Category Archives: Broken Window theory

The broken window theory and modern Democrat governance

In 2020, Democrat political figures (mayors, governors, congress critters) have taken the broken window theory in a whole new (very bad) direction.

If you’re not reading Don Surber every day, why aren’t you? His posts are insanely intelligent. He has a knack for distilling things to their essence. He did it again today with a post about how we’re witnessing the broken windows theory play out across Democrat-run America. For you young’uns, assuming any of you read this site, the broken windows theory (which James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling introduced in 1982) is a simple one: If governments allow people to get away with small crimes, the people will escalate to large crimes.

This theory shouldn’t be complicated. It’s the criminal’s version of “if you give ’em an inch, they’ll take a mile.” Every parent also knows this theory too.

What Wilson and Kelling did was to quantify it based upon the urban breakdowns in the 1970s. (Those of you who lived in New York back then know what I’m talking about.) To illustrate the theory, the pointed to an interesting phenomenon: If a building has a broken window and no one fixes it, very soon all of the windows in that building will be broken. This, in turn, is the criminal’s version of “dance like there’s no one watching.’ Once the criminals realize that no one cares, they party.

New York had something of a renaissance when fed-up New Yorkers voted in Mayor Rudy Guiliani, who promised to fix those broken windows. Working with proactive police chiefs, the New York City government clamped down on graffiti, aggressive car window washers, public urination and defection, fare jumpers, and all the other “lifestyle” crimes that made New York a hellhole. When the bad guys realized that the police were watching, they retreated. It was that simple. Life for everyone in New York, no matter their color or gender identity, got much better.

Don Surber points out how Democrat policies across America have made a u-turn from the broken windows approach to policing. He starts with a round-up from Blogger K.T. Cat:

  • In Atlanta, traffic stops are down 80%. No big deal? Total arrests are down 71%. The cops have walked off the job while still getting paid.
  • Chicago set a record for shootings last weekend. The middle of the week hasn’t been much of an improvement.
  • Minneapolis had at least 1,600 gunshots in the last 30 days, almost all of which came from the black neighborhoods.
  • In Tampa, cops were ambushed by a black mob when they responded to a call about a shooting in a black neighborhood.
  • New York City shootings have doubled since the anti-police riots began.
  • In Portland, the police allowed an anti-cop mob to lock them in one of their precinct houses. They didn’t come out to defend it, but cowered inside.
  • In Milwaukee, a mob attacked the police and firemen as they responded to a case of missing teenage girls.

Don draws the correct conclusion:

This is not an overnight nightmare. Democrats have planned this BLM rioting for a long time, and have actually held test runs in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore. Apparently, they are satisfied with their finished product.

But the breaking of windows has been going on for some time. First, Democrat mayors and the like stop enforcing drug laws. Then they make it OK to pee in the street. In California, the state government stopped enforcing shoplifting laws. Los Angeles started allowing hobos to put up pup tents.

I would go one further, though. This isn’t just a case of Democrat politicians paving the way for their violent footsoldiers by making the conditions easy for a breakdown in law and order. Instead, across America, Democrat politicians are doing something new: They are inciting the masses to break the windows. We aren’t witnessing an oppressed people rise up against a totalitarian politician class. We are, instead, seeing a political class that has its hands on some levers of power, using the mob against those people who still cling to the rule of law and their increasingly limited freedoms.

When you look at the Democrats, you see a Superman-style Bizarro World, one in which everything is bass-ackward. Men are women. Women are men. Free people are slaves. Racism is desirable (if it’s the correct kind, of course). Silence is the wrong kind of racism. Words justify violent brutality. Hardened criminals are the good guys. Entrenched politicians are revolutionaries. And at the top of this heap of backward insanity, the best politician Democrats have to offer is one they and the footsoldiers and useful idiots know is demented.

It is to be hoped that American voters who are not true believers realize that Bizarro World is an ugly place, devoid of decency, morality, and stability. Those who don’t like Trump’s personality, need to have the wisdom to realize that there are worse things than a president whose mannerisms and speech irritate you. We’re hanging off the cliff by our fingertips now, and this is not the time to rebuff our rescuer because he’s wearing the wrong shirt.