On Thu, Nov 7, 2013 at 11:12 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
> 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
> 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.
You are right, but I don't believe most people understand this. This
is why populism and "being tough on crime" is such a dangerous
tendency, but the root of the problem is that too many laws exist. We
should demand less laws, simpler laws and we should demand for the
effects of laws to be measured and have them removed if they don't
work. In short, law-making is too important and hard to be left to the
non-scientifically minded. I won't hold my breath though .
> 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.
I don't think the majority of people realise it. This is why the
populist "nothing to hide" argument works. The majority of people
confuse social norms with laws. They want people that deviate for the
norms to be punished -- already a violent desire -- but they don't
understand how little the actual law has to do what they imagine it to
> And this is not due to some evil politicians plot.
To a degree. The politicians are evil when they pander to a majority
that is much bellow their level of understanding of reality for the
single purpose of obtaining power, instead of fighting to raise actual
> 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.
And I think it's harder the poorer you are. White supremacists come
mostly from the working class, not so much from doctors, professors or
other people with cushy lives. Religious fundamentalism comes from the
disenfranchised, the people voting for Marine Le Pen in France mostly
don't have a view to the Eiffel Tower and so on.
> 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.
I agree. In my view, the judicial system should exist purely to create
a disincentive for crime and to protect society from people that would
commit harm to others if left free. It should not be retributive --
that just propagates the violence.
> 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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