Mike Gerson On Drugs

A couple days back Michael Gerson ranted against drug legalization. Daniel Larison goes to town:

Though [Ron] Paul did not frame his response [during the first GOP debate] in quite the same way that Gary Johnson did, their answers from the last debate were complementary. Paul addressed the question as a matter of whether or not it was appropriate to criminalize individual drug use, and Johnson advocated approaching problems with drugs other than marijuana as a public health issue rather than as a problem for law enforcement and the justice system. Gerson seems to view drug prohibition as a matter of expressing disapproval of drug use. Whether drug prohibition works as a matter of public policy does not interest him, and whether it is worth the significant costs and compromises of constitutional protections never comes up in his column.

And that's why Gerson is such a vivid reminder of the Bush administration. What matters are loud statements of morality, not pragmatic ways to address problems. The exception to this rule was PEPFAR, but even there, the imperatives of religious fundamentalism always tended to win out.