Half Past the Month
“This life’s hard, but it’s harder if you’re stupid.” — the character Jackie Brown in the 1971 novel “The Friends of Eddie Coyle” by George Higgins.
IF YOU WANT your Indiana city to prosper these next few years, there is something you can do. Write your councilman, your party chairman, the prosecuting attorney or anyone else you deem in charge. Tell them you don’t want to be treated “equally.”
Wait, don’t get upset, the word no longer means what you think it means. Understanding the new equality, to be defined in a moment, is especially important in regard to public safety, that which keeps our cities law-abiding, productive and worthy of investment. And none of that, please know, is a given. Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute warns that In coming years there will be pressure put on cities to:
- collect ethnic and racial data on stops and arrests in preparation for filing profiling lawsuits;
- condition federal grants on the race of new officers;
- end cash bail and eliminate the threat of jail for recurrent failure to pay fines; and
- litigate against school districts that suspend certain groups of students at higher rates than others.
Most disruptive, career attorneys in the Justice Department will descend on your city to open civil rights investigations into your police department. They will not need credible evidence that any constitutional right has been violated.
“Those investigations invariably result in settlements that place police departments under the control of a non-elected federal monitor and a federal judge,” Mac Donald says. “Monitors will collect taxpayer-funded fees while they hold your police departments to draconian deadlines and mindless paper-pushing mandates for years on end.”
This destroys what makes a department trustworthy and effective. For when you replace local control, merit standards and rule of law with decrees from virtucrats and their diversity auditors, the idea of public safety becomes an abstract.
As a result, your most experienced and steadfast local officers will leave in dismay. In Minneapolis, for example, where such policies prevail, 100 employees in the police department have resigned so far this year, with an additional 20 percent filing for leave.
The officers will tell you that the reason is a false narrative, that arrests and prosecution are a matter of prejudice and not of criminal activity. That is demonstrably false. The data disproving it is locked in the files of your local police department. Too politically sensitive, they will tell you. Ask your councilman to make it public, specifically the testimony of witnesses and victims in the most disadvantaged sections of your city. Their testimony is that crime is the product of identifiable groups and not of systemic racism.
Earlier we said that the meaning of “equality” had changed. It once meant equality of opportunity, the onus being on the individual to make good decisions. Now we have what abnormal psychology would recognize as an externalization of personal responsibility. The government is given the authority to command equal results regardless of personal choices. It tries to do that by balancing reward and punishment on an ever-shifting scale of good intentions gone bad.
For those in the favored group of the moment, failure is rationalized and deviancy is defined down (to use Sen. Patrick Moynihan’s phrase). But those outside of it, those who obey and enforce the law . . . well, they’re just so many chumps.
Leave it to the historians and philosophers to explain in the larger sense what happens to a society when human nature is so twisted out of shape. For now, know just this: The economy and quality of life in Indiana cities that reject law and order for a contorted definition of equality will decline. That bodes ill for current and future citizens, of whatever color and ethnic background.
If you doubt it, ask around in Chicago, Seattle, Minneapolis, Portland and Kenosha. — tcl