Today we are seeing what certainly looks like the beginning of the end of democracy in Iraq, such of it as there was. Al Qaeda-linked insurgents have, in the last 72 hours, simply wiped out government resistance in much of the north of the country. News reports say they are 40 miles from Baghdad.
And what, you may ask, does this have to do with crime and consequences?
A couple of things. One is that whatever law can now be said to exist in Iraq is about to be replaced with the Dark Ages, which is the less polite name of Sharia law -- the law that approves stoning gays to death, giving a thousand lashes to women who hold hands in public, and cutting off the hands of thieves, including thieves who are ten years old.
The other thing is that the ways of thinking that have led us to this point -- the ones listed in the title of this entry -- are exactly the attitudes behind the push to lower criminal penalties in this country.
Retreat to failed ideas pretends to be progress. Complacency about recent success struts as "reform." Wishful thinking pooh-poohs the painful lessons of the past. Weakness in confronting criminals masquerades as compassion. The things we know work to keep ordinary people safe are condemned as racist thuggery, while the things we know facilitate crime are lauded as the New Enlightenment.
We are about to see what these ways of thinking bring to the people this Administration has deserted in Iraq. If the "Incarceration Nation" crowd wins, we won't have to wait long to see what they bring law-abiding people right here at home.