Novel

Hang the Pirates!

The complications of modern international law, which provide no simple way of dealing with ocean piracy, have Bret Stephens pining for days of yore, when the solution was quite simple: Hang them! "Severe as the penalty may now seem … it succeeded in mostly eliminating piracy by the late 19th century," he writes in today's Wall Street Journal. Stephens doesn't come out and endorse hanging, but in muscular Journal fashion, rues our lack of toughness. "Our collective inability to deal with [piracy] says much about how far we've regressed in the pursuit of what is mistakenly thought of as a more humane policy. A society that erases the memory of how it overcame barbarism in the past inevitably loses sight of the meaning of civilization, and the means of sustaining it.”