Monday, January 10, 2011

On Crime and Culpability

Now is as good a time as any to consider the intersection of crime, causation and politics. In my previous post I suggested that liberals tend to seek out the root causes of crime. By contrast, conservatives tend to emphasize personal responsibility. Nowhere is this divide more evident than in the discussion of the crazed Arizona assassin named Jared Loughner. How long did it take before national liberal media sources began to speculate about the influence of Sarah Palin and or the Tea Party phenomenon?

To borrow a phrase from our esteemed president, "Let me be perfectly clear"... I do not think that we should seek to implicate either liberalism or conservatism for PARTICULAR crimes. Certainly not before examining the evidence as we have seen from many irresponsible liberal journalists. Be assured that I am NOT blaming liberalism for the Loughners crime. I am blaming Loughner as any true conservative would.

Now on to crime generally. Consider two perspectives on crime. Perspective #1 seeks to find reasons (other than the criminal himself) that a particular criminal committed a crime. Perspective #2 instead emphasizes personal responsibility and therefor holds the criminal solely responsible for the behavior. Those holding perspective #1 are always able to find reasons (other than the criminal himself) for a crime and in doing so therefor reduce culpability on the part of the criminal. Holders of perspective #1 will tend to influence policy such that criminals, being only partially responsible for their behavior, will receive lighter sentences. Similarly, they will excuse lesser offenses knowing that it is the larger society that is or should be held somewhat responsible for an individuals behavior.

Now ask yourself, which perspective on crime would tend to lead to more crime and which perspective would lead to less crime?

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