Lashing out at corrupt officials in Mexico and “insatiable” U.S. demand for drugs for fomenting the violence, Mr. Calderon urged the U.S. Congress to stamp out drug consumption and stop illegal trafficking of weapons across the border into Mexico.
“We’re neighbours, we’re allies, we’re friends, but you are also responsible,” a sombre and angry Mr. Calderon said to the United States in a speech after meeting his security advisers.
So, if this story is accurately portraying the essence of Mr. Calderon’s statements — and I have to allow for possibility that it isn’t — he is saying that the solution to the drug gang violence in Mexico is for the U.S. to step up the war on drugs.
Do people read any history? Who learned anything from America’s disastrous experiment with alcohol prohibition? Not Mr. Calderon, obviously (if his message is being portrayed accurately).
Prohibition creates crime. More specifically, trying to use the coercive force of law to prevent people from choosing for themselves what they will put into their own bodies and to prevent people from legitimately selling certain substances that people desire absolutely guarantees that large numbers of people will still consume such substances and that their desires will be met by criminals.
“Evil grows in the dark”, as the song says. Certain kinds of trade have always been with us and they will not go away — not ever — no matter what laws might be passed. That is the reality. So, we can deal with those things one of two ways. We can prohibit them and drive such trade underground, where it is conducted in the shadows, by criminals, out of the glare of public scrutiny, or we can allow it into the light of day where everyone can see how it is conducted and by whom, where people can freely speak out about bad deals and unjust practices.
The war on drugs is an unmitigated disaster, a colossal failure. It has done nothing to curb the social harms associated with the sale and use of drugs but, rather, has drastically increased them, and yet the our governments continue to pursue the same failed policies. I’m not saying that all the bad stuff would go away overnight if drugs were suddenly legalized. The horrors constructed by the insane anti-drug policies of recent decades will take some time to dismantle but, the sooner we start, the sooner we can make our societies just a little more sane.