How to stop a crime wave

This piece originally appeared in the IPA Review and can also be found here.

In politics, the range of ideas that the public will accept is known as the Overton Window. Ideas from outside the window can shift the public discourse, changing what people think of as normal.

The same is true for behaviour. People’s conduct is governed by their idea of what is socially acceptable. The more that antisocial behaviour is tolerated, the more it will be normalised, and the more of it society will have. And that is how a crime wave forms.

As those of us living in Melbourne know all too well, this is not only an academic concern. Over the last two years, Victoria has seen robbery rates rise 20 per cent, theft rise 9 per cent, and assault rise 8 per cent. Crime has a habit of begetting more crime, and the failure to crack down on serious offending has seen Melbourne fall into a crime wave.

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Righting wrongs in America

This piece first appeared in the IPA Review and can also be found here. It is a review of Richard Rothstein’s book The Color of Law, which can be purchased here.

Across the United States, governments at all levels participated in the segregation and consequent impoverishment of African Americans. For 100 years, from the end of the Reconstruction period following the Civil War to the 1970s, federal, state, and county administrations discriminated against African Americans in housing and employment. The effects of this discrimination haunt the US to this day, and demand remedy by the governments that participated in it.

So argues Richard Rothstein in his new book, The Color of Law. Rothstein aims to show that racial segregation in the US was not de facto but rather de jure—that is, a product of government action, sanctioned by the law. He argues that segregation is unconstitutional under the Fifth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Amendments and that anyone harmed by breaches of these laws is entitled to a remedy.

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How identity politics divides us

This piece was co-authored with Daniel Wild (Research Fellow, IPA) and first appeared in the IPA Review. It can also be found here.

The idea that Indigenous Australians should have a separate voice in our Parliament, the push to make Australia Day a representation of our divisions rather than our unity, and the calls for formalised diversity quotas are all manifestations of identity politics, where our legal rights are allocated according to our race, gender and sexuality. This identity politics movement seeks to divide us, and poses a threat to the functioning of our liberal democracy.

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