I've just been reading about the nanny state over at skepticlawyer1. In her post, Helen (who I've just discovered has a Wikipedia entry) included a video by Drew Carey about how the US Government, or it's many state Governments, have a particular penchant for banning things. Much like the Australian Governments of recent times. Although I wouldn't agree with everything in the Drew Carey video being 'un-banned', it does make a great point. Helen has made the even better point that the law entering the fray where social norms used to do the job quite nicely is not the best solution or a good use of public resources.
I love the idea that the social fabric could be renewed2 in line with more modern social ideologies. But how? What needs to change, and who's going to start changing it? I suspect the key is education, but I've nothing to back that up and no idea how to convince the powers that be to work hard(er) at improving educational outcomes3.
The following is a little off topic for the post at SL, and why I decided to make this into a post rather than a comment over there. The UK (and London in particular) seems to be going through somewhat of a knife crime epidemic of late. Having been here only a short time I'm still not sure if this is something new or rapidly escalating as the papers make it out to be, or if that's just the media doing its thing. However, I do suspect it's escalating. For those unfamiliar with the situation, there have been 18 teenage murders (mostly stabbings and mostly perpetrated by young people as well) this year. That's more than one per fortnight. The cause of the escalation doesn't seem to be clear. Some, though seemingly not the majority, are probably gang related. I'm sure I've got no real capability to understand their motive, but some of the perpetrators seem to be committing these horrible crimes at a whim. As though it's just what people do.
These are horrible crimes which require and deserve the full force of the law (as opposed to a ban on break-dancing in Trafalgar Square4 or a ban on annoying behaviour5, neither of which should require the law at all). However, the escalation in these crimes is in part, I suspect, the extreme end of the loss of 'social glue' touched on by scepticlawyer. What I don't understand, and maybe someone can explain it to me, is why these kids don't understand that if you kill someone it will ruin your life. Even if you're not caught (which you almost certainly will be in this kind of murder), there will be other consequences which will change you forever.
- Run by Helen Dale and Legal Eagle, skepticlawyer is an Australia/UK based legal/political/social type blog well worth following. [↩]
- As opposed to 're-built' because I don't want to sound stupidly conservative, which I'm not. [↩]
- Let's hope Andrew Leigh is able to exert some of his influence during his secondment to the Australian Treasury. [↩]
- Yep, I made that up. [↩]
- Nope, I didn't make that one up. [↩]