Thursday, August 12, 2010
Elites and criminal justice
It is interesting how elites have worked so hard since the 1960s to reform the criminal justice system in response to minority complaints about bias and mistreatment. But when the white majority and white police officers complain that the courts are incompetent at controlling crime, and feel that ordinary citizens must take defensive actions like keeping a handgun, elites respond that their concerns are just expressions of racism and nativism. This reveals that, in the eyes of the powerful, minority complaints have a moral claim, while white concerns do not. Dark skin carries with it moral weight. Any toughness in the system is there because of popular demand, not because it reflects elite priorities.