On 28 Jun 2011, at 17:38, Rex Allen wrote:


On Mon, Jun 27, 2011 at 8:40 PM, Stephen Paul King <stephe...@charter.net > wrote: Why does it seem that there is no motivation to consider the victims of criminal behavior?

In trying to be proactive in eliminating the causes of criminal behavior, we are considering the victims - by trying to avoid having anyone victimized in the first place.

Similarly, in trying to deter criminal behavior, we are considering the victims.

And in trying to rehabilitate those who have engaged in criminal behavior we're trying to avoid future victims, and also trying to find ways for the criminals to repay any debt to society - in part by becoming productive, tax paying citizens.

Any discussion of criminal behavior is, in a real sense, "about" the victims of that behavior as well.

Further, victims have a means of redress for actual damages in the civil court system. Which has a lower requirement of proof. In criminal court, the burden is on the state to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In civil court, the burden of proof is initially on the plaintiff, but can be moved to the defendant under some circumstances, and the required standard of proof is only "more likely than not".

Recall that in the O.J. Simpson case, OJ was acquitted in the criminal case, but then lost the civil case against Nicole's family and ended paying damages to them anyway.

If you happen to be unlucky enough to be victimized by a criminal with no assets...this inevitably raises the question of why they have so little. It's unfortunate for you that the crime occurred, but unfortunate also for the criminal that life has led him to a such circumstances.

Similarly, criminal behavior caused by mental illness - such occurrences are like tornadoes, or earthquakes, or rabid animals. Mental illness is just an unfortunate consequence of how the world works. It's unfortunate for those afflicted, and it's unfortunate for the rest of us too.

I don't think that anyone chooses to be mentally unbalanced...but that's where some people end up. As with all illness and misfortune, probably best to remember: "But for the grace of God, there go I."



The article that was originally posted seemed to imply a start of a chain of reasoning that leads inevitably toward arguing for a government control mechanism where *any* behavior can be declared to be criminal and thus in need of adjustment.

I think you're imagining things. Get a hold of yourself man! You're getting all panicky and hysterical.



The ban on smoking that is occurring in the US is a good example of this, IMHO!

It's a negotiation between non-smokers and smokers. As fewer people smoker, the balance has shifted in favor of non-smokers. We're all trapped here on the planet together, and there are going to have to be rules in order for us to keep everything on track. Fewer rules is better, but no rules is not a realistic option.



A secular version of a theocracy, for example. The movie Equilibrium (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0238380/ ) comes to mind.

I think you shouldn't rely on movies like this to inform your views on...anything.




The main problem that I see in such schemes is that they inevitably lead to situations where a small elite decide what is and what is acceptable behavior, i.e. tyranny.

"Inevitably" is way too strong a word. I'm extremely skeptical that a smoking ban will lead to totalitarian government.

Not all slopes are slippery. In fact, *most* slopes are not slippery. It's entirely possible to stand securely even on a fairly steep incline.

Either you're engaged in fear-mongering, or you don't have a good grip on reality.


But *some* slope are slippery. And *one* is enough to get the catastrophe. I don't know if the smoking ban will lead to totalitarian government, but I can argue that prohibition of drugs lead to something even worst than a totalitarian government: it leads to a mafia state. That is bandits totalitarianism. Prohibition gives the (black) money to the bandits and to the corrupted people which will favor the continuation of the process, and it gives more and more power to the bandits and the special interests. Without stopping prohibition, the bandits take full power. A large part of Health, like entertainment, like religion, has to be separated from the state. You should still pay a bill, or be sent in jail when selling a drug, but only if you sold it with wrong indications, or lack of warnings on possible side effects, or if you sold to a minor, or without medical prescription in the relevant cases. The prohibition of a dangerous drug multiplies its dangerousness by a large factor. That is why the prohibition of alcohol failed: it led quickly to individual and social disasters (bandits getting more and more power). The prohibition of cannabis lasted, and still last, since a long time, due to its absence of toxicity. The fact that it continue to last, despite the facts, is worrying. Th fact that just research is forbidden on the (schedule one) cannabis is the proof that some part of the American state is already totalitarian In a mafia state success of any enterprise is no more related to work but to human relationships. It leads to arbitrariness in all affairs, not just health, up to the crashes.

And this illustrates also the ethic of Löbian machine, in case you agree that "good for me" is a protagorean virtue, that is of type of the self-consistency Dt. BDt -> ~Dt ("Gödel's second theorem"). If you interpret the 'B' by 'institutionalization', you get that the institutionalization of health is unhealthy, like the institutionalization/definition of the good is bad, etc.





Only when the individual is self-incentivized to "to the right thing" do I see a general diminution of criminal behaviors.

"Self-incentivized"?  What does that even mean?

No humans are born knowing the "right thing" to do. They have to be taught. The incentives have to provided by their environment. By family, and by society.

So what's this non-sense about self-incentivization? You're not even thinking logically.



But such requires that the true causes of criminal behavior be identified and minimized at an individual level, not by some state institution.

If statistics over a population show some recurring pattern or trend, then those statistics are most likely reflecting something real and structural.

If not *all* people show the behavior, then it's likely not "human nature" that is to blame, but rather the way society is structured that produces the behavior that is seen in individuals.


If criminal behavior is the result of natural predilections within humans then are we going to have to genetically engineer out criminality?

Again, there's no reason to carry things to extremes, except for rhetorical propaganda purposes, which is what I think most of your post amounts to.

You don't want to take reasonable steps, so you extrapolate out to some extreme and then invoke the inevitability of a slippery slope.

It is avoidable. Even the cops explains the total non sense of prohibition. I am optimist: prohibition will fall down soon or later. Obviously the cops are the more aware of the total non sense of prohibition, because they are at the front of the 'war on drugs':

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEdzZaXwf8o

Cannabis has made possible a very long prohibition, but it is also a sort of fatal error for the bandits.




Perhaps there is no complete solution to criminality, maybe there are just various methods that work in some cases and fail in others.


Perfect is the enemy of good enough. That there is no perfect solution available is not a good reason for refusing to make incremental improvements.

I agree with you. But we have to play fair in the process. We need to think about how to better separate the powers, how to get real independent press, etc.

Bruno


http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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