Kevin Miller of Vanguard Forum, political scientist Greg Schaller, former Colorado Treasurer Mark Hillman, and Rob Witwer, author of a forthcoming book on liberal takeover strategies in the states. John Andrews and Jim Chapman co-chaired the conference. We're already planning the next Constitutional Principles conference for June 2010. If you are interested in attending, please mail us at email@example.com. Some photos from this year's event are below. The program outline and attendance list are linked here... legis conf prog & attend 111809.doc (128.50 kb)
SATURDAY SESSION: Jim Chapman of Rocky Mountain Family Council (center) opens the second day of the conference with a talk on keeping civil society strong in order to restrain the growth and intrusiveness of government.
SOME OF THE PARTICIPANTS: Rep. Timothy Hallinan, CO Sen. Greg Brophy, CO Rep. Cheri Gerou, KS Sen. Karin Brownlee, WY Rep. Pete Anderson, and NM Rep. Tom Taylor pose after adjournment, urging the Centennial Institute to convene another such event next year. We intend to.
('76 Editor) Tom James of People's Press Collective.com was at CCU to film the Nov. 10 senatorial forum as well as the Nov. 3 gubernatorial forum. Below are the links for both video files. PPC, as they call themselves, will partner with Centennial Institute to sponsor an all-day boot camp on "Blogging Right," Dec. 5 at the Beckman Center on our campus. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Here's the Senate forum video.
Here's the Governor's forum video.
('76 Editor) Again at the Senate candidates forum on Tuesday, as happened at the gubernatorial forum last week, CCU’s big audience of students, faculty, and friends posed far more questions than we had time for. Here is a full transcript. Panelists’ questions appear after this list of 56.
1. What is your justification for the discrepancy between health care benefits Senators have and those planned for the U.S. citizens who put them in office? What happened to government of the people, by the people and for the people?
2. Name the three best speakers (presidents) in history, and why does it matter?
3. What is your position on illegal immigration and maintaining border security?
4. President Obama has terribly mismanaged the war in Afghanistan. As U.S. Senator, how will you hold the administration accountable to ensure a dignified victory in Afghanistan?
5. How do you reach out to unaffiliated voters and convince them to trust a Republican again?
6. If elected, you will make an oath to God to uphold and defend the Constitution. Do you intend to fulfill this oath, or will you vote for unconstitutional bills?
7. When party discipline starts to divert you from appropriate change, how will you “stay on course”?
8. Over 70% of inmates in Colorado prisons have mental health and/or addiction issues. Prisons are now being called the new asylums. If no new prisons are to be built, with Ft. Logan closing and inmates releasing early, what policies will you support to ensure public safety while allowing access to needed mental health services?
9. Why is the federal government creating a health care bill when health, education and welfare belong to the states? Democracy is more rule – this is a republic!
10. If elected, would you vote to perpetuate or end the wars in the Middle East? If voting to continue the wars, how would you propose to pay for them?
11. What distinguishes you from your opponents?
12. As Senator, where would your stance concerning the U.S. support of Israel as a nation be?
13. How will our government function if servicing our national debt takes a huge portion of government revenues when interest rates increase to double digits or higher?
14. Article I, Section 8 states the powers delegated by the states to Congress. As a U.S. Senator, will you balance proposed legislation against these specific powers, or reach beyond as dictated by necessity?
15. Do you support a flat tax?
16. How would you push forward auditing the Federal Reserve and stopping the printing of money?
17. How do you plan on reducing spending in the U.S. government and cutting the U.S. deficit?
18. Do you believe the U.S. should remain a sovereign nation? Or join with Canada and Mexico?
19. Would you barter your votes or stick to representing Colorado?
20. How important is your faith in God in your life?
21. What are your views on abortion and homosexual marriage?
22. How do you reign in excessive profit and executive compensation without over-regulation?
23. In light of internal and external pressures on our national sovereignty (by some members of SCOTUS and by even treaties such as KYOTO, International Court, Law of the Seas and the upcoming Copenhagen Treaty), what specifically will you do to defend our Constitution and bring us back to a strong defense of our sovereignty?
24. Our dollar is in free fall, what would you propose to remedy out of control spending and the damage done by the fractional reserve system?
25. What are your views on how to decrease American dependence on foreign oil?
26. In an effort to bring jobs to Colorado, would you support the expansion of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site?
27. What restrictions should be placed on the sale of firearms to law abiding citizens?
28. What steps do you recommend to remove the abortion prevision from the Senate version of the health care legislation?
29. As our next U.S. Senator, what committee would be your top choice and why?
30. None of you will have the opportunity to vote on President Obama’s health care bill this year. What sort of health care reform would you support, and would it include a public option?
31. Will you please apologize for supporting Referendum “C”? Please.
32. How do you plan to deal with entitlement programs as it attracts many voters?
33. What is your strategy to expand the base of diversity to the Colorado Republican Party? Look at the demographics of those that attended this debate.
34. In 2008, Colorado sent 48.2 billion to the IRS and received back 38.1 billion in government services from the federal government. How you close this gap?
35. Tidwell said that the war is unconstitutional. Please explain.
36. Is there really a health care crisis? Is ObamaCare constitutional?
37. Please comment on the inclusion of illegals, abortion and cost in the health care bill?
38. What three personal qualities will best serve you in the U.S. Senate?
39. How would you improve the nation’s health care system?
40. How do we keep the Copenhagen Treaty from being signed in December by Obama?
41. Have you ever supported a tax increase on Coloradans?
42. If you were now in the Senate, would you vote for the pending health care bill? Why or why not?
43. What are the top five leadership traits you believe each U.S. Senate elected official needs to have.
44. Inspire me. What’s your vision for Colorado? Why should I follow your vision?
45. No one likes the idea of increased taxes, but all need to be fiscally responsible, especially when the deficit has been raising. What are your plans for decreasing this problem, and has anyone looked at a value added tax?
46. Did you vote for referendum C & D? Why or why not?
47. What part of “prospective immigrant” (illegal alien) play in our national security? Especially after the appointment by President Obama?
48. What do you have to say about the role of government with regards to health care reform?
49. What do you have to say about the role of government with regards to health care reform?
50. How do you intend to convince us (Coloradans) that you are not the representative of an aisle crossing Arizona Senator and inside-the-beltway Republican power brokers?
51. What is your Pinon Canyon position?
52. Will you have the fortitude and confidence to stand on your principles when faced with potential political backlash?
53. Ken Buck has urged Michael Bennet to support Senate Bill 604. This Bill would authorize Congress to conduct an audit of the Federal Reserve, the first in nearly 97 years. Do you believe the Federal Reserve’s inflationary policies that destroy the value of Americans’ savings bare any responsibility for the current or previous recessions? Do you think this organization that is printing untold trillions of dollars should be allowed to do so in complete secrecy? Will you support Senate Bill 604?
54. George Bush was successful in the 2000 election partly for running on a traditional Republican platform of non-interventionism that included not policing the world. It is arguable that Obama’s popularity and subsequent election can be attributed to the same promises. So far, neither of them has kept those promises. Do you think America should have an imperialistic or non-interventionist, non-policing world foreign policy? If it is the latter, please explain how having active military in 130 countries and spending more money on the military than the rest of the world combined fits that definition.
55. Regarding the recent federal dismissal of countless Constitutional limits on government, do you agree that Colorado has a lasting and uninfringeable sovereignty from what is an increasingly more centralized and non-representative form of government? Do you agree with the tenth amendment that states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”? If you do, please explain how you plan to protect Colorado from government domination and what you would do to reduce the size of government to that which is explicitly authorized by the U.S. Constitution?
56. When you are Senator, will you be bound by the laws you enact?
Prepared Questions by Student Panelist Lawson Cheek
A. Some of my peers believe economic recession in America is a sign of a failing capitalist society. How do you respond?
B. As the future leaders of this country, Colorado Christian University students need instruction, not only in core academic material, but also about constitutional principles and citizenship. What would you advise the young voters in this audience to focus on?
C. As a future law student and perhaps a candidate myself one day, I look at the four of you and wonder how to get there from here. What can we be doing right now in our teens or 20's to prepare for our own potential campaigns later on?
Prepared Questions by Student Panelist Kristina Schermer
A.The media today focuses a lot of its attention on the rising cost of higher education? One day I hope to raise kids that will then have the opportunity to attend college? What do you predict the reality of higher education costs will be and how do you hope to respond to this? B.In the recent decade I have witnessed a decrease in the American people taking responsibility for their actions most obviously with their wallets. How do you plan to enable and encourage Americans to be proactive about their future and managing their money? C.For my generation we have watched the world cross boarders each day creating a more blended culture. As the United States continues to embrace diversity and transform how do you propose to preserve the American culture and traditions?
Prepared Questions by Moderator John Andrews
A. With the unsuccessful campaigns of 2004 and 2008, Republicans trying to elect a senator were sort of like Charlie Brown trying to kick a football. Despite nominating good men, it seemed nothing went right. What needs to be different in 2010, and why are you the best person to make the difference?
B. We hear various descriptions of the enemy that America has confronted since the September attacks of 2001, or some would say since the Tehran embassy attack of 1979. How do you identify this enemy, this conflict we’re engaged in, and what we do need to do for victory?
C. Unemployment recently hit 10.2%, the worst in a quarter-century. What is your prescription for economic recovery?
D. Tell us what President of the United States you would like to travel back in time and have dinner with?