Theft and Public Toleration: How the Woke Deal With Crime
The Left’s criminals-first policies are bringing major cities to their knees.
The San Francisco Chronicle recently published a piece on the topic of crime and punishment. It was a sad commentary on the high levels of theft and other violent crimes that have become an everyday occurrence in a once sublime city. The major newspaper asks the question: “Should [the people of San Francisco] tolerate burglaries as a part of city living, and focus on barricading homes? Should repeat offenders get rehabilitation services, or be incarcerated so they can’t commit more crimes?” Yes, this was a serious question, not satire. Stores like Walgreens know this all too well and have moved their stores out of the Golden City.
With a shortage of cops due to vaccine mandates, the defund-police movement, and other factors, the officers who remain can’t keep up. Crime is so brazen it happens in broad daylight. Frankly, San Francisco is not alone in facing such a dilemma. Cities like Chicago, New York, Portland, Austin, and Seattle — all Democrat run — are also facing police shortages and high crime rates.
Leftist cities base their crime policies on empathy. They approach the perpetrator as a victim and shift the blame elsewhere. This approach to criminal justice is no justice at all for the actual victims. It also gives the perpetrator little incentive to stop committing those crimes because, in a sense, the rules won’t be applied consistently to them.
In a scholarly article on the effect of free-will beliefs in shaping criminal punishment, the authors found: “For residents of countries with low levels of corruption and transparent systems of governance, free will beliefs predicted greater support for harsh criminal punishment and an intolerance of unethical behavior. For residents of countries beset with corruption and obfuscation, free will beliefs predicted greater support for criminal punishment but were decoupled from judgments of unethical behavior.” Translation: In a functioning society with clear laws, crime and bad behavior are not tolerated. In a corrupted society, crimes are still punished, but there is no rhyme or reason to it. In other words, chaos.
Sure enough, it is quite obvious that many of America’s large cities are in chaos. The Rule of Law is not enforced, and law-abiding citizens are suffering as a result and even fleeing these cesspools of malfeasance.
Another problem is the lack of a moral code to understand human nature — namely, that all people have a sin problem. Unfortunately, secular governance refuses to acknowledge our embedded sinful nature because it hates faith. God was taken out of our culture, and the Judeo-Christian-based legal code was abolished from the public sector. Only the outlines remain. Circling back to empathy, leftists tend to believe that all people are born good and the world (particularly people who are religious) screwed them up. This informs their policymaking and lays the groundwork for insidious adjudication and worldviews like Critical Race Theory.
All individuals have the capability and temptation to commit crimes against their fellow man. (See Romans 3:9-31.) As a former teacher, I can attest to the truth of this in the classroom. I’ve had students who got in trouble every day for the exact same crime, yet my typically best-behaved kids commit the worst offenses of all. But the rules (laws) apply to everyone, as do the consequences.
How then should we live?
Cities in the sway of leftist lawmaking may only change when they have hit rock bottom, jolting the responsible citizenry to see the reality of these bad laws, and then voting for politicians who make it a priority to enforce the law and repeal bad policy. That’s what New York City is banking on with its new mayor, Eric Adams, though he’ll have a tough road thanks to Manhattan voting in a progressive attorney general.
Absent a metamorphosis, profligate cities destroy themselves. Good and productive citizens will leave while the city descends into pre-Batman Gotham levels of destruction. Just look at the once-great city of St. Louis.
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