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I feel like people are acting like they do on the internet. But in person.

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Came here to post the same. We spent a good 12-18 months living principally online, and it made us worse people. Now that we’re getting back into the real world that’s all showing up as terrible behavior.

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But most people didn't do that -- a specific group of people did that. Maybe that's driving the airplane incidents, but it's probably not driving the murders.

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The airport rage incidents have the highest spike.

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Even people who couldn’t work from home where online way more and in person way less. For example my Dungeons and Dragons group stopped meeting at the comic book store and meet on the internet. This group includes retail workers EMTs and others who have to work in person. And like dating is 100% app based now rather than 50%. Everyone is spending more time online.

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"You're living in a rich bubble."

Hence the pluralis majestatis.

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Yes and no. Did 48 people come up to you and give you a hug yet today? But you got 48 hearts on Slow Boring! (Also here is a virtual hug to add to the pile 🤗)

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Can Matty write an article about the optimal estate tax rate?

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founding

I see the internet is available in the afterlife. I'm fairly confident the difference between heaven and hell is whether Twitter, Tik-Tok and Instagram are available or banned.

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Which is which?

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I had held out a tiny bit of hope that it really was him.

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Glad to see you're still with us!

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First saw Bob doing standup before his Full House fame. Very funny guy. He shall be missed. And this post from his estate is just perfect!

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God I am happy you are still around. Though you will probably have to change the name. To like Nickleback.

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Could always go with Dave Coulier.

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Might antagonize an Alanis Morissette account.

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Depends on whether you think Paris Hilton is a social good or a social harm.

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Jan 13, 2022·edited Jan 13, 2022

...optimal for what, exactly? Estate tax revenues reaching maximum without depressing work or leading to mass expatriation? Or do we have some social goal of preventing a particular level of generational family wealth transfer? You have to establish your goals before determining an optimum path toward meeting those goals.

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I wonder how much of this is based on how COVID has completely exposed all levels of government of lacking any sort of enforcement capacity on basically anything.

We put mask mandates in place and didn't enforce them.

We have laws in place against the transparent corruption of the Trump administration and didn't enforce them.

Want to do a violent racist rally in Charlottesville or gang looting of stores? No one will stop you., and a sizeable minority of the population will not only defend you but actively cheer you.

I think American society has just realized that there are very few downsides to doing whatever they want, with consequences being sporadic and weak across the board, which has driven the sort of sociopathic, Randian behavior we see everywhere. Whether its construction companies ripping off governments on infrastructure projects at 3x the cost of the rest of the developed world, or doing drive bys into crowded block parties, the relevant authorities just throw up their hands and say "we've tried nothing and we're all out of ideas!"

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I understand what you're saying but I think saying "all levels of government of lacking any sort of enforcement capacity on basically anything" in the country with one of the highest incarceration rates in the world is the kind of thing only a slice of the population is able to actually reasonably conclude.

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A lot of times you hear like "America is the x-ist country" (e.g. fattest, richest, whatever) and it's not actually true, but the USA really does have the highest incarceration rate, at least according to statistics as above. (Personally I do more or less believe the Russian and Chinese statistics.)

Looking down the list of countries by incarceration rate is interesting.

The top is most countries you wouldn't want to live in, except for the US I guess.

But the bottom of the list is really fascinating.

Countries like San Marino and Monaco, but then also countries like the Republic of the Congo, where realistically, the crime rate is probably high.

Seems like a real mix of the countries that are very peaceful, and the ones that don't have resources to catch and prosecute criminals, or that have a culture of tolerating crime.

Whereas the countries at the top of the list are those that combine high crime rates and a lack of tolerance for them, and sufficient state resources to catch and imprison criminals.

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I’ll point out that the Chinese statistics, at least, do not include 3 million-odd folks in various forced labor environments, a million-plus Uyghurs in reeducation camps, and several hundred thousand dissidents in black detention sites.

Hard to say what else is missing.

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In Mexico the typical stat I come across is that 5% of murders result in a conviction. That's a shockingly low statistic considering that 5% of murders are likely as simple as "husband with bloody knife found standing over the body of his wife" or similarly trivial situations.

Anecdotally (since I can't find any real data) - sentencing for criminal seems very light to me there, too. I regularly read about hitmen who've killed multiple people being released after just a couple years, or 20 year old sicarios with a paragraph-long rap sheet of stolen vehicles, assault weapon possession, assault etc...detained in the process of clear cartel activities but then released for "lack of evidence".

All my anecdotes comes from www.borderlandbeat.com which for some reason I'm in the habit of checking every day.

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Yeah good point I didn't think about vigilantism.

By killing criminals you mean extrajudicial killings by police / security forces?

Certainly legal executions wouldn't budge the numbers much; even China only kills a low thousands no. a year, and that's an extreme outlier.

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This is what I understand to be the case. One of the criminologists I follow on twitter (maybe Patrick Sharkey?) made this point a while back that if we want to make any more serious reductions in the incarcerated population we're going to have to start letting people out of prison who have committed violent felonies, and as a society we'd have to determine our comfort level with that.

I realize that this is largely driven by the fact that America is just awash in easily accessible guns that make committing violent crime so easy and common, but I still believe that people who commit these crimes should be removed from society so they can't victimize anyone else. I recently moved because gun violence had become so prevalent in my neighborhood, and I don't have any sympathy for people who terrorize their communities with guns.

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There may be something in letting the very old out. But other than that, yea, I’m disinclined to go hog wild here.

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In practice there are very, very few old prisoners incarcerated. The few that are have either done incredibly bad things many time (you don't normally get life in prison without parole for something only as bad as regular old murder), incredibly foul things I'll never have any sympathy for, or something "normal bad" but within the last few years.

Whenever I've looked up the data on prisoners I've always been shocked to find how big the youth skew is. One day I did look up the 10 oldest prisoners in my state and let's just say I feel we can spare a little room for them in one of our fine facilities for a few more years based on the horrible things they did.

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Our state, lol.

Otherwise agreed.

The legacy of this whole “lead in everything” crap is going to take a long time to play out.

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Also RIP one our commenters, Bob Saget.

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In lieu of flowers, gift Stamos One Billion Americans

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Oh, you meant the book.

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Yes, here's to Bob.

His death was noted on Milan's overnight thread, but we should bring it to the front page as well.

A toast to a fine commenter.

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Omg really? Wow he was funny.

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He would insist on it.

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I think this is way less mystical than most commenters seem to believe. I work in public criminal defense, so much of this is anecdotal. Since March 2020, it has been much, much easier to get people charged with crimes released rather than detained pre trial. During that same period, it was impossible to get people into in-patient drug/alcohol treatment. Slots have only started opening up in the last two to three months. Probation officers had to do their jobs remotely: supervising people over the phone, not requiring drug tests, etc. On top of that, a lot of people at the margins lost their jobs. Put another way, all of the programs and people (govt., for-profit, and non-profit) society relies on to mitigate our collective antisociality were shut or slowed down for about a year, and have only been working through the backlog for six months or so. I think that's a likelier explanation than handwaving at some general "malaise."

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Will those explain bad behavior in schools and on airplanes?

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I would say so. How many kids spent 2020 stuck in shitty home situations with none of the out-of-home support structures they cobbled together previously? How many more watched their home lives become shitty in that time? And how many beyond that missed out on crucial socialization and a year’s worth of the interventions and social pressure that craft well-adjusted teenagers?

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Definitely in schools; kids whose moms have fallen off the wagon, or whose out-of-work dads are out of work and stomping around the house, etc., will definitely act out.

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Bingo.

PrisonPolicy.org shows a 17% drop in prison populations since the pandemic began, and most of that (they say) is due to a drop in admissions, not early releases.

https://www.prisonpolicy.org/blog/2021/02/03/january-population-update/

I also find these handwaving "stress and malaise" arguments lazy at best. You'd expect suicides to be up if it was all about stress, homicide rates in other countries to rise if it was about lockdown frustrations, and homicides to rise in prior recessions, like 2008-2009 if it was all about loss of jobs and uncertainty.

There are all kinds of testable hypothesis in the data and people are too lazy or blinkered by their prior beliefs to actually test them or take 2 seconds to look up some relevant data.

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This seems to have been exacerbated by the “progressive prosecutor” movement taking a cack-handed approach to bail reform, too.

One would think you could do away with bail entirely by divvying pre-trial suspects into two groups: not violent/threatening folks who can be released on an honor system, and violent ones who can’t be released at all.

Instead we see, at least in Philadelphia, a lot of the latter being released on their own recognizance too.

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I mean, I work in criminal defense, so I welcome reductions in pretrial detention. Over the past year-plus, we've had a lot of clients released that otherwise wouldn't have gotten that chance, and we've only had a few bad outcomes: one suicide, one guy who tried to abscond and was almost immediately caught, and one guy who absconded and was only caught after committing a commercial burglary.

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I didn’t particularly expect you to agree with me, haha. I’m all in favor of providing sufficient funding and bandwidth to the judicial system to ensure pre-trial detention is brief. That said, as far as I’m concerned those credibly accused of violence or the threat thereof should be jailed until trial, without exception.

Out of curiosity in furthering this unscientific sample of yours, what was the denominator for these three bad outcomes?

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No real common denominators that I can think of. The suicide was a child pornography case. The other two were drug cases, but the defendants were very different and absconded in different ways.

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When I was in law school we were taught the Common Law tradition of requiring criminal defendants to post bail was to make sure they showed up for trial, not a way to flip the presumption of 'innocent until proved guilty' to one of 'guilty (and jailed) until proved innocent'. This seems to have changed in practice, along with lots of other things, including the fact there are almost no criminal trials anymore, with something like 98% of convictions resulting from plea bargains. I'm all for ridding our neighborhoods of violent, repeat offenders, but to do that our criminal justice system has evolved in ways that should give us all pause.

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Sorry, I didn’t express myself clearly. I mean to ask, what proportion of all cases where you got pre-trial release do those three people represent?

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Gotcha. In the district and division where I work, there were around 160 felony indictments in 2021. We were appointed to represent about 100 of those. Probably 60% got released, so 1 out of 20 releases. Very rough numbers.

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Progressive prosecutors are still a very small fraction of all prosecutors, even in major cities

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Define “very small.”

At minimum, of the ten largest cities in the US, Philadelphia, San Jose, and Chicago all have one. Several boroughs of NYC do too. A third of more is not, to my mind, very small.

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Jan 10, 2022·edited Jan 10, 2022

Demand for mental health services has skyrocketed. I think that supports "general malaise" rather than "anti-social people aren't being detained."

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Where's the data on that? I see from the CDC that the number of suicides hasn't changed at all and if anything has actually decreased slightly.

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There's been a lot of headlines about it over the past year.

https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2021/10/mental-health-treatment-demand

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I think the suicide rate is a better measure of the overall mental health of a nation than asking psychologists if they are busier than normal. I’m also going to go out on a limb and say the people being referred to psychologists for anxiety or depression are typically not the people committing serious crime.

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Yeah I'd normally expect suicide rates and demand for therapy to move together, so I'm suprised that they don't here.

I agree on the crime point, but I think it misses the bigger picture. Matt's piece describes how it is not only "serious" crimes that have increased - it is also confrontations on airplanes, in schools, etc. This seems to support a more general declining the mental health narrative to me.

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Probably a good partial explanation for the crime rate increases, but it doesn't really explain students acting out at school or poorer driving behavior that well.

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Do we actually have data on students acting out at school? Matt's article cites mostly anecdotal reports, and the missed schooling phenomena is a ready explanation anyways.

As far as driving goes - reckless driving and traffic fatalities are often the result of criminal behaviors, like speeding way over the limit or DUI. People out and about doing things that **should** land them in jail is absolutely an explanation for the increase in traffic fatalities.

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Yes, it is bad.

But I have tried to talk to my fellow liberals that it is time to wrap this up.

Many react in horror. Some agree but they coddle and encourage the Covid addiction that others have.

There are costs to indulging these people.

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Wrap what up, though? In nearly all big cities the restaurants, bars, and schools are open. Sure there are some mask mandates but there's little enforcement. What exactly are the hypochondriacs imposing on everyone?

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Schools and universities around me are closing right as we speak. I had to cancel my holiday travel because I couldn't get a covid test in time to show on arrival to Canada. My daughter lost her mask (dropped in the mud) on the way to music class so she couldn't go to class last week. My cousin's kid is staying home from school this week because she was at a lunch table with a kid last week who had covid, her brother's college shifted to online for 2 weeks. None of these things are huge deals but I'm pretty sick of them. Maybe if there was a point to these things I wouldn't be complaining, but I don't see what the point is now - flatten the curve? Postpone getting covid by another month? what?

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I was pretty proud when my school said last week that this semester will start on time, in-person. Get your booster, your mask, and your test, but you will show up and teach. There was some gnashing of teeth among the faculty but the administration didn't back down.

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Those are annoying for sure. I'm in Utah and don't have many restrictions but I'm wondering if folks in these threads are saying that restrictions aren't worth it to prevent our US 1500/daily deaths from being even higher or that these restrictions actually aren't effective and we'd be at 1500/day with no mask mandates, etc.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/us/covid-cases.html

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This is maybe too much of a galaxy brain take, but what if the secession from outdoor society of a group of disproportionately high-conscientiousness individuals deprived the remaining people of many of the bystanders who would otherwise intervene?

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It's too much of a galaxy-brain take. How often do bystanders intervene when someone's going nuts? The most common intervention is calling the police, and that might be something people are doing less. When I picture the covid-cautious, I picture people who are especially cautious, not the Guardian Angels.

In any case it's the bottom couple % of people who are the outliers of the distribution. Like Matt said - shooting somebody is pretty extreme.

So I'd go the other direction - prison and jail populations decreased over the pandemic; prisonpolicy.org tells me it's because of reduced admissions and not early releases. In any case, some of the people who are most disruptive would have been behind bars, but are not, and they're causing disruptions.

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I think you are missing the point. It is not the COVID addicts that are comiting the crimes, etc.

It is the now ridiculous indulging them in their sickness that is leading others to lash out.

It

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I am coming more and more to the conclusion that it is not so much "experts." It really is a weird hypochondirac thing or an addiction to COVID porn.

Even when experts say it is less deadly, they find something somewhere.

They also conflate the realist liberals with the COVID deniers of 2020 or the anti-vaxxers.

No freaking nuance.

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Personally I think this is safetyism metastasizing. We have convinced ourselves that we must strive for an optimal level of risk way below what other polities experience (and what IMHO is natural for human thriving). And of course the system cannot cope in the face of even a minor shock. I wonder what the American Civil War generation or Paraguayan for that matter or Israeli today or Eastern European WW2 one might think of our collective reaction to a virus, however tragic on an individual level, with less than 1% mortality.

Decades ago we have convinced ourselves that it’s our duty and obligation to guarantee each worker a comfortable perpetual retirement after 30 years of service. We have since learned just how expensive it is and what it costs in terms of other social priorities. Maybe COVID will put our desired level of safety in the same context.

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I think Romulus Augustus' point is that we blame the "expert community(ies)" when the media incentive structure is to hype outlier voices because they get engagement.

The old Simpsons bit where Kent Brockman asks his professor panelist

"Doctor, do you think it is time for our viewers to panic? To crack open each other's skulls and feast on the goo inside?"

"Yes, yes I do Kent."

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That seems like learning the wrong lesson. We should take input from experts *in their field* but we should not outsource deciding about tradeoffs to people when that's not their role.

IMO, the more fundamental problem is that we have a generation of people who aren't willing to accept responsibility for something going wrong and want to offload any responsibility onto someone else. People doing that includes politicians, bureaucrats, voters, etc.

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I find it hilarious that great numbers of them are simultaneously advising people to act in very conservative ways *and* supporting the continued pursuit of gain-of-function research which has proven entirely useless, without so much as a single exception.

Profoundly, terrifyingly stupid.

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The epidemiologists/virologists/public health experts have been great on Omicron. Their analysis has been spot on and they quickly determined that while Omicron was highly transmissible (duh), it was very mild, burned out quickly, and little threat to the vaccinated.

If you're worried about what "some random epidemiologist" is saying then I fear the problem is the audience not the expert consensus.

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"The epidemiologists/virologists/public health experts have been great on Omicron."

Really? My impression is that many of them initially took the perspective "there's no evidence that Omicron is more mild! We need more restrictions!" To be fair, many (most?) of them did quiet down once evidence that was up to their standards came in, but these restrictions are sticky, so if they had their way, the restrictions they wanted would still be in place.

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Can you? The CDC right now is in day 4 or 5 of being raked over the coals on Twitter for revising the quarantine guidelines and pointing out that the only people dying from Omicron are either unvaccinated or unhealthy.

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There are a bunch of disability rights activists who think that "unhealthy" (which includes a bunch of types of disability) people dying is just as bad as "healthy" people dying, so that isn't much of a reassurance.

Or as they would put it "this amounts to saying that it's OK if I die because at least you're not going to".

It's worth pointing out that their hardcore interpretation of the ADA is that everything must be accessible to all disabled people, so if something is unsafe for an immunocompromised person, then a non-immunocompromised person must also be prevented from doing it.

This is obvious nonsense - it leads to "all infectious diseases must be eliminated at any price in order to protect immunocompromised people", but I do have some sympathy for people who are being told that their lives are worth less than other people's.

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The latter is absolutely inevitable, the damage is already done.

It’s now a question of whether they’re permitted back into power within a few electoral cycles or not.

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Is this a global phenomenon?

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Ding ding ding - million dollar question right here.

Plenty of countries have had strict lockdowns or mask mandates. A few have had school closures or early prisoner releases due to covid. Some have had generous covid relief bills. Only we had the George Floyd protests and associated pullback of policing.

Which of these factors are associated with increased homicide, motor vehicle fatalities and airline incidents? Some of the answers are probably out there but someone has to be willing to go find the data.

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If it's Floyd-related, you might expect the incidence of antisocial behavior to go up primarily among whites and blacks, and less so among others (Latinos, Native Americans, Asians). No idea if that's the case or not.

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Floyd-related could mean two things: less proactive policing, which would affect all races, but especially those living in high-crime neighborhoods, or #2: less trust in police. I don't see why either of these would be limited to Black and White people only.

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Purely a hypothesis, but it could be something as simple as: black people are angrier in the aggregate for obvious reasons, while white people are angrier in the aggregate because they feel like they're being portrayed as the bad guys, are taking the post-Floyd "reckoning" as a personal affront, etc. Everyone getting angrier could create the bell curve shift that Matt illustrates in the piece.

I'd think this would dovetail with your #2 - I could definitely see how the police trust issue would have a greater effect on black people (directly) and white people (indirectly).

You're right though that less proactive policing would tend to have an across-the-board, rather than racially specific, effect. I'm very skeptical of the claim that that is even happening though. Certainly not in the broad-based way that would explain the broad-based rise in antisocial behavior across the country.

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Everything I've seen from actual police officers is that they feel they are being asked or forced, in one way or another, to pullback from proactive policing.

I watched (and recommend) the entire Flint Town series on Netflix, which was filmed around Ferguson and the 2016 election, and those guys and gals already felt under siege. Whether they were accurate in their feelings is a separate question, but it's little different from half of the commentators here who "feel" like the public is much more dangerous and reckless than it was before the pandemic because of what they've read in the news.

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Not sure about perpetrators, but I recall seeing that murder victim rates are up across all racial groups (not totally equal but not totally lopsided either)

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So I did a lot of research on this last year (https://postwoke.substack.com/p/20000lives) but the report I relied on most was the FBI “Crime in the United States” report that still hasn’t been published for 2020. The FBI Crime Data Explorer sucks.

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Can we chill a little with this stuff?

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Can we chill a little with this stuff?

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Source?

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??? What is this supposed to mean? It's showing the same rate of increase among both racial groups. The graphs are drawn in a way that if you're bad with numbers you might think the black increase is worse, but it's not if you look at the actual numbers.

I found the same in the CDC data: https://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10.html.

Black traffic deaths went from 550 monthly to about 800. Non-hispanic white went from 1800 to 2600. It does jump up exactly at the same time as George Floyd. But it's almost the exact same rate of increase across racial categoreis.

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I don't think there's even surface plausibility to the idea that the increase in antisocial behavior is limited to black people alone. First of all, black people are only 12% of the population. Second, if it was all the fault of black people, why then would antisocial behavior be rising most starkly among airline passengers? Air travel correlates strongly with wealth, and since there is a wealth gap by race, black Americans make up a comparatively small percentage of flyers.

Clearly, a whole lot of white people are acting nuts these days.

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56% of the increase was among Blacks. I don't think that counts as "almost entirely" or "virtually", as you've asserted. Certainly noteworthy, however.

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/813118

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Have any other countries experienced any similar trends?

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I don't have any data, just anecdotes, but in Vietnam the answer feels like no. And we have all the same issues other commenters claim are the root cause. We wear masks on planes; it isn't causing dehumanization here, for instance. I suppose one could argue that those things, when they intersect with the uniquely fragile America psyche, produce the results we've seen. That feels like a theory with a lot of moving parts, though. Not to say it is necessarily wrong just because it is complicated.

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"uniquely fragile America psyche" How many other pysches have you compared to?

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You seem to be labouring under a misapprehension. It is other commenters, not I, who are claiming that the same exact conditions that hold in many other places around the world are having unique consequences in America. If you want to take umbrage, take it up with those other commenters.

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i was genuinely just interested in what you meant

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I'd also be interested to see comparisons with past crises. We might be stuck with qualitative data especially the further back we go, but at least for the recent past, what happened during the Depression, the world wars, or the Spanish flu pandemic? Or various famines in the developing world post-war? The 2008-09 recession was famously *not* accompanied by a rise in crime – why not? It's pretty intuitive that more stress causes more impulsive behavior, but what sources of stress affect what kinds of behavior?

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It may be intuitive but I'm not sure it's actually true. The 2008-2009 comparison is really apt.

Another thing I'm struck by is how there was no increase in suicides during the pandemic in the US. One would expect there to be if stress, depression and angst was the cause of all these other issues.

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I apologize that I'm reposting but this right here is the critical question. We don't have to speculate - there are other countries that made different choices and we can compare their outcomes. Someone just has to do it instead of posting comments about "my cousin punched his neighbor after they got into a mask argument" or whatever.

Plenty of countries have had strict lockdowns or mask mandates. A few have had school closures or early prisoner releases due to covid. Some have had generous covid relief bills. Only we had the George Floyd protests and associated pullback of policing.

Which of these factors are associated with increased homicide, motor vehicle fatalities and airline incidents? Some of the answers are probably out there but someone has to be willing to go find the data.

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Jan 10, 2022·edited Jan 10, 2022

I thought the George Floyd protests were actually just as widespread in Europe, Canada, and perhaps Australia as they were in the rural United States.

And anecdotally, I recall in June 2020 I got email messages about racial concerns from all the companies from India whose mailing lists I am on because other people put in the wrong email address.

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I'm not so sure they were as widespread or as intense. And I'm not so sure they had nearly as much impact on community-police relations.

What were the racial concerns from Indian companies like?

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I don’t exactly remember but I noticed it seemed strange that some cricket website from India was calling out racism in such a different context.

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Were they talking about religious or caste or whatever other form of discrimination in India? Or were they specifically referring to American brands of racism?

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I found the old e-mail, which was on June 8, 2020. It had a link to this video (which I haven't watched, so I don't know what exactly it says - it may not be quite what I thought): https://www.icc-cricket.com/video/1678645

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especially Australia, which has become pretty authoritarian, but would have good statistics

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Be interested to know if things like unruly airline passengers are just a thing stirred up by Fox News or if it's happening worldwide as well.

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Jan 10, 2022·edited Jan 10, 2022

The restrictions put on the population are - literally - anti-social. They are meant to discourage or eliminate normal social interactions between people. Add those restrictionist policies to a population with newfound time on their hands, sprinkle in some social media algorithms, and voilà: anti-social behavior across multiple dimensions.

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Counterpoint- what restrictions on the population? The vast majority of America is really not restricted in any way, other than school closures (which are really bad). Bars, restaurants and nightclubs are packed all over the country, not just in red states but even in blue ones. You may have to wear a mask to enter a restaurant, which is certainly dumb- then you can sit down in the completely packed establishment and take it off. I have friends who embarked on a cross-country trip through the South last winter- they said there were literally no restrictions being observed in any city they went to, and they went to a dozen across multiple states.

I agree with the basic gist of the comments section here, that a small % of the population is overly Covid-fearful and neurotic. I don't really agree that there have been effective large-scale restrictions in the US- maybe on paper, but not in practice

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founding
Jan 10, 2022·edited Jan 10, 2022

* OSHA has put out a mandate (currently stayed) that large employers must require vaccinations or weekly testing.

* Vaccination status must be presented to go to a restaurant in NYC, SF, others.

* Masks must be worn on all flights.

* Children are being required to mask and/or sit outside in numerous cities

* Teachers are currently on strike in Chicago

All of these 'restrictions' discourage social interaction. You may not think they are large-scale or particularly onerous, but many folks do. And social media makes them all seem right on the doorstep, even in relatively benign Florida.

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How does a vaccination requirement reduce social interaction?

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I agree it seems weak, the best I can come up with are:

1) Employers that can have people work remotely are letting them work remotely rather than force them to test/vaccinate. And therefore not socializing as much. (But I'd say this goes both ways - there are probably employers in Texas etc that would like to have people come back _IF_ they can have a vaccine mandate)

2) Higher burden of going to restaurants for the unvaxxed making them less willing to socialize. (There's a burden on the vaxxed too - we visited in-laws in Puerto Rico over Christmas and it was a minor inconvenience to carry our vaxx cards everywhere - we supported the mandates and it was a minor-to-us inconvenience). But like employers, the mandate made _us_ more willing to go out and eat places because we felt safer(and more importantly we felt less like we'd bring anything to our in-laws)

So .... the plausible mechanisms I can guess at would seem to have countervailing factors as well.

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An OSHA restriction that hasn't taken place yet, and likely never will, doesn't count at all. I don't believe that *in practice* all or most restaurants in those cities are requiring a vax pass- and even if they were, that's a vanishingly small % of America. Basically- most of these things are simply not widespread, at all. The existence of 'lockdowns' is some Fox News hysteria

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Jan 10, 2022·edited Jan 10, 2022

This is akin to saying that taxes discourage socializing because we all want to avoid paying taxes and thus have to hide inside to avoid being caught by the police. A truly absurd proposition.

In actuality, it is the Right that is discouraging socializing by encouraging people to avoid the behavior necessary for normality.

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In case it isn't obvious, the first paragraph is serious and the second is sarcastic to highlight the absurdity of the original assertion.

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I do not understand the argument that masks discourage social interaction. I prefer interacting with people when I can't see their faces.

Are you claiming that there are some group of people who like looking at strangers' faces? If so, they clearly have some sort of serious disorder.

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I would imagine that most people gain useful non-verbal info about the intentions of others by looking at their (whole) faces, and this would presumably decrease stressful interactions by decreasing ambiguity.

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People are much flirtier with me when I wear a mask. Which is a little sad.

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(OK, more seriously: that's a joke, but there are lots of autistic people who find that masks massively increase their comfort levels in public and that it makes them much more social - there are lots of jokes in the ASD community that masking is making the world more autism-friendly and less neurotypical-friendly)

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What comparative percentages of the population are we talking about? An improvement for 5% is going to be wiped out if it's a deterioration for 50%.

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Really hard to tell, as ASD, especially the sort of ASD that comes out as "uncomfortable around other people's faces" rather than "incapable of normal socialisation" is massively underdiagnosed (indeed, the level I'm talking about would not score high enough on diagnostic criteria, ie it's "sub-clinical").

About 2% of children are diagnosed as ASD, less than 1% of the overall population are, and no they don't die young enough to account for that (adult diagnosis is still rare).

But I'd doubt it was more than 10% or so that are happier from widespread masking.

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This echoes what a lot of commenters have already said, but increasingly in the United States, more and more people are perceiving that LAWS WILL NOT BE ENFORCED. The question of funding the police, or red versus blue states has little to do with this. On the one side, a population of potential crime-doers are becoming increasingly aware that they are unlikely to face any consequences for their illegal actions. So this means tit-for-tat gang shootings in the inner cities, but also a huge increase in cars with illegally tinted windows zooming in an out of traffic in the suburbs. Also an increase in the number of teens (who are also potential crime doers) who are more inclined to bring weapons to school to (a) get justice or (b) protect themselves from the other kids with weapons. Let's remember that when the cops don't arrest a murderer, now you have an angry family or gang looking for revenge.

The reason we have come to this state is DEPOLICING. If I'm a cop, red state or blue, why on earth would I want to engage with someone who might be committing a crime? The prevalence of out-of-context videos and the cravenness of DAs and elected officials (even in Republican states) would make anyone think twice about forcefully handcuffing another person. And this goes double if the cop is white and the guy being handcuffed is black. Just look at the shooting of Ma'Khia Bryant--a girl who was shot while she was literally stabbing another person. Even there, the cop was condemned by electeds, and even now if you go the the Wikipedia page, you can sense the sympathy that at least some of the editors have towards Bryant.

The fact that this increase in public disorder has come more or less exclusively in the United States, and then only after the Summer of Floyd would seem to indicate the following: while some cops are bad and some laws are unjust, in a world where all cops and laws are conceived as bad we will have a general rise in crime and disorder.

I'm honestly not sure how this problem can ever be solved. Nothing can make a brutal video of a (deserved) arrest look good, and more and more people are inclined to film everything they see. But certainly moves by "progressive" prosecutors to decriminalize everything will impose disorder on all who live within their bailiwicks, and murder on the most vulnerably members of these communities.

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Jan 10, 2022·edited Jan 10, 2022

I watched a video today of a guy screaming at and spitting on a woman on a crowded NYC subway train. This is a guy who clearly thinks he can do that and nobody on the train will do anything about it. And he is correct. Nobody on the video did anything about it. He has probably behaved like that many times and he has learned that nobody will stop him. So when he feels like doing that he does it. Even if he's caught and arrested, very little will likely come of it. Not complicated from his point of view, I'm sure.

There is no evidence for the view that at the end of the day every individual is exactly the same and we all make the same kinds of calculations and have the same strong moral center and what we all need is more compassion. It has the moral and evidentiary weight of platitudes like, "everything happens for a reason." It's pablum. If that guy had been popped in the nose the first time he behaved like that, then he would have stopped doing it. But he wasn't, so he won't. It's not any more complicated than that.

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That video vindicates my condemnation of the failure to implement my policy preferences.

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As all videos seemingly do 😂

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Can you share some sources that show how we've 'depoliced' so much in the last two years?

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I replied to Binya upthread, but I think that the only way to measure depolicing *IS* the rise in societal crime and disorder. Unfortunately it's very easy to say that there are other causes (COVID, the intenet?, kids today, poverty, etc). And some of these might be legit! But I think that the most parsimonious explanation is that the cops are mostly no longer enforcing the laws. And this is most palpable in communities filled with people who used to get arrested and now are no longer getting arrested. This sends a message to them and their associates that it's open season to commit crimes.

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https://www.prisonpolicy.org/blog/2021/10/21/october2021_population/

Prison populations are 16% lower than March 1st, 2020, mostly due to less intake (arrests / prosecutions)

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Jan 10, 2022·edited Jan 10, 2022

I don't think the argument is the actual # of police, or the funding.

The Fed can talk interest rates and economic activity up or down simply by suggesting a course of future behavior.

Musk can talk various stock prices up and down with a tweet implying or stating future behavior.

Powerful entities people believe will act in the future can affect current outcomes *even if talk is all they do*

As a result, the de-policing conversation can be having powerful effects on current policing regardless of if actual #s of police or funding has changed at all. One might imagine a future where you double the $ and # of police and double+ the conversation and behavior of having terrible personal outcomes for those police if they interact with <group of people> and be shocked when all those added resources do not result in a change of behavior or interaction with <group>.

So, if there has been no change at all, you can have powerful outcomes from the conversation you might not want.

Now in the real world, in various places, there have been changes to #'s and money.

Then there are non-police $/# changes like prosecutorial behavior (why make arrests if your lived experience is the arrestee won't be prosecuted for their crimes? Why risk making arrests if the act of arresting is increasingly likely to end your career and smear your name up to mob violence or your own arrest?)

So... yeah, I buy there are powerful real-world impacts on policing and law and order even if the budgetary line items have not changed. I imagine in a place like Seattle there is powerful incentives to police less regardless of the budget and #'s.

Finally, if you want to be 100% anti-police and cynical, the best policy choice for the police is to stop policing in order to reverse the de-policing conversation. If you believe your actions (policing) keep the lid on violence and disorder that would increase without your efforts, and you are faced with cries you are terrible humans and should be funded less and jobs eliminated and protections and benefits removed, your single best course of action is to give them what they want and when the violence and disorder increases they will beg you to come back with more #, $, protections, and benefits.

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The US spends more than peer countries on policing. American cops performing poorly. It's not going to get solved if US cops and their unions continue to focus on blaming the community and especially disadvantaged folks, rather than taking a lead on trying to fix it. It would be really great if they started rooting out bad cops instead of protecting them and attacking good cops who highlight abuses, which news coverage indicates happens a lot.

https://data.imf.org/?sk=ca012d95-6151-4a84-a89b-3914d718b878&hide_uv=1

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What are the peer countries? I don't really get why the UK and Western Europe and Australia always seem to be considered the peer countries. Why not Mexico and Brazil? Large, new world, traditionally multi-racial and immigrant societies with gun control problems and a history of slavery seem like better comparables to me when it comes to crime

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My basic point is almost all I hear from supporters of US police is that people aren't nice enough about cops. It sometimes seems that's what they see as the primary problem with US policing, not the 50% murder clearance rate or 1,000 police shootings per year.

Cops are meant to be tough. Be able to stand up under fire. They should be able to come up with constructive solutions, even under the nightmarish onslaught of some clown on Twitter trolling them. Of course, some of them are. But the vast majority of what I see is stuff like GG Train's post. Asserting there's been depolicing without evidence, and whining people criticise cops too much.

Here's the data on US spending on police. Spending is a lot higher than it was when crime was much higher in the 80s-90s. https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/G160091A027NBEA

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So what are your solutions? If policing is such a cushy, high paid job in the US, why aren't liberals and college graduates rushing to sign up? The cities that are now having the hardest times recruiting, like Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland and Philadelphia, are normally thought of as desirable places to start your career.

How do you prevent 1,000 shootings a year when half the population is armed? I'm tired of hearing about Europe, which is barely relevant here.

Most of Latin America and the Caribbean have stricter gun control than the US but higher homicide rates AND higher rates of police shooting.

Canada does much better than the US in terms of police shootings, homicide and gun control. But US counties and metros that border Canada also have low, Canada-like rates of shootings. If the US was just Maine, Vermont, Minnesota, Idaho, Washington, North Dakota and Idaho we would have as low of a homicide rate as the UK. Culture is obviously playing a big role.

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How about this for data: according the Prison Policy Org, an advocacy group for decreasing prison populations, the US prison population has dropped 16% since March 1st 2020, and most of that reduction is due to a drop in intakes (not due to releases).

This strikes me as strong evidence for less arrests being made:

https://www.prisonpolicy.org/blog/2021/10/21/october2021_population/

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Jan 10, 2022·edited Jan 10, 2022

Well, if by depolicing you mean cops are still getting paid but not doing their jobs, then we're in agreement. Seems very obvious that is mostly cops' fault though.

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Another reason policing even happens in the first place is community pressures. A little girl was hit by a car on her way to school a few years ago around my street and for the next year the cops often had a car waiting around that intersection to ticket speeders.

They did that in response to parents aka "the community" demanding it. They're job, in other words, is very responsive to what the community wants it to be. In the face of the de-policing movements It's likely that a lot less people are pushing their local police to be proactive. If people in LA aren't pushing the local police to ticket speeders on the 405 (because they don't trust the largely hispanic local police to be non-racist) then the cops can decide to do other things.

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What is "doing their jobs"? To only come when called or to talk to suspicious persons and pull over suspicious vehicles? There's obviously a proactive portion that dependent on moral and resources, just like in any other job where people do more or less depending on their motivations and incentives. If you decrease incentives, you will get less work. I could be describing any job in the world with that statement.

Again - it's so very easy to criticize you've never performed, but I don't see the critics signing up to be police officers. Police officers start off as regular members of their communities. In big cities they are often non-white and as liberal as their average fellow citizen, but somehow after actually doing the work for a few years they don't agree with strident police critics.

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I don't want to dismiss your points, and I hope you don't come away thinking that I am a knee jerk supporter of the police. I have spend my entire life living in NYC, mostly living in borderline and dangerous neighborhoods and I have seen real police abuse. I also concede that depolicing is extremely hard to measure. How can we tally every time a cop chooses not to engage? Every time a cop lets a law be broken? While it might be possible to measure such a thing, it would be extraordinarily difficult. But for those of us who live in the affected area, the change in the mood is palpable. If you ever were a student when a new substitute teacher came in and within two minutes it became clear that they wouldn't be able to control the class, you can get some idea of what the streets are like right now. As a result, all we can measure is the disorder caused by depolicing. But this disorder is often (incorrectly, I'd say) ascribed to something else like COVID or a mysterious societal ennui. Also, while I think I know that cause, I have no idea what the solution is. More money to the police would not solve this problem.

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I misunderstood what you meant by depolicing. I thought you meant funding cuts, not police intervening less. I agree the latter is very bad

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It’s not that hard to find measurable proxies for de-policing. The number of drug arrests is a good measure of how often suspicious seeming people are stopped and searched. The number of disorderly conduct citations issued is a good proxy for how often cops engage people who are acting out. The burglary and robbery clearance rates tell us something about the effort invested in solving more serious crimes

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I’ve always thought on the plane issue in particular that mask wearing introduces dehumanization in our interactions.

So much of human communication is non-verbal and facial expressions are particularly important.

My policy prescription is that the COVID stuff needs to be rolled back or Republicans will be rolling it back in 2024.

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founding

This is absolutely why people have always been so much more mean, angry, and vindictive while driving, because a windshield functions as a mask and dehumanizes every interaction on the road.

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What weird freakish humans are you communicating with who use facial expressions as a major form of communication?

Normal people find looking at a face extremely intimate and would only do so with a very close friend or lover.

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I don't think its a coincidence that mask wearing is more accepted in places like New York where people don't make eye contact. Where I live people are expected to smile at their neighbors and chat with strangers. I lived on the East Coast for several years, and social distancing feels exactly the same - I hate it.

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(OK, more seriously: that's a joke, but there are lots of autistic people who find that masks massively increase their comfort levels in public and that it makes them much more social - there are lots of jokes in the ASD community that masking is making the world more autism-friendly and less neurotypical-friendly)

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Interesting. I'm glad that at least someone is benefiting from this.

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If people get the leaders they deserve, that suggests this started before the pandemic. For for years, until a year ago, we had a President of low moral character, who delighted in obnoxious, self-indulgent attacks on other people, and viewed prosocial behavior, like not cheating on your taxes, as what suckers and fools do.

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"...we had a President ..."

And has so far paid no price for any of his cheating, lying, and criming.

All of which leads to The Great Disinhibition: a general sense that the rules of civility and good manners no longer need to be observed.

You want to call someone an ethnic or racial slur? Go ahead! The President does it, and people cheer him on. You want to grab someone by the pussy? Sure, why not? There's no civil, criminal, or political liability for it.

The breakdown of civil society is real, and the rise of Trumpism has exacerbated it.

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Jan 10, 2022·edited Jan 10, 2022

"The Great Disinhibition" Thank you for the coinage.

But the Great Disinhibition is about more than just Trump making racism more acceptable etc. It's an across the board decline in the behaviors tagged by the old Clinton campaign slogan "work hard, play by the rules".

Working hard got less rewarding, the rules got more onerous.

And the downside of breaking the rules went down.

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"It's an across the board decline in the behaviors tagged by the old Clinton campaign slogan "work hard, play by the rules."

+1, though I wouldn't tie it to Clinton. That kind of sentiment goes back a long way. My parents, both children of immigrants, didn't articulate it that way, but that's how they lived their lives (same for their parents).

I think about this all the time (especially since I walk to work in NYC and experience this as a far more dangerous activity than I used to. I've been struck since the mid-2010s by what seems like a rise in ambient anger/acting out. I think Trump was more of a symptom than the disease. For a while I thought it might be a New York thing, since the city (Manhattan at least) was so crowded, with so many tourists all of the time, heaving sidewalks and subway cars, and so on. But clearly that wasn't/isn't the case.

I think this is a huge problem for society, and I can't imagine the impact on kids.

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What behavior changes have you experienced since 2010 on your walks?

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A lot of it is a vibe - just the way people carry themselves and their facial expressions. In terms of acting out, I would lump a lot of it under an umbrella of people being oblivious to those around them, consequently jostling them (or whatever), then lashing out, as if the world should accommodate their inattention (or in some cases aggression).

One of the weirdest varieties of this, in my experience, is that on multiple occasions, when I have exhibited visible fear when crossing a street (in the crosswalk, during the ped interval) and a car comes barrelling around a corner, the drivers yells at me, saying something like "I'm not going to hit you, stupid b****." I've also been called a b**** and/or told to f*** off for things like asking a guy scrolling on his phone to move away from the door of a grocery store so I could leave; asking drivers of idling cars not to block the crosswalk, thereby forcing people walking into oncoming traffic with an obstructed view; and I've had a guy grab and push me for passing him on the sidewalk (I did not jostle him or cut him off). It's increasingly difficult not to respond in kind (swearing, not physical contact) and unfortunately I have done so.

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I didn't coin it, can't recall who did. Google may reveal the originator.

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I'm not sure why, but having a snazzy name like "The Great Disinhibition" makes me feel slightly better about all this.

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founding

Look, I'm no Trump fan. I'm glad he is gone and hope he never runs again (it is frustrating to feel the need to start with that)...but...

It stretches the imagination that the behaviors noted only showed up AFTER he left office. One can blame him for a variety of things, but murders, air rage incidents and 2021 traffic fatalities don't make the list for me.

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It's not clear how much Trump and Trumpism are themselves a cause versus a symptom of underlying causes of incivility sometimes leading to actual violence. They can be both, alongside other unrelated causes like the pandemic. But it strains credulity to claim that having a President (who is still a recognized leader) who role models the kind of behavior that Trump does has no effect.

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Well, most of the spikes started in 2020. (Which is still 3 years into his term, and 4 years into him being a major political figure and not just a Kardashian type)

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Agreed, I think Trump created a permission structure for many people, both his supporters and those impressionable, to behave badly.

Edit: Not saying that's only root cause, but it's probably a part. During his presidency acquaintances of mine who were otherwise totally normal, healthy, socialized individuals starting sounding more like him, getting more verbally confrontational about stuff. Wouldn't surprise me if those who were already verbally confrontational shifted into being physically confrontational.

Also, with younger kids, I think they've been marinating in the pressure cooker of a totally virtual life for too long, and they're also aping adults behaving badly.

Also, I think the youth crime spike is almost entirely due to schools being closed. Too much time on their hands.

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I don't agree with the commenter who called this a weak piece, but I do think some sort of empirical analysis is needed to disaggregate the Trump-caused share of the problem from the pandemic-caused share. They're probably both nonzero factors but more needs to be said.

Relatedly: I have always wondered if there was any evidence that Trump's election in 2016 caused a *drop* in overdose deaths among the white working class, at least temporarily.

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"...Trump's election in 2016 caused a *drop* in overdose deaths among the white working class..."

Seems very plausible -- suddenly the prospects for being a stupid, ornery, mediocre white man looked better than ever.

<extremely Chris Rock voice>

”No, man, I don’t wanna die. I wanna ride this white thing out. See where it takes me.”

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With respect, I don't think that's the right way to approach this issue.

Here is something I wish Matt or another smart substacker would attempt. Has anyone systematically compared the rising death rate among older working-class whites in the US with the huge increase in mortality that Russia saw after 1991?

The Russian mortality crisis of the nineties was both a symptom of a larger national catastrophe and a huge disaster in itself, but I don't think it got the attention it deserved in Western countries. And there was a facile left-wing explanation for the crisis ("socialized health care was allowed to collapse") which was demonstrably false. Things like infant and maternal mortality did rise in the nineties, but only modestly. Most of the excess deaths were among older adult males, and many of those deaths were alcohol-related.

The analogy with America's opioid crisis is pretty clear but I've never seen anyone make it. Everyone wants to see their own story as drawing meaning from a larger communal story, and I think that's especially true for older people with a lot of life experience to frame. People who spent decades building socialism don't want to be told the society they lived in was a mistake. People who spent their lives thinking they lived in the world's greatest country don't want to be told that it was all about racism and sexism. I think these are the kind of narrative fractures that produce "deaths of despair".

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Jan 10, 2022·edited Jan 10, 2022

Very interesting point. The post-Soviet time was horribly traumatic for most of the non-Baltic ex-Soviet states, especially for the Russian Federation. Most Russians I know really don't like talking about 1991-95 *at all* .The economic situation was appalling - the majority were living on the edge - and whatever was left of the 'national purpose' disappeared. Criminals became the elite. And this 'national trauma' hit the classic Soviet men in their fifties and beyond incredibly hard, and the hailstorm of (often-alcohol related, as you say) deaths that were part of the trauma.

I agree that a comparison would be interesting - I know that Matt has studied this period a bit, and visited Russia shortly after this period

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"With respect, I don't think that's the right way to approach this issue."

Are we disagreeing? I agree with what you say before and after my comment, and intended my comment to be in agreement with yours. You put out a call for more empirical research, I offered a causal hypothesis.

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There had been a big anti-alcohol campaign in the last years of the USSR, ie the 1980s, started by Yuri Andropov. One of the big policy differences between Gorbachev and Yeltsin was that Yeltsin reversed it and Gorbachev had wanted to continue it.

To the extent that it was alcohol-related, that might be a more parsimonious explanation.

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My point was that people can die from being told their lives were meaningless, or from social changes which seem to deliver that message without using words. I think the analogy holds up on that level.

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I think you're missing the point entirely. National GDP figures have little to do with it. Ground zero for the opioid epidemic were coal towns where economic prospects had bottomed out, later it spread to a lot of mill and rust belt towns. GDP, if you want to look at it that way, was probably only falling a little there, but in a relative sense those kinds of places were falling farther and farther behind and perhaps losing a sense of communal purpose.

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While Trump and his followers have been terrible for the country in so many ways, that doesn't explain why things like overdoses and traffic deaths were trending down in 2018-2019.

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founding

Traffic deaths have been trending up since the early 2010s after a few decades of consistent downward trends, if I recall correctly.

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They fell rapidly in the early 2000s. Progress stalled in the 2010s and the rate of death has been basically flat over the last 10 years.

The CDC Wonder database has all this data in a easy to search format:

https://wonder.cdc.gov/Deaths-by-Underlying-Cause.html

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I wonder how much of this is tied to widespread delegitimization of our government, institutions and processes.

I don't think many liberals, and media members, really appreciate how much the full-court press against Trump after his election led many conservatives and rural Americans to believe these institutions see them as the enemy that needs to be stopped to save America. The Woman's March, an effort to force an elected President to step down at the beginning of his term because the right people didn't vote for him, was widely celebrated in the press with no concerns about trying to overturn a legitimate election or suppressing the votes of Trump voters. The idea that because Trump only won the Electoral College, and not the popular vote, his election was illegitimate was taken as fact by both mainstream and liberal institutions. Republican politicians and conservative media have weaponized this otherization and now tell these same voters that the 2020 election was stolen.

At the same time, blue state, and especially city, politicians have done so much to delegitimize their own governance. Blue city politicians regularly tell their constituents that the police departments they control want to murder them. They tell them that America was built on slavery and racism and that successful Americans can primarily thank white supremacism for their success. They proudly declare that their governments rule land stolen from it's rightful owners, questioning whether the vast majority of their residents even belong in this country. "Peaceful protests" are celebrated by politicians and media alike while minority-owned businesses burn. Progressive politicians call for more and more control over daily life, while suggesting that any actual enforcement of these new laws in racist. Murals celebrate criminals while people try to criminalize actually calling the police. A new slur is even created and celebrated to attack women audacious enough to be concerned about the enforcement of small laws and regulations while progressive prosecutors boast about the criminals they don't prosecute.

Why should anyone listen to our own government when we almost all question it's legitimacy? Why be respectful to our neighbors when they want to steal our elections? Why not rob your neighbor when they have what they have because they stole it from you?

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I wish I could have bet my paycheck that someone would turn what is a societal problem spurred on by a global pandemic into a "Well, obviously, this must be caused by the woke left".

Like, I'm getting pretty far along in my midlife time period here and the fact someone wrote that many words about delegitimizing government institutions and the word Reagan was nowhere to be found is really something else. For the love all things holy, Republican media and mainstream politicians spent the entire eight years of the Clinton administration howling that he wasn't legitimate because Reasons.

To top it off, the way folks make this argument by absolutely removing all agency from the people they are talking about.

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Yeah, to lay this at the feet of the left when the GOP is, and has been for quite a while, explicitly anti-government and anti-authority (unless that authority is the police, but only when they're used against Other People) is sort of mind-boggling.

I mean sure, some of the things Ken mentions might make a difference at the fringes, but they absolutely pale in comparison to the damage the GOP has done to trust in our institutions.

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“damage the GOP has done to trust in our institutions.”

There’s a point at which I just shrug my shoulders and say “they voted for this and it disproportionately hurts them, who am I to tell them what to do?”

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In what way is the GOP anti-government?

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I was at the Women's March and it was NOT about Trump stepping down. It was about opposing his policies and organizing politically to do so. And it worked. Republicans who had tried to repeal ACA lost. Liberals certainly did take comfort in knowing that a majority of people did not for for an illiberal authoritarian like Trump, but that is not the same as saying his election was "illegitimate."

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Even if you don't think the Women's March was a direct call for Trump to step down, you can't deny that a huge part of the Resistance was the idea that Russia helped steal the 2016 election for Trump.

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No, I think that a large part of the Resist movement was that we expected a lot of bad initiatives -- immigration, taxes, Iran, health care, trade --and that we needed to be prepared to resist them and we were partially successful.

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Would you accept the same description for Republican reactions to Obama or Biden? That they were resisting what they thought were "a lot of bad initiatives -- immigration, taxes, Iran, health care, trade -- and that [they] needed to be prepared to resist them and [they] were partially successful."

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They were "resisting" by trying to prevent Biden from taking office. That's a little different from the Women's March or the Marches for Immigrants or Science.

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I just looked at the photos I took at the Woman's March in Miami. There were lots of signs - quoting verbatim:

"Pussies in Action"

"Grab This" [Below the slogan was a crudely drawn fist with the middle finger extended.]

"Shatter the Glass Ceiling"

"VIVE LA RESISTANCE"

"1819 ADAMS-ONIS BORDER" / "HEY TRUMP: BUILD THE WALL HERE!" [This included a helpful map of the western US.]

"WTF" [Not technically a sign - rather 2-foot high shiny mylar balloon letters tethered together so that it was sometimes FWT or TFW or whatever, depending on the vagaries of the breeze.]

"100% CLEAN ENERGY"

"VAGINA"

"Frat housin, Keg-tappin, shirt tuckin, back slappin, gay bashin, HATErS of" [I think the message was continued on the other side of the sign, but I didn't manage to capture that.]

"I AM A WOMAN What's your Super Power?"

"TRUMP IS TREASON" [This was definitely one of the most artistic signs, with a background gradient that went from pale blue on top (with a smattering of colorful stars) to dark red at the bottom (with a row of yellow hammers and sickles).]

"Orange you glad we outnumber Him"

"The RISE of WOMEN = The Rise of the NATION"

"THE FUTURE IS QUEER FEMALE & BROWN"

"Don't take away my ACA! (OBAMACARE)"

"SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE WE ARE TRYING TO CHANGE THE WORLD"

It was, all in all, not especially laden with coherent policy proposals.

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Exactly. The feeling was of fending off, "resisting" an attack.

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It was a feeling? How bizarre.

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Spirit? Essence? My "feeling?"

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Conservative fragility knows no bounds. Conservatives elect a man who brags on tape about grabbing women by the pussy and has a string of sexual assault claims, including from his ex-wife. People protest. Conservatives view this as victimising them.

Conservatives win the Presidency with fewer votes (again). People complain. Conservatives view this as victimising them.

Trump goes on TV to ask Russia to hack Hillary's emails, which they do. People complain. Conservatives view this as victimising them.

Always the victims and never responsible for their actions. The former party of personal responsibility.

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According to Wikipedia (and, uhh, my recollections from Nov 2016-Jan 2017) the point of the Women's March was to "advocate legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues, including women's rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, disability justice, reproductive rights, the environment, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion, workers' rights and tolerance."

I'd appreciate it if you could source your claim that the broad point of the March was to call on Trump to resign, because I don't remember that at all.

The rest of your post is very interesting though, because I agree with you on a lot of it. Everything about the Dem approach to marijuana and illegal immigration (on a federal level) is essentially "the law says xyz but until we can change it we're just not going to enforce it" which is a highly suspect way of operating. Progressive prosecutors loudly proclaiming that they won't enforce/prosecute certain laws is also of course going to be a delegitimizing thing.

Basically we live in hell and things are only going to get worse.

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Now do the other side.

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+ the majority of townships in at least western MI

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My rate of internet trolling has gone up exponentially since the pandemic.

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Everyone needs a vice.

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Matt, as usual, I liked and agree with your article, but I think you somewhat missed the point about violent crime. It’s not whether there was a defunding of the police departments, or reigning in out-of-control DAs.

It is all about perception.

Violent criminals don’t read city budgets or arrest-to-conviction ratios by race. They saw what was happening in the summer of 2020 and it embolden them.

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This comment doesn't explain the traffic violence and worse behavior by drivers.

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Nope. And it was not meant to. Note the repeated emphasis on “violent criminals”.

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I think there also was a nation wide "Ferguson Effect" in which cops started underpolicing.

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I'm really skeptical of this explanation, but if it's factually accurate, then the conclusion I'd draw is that cops deserve the blame.

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