It’s amazing to me that there are so many people who still think that the problems of today’s poor are the result of insufficient taxation of the rich or insufficient regulation of busines leading to an insufficient diversion of material wealth to the poor.
The threats to the poor from economic want are largely solved, and they were solved by the very capitalists that past “reformers” kept denouncing as they pushed their own disastrously wrong-headed schemes. In a capitalist society, the rich get richer, and the poor also get richer.
The poor won’t all rise in status, of course, because that would be logically impossible. Status isn’t a quantity, it’s a comparison – you can’t be high-status except with respect to other people who are lower-status. So when some people object to “poverty”, what they’re really objecting to is status, and the tendency of human beings to observe and respect status, and to organize themselves into pecking orders. As far as I can tell, however, this tendency is hardwired into the brain of the human animal, just as it is in the brains of lots of other types of animals, and we’re stuck with it for as long as humanity as we know it continues to exist; all we can do is keep low status from removing people’s rights or allowing higher-status people to use or threaten violence against them with impunity.
The reformers of the past were wrong to think that the poor could be given the same material wealth as the rich without impoverishing everyone. However, society can, and should, offer equal protection of the laws.
The crime rate in cheap neighborhoods has long been outrageously high, and it’s unfortunate that people who profess such concern for the poor are less likely than average to object to this and more likely than average to suggest “solutions” to poverty that completely ignore the worst aspect of being poor in modern-day America.
So in the interests of real social justice, which now largely boils down to regular justice, I’d like to suggest a few changes to address this problem:
1. End prohibition. Ending prohibition did wonders for the murder rate in the 1930’s and it’s time we gave it another shot. It’s not right to get people killed for the cause of stopping idiots from hurting themselves; I don’t give a damn how many idiots we’re talking about.
2. To improve the accuracy of trials, I would ensure that there were competent attorneys on both sides. Pay public defenders as much as prosecutors, and get the same high caliber of attorney on each side.
I thought you wanted to reduce the incidence of crime!
Yes, I do. Once we have more confidence that we’re convicting the right people, we can put the screws to them with less second-guessing and a clearer conscience. Besides that, every time we convict the wrong person of a crime, the right person gets away with it and remains a threat to the public.
By the way, I wonder how much the recent improvement in our murder rate resulted from the introduction of DNA testing and the resulting improvement in the accuracy of murder trials?
While we’re at it, I’d like to make it harder to exclude genuine evidence of a crime from trial and allow the police greater latitude for investigating crimes – while significantly reducing the number of things that are crimes in the first place. This exchange would, in my opinion, make us freer and safer overall.
3. We need better prisons. The current practice of allowing stronger and more aggressive prisoners to rape weaker and less agressive prisoners is ludicrous – the most aggressive guy isn’t being properly punished, since he’s getting to lord it over the others and enjoy experiences that are supposed to be denied him as part of the punishment, while his victims are usually being punished far out of proportion to their offenses. Even worse, murder is all too common in our prisons as well.
The easiest way to straighten this out is for everyone to spend their entire sentences in solitary confinement. Maybe let them talk to each other and even see each other part of the time (or maybe not), but no prisoner should ever be within reach of another prisoner. Stop filling the prisons with drug “offenders” and we’ll have more space to do this with.
4. Law-abiding citizens should be able to carry weapons wherever they want, especially in high-crime areas where guns are currently generally outlawed. Jacking up sentences for criminals carrying guns is a good idea and should be continued.
5. Those of us not interested in leftist “solutions” to problems should insist, over and over again, that proper concern for the poor means stopping criminals from preying on them, and that a lack of concern for proper criminal justice is a lack of concern for the poor and could be motivated by pure racism. Hell, they called us racists for years for advocating more effective deterrence against the thugs that kept preying predominantly on the poor and minority populations from coast to coast, so it’s not like we’d be coming out of left field with this.