What is crime and what are its causes?

Unless you can answer these two questions, you will never be able begin to take the steps necessary to reverse the surge in crime we have witnessed in the past 50 years. The rise in crime has been a bull market of evil, going up one year, dropping off perhaps for a year or so, then taking off again to ascend to new records, leaving us with the only dividend it pays: a wake of death, destruction and property loss. There is little wonder many do not feel safe on our streets or safe even in their own homes. As you will see, this mushrooming of crime will continue in America as long as statism continues to grow.

We could double the budgets for all of our police departments and it would not stop the process which has taken place over the last five decades—it would likely bring us a temporary drop in crime (such as the momentary lull which we reportedly have in 1997), but crime would only resurge and resume its steady climb to new highs. And, as you will come to understand, this bull market of crime will only come to an end when one of two things happen: when we begin the political process of heading back toward freedom in this country—or—when America collapses into totalitarianism. Only when we see one of these two events take place will we see the beginning of a bear market in crime: a steady, consistent decline in criminal activity.

Crime is any activity that a government makes illegal. Under the rule of statists, such as we have today, there are all sorts of activities that have been made illegal and criminal—activities, which in fact are not properly crimes at all. In a free society, the government is dedicated to the protection of individual rights. There is only one way for one individual to violate your right to life and liberty: by the initiation of force, either directly or indirectly. It is only the initiation of force by one individual against another that should be made a crime and outlawed. A murderer murders, a rapists rapes and a robber robs by means of the initiation of force against the victim. And it is precisely this type of crime that has terrified so many in this country and has given rise to a growing concern, even desperation, about how we are going to stop this savagery brought to us by criminals. In fact, what very few understand is this epidemic of crime has been brought to us by statists.

As you look at a baby only a few months old, it seems impossible that such a child could gradually be transformed, over the years, into a criminal who would perhaps, some day, murder you. To most, it is incomprehensible the child could grow up to be some sort of monster, yet we all know this happens with some children. And when we look at a murderer, like Charles Manson, it doesn’t seem possible he was ever like that innocent baby only a few months old. How does a human being go from the innocence of a child to the evil of a criminal? What process is behind this metamorphosis of a child into a criminal? What starts a child down the path to becoming a criminal? The answers to these questions will lead to an understanding of the origins of crime and why we have so much of it today.

Each of us comes into this world innocent, with a blank, empty mind, but one that quickly begins absorbing much about the world around him. Once a child begins walking and talking, he has self-mobility and he has reached the point in his mind’s development that he is grasping ideas. At this stage of his life, he is beginning to develop ideas about what is true and what is right and wrong. As he gets older, he realizes he has the capacity of choice, to take one course of action or another and he realizes the only way to make a choice is to have a reason for choosing one course of action over another.

Every choice involves the necessity of the child, in effect, asking: "Which way should I go?" Some children, to the best of their ability, answer this question with a reason that seems to make sense, but this takes work, mental work, thinking which at times may be difficult. The fact that a child has to learn how to think, that it takes effort, leads some children to give up in frustration, saying, in effect, to hell with it, and they simply begin making choices based on their feelings. A spoiled brat standing before his mother, having a tantrum, yelling: "I just want it, give it to me now!" is an example of such a child. This is the first step toward criminality and the beginnings of irrationality in a child. But even among such children, only a small minority of them ever become criminals—something else has to take place later on in the child’s mind.

The child who acts on whim, not honest reasons to justify his actions, still cannot escape the awareness that he must have some reason, honest or not, to justify what he is doing. His nature as a human being does not permit him to be unaware of this. An honest youngster gives honest reasons, but it is a different matter for the child driven by whims: he needs rationalizations, not actual, honest reasons. And where does such a child get his rationalizations? Since this child does not engage in original thought, those rationalizations come from others: his friends, his teachers, his parents, from anyone in the world around him.

There will be some point, probably in grammar school, where this child will want something, but it doesn’t belong to him. He is going to have to decide: "Take it or not?" He takes it, telling himself "everybody steals"—an idea he most likely got from one of his friends who is also a thief. Regardless of the source of his rationalization or even if he uses a different rationalization to justify his actions, there are two important points to understand: he rationalized, i.e., he, in effect, lied to himself to justify his act—and—his actions were the product of the ideas he had accepted, particularly the notion that it is proper for him to act on whims, the notion that if he wants something, he is entitled to it. And now he has accepted the idea that it is okay to steal.

Once this child becomes older, he is aware of what is going on in government and in society in general. Having long since abandoned honesty and rationality, substituting rationalization for thinking, this youngster continues to act on whim. Now, he comes to a crossroads in his life: he sees some affluent-looking woman and wants the money in her purse. To get it, he is going to have to cross over a threshold: he is going to have to initiate force, for the first time in his life, against the woman.

Where is he going to get his justification, his rationalization, who or what will tell him that it is okay to initiate force against this woman? Initiate force? Hmm … initiate force … now just where in the world would he get such an idea? Does something sound familiar here? Where have this youngster and we seen and heard this idea before? Who are the proponents of such a notion? You got it, statism, statist politicians and their agents and the liberal statists in the media and his statist teachers in school, all of whom have taught this youngster it is right for an individual to initiate force against another.

For this youngster, it is a very short leap to the rationalization that it is okay for him to assault this woman because, he will say to himself, our own government uses force against people all of the time—or, maybe he has seen the stories in the news about the state seizing the property of innocent individuals and, he says to himself, if they can do it, why can’t I do it? And even if this youngster doesn’t draw his conclusion from the foregoing rationalizations, all he needs is to remember Clinton’s admonition he must not fend for himself: if he mustn’t fend for himself, then he has a "right" to this rich woman’s money—and if he has a "right" to it, then what is wrong with forcibly taking it from her? Nothing at all, since that is the logic of the premise he has accepted. In principle, this is the pattern of development that takes place when a child transforms himself into a criminal.

Depending on the person, the rationalizations can be varied, there may be starts and stops on the way, with some stopping short of physical assault because they don’t have the stomach for it, opting instead to simply become a con artist or a shoplifter or a statist politician. But the example of our youngster who assaults a woman provides the pattern of the development of a criminal’s mind. It is not necessary to understand all of the psychological nuances of the birth and development of the criminal mind, you only need to understand there are three critical ingredients in creating a criminal: rationalization (which means: lying to himself), acting on whim and the ideas he has accepted.

Once a young person accepts the notion that it is proper to initiate force against an individual and he wishes to personally engage in its initiation, in a statist society such as we have today, he has two career choices: become a criminal, as our youngster chose—or—become a statist politician (or, one of his employees or supporters).

The child who chooses to become a criminal is usually not very intelligent, uneducated, not bothered by the crudities of physical violence, may be a loner of sorts, likely envies and resents the more intelligent and some live in a fantasy world in which they dream of being famous for some hideous crime they will commit in the future. The child who chooses to become a statist politician (or one of his employees) is usually intelligent, educated, is too squeamish to personally inflict force on another and is afraid of the physical dangers to himself which may come with a criminal’s use of force, is gregarious and dreams of being famous and secretly envies and resents those who earn an honest living by being productive. Both children only live to rule others.

Statism provides the rationalizations a criminal needs. The ideas of statism are actually a breeding vessel for the creation of criminals. Statism is the cradle of crime.

Let’s recall and bring into sharp focus the meaning of statism, a meaning which has been loudly broadcasted throughout this land and hammered into the minds of youngsters (and adults) for the past few decades—and the intensity of the drumbeat of statism’s message increases with each passing year. Statism’s message and doctrine is this: your life is not your own—you do not have the right to live your life as you see fit without seeking the permission of others—your money is not your money, the state may take it by force anytime it wants—your property is not your property, the state may take it or control its use if it decides to do so—it is right for the state, controlled by individuals who are statists, to initiate force against you, the individual. Aren’t these the very premises on which an armed robber operates? Yes. Aren’t these the premises on which a murderer operates? Yes. Aren’t these the premises on which a rapist operates? Yes. The only difference is that these criminals have decided to operate as private individuals and not as some employee of a statist regime. But if America collapses into totalitarianism, these criminals, for the most part, will quit working as private individuals: they will work for the state. And this is why there was very little crime in Russia when the communists were in power: most of the murderers and thieves were working for the state. The same thing was true in Nazi Germany, as it has been true in every totalitarian regime.

Statists do not openly come out and declare your life is not your own, they simply force you to give up almost half of your life each year to produce the money you pay in taxes to support their programs. Statists do not openly come out and say you do not have a right to live your life without seeking their permission, they simply pass laws that forcibly prevent you from living your life as you see fit. Statists do not openly come out and say your money is not your own, they simply champion the "right" of the poor, the disadvantaged or some other group of "victims" to take your money through the use of a government gun. Statists do not openly come out and declare your property is not your property, they simply forcibly prevent you from using your property as you see fit. Statists do not openly come out and declare their use of the initiation of force against you, they simply camouflage their use of force by calling it "regulations" and "mandates." But the meaning of these statist acts has sunk into the minds, even if only implicitly, of most youngsters, turning many of them into criminals. They are only emulating the acts of statists who run our government. These children who turn into criminals have learned all too well the lessons implicit in the examples set by these statists.

Statists and criminals are, ultimately, after the same thing: your life, your money, your property, and your freedom. Statists choose the more genteel approach by gaining control of the government. Criminals choose the cruder approach by personally preying on innocent individuals, one at a time. Both—statists and criminals—ultimately join forces when a country falls to tyranny, bringing a savage brutality of force upon you.

Statists are the wholesalers of the initiation of force, criminals are its retailers. With one stroke of a pen, statists enact legislation that initiates force against every individual in the country. Criminals attack one person at a time. Criminals are the guerrilla warriors of statism, working behind the lines, so to speak, creating chaos and fear that fan the flames which will ultimately consume freedom.

The worse crime gets, the more we hear frantic demands that the government "do" something and it leads to the enactment of statist measures which push us closer to the precipice of tyranny. The fear generated by criminals leads to calls for curfews, restricting freedom of action—calls for "three strikes and you’re out" laws which result in unjust imprisonment—calls for mandatory death sentences in the case of the murder of a government employee, as if his life is more important than any other person’s life—calls for forfeiture laws to crack down on criminals, which leads to the state seizing the property of innocent individuals—calls for police checkpoints on highways to find evidence of some crime, checkpoints which violate individual rights—all setting the precedent for the very tools some future dictator will need. Curfews, unjust imprisonment, the seizure of property and police checkpoints—all of which we have in America today—are what they had in Nazi Germany and they are necessary to the implementation of a dictatorship.

And if you have ever wondered why statists, particularly and mostly liberal statists, are soft on crime, it is because criminals are actually their partners in crime: criminals are helping the advance of statism. These statists coddle criminals, protect their "rights" and release them from prison so they can continue as the foot soldiers of statism, creating the fear which will support the passage of even more Draconian, statist laws. Many liberals are not consciously aware of what they are doing, but it makes no difference. The fact is their actions encourage the spread of crime that leads to the support of more statism.

Some conservatives in this country talk about family values. While there is not much definition of exactly what constitutes "family values," these conservatives are generally on the right track. The ideas a child accepts will determine what kind of person he will become.

It makes a difference if a child believes it is important for him to be honest, a difference if the child believes he should work hard and grow up to stand on his own two feet, a difference if he believes in the sanctity of an individual’s life, including his own, and of the right to that life of each individual. A child who believes these things does not become a criminal. The conservatives who talk about family values need to take the next step, mentally, and understand and talk about criminal values and who it is that is promoting and spreading the ideas which create criminals.

Now let’s consider the statist notion that it is wrong to discriminate. The widespread and unthinking acceptance of this idea has played an enormous role in the moral decline of America and in the rise of crime. Some discrimination, such as racial discrimination, is wrong. But most acts of discriminating are not wrong: every moral choice involves making a distinction, discerning a difference between two courses of action, making a decision to be in favor of or against some person, action, idea and so forth.

It is the act of making moral choices, and acting accordingly, which is the real target of all of the propaganda about discrimination poured out in our media and schools and by statist politicians. If making moral choices are wrong, then it means it is wrong to choose to do something that is right. If a child accepts such nonsense, morality, in his mind, becomes meaningless and irrelevant. He will conclude that nothing is right or wrong. If that’s the case, what’s the harm in a little shoplifting? What’s the harm in lying? If he becomes a liar, he has taken another step toward becoming a criminal. Not all liars are criminals, but all criminals are liars. An honest person does not become a criminal. Only liars become criminals.

And speaking of liars, consider the meaning of what most people think of Bill Clinton. Polls show that nearly two-third’s of voters in this country think Clinton is a liar, yet only a third of that number holds this against him, apparently not wanting to discriminate against a liar. If these polls are accurate, as I fear they are, this country is in far deeper trouble than anyone can imagine. This means we have now reached the point in this country where only about 20% of the adult population morally disapproves of a liar and holds it against him.

Most children are aware of what their parents think of Clinton, so what kind of message does this send to the children of these parents who don’t discriminate against liars? That it is okay to lie, that some of the most "successful" people in this country are liars and there is nothing wrong with lying.

Few realize the connection between those adults who don’t discriminate against liars, such as Clinton, and the rise of crime in America. You need only remember the following to understand the connection: a person must first become a liar in order to transform himself into a criminal. Lying is an absolute prerequisite to the development of a criminal: it is one of the first steps involved in the creation of a criminal. To morally sanction lying is to sanction the very activity which is essential to creating more criminals and, therefore, bring us only more of the carnage of crime. With the rise in the number of liars in this country, we have seen a rise in crime—and this is no coincidence.

The victims of crime deserve moral support, sympathy and, above all else, justice rendered by the courts against the perpetrators of criminal acts. However, there is no such thing as "victims’ rights." There is only the right of the individual to life and liberty. The state should not be engaged in compensating the victims of crime with money forcibly taken from your bank account by means of taxes.

There are going to be more victims of crime as this plague continues to ravage the lives of individuals in this country. It is going to get worse before it gets better. It will get better, much better, once we begin to point America in the direction of freedom, once we begin to get rid of these statists who have provided children with the rationalizations they need to change themselves into the monsters who murder, rob and rape.

In a free society, there would still be some crime, but it would virtually be non-existent since there wouldn’t be the example of statism around to fertilize the minds of children, turning them into criminals. When I was a youngster, few people in my community ever locked the doors to their homes, not even at night when they were asleep, and people routinely left their unlocked cars parked on the street with the keys in it. While I lived there, there wasn’t a single murder or armed robbery. True enough, mine was a small town. However, 50 years of statism has now changed the life in small towns. Now, in these towns, doors are locked and crime has now spread to these communities, bringing terror to its residents.

Runaway crime is one of the punishments suffered by the citizens of a statist society, such as we have today, punishment for continuing to vote for statist politicians who advocate the growth of statism. Statist politicians, and all who have supported them, bear a heavy moral responsibility for the explosion of crime in America.

If, tomorrow, someone you love is murdered by some fiendish monster, you can put the blame for that monster’s creation, not only on the criminal himself who bears the primary responsibility for his acts, but on the ones who gave him the idea it is okay to lie, who gave him all the ideas and all the rationalizations he needed to start him down the road to becoming a criminal.

If you wish to do something about crime, you must fight against the ideas that create criminals, you must fight against statism and reclaim your right to live in freedom. If you don’t, a harsh sentence will be handed down to you if totalitarianism takes hold of this land: terror and misery—and you may even be given the penalty of death, as it has been given to millions in this century at the hands of tyrants.  



See Fulton Huxtable's two, most recent articles on the issue of crime: IDEAS THAT KILL and CRIME'S FINAL CAUSE.

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