I was recently interviewed by Law Officer regarding the “reformed” bail policy which led to the release of the killer responsible for the Waukesha, Wisconsin tragedy.
This tragedy illustrates the stark contrast between an intellectual reform idea in the abstract and its consequences. This district attorney acknowledged that his policy would result in a released person killing someone, a consequence he was willing to own … until it did.
I quoted Thomas Sowell throughout my book as Sowell has exposed the intellectual fallacies of reformers proposing policies in the name of their vision. Sowell often describes different visions of the world – that intellectual reformers view the world differently than those who deal with the real world every day. Sowell wrote an entire book on intellectuals titled Intellectuals and Society. Sowell said, “The … fundamental point is that, by proceeding as if discussing abstract people in an abstract world, intellectuals evade the responsibility … of learning the real facts about real people …”Sowell argues there are few solutions, but options – with consequences. Intellectuals, he argues, ignore those consequences and promote reform ideas as utopian solutions.
As we recently saw, sometimes those consequences are the horrendous murder of innocent people – including young children at a Christmas parade. But why would an intellectual reformer not acknowledge the impact of the reform? In his book, Sowell addresses this failure, “But the real purpose of social crusades is to proclaim oneself to be on the side of the angels, then such investigations [into the unintended consequences of the policies] have a low priority, if any priority at all since the goal of being on the side of the angels is accomplished when the policies have been advocated …”
It’s pretty easy to play poker with someone else’s chips. As we saw last week, sometimes those chips are lives of the innocent.
 Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society – Revised and Enlarged Edition (Basic Books, 2011). p. 137.
 Sowell, p. 181.