How Many, and Who, Should Be Set At Liberty?

In Civil Disorder and Violence: Essays on Causes and Cures, Harry M. Clor, ed., Chicago: Rand McNally & Co., 1972, pp. 27-45. Reprinted in Edward C. Banfield, Here the People Rule: Selected Essays (Washington, DC: AEI, 1991).


It is now widely held, one might almost say officially held, that not only robberies, murders, and rapes but civil disorder in general arise from society’s neglect of and injustice toward the poor and the black. The Kerner Commission Report emphasized both “white racism” and the failure of society to create adequate material and social conditions as causes of riots as well as poverty and social disorganization generally. Essentially the same view was taken by the President’s Commission on Crime and Violence and more recently by the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest.

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