Eldredge, Dirk Chase 1932–

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Eldredge, Dirk Chase 1932–

PERSONAL: Born June 30, 1932, in Salt Lake City, UT; married Donna M. Beavers, August 14, 1954; children: Kim D. Eldredge Gibler, Dirk Chase II. Ethnicity: "White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant." Education: University of Southern California, B.S. (cum laude), 1956. Politics: Republican. Hobbies and other interests: Reading.

ADDRESSES: Home and office—6121 Capri Ct., Long Beach, CA 90803.

CAREER: International Business Machines (IBM) Co., marketing manager in Los Angeles, CA, and Portland, OR, between 1957 and 1970; National Office Supply, owner and president, 1971–. Condo Resorts International, president, 1971–. Round Table of Orange County, founder and chair, 1981–82; Drug Policy Foundation, member; cochair of Ronald Reagan's campaign for governor of California, 1966–67. Military service: U.S. Air Force, 1951–52.

WRITINGS:

Ending the War on Drugs: A Solution for America, Bridge Works (Bridgehampton, NY), 1998.

Crowded Land of Liberty: Solving America's Immigration Crisis, Bridge Works (Bridgehampton, NY), 2001.

Contributor to periodicals, including Washington Times magazine.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A book on recuperation.

SIDELIGHTS: In his book Ending the War on Drugs: A Solution for America, Dirk Chase Eldredge delivers an attack on America's controlled substances policy. The author's views on drugs were shaped by two important experiences: the pain he suffered as the child of an alcoholic, and the research he undertook after hearing a judge speak out on the unintended consequences of the government's doomed efforts to eradicate drug use.

Ending the War on Drugs presents a grim account of these consequences, including increased criminal activity, widespread corruption, glutted courtrooms and jails, the introduction of ever-more-potent drugs, a coercive and alienating foreign policy, the erosion of civil liberties, and a sense of persecution within the black underclass. Pointing to the lessons of the Prohibition era, Eldredge argues that drugs should be decriminalized and distributed through state-owned outlets like the ones some states use to regulate the sale of alcohol. In this way drugs could be sold at well below their current street value, eliminating the black market and with it the violence and gang activity associated with drug dealing. At the same time, profits could be directed toward education and treatment programs.

Despite its controversial recommendations, Ending the War on Drugs has been generally well received. A writer for Kirkus Reviews called it a "good summary of and introduction to a libertarian perspective on drugs, freedom, and the role of the state," while John L. Kane, Jr., writing in the Denver Post, noted that the book "will appeal to the business-oriented reader; it is long on facts and short on preaching. It is pragmatic rather than theoretical. It contains enough anecdotal information to keep the pages turning and still covers issues as diverse as domestic and international politics, law enforcement, race relations, public health, ethics, penology and economics…. It is not for the reader who wants bland assurances and hand-holding, but for those who demand a pungent description of the most troubling crisis of our time."

Eldredge continued to demonstrate his concern for solving America's problems when he turned his attention to immigration issues. In Crowded Land of Liberty: Solving America's Immigration Crisis, he reports that immigration to the United States has actually achieved a crisis level. He attributes the crisis, at least in part, to the impact of working immigrants on the American job market (at both ends of the wage structure) and the impact of unemployed or unemployable immigrants on the welfare system. Eldredge places the blame partly on those immigrants who fail to blend into the American melting pot, but more emphatically on employers who exploit cheap foreign labor for profit and the federal policies that determine a newcomer's eligibility to enter the United States as an immigrant. Eldredge's solution is to halt most U.S. immigration for ten years, enforce a ban on dual citizenship, close the land borders to illegal immigration, and create a stringent qualification process that would limit admission to those individuals who can make a positive contribution to the economy. A Publishers Weekly contributor described Crowded Land of Liberty as "a fiercely argued political and social" proposal that "will appeal primarily to a small core of conservative readers."

Eldredge once told CA: "My primary motivation in writing is a desire to serve my country and its people. Politics has always been exciting and interesting to me, but I have never had the courage and resources to seek public office. Writing with the objective of bringing common sense and focus to public policy affords me an opportunity to fill this void in my life.

"Research is the keystone of the writing process for me. I love the excitement of the search for facts and ideas. I liken it to panning for gold. You sift through much sand and silt until you come across that nugget of information or that glistening idea which enriches your work. I was drawn to the subject of immigration because of my concern over the lack of focus of our hodgepodge of immigration laws and policies. I see them as 'policy by pressure group' rather than sound public policy with clear priorities and objectives.

"My pending book on recuperation was inspired by my personal experience of recovery from eight major surgeries between my forty-fourth and sixty-eighth birthdays. In it I will recount the experience of myself and others. I will set forth in a secular context what has worked well physically and attitudinally. The heart of the book will be the thirteen in-depth profiles of those who fought back against medical problems of their own or those of a loved one."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Bookist, September 15, 1998, Mike Tribby, review of Ending the War on Drugs: A Solution for America, p. 176.

Denver Post, September 27, 1998, John L. Kane, Jr., review of Ending the War on Drugs.

Economist, January 2, 1999, review of Ending the War on Drugs, p. 71.

Foreign Affairs, November, 1998, David C. Hendrickson, review of Ending the War on Drugs, p. 153.

Guild Practitioner, fall, 1998, John L. Kane, Jr., review of Ending the War on Drugs, pp. 239-240.

Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 1998, review of Ending the War on Drugs, p. 869; September 15, 2001, review of Crowded Land of Liberty: Solving America's Immigration Crisis, p. 1336.

Library Journal, August, 1998, Gregor A. Preston, review of Ending the War on Drugs, p. 113.

Los Angeles Times, January 24, 1999, review of Ending the War on Drugs, p. 3.

New Scientist, January 30, 1999, review of Ending the War on Drugs, p. 42.

Publishers Weekly, August 10, 1998, review of Ending the War on Drugs, p. 377; September 24, 2001, review of Crowded Land of Liberty, p. 77.

Rapport: Modern Guide to Books, Music, and More (annual), 1999, review of Ending the War on Drugs, p. 43.