The Corner

Mexico and the Drug War

The war on drugs did terrible damage to America’s struggle against the Taliban, but its noxious side-effects are not confined to Afghanistan. As has been evident for some time now,  Mexico must be included in the list of countries being trashed by the prohibitionists’ long jihad. For an idea of what’s going on, turn, as David Frum did, to the  Dallas Morning News of January 1:

Mexico’s drug violence in 2010 was striking not only for its scale but also for its brutality.In the northern city of Santiago, the mayor’s body was found with the eyes gouged out. In the picturesque town of Cuernavaca, four decapitated men were hanged from a bridge along a heavily traveled highway. And in Ciudad Juárez this week, two university students were hunted through a maze of streets and killed with bullets to the head, their bodies set on fire.

Responsibility for those hideous acts must rest with the thugs who carried them out and those that ordered them to do so. Nevertheless these killings are a powerful reminder that the drug laws are not victimless laws.


The closest we can come to a good answer to Mexico’s problems (which are spilling across the border) is an end to prohibition and the super-profits it brings in its wake. That’s basic economics. It’s common sense. And it presumes that adult Americans don’t need nanny to tell them what they can choose to consume.


Sadly, David would not agree. He writes as follows:

To help Mexico in its struggle against the gangs, some suggest legalizing drugs in the United States. Legalization would transform drugs into a lawful business and transform the drug gangs into more or less normal corporations. Possibly that’s true. At the same time, legalization would almost certainly increase drug consumption in the United States by huge amounts. It’s a solution even more socially costly than the problem. Perhaps a less dramatic solution would be to force American drug users to confront the cost to others of their bad habit. People arrested for the first time or with small amounts of drugs are often released with a warning or a few hours of community service. Perhaps that community service should take the form of burial duty at a funeral after a birthday party in Ciudad Juarez.

David is (I assume) writing figuratively. Nevertheless, if he really is looking for gravediggers for northern Mexico he would do far better to go recruiting amongst the prohibitionists in Washington, D.C. After all, by doing so much to make drug trafficking so profitable, they’ve done the necessary groundwork.

Most Popular


The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More

Billy Graham: Neither Prophet nor Theologian

Asked in 1972 if he believed in miracles, Billy Graham answered: Yes, Jesus performed some and there are many "miracles around us today, including television and airplanes." Graham was no theologian. Neither was he a prophet. Jesus said "a prophet hath no honor in his own country." Prophets take adversarial ... Read More
Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More