End Mexican Drug Cartels, and the Cartels In the U.S. Too
Just a few months ago, nine members of the Mormon Church, three women and six children were murdered, possibly in a drug cartel cross fire in the northern Mexican state of Sonora. Ordinarily, this would not have even made page 19 of most newspapers. Mexicans are forever doing such things to each other (nothing like this ever occurs in the U.S.; move along; nothing to see here). Except, this time, the totally innocent victims were all ex-pat Americans with dual Mexican – U.S. citizenship. This op ed is dedicated to their memory.
This episode was enough to launch President Trump into orbit. He stated: “If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters, the United States stands ready, willing and able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively… The great new President of Mexico has made this a big issue, but the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!”
Translation: The U.S. is ready, willing and able to kick some butt! Maybe, if this house-cleaning occurred, one might read in between the lines, fewer people from south of our border would be seeking admittance to the U.S. What do you call a person who keeps doing the same failed thing, and hoping it will succeed this time?
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was having none of this. He declined this machismo offer, but had a response of his own: “hugs not bullets.” He seems to think that “turning the other cheek” is the best way to rid his country of these thugs. Mr. Obrador prefers to address the “root causes” of violence, such as poverty, youth unemployment, income inequality.
American leftists (they have so besmirched the appellation “liberals” they were forced to adopt new nomenclature, “progressives”) offer yet another futile solution: gun control.
All three initiatives have failed in the past. The U.S. get tough policy, three strikes and you’re out, has only catapulted our incarceration rates. The minimum wage law is the preeminent cause of unemployed youth, but those who want to eliminate such legislation are limited to rabid free enterprisers. The only people who will respect weapon control are the law-abiding, and this will leave them helpless against criminally oriented armed robbers.
No, the only way to undermine the drug cartels is to legalize these addictive substances. All of them with no exception. Marijuana, yes; that is easy; but also cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, methamphetamines and all the rest.
Happily, we have historical precedent for this public policy: the repeal of alcohol prohibition. When these laws were in effect, young Italian men and others were butchering each other, along with innocent victims such as the nine members of the LeBaron family, who might have been mistaken, afar, for a rival drug gang. Nowadays, in the U.S. young black men and in Mexico young Hispanic men are following in their footsteps. They are blasting away at everyone who moves, women and children included, in defence of their turf. But with the end of the prohibition of alcohol, this needless slaughter ceased. This was no accident, no coincidence. It stems from a basic economic understanding. At present, Johnny Walker and Chivas Regal compete with each other, but not with automatic weapons. In like manner, legalizing drugs will take the legs out from under the cartels. They will have no specialization nor comparative advantage in the provision of these products when everyone else, too, is may legally compete.
Will these thugs become choir boys? Not bloody likely. They will undoubtedly move into other types of crime, robbery, kidnapping, murder, prostitution (this latter should also be legalized) etc. But, their most remunerative activity will have been taken away from them; this is demonstrated by the fact that these other avenues are now open to these cartelists, and, yet, they have chosen to include the drug industry as a mainstay in their repertoire. With one stroke of the legislative pen, they will be severely weakened.
It will be objected that these addictive substances are dangerous. Of course they are. But people are going to obtain them, even under prohibition, in any case, but in a more poisonous form; anyone hear of “bathtub gin?” So this, too, should factor into our deliberations on the side of repeal. Do we want to severely weaken the drug cartels in Mexico and the drug gangs in the U.S., or do we not? If so, these killings will be radically reduced, and health and safety increased, if this senseless drug war is ended.