Bonus indicators: (1) defenders of the current policy have to justify it in ways they wouldn’t imagine necessary a decade earlier, and (2) David Frum – self-professed conservative most other conservatives ignore – argues for half-measures to steady a teetering status quo..
Rich Lowry of National Review has it right:
Every alternative has its pitfalls. The mandatory treatment now being implemented in New Jersey, although better than a jail sentence, is often less effective than advertised. But we are exiting the era when a focus on the harmful effects of illegal drugs excludes all consideration of the harmful effects of their hard-fisted prohibition. The debate is becoming less susceptible to cheap rhetorical bullying.
Lowry’s final sentence describes what was, but is no longer, a winning habit of drug warriors: “cheap rhetorical bullying.” Questions about costs, effectiveness, militarization of civil society, and disproportionate arrests by particular race or class are no longer swept aside with a few dismissive phrases about law and order.
The proper questions have always been which laws, for what order, at what price?
There’s still an audience for big-government enforcement solutions, and it’s as diehard as ever, but its numbers are fewer each year.
Ahead: a tipping point. Elsewhere first, but eventually even here, in America’s Dairyland.