Saturday, May 30, 2015

The "Ferguson Effect" is really the "Obama Effect"

One of my biggest problems with Liberals and Progressives is that they have very little understanding of what makes society work. Whether it's market economics or crime, Liberals and Progressives take the hard-won gains of Western culture for granted. They assume that a low-crime, prosperous society is the default state for humanity, and that it will continue to exist no matter what they do.

We see a prime example of this in the Ferguson Effect: the withdrawal of police presence in major US cities in response to being demonized by black activists and Liberal Democrats.
The nation’s two-decades-long crime decline may be over. Gun violence in particular is spiraling upward in cities across America. In Baltimore ... [g]un violence is up more than 60% compared with this time last year. ... In Milwaukee, homicides were up 180% by May 17 over the same period the previous year. Through April, shootings in St. Louis were up 39%, robberies 43%, and homicides 25%. Murders in Atlanta were up 32% as of mid-May. Shootings in Chicago had increased 24% and homicides 17%. Shootings and other violent felonies in Los Angeles had spiked by 25%; in New York, murder was up nearly 13%, and gun violence 7%.
Liberals have, for decades, lionized urban criminals. Since at least the days of the Black Panthers, there has been a persistent sense among a significant percentage of Liberals that violence is somehow one of the most authentic form of self-expression for racial or ethnic minorities. Thus, Liberals had surprising tolerance for criminal violence in cities from the 1960s through the 1980s. Oh, they would agree that such violence wasn't good, but they didn't think it was that bad. Certainly not bad enough to use significant force to stop it.

Millions of people died in urban crime waves over those decades, with tens of millions more living in fear in the cities. But not only did Liberals and the Democrats never do much to really fix the situation, they viciously attacked the efforts of people who did. Eventually, Americans got fed up, and began voting out politicians who refused to take these crime waves seriously and empower law enforcement to address it.

The Democrats who got elected during this time promoted "tough on crime" policies, because they had to. They had no choice. They knew voters had run out of patience for politicians who emphasized understanding or empathizing with criminals rather than making sure crimes were punished.

And -- surprise, surprise -- crime rates collapsed. America went through over 20 years of low crime that created an urban renaissance. Throughout the country, big cities became livable again.

Well, Liberals being Liberals, they viewed that 20-year decline as the inevitable reversion to the mean rather than as a hard-won, and precarious, victory. Since 2005 or so, the hardcore Progressives in the Democratic Party have been disparaging the law enforcement victories across the country under Bill Clinton and in cities like New York under Rudy Giuliani. They've also been agitating against law enforcement tactics like "stop & frisk" that have demonstrably lowered violent crime and property crime in cities like New York.

In 2008, they finally elected one of their own into the White House. Since his inauguration, Obama has been working to undercut law enforcement's efforts to prevent and punish violent crime (even as he's turned a blind eye to their use of massive NSA-style surveillance, an irony that has massively increased cynicism about the police).

Over the past few years, we've seen a meme of police oppression of non-whites take hold in the mainstream consciousness. This meme was established often using ambiguous reporting of murky events (Trayvon Martin's death) or false reporting of events (the dishonest "Hands up, Don't shoot" movement in response to Michael Brown being killed for attacking an officer).

These false and ambiguous reports have been promoted by the Progressives' man in the White House, Barack Obama. The result has been the demoralization of urban police forces throughout America, and the subsequent explosion of violent crime, as criminals know that cops are confused and reluctant to use force, for fear of being the next Darren Wilson.

This is Obama's new legacy: fear, violence, and crime. The Ferguson Effect is really the Obama Effect.

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