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Have you ever seen such dancing?

Mary Anastasia O’Grady has always been one of the brighter lights in the Wall Street Journal opinion section. She understands that supply side efforts in the drug war are incapable of success. It’s a simple matter of the laws of economics.

Yesterday, she writes about the subject again in George Shultz on the Drug War:
The former secretary of state has long doubted the wisdom of interdiction.

It’s a positive piece and valuable, I guess, but what strikes me in the article is how furiously everyone mentioned in it is dancing around the solution without quite being able to say it, even while bemoaning the fact that people aren’t able to talk about it.

What a strange and dark world it must be to have power, know the truth, and be afraid to tell it.

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10 comments to Have you ever seen such dancing?

  • paul

    Huh. You’re right–they never seem to come right out and say it. I remember that Schultz was one of the first Regan era figures that was against the drug war, and that gave me a lot of comfort at the time. At least SOMEONE thought the whole thing was a bad idea!

  • there was one comment on that article that i just loved. “The US doesnt have a drug problem, Christianity has a drug problem”

    i think i like it cause im atheist.

  • I wonder who’re the more hated group: atheists or legalizers? 😉

  • paul

    Atheists, absolutely.

  • The Wall Street Journal has been the most vocal of any national newspaper on the folly of drug prohibition. Rather than criticize them for “dancing” around the issue, we should welcome them for joining the beat of our drum. I don’t see any of the liberal newspapers; the ones we consider allies, taking such a stand. Shame on them and good on the Wall Street Journal!

  • ezrydn

    Everyone’s afraid to be “the first” to come out with a reasonable, thought out position. They’re all waiting to see if there’s any “blood-letting” from those who first present the truth that they’ve all been hiding from. Congress is the biggest “Coward’s Club” in the US. Even the DEA’s recent comment about looking at rescheduling shows they’re farther along than most Congress critters. And I thought I’d never say that.

  • @ezrydn: I figured I’d share the kind of equilibrium we’re in. It’s called a Nash Equilibrium:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nash_equilibrium :

    “In game theory, Nash equilibrium (named after John Forbes Nash, who proposed it) is a solution concept of a game involving two or more players, in which each player is assumed to know the equilibrium strategies of the other players, and no player has anything to gain by changing only his or her own strategy unilaterally. If each player has chosen a strategy and no player can benefit by changing his or her strategy while the other players keep theirs unchanged, then the current set of strategy choices and the corresponding payoffs constitute a Nash equilibrium.

    Stated simply, Amy and Bill are in Nash equilibrium if Amy is making the best decision she can, taking into account Bill’s decision, and Bill is making the best decision he can, taking into account Amy’s decision. Likewise, a group of players is in Nash equilibrium if each one is making the best decision that he or she can, taking into account the decisions of the others. However, Nash equilibrium does not necessarily mean the best cumulative payoff for all the players involved; in many cases all the players might improve their payoffs if they could somehow agree on strategies different from the Nash equilibrium (e.g. competing businesses forming a cartel in order to increase their profits).”

    Essentially this means that while everybody knows that the current policy is sub-optimal/local maximum, they have no personal incentive to deviate from the current strategy. Part of what we’re doing, I guess, is to change the payoffs of this game.

    When critical mass is reached we’ll see politicians (and the sheep) change position as if something was on fire. It’s like the quantity of what’s happing may change the quality all of a sudden, and real fast.

    Looking a Gil and Barack – and a lot of other people – aren’t we really seeing very cautious hints saying “I really, really want to defect from the current strategy”? I think so. Lots of people are in the room making all sorts of subtle gestures towards the elephant: “*cough* look over there *cough* *cough* elephant *cough* *cough* if YOU go first, I’ll follow.”

  • Tim

    Kinda like not wanting to be the first to hand in your exam, but rather the 25 or so people who hand their exams in a few seconds after the first one has left the room.

  • R.O.E.

    Let truth do its job and the people will follow.

  • DdC

    “They can do anything
    we can’t stop them from doing.”

    — Joseph Heller, “Catch-22”

    President Reagan’s Sec. of State Against the Drug War
    Loretta Nall

    …”We need at least to consider and examine forms of controlled legalisation of drugs. I find it very difficult to say that. Sometimes at a reception or cocktail party I advance these views and people head for somebody else. They don’t even want to talk to you. I know that I’m shouting into the breeze here as far as what we’re doing now. But I feel that if somebody doesn’t get up and start talking about this now, the next time around, when we have the next iteration of these programs, it will still be true that everyone is scared to talk about it. No politician wants to say what I have just said, not for a minute.”
    former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Oct. 7, 1990, addressing an alumni gathering at the Stanford Business School
    where he had returned to the faculty.

    Walter Cronkite on the Drug War

    Hugh Downs on the Drug War

    BW: One of the arguments against even talking about decriminalizing drugs is that you’re condoning their use. If you say, for example, the war on marijuana causes more problems than it solves, it’s not uncommon for the Drug Czar to say, “Ah-hah! You’re encouraging kids to smoke marijuana!” Did you get any of that reaction?

    HD: Yes, I did. I got some. And some from viewers. Although, I repeat, it wasn’t like the whole public rose up against what I had [to say]. There was a lot more sympathy out there than I expected. That didn’t mean that the powers-that-be weren’t upset by it.
    Hugh Downs interview with Bill Winter
    Advocates for Self-Government
    Saturday, October 15, 2005

    Celebrity Stoners: American High Society