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James Q. Wilson Guest-Blogging:

I'm delighted to report that James Q. Wilson -- one of the leading criminologists in the nation -- will be guest-blogging this week, chiefly about incarceration and crime rates in the U.S.

Prof. Wilson is emeritus professor at UCLA's management school, and is now Ronald Reagan Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine; before that, he was professor of government for 26 years at Harvard. He has served on many national commissions (including the White House Task Force on Crime and the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board), as well as the president of the American Political Science Association. He is the recipient of the Presidential Medal Freedom, and the American Political Science Association's James Madison Award for a career of distinguished scholarship. He has written extensively about crime in books such as Thinking about Crime, Crime and Human Nature (with Richard J. Herrnstein), and Crime: Public Policies for Crime Control (with Joan Petersilia). His most recent book, co-edited with Peter H. Schuck, is Understanding America: The Anatomy of an Exceptional Nation.

Curt Fischer:
Cool. I'm not very familiar with Prof. Wilson's work, but I can't help but remember my first exposure to him -- in high school while preparing for the AP US History test. The teacher advised us all to open our essays for the test with lines like "The eminent statesman James Q. Wilson has written that...".

I'm looking forward to being reminded what goes in place of the "...".
6.9.2008 8:13am
jccamp (mail):
Good work. Can't wait for his posts and the responses.

JC
6.9.2008 8:30am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
This ought to be interesting. His collaborataor, Herrnstein, was co-author with Murray on "The Bell Curve".
We'll see what the reactions are; ad hom, or to his conclusions, facts, and logic.
6.9.2008 8:48am
Zubon (mail) (www):
Wow. Big name. I think of many guest-bloggers as looking for more exposure for their work, but James Q. Wilson is probably more famous than the Conspirators combined. Or maybe I just travel in odd circles.

We look forward to the professor's comments.
6.9.2008 9:21am
BruceM (mail) (www):
"Exceptional" in a good way or in a bad way?
6.9.2008 9:41am
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
His collaborataor, Herrnstein, was co-author with Murray on "The Bell Curve".

Herrnstein was also one of the most distinguished and well respected Professors of Psychology at Harvard University.
6.9.2008 10:01am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Jon.

Fat lot of good it did him. He and Murray are forever tarred as racists.
6.9.2008 10:15am
Tyrant King Porn Dragon (mail):
"Fat lot of good it did him. He and Murray are forever tarred as racists."

Well, yes, if one writes a book about how science proves that blacks are stupid and shouldn't breed, one will be tarred as a racist. Funny how that works.
6.9.2008 10:28am
Tyrant King Porn Dragon (mail):

This ought to be interesting. His collaborataor, Herrnstein, was co-author with Murray on "The Bell Curve".
We'll see what the reactions are; ad hom, or to his conclusions, facts, and logic.


For what it's worth, Richard Aubrey, I have no intention of judging Professor Wilson based on a book written by someone else with whom he collaborated twenty-some years ago. I look forward to his contributions with considerable interest.
6.9.2008 10:34am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Ty. Good for you. We'll see how that works out if there's a conclusion you dislike.

Oh, yeah. You didn't get the point of the book exactly right.
6.9.2008 10:44am
sbron:
I'd be interested in a discussion of the Broken Windows theory and its connection to illegal immigration. Prof. Wilson has written in support of the LAPD Special Order 40, which severely limits enforcement of immigration law in Los Angeles. Isn't widespread tolerance of illegal immigration, and the accompanying problems of identity theft, tax evasion and gang violence a prime example of a broken window leading to bigger crimes?
6.9.2008 10:54am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
sbron.
To stay with the broken window metaphor, the issues you discuss are busted ten-by-ten triple-glazed picture windows.
In jewelry stores.
But, yes, the point is clear. If you can do this, you can do that as soon as you think of it. And the victims and potential victims feel defeated.
Which, when you think about it, might be the point.
6.9.2008 11:02am
rarango (mail):
Professor V: In addition to being an outstanding criminologist, Professor Wilson also published a great book on Bureaucracy--he is a top notch scholar.

Tyrant: you clearly have not read the Bell Curve; or if you did, you certainly did not understand it.
6.9.2008 11:13am
JB:
I read Wilson's book Bureaucracy, and liked it quite a lot. I look forward to hearing what he has to say in this forum.
6.9.2008 11:18am
Al Maviva (mail):
An interesting discussion would be a mashup between Bureaucracy and his work on policing theory. The two topics often collide in real life, see, e.g. William Bratton &LAPD.
6.9.2008 12:05pm
bjr26:
I'm very much looking forward to Professor Wilson's blog posts. I wonder if he has any thoughts to share regarding a hypothesis/question posed by Paul Krugman in today's NYT:

Why has racial division become so much less important in American politics? . . . [A] large factor has been the decline in urban violence. . . . [D]uring the Clinton years, for reasons nobody fully understands, the wave of urban violence receded, and with it the ability of politicians to exploit Americans' fear.
6.9.2008 12:25pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):

Well, yes, if one writes a book about how science proves that blacks are stupid and shouldn't breed, one will be tarred as a racist. Funny how that works.


I'm not going to defend what The Bell Curve said about race. I'm not going to touch it. But if you actually read the book, you'd see that this is most certainly NOT what it said.
6.9.2008 12:27pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
Let me also say that I vehemently disagree with JQWilson's opinions on the war on drugs. However, I think re violent crime, his theories have been proven to be spot on.
6.9.2008 12:31pm
courtwatcher:
I'm baffled by your initial comment above, Richard Aubrey. You have started this off-topic conversation about The Bell Curve based on pure speculation that others will tar Wilson with guilt by association. Why would you bring this up? Have others' criticized Wilson's work based solely on his co-authorship of a book with Herrnstein a decade before Herrnstein co-wrote the Bell Curve? What does this contribute to the discourse here? People's comments will speak for themselves.
6.9.2008 12:55pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
court.
I was/would be interested in whether or not Wilson's views would be attacked by virtue of his associating with an officially designated racist (the late Herrnstein).
Wilson's work remains, if not generally controversial, at least contentious in some circles. And I was interested in whether the opposition would use the tactic of accusations of racism.
The contribution...? Probably nothing, except to forecast how debate on these issues goes. Perhaps the forecast would forestall some of it. Perhaps not.

Is the association with Herrnstein who also associated with Murray sufficient to tar Wilson? You wouldn't think so, but there are some viewpoints which would not scruple to drag it out if other arguments failed. Will they show up here?
6.9.2008 1:29pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Well, yes, if one writes a book about how science proves that blacks are stupid and shouldn't breed, one will be tarred as a racist. Funny how that works."

Have your read the book? Do you have a copy handy? Finally tell us specifically what in the book is incorrect.
6.9.2008 4:11pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Zark.
Now you're a racist. Boy, this is easy.
6.9.2008 8:15pm
justme:
He is the recipient of the Presidential Medal Freedom

EV: typo, I think there's an "of" in there.
6.10.2008 9:11am