In Guernica magazine, liberal journalist Bill Moyers conducts a fascinating and wide-ranging interview with David Simon, creator of the acclaimed HBO series The Wire, which touches on everything from drug decriminalization to Simon’s argument that “a lot of the people who end up voting for that kind of laissez-faire market policy are people who get creamed by it.” Here’s a snippet:
Bill Moyers: Many people could see what you saw simply if we opened our eyes. And yet the drug war keeps getting crazier and crazier, from selling guns to Mexico’s drug cartel to cramming more people into prison even though they haven’t committed violent crimes. Why don’t the policies change?
David Simon: Because there’s no political capital in it. There really isn’t. The fear of being called soft on crime, soft on drugs. The paranoia that’s been induced. Listen, if you could be draconian and reduce drug use by locking people up, you might have an argument. But we are the jailing-est country on the planet right now. Two million people in prison. We’re locking up less-violent people. More of them. The drugs are purer. They haven’t closed down a single drug corner that I know of in Baltimore for any length of time. It’s not working. And by the way, this is not a Republican-Democrat thing, because a lot of the most draconian stuff came out of the Clinton administration, this guy trying to maneuver to the center in order not to be perceived as leftist by a Republican Congress.
Update: Seems like the perfect time to post this collection of The Wire's 100 best quotes.