The Failure of Programs & Plans

So why do some people choose crime and not everyone?

As I said, some people''s characters are different than others. Some people decide to do wrong despite all they are told. Some people don''t think they are doing anything wrong at all; they hear from TV, parents, society that these things are wrong but completely disagree with them.

Ah, so you dispute the impact of environmental conditions on the emotional growth of a child. So if it is purely Nature and genetics that cause people to go astray, are you implying that since blacks commit proportionately more crime they are genetically defective?

And if it is that simple, I guess you are in favor of eradicating all of those useless programs aimed at rehabilitation and reform? And that, of course, brings us full circle with the original post in the thread. Very nicely done Rat.

Quote:
We can all agree that ultimately crime is a personal choice

Rat Boy wrote:
Umpteen posts later and he gets it.

You make these obvious statements that no one is disputing and then think you have stumbled on the secrets of the universe when someone else says something similar. Please.

"Rat Boy" wrote:

Is anyone else noting the irony that the conservatives are arguing nurture over nature?

There''s no irony here. If you take an 8 year-old and teach him to chop off the arms of villagers, he will do it. But morality (if it comes from God, as you claim) is an external thing. Teaching children to do these atrocities - a reality in Africa - is evil.Of coursechildren, and everyone have to be taught morals, and those morals have to be reinforced.

This isn''t a liberal idea. This is why children need parents with strong moral values, it is why children should go to Sunday school, and it is why schools need to teach students about integrity and fairness. Because if they are not given a good moral grounding, they are much more likely to go astray.

It also isn''t liberal to believe in nurture when it comes to crime. Conservatives believe that redemption is available to all, but we also know that the weak can succumb to temptation (and that, really, we are all weak). That is why it is paramount to create environments where people are taught that being ruled by that temptation is wrong, and it is important to teach people the discipline and techniques to resist bad influences.

Nature versus nurture? Obviously, the answer is both. The idea that you think one is dismissed by either political party tells me you don''t really understand the ideas behind nature, nurture, conservatives, or liberals.

I''m also not sure why you think Conservatives don''t try to correct external influences. It is what we have always done - through families and churches. We just don''t subscribe to the foolish notion that government can correct these external factors. In fact, it is apparent that government isn''t even looking at the correct factors to make a dent.

There is an objective right and wrong. It is taught. And people who reject it to commit crimes do so because they reject morality.

Got it?

PS - The only things a liberal would tell you versus a conservative is that the cutting off of arms by 8 year-olds isn''t evil, since there is no such thing.

There is an objective right and wrong.

Well I was with ya there for some time , but ya just lost me. I gotta split hairs on this one. There may be some more or less universally accepted standards of morality, murder, theft, etc. But just because we all agree it''s wrong doesn''t make it Objectively Wrong. Unless you created the universe you can''t say that with certainty.

There may be some more or less universally accepted standards of morality, murder, theft, etc. But just because we all agree it''s wrong doesn''t make it Objectively Wrong.

Well, you and I can discuss that dancing on the head of a pin.

There certainly are univerally accepted standards of right and wrong for humans. This is not to say that all - or even most - human behavior will measure up to this standard, but for the purposes of this thread, it is true enough.

Even if morality is manmade, it is still external to the individual. Society''s rules define much of the moral code, and again, this fits in with the concepts we are discussing here.

"JohnnyMoJo" wrote:

And if it is that simple, I guess you are in favor of eradicating all of those useless programs aimed at rehabilitation and reform? And that, of course, brings us full circle with the original post in the thread. Very nicely done Rat.

I thought making straw-man arguments was a bad thing around here.

"ralcydan" wrote:

This is why children need parents with strong moral values, it is why children should go to Sunday school, and it is why schools need to teach students about integrity and fairness.

And if they don''t work? Again, you have utterly failed to explain how somebody with all that seemingly positive upbringing can become a shop-lifter, a rapist, or a mass muderer.

Funny that you mention Sunday School; is the Christian way the only good way? Oh, wait, I guess I should have let JMJ ask that one.

Conservatives believe that redemption is available to all, but we also know that the weak can succumb to temptation (and that, really, we are all weak).

Conservatives believe that evil people are inherently evil from birth and good people are inherently good from birth. Don''t even bother to explain that people like Osama bin Ladin, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Adolf Hitler could have been good people; I just don''t buy it. If there was any chance at redemption, then you''d insist that the death penalty would be outlawed.

It is what we have always done - through families and churches.

Families and churches don''t create and enforce law.

We just don''t subscribe to the foolish notion that government can correct these external factors.

So, I guess you are going back on your assertion that deterence prevents crime?

It is taught. And people who reject it to commit crimes do so because they reject morality.

You all have been saying tonight that because fathers don''t teach their children morals, they commit crimes. From your view, how can they reject what they do not know?

Edit:

There''s no irony here.

I disagree. The very idea of nurture over nature precludes the possiblity of evil, since nobody is apparently responsible for their actions, it''s all due to the Twinkie.

Am I the only one that thinks that Rat doesn''t have a point?

Like I said, I was agreeing with you for most of it. But now me and Socrates are sitting here staring at you from the other side of that chasm of philosophical Objectivity you keep leaping over.

That''s ok though, you can hang out over there with Plato and his Ideal Chairs and sip Ideal Martini''s.

Am I the only one that thinks that Rat doesn''t have a point?

You know, every time I ask this of anybody else I get some smart-assed, juvenile retort saying, ""Read my damn posts!"" which in fact said little to nothing of substance in the first place. Weird. Maybe I should just quit these forums while I''m ahead.

"Rat Boy" wrote:

Conservatives believe that evil people are inherently evil from birth and good people are inherently good from birth.

No they don''t. And I wish you had made this statement at the beginning, so I would have known not to argue with someone on an issue they are so obviously ignorant about. Although, if this is your notion of what conservatives think, no wonder you are a liberal. If conservative thought actually did include this idea I wouldn''t be a conservative either.

"Rat Boy" wrote:

Families and churches don''t create and enforce law.

Which has nothing to do with their ability to influence the factors which contribute to crime.

We just don''t subscribe to the foolish notion that government can correct these external factors

Rat Boy wrote:
So, I guess you are going back on your assertion that deterence prevents crime?

Deterence isn''t intended to correct those factors leading to crime, it is intended to prevent crimes by people who already would be willing to do illegal acts otherwise.

"Rat Boy" wrote:

You all have been saying tonight that because fathers don''t teach their children morals, they commit crimes. From your view, how can they reject what they do not know?

And I''ve also stated very clearly that virtually every criminal can distinguish between right and wrong - those that cannot are insane. This is because people don''t learn morality from only one source. Children without fathers still learn about right and wrong. But the presence of good moral teaching isn''t just to inform someone of right and wrong once, it is to reinforce it through example and continual intervention. The more influences to do this the better, and conversely, the less influences, the harder time a person will have in life.

"Rat Boy" wrote:

The very idea of nurture over nature precludes the possiblity of evil, since nobody is apparently responsible for their actions, it''s all due to the Twinkie.

Huh? You may have officially lost it. I think you are trying to make some sort of statement about Determinism, but that has no part in conservative thought or my argument.

Which has nothing to do with their ability to influence the factors which contribute to crime.

But they are limited in defining what IS a crime. A church can say abortion is wrong all they want but it is still legal in the eyes of the law.

Deterence isn''t intended to correct those factors leading to crime, it is intended to prevent crimes by people who already would be willing to do illegal acts otherwise.

So are people who intend to do the act but don''t morally wrong? How can they be if they didn''t do it?

But the presence of good moral teaching isn''t just to inform someone of right and wrong once, it is to reinforce it through example and continual intervention.

Again, what happens when that doesn''t work? Ever heard of the ""He seemed like such a good kid"" scenario?

I think you are trying to make some sort of statement about Determinism, but that has no part in conservative thought or my argument.

Again, nurture over nature means that nobody is evil or responsible for their actions; it''s society''s fault. I guess you aren''t a real conservative, then. You put on such a good act, though...

Look at it this way:

Life is like an obstacle course. Barring actual physical or mental handicap, we all can make it across without falling down on one of the obstacles.

But those people who train first are going to have an easier time not making mistakes as each obstacle come up. Those who don''t get in shape can still make it without falling, but they are going to have to work harder at each stage, and focus all of their concentration on things that are easy for others.

Living a moral life is no different. If you are taught the basics, and both see them demonstrated in others and practice them yourself, you will have an easier time whenever an obstacle (tempation to do wrong) comes up. But without a father, you are missing half of your coaching right out of the gate. And worse, the example he set by leaving in the way he did taught you all the wrong moves.

See? No determinism. No one is fated to fail. Everyone can still make the choice and the effort to succeed. but it is undeniably easier for some than others.

"Rat Boy" wrote:

But they are limited in defining what IS a crime. A church can say abortion is wrong all they want but it is still legal in the eyes of the law.

Well, you said morals come from God - so I am not sure what you are arguing here.

"Rat Boy" wrote:

So are people who intend to do the act but don''t morally wrong? How can they be if they didn''t do it?

If the only thing keeping you from commiting a crime is the threat of punishment, then you are not a particularly moral person. You are an immoral coward.

"Rat Boy" wrote:

Again, what happens when that doesn''t work? Ever heard of the ""He seemed like such a good kid"" scenario?

I''m not the one claiming determinism, here. See my post above - it will all be clear. But you conveniently can''t support your position at all - if not you wouldn''t have dodged the question (again).

"Rat Boy" wrote:

Again, nurture over nature means that nobody is evil or responsible for their actions

You really have no idea what you are talking about. Neither the idea that natureornurture is dominant precludes the idea of free will. And you remain wholly ignorant of conservatism...but I already knew that.

The interesting thing about where this debate has turned merely proves the original point I made when starting this thread.

Social problems, such as crime, are astonishingly complex. And as such, it is the height of liberal arrogance to assume that anyone has the wisdom or the capability to solve any of these problems. The failed social policies of the last 40 years merely reinforce this fact.

It is outside the capacity of man to treat these issues as problems that can be solved. These are hard issues, with hard trade-offs. Not something that can be tidied up and solved with cash. Given that, I would love to see a push to end a great many of the social programs which do nothing but foster dependence and offer no solution in exchange.

"ralcydan" wrote:

Well, you said morals come from God - so I am not sure what you are arguing here.

So, is abortion immoral then if the church says so?

"Rat Boy" wrote:

If the only thing keeping you from commiting a crime is the threat of punishment, then you are not a particularly moral person. You are an immoral coward.

Ah, come on ral, certainly you haven''t been tempted to smack some guy for mouthing off at you or downloading an episode of your favorite TV show off of Kazaa no matter how wrong they are. Certainly the possibility of punishment tempers your actions.

"Rat Boy" wrote:

I''m not the one claiming determinism, here.

So you are saying that it is impossible for a criminal to come from a ""whole"" family? That if you tell your children right from wrong and monitor their behavior when possible, it is impossible for them commit a crime?

Neither the idea that natureornurture is dominant precludes the idea of free will.

Again, this is not what you and the others have argued. You have argued that a lack of parental advice causes children to turn to crime. Causality is at the VERY HEART of determinism. I guess you are in fact arguing determinism.

And you remain wholly ignorant of conservatism...but I already knew that.

Funny, you claim to be a conservative, but you have just spent the past few hours reciting chapter and verse from the ""Liberal Bible of Not Taking Responsibility for your Own Decisions."" Please.

I may be stupid but how would someone who was ""born bad"" be evil or responsible or his actions? The circumstances of one''s birth are something you truly have no control over. At least you can pick your friends who have influence over you. I think Rat has Nurture and Nature backwards.

Edit: This means I don''t think anyone is born evil.

Conservatives believe that redemption is available to all, but we also know that the weak can succumb to temptation (and that, really, we are all weak). That is why it is paramount to create environments where people are taught that being ruled by that temptation is wrong, and it is important to teach people the discipline and techniques to resist bad influences.

Ah yes, this is why US conservatives traditionally are such staunch advocators of the rehabilitation of prisoners, is it not?

Ahem. Anyway, back to the assertion that the failure of the family is the cause of crime, well...I dunno. While I do agree that a stable home is A Jolly Good Thing for producing upstanding members of society, it seems like you''re stopping a bit short of the real cause. A bit like saying the early symptoms are the cause of a disease when it''s really some nasty virus. Families just don''t spontaneously desintegrate in such numbers, do they?

Again, this is not what you and the others have argued. You have argued that a lack of parental advice causes children to turn to crime. Causality is at the VERY HEART of determinism. I guess you are in fact arguing determinism.

Rat, there is a difference between contributing factors and causality. I have never once stated causality, and have gone out of my way to explain that I explicitly do not believe in determinism. So since you have no argument to make of your own, and additionally cannot even follow what is being said by others, what is your point here?

"Alien Love Gardener" wrote:

Ah yes, this is why US conservatives traditionally are such staunch advocators of the rehabilitation of prisoners, is it not?

You assume that punishment isn''t a legitimate form of rehabilitation... Having said that, I''m not going to try and argue that the prison system isn''t badly in need of reform. Punishment may be both necessary and helpful in rehabilitation, but that doesn''t mean we are doing it well currently.

Anyway, back to the assertion that the failure of the family is the cause of crime, well...I dunno. While I do agree that a stable home is A Jolly Good Thing for producing upstanding members of society, it seems like you''re stopping a bit short of the real cause. A bit like saying the early symptoms are the cause of a disease when it''s really some nasty virus. Families just don''t spontaneously desintegrate in such numbers, do they?

This is why I said in my first post on the subject that crime is caused by a lack of morals - which ultimately is an internal factor, not an external one. We gain moral teachings from a variety of sources, and have them reinforced by lessons from ourselves and others. Fatherlessness is a great danger because it removes one of the earliest and strongest pillars for that grounding.

You are correct ALG in that ""families just don''t spontaneously disintegrate"", and it is worthwhile to look at causes (still different than ""causality"" for the slow learners ). I do think that the explanation for much of the situation is straightforward, even if the solution isn''t.

Having sex for gratification and then abandoning one''s responsibility is wrong, as it makes it much harder for children raised without one parent to succeed. Plus this behavior sets an example for the child, who is more likely to perpetuate it himself. Add in the idea that this behavior is actually a norm in the community, and it becomes harder and harder not to have this situation become a cycle.

At this point in this thread, I have to point out that to my knowledge no one has even brought up slavery. I started to write a post last night about how I felt culture was no less important than a father figure in passing along values and mores to children, and how slavery and segregation almost certainly shattered that method of teaching. Then I stopped because I wasn''t sure where I was going, and it was late.

If we''re going to single out things about african-americans that are different, like crime statistics, how can we not even mention the thing that most sets them apart from other ethnicities, in terms of american history?

If we''re going to single out things about african-americans that are different, like crime statistics, how can we not even mention the thing that most sets them apart from other ethnicities, in terms of american history?

Because the problems of crime, illegitimacy, and even poverty were all stable and getting even better in the black community up until 1960. It is hard to argue that slavery''s detrimental effect waited 100 years to kick in...

Ral is correct in this. From 1860 to 1960, the black family was the strongest family unit in the US. There is no such thing as a ''Legacy of Slavery'', at least from a social issues standpoint, other than in the eyes of the NAACP.

"Ockham" wrote:

If we''re going to single out things about african-americans that are different, like crime statistics, how can we not even mention the thing that most sets them apart from other ethnicities, in terms of american history?

This could very well be a contributor to the problems in that community. But, if so, what is to be done? I don''t think slavery reparations, affirmative action, pats on the back, etc. are going to help affect the mindset that this sort of oppression has perpetuated within the community. That''s just pandering and placating. Dealing with the baggage of slavery is an incredibly complex issue to tackle... and I''m not sure it can effectively be confronted by any one other than a member of that community who truely understands its implications. The government really has no place here.

"JohnnyMoJo" wrote:

Social problems, such as crime, are astonishingly complex. And as such, it is the height of liberal arrogance to assume that anyone has the wisdom or the capability to solve any of these problems. The failed social policies of the last 40 years merely reinforce this fact. (snip)

...

I would love to see a push to end a great many of the social programs which do nothing but foster dependence and offer no solution in exchange.

So, only liberals think that these problems can be solved? There seems to be no shortage of conservative idea''s on solving our social ills.

I''m not saying that I think that our social policies (liberal or conservative) are a raging success but, if we re-work our programs, re-constitute them after 40 years of learning from what didn''t work with them, and what did, I think that is better than just throwing them out.

JohnnyMoJo wrote:
Social problems, such as crime, are astonishingly complex. And as such, it is the height of liberal arrogance to assume that anyone has the wisdom or the capability to solve any of these problems.

Belt500 wrote:
So, only liberals think that these problems can be solved? There seems to be no shortage of conservative idea''s on solving our social ills.

I think part of JMJ''s problem may be the ""one"" in ""anyone"". Social problems are the result of millions of people making individual decisions over the course of multiple generations. The idea that an individual or small group of enlightened souls can pass any law that is going to fix them is arrogant. Liberals aren''t the only ones who think these problems can be solved (although ""solved"" is probably too strong of a word - we will always have crime, poverty, etc. in some form), but conseravtives believe that these problems are best addressed by the people who are directly involved in them - family, friends, church, and neighbors - not through a dictate from Washington.

Moreover, these programs are rarely ""re-worked"", and when they are it is usually just to throw more money into the same techniques that weren''t fixing the problem. The continual fallacy is that scope, not direction is the issue with these programs.

The federal government has neither the mandate nor ability to fix most social problems. Let the people and communities involved address them.