CC: One of the really wholesome things about your research is the fact that you are looking at the community rather than the political system for solutions to the problem of urban crime.

PJL: Lynn Curtis refers to this as an above-level philosophy, as opposed to the traditional public policy in this area, which has been a "trickle-down" philosophy. The average intelligent citizen who reads the New York Times consistently gets bombarded by the notion that the solution lies in government policy. Not only is that not the best way, but it certainly isn't the only way.  I come from a very traditional family—my father’s a naval officer, and the notion of discipline and service was instilled in me. Those things are important, but there are things which liberals embrace that also are important, that make us more human—this notion of caring, for example.

CC: Is caring really a left-wing issue, I wonder? It's true that if you look at the formal ideology of the right wing of the Republican Party and the formal ideology of the left wing of the Democratic Party, liberal Democrats say they are the party of compassion whereas the Republicans are the party of self-reliance and competition. But if you look just at ordinary people—conservative people, not conservative...

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