Thursday, February 08, 2007

Godless Freakonomics: Abortion as a cause of crime debacle??!!

Or: Crime debacle as an excuse for abortion...

There´s been a little lot of time that did not post.

I´ve been traveling. Sorry but I think my blogging life is under a new schedule.

What catch my attention was a book released in Brazil last year that even got mention on the cover of the best selling weekly magazine in Brazil: “Weakonomics”, sorry, “ Freakonomics” (Steven Levitt).

I very known economic/politics columnist of my birth-state (Rio Grande do Sul – Brazil), Políbio Braga has wrote something on the Steven´s book praising his findings on the connection between the abortion liberation in the USA (seventies) and the “abrupt” decline of the crime rates in the USA in the nineties.

When a read it I was reading Ann Coulter´s new book (“Godless”-brilliant I suggest for all) exactly on the theme of Republican´s approach on crime during the period.

In my Brazilian blog I commented the non-sense idea that a legalization of a crime (abortion) could be use as a cause of crime rate drop. Of course it only could happen if this crime would not be accounted as a crime anymore.

By this approach all crimes could be de-criminalized and we´ll get zero flat crime rate!!!

I received many angry comments on the subject, alleging that I did not read the book to make such statements.

Ok. I conceded that I did not read the book. So I decided to make a little research on the subject.

Thanks to the internet, I came across a Steven Levitt paper called “ Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not”, that seems to be the piece of resistance of the book.

In this, Levitt, “separates” the factors he believes that has something to do with the crime wave decline and the factors that does not – among the factors appointed by the media and the public opinion its causes.

Here´s the list of the “ real causes” of crime rate drop.

  1. Increases in the Number of Police

  2. The Rising Prison Population

  3. The Receding Crack Epidemic

  4. The Legalization of Abortion

And here the list of causes overrated by the media that has little or no effect on the crime rate.

  1. The Strong Economy of the 1990s

  2. Changing Demographic

  3. Better Policing Strategies

  4. Gun Control Laws

  5. Laws Allowing the Carrying of Concealed Weapons

  6. Increased Use of Capital Punishment

Analyzing the document, I came across a conclusion that this a complete biased analysis.

Let´s see:

Among the “real factors” causes number one (Increases in the number of police) and number two (prison population) are undoubted. On the prison population the graphic below show the dramatic raise on this subject. It was published on Levitt´s paper.

Factor number 3 (receding the crack epidemic) is doubtful. How come the crack wave finished? It´s funny how liberals think that global warming is caused by (capitalist) man and the “receding of the crack wave” was caused by some geological movement of continental plates or something like that – nothing to do with human actions (or specifically police action)..For me is clear that the decline of the crack is clearly caused by the two former factors (1 & 2) than a supernatural cause: with more cops in the streets and more criminals in the prison is obvious that the crack wave had to recede. A drug dealer can not work behind bars...

The factor 4 (abortion) although is cited as the last is the first and more commented “ factor”. Media is like Narcisus: they enjoy only what resembles as a mirror of them.

But is odd that this particular “factor” does not carry any statistical graph to support the conclusion. Just this plain opinion (theory) is showed:

The underlying theory rests on two premises: 1) unwanted children are at greater risk for crime, and 2) legalized abortion leads to a reduction in the number of unwanted births.

What supports it? Not numbers, not graphs or statistical, only references to other author´s opinions...

If I wanted to prove that jews are really bad people, I could produce it by the use supportive references by quoting Hitler, the president of Iran and so on...

But where´s the evidence? Where´s the graph showing the number of abortions before and after 1973´s liberation?

It is really easy to prove it. If there were massive raise on the abortion rate after 1973 it leads to the conclusion that

  • Abortion liberation has increased the number of abortions

  • These aborted fetuses could not produce criminals (or even straight citizens).

Ok, the second assertion is pure guess but is based on numbers, at least. And numbers can be comparable with each other...

But no. In fact the plain truth is that Roe Vs Wade only produced the decline of one type of crime: Abortion. The killing of more than one million children per year is not a crime anymore...

On the other hand, among the factors that are “insignificant” related to crime decline, Levitt cites the Giuliani effect (factor number 3 – police strategies). This is a lie!!!

Levitt's insists that the crime rate was already falling since the beginning of the nineties.. Let´s read a Counter´s “Godless” excerpt :

Even after Giuliani´s the triumphant success, liberals denied his accomplishment. Those who won´t believe will never believe. They say the crime rate was already falling, as if the drop in the number of murder during the Dinkins administration (democrat mayor of New York before Giuliani) from 2,154 murders to 1992 in to 1,995 murders in 1992 was the equivalent of the Battle of Midway. It was probably a bookkeeper error”

"In the first year of Giuliani (1993) crime rate fell 16% and more 14% on the second year. 35% of national crime rate of 1993 were attributed solely to New York City, during the Giuliani era” .

So, Levitt´s opinions are pure “bias” in the perfect form. What Levitt believes that rose the prison population? It is obvious that new police strategy under Giuliani had the biggest effect on that number.

Levitt lied when he said that had no such big fall between the the difference from 1991 to 1992 (only 160 fewer cases) under Dinkins with the implosion of crime under Giuliani.

Another “weak” factor (number six) was the death penalty. The fact that the number of executions in the 90´s was four times the 80´s executions deserved the word “weak” impactant from Levitt because “ the rarity with which executions are carried out in this country and the long delays in doing so, a rational criminal should not be deterred by the threat of execution”.

I doubt that . This factor did not receive any graph to show its impact. I did this. See this

The difference is brutal!! From 117 in the 80`s to 478 in the 90´s. The fact that criminals were executed in a rate four times bigger than a decade before has indeed a role in the crime decline. Even being against the death penalty I must agreed with that.

C onclusion:

The politically correct bias of this paper is wide open. Levitt tries to underrates all initiatives of crime detention, while overrates some points (specially abortion) that are madly defended by liberals.

Like Coulter points out in her book, Levitt seems to be a devoted priest of the religion of liberalism. The anti-religious religion.


Matt said...

It's too bad abortion still exists in the US. It's legalized murder.

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

Actually lots of drug dealing goes on behind bars in America. Heck they just caught one of the Anna Nicole judges smoking reefers in a drug free school zone with a pack of kids 20 feet away.

Ian said...

You call the conclusion that the Giuliani effect had little to do with the drop in crime a 'lie'. Strong language, but I can see you're emotional about the topic, calling the book 'godless' because its conclusions don't match what you think should be the case. There's no need to support abortion in order to accept that it may have had an effect on crime!

Also, your comment about New York crime didn't deal with the issue at all, and shows faulty understanding of statistics.

Crime was dropping in all US cities. New York was in the middle. Cities without 'zero-tolerance' policies did better, or worse, than New York. Clearly New York was not special. So why was crime dropping in all cities? There were clearly other reasons, which the book attempts to determine.

Responding to science, even flawed science, with emotional, irrational outbursts doesn't do your credibility any good.