Dan Fagan posits that since New Orleans has had Democratic mayors since 1870, crime in New Orleans (and Baton Rouge) is a result of Democratic governance (as if they were in bubbles untouched by state or federal policy), and he attempts to insult Baton Rouge Councilwoman Chauna Banks because she had the temerity to say that there is a correlation between crime and economic “oppression.”

Fagan cites an article by Alex Bryant in Police One which lists the top 10 counties or independent cities with the highest murder rate. Fagan’s prescription for the problem is to lock up the bad guys and ladle out a heaping dollop of the “free market” because, as Fagan says, “If oppression causes crime, there's not much police can do about it.”

What Fagan declines to mention is that thee article he cites notes three facts about these areas: “There is a clear regional divide”; “Low-income areas are hit the hardest by this type of violent crime” (Washington DC is the exception); “All 10 of the cities and counties on this list have an African-American plurality or majority.” Eight of the 10 counties or cities with the worst murder rate are Southern, where the state governments are packed with free-marketeers (that is my interpretation, not Bryant’s). There is an economic correlation between poverty and the murder rate, and there is not much cops can do about it. As important as cops are, we can’t enforce our way out of this. And the areas that suffer the most are predominantly black (so either the cause is societal or racial; to think the latter is idiocy). Bryant wanted to put his findings in context; Fagan, to make a partisan point, needed to rip them out.

Supposedly what these cities need is a conservative administration, but Fagan forgets that the Democratic Party in 1870 was the conservative party, the party of preserving “heritage.” It tore down Reconstruction. It was the party of the White League, which enacted such public works as the Colfax Massacre and the Coushatta Massacre, terror designed to keep black people from voting.

For Fagan, once the cops clear out the bad guys, the invisible hand will sow prosperity, but our state’s incarceration rate is the highest in the country.  Unfortunately we live in a “corporate welfare” state which doesn’t much care for workers. Adam Smith believed the “invisible hand” was corrective, and that national wealth wasn’t measured by the King’s treasury but the wages of “the laboring poor.” But for many it’s all about the “bottom line,” the fatter the line the better. This is not Adam Smith’s invisible hand. This invisible hand is a pickpocket.

Leo Linder

retired mud engineer