The Last Gulag
Fake Opinions

Selective Outrage?

Theodore Dalrymple ponders rape, punishment and an interesting selectivity:

It is curious how, when it comes to rape, the liberal press, and presumably liberals themselves, suddenly appreciate the value of punishment. They do not say of rape that we must understand the causes of rape before we punish it; that we must understand how men develop into rapists before we lock them away, preferably for a long time; that prison does not work. It is as if, when speaking of rape, it suddenly becomes time to put away childish things, and (to change the metaphor slightly) to talk the only kind of language that rapists understand.

They quiver with outrage when they learn that the clear-up rate for rape cases is only 6.5 per cent, though this in fact is very similar to the clear-up rate of all crimes. They are appalled at cases where rapists are left free to commit more of their crimes because of police and Crown Prosecution Service incompetence, which is itself the natural result of the policy of successive governments. But it is important for their self-respect as liberals that their outrage should not be generalised, that they should not let it spill over into consideration of other categories of crime, where the same bureaucratic levity and frivolity is likewise demonstrated. For, as every decent person knows, there are far too many prisoners in this country already, and prison does not work.

A claim aired repeatedly in the pages of a certain newspaper. Presumably, the Guardian’s Irwin James feels that imprisoned rapists should be allowed to vote along with the rest of the prison population. (Mr James does tentatively draw a line with Ian Huntley and Rose West, noted hate figures of the “popular press,” for whom he feels the franchise would be “pointless.” However, he maintains, “all others… should be allowed to cast their vote.”) And one might reasonably suppose that Mr James also frets over the “poor quality of the toothbrushes” available to rapists.

If anyone were to write that he thought that rapists should not be locked up because they have had a difficult childhood, have psychological problems and aberrant personalities, including a tendency to take drugs and too much alcohol, and because prison does not work as evidenced by the fact that they often commit the same sorts of crimes on release, he would be (rightly) regarded as a moral idiot. Yet the very same arguments are trotted out, with every appearance of convincing the people who trot them out of their own moral superiority over those who do not believe them, with regard to the kinds of crimes that make the lives of many old people in this country (to take only one example) a torment.

The whole thing. (h/t, Freeborn John)