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February 03, 2016

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Jonathan

What a thread. Where's Minnow when you need him?

Catdog

but criticizing my clumsy attempts to parse your argument when you didn't care whether or not I understood it is uncalled for.

Poor babe. :(

Ten

Since I now know you don't want to be understood, I'll stop asking.

So you're the victim when you invert someone else's words and they notice. Inconvenient, that.

But I'll take you at your (latter) word, that little ruse above notwithstanding. Very roughly in order:

1. Parasitic corporate statism, job loss
2. QE bubbles, exponential debt, insolvency
3. Wholesale loss of society, decimated middle class, class warfare, oligarchic reversion. Return to #1 and repeat.
4. Inescapable, growing welfare dependency
5. No-borders multiculturalism
6. Crime
7. Industrialized, corporatized solution to criminality within this collapse of normal function within a new two-class system incapable of supporting the above in the long term

Fen Tiger

"a particularly slimy kind of trolling"

That: just that, and nothing more. The bafflegab is the mark by which you know it.

Ten

I don't hold your editing of my remarks against you.

I don't revise the point by point second or third analysis of an opposing view. (And not referring to you, Civilis, I also don't holler Troll! when I don't care to bother to accept those points because I know I can't defend my own. Or don't know what they are.)

I've tried multiple methods to understand what you want. Since I now know you don't want to be understood, I'll stop asking.

So you say so fair enough. But you also claim to somehow know I don't want to be understood...

At any rate, that not being the point:

I took a restart, by asking you a few open and simple questions which I put as few preconceived ideas into as possible, as being the best way I could get your argument in good faith. If you don't care that I don't understand you, don't waste your time answering them.

Like I alluded, a fair minds grant fair terms of engagement. Kindly allow others to own their intent.

Criticizing my clumsy attempts to parse your argument when you didn't care whether or not I understood it is uncalled for.

It's relative. My argument is identification: how systems fail. The counter argument is that having failed, how will they serve me - keep me safe - in a paradigm I won't challenge - lock 'em all up, the bastards! Nothing is defined - no long term view of said system, no prior organizing principle much need apply, and no alternatives may be considered. Not proposed; considered.

Why? Short term opportunity and unthought ideology.

Civilis

So you're the victim when you invert someone else's words and they notice. Inconvenient, that.

What I'm trying to do is paraphrase what you said in terms that make sense to me, then read it back to you for confirmation that I comprehended what you wrote. It makes me look stupid, but it's the best way I've found to make sure I understand things. I likely think very differently than you do. We can each argue that the other is distorting our words; it's an artifact of the language differences (or, better, vocabulary differences) between us.

It looks like you've provided answers to the question "what's wrong with the current system?", with system being everything rather than just the justice system. Why are you sure that all the listed problems have the same root cause? I can easily see the 1-4 cycle being one problem feeding problem 6, but crime is actually at historically low levels, and the economic cycle isn't the only feeder of crime. From a systems perspective, it's hard to see 7 as anything other than a parasitic process which actually counters some of 1-6, driven by suppressed populist nationalism, much like the rise of nationalist populist political figures. This isn't necessarily a good thing, but it's direction is counter to the other problems mentioned, so the solution may need to be to accept some risk due to the imperfect nature of any human systems.

Populist nationalism worries me in that the loop tends to be self-reinforcing because people can't comprehend the differences between intended outcomes and actual outcomes that are contrary to what is intended. The economy is poor, so populist politician promises tariffs / jobs programs / taxing the rich, which leads to a worse economy, which leads to another populist politician promising more tariffs / jobs programs / taxes / etc., which leads to a worse economy, ad nauseum (see Venezuela).

I'm not convinced the law and order cycle isn't naturally self-dampening. Take New York: clean the place up using high pressure tactics, crime goes down, people forget why the tactics were implemented and complain or elect more liberal mayor, crime goes up, people complain about the crime and elect tough on crime mayor, cycle repeats but doesn't grow out of control. Right now, crime is down so people are starting to notice and complain about the tough laws, but some people believe crime is still high. We might be more concerned about why people believe crime is up when it's actually down, and if this may be related to people thinking the economy is strong when it's not (there's a common factor here you haven't mentioned, and it's not one you can control directly with the government as a libertarian).

Civilis

It's relative. My argument is identification: how systems fail. The counter argument is that having failed, how will they serve me - keep me safe - in a paradigm I won't challenge - lock 'em all up, the bastards! Nothing is defined - no long term view of said system, no prior organizing principle much need apply, and no alternatives may be considered. Not proposed; considered.

From my system analysis perspective, I see in all the problems you identified a failure of responsibility and accountability at multiple levels. Perhaps I'm structurally predisposed to looking for that specific flaw and I'm only finding what I looked for, which is always an issue. For example, for your problem one, we don't hold the politicians responsible for our tax dollars accountable for how they spend our money. For 5, we don't make new immigrants responsible for adapting to America, and we don't hold the politicians responsible for securing our borders accountable for the immigration mess.

The problem is, this doesn't seem to apply to your views of crime. I can agree with you that there are flaws in the criminal justice system harmful to freedom, but I can't see effective solutions that don't run up against people's rights in other places. Rational people can disagree about what the proper balance is; the fact that we've come to different conclusions doesn't mean we haven't considered the problem. As for me, there are a few meta-level suppositions necessary for a free system to be in place, and one of those is, absent entrapment, criminals are entirely responsible for crimes with victims; doesn't matter how short her skirt was. If I get pulled over for speeding, even if the speed limit is low and the cop is being mean, I am ultimately responsible. (If you want to have a separate debate about entrapment specifically, we could have made this discussion a lot shorter).

joanne silverman

I regularly scout out parking meters with time left and use them while scurrying around doing my volunteer work. I know it's illegal but if I start putting money in them can I apply for a "stipend"?

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Right now, crime is down so people are starting to notice and complain about the tough laws, but some people believe crime is still high. We might be more concerned about why people believe crime is up when it's actually down,

I'd note that it's the police who seem to think violence against them is up when it's at its lowest level in decades.

The system is, I think, broken, in that law enforcment is increasingly becoming politicized. When immigrants attacked women in Cologne on New Year's Eve, the police weren't there to respond, and how dare anybody point out that this was an effect of having the wrong immigrant cultures. But when wrong-thinking groups wanted to protest publicly, oh the police were there.

And as I've argued in other threads here, another way the system is broken is that while the police (and the justice system in general) are increasingly in general, becoming thugs above the law, the political culture says that oh no, we're only allowed to talk about it in the context of race.

Consider this case of a man charged in two bank robberies. The teller in one says the man charged is not the man who robbed her; in the other he doesn't match the man in the video (he was identified in that video by his ex-wife). So when a local TV station did a report on the case, the authorities... arrested the man on an obstuction of justice charge, a "fuck you, that's why" charge if ever there were one. But this isn't a national story because the media can't use this to play the race card.

Ten

To Civilis at 20:28,

Fair enough. I'm somewhere between curmudgeonly and downright misanthropic about these issues; starkly amazed at what passes for (what to call it?) anti-authoritarianism by folks of right minds about power and limits. Yes, language isn't perfect, blog entries less so, and me the least...

I don't think all the problems have the same root cause, at least not in this context. Didn't mean to suggest so - it's more of a flow chart. They all share humanity, but the aim above was to flow them from cause to effect, very roughly in order, to show that the effect isn't natural and dealing with its symptoms is therefore doomed.

Maybe there is some resiliency; some negative feedback stability in pockets. There's certainly a lot of popular discontent directed at what these issues have caused. Whether it extends to the issues themselves - thinking Occupy here - is up for grabs. Meanwhile the positive feedback noted is real. PF pushes systems into hard reboots, ruin.

Local instances of renewal notwithstanding, we can't criminalize everything and everyone. We can't fix what our local societies have wrecked, typically from abandoning first our legacies, then our integrity, then vision, and then expectations.

David

Fair enough.

Blimey. I didn’t see that coming.

Group hug.


Too soon?

Theophrastus

Ten

Your argument is as clear as mud - because it's a mass of evidence-free, high-level generalisations expressed in cloudy academic jargon. And you don't understand what a fallacy is.

Ten

Theophrastus

And you're a butt-hurt crustacean - who can't accept there's other things in the world but what's on your XBox. Plus you can't spell history and don't play tennis worth a damn.

Darleen

when society has no choice but to reform so that exponentially fewer and not more are created to be walled up by socially normalizing criminality and justice as a self-interested industry, calling it civil safety, the State's sacred role? Then, obviously, criminals as you use the term has a whole new context. You tell me how that society deals with its criminals.

No, Ten. You're the one here asserting Society.Must.Change. before it is allowed to deal with that certain, and consistent, percentage of the population known as 'criminals'. Start laying out specifics of how that society is organized. Nuts & bolts. Anarcho-capitalism still argues for legal codes -- as defined by who? enforced by who? adjudicated by who? Who makes sure the losing side of the adjudication fulfills whatever penalty/restitution is pronounced? Who defines property title, rights of inheritance, copyright, trademarks? Who is responsible for children and how are children to be viewed - are they sovereign prior to birth, at birth, at majority? If a voluntary gang forms over the next hill and decides their own code of law and conduct and decides your voluntary community is heresy and needs to be destroyed, isn't their view as morally relevant as yours?

*** Uh, doctor? My labor pains are now three minutes apart, this baby is coming ...
*** No, we are not ready yet, the paint in this room is the wrong color and the best medical equipment has yet to be invented. You are not allowed to give birth yet ***


See, I'm of the curmudgeon class, I want to be left alone, to deal with others only on a voluntary basis as much as possible and STAY OFF MY LAWN.

But I also recognize that whatever system proposed as 'ideal' always contains a fatal flaw ...

The system is populated and run by human beings.

Bentley Strange

The Celtics had a functional justice system.....then you lost me. Are you even sure that there was an actual "Celtic" civilization as such ten, are you really, really sure ? Lots of people aren't. And romanticizing a poorly understood and possibly fictitious culture plus extraordinary question begging, you're priceless, really priceless.

And also possibly one of the best examples of TL:DR available. I bet, in that exceptionally large echo chamber of your head, it all makes sense, really, it does.

Ten

As happy as you are painting them, Darleen, I'll leave you to connect your own dots. Join Bentley.

That's the weird thing about conservatives who aren't. Can't explain why they are, and resort to angrily demanding others do it for them.

Darleen

Darleen, I'll leave you to connect your own dots. Join Bentley.

Well bless your heart, dear.

Spiny Norman

Jonathan,

Where's Minnow when you need him?

You mean he's not? Or are we being visited by the "Spock-with-a-goatee alternate reality" Minnow?

The word salad seems awfully familiar.

DC resident

If I promise not to kill everyone in my office will they pay 9,000 a year?

Wonder what I'll have to do to the DC council if they refuse to pay me? Hmmmmmmmm.....

Deborah

I don't know about all that screed-ing I just slogged through to get here, lots of big ideas and in large part over my head, I'm sure. However, I do know this; break into my place and I'll shoot you. I may not necessarily kill, perhaps just a maiming that won't be forgotten.

It's a simple system, easy to explain and understand. Word has gotten out, so it's pretty quiet 'round my place.

David Gillies

I used to be fairly close to the sort of anarchy that Ten seems (seems, mind, since his ideas are too vaporous to pin down) to be espousing. Rugged self-reliance, the frontier spirit, that sort of thing. These days I'm mostly happy to have my policing done by other people for the same reason that I don't raise dairy cows or make all my clothes on a hand loom.

Hal

The Celtics had a functional justice system....

Yeah, there are indeed usually referees present at all games . . .

In turn, the Celts did stuff too.

Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK

So, Ten. Last week, a man waited for his estranged baby-mama to come out of her house and strap the baby in her car seat so she could drive the baby to day care and get to her job. The man waited for her to strap the baby in the car seat. The man waited, with his gun, for her to shut the car's back door and cross around to the driver's side and then he shot her, multiple times, until he was sure she was dead. Then he turned and faced his baby, his baby that was strapped in the car seat, his baby, the baby who could not testify in a court of law, or even tell anyone who'd killed her mother in front of her, and he took deliberate aim and shot and killed his baby.

What brilliant solution do you have for dealing with this monster.

Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK

And the Underpants Gnome Theory shows up:

1. "First principle is not to separate these people out of society, quite obviously. First principle is just law, then due process, and then - and quite distinct from those - to recreate a society that de-incentivizes crime wisely and reliably."
2. ???
3. "Only then do we remove people from society. For those reasons and because by the tacit admission of protectionists, ceaseless incarceration hasn't been that thing."

One of those theories that has society FREEZE in place for 10 years whilst we "recreate" it, and THEN we can do something about those dang criminals. Only under these impossible conditions, you see.

Jeff Guinn

blockquote>@Chester Draws: If prison worked prophylactively, the US would have low crime …

You are making several mistakes here.

First, you are aggregating crime across the entire US as if crime was uniform everywhere. It isn't. A great many places in the US are so safe that crime is very rare. Of course, some parts of the US, primarily some urban areas, do have high crime.

Also, you treat crime as if it is static; it isn't. Crime has plummeted from its peak in the early 1990s. That decrease strongly correlates with more widespread gun ownership and an increase in prison populations. I'm not saying that correlation means causation, but it is worth noting that without correlation, there is no causation. And until there is some plausible alternative and exclusive explanation to the plummeting crime rates in the US, then claiming prison isn't prophylactic is a claim you can't defend.

On top of that, you make a category mistake. Up to forty or so years ago, the mentally ill were confined to institutions, which would not have counted as incarceration. Now, for reasons both progressive and financial, virtually everyone who previously would have been committed have been turfed, instead.

Result:

Jeff Guinn

(Ooops. HTML crime.)

Result: A significant percentage of prison inmates are mentally ill. Since the cause for much of US incarceration has nothing at all to do with the justice system, then, at least in part, the justice system is not the place to look for a fix.

Jeff Guinn
@ten: I felt it relevant to propose that the incarceration state was incompatible with founding western principles, and I illustrated that prior functional civilizations - our own included, actually - didn't operate them.

It would have been very helpful had you spent even a sentence explaining why the differences between, say Celtic society, and today aren't so huge as to render invoking prior civilizations a thoroughgoing mistake. You have completely ignored that the Celts were far more violent than western civilization is today.

All the appeals to failing contemporary practices don't rise to the level of proofing a newly viable, fair, just, and especially durable society. I mean, here we are complaining about order and defending its conflict with our first principles.

Your argument so far is completely negative. We are to accept that contemporary practices are a failure, without once answering "compared to what?", which has been asked plenty of times.

Should you want to make the case that drug laws in the US too often criminalize a medical issue — addiction, then you might very well have a point, in that it is entirely possible that prohibition costs more than the alternative.

But that doesn't get you to "failing", and nowhere in your "philosophy" have I seen any mention of human nature. Without having done that, your claiming a "newly viable, fair, just, and especially durable society" is just so many unicorn herds.

And yes, apparently an armed society is a polite - and just - society. Ask Darleen, her Republican sensibilities notwithstanding.

I agree, but you have gotten things completely backwards. In all successful societies, government has a monopoly on force, and a justice system that acts as a neutral arbiter between parties.

When people have to rely on being armed to deal with predators, then that is a consequence of the failure to catch and sequester those who either cannot, or will not, adhere to a social contract that isn't hard to figure out, or follow. I happen to think it a very good thing indeed that, at least in some parts of the US, predators have to consider the possibility their intended victims might very well be armed and dangerous. But the fact that they are in a position to prey on others means, by definition, that they aren't. Until you provide some plausible explanation for how these predators won't exist in the first place, you are, in effect arguing for a null.

No matter how effective your utopia (hard to say, since your negative argument has relieved you of providing a positive alternative), there will be people like this. Others have asked, and you relentless refused to answer: what about them?

I'm asking about dysfunctional systems, their conflict with first and founding principles, why ostensible conservatives defend them, and now apparently, how any of this could be so damn hard to explain after being written probably half a dozen times.

First principle is not to separate these people out of society, quite obviously. First principle is just law, then due process, and then - and quite distinct from those - to recreate a society that de-incentivizes crime wisely and reliably.

The system is broken.

You have taken as true that which you have absolutely failed to prove. In exactly what way is imprisonment of people who have violated the social contract a conflict with precisely which first and founding principles?

I'm an ostensible conservative. I take the individual pursuit of life, liberty and happiness as the primary founding principles of the US. Because that pursuit is individual, it means no one is more entitled to it than someone else, yet that is exactly what crimes against property and person are, the elevation of the predator's pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness over everyone else's.

That means, philosophically, criminals are the original violators of our founding principles. Now what?

No doubt our justice system isn't perfect. Probably too much plea bargaining; drug laws are probably too onerous, or at least need rethinking. But I would bet if you were to consider why each inmate was in prison, you would find in nearly every case, someone who themselves chose to violate our founding principles, and not just once, but many times.

To the extent your argument has any basis, those people made the decisions they did because of failures elsewhere. But those failures, to the extent they are explanatory at all, do not lie with the justice system. Rather, they lie with mistaken social welfare policies, de-insitutionalizing the mentally ill, etc.

Aiming your fire at the effect, and not the causes, won't fix anything.

What happens when society has no choice but to reform so that exponentially fewer and not more are created to be walled up by socially normalizing criminality and justice as a self-interested industry, calling it civil safety, the State's sacred role? Then, obviously, criminals as you use the term has a whole new context. You tell me how that society deals with its criminals.

You can't? Precisely.

I can't, because those sentences are a word salad. Exponentially more people are not being incarcerated. "socially normalizing criminality" is meaningless, and your repeated deriding of civil safety is foolish.

There are several indispensable roles for a successful state: disinterested monopoly of force, rule of law, and defense. One of your problems, of which there are many, is failing to see that the State's legitimate exercise of defense isn't only against other states, but also citizens who refuse to obey the social contract that is based upon our founding principles.

Watcher in the dark

Is the war over yet? Has a winner been declared? Are we safer at night than we were when this fighting broke out?

Jeff Guinn

I'd hate to think I killed another conversation.

WTP

Can't see where putting this guy in prison would have made any difference...of course I may have something wrong with my eyes...

Fitzgerald and Harper – both believed to be in their 30s – had been on the run since Sunday and are suspected of committing crimes in Missouri, Alabama, Georgia and Florida in the last week. Thursday night’s chase and Friday morning’s shootout are believed to have followed a Famous Footwear robbery.

Police said the couple started their crime spree in Missouri on Jan. 26. They are wanted in two separate car chases, according to Cape Girardeau Country Sheriff’s Office Capt. David James in Missouri.

...

Investigators said the couple drove to Alabama and abducted a hotel clerk, tried to rob a McDonald’s manager and briefly kidnapped a woman outside Birmingham before stealing her SUV on Sunday. Those crimes happened within a two-hour span across a 60-mile distance, according to authorities.

...

"We have no idea why they're running or where they're running from or running to,"Tuscaloosa police Lt. Kip Hart said earlier this week.

Missouri public records show Fitzgerald was no stranger to legal troubles. In 2013, he and an accomplice were charged with burglarizing a Joplin woman at knifepoint in her home and making off with her purse, jewelry, electronics and a car.

Fitzgerald entered an Alford plea — not admitting guilt but acknowledging the prosecutors had sufficient evidence for a conviction — and was sentenced in 2014 to a suspended seven-year prison term.

Fitzgerald also was sentenced in southwestern Missouri's Jasper County to a simultaneous 120-day term in a drunken-driving case. Last July, Fitzgerald pleaded guilty in a Missouri assault case and was sentenced to a suspended five-year prison term.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/02/05/massive-search-underway-for-missouri-couple-wanted-in-four-state-crime-spree.html

pst314

"How is presumptive apathy not aggressing by force against a bunch of levels of civil society, my guaranteed lawful pursuits among them?"

Reminiscent of: "You are jeopardizing my well being with your violent refusal to agree."

WTP

"How is presumptive apathy not aggressing by force against a bunch of levels of civil society, my guaranteed lawful pursuits among them?"

That right there was what I found more aggravating than the argument itself. A "bunch" of wordy, academic blather and then a phrase like "a bunch" would show up. It was giving me the bends. Parsing the blather was bad enough.

Ten

(For a couple of reasons I'd decided to abandon all this hours ago. One is the stunning lapse of open-mindedness about the modern problems that culminate in an unsupportable status quo, and more pointedly, the ostensible right's failure to challenge it's role in creating many of the larger of them.

Even itemizing these errors doesn't resonate, which affirms their intractability, as does constantly editing the remarks of someone pointing them out.)

At any rate, Jeff Guinn, various from above:

It would have been very helpful had you spent even a sentence explaining why the differences between, say Celtic society, and today aren't so huge as to render invoking prior civilizations a thoroughgoing mistake. You have completely ignored that the Celts were far more violent than western civilization is today.

It would have been helpful if you had grasped the nature of an alternative legal principle and with it anther way of establishing and treating crime before jamming in a term you trusted would invalidate it - history's greatest murderers, as it so happens, weren't Celts. If that matters, which it obviously doesn't.

The philosophy of that and other considered past systems of evidently durable justice - our own included, as I've pointed out - is the obvious point, which is why it alone was excerpted and pasted way above as a single example. All of this clearly escapes you and I don't expect that's because you can't ramble on in fairly rote, predictable, and ultimately meaningless clauses, but because you don't want to.

So it would have been helpful if you had read on. It would have been helpful if you'd opened your mind.

I didn't invoke the Celts except to say that there have been alternatives in history to industrialized incarceration and prosecutorial overreach and Ham Sandwich Nation - after my links above nobody bothered to challenge Glenn Reynold's formulation, or cite the two books he cites - and some of them have been pretty damn well thought out. But no, we pay lip service to "it's not perfect, but" and then we go right back to never challenging it. And we edit Ten or demand solutions to problems we've never really considered ourselves.

Again, not conservative, unless if by conservative we mean loudly conserving everything in our own immediate, broken sphere. Because preemption, conditioning, and safety. Which are progressive.

So no, if there's no perfect system, stop fearing other systems. Cartooning the Celts (picked out of a sheaf like their example was) and start looking at principles and philosophies. But no.

Your argument so far is completely negative. We are to accept that contemporary practices are a failure, without once answering "compared to what?", which has been asked plenty of times.

Your rights are completely negative. The entire American Republican presidential campaign has so far been completely negative too, Jeff, with scant hard, structural solutions offered anywhere in it, at least from a podium. We get rhetoric, but apparently the message has been that the wholesale failure of systems, present and future, calls for reform.

The difference being, of course, that the candidates are in positions where they must solve things, and none of them are asking to be elected to then run majority polling that out in 2017 and beyond, comprises policy.

Of course my argument is negative. The problem is negative. The problem has been negative and the work uncovering it has been negative.

I've not offered solutions - we already know how that'd go - because as I've said three times now, I just want to see how far the right goes down the progressive rabbit hole for the safety of its progressive systems. Who's going to be the last guy off the stern of the USS Positive Feedback while the band plays on.

But prove your magical utopian justice, Ten! come the shrieks...which is just more lack of thought. We don't do Utopias, remember; we consider alternatives to failure.

...you have gotten things completely backwards. In all successful societies, government has a monopoly on force, and a justice system that acts as a neutral arbiter between parties.

That's a funny little string of disassociated assertions. First I'm edited, then we frame social success, then we misstate and make assumptions about force, fail to add necessary context, and project a fantasy onto said force. All in the same bite.

When people have to rely on being armed to deal with predators, then that is a consequence of the failure to catch and sequester those who either cannot, or will not, adhere to a social contract that isn't hard to figure out, or follow...

Ah, the preemptive safety canard again. The Minority Report's little wooden balls. What you're asserting without basis in law or reason is that a dependent society is a safe society; brought to its conclusion, that's the end game that thought shoots for. Life must hire trained monopolies of preemptive specialists in order that both survive.

...Until you provide some plausible explanation for how these predators won't exist in the first place, you are, in effect arguing for a null.

That's a cute non-starter. You pepper many of your remarks with these permutations of, at least for most of our original structural conditions, a core misunderstanding of authority and behavior and recourse. Prevention is not a thing in common law or associated frameworks. Remedial, penal consequences are. It's also interesting that if prevention is your thing, you won't preserve positive, structural conventions A, B, and C but you will happily erect negative social systems X, Y, and Z.

Ten: "First principle is not to separate these people out of society, quite obviously. First principle is just law, then due process, and then - and quite distinct from those - to recreate a society that de-incentivizes crime wisely and reliably.

"The system is broken."

You have taken as true that which you have absolutely failed to prove.

In plain words, Ten has an opinion. Actually, I have an opinion that bears up, Jeff.

Is it a perfected arrangement, this ham sandwich nation, Jeff, this "imperfect system" as you're eventually compelled to label it, or are we just stretching important-sounding rhetoric to the limits? But first, tell me how (the American system, at least) isn't predicated on just due process and individual sovereignty of rights and self defense, from which flows, or is augmented by, local enforcement.

Or are we rightfully Minority Reported?

I take the individual pursuit of life, liberty and happiness as the primary founding principles of the US. Because that pursuit is individual, it means no one is more entitled to it than someone else, yet that is exactly what crimes against property and person are, the elevation of the predator's pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness over everyone else's.

Rights are central and...criminals suck? Imagine that.

...crimes against property and person are, the elevation of the predator's pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness over everyone else's. That means, philosophically, criminals are the original violators of our founding principles. Now what?

Ah no. Govt is the negative focus of founding first principles, Jeff, and within that wistful reformed structure justice may occur as a function of the ideals which include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (associated rights are enumerated elsewhere).

Local justice is no specific interest of these, as you and I put it, founding principles, except for them to allow reflect a State-rights envelope of local justice, which is still carried out by first observing the central array of such individual rights.

Federal justice is a greyer area, but to say it's preventative is to misunderstand it. It too is remedial, and within the same basic constraints.

No doubt our justice system isn't perfect. Probably too much plea bargaining; drug laws are probably too onerous, or at least need rethinking.

"No doubt". What jumps out from that is your unproved claim about justice - remember, we're here to provide volumes of supporting evidence, and we must never just make points or observations - coupled to an equally arbitrary opinion that first wavers one way and then the other.

An opinion as if...as if you had views on crime and punishment. But can we support that progressive bent? I don't think there's evidence to support it. It's a whim.

Also implicit in progressive reasoning is the whim that if we've done nothing wrong we've nothing to fear. Along with prevention and officializing civil defense, these are cornerstone of progressivism, as you go on to tacitly confirm:

But I would bet if you were to consider why each inmate was in prison, you would find in nearly every case, someone who themselves chose to violate our founding principles, and not just once, but many times.

But if Jeff bets then we've made justice a poll; the tyranny of the majority raised upthread.

those people made the decisions they did because of failures elsewhere. But those failures, to the extent they are explanatory at all, do not lie with the justice system. Rather, they lie with mistaken social welfare policies, de-insitutionalizing the mentally ill, etc.

So there are causes and effects, even in the tidy, protectionistic, progressive view. Yet:

Aiming your fire at the effect, and not the causes, won't fix anything.

See my list above? It comprised whole systems and asked you to connect the effects.

Ten: "What happens when society has no choice but to reform so that exponentially fewer and not more are created to be walled up by socially normalizing criminality and justice as a self-interested industry, calling it civil safety, the State's sacred role? Then, obviously, criminals as you use the term has a whole new context. You tell me how that society deals with its criminals.

"You can't? Precisely."

I can't, because those sentences are a word salad. Exponentially more people are not being incarcerated. "socially normalizing criminality" is meaningless, and your repeated deriding of civil safety is foolish.

You can't or you won't? If you can't then you find the subject impenetrable, which isn't a comment on it. But you've had to disallow reasoning in others you claim to own yourself; I think you're equipped.

It's not word salad, Jeff. You haven't the means - or motivation - to reconsider the fallacies and the un-thought, unsupportable, authoritarian stance on the issue and its points.

There are several indispensable roles for a successful state: disinterested monopoly of force, rule of law, and defense. One of your problems, of which there are many, is failing to see that the State's legitimate exercise of defense isn't only against other states, but also citizens who refuse to obey the social contract that is based upon our founding principles.

So you've claimed. But repeating an error tends not to make it so. It generally just sinks the hook. The apparent impenetrability of the matrix whose structural principles you can't or won't grasp hasn't stopped you from creating loopholes through them for your own opinions. And it hasn't stopped you firewalling others from, in more detail and with more supportable principle than yourself, identifying serious faults.

This myopia prevents reform, not a sound position for a self-proclaimed ostensible conservative, but an excellent one for a rigid authoritarian.

Anyway, I'm out. Kudos, David, if you're all the way down here, for a superb blog and for your gentle, kind patience. So far... ;o)

David

I’m just glad you all had such a lovely time.

Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK

You must work up a headache some days, David.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

That's why he has so much liquor around the place. ;-)

Theophrastus

Back at 18.05 on 03/02/16, I said only:

Prison works: it prevents crime. The longer the sentence, the better it works. Recidivism is best prevented by longer sentences. Most crime in the UK is committed by some 100, 000 - 200,000 repeat offenders: lock 'em up for as long as possible.

Which is largely a truism. Sorry, David: I didn't mean to hi-jack the thread.

Jeff Guinn

For a couple of reasons I'd decided to abandon all this hours ago. One is the stunning lapse of open-mindedness about the modern problems that culminate in an unsupportable status quo, and more pointedly, the ostensible right's failure to challenge it's role in creating many of the larger of them.

It would have been helpful if you had grasped the nature of an alternative legal principle and with it anther way of establishing and treating crime before jamming in a term you trusted would invalidate it - history's greatest murderers, as it so happens, weren't Celts. If that matters, which it obviously doesn't.

Just in case Ten hasn't completely chickened out.

If I was faced with the task of collecting examples of question begging, Ten, everyone of your responses to me would make the cut.

Celts: their justice system could be mapped onto modern society. Oh, and their murder rate was probably at least 20 times what we put up with today. Read Pinker's Better Angels if you want to have any idea of how little there is to recommend what you insist is nirvana.

So it would have been helpful if you had read on. It would have been helpful if you'd opened your mind.

It would be extremely helpful, although completely contrary to your nature, to play the ball instead of the man.

I didn't invoke the Celts except to say that there have been alternatives in history to industrialized incarceration …

Statements of the blindingly obvious do not help your case. Of course there are many alternatives. The nettle facing you, which you have completely failed to grasp, is to demonstrate exactly why any of them are superior. You traffic in word salad, sweeping pronunciamentos masquerading as fact, when they can't even manage being suppositions. What any of us know about the reality of Celtic society is almost vanishingly small, yet you trumpet that as if we can be confident that those principles, about which we know almost nothing, could survive projection into modernity. You are the one cartooning the Celts — you grab the name, and attach to it your own fantasies, and we are somehow irretrievable troglodytes because we think you have a great deal of work in front of you which you resolutely refuse to do.

@Jeff Guinn: Your argument so far is completely negative.

@Ten: Your rights are completely negative.

Wow. A twofer. In addition to a bottomless mine of begged questions, I can add a seam of non sequitor.

The difference being, of course, that the candidates are in positions where they must solve things …

Wait. What? From what planet do you come from? The candidates are in positions where they must solve things? Almost everything you have written is opaque, wordy, illogical, never mind the insulting insistence that we accept as true that which you haven't even begun to argue, never mind demonstrate.

Then, to top it off, you trot out this sentence that is just epically wrong. Pro-tip: elections are things that are won, or lost. The candidates are in positions of hoping to win the next election. Not solve problems, win elections. Your inability to fathom the glaringly apparent is explains a great deal.

Of course my argument is negative. The problem is negative. The problem has been negative and the work uncovering it has been negative.

Here is your argument: everyone is wrong, therefore [crickets].

That is what I mean by a negative argument. If we are to stop doing what we are doing, then we must be doing something else. [Crickets] isn't something else, it is nothing. You are arguing a null, which is both the easiest, and most useless, argument possible.

@Jeff Guinn: When people have to rely on being armed to deal with predators, then that is a consequence of the failure to catch and sequester those who either cannot, or will not, adhere to a social contract that isn't hard to figure out, or follow...

@Ten: Ah, the preemptive safety canard again.

You need to work, hard and long, on your reading comprehension. Everything about what I said was post hoc; not a syllable of that is "preemptive". Your inability to suss this extremely basic concept renders everything else you say worthless.

Ten: "First principle is not to separate these people out of society, quite obviously. First principle is just law, then due process, and then - and quite distinct from those - to recreate a society that de-incentivizes crime wisely and reliably.

Begged question. Begged question, undefined term, undefined term, passive voice, and, woila! herds of sparkly pastel unicorns.

Oh, what's the point. You won't specifically deal with even one of these objections, never mind the rest of what you trotted out.

And, just like Brave Sir Robin, you have skarpered.

Darleen

Posted by: Jeff Guinn | February 05, 2016 at 23:12

Ok, Jeff, I'm just going to sit here a while and admire that.

Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK

Eh, Jeff, TEN has no interest in specifics. Airy-fairy pseudo-intellectual blathering and babble about Celtic "justice," yeah--alternative actual reality, nope. It's TOO HARD to think that far!

David

The third item here seems vaguely apposite. Theodore Dalrymple on ostentatious leniency and moral preening:

I was alarmed but not altogether surprised to read that Marie… did not want [her assailant] to be locked up but rather that they should receive a punishment “so that they understand.” Understand what, precisely? That hitting a defenceless woman in the face ten times with a knuckleduster isn’t a nice thing to do? But they understood this already, only too well: It was precisely their understanding that impelled them to do it… Presumably Marie had in mind something such as psychoanalysis, perhaps mixed with a little compulsory social work or planting flowers in municipal flowerbeds. This is like trying to talk reason to Pol Pot at the apogee of his power, to get him to stand down by persuading him that what he was doing was wrong.

As Anna noted in the comments, Marie is showing us that she’s a virtuous person by putting other people at risk. And the assailant’s next victim – and there usually is a next victim – may not be entirely appreciative of this display of self-elevation. And so ostentatious leniency becomes a kind of vanity and selfishness.

Burnsie

I would only suggest that Ten devotes his life to working directly with the sociopathic mopes he seems so determined to defend and rescue. It would be a fitting punishment for all, and he might actually learn something.

PiperPaul

" so ostentatious leniency becomes a kind of vanity and selfishness."

Not to mention a "don't-look-at-my-own-behaviour" tactic. It really seems to be a form of malignant narcissism, but this can't be diagnosed because it's unfair to point out the use of the mentally ill when running a political campaign.

It's all about "look over there, that's worse!" accompanied by clickactivism.

PiperPaul

"robbing Peter to pay Paul"

I fail to see anything wrong with this proposal.

- Paul

Watcher in the dark

People are often very sorry when they are caught following a crime, though it is usually sorrow that they were caught.

pst314

"People are often very sorry when they are caught following a crime, though it is usually sorrow that they were caught."

They are able to persuade gullible Progressives that they are genuinely contrite, but it doesn't take much skill to fool someone who deeply wants to be fooled.

"I remember a burglar saying to me when he had just been incarcerated, 'Prison’s no use to me, doctor, prison's not what I need,' to which I replied 'But as a householder, it is useful for me,' to which he responded not with anger but laughter. Prisoners are often deemed to be of low intelligence, nearly feebleminded, but I never found them such."
--American Justice, by Anthony Daniels (pen name Theodore Dalrymple)
http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/American-justice-8340
--in the New Criterion, so subscribe already! :-)

Darleen

People are often very sorry when they are caught following a crime, though it is usually sorrow that they were caught.

Excuses from police reports I have read:

Prostitute to LEO: "I am not a whore! I do blowjobs for donations."

Numerous drug dealers/shop lifters found with contraband in their pockets: "These aren't my pants."

Numerous car thieves caught with stolen car (officer observes punched-out ignition):

Thief: "This is my friend's car. I just borrowed it."
Officer: "What's your friend's name?"
Thief: "Um, Dave."
Officer: "Dave, who?"
Thief: "I dunno, just Dave."
Officer: "Where does he live."
Thief: "I dunno."

From Probation Officer report recommending revocation of probation -- Man convicted of beating his wife, jail suspended pending successful completion of Anger Management Course - at the end of the course, he was asked what he had learned and said

"Next time, hit her with an open hand and don't leave marks."

Also, this isn't from my office, but the regularity of feral gangbangers carrying out all manner of predation is a reality that runs under the radar of most law-abiding citizens who aren't in law enforcement.

David

Numerous drug dealers/shop lifters found with contraband in their pockets: “These aren’t my pants.”

As heard in a memorable episode of the reality series Cops. It’s now a catchphrase at Thompson Towers.

pst314

Muslim "refugee" gives excuse for raping ten-year-old boy at Vienna swimming pool: It was a sex emergency; he hadn't had sex in months.
I'm sure Ten can "explain" to us why any talk of incarcerating (or executing) such a rapist would be a grievous "forceful aggression" against "civil society" and indeed against Ten himself/itself. And this of course raises the question of just which of Ten's "lawful pursuits" he feels are imperiled by a resolve to incarcerate criminals.

Trevor

I'm sure Ten can "explain" to us ...

WWAD: what would Asterix do?

Dr Cromarty

@Trevor

WWHCD
What would Harry Callsghan do?

brilton

"So you've claimed. But repeating an error tends not to make it so. It generally just sinks the hook. The apparent impenetrability of the matrix whose structural principles you can't or won't grasp hasn't stopped you from creating loopholes through them for your own opinions. And it hasn't stopped you firewalling others from, in more detail and with more supportable principle than yourself, identifying serious faults."

I'm a big fan of clear, concise speech, because I love the English language.

David

People are often very sorry when they are caught following a crime, though it is usually sorrow that they were caught.

Speaking of the reality series Cops, one of the more telling episodes featured a protracted car chase during which the felon endangered any number of lives, drove several innocent people off the road and caused at least two serious traffic accidents. When finally apprehended, after a great deal of effort and considerable expense, the felon showed no concern whatsoever for the people whose lives he’d just impacted. They, the people he’d seriously injured and who were now on their way to hospital, were of no consequence to him, they simply didn’t feature in his moral universe. And this is by no means an uncommon attitude.

While the series may be a bit trashy and a guilty pleasure, it does offer an insight into the demographics and psychology of criminal behaviour. I can’t help thinking that watching a few episodes might shake the airy conceits of one or two leftists.

Jonathan

I'm pretty sure it's not Minnow. Minnow's posts were more like barbed hooks being drawn through foul waters; they would catch one word in your post and twist it dishonestly. This is more like a rain of tribbles falling on you head; vague and fluffy and never-ending - but if you try to examine them, you find that half of them are dead.

Watcher in the dark

I like police reality shows, and though I am sure the cops who feature are picked for being reasonable people in front of the camera the fun is in watching the perps and joy-riders and general scum who aren't so bothered about being reasonable, or even intelligent.

But here's a true story of how justice as some would have it, goes wrong and the wrong-doing is the work of lawyers.

I knew a guy who worked for a lawyer and they had a client who was due to go to court on a series of charges of stealing cars. His fingerprints were all over each car, but the defence team cleverly got each charge tried separately rather than the obviously damning list of thefts. In each case, the different juries heard that the defendant had been given lifts in each of the cars and thus had left his fingerprints on places like the steering wheel and driver's door. In each case, the jury bought the 'one-off' story and eventually the man was freed.

The lawyers were delighted they had 'won' and justice was, in their view, served.

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