YOU CAN FOOL ANYBODY WITH STATISTICS - - PROVIDED HE'S A FOOL TO START WITH | 1999-11-27
I was watching the lawyer for the 11-year-old who is being tried as an adult for cold-blooded and repeated murder. The lawyer said that rehabilitation funds had been cut back. He said that it would cost a lot less to rehabilitate than to punish. What he is missing is the fact that rehabilitation, like every other liberal program, doesn't WORK. You might as well pour money down any other rathole.
Naturally, nobody brought up this fact, the fact that rehabilitation doesn't WORK. If anybody demanded that any leftist program WORK, liberalism would be dead within the year.
The reason our social policies are so screwed up is because we accept liberal assumptions, and since none of their conclusions ever WORK, we end up with a real mess. Respectable conservatives help out by never mentioning any of this.
We are constantly hearing that the world just needs more social workers, because all our problems come from bad habits. We are told that those bad habits make children bad, and that would end if we made one generation of children good.
For instance, children who are abused grow up to be child abusers. This is called "the cycle of abuse." The logic goes like this: children who become child abusers have parents who are violent and irresponsible. Since both the parents of most child abusers were violent and irresponsible, one must conclude that their children get in the HABIT of being mean. So, we are told, it cannot be hereditary. All we need to cure this "cycle" is more social workers.
But social workers would only help if this pattern of bad behavior is not HEREDITARY. Liberals say it can't be hereditary because the child "Never had a chance." After all, both of the poor guy's parents were violent and irresponsible.
Therefore, liberals say, we can only say that child abuse is hereditary if we can prove that the child "had a chance." In other words, you could only prove child abuse was the result of heredity if both of the abuser's parents were NOT abusers. This is the kind of logic our society proceeds on. Oddly enough, our society is a mess.
Some years ago, I was watching a program on how to avoid crime. Most of it was common sense. For example, they said that you should walk in well-lighted areas wherever possible. When walking alone to your car in a dark area, you should have your key ready, so you don't spend time in a vulnerable position fumbling for it.
Let me mention something that it would seem that no person with an IQ over 30 would need to be reminded of. What the program did NOT say was that anyone who did not have his key ready would ALWAYS get mugged. It did not say that anybody who walked in a dark area would ALWAYS be attacked. The point was that your STATISTICAL chances of getting mugged were higher in such cases.
Then the announcer asked what one should do if he had a choice of getting on an elevator with "members of a minority group." Should one avoid that? The answer, of course, was NO, NO, NO! You see, said the announcer, crimes are committed by whites and by non-whites, so there was no difference.
Some time back, Jesse Jackson admitted that when he was walking a dark street at night, he was relieved to find out that the person walking behind him was white. According to our official instructions on avoiding crime that makes Jesse Jackson a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.
As a matter of fact, there is a reason one should avoid getting in an enclosed space with strangers who are not white. It is true that you will not ALWAYS get assaulted if you get into an enclosed space with nonwhites. But it is true, as Jackson's testimony indicates, that your STATISTICAL chances of getting mugged are higher in such cases.
Which is what the program was about.
In big cities, sane people of all races avoid areas with a preponderance of dark skin if they can. The program on avoiding crime said this is nonsense. But, like all liberal statements, this one does not WORK in the real world.
But the program writer assumed, correctly, that most watchers would not understand the difference between ALWAYS and statistical probability (See July 17, 1999 article - "Racial Profiling Is the Fault of Black Criminals").
Which, of course, brings us to New York cabbies who do not pick up black folks. I was looking at the black guys who held the press conference complaining about how taxis would not pick them up. Every one of them was dressed in "gangstah" style. They looked like thugs. They looked like thugs on purpose. If you pick up someone who looks like a thug, your chances of getting robbed and killed are very good. If you pick up people like that, you are asking for trouble. In this world, as I keep saying, you have a habit of "Getting Exactly What You Ask For" (May 29, 1999).
If you decide to walk in a lighted street rather than a dark one, you are not being indiscriminate. You are discriminating. If you drive a cab, you had better learn to discriminate if you want to stay alive.
I was riding in a New York cab some years ago, and I asked the driver if he had been robbed. He laughed out loud and said, "Man, I'm a CABBIE!" Obviously only a hick didn't know that, in the home of Social Progress and Gun Control, all cabbies were being robbed.
Another New York cabbie told me that the one time robberies had gone down was when some policemen moonlighted for a while as cab drivers. Robbers got scared because the cops were allowed to have guns and if the crook picked the wrong cab he could wind up dead.
Now, let me make this clear: it is not true that EVERY robber was ALWAYS killed when he robbed a cab while cops were moonlighting. But, unlike voters, crooks understand this much statistics: the fact that they COULD get killed discouraged them.
The mayor, sickened by these violent incidents, ordered the cops to stop moonlighting as cabbies, so the robbery rate went on back up. He said that such violence just encourages more violence. That is the kind of reasoning that makes sense to the American electorate today.
If you built an airplane with the sloppy statistical reasoning we use in our social policy, you would die on the first flight. That is the way we have built our society, and we deserve exactly what we are getting.