Originally Posted by Marvin
Not everybody wants to change their culture, you can't force that on people. You can however force a punishment on people when they step outside the law.
Slavery was part of our culture once. We haven't shaken off all of the vestiges of racism left over from that, but we've certainly made more progress there than we have with eliminating crime and recidivism.
Sure that helps reduce crime but it's not an answer to not punishing criminals.
It would certainly help if you could manage to deal with concepts in something other than a binary fashion. I never suggested "not punishing criminals". You may not think what I'm suggesting is enough
punishment or effective enough punishment -- but you know damned well "not punishing criminals" is a straw man.
It's a good thing for you I don't have the power or authority to enforce what I think you "deserve" for being such a putz about the dishonest way you carry on an argument.
I still think you're going overboard with the paranoia about the government agents coming to rape you at the first opportunity for more power. I'm talking about governments having the power to punish criminals more severely, people who have been tried and convicted by a fair system.
And what you're not getting is that these two things -- personal liberty and severity of punishment -- are closely linked. The same kinds of governments that inflict severe punishments are and always have been the same kind that greatly limit personal freedom and inflict their barbaric punishments for political as well as criminal reasons.
That's not simply a mere coincidence. That's not something where you can say, "Well, we'll just make sure we keep our personal liberty when bring in the hand-chopping blocks and the iron maidens and the hot eye-pokers and the thumbscrews into our penal system. You'll see! It'll work out fine!"
Any society willing to sanction and institutionalize such punishments simply will not be the kind of society that tolerates political dissent either. These things do not go together. That's why I keep asking you for historical examples of anything like what you suggest -- personal liberty and routine, institutionalized cruel and unusual punishment side by side, coexisting in harmony. You can't find that because it doesn't and hasn't ever existed.
Do you imagine you're onto a bold new experiment in justice that's never been tried before?
If you think these people deserve less than the torture they inflicted on others then I think it's an easy time.
No, what I think is that emotionally-charged judgments of what this person or that "deserve" have no place in a criminal justice system or a penal system, at least if you have any sense about the importance of limiting government power and the poisonous downside for all of society when you have institutionalized torture. Such concerns are not mere paranoia -- they are a matter of historical fact.
The trouble is that the two are usually disconnected. Societies which promote barbaric punishment usually don't have the same freedoms we do. I'm advocating a system where we have the freedom and liberty we currently have but at the same time harsh punishment for crimes.
got there on your own -- and then you veered off into rage-driven unreality. It's not mere coincidence, it not because it hasn't been tried before, that institutionalized barbaric punishment and well-protected personal liberty aren't seen hanging out with each other.
Funny you should mention that, just this afternoon, a gang of 10 teenage youths walked by my house and smashed my car mirror and kicked my front door. They didn't physically harm me because I was inside my house but I don't really feel pretty damned safe being outnumbered 10 to 1 with the only assurance that under the weak system you love, the police call them the 'untouchables'.
Ah, nothing like personal anecdotes to shine clear light on a subject.
So then they need that fear response back. Putting them in a nice safe sell with luxuries doesn't seem like an effective way to do that.
You really aren't getting what this lack of fear means. People who lack a normal fear response don't suddenly learn to fear because you brutalize them -- they can go through awful experiences and still don't learn to fear. It's a biochemical issue -- not a matter of not having scared them "enough".
And as another poster pointed out -- most people, criminals especially -- are absolutely terrible at making risk/reward calculations. No matter how great a potential punishment is, if someone rates their risk of being subject to that punishment as being very low -- I'm not talking about very intelligent assessments here -- and rates the instant gratification of doing what they want to do and getting what they want as a great benefit -- the most horrendous punishment will serve little or no deterrent value.
Of course, you can still get back to harping on what these criminals "deserve" -- regardless of its effective deterrent value -- but I've already offered good reasons, whether you understand or accept those reasons, why that's a counterproductive avenue to pursue, yes, counterproductive even for the ultimate good of the people who are angry that criminals haven't been punished "enough".
If you want me to stop misjudging your perfect system, you need to define it better.
So "my system" is whatever straw man you want it to be unless I enter this thread from my very first post with a twenty page essay covering every single aspect of what I'd recommend, with you free to fill in any blanks with any ridiculous stupidity you want to until I do?
You just keep saying no barbarism but you don't give any solutions that to date have proven to be effective in reducing recidivism.
I've never said an such thing. I forgot that I was supposed to supply that twenty page essay right at the start and that you get to fill in any straw man you like until I do.
Exactly the opposite. Do you think that the people with severed hands go on to be life-long thieves?
Better yet, just kill all criminals at the first offense. Incredibly effective at reducing -- nay, eliminating! -- recidivism. I think, however, you'll find the society that punishes that way to be a very poisonous and corrupt society to live in, whether it stops at "merely" cutting people's hands off or goes all the way to the easier, more "sensible" solution of just killing all the bad guys. And killing is more "sensible", after all, isn't it? Much cheaper than prison, especially if you eliminate the tedious and expensive appeals process -- bah, let's just kill a few extra innocent people for efficiency's sake, it's worth the results! It's probably even cheaper than chopping hands off. Further, people with ex-criminals with missing hands aren't generally the kind of folk who have much to offer the world in the way of productive intellectual capacity, and given their decided disadvantage at the alternative of manual
labor, you might as well just kill them off from the start and "reduce the excess population".
(Psstt... the previous paragraph requires that you recognize the difference between me mischaracterizing your stance, and me presenting a "reductio ad absurdum" argument.)
So the way to reform a psychopath who by choice leads a solitary life on the outside gets the choice to lead a solitary life in the inside and the only expense is the loss of a few activities they probably aren't interested in anyway.
The solitary psychopath is the exception, not the rule. Most of our violence is gang violence, and it happens in a social context that promotes violence. Solitary psychopaths might need to be handled differently -- fortunately, I'm capable of imagining flexible solutions more subtle than your next cartoon caricature of "my system" that you decide to argue against.
Ok so define your ideal system.
I'll do it that in my dear sweet time, over the course of a discussion like I would if I could treat you like a reasonable person. But as long as you're putting forth this bullshit premise that I'm liable for any convenient mischaracterization you can conveniently blame me for, until I've explicitly ruled out every possible mischaracterization ahead of time -- no way I'm playing that stupid game.
You consider putting the lives of millions of innocent people at risk by under-punishing to be a fairly small risk vs a system where a handful of wrongly convicted people will be undeservedly punished?
Unquantified risk is a pointless thing to argue about. Every time you drive your car, you subject innocent people to risk -- you could, after all, suddenly have a heart attack or brain aneurysm and go out of control. Since I don't know who you might hit -- and it could be any out of millions
of people -- I could say you're putting millions of people at risk. And yes, I can live with that much risk.
Obviously risks from criminals are higher, but they aren't that
high, not high enough warrant institutionalization of techniques of punishment which have always gone hand-and-hand with repressive government.
Would these historical examples be societies where they use barbaric forms of punishment and are not just generally barbaric in everything?
That's what I'd like to see an example of, if you can find one.