The debate about the "root causes" of crime seems never to end. Some think it's poverty and/or racism. Some think it's a culture of dependency and excuse-making -- the culture, in a word, of the welfare state. I'm sure four dozen other reasons have been suggested at one time or another.
From a surprising source comes an account that links poverty and the culture of dependency as feeding on one another to deprive people -- children in particular -- of the opportunity for a better, more wholesome and productive life. The article does not directly attribute crime to this noxious mix, but for those us who've been writing in the field, the link is obvious and telling.
I don't agree with everything in the article, not by a long shot, but it's bracing and refreshing to have longtime progressive Nicholas Kristof, writing in the New York Times, of all papers, take an honest look at how the welfare state can incentivize the very attitudes and behaviors that liberals maintain help breed crime.