Tim Blair links to some interesting articles in this week’s Bulletin. First up is a page on John Howard with the intriguing title “The hosue of Howard“. It’s a fearless, hard hitting complete suck up to Howard. Apparently, after a decade of power and privilege as prime minister, Howard hasn’t lost touch with the common folk. Why not? Because he owns a regular, simple house. He doesn’t live there or even in the Prime Minister’s official residence — he lives in a mansion with multi-million dollar harbour views, but just owning that house is enough to stay in touch with the little people.
Next we have Blair’s own column, where he takes a swipe at Tim Flannery:
And what of environmental activist-author Dr Tim Flannery, who believes climate change to be “the greatest threat facing humanity”, yet who is able to put aside his worries about human-driven ecological destruction long enough to conduct a 20-city US tour promoting his latest book about climate change?
I used a calculator linked from Flannery’s site and found that Flannery’s tour would release about 6,000 kg of CO2. Flannery says that we’ll have to reduce our emissions of CO2 by about 70% to stabilize the climate. That’s 17,000,000,000,000 kg less CO2 per year. This is somewhat more than 6,000, so if Flannery did not go on the trip it would not solve the global warming problem. If Flannery on his tour is able to persuade a few people to reduce their emissions the reduction will be much more than 6,000 kg.
And I wonder if Blair ran this next passage past The Bulletin‘s lawyers, because Blair sure seems to be implying that Flannery is lying:
Just for fun, let’s hook Flannery up to a polygraph and test the extent of his belief that climate change is indeed “the greatest threat facing humanity”, among other enviro-questions.
Could be expensive for The Bulletin.
But that’s not what I wanted to blog about. No, I want to discuss a piece of voodoo criminology by David Frum. Jonathan Dursi took a meat axe to a previous clueless article on crime by Frum, but this one is, if anything, worse. Frum argues that Australia should reintroduce the death penalty:
Between 1995 and 2005, the number of murders in the United States dropped from nearly 25,000 a year to under 15,000. An American was less likely to be murdered in 2005 than in 1960. And the total rate of criminal victimization tumbled to its lowest level since records began in 1974.
It would be rash to credit the death penalty alone for this triumph. But it would equally be wrong to deny capital punishment its share of the credit.
Frum doesn’t mention that not all states in the US have the death penalty and the ones without the death penalty also experienced large reductions in crime rates. Presumably it would be wrong to deny capital punishment its share of the credit for the reduction in those states.
It is striking that Britain has imported many of the best US crime-fighting methods (but not the death penalty), only to see its rates of crime and violence continue to deteriorate.
Actually, what is striking is the fact that crime and violent crime in Britain peaked in the early 90s and has since plummeted, just like in the US. It would be wrong to deny capital punishment in the US its share of the credit for the reduction in crime in Britain.
So does Australia need the death penalty? Clearly not. It is, by Frummian logic enough for the US to have the death penalty and then crime will fall here. Wait, it has been falling! Sweet.
Update: After three days, The Bulletin finally noticed that “house” was misspelled on nine different pages and corrected it. Well done!