…and Why the Left Lies About It
The criminal should be of great interest to us. Despite all of the advantages and legacies of long-dead geniuses that society provides, the criminal chooses to risk his access to society.
The criminal risks different things, depending on the society and its values. In free societies, the criminal risks his rights. In equal societies, the criminal risks his privileges. If society is oppressive, then criminal behavior is glorified by the right-leaning. If society is stratified, then criminal behavior is glorified by the left-leaning. Those of us that are not statists could become the criminal if circumstances forced us.
So, what features of society are so unbearable to humanity that some choose to forfeit their standing in it?
Crime vs …?
Societies exist on a spectrum of free on one side and equal on the other. Freedom and equality are inversely related – that is, the more that we have of one, the less that we can have of the other, generally. Equality does not occur spontaneously in nature. Social animals tend to choose bare fairness over mandated equality, and the same appears to be true of civilization. Equality must be enforced at the cost of liberty. It must be regulated and taxed into existence. The extreme of such measures are tyranny. Freedom, on the other hand, is more naturally occurring but frightening for many people. The extreme of freedom is chaos. This study neglects the extremes but focuses on the nature of crime on this freedom-vs-equality spectrum.
What follows will be a statistical analysis. Please do not be intimidated. At the end, I will conclude with what I believe to be some rather profound facts about freedom, crime, the relationship between leftists and government, and beliefs of modern leftism.
[Naturally, I neglect societies that are neither completely free nor completely equal for variable isolation and for practical considerations since such societies tend to either not exist or not release data.]
Crime Index vs Freedom Index
Researchers can assign a crime index to a society, which is a standardized method to gauge crime rates. Researchers can do this for many societies until they have a dataset of societies with varying levels of crime. Researchers can also assign a freedom index to society, which is a measure of how much freedom people have in that society. The freedom index is also measured for many societies until a dataset is born.
I plotted those two data sets on the same graph, but of course, that is not good enough to gauge a relationship between two things. We have to conduct an objective measurement. So I fitted a linear regression model to the data, which is a fancy way of saying a line that passes through the data that minimizes the average distance of data points from the line.
Small values of the freedom index correlate to less freedom while 10 is the most freedom. You can see from the graph that more freedom means less crime. As freedom increases, crime decreases, or a lack of freedom causes more crime.
Now, to make sure that we don’t have so much randomness in our dataset that our measurement is arbitrary, we have to be a little bit more rigorous than that. Every measurement, whether taken in the physics lab or statistically, has an error. In other words, the true measurement is actually a range of values, or in this case, a range of different lines. Let’s make sure that the range of possible lines are not zero, because a zero slope to the line would mean that there is no relationship between crime and freedom. The image below includes the error (the “standard error” in statistical measurements). Take that error (1.094), subtract it from the slope (-5.063) to get the minimum slope of the line and then add it to the slope to get the maximum slope of the line. That gives us our range of values for our line, and it does not even come close to zero. We also have confidence intervals in the image below for the statisticians.
The relationship holds for our sample. Lack of Freedom = More Crime.
Crime vs. Inequality
Identical arguments hold for crime data and also equality data, but this time equality is measured to decrease with higher values. Unfortunately, there is a special interest problem with the equality indexes that is far less significant in the freedom index. With equality indices, I could only find adequate sample sizes of data that was produced by governments. Government cannot be trusted to provide information that may make itself look bad.
There are other methods of determining the relationship between equality and crime. One study isolates the relevant variables and logically concludes that absolute poverty, not inequality, results in increased crime. Unfortunately, while the study is sound, the conclusion is for a single country, China. At least in China, it has been proven that absolute poverty results in crime – the lack of having something to lose creates more crime, which should not be surprising.
Inequality has no observable relationship to crime rates.
The Criminal is Born from Oppression – The Very Thing that Creates Equality.
So far, my discoveries should not be particularly shocking. Criminals are motivated by what they lack. The criminal is not motivated by what others have. We could have extreme levels of inequality, but if the poorest man still has his basic needs and the freedom to improve his situation legally, then he is unlikely to risk what he has and what he could have by turning to dishonest means.
On the other hand, if he does not have the freedom to improve his situation legally, he will more likely turn to crime. People are more willing to risk their privileges and become the enemy of an oppressive state. People are less willing to risk their rights in a more free society. If a state emphasizes equality over freedom (and it will because it serves its interest to do so), then the state will have to become more powerful in order to mandate more equality. This comes at the cost of freedom and higher crime rates. Furthermore, more oppressive governments will also have more laws, so being classified as a criminal is more likely since more behavior is criminalized.
The relationship between equality and government is the key to understanding the relationship between the modern leftist and the state, and why their interests align so often. Each desires something that the other can provide. The leftists provide justification for the state to expand. The state provides a means for the leftist’s goals.
Equality of Opportunity vs. The Left
The equality of opportunity ideal simply states that all people should be judged based on their merit, that all people begin equal to each other, but may use their talents or hard work to rise above others. In the marketplace, opportunities are given to those with more merit than others. Another aspect of this ideal is that customers are not discriminated against – the goods or services of an endeavor will sell to all customers willing to buy and no customer will be charged more or less than another.
Equality of Opportunity: Producers of goods/services must be selected fairly by merit and buyers of goods/services are treated equally.
If society is free, and the state is not creating inequality by choosing to aid some businesses over others, then the ideal of equality of opportunity should naturally evolve. Businesses have to choose the best candidates in order to sell goods/services to the most customers. Businesses can’t afford to discriminate applicants based on anything other than merit, or their competitors will have better applicants and eventually produce better goods/services. Businesses can’t afford to discriminate customers (by charging some more than others, for instance) because people’s freedom to choose competitors will harm the business’s profit.
Again, this only works if society is free and equal. If a business has state privileges, it can afford to discriminate against applicants because state privileges will keep the business from failing, so it does not have to compete. Applicant discrimination will necessarily result in only hiring people that agree with the current state’s administration, since the business is being propped up by the current state’s administration. The privileged business can also afford to discriminate against its customers, since it receives funding via force (taxes from the state).
Equality of opportunity necessarily means that the state cannot (and should not) be involved in the economic sector. Without state involvement, people cannot afford to discriminate because it is not profitable. Discrimination does not produce good practical results.
Logically, what this means is that if a citizen does not want equality of opportunity, the citizen has to choose the state. The citizen has to advocate for expansion of the state, for more powers to the state. Anyone who is against equality of opportunity is necessarily a statist.
Freedom + Economic Equality = Equality of Opportunity
The moment that the state does become involved in the economic sector, equality of opportunity cannot exist, since some people are being privileged by the state over other people – people are not beginning at the same point.
Statism + Economic Sector = Inequality
Such relationships are precisely why the modern left incessantly focuses on merging the state (“public”) sector and the economic (“private”) sector; why the modern left obsesses over fiscal redistribution and tax increases to expand the state’s endeavors. Such measures produce unfairness, which is true inequality. Such measures limit freedom.
The modern leftist either believes that:
- Humanity must be controlled, which is the equivalent of claiming that freedom is immoral. Such a belief is obviously tyrannical. As is the case with the hierarchical system that is required for tyranny to exist, such a belief also means inequality. Or…
- All power disparities are immoral, which is the equivalent of claiming that individuality is immoral. This belief follows from the fact that equality of opportunity (meritocracy, fairness, etc.) produces power disparities in society. Since people are not being discriminated except by what they can (and have) personally achieved, in a meritocracy many people will have more or receive less than others. Fairness results in a lack of equal outcomes. Such disparity of outcomes results from individual variation between different people. The leftist believes that individualism is wrong or that the results of individualism are wrong.
In either scenario, state or institution involvement is necessary to force a certain outcome. Even for the leftists that believe in the latter, that All power disparities are immoral, such leftists are still statists. That is, such leftists want the state to force their morality onto everyone else.
The “crime is caused by inequality” argument is the newest form of statistpropaganda.