Just for fun

The author of a study cited by Max Sawicky thinks this shows that protest demonstrations are “good for you” and people should do more of them. Well, that’s one way to read it.

Here’s another reading: Now we know why so many people put so much time and energy into demonstrations that are self-evidently worthless, or even counterproductive, in terms of actually achieving their announced political goals.

In the Jim Crow South, a “demonstration” actually demonstrated something: the ability of blacks to speak out together in the face of threats of legal harassment and deadly force, and the willingness of some whites to stand with them. A contemporary anti-war or right-to-life rally demonstrates only that its participants have nothing better to do, and prefer partying to actual political action.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com