It was the Virus that made me do it. Honest.
Unprecedented Decline in Crime Increasing
Specific Democratic policies clearly are a significant part in the retreat from what had been perhaps the most important social advance of the past 50 years—an unprecedented decline in almost all categories of crime.
Blaming the Pandemic
Last week at a press conference, when White House press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked if it was the pandemic was to blame for the surge in crime, as President Biden has suggested. Ms. Psaki acknowledged that, yes, the virus is “a root cause in a lot of communities.” The scapegoat here apparently is: no one is responsible.
Pilfering $25,000 LVMH Purses?
As Gerard Baker mocks in the WSJ, “It was the virus that made me do it, your honor. I was an honest, law-abiding citizen, doing my part to fight systemic racism and climate injustice, when all of a sudden, I developed a high fever and lost my sense of smell. Next thing I knew, I was pulling $25,000 Louis Vuitton purses out of display cases downtown. I can’t make bail but if you’ll let me go free, I’ll do my best to hunt down this vicious virus and help make our streets safe again.”
It’s easy to ridicule the mindset that seems unable or unwilling to understand the distinction between proper redress of our various social pathologies and the legal and moral obligations of personal responsibility. But this latest manifestation of the grip it has on our ruling class is a disturbing reminder of how far progressive ideology has propelled the country toward social disintegration.
Large and small stores have been ransacked by gangs. For example, shoplifting has reached such levels in cities like San Francisco that stores like Walgreens are shuttering due to the losses. After a California state law was changed to make stealing retail merchandise worth
$950 or less a misdemeanor, police mostly have stopped responding to shoplifting calls.
It’s not only about the Democrats who run big cities (and, currently, the federal government) seeking to deflect any responsibility for the surge in crime—the one whose existence they and their friends in the media spent much of last year denying.
It is that this eagerness to find anyone to blame for crime other than the people committing it is a central feature of the nihilism eating away at the American identity—the idea that the country is so flawed that miscreants bear less responsibility for their actions than do the institutions that have supposedly oppressed them.
The Pandemic to Blame
Blaming the pandemic is what is most fostering the climate of lawlessness, argues Mr. Baker.
The idea that criminals are the victims—of circumstances, their upbringing, the cruel society that nurtured them—is a very old one. It seems to come in cycles. Each time, we have to learn the hard way that denial of individual responsibility is the quickest route to social disorder.
Under the Guise of Racial Reckoning
It began in earnest during the Black Lives Matter protests and accompanying riots. We were told that whatever violence was being committed then was justified, and that looting businesses was a kind of postmodern form of reparations for centuries of oppression.
The Quickest Route to Social Disorder
“What Kind of Society Values Property Over Black Lives?” (from a headline in the New York Times.)
These are luxury beliefs. The tenured professors, media commentators, entertainers and Democratic politicians who hold them live for the most part immune from the consequences of their ideological self-indulgence. The irony is apparently lost on them that most of the victims of their obtuse vanity are poor, innocent black people who can’t afford to believe such dangerous nonsense.
Should we be comforted that Joe Biden’s Justice Department is hunting down the real criminals menacing our way of life? You know, Mr. Baker reminds readers, those anxious parents across the country who want to stop teachers from indoctrinating their children with this ruinous ideology, and who are brave enough to speak out against it?
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