“From wherever you stood, the opposing side offered respectable, credible views. In today's fractured culture the evening struck a blow for civility.”

- The Huffington Post

More praise for IQ2 US

Post-Debate: Legalize Drugs

By IQ2US Staff — November 19, 2012

Last Wednesday’s debate, “Legalize Drugs,” couldn’t have been more timely. It was a topic that everyone in attendance seemed to have a personal connection to.

Over light appetizers at Boulud Sud, donors, media guests and the debaters mingled, continuing the conversation. Issues of social class, race and age all came up throughout the debate, leaving many to feel that the night’s topic was representative of more than just legal issues. Paul Hertel, editor at Martha Stewart’s Whole Living Magazine, said the debate “was smart and very clean…I found it effective when the debaters brought the conversation to social issues, since this topic is much bigger than just laws.”
Deputy editor of the Council on Foreign Relations’ publications Toni Johnson loved the energy in the audience during the debate, citing the topic’s over-arching effect on modern day society as the reason. “There was this vibe in the air…the audience was really engaged. Not a single person there hadn’t been effected in some way by this topic.”

Moderator John Donvan appreciated the diversity, knowledge and respect of debate winners Paul Butler and Nick Gillespie, and their opponents Asa Hutchinson and Theodore Dalrymple: “There were law enforcers on both sides of the debate & I think they both really respected one another and the work they’ve done.”

Will Godfrey, managing editor of The Fix, also praised Intelligence Squared and the composure of the participants for effectively tackling such an emotionally charged topic, calling the debate “a much more civil conversation on this topic than I’ve seen in the past.”

 Photos below.



Will Godfrey, Toni Johnson, and John Donvan


Paul Hertel and Nick Gillespie


Ethan Bronner, Paul Butler, and Toni Johnson


  • Comment Link Dakota Zerbst Saturday, 23 February 2013 03:08 posted by Dakota Zerbst

    Washington said " make the best you can of the Indian hemp seed and sow it everywhere", the mayflowers sails were made of it, our constitution is written on it. as well drugs are rampant in children, out of alcohol, weed, and cigarets the easiest to get a hold of is weed, because its not legal and regulated. the cartels will always be criminals no matter what, but by taking a drug out of there hands by legalizing it crime will reduce, drugs can destroy lives if misused but lives are destroyed every time a dealer is locked up, because that dealers family suffers as well, violence in gangs would be reduced and dealers who make there craft legitimate if legalized can support their families and not have to turn to violence. also most Americans DO DRUGS! if you combine all the drug users in America against those who don't I'm sure you would find the majority in favor. Also the hundreds of people who are in jail because of drug related crimes are not violent offenders but become such after release because of mental conditioning to violence while in prison, so one could say prohibition actually creates criminals instead of deterring them. The obvious solution is legalization, it is part of American heritage, history, foundation, and inception, as well as our culture both past and present. the "war" on drugs has failed on many grounds and have cost America millions of tax payers dollars, with marijuana for example textiles can be made and exported allowing for an economic boom from this and drug sells as well, a boom that in America today is quite needed as we barely climb out of a recession, to not legalize drugs would be simply unpatriotic, and it was a mistake to make alcohol illegal then and its a mistake to continue prohibition today.

  • Comment Link Craig Thursday, 29 November 2012 16:29 posted by Craig

    Great debate! What I feel should have been included (more) in the realm/concept during the debate is alcohol as well as tobacco. There seemed to be this push "since alcohol is legal, it is grandfathered in already". I feel the debate should have stuck to pot as being the main issue. Otherwise, if we are to speak of damaging drugs,- damage related to drug use, then of course alcohol and tobacco are #1, and #2. We, including the debaters who are against the initiative, KNOW that pot and violence/ill health do not have the same direct relationship as alcohol- and meth do with violence/ill health. I understand the argument that if we make pot legal then we have to make even meth and heroin legal. Why not flip it. If we keep meth and heroin illegal, why not make alcohol and tobacco illegal too...? Since they do the most damage in our society... Yes, we have been there before with prohibition. What I also do not wish to continue is pushing marijuana on a medical level. Though I do believe it has medical properties- I believe that should be left to the individual. Otherwise if we push for legalization for medical purposes two things will happen: 1). The AMA will debunk, through honest research, some claims that marijuana has medicinal properties for particular ailments that people claim it works for i.e, "marijuana helps me with my a.d.d". or " it helps curb my cravings for snack food". Once these medical claims show that med marijuana does not work in all cases then it will remain illegal base on not being as medicinal as stated. Basically, remaining illegal to those who find that it has great recreational qualities too- just like alcohol! 2). If it is legalized on a medical level, we will never see it on a recreational level because then pharmaceuticals will latch onto it and it will be way out of reach as well as remaining illegal to those who do not have a prescription for it. They will also alter and tweak it in some way that take away some of the spiritual qualities it has as well. Remember, recreation can have spiritual qualities! Meth is basically made out cleaning solvents. I can drink Clorox and ammonia and battery acid but I wont go to jail for it. But if I put them all together and smoke it, I will. However, is someone ingests all of that they should go to a psych ward more than they should go to jail.

  • Comment Link mark krebs Monday, 26 November 2012 11:46 posted by mark krebs

    Unfortunate the topic was not restricted to weed: the teams talked past each other For MJ and Against everything else. I felt the opposed team was willing to settle for a win on a technicality (that crack's bad and "has" to be included per the proposition. That's surely true, but misses the key point that not every drug is the same, so one-size-fits-all is probably not ideal. I don't know, maybe the more restrictive topic would've been too easy to argue for the affirmative?

    A related point, on "the rich are taxed enough" the affirmative this time wanted to agree with the essence of their opposition's point, but claim victory based on not changing rates.

    I found these two similar approaches to be a giant cop out! Would you rather win a completely hollow victory after yielding all the important points? That's a politics of mere showmanship.

    Love this show.

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