The Good News: Virtue Is on the Rise in America





David Brooks, in the NYT:

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the rate of family violence in this country has dropped by more than half since 1993. I've been trying to figure out why.

A lot of the credit has to go to the people who have been quietly working in this field: to social workers who provide victims with counseling and support; to women's crisis centers, which help women trapped in violent relationships find other places to live; to police forces and prosecutors, who are arresting more spouse-beaters and putting them away.

The Violence Against Women Act, which was passed in 1994, must have also played a role, focusing federal money and attention.

But all of these efforts are part of a larger story. The decline in family violence is part of a whole web of positive, mutually reinforcing social trends. To put it in old-fashioned terms, America is becoming more virtuous. Americans today hurt each other less than they did 13 years ago. They are more likely to resist selfish and shortsighted impulses. They are leading more responsible, more organized lives. A result is an improvement in social order across a range of behaviors.

The decline in domestic violence is of a piece with the decline in violent crime over all. Violent crime over all is down by 55 percent since 1993 and violence by teenagers has dropped an astonishing 71 percent, according to the Department of Justice.

Read the full article.
comments powered by Disqus
History News Network