ANSWERS TO CRIME AND VIOLENCE
By Lawrence Wilson, MD
© December 2009, The Center for Development
Billions are spent in America and around the world each year combating crime, building prisons, paying for police and legal costs involved with crime, delinquency and other related problems. Yet the problem continues. Are there other ways to address the issue that are not often presented in the media? Let us examine several different perspectives on crime and violence. The intent of this article is to provoke thought about the basic causes of crime.
THE EXAMPLE OF VIOLENCE
A reason for crime is criminal behavior on the part of our leaders. They set the example. Although their activity may be hidden from view, the people know that something is amiss. Congress regularly violates the Constitution of the United States and so do the executives, including the presidents. Low integrity on the part of leaders sets a bad example.
For example, the power to issue currency in America was illegally transferred from the Congress to the Federal Reserve Banks in 1913. The US Constitution is quite specific on this issue. Nowhere does it state that the power to coin money, which, according to our Constitution, is gold and silver only, can be given to another entity. The entire monetary system has been a fraud and quite corrupt ever since. This problem is finally becoming known to more people as our currency devalues in front of our eyes.
Another example are the regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and the Internal Revenue Service. These, in fact have no authority within the 50 states except in a few isolated cases. You can check this for yourself. It is a fact. They were set up to govern the territories of the United States, not the states. Yet they lie to the public about their authority and everyone believe in them. Opposing them is met with ignorance and arrogance by judges and everyone else. These agencies also have executive, legislative and judicial powers. This is tyranny, as any business person knows who has dealt with the FDA, in particular. One has little recourse against these agencies, although they are composed entirely of unelected officials who often work, basically, for themselves at our expense.
EROSION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS
Private property rights may not seem to have much to do with crime, but they do. If we tell children that property is a sacred thing, we should follow up with them as adult and allow them to control their own property as well, within limit, of course. If a war is on and your land is needed to raise food so the nation will survive, that is one thing.
However, many property rights today are in jeopardy for much less important reasons. If the government can steal your property or your right to use it as you see fit, it is criminal thievery, nothing less. It send the message that stealing is fine if it is for a “beneficial purpose”. This is never the case, in fact.
Stealing is not alright, whether it is petty thievery or government doing the stealing in the name of eminent domain, environmental “rights” of birds or even rats, or in the name of improving the downtown environment or some other pretext. It is stealing and it sends a strong message that thieves are not going to be punished, especially if they work with the government in order to take others’ property.
Many other examples can be cited, from insane deed and zoning restrictions, to levying very high property taxes. Other are the RICO or racketeering laws in which, oddly, your car or even your house can be seized for a crime that is unrelated to the item but took place there or had some indirect connection to it. These are also called asset forfeiture laws and are a direct attack on private property. They are designed to stop drug dealers, which is fine. However, there are better ways to do this, which is for another article. Having these laws on the books means that now and then they used against ordinary citizens, especially those who object to government policies and this is not okay at all. For instance, the laws could apply only to large drug caches and nothing else. Or the laws could be predicated on finding the criminals and holding them responsible, but not other property.
This kind of abuse, like abuse of eminent domain, in which the government should take your property, with just compensation, for a road project, for example, are abused every day in America. Most of the time, the judge is paid off by a developer or other official, and the crime goes unpunished. This kind of crime is harder to see, but no less prevalent and no less damaging to society.
THE WELFARE STATE
The welfare state encourages crime in many ways. I will detail just a few. First, let us define a welfare state. By a welfare state I mean a nation with a large and powerful government that takes the position that it may redistribute the people’s wealth.
1. The welfare state is by nature violent because it takes wealth by force. In basically all instances the wealthy do not give up their wealth to the favored recipients without the use of force. Taxes are the use of force, for example. If one does not pay them, one is locked up or worse, fined horrendous amounts of money. I am saying this not to favor the rich in any way, but to bring up some of the problems of the welfare or redistribution state. Other ways wealth redistribution occurs in all states, but particularly when welfare is present is through tax breaks, government subsidies, government-granted monopolies and other mechanisms like these.
2. Welfare degrades individuals by making them dependent on handout from the state. It therefore demeans people, who ideally would like to care for themselves and control their own fates. This leads directly to crime because people who are simple, honest and hardworking resent the handouts. More important, hose that receive welfare, like spoiled children, develop an “entitlement mentality”. If they do not receive what they believe they are due or are owed, they will steal, lie and do all sorts of other nasty things to get their money or products “fix”.
3. The welfare state proposes that problems such as crime are not our responsibility. Instead they are the responsibility of the police or some social welfare agency. Can this do anything but diminish the sense of personal responsibility for crime and other social problems?
4. The welfare state also encourages crime through its arbitrary and often secretive ways of redistributing income, goods and more. Not only does the welfare and warfare state redistribute money and goods, but it does so arbitrarily. That is, it does not follow any logical rules. Rather, whomever has the lobbying power to pass legislation in their favor wins. This highly arbitrary method of doing business discourages and angers the people who do not receive the largess of the government and can lead to stealing. Once again, it is perceived that the government favors certain groups arbitrarily.
5. The welfare state always bankrupts the nation. This makes us all poorer. This alone causes crime in some cases. Also, it encourages crime when people believe that others have received all the money or goods.
The welfare state bankrupted many European nations years ago. It is in the process of bankrupting America unless we change our path. This is obvious to anyone who can read the budget numbers of the United States federal government and even state governments.
The government programs that are breaking the back of the national and state budgets are Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security at the national level and an array of often stupid welfare programs at the state level as well.
Meanwhile, left-leaning politicians, who are the ones who like the welfare system the most, tell us the lie that our money is going for defense or even the space program and that is breaking the budget. This is simply untrue. While we may spend more than is needed on these, they are at least important and not just a total waste of effort.
One personal example of welfare will illustrate the point. My father c and did easily pay for his reading glasses when he developed macular degeneration at the age of 93. However, the government of Arizona decided to give him almost a dozen pairs of binocular reading glasses plus magnifying glasses and other items because he “qualified” under some program for the blind. (He was not blind.) The glasses just sat in his room until he died, when I gave them away rather than toss them in the garbage. The time and money spent was totally wasted as I never saw him wear any of these government gifts. This is the welfare state, pure and simple.
Hundreds of other government handout programs could be cited, including some huge ones such as farm subsidies, sugar support programs and many, many more. Everything from oil to airplanes to food are subsidized at times in a welfare state, which tries to control everything it can with these programs.
The welfare state in America and elsewhere usually just grows larger. It is disguised in budget discussions on television by the pundits calling it “entitlements” or non-“discretionary spending”. These are lies, pure and simple.
Programs like Medicare are not entitlements. Why should one be entitled to money or health care just for reaching the age of 65, or even because one has not worked as hard as another and therefore is “below the poverty line” whatever that means?
Also, all spending of money, especially other people’s money, is discretionary, so the term non-discretionary is also fake and misleading to the public.
In reality, these are simply decisions that have been made at certain levels of government, not entitlements. The best people to support would be children, but we find that most of the programs are for the middle aged or older. This, of course, has to do with lobbying. The AARP (American Association of Retired People) and other old age groups are simply more powerful than any child lobby on the planet.
They will say that they paid in to the welfare system so they should have the benefits. However, in fact, the costs are far higher than what was paid in. This is because of inflation, mainly, but also because of insatiable demand by people when services are “free” or low cost. So they are not really paid for. I have nothing against the elderly, and so I am using this as just an example of how things really work in a welfare state. If one accepts the premise of redistribution by force and by law, then all sorts of tricks can be played on people in the name of compassion, good, fairness and so forth. That is the point. Once again, I am not proposing that the rich should have all the money and the poor should get poorer, as is happening today. In fact, a proper tax system would stop all that, as would honest money. Oddly, the welfare state has done the opposite. Rich and poor are further apart today than they were 25 years ago and it is getting worse in spite of income taxes and hundreds of welfare programs for the poor and disadvantaged. This is due to corruption and inflation, an important subject that is discussed in a separate article. Click here to read about Inflation, The Hidden Tax on the Poor.
6. The welfare state encourages crime by destroying the positive and honest ambitions and values of the people. Children become wards of the state, for example, because child protective services decides who stays with parents who “abuse” children and who does not. This very fact discourages parents from caring their children, just as welfare rewards pregnant mothers who have no husbands, thus damaging the institution of marriage. Sexuality is usually loose in welfare states, especially in Europe but more in America as well. This is because the state teaches the children in its public schools, an enormous welfare program that ruins the minds of the children.
These are harsh words, but not harsh enough in my opinion. A separate article on this site deals with this. Click here to read more about the public school system and its problems. Sexual dysfunction is encouraged in most welfare states because it weakens the people’s resolve and takes their minds off the truth. Schools teach lies about sex, such as that it is fine for children and yes, that is taught today in most “public schools”, another fake term for government schools. The leaders are well aware that if children are taught incorrectly, they will grow up believing in entitlements and welfare and will make super subjects for their programs. This is unfortunately more true than many believe. It is sad how parents buy into the system, though it is encouraged because home-schooling or private schools are not given the same tax status as government schools, a great failing in all welfare systems.
The welfare state weakens the people’s resolve to protect themselves and their families. After all, why bother if the state will take care of the children, the pregnant teens and so much more.
7. The welfare state ruins the health of the people. This is discussed far more in an article I wrote called Why Do Kids Kill? Prozac and Other Horrors. This article exposes the lie of the welfare state control of our children in school with drugs and how it leads to criminal behavior in our youth, and now that the youth are growing older, in the entire population. This is such a large topic – the ruination of the children by the state with vaccines, for example, that it can only be touched upon here. Please read the article on Vaccination, however, as it will open your eyes if you are not familiar with how this “state-mandated” abomination is ruining our family’s lives.
8. The welfare state ruins the people’s courage. This may sound silly. However, people need courage to live. They need to learn to face hardships and disappointments and even deprivation. It builds character, it tempers the ill-tempered, it builds community like nothing else, it leads to successful businesses, it lead to a kind of spiritual development that is unlike any other.
Cradle to grave socialism or welfare stops people from questioning their faults and negative beliefs which prevents them from overcoming them with positive affirmations and meditation and other methods. Courage would force people to dig deep within and find answers to tough problems. The entire process of being courageous, brave and other noble qualities are the opposite of welfare. Private charity works with these qualities in people and encourages. Public or government charity such as welfare, hinders this development. This is a very important point that is seldom discussed in articles I have read on this subject.
To elaborate, the welfare mentality teaches the youth that theirs should be an easy life, with no risks, illness problems or adversity. They deserve better, it teaches. However, anyone who is thoughtful knows that adversity is good for people, as long as it does not destroy them.
Private welfare through churches and other organizations teaches generosity, discernment and much more. Government welfare teaches laziness, defensiveness, cheating and worse.
This is a moral problem with welfare states, but it is the most important problem and one that leads directly to the breakdown of family values and moral values, which in turn cannot help but result in crime of all kinds, including sexual, moral, political and the rest.
There is much more wrong with the welfare state. In the interest of space-saving, however, I will leave it here. Anyone who does not get the message is either not reading with honest intent or does not understand basic human motivation and desire for selfhood and self actualization. The welfare state is diametrically opposed to these two basic human needs and wants.
Before continuing on the subject of crime and delinquency, let me add that America, in contrast to Europe, was founded on the principles that whatever one earns rightfully, one should be able to keep. Also, another American legal principle is the role of government as the protector of individual rights and powers, not the supplier of welfare.
The US Constitution spells out clearly the roles of the government. Health care, education, and welfare are not among them. Government was not set up to be Robin Hood. These were added later by well-intentioned but ignorant men and women who thought they were “improving” on the concepts of the founders of the nation. Yet they fail to realize the founders were well aware of the welfare state, because that is how the king of England set up his government and many others. This was largely caused by public education, a controversial topic but a very important one if things are ever to change.
NON-FORCE METHODS OF WEALTH REDISTRIBUTION
There is a natural method of wealth redistribution that works exceedingly well. It is called a graduated national sales tax. Those who want to buy luxury items, the rich, would pay more taxes and slowly redistribution would occur without force. This is the key – without force. It is a tax, but the wealthy could decide not to buy the fancy house or fancy car and save the tax money. This is why it is without force. It is time to investigate these methods of wealth redistribution that are not welfare and do not take from the rich and others to give to the supposed poor. The latter, which is basically a tenet of communism, doesn’t work anyway, as statistics today prove amply well.
Another method to help redistribute wealth, or at least stop its continuing concentration in the hands of bankers, in particular, and creditors in general, is having honest money. Honest money would, in fact, deflate, instead of inflate, over time. This would occur because technological progress would make the necessities of life, in particular, cost less. We get better at making things, growing things and so forth. When this happens, one’s paycheck goes further, not as things are today. This means that the working men and women would suddenly find they have more money to spend and more real wealth, unlike today. Also, those with money would find it worth more, so they would hoard it less. Money would slowly become less important and eventually would not be needed for necessities.
INCOME TAXES AND INFLATION, DUAL EVILS THAT LEAD TO CRIME
Our leaders really think the poor people are so stupid they believe the lies of the leaders and will just tolerate higher prices for necessities like food and gasoline. The reality is, people know that something is wrong here, but they do not understand inflation and the huge waste of taxes in America and around the world. Many end up lashing out in protest, and this is a source of crime. I fear it will only increase as inflation takes it toll on the lives of more people.
Taxes must be understood for what they really are. They are a way to take the people’s money by force at the point of a gun, to support the government. Now some taxes are needed, so the question is which taxes are fairest and do not favor the rich, or any one group over another. That is the only important question. Yet we spend years debating the tax rates, tax collection methods and so forth. These should be side questions only. Since all taxes are coercive, the issue is which taxes are best.
I would submit that sales taxes are best. They are transparent, meaning that they are clearly shown on your bill and not hidden in the price of the car you buy or in fine print on your electric or phone bill. They are also easy for anyone to calculate, unlike income taxes and many others that are so difficult even the accountants have a rough time. They are also largely voluntary. This means that if you really do not want to pay the sales tax, do not buy the item. If sales tax were applied only to luxury items, such as cars costing more than $30,000.00, for example, this would easily be possible for anyone. Another advantage of the sales tax is that it does not require every American and all businesses to spend large amounts on lawyers, accountants, tax preparers, computer programs and much more. Also, enforcement is relatively simple and cheap. Also, paperwork is minimal for the government and for businesses, although they should be compensated for acting as tax collectors. It is time for better tax system.
Taxes that are coercive increase rage and frustration because they diminish freedoms and control over one's life. Many of the welfare programs also diminish the power of the family, one of the few institutions left to combat many social problems.
THE NO-FAULT SOCIETY
A myriad of excuses and justifications for criminal behavior have replaced the principle that everyone, including the criminal, is fully responsible for his actions.
The psychological theories of Freud and later behaviorism convinced many people that man is basically a glorified ape ruled by dark forces. Man, they say, is a stimulus-response animal with little or no free will. These deterministic philosophies downplay or deny the idea that a person always has a choice about his behavior.
The medical and psychological professions contribute to the excuse-making by labeling all social problems as 'diseases to be treated', whether it be alcoholism, wife-beating or child-molesting. While indeed they are disease conditions, many people feel that diseases are not our fault.
The sociological excuse for crime is summed up in a line from the play, West Side Story, in which a gang member tells officer Krupke: "We're depraved on account of we're deprived". This is the idea that poverty causes crime. Facts, however, prove otherwise. For example, Chinatown in San Francisco in the 1960's had very low crime rates in spite of extreme poverty, unemployment, substandard housing and other deprivations. White collar crime is rampant in America, and doesn't arise out of any ghetto. Many who grow up in poor areas do not become criminals. While poverty may be an influence, it is not the cause of crime.
The biological excuse is that crime is in the genes, or determined by race, body type, diet, etc. Nutrition can play a vital role in how we feel and behave. This is well-documented in books such as Diet, Crime and Delinquency by Alexander Schauss. Biochemical imbalances are an important factor in some criminal behavior. Nutritional correction has been shown in several studies to dramatically reduce recidivism rates among criminals. I hope someday it will be a treatment of choice. It is a cause of crime. However, it is not a reason to excuse criminal behavior.
In summary, excuse-making is the order of the day. The basic cry is "He couldn't help it, because...". It is no wonder that criminals and would-be criminals get the message - crime does pay. Your chances of getting caught are small, and if you are caught, you are likely to be enrolled in therapy rather than be severely punished.
CRIME AS A REFLECTION OF HYPOCRISY
Perhaps we excuse criminal behavior because we are in the habit of excusing our own irresponsible and selfish behavior. Many people today believe in what is called 'situational ethics'. This is a fancy term for 'anything goes, I do what I feel like'. Many are in rebellion against strict moral codes. It is true these codes often led to hypocrisy. But the rebellion against them is no better.
Hypocrisy or 'so-called goodness' breeds its opposite, the 'apparently bad'. Perhaps criminals can see the hypocrisy in society better than others. Unable or unwilling to reconcile the situation, they rebel against the established order.
Rather than focus on our own conduct, it is always easier to create a scapegoat - the horrible criminal, delinquent or drug pusher. The evening news repeats this theme daily. Who would watch the news if it reported that crime might be OUR fault for not living up to the Judeo-Christian principles we espouse?
Many busy themselves feeling sorry for criminals, feeling sorry for the victims or becoming an 'advocate' for prison reform or gun control, instead of putting their own house in order. It is a subtle way to assuage their guilt and avoid looking at their own lifestyles.
In the early 1990s, Mother Theresa attended a White House dinner. In front of president Clinton and the first lady, she told them to stop promoting abortions, which set an example of violence and murder for the whole society. It is a point of view to consider. Any time that human life is cheapened, it cheapens all human life. This does not imply that abortions should all be outlawed. It means, however, that promoting abortion is not a wise idea.
To control violence, some advocate the banning of firearms. However, guns are not the problem - it is people who misuse guns. In cities such as Orlando, Florida, where citizens are encouraged to own guns, there is less crime than in comparable cities in which gun ownership is discouraged. In cities with strict gun control laws, such as New York City and Washington, DC, crime rates have soared. Gun control is great for criminals and bad for everyone else.
Little mention is made of the role of firearms in preventing murders, rapes and robberies. Yet thousands of crimes are stopped every year by people using their firearms. There are some 200 million guns in America. Statistically, guns are extremely safe - much safer than cars and much safer than modern medical care. More gun laws are not the answer. The ones on the books are not enforced anyway. The gun laws mainly hinder law-abiding citizens from obtaining protection for themselves.
I don’t remember hearing on the news the simple fact that if passengers were allowed to carry firearms on planes, the September 11 disaster probably would not have occurred. Self-defense is a primary property right. Denying it to people leads to more crime.
It is interesting that most of the mass murderers who are cited as examples why guns should be banned were, at the time of their shooting spree, under psychiatric care and on Prozac. This has been well-documented. It does not speak well for these drugs.
Poverty, broken families, genetics and poor nutrition are influences, but not basic causes of crime. Gun ownership helps prevent crime.
Today our legal, medical and psychological system excuses, justifies, rationalizes and defends criminal behavior. The efforts of the excuse-makers fail dismally because they ignore the most vital factor - the free will of the criminal and the necessity for him to take full responsibility for his actions.
Also, there is much criminal activity among the leaders of the nation. Some people sense the hypocrisy of the leaders, contributing to their outrage. A fairer means of redistributing wealth is desperately needed. Erosion of the sacredness of life and property, and the right to defend it, also contribute to crime.
Most important, it is time we look more closely at ourselves and the excuses we make for our own behavior. We need to see if we excuse criminals because we are in the habit of excusing ourselves. A better attitude is to realize that there is nothing outside of ourselves. We contribute to all we see. Taking full responsibility for all that is, is the beginning of wisdom and of solving the problem of crime.
1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States, (Uniform Crime Reports, 1987).
2. R.J. Bidinotto, "Crime and Consequences", The Freeman, July 1989.
3. A. Schauss, Diet, Crime and Delinquency, Parker
House, Berkeley, Ca. 1983.