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Remember when the freakonomists said that a high abortion rate decreases violent crime? Well, now there’s a better correlation. A recent study shows that deadly crime rises during right-wing presidencies and declines during leftist ones. Perhaps this helps us explain why the U.S. holds onto capital punishment, the theme of another recent book. With our inexorable long march rightward, American politics has become so fucked up that it drives individuals to kill others or themselves. Capital punishment—killing the killers—is just  society’s way of avoiding a descent into the state of nature.

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