2nd Amendment, Culture, Politics

“Defund the Police”: A Study in Leftist Luxury Beliefs

After the killing of George Floyd in May 2020, a surprising number of Democrats embraced calls to “defund” the police. According to data from the 2020 Cooperative Election Survey, 35.4% of Democrats expressed support for reducing spending on law enforcement.

Even as violent crime surged across the country, many Democrats remained supportive of defunding, which was supposedly necessary to achieve racial justice and equity. But support for defunding and depolicing is actually higher among white (and Asian) Democrats than among black and Hispanic Democrats. Relatively stronger support among the former, more affluent groups has led some to suggest that these attitudes are “luxury beliefs” that the privileged can afford to adopt to signal their virtue because they do not have to suffer the consequences. The luxury beliefs thesis thus suggests that socioeconomic status (SES) drives support for depolicing. But it is also possible that a genuine moral-political ideology, not affluence, plays an important role. This report is an attempt to empirically test the luxury beliefs hypothesis. It ultimately finds support for both the SES and ideology-centered accounts.

Section 1 shows that support for defunding and depolicing policies is indeed greater among white and Asian Democrats than black and Hispanic Democrats. Ideological self-identification, however, is found to be a stronger predictor of support than household income and education…

Section 3 finds that in areas with high levels of violent crime, support for defunding the police generally falls for all groups except white Democrats. This is true even when socioeconomic, demographic, and political background variables are held constant. Read more…

You Might Also Like