Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Lessons from the UK on how to reduce crime

From Ed West, writing in the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

A year after the riots, things are looking up in London. As the Economist reported last week, gun crime is down considerably, while overall crime continues to fall, and homicide is down to its lowest level since the early 1980s.

In fact Britain is following the example of the United States, where crime rose sharply from the 1960s to the early 1990s, when it began to fall almost as steadily. The US crime explosion had several causes, but the most prominent was the huge drop in the average length of sentences in the mid-1960s, largely as a result of political fashion. That trend was already reversed by the 1980s, but it took a while before Americans began to see that handing out tough sentences was effective – even at the cost of incarcerating one per cent of the population.

Today even Guardian writers accept that this “contentious” policy reduces crime, although for many years those advocating it were called everything under the sun. The most prominent of those advocates was the late James Q Wilson,who before he died wrote about the fall in crime he had helped to bring about:

One obvious answer is that many more people are in prison than in the past. Experts differ on the size of the effect, but I think that William Spelman and Steven Levitt have it about right in believing that greater incarceration can explain about one-quarter or more of the crime decline. Yes, many thoughtful observers think that we put too many offenders in prison for too long. For some criminals, such as low-level drug dealers and former inmates returned to prison for parole violations, that may be so. But it’s true nevertheless that when prisoners are kept off the street, they can attack only one another, not you or your family.

As Wilson pointed out, there are many other factors, such as a more competent and technically sophisticated police force, while rehabilitation programmes also make a difference (although longer stretches also make these more effective, since prisoners serving short sentences are out on the streets before they have finished their education). But prison still works pretty effectively.

So in London, and across Britain, crime is falling largely because our prison population has topped 86,000; a terrible waste for those inside, but better that their lives are wasted than those of their victims on the outside. And the benefits are considerable.

This dovetails nicely with Stephen Harper’s tough-on-crime measures.

Excerpt:

And while the overall homicide rate was up seven per cent — there were 598 homicides in Canada in 2011, 44 more than the previous year — the number in Ontario actually hit record lows.

Altogether, police services reported nearly 2 million incidents last year, about 110,000 fewer than in 2010, the agency reported.

The decline in the crime rate was driven mostly by decreases in property offences, mischief, break-ins and car theft. But the severity of crime index — a tool used to measure the extent of serious crime in Canada — also declined by six per cent.

“Overall, this marked the eighth consecutive decrease in Canada’s crime rate,” the study said. “Since peaking in 1991, the crime rate has generally been decreasing, and is now at its lowest point since 1972.”

Not surprisingly, the Conservatives took credit for the decline Tuesday, attributing falling crime rates over the last four decades to the government’s tough-on-crime agenda, which is just six years old.

“These statistics show that our tough on crime measures are starting to work. Our government is stopping the revolving door of the criminal justice system,” said Julie Carmichael, a spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.

“The fact of the matter is that when the bad guys are kept in jail longer, they are not out committing crimes and the crime rate will decrease. However, there is still more work to do.”

The Democrats will never embrace measures like this here at home, even though they work. They are soft on crime.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , ,

In the UK, criminals are being treated as victims

From Peter Hitchens, writing in the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

The pro-crime lobby who run our injustice system have two fixed beliefs.

One is that criminals are victims.

Their misdeeds are not their fault but the inevitable result of non-existent poverty.

They have no personal ability to overcome their backgrounds, and so it would be cruel to punish them.

The other is that prisons are a waste of money, an ‘expensive way of making bad people worse’ as the supposedly Right-wing Tory Home Secretary David Waddington said in 1990.

They would rather not have any prisons at all.

They keep the jails we have only because of tiresome public opinion, and because of newspapers like this one that hold fast to traditional ideas of right and wrong, justice and punishment.

That is why they deliberately run those prisons very badly – they are pointless, apologetic warehouses, largely under the control of the inmates and full of illegal drugs.

Almost nobody is sent to these places until he or she is already a habitual, confirmed criminal.

They are then almost always swiftly released, after learning for certain what they have long suspected, that they have nothing to fear from the police or the courts.

Then the pro-crime liberals write reports pointing out how awful the prisons are (while ignoring the fact that their own ideas have caused this) and urging that even fewer people are sent to them.

As a result, crime increases so much that – despite ultra-liberal guidelines on sentencing – the prisons still fill and overflow.

[...]Last week we saw two court cases which showed exactly what is going on.

[...]Case One concerns Caroline Pattinson (pictured above), an abuser of heroin, which is supposed to be illegal but isn’t in practice.

Pattinson, 34, has committed 207 crimes in 20 years. 

These include 108 convictions for theft, many for cruel frauds on pensioners. But until last Tuesday she had never been sent to prison, except on remand. 

Now that she has, she’s not worried. Why should she be?

On being sentenced to 30 months (of which she will serve at most 15 months), she mockingly called out: ‘Cushty! Easily done!’

That’s what happens if you leave the secular leftist Labour Party in charge for a while, not that the Conservatives under Cameron are doing anything about it.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

Fascism: Canadian Supreme Court overturns right to religious liberty

Map of Canadian Provinces

Map of Canadian Provinces

UPDATE: Please vote “no” in this poll if you think tthat the Supreme Court is wrong.

Life Site News announces the death of religious liberty in Canada.

Excerpt:

In what’s sure to come down as a devastating blow to parental freedom, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously rejected this morning the pleas of a Christian family to have their child exempted from the Quebec government’s mandatory ethics and religious culture course.

“Exposing children to a comprehensive presentation of various religions without forcing the children to join them does not constitute an indoctrination of students that would infringe the freedom of religion of L and J,” the justices wrote in the majority decision.

The high court’s ruling, released at 9:45 Friday morning, comes in the case of S.L. et al. v. Commission scolare des Chênes et al., which involved a Catholic family who took their school board to court after it refused to grant their child an exemption from the province’s controversial ethics and religious culture course (ERC).

The course, which seeks to present the spectrum of world religions and lifestyle choices from a “neutral” stance, was introduced by the province in 2008 and has been widely criticized by the religious and a-religious alike. Moral conservatives and people of faith have criticized its relativistic approach to moral issues, teaching even at the earliest grades, for instance, that homosexuality is a normal choice for family life.

Despite provincial legislation allowing for exemptions from school curriculum, the Ministry of Education has turned down over 1,700 requests, and had even moved to impose the course on private schools and homeschoolers.

Critics warned that a ruling against the family would have frightening consequences for parental authority and risked emboldening provincial governments across the country as they move to impose their own versions of “diversity” education.

To me, what this means is that in Canada, the state decides what children will believe, not the parents. The state will tax parents in order to pay for government workers and government programs. And the state will use these government entities to make the children believe in the state’s values.

What is ironic to me is that Canadians likely voted to grow government. There are a lot of people in Canada who think that it is a good thing for government to help the poor. Many, many economically illiterate Christians also voted to grow the size of government over the last few decades. They voted to empty their own pockets by raising tax rates. They voted to entrust secular leftist bureaucrats with more and more power. They voted to let the state educate their children with public schools and government-run day care. They voted to let government provide health care instead of letting individuals earn and save to pay for it themselves. They voted for taxes that are so high that women cannot afford to stay at home and homeschool their children – they have to work and hand their children off to strangers.

It is very important for Christians to understand that if they believe that it is government’s job to redistribute wealth from rich to poor, then they voted for this. If you believe in “social justice” then you are opposed to religious liberty – and the free practice of Christianity itself. Many, many Christians who don’t study economics and don’t get their economic views from the Bible think that it is a good thing to vote for bigger and bigger government funded by higher and higher taxes. Christians in Canada seem to be proud of their self-inflicted secularism. They think that taxpayer-funded abortions and taxpayer-funded sex changes are a great idea – because “health care is a right”.  They think that taxpayer-funded abortion and taxpayer-funded sex changes are authentic Christianity, supported by the Bible.

I have had Christians in Ontario tell me on Facebook that they are pro-life, pro-marriage and pro-family but that they favor allowing a secular government to force all taxpayers to pay for abortions and sex changes. That is what Canadian Christianity amounts to, in many cases – because they don’t understand economics, and what economic policies promote and secure rights – including the right to religious liberty. The right to religious liberty is only guaranteed when government is limited and the free enterprise system is strong. We need to stop deciding our views of politics and economics based on feelings and peer pressure and the desire to appear “compassionate”. We need to ask what the Bible says, and study economics in order to find out what guarantees the liberty we need to live out authentic Christian lives.

I think it’s time for Christians in Canada to get serious about applying the Bible to all of life – including economics.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Jewish rabbi explains what the Bible teaches about capitalism

A Jewish rabbi explains what the Bible says about economics, in the Wall Street Journal. (H/T Tom)

Excerpt:

More than any other nation, the United States was founded on broad themes of morality rooted in a specific religious perspective. We call this the Judeo-Christian ethos, and within it resides a ringing endorsement of capitalism as a moral endeavor.

Regarding mankind, no theme is more salient in the Bible than the morality of personal responsibility, for it is through this that man cultivates the inner development leading to his own growth, good citizenship and happiness. The entitlement/welfare state is a paradigm that undermines that noble goal.

The Bible’s proclamation that “Six days shall ye work” is its recognition that on a day-to-day basis work is the engine that brings about man’s inner state of personal responsibility. Work develops the qualities of accountability and urgency, including the need for comity with others as a means for the accomplishment of tasks. With work, he becomes imbued with the knowledge that he is to be productive and that his well-being is not an entitlement. And work keeps him away from the idleness that Proverbs warns leads inevitably to actions and attitudes injurious to himself and those around him.

[...]At the opening bell, Genesis announces: “Man is created in the image of God”—in other words, like Him, with individuality and creative intelligence. Unlike animals, the human being is not only a hunter and gatherer but a creative dreamer with the potential of unlocking all the hidden treasures implanted by God in our universe. The mechanism of capitalism, as manifest through investment and reasoned speculation, helps facilitate our partnership with God by bringing to the surface that which the Almighty embedded in nature for our eventual extraction and activation.

Capitalism makes possible entrepreneurship, which is the realization of an idea birthed in human creativity. Whereas statism demands that citizens think small and bow to a top-down conformity, capitalism, as has been practiced in the U.S., maximizes human potential. It provides a home for aspiration, referred to in the Bible as “the spirit of life.”

The Bible speaks positively of payment and profit: “For why else should a man so labor but to receive reward?” Thus do laborers get paid wages for their hours of work and investors receive profit for their investment and risk.

[...]Many on the religious left criticize capitalism because all do not end up monetarily equal—or, as Churchill quipped, “all equally miserable.” But the Bible’s prescription of equality means equality under the law, as in Deuteronomy’s saying that “Judges and officers . . . shall judge the people with a just judgment: Do not . . . favor one over the other.” Nowhere does the Bible refer to a utopian equality that is contrary to human nature and has never been achieved.

The motive of capitalism’s detractors is a quest for their own power and an envy of those who have more money. But envy is a cardinal sin and something that ought not to be.

God begins the Ten Commandments with “I am the Lord your God” and concludes with “Thou shalt not envy your neighbor, not for his wife, nor his house, nor for any of his holdings.” Envy is corrosive to the individual and to those societies that embrace it. Nations that throw over capitalism for socialism have made an immoral choice.

I think that Christians are sometimes attracted to socialism because they think that the only way to help the poor is by state-controlled redistribution of wealth. Socialists might have the right goal of helping the poor (I actually believe that socialism is just the happy-face on fascism, but let us be charitable), but capitalism is the right way to achieve that goal of helping the poor.

Here is an article by Jay Richards for the American Enterprise Institute.

First, his introduction:

If you’re like me, when you think of wealth and poverty, you picture its material manifestations. To have wealth, we imagine, is to have money, stocks, real estate, or valuable commodities, which, in turn, gives us the means to achieve various material ends, such as food, clothing, cars, housing, and healthcare. Poverty, in contrast, is the lack of such goods, which, in turn, leads to a lack of food, shelter, basic medical care, and other such items. These mental associations can make it hard to discover the preconditions of wealth creation, many of which are immaterial, even spiritual, rather than material.

For most of human history, discovering the sources of wealth creation would have been devilishly hard, since most economies, such as there were, tended to be static. If a Mesopotamian farmer or Greek shepherd in the second century BC ever asked, “Where does wealth come from?” he would have assumed that wealth came from rain, common labor, good luck, or some combination of these. He probably also would have assumed that to get really wealthy, you need to plunder other people.

But we now have concrete examples of cultures that have created vast new wealth, moving the majority of their citizens from poverty to relative prosperity. And when we look at these cultures retroactively, we discover answers that, for most of us, are counterintuitive. I’ve argued elsewhere that we’re able to discern ten crucial features allowing such cultures to alleviate poverty and create wealth. The more of these a culture has or does, the more likely it is to be prosperous.

The Top Ten Ways to Alleviate Poverty

  1. Establish and maintain the rule of law.
  2. Focus the jurisdiction of government primarily on maintaining the rule of law, and limit its jurisdiction over the economy and the institutions of civil society.
  3. Implement a formal property system with consistent and accessible means for securing a clear title to property one owns.
  4. Encourage economic freedom.
  5. Encourage stable families and other important private institutions which mediate between the individual and the state.
  6. Encourage belief in the truth that the universe is purposeful and makes sense.
  7. Encourage the right cultural mores.
  8. Instill a proper understanding of the nature of wealth creation and poverty.
  9. Focus on cultivating your comparative advantage rather than protecting what used to be your comparative advantage.
  10. Work hard.

There is a striking correlation between societies that exhibit these traits, or some subset of them, and the large-scale wealth creation. But notice that only one of them describes a material good. All the others are intangible, immaterial, spiritual. You can’t find economic freedom or cultural mores on a map or put them in a safe. You can’t bottle diligence or weigh the ingredients for stable families and voluntary institutions on a scale. These goods involve beliefs, social conventions, institutions, commitments, virtues, and creativity. Having listed them in brief, now I want to hold each of the ten immaterial ingredients up to the light and consider how each helps a society move from poverty to prosperity.

If someone has a spiritual or moral sickness that is preventing them from working, then the solution is not to hand them someone else’s money. That’s not going to make them happy. They need to earn their own pay and be responsible for their own independence.

Jay Richards on Christianity and Capitalism

Jay Richards actually wrote the book on Christianity and capitalism: “Money, Greed and God“.

To understand what capitalism is, you can watch this lecture entitled “Money, Greed and God: Why Capitalism is the Solution and Not the Problem” by Jay W. Richards, delivered at the Heritage Foundation think tank, and televised by C-SPAN2.

If you can’t see the Richards video, here is an audio lecture by Jay Richards on the “Myths Christians Believe about Wealth and Poverty“. Also, why not check out this series of 4 sermons by Wayne Grudem on the relationship between Christianity and economics? (a PDF outline is here)

And you can listen to Ron Nash’s course on Christianity and economics.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Recently widowed mother uses legally owned gun to defend her child

From liberal CNN. (H/T All American Blogger)

Excerpt:

An Oklahoma 911 operator calmly advised a recently widowed mother who asked if it was permissible to shoot an intruder, officials said Wednesday.

“I’ve got two guns in my hand. Is it OK to shoot him if he comes in this door?” asked Sarah Dawn McKinley of Blanchard.

“Well, you have to do whatever you can do to protect yourself,” dispatcher Diane Graham responded during the incident on New Year’s Eve day. “I can’t tell you that you can do that, but you do what you have to do to protect your baby.”

In the end, McKinley, 18, fired a 12-gauge shotgun and killed Justin Shane Martin after he entered her residence, according to a Blanchard Police Department affidavit filed in court Wednesday.

“You have to make a choice, you or him. I chose my son over him,” McKinley told CNN Oklahoma City affiliate KWTV. Her boy is 3 months old.

First Assistant District Attorney James Walters told CNN that McKinley will not be charged because she acted in self-defense.

“A person has the right to protect themselves, their family and their property,” Walters said.

As for the 911 operator’s guidance?

“I would agree with that advice,” the prosecutor said.

In the United States, you still have the ability to defend your home from intruders.  But I know that in leftist countries like the UK, the police are trained to arrest people who defend themselves from criminals.

In the UK, the police protect criminals from law-abiding citizens

Look at this recent article UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

Officers were called to Vincent Cooke’s house in the affluent Stockport suburb of Bramhall, just before 8pm on Saturday following reports of a break-in.

Mr Cooke, 39, a married father of one who has run a number of small courier and logistics companies, was relaxing alone in the detached interwar property when the two intruders struck, Greater Manchester Police said.

His wife Karen, 34, and 12-year-old son returned home during the incident but escaped unharmed. Police said that during the break-in Mr Cooke was threatened and one of the intruders, Raymond Jacob, 37, of was stabbed.

Mr Cooke, who is one of five children, was being questioned on suspicion of murder on Sunday night.

I thought the response of the police was interesting – self-defense is murder:

“Clearly this is a serious incident in which a man has lost his life and at this time we believe the dead man was one of two men who were attempting to carry out a burglary at the house.”

The other suspected intruder fled in a small white Citroen van. Police last night confirmed a second man had been arrested in connection with the incident.

On Sunday afternoon relatives of Mr Jacob, of Northern Moor, Greater Manchester, laid flowers outside Mr Cooke’s home.

One read: “To my baby boy who will always be my baby boy. I will miss you, but never stop loving you. Mum.”

Last night friends and relatives also left tributes for Mr Jacob social networking websites.

“Still doesnt feel real, cant believe your gone we will all miss you,” said Danielle Leach on Facebook.

Just to be clear about the facts, here’s the UK Sun.

Excerpt:

Two knife-wielding intruders burst into the home of company director Vincent Cooke, 39.

Burglar Raymond Jacob, 37, is believed to have been stabbed with his own knife.

Mr Cooke was later arrested in Bramhall, Cheshire. His wife and son fled the house unhurt.

Isn’t the mother’s reaction interesting? It’s not unexpected coming from the feminized UK, though, where no one is responsible for anything they do. In fact, the one who judges and refuses to bail others out is the bad one. How mean! Defending your home from armed intruders! Just let them kill you! After all, the government already takes your money, so why not not ban self-defense so they take your life as well?

This is not unusual in the new Harriet Harman-onized UK. It happens all the time.

Consider this story from the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

Miss Klass, a model for Marks & Spencer and a former singer with the pop group Hear’Say, was in her kitchen in the early hours of Friday when she saw two teenagers behaving suspiciously in her garden.

The youths approached the kitchen window, before attempting to break into her garden shed, prompting Miss Klass to wave a kitchen knife to scare them away.

Miss Klass, 31, who was alone in her house in Potters Bar, Herts, with her two-year-old daughter, Ava, called the police. When they arrived at her house they informed her that she should not have used a knife to scare off the youths because carrying an “offensive weapon” – even in her own home – was illegal.

Jonathan Shalit, Miss Klass’s agent, said that had been “shaken and utterly terrified” by the incident and was stepping up security at the house she shares with her fiancé, Graham Quinn, who was away on business at the time.

He said: “Myleene was aghast when she was told that the law did not allow her to defend herself in her own home. All she did was scream loudly and wave the knife to try and frighten them off.

You can read more about how the 1997 ban on handguns in the UK doubled violent crime in the four years after the ban at Reason magazine. Similarly, in the United states, legalizing the concealed carrying of firearms resulted in dramatic declines in violent crime. But that is just common sense. The more people who own guns and can defend themselves, the less crime there will be.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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