The famed co-author of the “broken windows theory” which inspired a generation of community-policing advocates, passed away on Friday. The Wall Street Journal ran a collection of short snippets from articles he had written over the years. I thought this one was interesting, because I had not seen it put quite this way:
The view that we know less than we thought we knew about how to change the human condition came, in time, to be called neoconservatism. Many of the writers [for The Public Interest], myself included, disliked the term because we did not think we were conservative, neo or paleo. (I voted for John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey and worked in the latter’s presidential campaign.) It would have been better if we had been called policy skeptics; that is, people who thought it was hard, though not impossible, to make useful and important changes in public policy.
That hardly seems consistent with neocons’ Wilsonian faith in our power to affect the world in Iraq and other places, but perhaps it works in the domestic sphere. It just goes to show how slippery any political designations can be, which is why I avoid them. The main narrative I had seen in the past was that neocons were liberals who became disenchanted. I suppose Wilson’s explanation for why that disaffection occurred is as good as any.
Wilson was a very smart man, but of course he could also spout nonsense, such as here:
Men like to complain about what bad drivers women are, but the evidence about highway fatalities suggests that testosterone causes twice as many deaths (per 100 million miles driven) as female driving does. And women can help men drive better…
I mean, who’s going to believe that? Huh, guys?