In my syndicated column this week, I discuss what happens when government tries to protect us from ourselves.
Forty years ago, the United States locked up fewer than 200 of every 100,000 Americans. Then President Nixon declared war on drugs. Now we lock up more of our people than any other country -- more even than the authoritarian regimes in Russia and China.
A war on drugs -- on people, that is -- is unworthy of a country that claims to be free.
Defenders of the drug war ought to consider the unintended consequences.
John McWhorter, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, indicts the drug war for "destroying black America." McWhorter, by the way, is black.
McWhorter sees prohibition as the saboteur of black families. "Enduring prison time is seen as a badge of strength. It's regarded (with some justification) as an unjust punishment for selling people something they want. The ex-con is a hero rather than someone who went the wrong way."
As I discuss in my book, "No, They Can't: Why Government Fails -- but Individuals Succeed":
...when the public is this divided about an issue, it's best left to voluntary social pressure instead of legal enforcement. That's how most Americans decide to drink alcohol or go to church every week. Private voluntary social networks have their own ways of punishing bad behavior and send more nuanced messages about what's unacceptable. Government's one-size-fits-all rules don't improve on that.
The rest of my column here.
This Week's Show -- July 10, 2014
CENSORSHIP AT CBS: Investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson has a similar story. She explains why she left CBS after it became "harder and harder to get stories on television" that criticized this government and "any powers that be."
IS STOSSEL BIASED?: Years ago, journalist Howard Kurtz criticized me for not being objective. I said it's impossible for any journalist to be completely objective. Now that Howard Kurtz is on Fox, we debate again.
THE OBJECTIVITY MYTH: Andrew Kirell of Mediaite.com says, "every journalist has a point of view and they don't just magically check it the minute they walk in the newsroom door."
NEW MEDIA: Reason TV's Remy Munasifi uses music videos and parodies to complain about things like politicians' spending. One of his latest parodies highlights the scandal surrounding the VA hospitals. Munasifi discusses his videos, which have gone viral on YouTube.
RETRO REPORT: It's great there's a new media organization called Retro Report, which reveals media hype of the past ("crack babies," America's landfill "crisis," the "superpredator," etc.) and corrects stories everyone in the media got wrong. I discuss the new show with its executive producer, Kyra Darnton.
REAL OR FAKE?: Sometimes people in the media say things that are so bizarre, you'd think they were made up. Kennedy of The Independents quizzes FoxBusiness.com's Kate Rogers, Fox Business host Charles Payne and me to see if any of us can tell which quotes are real, and which were made up by my staff.
MY TAKE: I used to report on lots of scares. CBS even ran an ad for me where someone called me a "guardian angel."
That's bunk. The only guardian angel is a free and open society. That's what allows innovation, gives people longer lives, and lifts billions out of poverty. But these gradual improvements aren't newsworthy. Scares and disaster make the news.
News is broken not just because we're biased but because most good and important news happens slowly.
9PM ET on Fox Business Network