A lengthy headline from the British newspaper, The Daily Mail, sums up the current U.S. spike in crime. “America’s deadly year: Philadelphia Now has More Murders than NYC and L.A. and a DOZEN Major US Cities Smash Annual Homicide Records (And They are ALL Democrat).” These shocking statistics are not limited to the largest cities. For example, the homicide rate in Austin, Texas, is up 175% since 2019. Trailing not far behind is Rochester (144%), Columbus (121%), Louisville (111%) and Portland (100%).
The more important question about the rise in crime is, “Why?”
The Daily Mail headline provides a starting point when they say, “And They are ALL Democrat.” However, simply blaming the situation on a political party is insufficient. Most modern Democrat mayors are radical leftists, with social premises common to their breed.
Thus, the answer might be better expressed by seven deadly liberal premises that serve to explain why crime happens. These premises find followers in these unfortunate cities.
1. Human beings can be perfect but are corrupted by society.
The faulty premise of the perfectibility of humanity lies at the foundation of all others. It is an old error from the eighteenth century “Enlightenment.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau once said that “Civilization is a hopeless race to discover remedies for the evil it produces.” He believed that human beings are self-made and self-directed. The structures of society are responsible for corrupting people. Therefore, a perfect world can be created without recourse to God and Christian civilization.
2. Crime is due to social inequity.
Leftists value the buzzword equality before everything. The old Marxist dream is that government would be superfluous if society erased all economic differences. Leftists believe that one person only steals from another because the “other” has something that the first person needs and cannot get in any other way. Eliminate the economic difference (even with violence and revolution), and peace will ensue. Where everyone is equal, there is no need to steal or murder.
3. Property is only accumulated through theft; therefore, property owners have no moral right to protect it.
This premise that all property is theft recalls the case of Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the married lawyers from Saint Louis. They defended their home from “peaceful protesters” in June 2020 by brandishing their firearms. Subsequently arrested, each pled guilty to a misdemeanor and Missouri’s governor later pardoned them. Leftists see the McCloskeys as privileged and wealthy people living ostentatiously in a home to which they had no right. Riches beyond necessity are ill-begotten and thus belong to those with little or none.
4. Some people don’t deserve protection.
On December 8, 2021, the Mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, blamed business owners for crime. “I’m disappointed that they [retailers on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue] are not doing more to take safety and make it a priority. For example, we still have retailers that won’t institute plans like having security officers in their stores.” The implication is clear: the “privileged” do not deserve protection from the city, forcing them to defend themselves from both rioters and anti-property legislation.
5. Gang violence is a social problem.
To the left, joining a gang is a way some young men can defend themselves against a society where all the “structures” are arrayed against them. The welfare, education and legal systems all exist to keep them poor, ignorant and imprisoned. Gang crimes are reasonable reactions to a situation that society imposes on them. Incarceration of gang members does not fix but only perpetuates the injustice.
6. Pro-crime policies are reforms.
Leftists argue that only radically new approaches can address structural inequities. Thus, courts must eliminate bail because it unjustly targets the poor. Mere property crimes do not justify harsh sentences since property can be replaced. Minorities are “over-represented” in prison populations and must therefore be freed. These new approaches remedy the social evils that the privileged impose on the oppressed. Thus, those evils must be “reformed” to guarantee equity.
7. The leftist agenda is more important than the truth.
The idea of relative truth is vital to the left. For example, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki recently told the press corps that the Covid pandemic is the “root cause” of widespread looting. Later in the same briefing, she added that the “root causes of crime in communities are guns and gun violence.” Leftists indulge in the illusion that they know all about “root causes” for two reasons. First, this assertion gives them an air of competence that they do not possess. Second, they can use the phrase to shift responsibility for crime from the criminals to society.
A Need to Return to Order
The effects of these premises go far beyond the homicide rate. Some urban areas are beset by armies of “urban campers” who engage in obscene and disgusting acts, brazen physical attacks in broad daylight and mobs attacking businesses and taking everything from the shelves.
Americans will never find the solutions on such misguided premises. Lies can only be defeated by truth. Truth is eternal and comes from God. Thus, society must return to order and God as found in the traditional magisterium of the Holy Catholic Church. The way of recovering the truth is to swallow modern arrogance and return to the Faith.
Photo Credit: © Ayman Alakhras – Adobe Stock