In her column about the White House deal encouraging network TV programs to include anti-drug messages, Marjorie Williams writes: "Drug use, you may have heard, is frowned on these days; lately it is one of the few uncontested zones in our perennial culture wars" [op-ed, Jan. 21].

This appears to be a particularly smarmy restatement of the principle that if the many agree to the persecution of the few, then it's okay, and any means used in that persecution are also okay.

But of course, her statement isn't true. Our national preoccupation with suppressing drug use has made us first among nations in the prison-industry sweepstakes, has resulted in the disenfranchisement of minorities and has contributed to social chaos at home and abroad. The propaganda in question contributes to this messy state of affairs in many ways. It demonizes drug users at the same time that it makes illegal drugs seem far more interesting than they actually are.

Finally, her assumption that only liberals are outraged is proof of her own narrow vision. Conservatives are just as upset, if they've considered the matter carefully. What in principle would keep the government from pursuing the same tactics when promoting other agendas, such as abortion rights or gun control?

--Ray Aldridge