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Monday, September 07, 2009
Dalrymple has an excellent discussion on the subject of crime and the prevention thereof in the New English Review this month.
In Europe, the United States is often used as a trope for all that is bad about the modern world, and in particular as an example of a savage, unsocial world, a kind of Wild West of the soul, where everyone is selfish, concerned only for his own advantage, indifferent to the fate of others, crassly materialistic, and so on and so forth. Although no European visitor ever claims to have seen such a thing for himself, many Europeans conceive of the United States as a land in which, if a person is injured or falls ill in the street, he is left to die there if he is not privately insured.

I am not myself an idolater of the United States. I do not believe that all that is American is best. It is neither a model to be imitated in all things, nor a model at all costs to be avoided. Its manifest failings are exceeded by its manifest virtues: but it requires discrimination to decide what is worthy of emulation and what of avoidance. Generally speaking, we in Europe get things exactly the wrong way round.

For me, the high imprisonment rate in the United States is a sign of social health, not of social disease. Of course, I do not approve of any miscarriages of justice or of incidents of brutality that occur in American prisons: but when I compare the confidence and resolution with which America faces the problem of criminality with the vacillation in most of Europe (some countries excepted), I cannot help but be struck by the difference, which is all to our disadvantage. The American system, for all its faults, is prepared to draw a line; European systems, on the whole, are not. But my view is exactly the opposite of what most Europeans, or at any rate educated Europeans, and no doubt many Americans, think.
[S]ocieties such as several western European ones that cannot summon the confidence to set apart those who have persistently shown themselves unwilling to abide by the most elementary rules, and which prevaricate and beat their breast wondering how they and not the law-breakers are really to blame, may truly be described as decadent.


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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

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