A couple of days ago, I gently chided Mary O’Grady for not being as direct with her conclusions about the need to end prohibition as she seemed to want to be in her recent Wall Street Journal column. While I wished she would push harder to get the Journal to come out more for a sane approach (and perhaps they’re not ready to go there), I noted that she clearly understands the most important parts — the part that economics plays in prohibition, that supply-side drug wars are doomed to failure, and that ending prohibition is the only way to stop the black market profits.
I thought that maybe the Wall Street Journal was ready — after all, they also ran an OpEd by former Latin American Presidents Fernanco Henrique Cardoso, CÚsar Gaviria, and Ernesto Zedillo The War on Drugs is a Failure.
But today, we have deep levels of stupidity. Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens writes In Praise of Mexico’s War on Drugs
…the plain political fact is that drug legalization in the U.S. is not going to happen as long as a powerful moral and social consensus opposes it. To make the case for it now while Mexico bleeds is an exercise in fecklessness. […]
Mexico’s achievements have not been negligible. The government has managed to spark power struggles within and among cartels, and the vast majority of Mexico’s murder victims are themselves involved in the drug trade. More important, Mr. Calder÷n has sent the signal that his government will not repeat the patterns of complacency and collusion that typified Mexico for decades. Whatever else might be said about his government, it’s a serious one.
This does not mean Mr. Calder÷n will win this war. But for those of us who know Mexico well, it is an astonishing turn, deserving neither of pity nor sagacious snickering, but of respect.
Shorter Bret Stephens: Legalization is not going to happen, so there’s no point talking about it. But doing nothing is not an option, either. We need to be serious, and lots of violence and death means we’re serious, even if it doesn’t actually work. So we should respect Mexico for achieving pointless death.
What a putz.