Leftists Baffled: Can’t Connect Cause and Effect

By | March 2, 2017 | 0 Comments

One of the most basic qualities needed for survival is the ability to connect cause and effect. We see this in animals, which avoid places, people, and foods associated with an unpleasant event. We see this in small children, who do the same.

But somehow, when some people become adults, this ability is reduced or lost entirely. I believe this loss is caused by “education” in universities and graduate schools, where students are taught to fit events into a leftist world-view, rather than developing their own world-view based on events. They are indoctrinated to ignore cause-and-effect relationships, but instead to see any and all events as further evidence of the truth of leftism. Here are two examples:

More people in prison despite drop in crime.
Los Angeles Times, 2003

For decades, the crime rate had been falling in most American cities. In 2003, the Los Angeles Times reacted to this happy news by proclaiming, “More people in prison despite drop in crime.” Despite? Conservatives saw the obvious − criminals who are locked up can’t commit crimes.

But leftists saw no causal relation between higher incarceration rates and lower crime rates. They saw nasty, mean conservatives who insisted on locking up more people despite the lower crime rate − which dropped for unknown reasons.

But wait, it gets worse. Leftists repeated the mantra that poverty causes crime. If so, why did the crime rate continue to fall, despite the severe recession that began in 2008? This huge contradiction completely escaped the notice of so-called progressives. They blamed crime, which was falling, on the economic policies of the Bush administration. They acted as if crime were rising, then blamed conservatives. That’s a really neat trick.

It gets still worse. In 2014, the heavily Democratic voters of California passed Proposition 47, reducing many felonies to misdemeanors retroactively. (Ex post facto law? Who knows? Who cares?) As a result, over 4700 inmates were released from prison in the first year, and more since then. At the same time, figures show that for the first time in decades, the California crime rate is rising. And what does the Los Angeles Times, which favored the ballot measure, have to say? The best the editors could offer was that the results are “mixed.”

But what does “mixed” mean? It appears to mean that something “good” happened – thousands of convicted felons were let loose on the public. And at the same time, something bad happened – the crime rate rose. But were these two events causally related? Would the Los Angeles Times now favor repeal of the measure? Are you joking?

No, crime is caused by “poverty,” though it continued to fall during the 2008 recession, and now it is rising, despite the economic recovery. If facts and dogma conflict, change the facts.

A Los Angeles Times headline read, “After a 12-year decline, crime in L.A. surges in first half of 2015.” What do the editors have to say about this bad news? They quoted a professor of criminology, who opined that the higher crime rate was an “acceptable trade-off” for the money saved by keeping fewer criminals in prison.

In other words, the professor claimed it was worth it, because the money we saved on imprisonment. But who are we? The state is saving money on prison costs, which are already the highest in the nation. But individual human beings are being victimized by being assaulted or having their precious belongings burglarized from their homes.

This is a key failing of big-government advocates. They see “the masses” or “the people” as a homogeneous, amorphous blob, to which the self-anointed elite can do whatever they want in order to advance the leftist agenda. They fail to see individual human beings, each with DNA unlike anyone who ever lived or is ever likely to live, and each created in God’s image.

This is an 89-year-old victim of a home-invasion robbery in the Los Angeles area. Does she look like an “acceptable trade-off” to you?

Terrorist attacks in Israel have ebbed since construction of the wall…but the decline has multiple causes. The barrier also has inflamed tension and resentment among Palestinians.
Los Angeles Times, 2017

Note the similarity to the previous “news” report, though the location is half a world away. In both cases, something happened ‒ higher incarceration rates in California, a wall built between Israel and the Palestinian territories. In both cases, something good followed ‒ less crime in California, less terrorism in Israel.

But in both cases, leftists are baffled. The drop in crime in California, like the drop in terrorism in Israel, is attributed to “multiple causes.” But which ones? The phases of the moon? Increased intake of vitamin D? Increased (or decreased) rainfall? Oh yes, the causes are just too “multiple” and complex to understand.

And in both cases, the obvious conclusion ‒ that A led to B ‒ is not merely rejected, but not even considered worthy of discussion. You see, that just doesn’t fit into the leftist world-view. More criminals in prison so they couldn’t commit crimes? A wall at the border to keep immigrants out until they can be thoroughly screened? No, those conservative ideas are entirely too crude and simplistic for the leftist “elite” to accept ‒ or even to dignify by taking them seriously enough to discuss.

In short, leftists release thousands of convicted felons from prison, and at the same time further inhibit the police. But leftists profess to be baffled when the crime rate rises. Leftists oppose building a wall on our border to keep out potential terrorists, and as evidence they point to the Israeli wall that “inflamed tension and resentment” but did not reduce terrorism, which fell because of “multiple causes.”

That is, we are to believe that terrorist attacks in Israel decreased despite increased tension and resentment ‒ but the wall had nothing to do with it. Really?

There are two types of ignorance. One is “I don’t know.” For example, I don’t know the value of pi to 10 decimal places. The other type of ignorance is “I don’t want to know.” Willful ignorance is evidence of a closed mind – hardly what one might consider to be a “progressive” characteristic. In a dangerous world, a refusal to see the connection between cause and effect will not be conducive to a long and happy life ‒ for individuals, or for nations.

Contact: dstol@prodigy.net. You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.

www.stolinsky.com

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