On 11/6/2013 6:42 PM, Chris de Morsella wrote:

Either all humans enjoy human rights or none do.

Human rights are a human invention.

As soon as a class of persons is created that are stripped of their basic human rights society is on a slippery slope down into the dark hell of totalitarianism.

Are you repeating the common political rhetoric that refers to people who have been convicted of a crime as "criminals" as though that defined a class, like "women" or "laborer"? I think that is a pernicious view point; one which is used to justify an "us vs. them" mentality and "the war on crime". There is no "criminal class", there are just people who have committed crimes. I commit a crime every day: exceeding the speed limit, and so do 90% of the other people on the freeway.

Laws are passed with the idea and understanding that they will only be selectively enforced. This is why it is disturbing to see the proliferation of high-tech law enforcement: drones, GPS tracking, eavesdropping, cameras. People realize that there are so many laws and so many poorly crafted laws that if every violation of every law was caught and prosecuted we'd all end up in jail.

And this is not due to some evil politicians plot. The same people who routinely drive 80mph on the freeway, *want* the speed limit set to 65 or 70, because those *other people* are driving too fast. The same people who smoke cigarettes want marijuana to be illegal. If you've ever been on a jury you know that most people are quick to condemn any deviation from what they consider the norm. Being liberal and tolerant doesn't come naturally.

This brings up the paradox of crime & punishment. Whenever a person is punished by society in some way and their rights are restricted this creates a risk. Now obviously some people need to be imprisoned -- not nearly as many as are in fact imprisoned, but some people are violent anti-social and commit harm on others.

Suppose they're not anti-social and not violent. They just defrauded a few million investors out of their retirement savings. Should we just let them walk free...Oh, right, we do.

But once someone has paid their price and done their time if they are then -- as they are in this country -- permanently stripped of their civic rights (felons cannot vote -- or own guns as well -- in most states in the USA) it gets into the area of creating a sub-human class of persons.

In the states I know about, a felon can petition to have their voting rights 


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