PERSPECTIVErnCrime and WelfarernThe Immoral Equivalent of Star Warsrnby Thomas FlemingrnEvery few months the gentlemen of the press discover a newrnthreat to humanity that requires decisive government action.rnNot so long ago the United States Senate, alarmed by reportsrnof a comet striking the planet Jupiter, actually took up thernquestion of protecting the earth against a similar calamity.rnConservatives smile, but in the Reagan years, the President’srnHollywood imagination was inflamed by a vision of worldrnpeace secured by lasers and missiles, like so many angelicrnswords barring the Soviets from our American Eden.rnUsually, however, the crises are more down-to-earth. For severalrnyears the lamentations of the press have been directed towardrnthe problem of “children having children”—as if thisrnwere something new in the world, when the only thing new isrnthe fact that Americans never grow up.rnMore recently the declared crisis is children killing children,rnbut since the children killing children tend to be the childrenrnof children, it is perhaps all one problem. Although Americanrnintellectuals and their journalist camp-followers have failed tornmitigate, much less solve, virtually every social problem of thern20th century, their failure does not prevent them from proposingrnnew remedies that are inevitably worse than the disease.rnAnd so we hear the familiar refrain: the outbreak of childrenrnkilling each other will be solved—as the general crime problemrnwill be solved—only when the underlying social pathology ofrnpoverty is eliminated. This means more welfare, better publicrnhousing, make-work jobs, midnight basketball games, and anrneducational system dumbed down so far that a “youth” with arn75 IQ can graduate from high school and teach at MIT.rnI stress this last point, because it is apparent from the newspaperrnaccounts that many of the homicidal adolescents are incorrigiblyrnstupid. Last October in Chicago two teenagers in arnhousing project asked a five-year-old to steal for them, andrnwhen he refused, they dropped him out of a 14th-story window,rndespite the best efforts of the boy’s older brother, who immediatelyrninformed the police. Apparently no one ever toldrnthem that it is a big mistake to kill someone in the presence ofrnthe victim’s brother. No educational program could teachrnthese kids, not right from wrong, certainly, for they will neverrnknow that, but the simple facts of survival, like not to use therncar phone in a vehicle you have stolen, which is what the murderersrnof Michael Jordan’s father did. Even North Carolinarnschools cannot be that bad.rnlO/CHRONICLESrnrnrn