Reader mjs alerts me to a Slate article pointing to the reason crime has continued to decrease even as the recession and its aftermath linger.
Now it's a little odd that anyone would feel the need to "explain" a new cause for the continuation of a trend that's been underway for 20 years or so. But when you see what the explantion is, and who's pushing it, the oddness vanishes.
The theory is that crime has continued to decline because Barack Obama got elected, and the cheerleaders for this theory are -- you guessed it -- a bunch of academics who were swooning for exactly that!
Yes, the article does begin with a mumbled admission that the reasons for the generation-long drop in crime are already fairly well understood. It even admits, albeit quickly and quietly, that increased incarceration and more aggressive policing are in the mix. But the real reason, you see, is that Obama's election has "given the government more legitimacy."
Let's accept this conclusion arguendo, notwithstanding the fact that the government beforehand was perfectly "legitimate" under any comprehensible standard, whether or not you would have preferred Kerry to win the 2004 election.
The new argument is baloney anyway, because its tacit premise is absurd. The premise is that the folks otherwise inclined to knock over the gas station or belt granny with a tire iron to get her purse are first assessing their "faith in governmental and social institutions," as opposed to, say, their desire for more moola.
You have to wonder whether the people pushing this theory have spent even ten minutes in a criminal courtroom. If they had, they might understand that the real reason people commit crime is to get money without working for it, and the real reason they refrain is when they think "governmental and social institutions" -- namely jail -- will be waiting for them if they get caught.