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Down Mexico way

This item about Mexico, via the ChicagoBoyz group weblog, is shocking. The scale of violence in Mexico – largely centred on the drugs trade – is rising rapidly. It ought, really, to be the top security issue for the United States. It is hard to justify actions in the MidEast with this sort of crap happening just across the border.

The war on drugs is proving an even bigger disaster than libertarians typically state.

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23 comments to Down Mexico way

  • Dom

    Just read the full scary story. Now my day is shot. I hope to god at least some of that isn’t true.

  • Corsair

    Fascinating, but very, very alarming. Particularly the development of a religious aspect to the narco-culture. Is that the future? A schloky Conan-meets-Mad-Max scenario. Why not? I guess that’s how humans have lived in most places and at most times in our history.
    I shudder.

  • Steven Rockwell

    It is hard to justify actions in the MidEast with this sort of crap happening just across the border.

    It’s simply because the Middle East isn’t on our border and don’t represent a constituency the politicians can pander to in any real numbers. Our political betters have their own agenda and the good of the country ain’t it.

    Everything that happens in DC makes perfect sense once you start thinking Reelection > Party > Political Agenda > National Wellbeing > Citizens’s Wellbeing. Because the choices are always the same during the election cycle (namely picking between a giant douche or a turd sandwich) with third party and/or reform candidates getting no traction thanks to the media ignoring them, the media agenda, and voters identifying with a party that has long since abandoned their ideals, it will never get better.

  • Paul Marks

    About 30 thousand people have indeed been killed in Mexico in crime gang related violence over the last couple of years.

    However, the drug laws (however absurd) are only part of the story of the power of organized crime in Mexico.

    One must also remember that there is also gun control in Mexico – which means ordinary people are defenceless against the power of corrupt local government and organized crime (often hard to tell apart).

    And, contrary to the propaganda, must illegal firearms in Mexico are NOT from the United States.

    As for the American drug laws…..

    The 18th Amendment (repealed in 1933) gave the Federal government the power to ban booze.

    It did not give the Feds the power to ban drugs – and no other Amendment to the Constitution has been passed to give the Feds this power.

    Therefore the “war on drugs” is, at the Federal (although not the State and local level) is unconstitutional.

    But who, in the modern world, cares about the Constitution?

  • Paul Marks

    The cynical approach is neat Mr Rockwell – but not always correct.

    The trouble is that when polticians do try and do the right thing (take their eye off the “the only thing that matters is winning the election” mantra) then people often let them down.

    Yes I did say that the people let the politicians down – it can happen.

    Congressman Paul Ryan proposed a plan to get Medicare costs under control – a very moderate plan (far too moderate), but a step in the right direction, showing that he did not deny objective reality and was trying to act in the best interests of the American people (exactly what you imply politicians never do).

    And what thanks did he and the Republicans (for almost all House Republicans backed the plan) get?

    None.

    Instead all Hell broke lose – and two days ago New York 26 (supposedly one of the safest Republican districts in the country) was lost.

    Politicians are only shit because the people are shit – no apology for my language.

    Want politicians to be better people?

    Then start by being better people yourselves.

    When a politcian sticks his neck out (tries to do the right thing) and his party supports him – then support them, do not stab them in the back.

    Or, if you insist on betraying people who try to do the right thing, do not complain about corrupt polticians.

    For you (the people) have made it clear you do not really want noncorrupt politicians.

    It reminds me of 1936.

    President Roosevelt had ripped up the Constitution – he even had people sent to prinson for the “crime” of owning gold (and that was just one example of his utter contempt for the Constitution of the United States and for the princple of limited government in general).

    And what did the people do?

    They relected him – by a landslide, some 60% of the vote and every State (bar Maine and Vermont).

    I repeat – politicians are shit because the people (or, rather, most people) are.

    If most people really cared about liberty – then politicians who really cared would prosper.

    By the way I know all the arguments about the “brainwashing of the media and the education system” – I write about this stuff often enough.

    But deep down people know the difference between right and wrong – for example no one really believed that Paul Ryan was going to throw old ladies off cliffs (as the Democrat campaign ads claimed – indeed showed with a phony video) and the media implied.

    People decide to “go with the flow” (they make a choice) – even though, in their hearts, they know the propaganda is bullshit.

    That is why I typed “people are shit” – they know this stuff is not true (just as virutally every German knew that what the Nazis said about the Jews was not true – and if anyone thinks this comparison is “extreme” wait till September, the media and the American and other governments are already setting up Israel as the bad guys), but they go along with it anyway.

    They do not have the basic courage to stand against it.

    As with the old Italian saying “he who puts his trust in the people, builds his house on sand”.

  • Steven Rockwell

    But Paul, that kind of thinking only made sense before the Supremes ruled that every conceivable human activty can somehow, and in some way, be tied to money and therefore the Interstate Commerce Clause allows Congress to do what it wants.

    I, for one, am not qualified to second guess the wisdom of those Solons in Black. For mere mortals such as ourselves to think we can read into the Constitution and understand what it means is simply delusiounal at best. Mouthbreathers such as you and I should leave matters of law and the Constitution to our learned betters. After all, the body that brought us such wonderful decisions such as Dred Scott, Kelo, Plessey v. Ferguson, and Wickard v. Filburn is clearly above reproach and cannot be wrong, ever.

  • Steven Rockwell

    Paul,

    I agree wholeheartedly that half the problem is the voters, but we will never get rid of universal sufferage, which is part of the problem in the first place. All those people who can vote for a candidate for free stuff will. We are never going to convince the 50% of Americans who pay no taxes yet receive some sort of income or services formt he Feds to give that up. It is human nature to seek the best deal for one’s self. Or idealists that know some piece of legislation will be bad for them, but it’s okay because someone else will benefit (e.g. Obamacare).

    I’m willing to try a system that can fix the problem of stupid voters being allowed the vote and offsetting the votes of people who actually pay attention. But how? What is the solution, because from where I sit all I see is more of the same.

  • Dale Amon

    Check back a few years. I predicted that the US takes total responsibility, because of its assinine ‘War’ on nonstandard intoxicants, for the coming destabilization of Mexico. At worst we could have the honor of building our very own failed state on our southern border.

    It is our fault. No excuses. We did it.

  • Laird

    FWIW, Glenn Beck has been screaming about the Mexican carnage for a few weeks now. Hasn’t seemed to make any difference.

    I can’t disagree with anything Paul wrote. Or Dale.

  • RAB

    To go off at a slight tangent, I wonder how much of the original Aztec psyche lurks beneath the average Mexican’s skin still?

    The Priests of the Conquestadors did their best to eradicate the Death Cult of Montezuma and his mates, but did they really succeed?

    Lovely Architecture! Shame about the Culture.

    I’m not sure that if the Drugs Laws were ditched tomorrow, that it would make a hell of a lot of difference to the level of sheer evil amoral carnage that is going on there. It isn’t just about money, it goes much deeper.

  • everyone

    …there is a reason that all those low skilled folks from mexico cross the border and subject themselves to the humiliation and general awfulness that is being an illegal immigrant in america.

    i am sure everyone in southern california with any connection to the proper crowds has this same story, but….i have heard both from navy men and intelligence community folks in southern california that their colleagues avoid assignments dealing with mexico and the narcos if they can. given the choice between afghanistan and mexico, the choice is not clear cut. seriously.

    mexico is a shithole.

  • PeterT

    If drugs were legalised tomorrow…

    Barriers to entry (cost of transportation, salaries for goons etc) would reduce or disappear.

    Prices would then fall and profits would fall by more.

    No more incentive to join the drug producing/smuggling industry.

    You will end up with a lot of ‘unemployed’ thugs with guns. How could they be usefully employed?

    They could provide other services to society like prostitution/people trafficking (its not like they don’t do this at the moment of course)

    Otherwise they could engage in rent seeking behaviour (providing drugs and prostitution is different as in themselves they are victimless crimes) such as robbery.

    Or they could just join the army and get killed in foreign lands.

    It is not impossible that violence could go up in the short term as the gangs fight for scraps. I am afraid that to end the violence some serious policing and rehabilitation efforts will be required along with legalisation of drugs.

  • PeterT

    On voters, a constitutional amendment to bar those who receive more than 50% from their income (including benefits) from government (including contractors) would do nicely. The problem is that those who fall into this category are a large proportion of the population – at least in the UK. But if we were to start Libertarianland then that would be a good constitutional provision.

  • PeterT

    Job description:

    Role: herbal trader at Herb Trading (Mexico) Ltd

    Responsibilities: export agent of herbs to the US. This mainly requires arranging the sale and transportation of the herbs. For regulatory reasons you will occasionally have to deal with the Mexican authorities, and occasionally also US representatives.

    Salary: Commission based. We firmly believe that the sky is the limit for the ambitious trader. The dangerous nature of the job means that there are few applicants and only a few of those that join make it to the top. As a consequence salaries are very high for those who make it. In addition, the US government has been kind enough to restrict competition by banning US based companies from the industry.

    Personality requirements: Our traders are encouraged to be aggressive and you are unlikely to succeed without possessing this personality trait. Taking business from each other is seen as an inevitable side effect of having a workforce hungry for success.

    Other requirements: You will recruit and manage a team to support you. It is your responsibility to ensure your team is instilled with the appropriate ethos, and are given the tools to robustly deal with the many challenges that will face them.

  • JP,
    I’ve been meaning to post on this for a while. I’m glad you did. I couldn’t face siting down and writion 700 words on that without getting “punchin’ mad”.

    As to Pauls, excellent point on gun-control. Well, it’s that old chestnut bout criminals doing criminal things. And that is why this is so tragic. It can’t easily (perhaps at all) get un-fucked. These folk aren’t going to just become legit businessmen. After ’33 did the Mafia. No, they went into gambling, prostituion and… drugs. Even if you leaglised all those and had nicely run brothels and casinos filling their taxes on time the criminal gangs would just run protection on them. Never understimate the ingenuity of the criminal mind – our pols do. They’ll be running old-skool light bulbs if the greens get their way.

  • Dom

    PeterT: “It is not impossible that violence could go up in the short term …”

    “Short term” is the key phrase here. In the long term, they will just find other jobs, or die off.

  • Peter T: just look at WI.

  • Richard Thomas

    NickM, I look forward to the “Buying incandescent light bulbs funds terrorism” commercials…

  • Paul

    Just google borderbeat.com

    It is a mexican website that is dedicated to exposing all the horible things the narco-terrorist are doing in mexico. The site is NOT for the faint hearted!

  • jdm

    I think you mean borderlandbeat.com

  • Eddie Willers

    As is very usual, with any kind of reporting on Mexico that comes from more developed places, there is but a smidge of truth and a whole lot of second-hand, unsubstantiated nonsense.

    I live in Mexico – have done for 8 years – in the Gulf port city of Tampico, married into a local family of minor business people. Here we are, at the epicenter of the battle between the Gulf Cartel and their former armed wing, ‘Los Zetas’ (who decided to breakaway from their paymasters and gain a slice of the lucrative trade).

    On average, there’s about one serious incident of gun-play per week. It tends to be centered on the poorer parts of town – where there are battles for local control – and in the ultra-rich areas where the ‘peces gordos’ (‘fat fish’ = bigwigs, leaders) of the Narcos live.

    Everyone seems to know someone with a story to tell of a kidnapped relative or a neighbor being extorted, but the truth is often difficult to discern as it is in the best interests of the Narcos to maintain the FUD without having to work too hard.

    Mexico is a long way from failing, though. This is the 13th largest economy in the world – thanks to oil. The culture is still strongly traditional and Catholic. Aztec influence? Bitch, please – you’re talking trash! The Aztecs may have been the most powerful tribe in central Mexico, 600 years ago, but they weren’t the only players – read your history and study the ‘fifth column’ tribes (such as the Tlaxcocan people) who were active allied with the Conquistadores to overthrow the Aztec supremacy…In any event, this country is more than 60% Mestizo European.

    Yes, some parts of this country are shitty – just, like many others – but we’re a long way from failing.

  • PeterT

    Is it safe to go there on holiday for example?

  • Paul Marks

    Steven Rockwell.

    I agree.

    The people have many faults (and I certainly do not “trust the people”), but I agree the elite are worse.

    The people (or most of them) go with the flow – they do not have moral courage to “go with their gut” to do what, in their heart, they know to be right.

    The elite are much worse – they are actively evil (and I typed the word “evil” deliberatly) they will not rest till liberty (and the civil society that is created by this principle) is exterminated.

    And the tragic thing is they really are the elite – they really are clever (and so on).

    This is because those people who show signs of intelligence at school (have high test scores and so on) go on for more and more “education” (university, grad school, and so on) and thus are drawn deeper and deeper into this culture.

    They are basically signed up into the elite – unless they make a choice not to be.

    And there is a price for making that choice – it means (all too often) a life of suffering and humilation.

    Much nicer to go the other way – to see yourself (in Glenn Beck’s choice of words) as a “cattle rancher”.

    Decoded what the left (the establishment) say, to an intelligent young person, is as follows……..

    “You are smart – or you would not be here at this university [or wherever]. Most people are not as intelligent as you, join us and rule them – for their own good….”

    For the cattle of these cattle ranchers are (of course) human beings – the common herd.

    That has been true (in the desires of the intellectuals) all the way back to Plato.

    They see themselves as creating or “organizing” communities – not as being part of them. They “teach” people what to think and say (they do not respect the opinions of these “cows”). As Orwell (himself a lifelong socialist) put it…..

    “When a socialist says Under Socialism – he really means, everyone else under socialism, and himself on top of it”.

    Of course the young intelligent person can reject this offer to be a “cattle rancher” (they have free will – they can choose). But, as I have said, their is a heavy price to be payed if they choose to oppose.