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The DUI Exception to the Constitution

The DUI Exception to the Constitution

Over the years I have expressed my belief that organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are well-intentioned “true believers” — but believers who, like most zealots, have a rigid and narrow focus and who are ignorant of the harm they cause to others.

A few years ago, I was invited to give a lecture to a “think tank” of government, corporate and academic types expanding upon this view. In the years since then that I have given versions of the lecture to other groups, the legal and political situation has only grown worse.

Perhaps the lecture itself might better explain why I consider the activities of such organizations to be a continuing threat to our institutions and constitutional safeguards…

Read Taylor Lawrence's Speech Below

I hope to convince you in the next hour, some of you, that the greatest single threat to our freedoms, the freedoms set forth in the Bill of Rights, is not from Iraq or Iran. I don’t think it’s from North Korea. I don’t think it’s from the extremists of the Muslim world. The threat, as it has always been throughout history, is internal: It is from within. But I do not think it is terrorists or extremists on the right. I hope to convince a few of you that the greatest single threat to our freedoms today comes from a group consisting largely of American housewives. They call themselves the Mothers Against Drunk Driving. MADD.

I am fully aware that some of you belong to MADD. And I am certainly not here to make fun of them. Others of you here do not belong to MADD, but you have contributed to MADD and many more of you here, perhaps most of you here, are in complete sympathy with their goals and their activities. Many of you have had tragic losses at the hands of drunk drivers. But I hope to convince you in the next hour that you might want to reassess your view of that particular organization.

And I do not take them lightly in terms of their intentions. But we know that throughout history it is the well-intentioned zealots — those who believe strongly in the rightness of their cause — that are most willing to impose those ideas upon others. I do not, by the way, for a moment suggest that we should legalize drunk driving. I’m going to make that clear at the outset. But it is the true believer who is the greatest threat. And I should at the outset acknowledge my tremendous debt to Mr. Eric Hoffer who wrote the book, The True Believer. He was a longshoreman when I was going to school at Berkeley in the 60’s. He did not have a high school education, but was teaching philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley and wrote this little jewel of a book that has been terribly influential in my own thinking.

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