Veith on worldview and disbanding the police

“But these proposals come out of a completely different worldview. Are human beings moral agents responsible for their actions, so that committing a crime is a moral offense that society needs to be protected from? Or are human beings not responsible at all for what they do, so that those who commit crimes are themselves victims of the society?” - Gene Veith


Veith has a lot of good thoughts here. As one who reads the debates going on in law enforcement every day, though, what I see is the vast majority in the justice system somewhere between the oversimplified “arrest our way out of crime problems” approach of the 80s and 90s and the oversimplified “educate/rehabilitate our way out of crime problems” approach only exists as a total approach in small scale experiments, university classrooms, the works of theorists, and the speeches of politicians and activists.

I’m persuaded that there has been, and still is, a significant percentage of people in the justice system that are better—and less expensively—helped by social programs, and that society is better off if we don’t send these to prison to be trained into hardened criminals. (See, for example, Colson and restorative justice on this, for a Christian perspective.) Then you have the people who simply can’t be helped, and the best route is punishment and isolation from the general population.

So the trick is to figure out which are which more often than not. And “more often than not” is about as good as that’s ever likely to get—though a range of effectiveness is possible. It can improve.

The rest of crime fighting is strategic and tactical … by police (which are still police if you call them something else).

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.