Does More War = Less Crime?

I was reading Peter Jennings’ *The Century for Young People * and was really struck by how violent it was. It made me wonder if people who idealize the past as “peaceful” have considered that perhaps we were simply channeling our violent tendencies. Is the crime rate lower while we’re at war? Do people with violent natures find their way into the army?

For those of us who believe that war is a crime, the answer is probably no.

Was that strictly necessary?

Yes, when your youth are off getting disciplined and working out their angers at other youth in war, it generally makes for less crime at home – after all, what group is statistically the most likely to commit crimes?

Serious ccrime dropped through the Clinton admin. Thank god that time of peace and prosperity is over.

LOL. Murdering and dying. This is a brilliant solution.

Soldiers don’t commit crimes? So why are there military police?

Let me elaborate. My response was not intended to be sarcastic, but to express disagreement with the premise of this thread. That premise is that certain people have innate violent tendencies that they must release somehow, either through war or through crime.

I disagree. I think that violent tendencies are learned, not innate. I think that a society which teaches violence at the personal level will generally support violence at the international level, and vice versa. Hence the United States and Britain, which are highly militaristic, have higher crime rates than pacifist countries such as Canada and New Zealand.

You read Freakonomics. Don’t be such a brat.

We hardly invented violence, though - the Islamic/Christian thing predates both countries by quite a few centuries. Right now you take most of Africa, parts of South America, and of course the Middle East; shit, American street crime barely keeps pace.

I’m not saying “certain” people, it seems like just about ALL people are fairly violent. Once the population reaches a certain density within a region, all Hell breaks loose.

And it’s not necessarily the youth who’re the problem - Jennings’ book talks about the Grandmas in London taking up arms (now I’ve forgotten the specific anecdote & the book’s back at the library).

It does seem, though, like cooler climates promote cooler tempers, perhaps because they’re too busy trying not to freeze their asses off. Maybe they stay inside more?

Actually, back in the late 80’s a rather large study on violent crime noted that violent crime goes up when a nation is at war. This study also showed how societies that have the death penalty have higher crime rates, that crimes goes up a little after an execution, that crime drops when that society bans the death penalty.

Basically what the society decides to do as a group, the individual members do as well. If the group uses violence to settle disputes, then individual members of that society tend to do that.

I sort of agree with this. although I think people do have some innate violent tendencies. It’s just that those tendencies can be reinforced, or discouraged. They can be channeled into destructive or constructive channels.

If I give in to my violent tendencies today, I will be more likely, not less likely, to be violent tomorrow. Violent urges aren’t something you get out of your system by yielding to them.

And I’m wondering who the people are who “idealize the past as peaceful,” anyway.