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February 15, 2003

Nancy's still right

David Knott, president of the Reason Foundation has a spiffy little op-ed in the Orange County Register poo-pooing the DARE program. I'm not complaining about his main point, (he seems to provide enough background for it) but his use of urban mythology. He repeatedly claims that DARE tells kids to 'just say no' to drugs. Now the reason I've never been a fan of DARE was precisely because they did NOT tell kids to 'just say no' to drugs. (They even brag about this fact on their web site) They use a very Liberal approach (more or less based on Carl Rogers' Humanistic based theories of psychotherapy) in which both the idea of doing good and doing bad are presented to the 'client' so that they can choose to do good. Problem is that Rogers never intended this approach to be used on healthy people. When you take kids and introduce them to the bad, you've just opened the door to a possibility. In the morality neutral culture of American post-modernism, this is poison.

Well, anyway, Knott seems to be under the mistaken impression that Nancy Reagan's approach, long dissed by the Liberal media, is embraced by DARE, which it isn't. See, the media realized that the concept of 'just say no' was way too easily applied to other areas, like say -- sex. And you can't argue for increased funding for explicit sex ed in government schools, (programs that omit any mention of abstinence) if kids can actually just say 'no'. So Nancy's ideas have been laughed at and ridiculed by the media for all these decades. If you do a web search of 'just say no' you find lots of people using the phrase for just about everything except drugs (mostly it's used about Microsoft), unless it's to ridicule the idea of it being used in regards to drugs. (or to ridicule DARE)

So while Knott tries to use some facts to argue that DARE is ineffective, his lack of grasping the facts of DARE's actual methods tend to discredit his op ed. Kinda bad for the president of an organization that supposedly endorses 'rationality'.


Posted by Jack Lewis at February 15, 2003 07:54 AM