Anti-Dance Parties

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Over at National Review Online, Dave Kopel and Glenn Reynolds launch a nice assault on an awful piece of legislation (re-introduced in the new Congress) that would amend the federal "crack house" statute to target promoters of raves.

The article attacks Democrats for supporting the provision, rightly so. But why do Republicans get a pass on this?

On Tuesday, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) joined Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) in support of the legislation:

GRASSLEY: "I believe an event promoter does have some responsibility for what goes on at an event that they create. Particularly if they knowingly create an event for the purpose of buying, using, keeping, or selling drugs. While not common, there have been court cases which have been able to reach this high standard of proof. Using 21 U.S.C. 856, more popularly known as the "crack house" statute, law enforcement has arrested drug dealers who hosted raves and other dance events as a cover to push their product. Four cases have been brought to Federal court, with mixed results–mostly because the applicability of current law is unclear.

"This legislation is an important step, but a careful one. Our future rests with the young people of this great nation and America is at risk. Ecstasy has shown itself to be a formidable threat and we must confront it on all fronts, not only through law enforcement but education and treatment as well. I hope my colleagues will join us in supporting this legislation, and help us work towards its quick passage."

And former (as of today) DEA boss Asa Hutchinson testified glowingly about his agency's initiatives against rave promoters, bragging about a promoter pleading guilty to the crack house statute following a DEA investigation.

Last I checked the DEA was part of the Department of Justice, which is headed by the guy National Review Online says "has done absolutely nothing to infringe upon the rights of people who like to dance."

As with most efforts to ratchet up the War on Drugs, both parties deserve the blame.

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  1. Yes, both parties deserve blame for the War on Drugs–but telling the Republican readers of NRO “Democrats are trying to destroy liberty in the name of the War on Drugs” will make them more likely to think the War on Drugs is wrong than saying “Both parties are trying to destroy liberty….” If you can tell people what you want them to know, but in a way that they want to hear, you’re better off.

  2. Good for them. Nice to see a little sanity coming from the right wing. I’m kind of surprised to see that Dianne Feinstein is co-sponsoring the newest version of the bill (S. 226)… it goes to show how Republicans and Democrats just trip over each other sometimes in their attempts to chip away at freedom.

  3. Raymund, you make a good point, except that it sounds like NRO is crossing the line from sugar-coating the truth to simply not telling the truth. Somehow, I doubt that will really help in the long run.

  4. This new-and-improved RAVE Act is far worse than its predecessor. The new bill, sponsored principally by Democrats, would invoke “domestic security” as justification for all sorts of individual rights violations. Among the more odd provisions?doubling the criminal penalties for antitrust violations. I suspect most Americans fear antitrust violations as much as they fear RAVE concerts.

  5. Well, the reason that the piece doesn’t pick up Tuesday’s developments is that it was supposed to run last week, but for some reason got caught in a timewarp and only emerged today. I had given up on it, and thought it had been spiked.

    Yeah, Republicans who are backing this deserve to be slammed, too. But, you know, you kind of *expect* Republicans to be anti-dance party. But if the Democrats are good for anything (which is a dubious position these days) surely it’s to protect people from this sort of thing.

  6. True. And it’s hard to see what they get out of attacking rave culture.

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