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William D. Eggers

Director of the 21st Century Government Project and the Privatization Center at the Reason Foundation, co-author (with John O'Leary) of Revolution At the Roots: Making Our Government Smaller, Better, and Closer to Home (1995, Simon and Schuster)


In healthy communities, individuals establish and enforce codes of conduct, both formal and informal. Litterers get a lecture. Speeders get yelled at. Unruly youths get a tongue-lashing. But in unhealthy communities, the fear of crime keeps people shut up in their homes (especially the elderly), cuts off commercial activity, alienates individuals from each other, and surrenders the streets to the very kind of disorderly activity that fuels crime in the first place. Community is eroded, and because individuals are afraid to maintain order, the community loses its lawful environment. Until neighborhoods are safe again, they will not thrive economically or socially. Waiting for the government to make it all better is a losing strategy. People have to become more involved in ensuring their own security.

1995 - from Revolution at the Roots (with John O'Leary)
The public school system is characterized by two important features. First, it is politically controlled. Second it is a virtual monopoly. Like most politically controlled monopolies, government-run schools tend to produce low-quality, high-cost outcomes.

1995 - from Revolution at the Roots (with John O'Leary)
It is said that for every complex problem, there is a simple and elegant solution that is wrong. For crime, the simple answer is, 'We need more cops and we need more prisons.' Though extremely popular right now with politicians, this approach will ultimately do little to improve public safety. The best police force in the world cannot make safe a community in which people have no regard for the lives or property of others. Without question, swift and sure punishment of criminal activity is an important component of an effective crime policy. But the best defense against crime is not a thin, blue line, but a community of individuals respectful of others.

1995 - from Revolution at the Roots (with John O'Leary)