2007 July 22 Sunday
Adults Fear Youths In Worst Neighborhoods

I recall years ago reading an essay by Charles Murray where he said once illegitimacy passes some threshold adults no longer control neighborhoods. That is, parenthetically, an argument against letting in immigrant groups that have high rates of illegitimacy and single parent households. Well, in those neighborhoods where the adults lose control adults are afraid to tell the youthful criminals to stop their activities.

A study of young, violent criminals in New York City found that they used fear and intimidation to keep adults from interfering with their criminal activities.

Almost 40 percent of the young offenders interviewed said that adults' fear of teens was the defining characteristic of their relations.

As a result, in many situations, adults ignored criminal activity by teens and young adults, findings showed.

These results suggest that one of the usual prescriptions for ending youth violence -- more informal social control by neighborhood adults -- may not be realistic in some violent neighborhoods.

Putting all the criminals into jail and keeping them there long enough to allow the law abiding to restore order is one approach that could work. If a neighborhood's law abiding adults can't restrain its youths then the criminal element needs to get put in jail in very large numbers.

"There are these somewhat naive notions that the key to reducing violence is to create these close ties with neighbors, where adults can provide informal social control over teens," said Deanna Wilkinson, author of the study and associate professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University.

"That's not going to work in neighborhoods where relations between adults and young people are governed by fear."

We need a male birth control device that youthful street criminals could be put on as a condition of probation. At least that way these thugs wouldn't knock up women to create new generations of criminals.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 July 22 10:14 PM  Civilizations Order Maintenance


Comments
Jerry Martinson said at July 23, 2007 12:03 AM:

Randall said:

"We need a male birth control device that youthful street criminals could be put on as a condition of probation. At least that way these thugs wouldn't knock up women to create new generations of criminals."

Without commenting on whether or not I think this is a good idea, the technology to do this already exists.

Convicts could have adequate samples of their sperm frozen and then be given vasectomies in exchange for earlier release or parole. This has the advantage that only through deliberate and considered action can ex-cons procreate. One could argue that this would not substantially violate their rights since they still are very likely to have children if they so choose to later in life and the procedure has a fairly low complication rate. Eugenicists and environmentalists (i.e. Nature/Nuture) could both justify this. Most would agree that newly released ex-cons make poor fathers from both perspectives.

Of course the eugenicist argument for this makes the assumption that a large number of criminal traits are not X-linked (like many variances in human cognition are thought to be), otherwise it wouldn't work. Or that someday earlier identification and treatment (likely with psychiatric medication) might neutralize these genes making this all unnecessary. I've always been disappointed with the failure of psychiatry to come up with medication that can reduce recidivism but someday this might work.


Big Bill said at July 23, 2007 4:31 AM:

Why ask them not to reproduce? I suspect there are low levels of chemicals or radiation that would do the job just fine with no one the wiser. Preferably a common chemical taken orally.

Some national groups have 30% of their male population in prison. It would do worlds of good (eugenically) to just sterilize the prison population sub rosa and be done with it. They have limited IQ, would doubtless never discover they were sterile; if they did, no one would really give a damn; and they themselves would scarcely have the money to treat the problem, let alone try to cure it.

The lack of need for any followup would virtually guarantee the program's secrecy. There would be no need to check for sterility, since the goal would be quantity sterilization, and not insuring that any particular individual was sterilized.

I would suspect that within two generations, maximum, there would be a significant pacification of the population and rise in national IQ. Given the gross infidelity of these populations (generally) and the poverty of the criminal element, if their women had problems conceiving they would doubtless find another male to impregnate them, and thus there would be no strange population statistics to trigger alarm or epidemiological analysis.

And don't think the practicality and probability of this has not dawned on the ignorant peasant masses around the world. Whenever there is some generous First World immunization campaign in Third World states like India, Pakistan, or any African country, there is always a significant portion of the population that figures the real purpose of the program is to sterilize the recipients. They know they really have no business reproducing their poverty, and to them it seems painfully obvious what the real solution to the problem is. Let's take them up on it!

Reality Czech said at July 23, 2007 9:01 AM:

This used to be done by female sterilization in hospitals (it only takes one fertile male to knock up dozens of women).  The Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional, asserting a right to reproduce.

Trying to do this despite the law would mean creating an immense conspiracy with thousands of participants and depending on none of them to tell.  Good luck with that.

Anon said at July 23, 2007 9:34 AM:

Why not pay these low life individuals to get sterilized, both men and women? Say $25,000, or why not a cool $50,000? Sure is a hell of a lot cheaper than raising the subsequent filth who will grow up to be criminals and keep the cycle going. It is money well spent. If I was wealthy, I'd start my own private cash payout program today.

adrian said at July 23, 2007 1:59 PM:

'Civilization Order Maintenance' is a pretty cool tag, you should use it more often.

expat said at July 23, 2007 2:10 PM:

"There are these somewhat naive notions that the key to reducing violence is to create these close ties with neighbors, where adults can provide informal social control over teens," said Deanna Wilkinson, author of the study and associate professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University.
"That's not going to work in neighborhoods where relations between adults and young people are governed by fear."

How could a "professor of human development and family science" speak so sensibly? A new age of miracles may be upon us.

Dragon Horse said at July 23, 2007 3:14 PM:

The crime rate was much higher previously in all developed nations. Steven Pinker, "History of Violence" tells us this.

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/pinker07/pinker07_index.html


I you honestly sterilized all criminals since the beginning of the Enlightenment I'm pretty sure that many of you would not be alive to write this stuff now. I'm pretty sure that (like it or not) we are all descendants of rapist and also murders. Even in the U.S. the crime rate is quite low by historical standards.

It is a falsehood that violent crime is worse, that is media fantasy that too many of us buy into. Close to half the people in prison today are in jail for nonviolent drug offenses. 100 years ago these drugs were not illegal...hell even 50 years ago some of these drugs were not illegal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States

The murder rate is currently about what it was in 1960.

The overall violent crime rate in 1975 was higher than now.

Rape is high...but actually lower than Canada:

" For rapes, the rate in 1997 was 89.19 for Canada, 1.31 for Japan, and 35.93 for USA."

http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/rwinslow/namerica/canada.html

I know this was 10 years ago but still...


The crime epidemic I'm not seeing.

According for the US BJS:

"In 2005 27 out of 1,000 African Americans became the victim of a violent crime, compared to 20 out of every 1,000 White Americans. " Pinker said that, "It is not surprising, then, that when African American teenagers are taken out of underclass neighborhoods they are no more violent or delinquent than white teenagers." (Pinker 2002, pg. 329).

Yes it is higher but not insane, considering 7% of whites live in poverty and about 20% of blacks.

Now, I'm not arguing there is not a crime problem. There is. However if this is a "problem" it has been a problem or a crisis for almost 40 years. Somehow after a few years I think it can't be called a crisis anymore.

If you really want to stop a lot of violent crime, especially in poor urban neighborhoods you will fight for the legalization and regulation of drugs. If drugs are legal, drug gangs can not compete with the economy of scale and will be out of business as far as drugs are concerned.

This lowers crime because many murders in these areas are "drug related" meaning the people kill each other over competition to sell drugs or theft of drugs. This people are criminals and can not go to the law to address these issues so they take it into their own hand. So as Steven Pinker says "you have the code" of the streets. Sowell said (and Pinker agreed in the "Blank Slate") that when you have a situation like this people resort to a "honor code" doesn't matter if it is South Central L.A., Iraq, or Afghanistan. Being you can't rely on the law, you have to take matters into your own hands, because any disrespect makes you appear weak, an easy target for someone who will gladly take what is yours or displace you.

Our current system of building more and more prisons is unsustainable unless you want a police state similar to China. Sterilizing people, even voluntarily will not pass political muster, not in the foreseeable future. We can not currently change biology but we can do more on the environmental side I think to limit the crime that we do have.

The Superfluous Man said at July 23, 2007 4:05 PM:

Outright sterilization wouldn't fly, not in the current climate.

Mr. Martinson, two comments:
You said, "Of course the eugenicist argument for this makes the assumption that a large number of criminal traits are not X-linked (like many variances in human cognition are thought to be),"
Yes, but the frequency of those genes, even if X-linked, is now reduced, having been taken out of the population.
Secondly, environmentalists tend to have other ideological baggage, i.e., they are often liberals, even outside the nature debate. And liberals are uncomfortable with making such discriminatory choices. See this article ( http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070730/berger ) from the Nation advocating the regulation of PGD - these are the exact same people who have been stumping for 'reproductive freedom.' The thought of choosing one person over another, or, more likely, recognizing certain traits as inherently undesirable, and by extension the bearers of those traits, makes them uneasy. They have an obsession with equality, and most any sort of hierarchical distinction bothers them.

Big Bill, you said: "Some national groups have 30% of their male population in prison."
You're talking about blacks, and you're wrong. The statistic you mangled is 26% of black males go to prison or are arrested in the course of their life, I forget which (though I'm certain about the proportion).

Dragon Horse, you quoted Pinker saying, "In 2005 27 out of 1,000 African Americans became the victim of a violent crime, compared to 20 out of every 1,000 White Americans. " Pinker said that, "It is not surprising, then, that when African American teenagers are taken out of underclass neighborhoods they are no more violent or delinquent than white teenagers." (Pinker 2002, pg. 329).

That's a total non sequitur - the second part doesn't follow from the first.

adrian said at July 23, 2007 4:16 PM:

John Reid, British Home Secretary, said anti-depressants (which lower libido) should be given to sex offenders.

Dragon Horse said at July 23, 2007 5:01 PM:

The Superfluous Man:

Sorry, the rate of crime by race was taken from the link above from Wiki which sites Department of Justice Stats.

Pinker quote is talking about norming for environment. He sites a study that shows when black teens are taken out of violent neighborhoods they move toward the white norm.

Two different things.

Dragon Horse said at July 23, 2007 5:31 PM:

I think we should add some more numbers to Big J's claim.

You are right The Superfluous Man, about 26% of black males go to jail over the course of their lives, black males breaks down like this:

Blacks are about 13% of the U.S. Population so out of 300 million that is roughly 39 million. That is black non-Hispanics.

Black males are like 48% or so of the black population, so about 19 million. 26% of them go to jail at some point (so that is due to a felony), a little over 4 million. What are the independent variables that have led to this higher crime? Also one thing you should think about is...if the murder rate has not risen, but the black crime rate and murder rate has, that means in the last 40 years the white crime rate had to decrease significantly, and the black and Hispanic one has increased, what caused the white murder rate to decrease, what caused it to decrease so much in Europe from 100 years ago, according to Pinker it was quite high in almost every Western European nation as compared to today.

Thing is the black crime rate was not always this high. Even when the black unemployment rate was about 60% in 1960, today it is only 20% but the crime rate for black males is much higher. What we have also seen, is something Randall talks about, that the bar to entering a well paying profession is much higher. In 1960 a man with a strong back could get a manufacturing job on "a line" where he could afford to have 4 kids, a wife, and own a home (as my grandfather did) who could barely read the paper everyday (although he always did or tried). Today I have a Master's degree and I'm 30 and own a small condo and have a wife and no kids. Don't have two new cars in the drive way either, more like one older Japanese sedan. Hmmmm...

As was discussed on Marginal Revolutions awhile ago the gap between those with a college education and those without is increasing even if the "average" America is better off, the poorest and least educated are actually worse off and have less ability to climb up the social ladder.

This is also a reason why the black American population has one of the highest class statifications of any group in the country. Hispanics are about as wealthy as blacks, but they group much more around the mean, blacks have far more in the way of extremes:

ABOUT BLACK AMERICANS - INCOME
2004 University of Georgia Selig Center study, U.S. Census Bureau, National Black Chamber of Commerce, Target Market News, 2004 NUL "State of Black America" Report

74% live above the poverty line (vs. 10% in 1940 and 45% in 1960). All-time high above poverty: 79% in 2001
5% rich, 44% middle class, 27% working class, 24% poor (2004)
Overall median household income: $$37,000 (2000). Median income for married households: $48,000 (2002)
Top 5 states with highest median black household income: New Hampshire $43,574, Alaska $42,887, Maryland $41,652,
Hawaii $41,032, New Jersey $38,513

In any case I think we should recognize that sometimes what is logical and rational is not always humane. It is rational to locate any woman who is poor and pregnant and force her to have an abortion and sterilize her. It is logical to take any male criminal and execute them before they can procreate. Most humans have a adverse reaction to such talk, as they should. We are not robots. If we did these things we would probably have prevent a hell of a lot of artist, writers, musicians (especially blues and jazz not to mention hip hop and rock), and other notables. No Niel Degrasse Tyson http://research.amnh.org/users/tyson/, no Oprah (who is today a billionaire).

Thing is that every criminal or poor person is not dull mentally. I doubt many drug dealers who have 5 or 6 people working under them, handling millions in product a year are stupid individuals. Sean Puffy Combs's father was a "street thug" but he is a multimillionaire who owns several businesses, famous music producer (if you like his music or not).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Combs

50 Cents was a violent street thug, drug dealer...turned rapper, not he has over 400 million dollars from business ventures.

http://music.aol.com/popeater/2007/05/26/50-cent-is-going-straight-to-the-bank/

I can go on and on with this. Point is we are talking about averages. the average criminal in jail is a moron, but not all of them are, maybe 20% are not...maybe more. Every child born to them will not be a criminal, although they have a higher rate, the reality is the majority will not be criminals just a higher rate than the average population.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying people should procreate willy nilly, what I'm saying is we don't need extreme solutions to a problem that I feel is blown way out of proportion based on the numbers.

There is still a lot we can do with sensible policies that are humane that we are not doing.

Randall Parker said at July 23, 2007 8:17 PM:

adrian,

I just added that 'Civilization Order Maintenance' tag. Yes, I will be using it more often. It is an important topic.

Aside: I'm thoroughly bored with Iraq and with waiting for the elites and the public to get a clue on it.

Randall Parker said at July 23, 2007 8:24 PM:

Anon,

Barbara Harris offers money to female junkies to get sterilized. See her Project Prevention web site. It is a great cause if you wanted to donate.

I like the idea of offering money to convicts to get sterilized just before they are going to get released from prison. The younger they are at the time of release the greater should be the cash prize.

Randall Parker said at July 23, 2007 8:28 PM:

Dragon Horse,

You are missing the difference between the crime rate and criminality rate. The latter is much higher.

Why isn't the crime rate higher? A few reasons:

1) Technology for catching criminals. e.g. DNA tests catch rapists before they attack more women.

2) Technology for asking for help. Cell phones bring police more rapidly everywhere.

3) Technology for protecting facilities. This didn't use to be necessary in many areas where it is necessary now.

4) More people in prison. We keep the crime rate down even as the criminality rate goes up because we keep criminals locked up for larger portions of their total lives.

Jerry Martinson said at July 24, 2007 3:13 AM:

While I commented before about its technical and legal feasibility, I don't think that this is a good idea because I don't believe that we can predict behavior of offspring well enough (yet) to justify the effort of offering criminals sterilization in return for lighter terms.

The way I reason it, there are few people who truly have negative net social worth and there's currently no way to predict reliably enough whether a child resulting from a two parents of low or negative net social worth will have a negative net social worth. Obviously if you think there should only be 200 million people in the world instead of 20 billion people in the world, you'd want to be a lot more selective and your bar would rise to the point where most potential children right now have an unacceptable risk of being less than worthless..

Normatively, I think there should be more people in this world (and country) not fewer. Someday when we're at a clear limit, we'll have to somehow control reproduction. Have we really reached that limit yet? I still think the ecological footprint of humans can be brought down to where 20 billion or so people can live sustainably on the planet with reasonable per-capita material wealth. Obviously we can't sustainably support 20 billion living, if we assume that their going to live like we do now in American suburbs (that'd require triming down to 200 million or less). Despite the fact that this is how many prefer to live today, I'm not sure that this is necessary to live a happy life.

A bigger problem that this still leaves is that if there is an inhomogeneous underclass group that grows faster than the ruling group, you'll have political instability ultimately flipping to having idiots in charge. But isn't it better to attack this by mixing the groups up? Perhaps 30 or 40 years from now when we're at that 20 billion point, we'll be adept at modifying our genes so much better that we'll be able to tinker with ourselves so as to reduce crime and increase our cognitive capabilities.

Also, I believe there is an effect, although not terribly strong, where a man with criminal tendencies who fathers a child tends to settle that man down. Obviously this doesn't happen most of the time but it certainly happens some of the time. Having kids forces men to grow up a bit for those men who take fatherhood seriously.

Dragon Horse said at July 24, 2007 5:28 AM:

Randall:

I see what your saying. So you think the solution is to keep building prisons? Eventually these people will get out again. We know what the prison environment is like it either serves as a criminal college or it makes them crazy. Most people who go just go back off and on again in life. I don't see that as sustainable.

Randall Parker said at July 24, 2007 7:23 PM:

Dragon Horse,

I'd rather we find ways to cause people to not become criminals in the first place. We agree on the economic problem. The decline in black male labor market participation means that there are more idle hands available to work in the devil's workshop (to paraphrase my grandmother).

I'd also rather we find more inventive ways to protect ourselves. For example, I periodically mention how I think we should handle pedophiles: put them on islands with no children. No woman can go to such an island without having her tubes tied. No children means no victims and yet they can build houses, start companies, make things, provide services. This arrangement would be far cheaper and less brutal and more constructive than prisons.

One could do something similar with serial rapists. Though their islands would be a lot less civilized.

Where do this? How about a few of the Aleutians?

We really need to stop the immigration of low skilled workers and deport all the illegals. That would increase black labor market participation and decrease crime.

Dragon Horse said at July 25, 2007 7:50 AM:

"We really need to stop the immigration of low skilled workers and deport all the illegals. That would increase black labor market participation and decrease crime."

yes I agree with this. I think if we track the school system to teach "dull" people more real world skills that can generaet income and stop pretending everyone will go to college that will help. If you tell these kids that after they graduate they can make X amount of money as a carpenter or electrician and after 5 years they can make Y...many of them will not drop out of school (well the boys) because they see that they can get money to give them status. Most of these kids will respond to that, but not to abstract reasoning type stuff they barely understand and will not generate income for them.

Randall Parker said at July 25, 2007 2:04 PM:

Dragon Horse,

Agreed on the practical skills training.

I think that our educational system does a really really poor job of connecting courses taught with practical uses. Even smart people would learn more mathematics if they were taught more statistics and uses of statistics.

Brandon Stevens said at October 10, 2007 11:54 PM:

It is evil that any one would believe in forcing imprisoned people to be sterilized against their knowledge. I also agree legalizing drugs would stop lots of crime and keep many harmless people from going to jail.(although I don't know if legalizing drugs is the right thing to do.) Drug abusers, in some cases, just need help. Agree with the rapists on an island idea. How would you afford that though? No police for them or hospitals? A lot of tax money. Guess it's worth it.

Unbelievable... said at February 2, 2008 5:23 PM:

The earlier commentary by Jerry Martinson and Big Bill captures in my mind the exact nature of the type of institutionalized white racism that generates these impoverished urban conditions. It is unfortunate to me that individuals such as Martinson and Bill reside in our state and national legislatures, passing legislation that discriminates on the basis of class and race. If Martinson and Bill realized much of the crime committed in bad urban neighborhoods are crimes of necessity - committed under situations of desperation and dire need in neighborhoods where unemployment is high, jobs are scarce, and food is expensive - our country would be a better place.

The idea that Martinson and Bill could even BEGIN to imply the postulate that on a racial basis, somehow black and Latino people are of inferior intellect and of a criminal disposition is disgusting to me. Crime is a SOCIAL problem; not a racial one. Crime is lower in rich neighborhoods (white neighborhoods) because people have more disposable revenue - crime is higher in poorer neighborhoods because in many cases, it ends up being the most immediate and effective way to alleviate the strain of poverty. Ever considered what people DO with their money after they steal for it, hustle for it, or even kill for it? Come out from under the rock - they're buying diapers, food, clothing for their children: stuff you rich white people take for granted.

If you want the real criminals, the real terrorists - I tell you white people - look at yourselves. The average white American family has three times more money than the average black American family (Economist). How did THAT happen? Don't mislead yourselves - it has nothing to do with innate racial ability; it has everything to do with black families had no assets, liquid or otherwise, at the end of slavery. This problem with immigration - wonder why that happens? Don't mislead yourselves - this white concept of the "illegal" Mexican immigrant is shameful; Mexican immigrants are here fleeing the poverty and corruption that is the Mexican economy; what's right here is to welcome them in, not deport them. Desperation. There's the root cause of your so-called "problem." That's why crime rates are high.

The solution here is economic. Improving schools, reducing white flight, providing stimulus packages - this is the sort of stuff we need to help out people who fundamentally deserve it. Sterilizing folks like cattle knowing they likely do not have the legal ability to DEFEND themselves possibly the most immoral and disgusting idea I've heard since white people sent Jews and homosexuals to concentration camps. Or Manzanar. Or Tulsa.

Damn. You should be ashamed of yourselves.


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