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2004 Review
 

In 2004 the CCLE published an extensive 50-page policy report, Threats to Cognitive Liberty: Pharmacotherapy and the Future of the Drug War, calling attention to a dangerous trend that threatens to expand the drug war from external policing to internal policing. The online version of the report has been accessed over 14,000 times since it was released on July 1. Copies of the report were sent to legislators in New Mexico and the United Kingdom, both of which were considering implementing court-ordered pharmacotherapy. Both backed off after reviewing our report and speaking with us. The report will continue to serve as the centerpiece for CCLE efforts to stop courts and policymakers from employing these new pharmaceuticals as neurocops.

 

In 2004 the CCLE’s work was the subject of significant profiles in major national and international media, including The Lancet, New Scientist, Wired, BBC Radio and CBC Radio. The Sept./Oct. issue of SEED Magazine named Richard Glen Boire one of eighteen “revolutionary minds redefining science.” These profiles, which were read by millions of people worldwide, are bringing to larger awareness the crucial question of what rights and duties a person has with regard to his or her own functional neurochemistry. Answers to this question will help shape the future of drug policy, of medicine, of religion, and of freedom itself. 

 

This year, we introduced the cognitive liberty perspective into a number of major forums. Wrye Sententia represented the CCLE as an invited participant to an influential European Union planning group charged with advising the EU on social policies for protecting individual freedom in an age of advancing neurosciences. Wrye was one of only fifteen expert advisors paid to attend this meeting in the Netherlands. Among more than a dozen presentations at conferences and universities in 2004, Wrye also twice debated members of the President’s Council on Bioethics, a key group that is instrumental in shaping future US policy with respect to technologies converging on cognition. She is now working to gain the CCLE official consultant status with the United Nations, an imprimatur that will further increase our influence.

 

In 2004, we also worked hard to educate the public and policy makers on pressing cognitive liberty issues, including those raised by conditioning a child’s public education on the use of psycho-stimulants such as Ritalin. While this project failed to produce the funding needed to continue it on the scale we imagined, we played an important role in getting more attention paid to the cognitive liberty issue at the center of this debate. In 2004, the CCLE also established Judges Against the Drug War, the first-of-its-kind online database of legal opinions in which judges themselves critique the injustices caused by criminal drug prohibition. We are currently in the process of converting the website into a fully open-source collaborative environment that encourages visitors to play an active role in updating and expanding the site.

 

2005 Strategy Overview

After five years, during which the CCLE has gone from just an idea to an internationally recognized Center that has filed briefs in the United States Supreme Court and consulted with representatives of the European Union, we have learned what works and what doesn’t. In 2005, we will center our efforts on (1) cementing a solid theoretical basis for cognitive liberty as a fundamental right, (2) championing cognitive liberty in the most influential forums to which we can gain access, and (3) applying it to some of the most pressing problems facing society.

 

1. Building a solid theoretical basis for cognitive liberty as a fundamental right.
Law review articles are the established vehicles for advancing new legal theories. They are relied upon by lawyers and courts, and are influential in leading new directions in public policy. A scholarly treatment of cognitive liberty in an influential law review will be a lasting touchstone and catalyst for unfolding this right in the real world. In 2005, Richard Glen Boire will research, write, and publish two essential law review articles, a critical undertaking that has ironically been pushed aside by time demands of fundraising and short-term grant-driven projects. One article will be a comprehensive scholarly legal argument for cognitive liberty as a fundamental right under US and international law. The other article will argue that it is unlawful to condition a public benefit upon, or to impose as a condition of probation, the coercive use new pharmaceutical drugs designed to block the effects of illegal drugs. This article will build upon the CCLE’s 2004 Pharmacotherapy Report. These law review articles will get our issues into the information streams that are accessed and relied upon by attorneys, judges, and policymakers.

 

2. Championing cognitive liberty in the most influential forums to which we can gain access. In 2005 the CCLE will continue to position itself at the heart of the flourishing debate over neuroethics, working to apply cognitive liberty principles to such critical public issues as drug policy, mental health, privacy, and security. Our goal is not to preach to the choir. We seek to create new lexicons with the potential of reorganizing how society thinks about the fundamental right to freedom of thought.

In addition to participating in as many important public forums as possible (debates, conferences, print, broadcast media, and the Internet), we are in the planning process along with the UK’s Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies for a three-day conference to be held in the Fall of 2005, at UC Berkeley. We will need to raise approximately $10,000 to hold this conference, which will be another important step toward creating a global network of scholars and policymakers working to encourage and protect cognitive liberty. Additionally, in February 2005, the CCLE is honored to again sponsor and present at the National Science Foundation’s conference on Improving Human Performance.

The Internet continues to be an important and relatively low-cost way of disseminating our ideas and soliciting input. The CCLE website draws anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 visitors each month. We will continue to make it a central source for sharing cognitive liberty information and for inspiring others to become effective advocates for freedom of thought.

 

3. Applying the principle of cognitive liberty to some of the most pressing problems facing society. In 2005 we will also continue the CCLE’s role as a vocal participant in important public policy debates. With the U.S. political climate currently in retrograde, it is critical to speak out as loudly and convincingly as possible when cognitive liberty is threatened. Conversely, we will continue to identify important opportunities for expanding freedom of thought, and will do our best to spotlight the tremendous importance of fostering and protecting the unlimited potential of the human mind.

Please help us accomplish these goals by joining our community of supporters. All donations are tax-deductible.

DONATE: http://www.cognitiveliberty.org/donate.html

For more reasons to donate, please read:

Freedom of Thought at the Crossroads