Thomas Sowell

It was precisely the rise to power in the 1960s (in the courts as well as in politics) of those who believed that "injustices and inequities" were the causes of crime which marked a de-emphasis on law enforcement and imprisonment -- and marked one of the most dramatic increases in crime in our history.

Having declined for decades on end, the murder rate suddenly doubled between 1961 and 1974. The rate at which citizens became victims of violent crimes in general tripled.

Such trends began at different times in different countries but the patterns remained very similar. As the rates of imprisonment declined, crime rates soared -- whether in England, Australia, New Zealand or the United States.

After a whole generation of crime victims were sacrificed on the altar to the theories of the left, a political backlash produced higher rates of imprisonment -- and lower rates of crime -- in all these countries in the late 20th century.

We are still not back to where we were in 1960, as regards either the level of crime or the downward trend in murder rates. The notions of the left are still going strong in the media, in academia, and in politics.

The left is still comfortable talking about "injustices and inequities" -- even without notes -- and certainly without confronting the vast amount of evidence that they are wrong.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate