Hillary Clinton says voters don’t fully appreciate the consequences of voting GOP on Tuesday. I think they do. Republicans, especially the populists set to take over the party, or at least push it back towards its mid-nineteenth century roots, are better—much, much better—than Democrats on a range of issues: crime, culture, economy, education, immigration, medicine, and foreign policy. I will expand on some of those issues in this blog, but I will spend most of my words on the question of crime.
It’s obvious to attentive and compassionate Americans that standing down police and prosecutors and implementing various reforms, such as cashless bail, has compromised the criminal justice system’s ability to control serious deviant behavior; as a consequence, the United States is now experiencing a wave of crime, an increase that comes after decades of significant reductions in criminal offending—reductions that resulted largely from the vast expansion of the criminal justice apparatus in the early 1990s.
How serious is the crime problem? According to National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data, between 2020 and 2021, violent crime incidents and offenses increased 29 and 27.5 percent respectively. Homicide for both increased by more than 40 percent. Robbery by 18 percent. Rape incidents and offenses by 38 and 37 percent respectively. Property-crime incidents and offenses 22 percent and 21 percent respectively.
Taking a longer view, we can date the upward trend in serious crime to the year of Ferguson, the moment that decades of manufacturing of mass (false) belief in systemic racism found its poster child in Michael Brown. “Hands up.” (See Demoralization and the Ferguson Effect: What the Left and Right Get Right (and Wrong) About Crime and Violence.)
Clinton, who you will recall referred to black youth in the 1990s as “super predators,” claimed recently that red states are as bad for homicide as blue states. Wrong unit of analysis. Crime is worst in cities run by progressive Democrats. In fact, of the 30 American cities with the highest murder rates, 27 have Democratic mayors—and at least 14 Soros-backed prosecutors, with many more prosecutors politically progressive and sympathetic to the woke line.
As alluded to earlier, the increase in crime is not only because Democrats have weakened the criminal justice response; Democrats have given young black men and women permission to commit crime as reparations-in-kind. (See Is There Systemic Anti-White Racism?)
Over the last decade, the corporate state media, legitimizing its propaganda by appealing to the expertise of the progressional and managerial strata, functionaries (or effectively so) ensconced in academic institutions, and grievance merchants standing up activist organizations, have pursued a campaign to convince Americans that the nation is shot through with racism and that whites are to blame.
Zack Goldberg “How the Media Led the Great Racial Awakening,” Tablet (8/4/2020)
With the crackpot academic construction critical race theory in back of their public messaging, woke progressives aggressively disseminate the falsehoods promulgated by the corrupt Black Lives Matter campaign, myths such as that cops prowling America’s inner cities looking for young black men to murder. (For more on BLM, see What’s Really Going On with #BlackLivesMatter; Corporations Own the Left. Black Lives Matter Proves it.)
Here’s the empirical reality: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Police-Public Contact Survey, around 60 million residents 16 years of age and older report having at least one contact with police annually. It might surprise you to learn the number is that large. In fact, it’s much larger than that, given that many individuals reporting contact have more than one encounter with the police in a year. What this means is that, with the US population at more than 330 million citizens and residents (with tens of millions more here illegally), the police have their hands full.
It might also surprise you (given media coverage) that most contacts involve white civilians, with females slightly more likely to experience contact with a police officer than males. However, males (at around 3 percent) are more likely than females (around 1 percent) to experience threats of use of force. A higher percentage of blacks (around 3 percent) and Hispanics (also around 3 percent) are likely to report experiencing threats or use of force than whites (at around 2 percent). Around 4 percent of blacks and the same percent of Hispanics report having been cuffed during contact, compared to around 2 percent of whites and other races.
That cuffing is reported as the most common use of force when force is reported is a significant fact. Cuffing has become routine at agencies because of the risk to officers when detainees and arrestees have their hands free. This change in policy has contributed to a significant reduction in death and injury occurring to police officers. (It’s a workplace safety issue.) The negative public perception around routine cuffing is driven by the fact that blacks and Hispanics are more likely to come into contact with police given the overrepresentation in serious crime.
The worst outcome of civilian-police encounters is lethal violence, resulting in either the death of the civilian or the death of an officer. The latter is a rare occurrence these days, however police officers in the United States kill approximately a thousand civilians annually.
According to Mapping Police Violence (based on police data, the Washington Post, and the website Fatal Encounters), around 97 percent of deaths result from shootings. Most of those shot by the police are armed and the majority of those killed are male—96 percent in 2020, according to the Washington Post (see my blog The Police are Sexist, too).
According to numerous sources, whites make up the largest proportion of those shot by the police, approximately half of the total number, with blacks and Hispanics in roughly equal proportions representing the other half of fatalities. Since many sources (the Washington Post/Fatal Encounters) mix ethnicity and race, and since most Hispanics are racially white, the proportion of whites killed, if ethnicity is abstracted out, becomes larger.
Again, these facts might surprise the reader given the message pumped out by the culture and media industries. To be sure, black males, constituting around six percent of the US population, are overrepresented among those who are killed by the police (at around between a quarter and a third of the total number). However, contrary to the popular perceptions, for example one survey finding a large percentage of blacks and white progressives believing the police kill a thousand or more unarmed blacks annually, fatal police shootings of unarmed blacks number around 22 per year (the number is much larger for unarmed whites).
Isn’t any number of unarmed fatalities too many? The category “unarmed” is misleading given that hands and feet are prehistorically the first weapons men utilized in violent encounters with other men. Hundreds of deaths occur every year in the United States from hands and feet, or “personal weapons.” In fact, in 2020, FBI crime statistics found that 662 homicides were committed with personal weapons. That’s more people than were killed by rifles that year.
Zack Goldberg “How the Media Led the Great Racial Awakening,” Tablet (8/4/2020)
The prevailing woke progressive narrative has very real effects. In a recent article by Justin T. Pickett, Amanda Graham, and Francis T. Cullen, “The American Racial Divide in Fear of the Police,” published in Criminology in January of this year, a review of surveys finds that about four in 10 blacks report being “very afraid” of being killed by the police, a statistic that is roughly twice the share of black respondents who reported being “very afraid” of being murdered by criminals, a statistically much greater risk, as well as about four times the share of whites who reported being “very afraid” of being killed by the police.
In a survey conducted by Eric Kaufmann of the Manhattan Institute in April of last year, eight in 10 blacks believed that young black men were more likely to be shot to death by police than to die in a car accident. The risk of dying in a car accident is much greater than being shot by the police.
At a recent conference held in Nashville on issues concerning the black community, where I presented an analysis on these numbers, a panelist, Debbie Griffith, affiliated with the University of Central Florida, shared her doctoral work, “Lessons My Parents Taught Me: The Cultural Significance of ‘The Talk’ within the Black Family,” concerning that moment wherein black parents and community members sit down young black boys and teach them how to behave when interacting with cops as a life-saving exercise, instructions that come with the claim that cops are racist and see black males as a criminal threat (she used videos from Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show on Comedy Central to illustrate). An audience member pointed out that white families also have a version of the talk, since it is widely understood that cops have a dangerous job and assume males of any race or ethnicity are a potential threat (see Jerome Skolnick’s pioneering work on the “symbolic assailant” in Justice Without Trial). But there is a difference, the audience member noted: the talk in white families is not racialized.
The expected rebuttal is that it doesn’t have to be racialized for whites because cops aren’t racist against whites. However, given that there is no evidence that cops are racist or that black males are any more likely to be shot by cops than white males after taking into account benchmarks, such as proportional involvement in serious crime, as well as situational factors, for example pointing a gun at an officer or rushing officers with a knife, the function of the talk in black families is to socialize young black males with a false perception of police officers, a perception that leads many black males to behave more aggressively towards police officers—a trend that police officers have not only taken in stride, but has led to their being less likely to escalate force on their end compared to similar encounters with white civilians, who, again, despite being much less likely to be involved in serious crime, account for most deaths at the hands of police officers.
Again, there are racial disparities when viewed in relation to population. The most common explanations for these, as well as other disparities in the criminal justice system, are implicit race bias and systemic racism. I’m sure readers have heard as truth the facts that racial bias is woven into the system and its institutions, in addition to existing in the minds of officers, prosecutors, judges, and juries, and that systemic racism, the complex of institutional arrangements, structures, and systems that disadvantages blacks and other minorities, is a serious problem in American society and across the West. However, these claims are unsupported by the evidence.
The problem of racial bias in civilian police encounters has been extensively studied. I want to mention two that highlight the problem with disproportionality and perceptions of bias before moving on to the hot-button issue of fatal police encounters.
Charles Epp, Steven Maynard-Moody, and Donald Haider-Markel’s 2014 Pulled Over: How Police Stops Define Race and Citizenship, finds that, of drivers stopped by police, many of these stops constituting investigatory stops with neither reasonable suspicion nor probable cause to justify them (what we used to call “aggressive patrolling”), the proportion of racial minorities is almost double that of whites. Using traffic stops to get around Fourth Amendment law is a serious problem, and there definitely needs to be reform in this regard, but racial disparities in such stops—or in anything else in life—is not evidence of racism.
To illustrate, as I write in The Police are Sexist, too, “males are overrepresented in police shootings compared to females. In 2020, men were more than 25 times more likely to be shot and killed than women…. Are we to conclude from this that police are therefore sexist? Of course not. No one would assume that police are biased towards men and therefore more likely to shoot and kill them. No one assumes this because it’s immediately obvious that males are overrepresented in serious crime, whereas females are underrepresented.” I go on to elaborate the point: “male overrepresentation in serious crime causes men to interact with police more frequently than women and, as result, the risk of a lethal encounter with police officers is greater for men than women.”
Jack Glaser, in Suspect Race: Causes and Consequences of Racial Profiling, also published in 2014, contends that, while implicit stereotyping is not racism but an aspect of normal cognition (this was suggested decades before by Skolnick), it is nonetheless harmful and undesirable. In response to these and other findings, implicit bias training programs have been stood up across the nation to develop officer awareness of how attitudes and actions contribute to demographic disparities in the administration of the law. The body of assessments of these programs is not encouraging.
One of the difficulties with arguments from implicit race bias and systemic racism is that claims made on these grounds often take as evidence unexplained variation in racial differences, treating these as indicators of racism. Perhaps this is partially understandable given the difficulty in accessing the interior mental states of officers and criminal justice practitioners and the abstractness of notions of systems. However, it means that conclusions are the work of interpretations that rest, especially on notions of implicit racism, on unfalsifiable assumptions and circularity, where the fact of disparity become evidence of the cause of disparity. On the other hand, if disparities can be accounted for by other factors, the claims of systemic racism become increasingly untenable.
Awareness of the problem of racial disparities in the criminal justice system is long standing. William Wilbanks, in The Myth of a Racist Criminal Justice System, published in 1986, produced a comprehensive survey of contemporary research studies, searching for evidence of discrimination by police, prosecutors, judges, and prison and parole officers, finding that, although individual cases of racial prejudice and discrimination do occur in the system, there is insufficient evidence to support a charge of systematic racism against blacks in the criminal justice system. “At every point, from arrest to parole,” Wilbanks concludes, “there is little or no evidence of an overall racial effect.”
Robert Sampson and Janet L. Lauritsen’s 1997 comprehensive review of studies of the criminal justice system, a metanalysis published in Crime and Justice, also finds “little evidence that racial disparities result from systematic, overt bias.” In the early 1980s, Joan Petersilia of the RAND corporation came to a similar conclusion.
I have confessed in earlier blogs that I dismissed or was ignorant of these studies in the 1990s when I was researching the historic relationship between racism and criminal justice process (see The Myth of Systemic Racism in Lethal Police-Civilian Encounters). But it’s curious that I was hardly the only pundit to forget or never know that the question had been answered.
Doubt about the claims of racial bias and systemic raised were raised anew in 2016 with the high-profile publication of Heather Mac Donald’s book The War on Cops. The book was followed by Harvard economist Roland Fryer’s 2019 paper, “An Empirical Analysis of Racial Differences in Police Use of Force,” published in the Journal of Political Economy, available much earlier as a preprint (2018) and a working paper (2016). The New York Times covered the working paper in a 2016 article, so the findings were widely available well before the summer months of 2020.
While finding unexplained disparities in nonlethal civilian-police encounters involving force, when turning his attention to the most extreme use of force, i.e., officer-involved shootings, Fryer found no racial differences in either the raw data or when contextual factors are considered. Fryer argues that the patterns in the data are consistent with a model in which police officers are utility maximizers. Fryer suggests that lethal force carries costs great enough to deter officers from using the highest level of force at their disposal.
Fryer is hardly alone in his failure to find racist patterns in lethal police shootings In 2018, psychologist Joseph Cesario and colleagues, in Social Psychological and Personality Science, found, adjusting for crime, no systematic evidence of anti-black disparities in fatal shootings, fatal shootings of unarmed citizens, or fatal shootings involving misidentification of harmless objects. The authors concluded that, when analyzing all shootings, exposure to police, given crime rate differences, accounts for the higher per capita rate of fatal police shootings for blacks. The fact pattern indicating exposure: at least half of homicides and more than half of robberies in America are attributable to black males. Moreover, black males account for some one-third of other serious crimes (aggravated assault, burglary).
David Johnson, Cesario, and others, in the pages of the 2019 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, refer to the effect of rates of violent crime as the “exposure hypothesis,” i.e., that serious criminal activity increases the likelihood of officer-civilian encounters, and this influences the frequency of policing shootings. The evidence Johnson and associates used in their study indicate that, taking crime rates into account, the bias in shootings actually appears to be against whites.
In a study published in Journal of Crime and Justice, also in 2019, Brandon Tregle and colleagues, when focusing on violent crime arrests or weapons offense arrests, found that blacks appear less likely to be fatally shot by police officers. Rutgers’ Charles Menifield and colleagues found, in a study published in Public Administration Review in 2019 that, although minority suspects are disproportionately killed by police, white officers appear to be no more likely to use lethal force against minorities than nonwhite officers. Most people killed by police are armed at the time of their fatal encounter, and more than two-thirds possess a gun.
Public safety is a quality-of-life issue. Serious crime falls hardest on the poor and working class, especially black and brown people. The most recent statistics on homicide find that 8,543 blacks were murdered compared to 5,498 whites. On the offender side, 7,875 murders were black compared to 4,905 whites. And, although there are more white victims of robbery than black victims—79,566 to 43,164 respectively), there are disproportionately more black victims of robbery relative to population. At the same time, on the offender side, 93,252 robbers were black compared to 44,946. Numbers like these explain the disproportionality in black civilians in fatal police encounters—and why some studies find the unexplained bias actually running in the opposite direction from that claims by progressives.
The latest statistics from the FBI are horrifying. Consider that the vast majority of murderers are male and black males are only six percent of the population—black males are responsible for well over half of all murders, as well as account for well over half of the victims. Again, such prominent Democrats as Hillary Clinton are openly lying about all this by substituting for the statistics that condemn their policies irrelevant state-level statistics; serious crime is an urban problem. What else do we hear from them? Black lives matter. It doesn’t look like it, doesn’t it?
Progressives cannot claim to speak for working people while undermining public safety. Ask yourself, why aren’t the progressives who run these cities working to fix the criminogenic conditions that disproportionately affect the marginal communities under their control? Why are they depolicing knowing that doing so makes these communities more dangerous, especially for the most vulnerable? Do not reason and compassion demand that, instead of rationalizing the situation in a manner that perpetuates crime and misery, and falsely accuses cops of racism, that those who claim to speak for marginalized populations would work to identify and solve the problems plaguing black people, the problems of idleness, dependency, fatherlessness, and mass immigration?
There are lots of other reasons to vote Democrats out of office. They have weakened the southern border, allowing millions of foreigners to enter the United States illegally. The empirical impact of mass immigration on the working class is not controversial in circles honest about evidence and effects. Foreign labor drives down wages for native and resident workers to the tune of hundreds of billions annually. Foreign labor takes the jobs of millions of native workers. Mass immigration disorganizes neighborhoods (especially black neighborhoods), fragments culture, and disrupts political formation. Mass immigration falls hardest on the poor and working class, especially black and brown people. Democrats cannot claim to speak for working people while undermining job and income security.
(I have written extensively on this topic on Freedom and Reason, Here’s a sampling: Joe Biden and the Ultimate Source of Our Strength; The Impact of Immigration on Labor and a Nagging Question; What is the Relationship of Immigration to Crime? The Situation at the Border and How to Respond to it; Bernie Sanders, Immigration, and Progressivism; Bernie Sanders Gets it on Open Borders Rhetoric—At Least He Did in 2015; Rationalizing the Border Crisis with Hysteria, Lies, and Smears; Democrats are Being Disingenuous on the Role of Security Fencing in Reducing Illegal Immigration and Crime; The Immigration Situation; The Need for Limits; Smearing Labor as Racist: The Globalist Project to Discredit the Working Class.)
The Democrats have weakened the educational system by prioritizing the dissemination of critical theories (gender, queer, race) over the teaching of critical subject areas. For Democrats, public instruction has become a vehicle for the indoctrination of children in woke progressive ideology.
(For a sampling of my writings on this topic, see Whose Spaces Are These Anyway? Political Advocacy in Public Schools; A Judge Stands on His Head to Save Woke Progressive Indoctrination; The Ethic of Transparency in Public Education—and the Problem of Indoctrination; Banning CRT in Public Instruction); If QAnon is Not a Deep State Construct, It Certainly Functions that Way; The LGBTQ Lobby Sues Florida.)
Central to the woke progressive project is disseminating the lie that the United States is essentially a white supremacist project (see Critical Race Theory: A New Racism; What Critical Race Theory Is and Isn’t. Spoiler Alert: It’s Racist and Not Marxist; Crenshaw Confesses: Critical Race Theory is About Racial Reckoning; Awakening to the Problem of the Awokening: Unreasonableness and Quasi-religious Standards). This is the ideology that fed the BLM falsehoods about the criminal justice system—and the youth of America are being fed these falsehoods at a vulnerable age. Failing to teach children the necessary skills to be productive workers and rational thinkers effects poor and working-class children the most, especially black and brown students. Democrats would rather create future Democrats not autonomous individuals with the capacity to challenge their politics and policies.
The Democrats have compromised world peace through NATO expansion and waging a proxy against Russia by injecting tens of billions of dollars into Ukraine (see History and Sides-Taking in the Russo-Ukrainian War). To be sure, there are Republicans who have supported this effort, but Democrats are leading the project. These projects are schemes to drive hundreds of billions of dollars to transnational corporations and the armaments industry.
The Democrats were far and away the party most aggressively pushing lockdowns, social distancing, masks, and vaccines during the pandemic. (As with these other issues, my blogs on Freedom and Reason are many on this topic.) Have you wondered why Democrats aren’t running on the lockdowns, masks, and vaccines? I thought they saved us from the apocalypse. Millions would have died had they not taken away our freedoms and livelihoods—and robbed our children of years of social development. Such heroics sound like something politicians would be keen to run on. What gives?
Democrat policies are behind a series of shocks—COVID, Ukraine, monetary stimulus on a scale unprecedented since World War II—that is driving inflation. In short, supply chain disruption (bottlenecks, dislocations, shortages) caused by Democratic policies and their analogs across the trans-Atlantic sphere, fed by China and other foreign countries taking advantage of the weakness of the West. “On our watch, for the first time in 10 years, seniors are going to get the biggest increase in their Social Security checks they’ve gotten.” Mr. President, tell the people why: SS is chained to inflation.
I ask folks to consider why, now nearly half a century after Roe v Wade, Democrats did not in the meantime codify a woman’s right to her body. I will suggest to you that Democrats did not do so in order to conjure the specter of a conservative court to scare the votes out of women. The tactic failed. The court is conservative. And, with women divided on the question of abortion, and with the issue far down the list of voter concerns, the court’s ruling won’t make a difference at the polls. Conservatives are going to do what they do. Democrats failed to protect reproductive freedom. There’s no quick undoing of things. Other issues are more pressing: crime, war, and the corporate state. Don’t be a reflex. Think.
The overall problem with the Democrats I have discussed many times on Freedom and Reason. The United States was founded as a liberal republic, an instantiation of Enlightenment ideals, embodying the principles of democracy, humanism, rationalism, and secularism, codified in the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, signaled to the world as the American Creed. For the code and creed to live requires patriotism and attention to national integrity. The aims of the Democrats and their philosophy of progressivism are antithetical to the liberalism nationalism that founded the nation. The Democrats are transnationalist in ambition. Globalism undermines national sovereignty. The Democrats preach cultural pluralism, an ideology that undermines common culture and the solidarity built around a shared language and understanding of the establishment of America as a place where the individual is sovereign and the purpose of government is to enable each citizen to realize in total their human nature.
One thought on “What’s at Stake Tuesday”
You should pull the stuff on the police out of this post and make a separate post so people won’t miss it.