Liberals Promote "Community," Except Against Criminals
I recently got an email from an ultra-liberal South Asians for Justice student group in the SF Bay Area that sought to build a more nurturing, compassionate society through an "examination of oppressions"(never mind that South Asian Americans are probably on average the wealthiest, most privileged immigrants in the U.S). Somewhere in their meandering platform, I noticed that they favored resolving acts of "interpersonal violence" by eschewing the "prison-industrial complex" and by relying on "communities' ability to hold people accountable." I am not sure if this is an argument for lynchings and vigilantism, but to me, it highlighted the usual contradiction surrounding ultra-liberal notions of community.
I am aware that SAJ is a radical group somewhat outside the mainstream of American liberalism, but their approach to crime is not so different from the mainstream liberal mindset. While they go on and on about how communities must be developed through solidarity against oppression and how the absence of absolute equality in income, privilege, and so forth is oppressive, their view is that criminals are engaging in mere "interpersonal violence." The word "interpersonal" suggests that crimes do not affect the community as a whole but are rather individual business transactions between criminal and victim. So communities don't need special protection from criminals, as they can hold individual actors accountable. In other words, apply the theory of the free market to crime.
But crime is one of those few things where government actually MUST step in, in order to safeguard rights to life, liberty, and property. It is impossible for a "community" to secure these rights against crime unless "in order to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their consent from the governed." This is the core liberal contradiction: real crime is excused and seen as an individualized threat, while real achievement is threatening and must be collectivized. Does anyone else think this is the biggest problem facing liberalism today?