Thursday, October 18, 2007

"Crime and rhetoric"

"Crime and rhetoric" is a brief piece by Thomas Sowell. Brief pieces make generalisations by necessity.

Having declined for decades on end, the murder rate suddenly doubled between 1961 and 1974. The rate at which citizens became victims of violent crimes in general tripled.

Such trends began at different times in different countries but the patterns remained very similar. As the rates of imprisonment declined, crime rates soared — whether in England, Australia, New Zealand or the United States.

After a whole generation of crime victims were sacrificed on the altar to the theories of the left, a political backlash produced higher rates of imprisonment — and lower rates of crime — in all these countries in the late 20th century.

In New Zealand overall recorded crime peaked in the early nineties. Violent crime has continued to increase however. Maybe this is partly an effect of our justice system still being dominated by the leftist ideology and rhetoric Sowell describes, that the root cause of crime is injustices and inequalities. Certainly the left-driven welfare mentality is playing a part.

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