Didja Hear the One About the Winger Publisher Who Was Convicted of Fraud and Decided to Advocate Prison Reform?
November 24, 2008
Everybody’s heard the line about a conservative being a liberal who’s been mugged. Well, Conrad Black — currently serving time for mail and wire fraud — proves the lesser-known adage that a liberal is a conservative who’s been arrested:
The US is now a carceral state that imprisons eight to 12 times more people (2.5m) per capita than the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany or Japan. US justice has become a command economy based on the avarice of private prison companies, a gigantic prison service industry and politically influential correctional officers’ unions that agitate for an unlimited increase in the number of prosecutions and the length of sentences. The entire “war on drugs”, by contrast, is a classic illustration of supply-side economics: a trillion taxpayers’ dollars squandered and 1m small fry imprisoned at a cost of $50 billion a year; as supply of and demand for illegal drugs have increased, prices have fallen and product quality has improved.
I wish to advise Lord Hurd that when I return to the UK I would like to take up more energetically than I did initially his request for assistance in his custodial system reform activities.
Obviously, the bloom is off my long-notorious affection for America. But I note from recent comment in Britain and Europe that the habit of blaming anything that goes awry in the world on the US is alive and well. However, the United States has not disintegrated and American capitalism is not dead, nor even in failing health. The recent financial upheavals have exposed the folly of the US Congress and Federal Reserve and will aggravate a cyclical recession and take some time to shake out.
As it turns out, I agree with Black about the fraudulent nature of the war on drugs. We’ll see what Black does to bring his buddies around once he’s sprung from the pokey. In the meantime, don’t pick up the soap, Conrad.