Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Why "Smart" Sounds Like "Failure"

I repeatedly beg people here who want to stop the counterproductive and wasteful sending of people to prison who don’t belong there (and may even get worse) to also stop using the “smart on crime” meme, even if coupled with “tough on crime,” and instead focus on the failure of prisons to do the job their proponents claim for most inmates. “Smart” is Woody Allen. He’s a crime-stopper? The Situationist has a good post up on how fear, especially of death, warps people’s minds (although they’re too kind to say it like that), and they have a quote that, while applied there to 9/11’s effects, seems equally appropriate for corr sent policy, just as I’ve been saying:

“Very subtle manipulations of psychological conditions profoundly affect political preferences,” Solomon concludes. “In difficult moments, people don’t want complex, nuanced, John Kerry-like waffling or sophisticated cogitation. They want somebody charismatic to step up and say, ‘I know where our problem is and God has given me the clout to kick those people’s asses.’”

Will people listen if it comes from academic social psych guys instead of me?

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