Criminals and the left
The general mindset of the political left is similar from country to country and even from century to century.The NY Times confirms this point with its annual report that the prison population is increasing despite crime rates falling. In the UK the inverse is happening and the left still does not see the correlation. Below is a post on how a zero tolerance policy in a section of the Mexican border has reduced the number of violations, yet the left is still hung up on solving unsolvable underlying causes without ever comprehending that the main underlying cause is that the law breakers think can get a way with it.
The softness toward dangerous criminals found in such 18th century writers as William Godwin and the Marquis de Condorcet has its echo today among those who hold protest vigils at the executions of murderers and complain we are not nice enough to the cutthroats imprisoned at Guantanamo.
The specific issues change from place to place and from time to time, but the mindset remains remarkably similar. What is also different from country to country and from one era to another is the amount of resistance encountered by the left, which determines how far they can go in practice.
The United States has always been more resistant to the left than most European countries. Often we can see where the American left is headed by seeing where the European left has arrived.
A new book on crime in Britain shows what happens when the mindset of the left prevails throughout the criminal justice system. That book is titled "A Land Fit for Criminals" by David Fraser.
Within living memory, Britain was one of the most law-abiding nations on Earth. When Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew visited London right after World War II, he was so impressed with the honesty of the British and their respect for law and order that he returned home determined to make Singapore the same way. Today Singapore is one of the most law-abiding nations in the world while Britain's crime rate has risen to the point where, for the first time, it now exceeds that of the United States. What happened in the intervening years was the rise of the British left's dogmas about crime to complete domination of the country's legal system and its political and media elites.
Today, a burglar caught in the act by the police in Britain is almost certain to get a warning. If he has previous burglary convictions, he may get a sterner warning. But he is unlikely to face anything so draconian as being put behind bars.
Among the dogmas of the left is that putting people in prison fails to reduce crime and that the social "root causes" of crime must be dealt with to prevent it and that "rehabilitation" through various programs "in the community" are more effective than locking up criminals.
None of this is new and the rationales for it go back at least two centuries. What is remarkable is how mountains of hard evidence to the contrary have been ignored, evaded, or simply lied about, on both sides of the Atlantic.