Sunday, April 15, 2018

The misplaced panic about London’s murder rate

The writer below goes very close to admitting where the problem lies: With young black males.  But his "solutions" are waffle.  Black populations are the same everywhere.  If there were any solution to the problem of black crime, it would have been seized on decades ago.  Isolating yourself from them is the only safety measure presently available

"London murder rate overtakes New York for first time ever after spate of fatal stabbings and shootings", declared the Evening Standard. It was a view monotonously echoed throughout the British media, with the BBC even adding the cheerless voice of Leroy Logan, an ex-Met police chief superintendent, who said it was proof that ‘London’s violent traits have become a virus’. No perspective was offered. No context.

And yet perspective and context are exactly what we need. Indeed, the striking story here is not London’s, but New York City’s. Yes, it is true that 46 people have been murdered (including 31 fatal stabbings) in London since the start of the year, a murder rate that, over the past two months, really has exceeded that of NYC’s for the first time ever. But this is as much a story of NYC’s success at reducing the number of murders as it is of London’s failure to do likewise. In fact, in 2017, NYC recorded its lowest number of homicides (just under 300) since the Second World War. As recently as the 1990s, NYC was recording on average over 2,000 murders a year, so this is a decline of nearly 90 per cent. So it is not so much a case of London’s murder rate catching up with NYC’s, but of NYC’s rapidly catching up with London’s.

Even in UK terms, reports of a murder ‘epidemic’ seem a little overcooked. According to the UN, the murder rate in the UK has been continuing to fall, as it has throughout the world over the past couple of decades. So in 2000, there were 1,002 recorded murders in the UK, which makes for a murder rate of 1.7 (per 100,000 people). By 2011, this had plummeted to 653, a murder rate of 1.0. Just for comparison, in the US in 2000, there were 15,586 recorded murders, which is a murder rate of 5.5. By 2012, this had fallen to 14,827, which makes for a murder rate of 4.7. (Recent estimates suggest that in 2016 there was a slight rise in the global homicide rate, but that seems to be due to the particular circumstances of Syria, El Salvador, Venezuela, Honduras and Afghanistan.)

And what of London? Since 1990, the murder rate has oscillated between a high of 2.7 (204 murders) in 2003 and a low of 1.1 (83 murders) in 2014, with a general downward trajectory since the mid-1990s. While this is hardly cause for celebration, there is certainly little to suggest that ‘London’s violent traits have become a virus’. No, London remains, by global standards, an incredibly safe city, and by historical standards an unprecedentedly safe city.

Where there has been a relatively marked recent rise is in the murder rate among young Londoners, all largely from minority-ethnic backgrounds. In 2017, 35 under-25s were murdered, an 84 per cent rise on 2016. And this year, that figure looks set to rise again, taking it up to the levels of the mid- to late 2000s. Youth homicide is still statistically incredibly rare, even with the recent increases, but it is undoubtedly this that has been generating the headlines, drawing on the associated fears of youth gangs, kitchen knives or worse tucked into their waistbands, fighting nihilistically over perceived slights and postcode infringements.

Because for all that the statistics tell us we’re more secure than ever before, our experience speaks of an unprecedented insecurity. It feels worse. It seems like there is something wrong, that within a certain youthful social strata something is disturbingly amiss. There are two related social elements informing this experience. On the one side, there has been a profound withering of authority, of moral conviction, among adults, who consequently see young people, Nike uniforms on, hoods up, not as teens to be engaged with but as threats to be avoided. And little wonder. Engagement in the absence of an almost unconscious sense of one’s authority, even the sense that it would be possible to tell a group of 14-year-olds to stop being obnoxious in a local McDonald’s, becomes difficult, fraught, and, if undertaken, an act of low-level heroism.

Instead, so-called anti-social behaviour is passively, resentfully tolerated before, safely after the fact, it is surreptitiously reported to a state agency: police, council or otherwise. And this palpable, informal disempowering of adults in turn empowers the youthfully delinquent, a dynamic writ large in the sinister carnivalesque of the London riots seven years ago, which were less an eruption of youthful rebellion than a spontaneous retreat of fearful adults.

And on the other side there are the pockets of youth, whose failure to identify – and that particular verb is important here – with the mores of adult, mainstream society, with the future it promises, has generated these almost counter-mainstream identities we none-too-helpfully call gangs. None-too helpfully because, as the academic literature attests, few can agree what exactly a gang is. Nevertheless, in these youthful associations, young, mainly minority-ethnic males do find, or at least want to find, what mainstream adult society seemingly refuses them: status, meaning and belonging, even if only to a postcode. In short, a sense of oneself as part of something, a sense of common purpose. And, in conflict with other youths, that sense of oneself, that sense of group purpose, is repeatedly, parodically and sometimes tragically affirmed. In all of this, one can see a dark echo of middle-class identity politics (itself a species of estrangement from the mainstream): from the obsession with searching out offence, or ‘disses’, to the omnipresent demand for respect.

The fear and rather more limited reality of youth violent crime is generated by the relationship between an adult society that has lost faith in itself and an admittedly very small, youthful subsection that finds adult society boring and pointless. They sense, mainly from the bottom looking up, that the life it promises, the employment it might offer, lacks meaning, not to mention sufficient remuneration. They feel that their identity, their sense of themselves, is better off found elsewhere. To the extent that there is a problem with youth violent crime, its source is as much social and cultural as it is economic. It derives its nihilistic, knife-carrying force from a society that is failing to convince some young people that it is a society worth being socialised into.

Too often, this cultural dimension is ignored, or displaced in talk about the need for male role models or community cohesion. More troubling still is the opportunism of the response to this momentary spike in young people’s murders. Some see it as an opportunity to make a party-political, anti-Tory point about state-funding cuts, conveniently ignoring the fact that the last spike and panic about youth gangs and knife crime came in 2008, when New Labour was in power, and austerity was just a twinkle in George Osborne’s eye. Meanwhile, those with a more authoritarian bent see the story as an opportunity to call for more investment in the police, and an expansion of their stop-and-search powers.

So there is both an overeagerness to hype the problem of London’s murder rate, exacerbating and playing upon many people’s understandable fears about their children’s safety, combined with an unwillingness to face up to the cultural crisis that underpins it. It is a situation that is helping neither estranged young people nor fearful adults.


Roseanne returns and snooty feminists should be scared

Feminists are now too often just unthinking middle-class bigots

Roseanne Barr is back. After 20 years, she’s back on the screen with her loud mouth, her blue-collar humour, the same couch, same sister, husband and kids.

They’re older, and ­Donald Trump is in the White House, but not much else has changed.

And Roseanne’s television resurrection couldn’t have come at a better time. Plenty are keen to hear more from the woman who mercilessly mocked the snooty sisterhood in her first iteration as “America’s bourgeois nightmare”.

Speaking to John Lahr for his profile of her in The New Yorker in July 1995, Barr aimed both barrels at Hollywood women such as Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon and Jodie Foster, saying they were “talented but f..kin’ deluded”.

“They don’t have any subtext to anything they say. They’re all just upset about salaries, or something that feminism was 25 years ago,” she said. “They’re rewarded for making the women’s movement appear to be lost in time. And they don’t even know it.

“I want them to shut the f..k and get out of the way of real women that are doing something. “I’d like to see ’em go down to goddamn South Central and talk to those women.”

Her razor-sharp diagnosis of feminism applies today with even more force. Which may explain why much of red America watched her rebooted working-class dialogue with America when it debuted just over a fortnight ago.

Meghan McCain, daughter of Republican senator John McCain, tried to explain the appeal to the left-liberal hosts of ABC’s morning chat: “You can’t underestimate the fact that she’s a Trump supporter in the show,” said McCain.

“She’s talking about jobs and the economy and how her family almost lost her house and President Trump was actually talking about jobs. That’s something you don’t see on television. Most of the time we see how Trump supporters have horns and they’re horrible and they’re ruining the country.

“It’s interesting to see that ­Roseanne scored the highest in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Kansas City, Missouri. That’s red America watching.”

Hollywood Reporter said New York, rated as the top TV market in the country, didn’t make the top 20 markets for Roseanne. Los Angeles, the second top market, didn’t rank in the top 30.

In the same week that ­Roseanne reappeared, Hollywood received another dressing down from a different quarter. In an open letter, hundreds of mostly ­female restaurant workers told a bunch of swanky Hollywood actresses to butt out of their lives.

This came in response to a previous letter, penned a week earlier, by 16 actresses including Sarah Jessica Parker, Jane Fonda, Reese Witherspoon and Ashley Judd, to New York governor Andrew Cuomo imploring him to abolish the state’s tipping culture and implement a higher minimum wage.

“Relying on tips creates a more permissive work environment where customers feel entitled to abuse women in exchange for ‘service’,” they wrote.

Four thousand kilometres from Hollywood, women who mostly work in New York restaurants fired back some advice. “To the celebrity women who recently criticised the full-service restaurant industry, from over 500 women and men who work in it: Thank you for your concern. But we don’t need your help, and we’re not asking to be saved,” they wrote.

“You’ve been misled that we earn less than minimum wage, and that we’re somehow helpless victims of sexual harassment.

“We get to offer our opinions on your movies; you get to offer opinions on the food we serve, and our service. What you don’t have the right to do is dictate how we are paid. Servers and bartenders have never been paid the ‘same’ as everyone else, and we are OK with that. We are paid based on our sales and service; we’re guaranteed minimum wage, and our tips let us earn much more than that.

“Bad behaviour happens in every industry — Hollywood celebrities should know better than most that sexual harassment happens everywhere. The people who are pushing for this change in the restaurant industry are exploiting the isolated stories of people that have suffered injustices, and making it out to be the industry’s or the tipping system’s fault. That is just not true.

“We’re servers and bartenders by choice, just like you chose to be actresses. The industry gives us flexibility, and the tipping system gives us opportunity to earn great money with less than full time hours. “We respect your profession, and now it’s time for you to respect ours.”

The letter is the latest exhibit in feminism’s snooty class war, the one Barr railed against two decades ago. And the sisterhood has ramped up that war, most recently using the #MeToo campaign to lay claim to saving poor, working-class women not just from lecherous men but from themselves, too. The unforgivable cost of this middle-class conceit has been to take jobs from working-class women.

Consider the jobs thrown on the pyre of impropriety in the #MeToo movement. Grid girls? Gone. Walk-on girls at darts competitions? Gone too.

More jobs were lost when a few journalists from the Financial Times went undercover to work as “hostesses” at a posh and un-PC charity dinner in London in January. Through the filter of their Victorian-era prudery, these intrepid journalists “exposed” a drunken and bawdy annual event that has been going for 33 years and raised more than $35 million for a children’s hospital.

A week later the event was cancelled permanently, extinguishing more than 100 jobs for young women more than happy to wear sexy black underwear to earn 250 quid for the night.

The failure to grasp the full gamut of women’s choices is the ideological stink bomb at the centre of modern feminism. It is a corruption of its history and those early feminists who put freedom at the core of the feminism cause.

Today, women’s rights have become about the right of bossy middle-class women to dictate to working-class women what kinds of jobs they should have and how they should be paid.

Long gone are lofty notions of women’s liberation.

Take the constant feminist grievance over pay gaps. How often does one of the many discrimination divas mention the fact many women choose to take time out of their career to raise children understanding the trade-off with career? That they do it because motherhood is one of life’s great privileges, in all its messy, wondrous, frustrating and exquisite ways? Alas, in the discrimination playbook, raising children is mentioned only in the context of being a dreadful drag on a career and pay trajectory.

Under the handy banner of “gender equity” The Sydney Morning Herald last week cited a recent report by the Australian Institute of Family Studies that found only a small rise in the number of fathers at home, from 4.2 per cent in 2011 to 4.6 per cent in 2016.

Sure enough, one academic, ­Elizabeth Hill, was featured telling us this was “a shocking reminder of how far Australia has to go in generating the conditions of an equitable work/care regime”. She complained about a “gender-segmented labour market, a stubborn gender pay gap, inflexible care infrastructure that together underwrite traditional ideas about who works and who cares”.

In the same report, another gender professor complains that we have “stalled completely on progressing gender equity in Australia”. Not one of these educated women, not the academics or the journalist, thought it relevant to explore whether women’s choices might even partly explain these figures. And this determined ­silence around recognising the reality of some women’s preference to care for their children points to an ideology more obsessed with utopian notions of equity than women’s freedom, let alone children.

Indeed, according to a growing number of snobby middle-class women who think they know what other women want, “equity” has become decidedly doctrinaire: everyone must be equal even when they don’t want to be.

In a similar vein, feminist ideologues get huffy when the BBC’s long-running University Challenge quiz show is full of nerdy male students. Diversity officers demand that all-male teams be forbidden. Quotas must be introduced, they say. None consider the bleeding obvious that, as host Jeremy Paxman suggested, maybe “like football or darts, more males than females care about quizzing”.

“All we’re asking for is 50-50,” said Nicole ­Kidman recently, citing a 2016 report for the Centre for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University that found only 7 per cent of filmmakers in 2016 were women. The blind pursuit of 50-50 gender representation in all the fancy jobs has, as English commentator Brendan O’Neill pointed out recently, become a middle-class protection racket. None of the women demanding equality in movie-making, on quiz shows, in parliament or in boardrooms demand a 50-50 split when it comes to toilet cleaners or garbos.

A few weeks ago, Brazilian magazine EPOCA contacted feminist iconoclast Camille Paglia for comment about the rise of psychologist and cultural superstar Jordan Peterson. The questions, describing Peterson as right wing and citing a clueless New York Review of Books article about the Canadian psychologist, drew a sharp response from Paglia: “To reduce his work to simplistic political formulas shows exactly what is wrong with thought in the Western world today,’’ she wrote.

“Of course, postmodernists attack Peterson because he dares to speak of nature — as I do in my own work.

“The refusal to acknowledge the power of nature has become a mental illness among intellectuals and academics today. Biology exists — it cannot be erased by politically correct zealots. Our obligation is to seek the truth about sex and gender, no matter where our search leads.”

As for The New York Review of Books, it has ignored Paglia’s work for 28 years because her ideas are “far beyond the limited scope of pretentious Manhattan editors”. It was no surprise, said Paglia, that they “cannot understand a single thing about Jordan Peterson”.

The same intellectual constraints have turned feminism into a shallow exercise of confirmation bias rather than an exploration of truth about women’s choices and privilege. Western feminists who complain the most about discrimination in the workplace are usually the most fortunate women in the history of humanity. They are highly educated, have been indulged by gender quotas and special treatment — think Julia Gil­lard in politics and the plethora of complaining women at the Bar — yet they are likely to be fans of the silly white male privilege mantra.

The added joke of intersectional feminism confirms the perversion of feminism. Under a ridiculous term from academe that is meant to speak to diversity and inclusion, the sisterhood has shrunk into an even smaller and snootier clique.

Differences in colour and sexuality and class are all very welcome, so long as middle-class women get to tell other women what to do and what to think.

When the worst kind of historical patriarchy has been replaced with an equally belittling modern-day matriarchy, feminism is crying out for a rebellion. And, on that score, more women telling the snooty sisterhood to butt out is a fine start.


Blame Racism for Diminishing Black Voter Bloc

But Blacks are the ones committing the crimes, murdering their own people, and aborting their own babies

In a new piece for the factually illiterate Washington Post, four academics from Dartmouth College, Claremont Graduate University and the University of Florida attempt to dissect why “Nearly 4 million black voters are missing.” Unfortunately for gullible readers, the authors present an extremely shortsighted analysis that misses key points.

The quartet writes, “Black people, on average, die in higher proportions than whites at all ages before their age of life expectancy. Early deaths of blacks not only prevent many blacks from voting in the election immediately after death, but in subsequent elections as well. The point here is the effect of early mortality on political disadvantage is cumulative, increasingly diluting the political voice of blacks compared with whites.”

What the authors don’t mention is that there isn’t an ethnicity in America that has a higher abortion rate than that of blacks. Roughly 1,000 black babies are terminated daily. This has an extreme side effect on black culture that manifests itself in various forms of self-demeaning behavior. Yet there’s no mention of the word “abortion” anywhere in this piece. And abortion is the most prolific cause of early death. Which is a good segue into the section on incarceration.

According to the authors, “Blacks not only die at much younger ages than their white counterparts, but they are also incarcerated at much higher rates. For instance, research has shown that, despite similar rates of illicit drug usage, black people are more than 13 times more likely than white people to be jailed on drug charges. Overall, incarceration rates for blacks are six times higher than that of whites.”

As previously stated, the culture that abortion breeds — which is aggravated by a severe dependence on the state — means that blacks are often predisposed to engage in bad behavior. In some circles, this is a racist view, but why else do inner cities suffer so badly from black-on-black crime, for instance? It’s not white-on-black oppression or murder. Gang-related homicides are a blight on America that show no signs of abating. The authors pick just one form of illicit behavior — drug use — while wholly ignoring inner city murders, which naturally increases law enforcement suspicion and raises the odds of being flagged.

The authors conclude: “Excess mortality and incarceration could have shifted the outcome of 11 gubernatorial and seven Senate elections between 1970 and 2004, according to our research. That is because black people overwhelmingly vote Democratic; they do not split their tickets. The large numbers of missing black voters in congressional and state legislative districts influence state policies, the balance of power between political parties and local electoral representation — meaning, who gets elected.” In that one paragraph, the authors revealed their hand.

Columnist Walter Williams puts this whole charade in context: “The challenge for blacks is to better position themselves to take advantage of existing opportunities, and that involves addressing the anti-social, self-defeating behaviors and habits and attitudes endemic to the black underclass.” Moreover, Jason Riley says for Prager University, electing more blacks doesn’t empower blacks — for the aforementioned reasons.


The incorrectness of sugar

The UK’s recent implementation of a sugar tax has reignited the push for an Australian sugar tax, pointing to ‘science’. Often, our scientific and political elites really have no idea what they are doing. But in spite of this, they believe that they should do something.

Rising obesity is a real observable problem but the scientific community hasn’t conclusively identified what the main cause is. Is it too many carbohydrates, too much fatty food, not enough exercise or increased depression? A convenient villain is sugar, hence many in the health lobby have called for punitive taxes on sugar-based soft drinks.

Unfortunately the evidence does not support the case that soft drinks and sugar consumption are major contributors to rising obesity. A contributor, definitely, but not the main culprit.

If sugar is the primary villain shouldn’t its consumption be going up as obesity does? However, while the prevalence of obesity has increased three-fold in Australians since 1980, per capita consumption of refined sugar decreased by 23% from 1980 to 2003.

Further, over the last 15 years there has been a 26% decrease in the per-person sugar contribution from carbonated soft drinks as consumers have replaced regular sugar-based beverages in their shopping trolleys with diet and zero sugar alternatives.

Even if sugar is the right target, why confine the tax to soft drinks? As far as discretionary foods are concerned soft drinks (4%) are ranked seventh on top of the high calorie pops, well behind confectionery/ chocolate (18%), sweet biscuits (13%), alcoholic beverages (13%), burgers/pizzas/tacos (7%), pastries (6%) and fried potatoes/crisps (5%).

Obesity reduces longevity, quality of life, and — in a world of socialised healthcare — hurts taxpayers. A new soft drink tax might salve the conscious of the moral crusaders but it won’t fix this obesity problem. The medical lobby might cry that something must be done. But for a change, let’s have our politicians do nothing until we have a credible, evidence based solution.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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