Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Now You're Just Scaring Me

obama, crime, recidivism, drug, justice, rehabilitation, liberal, conservative, townhall, stupid, religion, atheism,
Mike Adams, of townhall.com, defines the conservative view of humanity in terms that make me truly fear conservatives. I never really liked conservatism, but this just scares me.

The terms “liberal” and “conservative” are bandied about by many who fail to understand the crucial difference between them. that's actually true. those words do get thrown around without any regard for what they mean. i think Mr. Adams is about to add to the confusion. Many believe the difference lies in the liberal’s willingness to support government spending. But that explanation falls short. Conservatives are always willing to spend more on defense. Liberals would rather spend money on social programs. conservatives want to keep you safe from terrorists, liberals want to give welfare queens more money! of course, i could turn that around: conservatives want more pointless, endless wars and liberals want to feed children. we call that framing the argument.

Others believe the liberal is the one who supports “change” while the conservative supports the “status quo.” That explanation also falls short. Ronald Reagan was a conservative. When he came to Washington in 1981 he shook the establishment and brought about change the liberals could not believe in. can we please stop deifying President Reagan? He was deep into alzheimer's by his second term. I have no idea who was running the country from 85-89, but it wasn't him.

If there is one thing that separates the conservative from the liberal it is his view of human nature. wait for it . . . The conservative sees man as born in a broken state. oh dear. This tragic view well, yes, it would be of human nature sees man as selfish and hedonistic by design. headdesk. Given his nature, it is no wonder a man chooses crime. It is a wonder he ever chooses conformity. except that most people do not choose crime. most people do choose to obey the laws. i suppose asshat's answer to that is that the jaysus makes them that way, except that atheists act like everyone else, so clearly not.

This tragic view of human nature also explains why conservatives often speak of religion and family values. so it's not a cynical ploy to get conservative christians to vote for you against their own self interest? Given his selfish nature speak for yourself, asshat, man must internalize some reason to behave in pro-social ways. maybe you, not me. i cae up with on my own. That fact that he falls short of these values does not mean he is a hypocrite. The one who does not even believe what he says is the hypocrite. The one who believes what he says and falls short is merely human. (thus excusing the sexipades of many a republican hero.)

This is the fundamentalist christian view of mankind: everyone would be raping their children to death with chainsaws if it weren't for jaysus! that's ridiculous. of course we wouldn't. those commandments about not murdering and not stealing and not lying? those are societal rules common to all societies, including societies that never heard of jesus.

If that truly is how conservatives view mankind, that's just scary. It certainly explains conservative efforts to make official Years of the Bible, and affirm the US as a christian nation. Since the only thing holding them back from raping and pillaging is jaysus, they assume the rest of us need, for everyone's protection, jaysus, too. Look, Mr. Adams, we're not all hairtrigger psychopaths like you. Most of us don't want to rape and pillage. We don't need jaysus to tell us not to.

The conservative knows in advance that he (and others) will fall short of what religion expects of him. But his solution is not to give up on religion. His solution is to implement a back-up plan. In the context of crime, that back-up plan takes the form of a criminal justice system focused on punishment.

to rephrase: jaysus works, and when he doesn't, jails do!

let's review the recidivism rate, shall we?

Rearrest within 3 years

67.5% of prisoners released in 1994 were rearrested within 3 years, an increase over the 62.5% found for those released in 1983

The rearrest rate for property offenders, drug offenders, and public-order offenders increased significantly from 1983 to 1994. During that time, the rearrest rate increased:

- from 68.1% to 73.8% for property offenders
- from 50.4% to 66.7% for drug offenders
- from 54.6% to 62.2% for public-order offenders

The rearrest rate for violent offenders remained relatively stable (59.6% in 1983 compared to 61.7% in 1994).

Wow, prison's just the way to go, isn't it? works great. just like jaysus. (Look, don't ask me what to do with violent offenders, but nonviolent drug offenders, i.e., some guy caught with a few joints, are about 25% of all inmates. States spent approximately $17,110,415 per day to imprison drug offenders, or $6,245,301,475 per year. That can't be the answer.)

According to the conservative, effective punishment is that which produces fear of transgression. except that prison clearly does not do that. the recidivism rates are over 60%. That means that 6 out of 10 people released from prison ended up back in prison within 3 years. these are people who know exactly how bad prison is, and they're still not all that afraid of ending up back in prison, obviously. Fear of transgression occurs when the punishment is swift, certain, and severe. i.e., the death penalty. except that even the death penalty doesn't deter anyone. In sum, the conservative believes we should first try to love people into conformity. scariest sentence ever. If that does not work, we should scare people into conformity. no, sorry, this is the scariest sentence ever. But the liberal sees things differently. not so much on the conformity and the scaring, more on the loving. Everyone is born “good” with a blank slate. has this asshat met a baby? babies are the ultimate atheists. they're morally neutral. seriously, spend time with a baby. To the extent that people become “bad” it is because “society” corrupted them. he's not really stating the "liberal" position very well. Nowhere does the liberal explain how combining many good people makes a bad society. ummm, why would i have to explain that? it's just a total non sequitur. don't respond to non sequitors, it just encourages more of them.

But this is what the liberal thinks. no, it's not. And it is why he sees the criminal justice system as one which should focus on rehabilitation. clearly punishment isn't working. If people were taught to be bad then, surely, they may be taught to be good again. There are two victims for every crime: The victim of the crime and the criminal himself. i can't even address that. i guess it depends on a lot of things. look, not that i think pedophiles should be let loose to abuse any child they can get their hands on, but most pedophiles were abused as children themselves. and what about drug offenses? who's the victim there? crime and punishment are extremely complicated issues, that everyone tends to view in black and white. maybe the liberal viewpoint could be better explained as "we don't view complex issues in terms of simple, ineffective solutions" or "if all we have is a hammer, we don't view a bolt as a nail, we get another tool."

the rest of this article wanders off into foreign policy (US good! rest of world bad!) and economic policy (obama's a socialist!), and i'm just not up to subjecting my brain to that.

9 comments:

  1. Actually the reason I don't have children is because I am afraid I will be raping them with chainsaws. Every time I buy condoms I check out the chainsaw section, just in case one breaks.

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  2. Oh and on the drug issue, according too here, most of these drug possession charges are actually plea bargained down and they are real hard asses that deserve to be in prison.

    I mean you can believe the US Drug Enforcement Agency right? They wouldn't be saying that just to protect their job right? Kind of like Oil companies paying Climate Change Denialists, there is no hidden agenda here.

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  3. of course not. the DEA doesn't benefit from the war on drugs, do they?

    i have a friend who has had a longstanding problem with drugs. he has been arrested many times for possession. he is utterly harmless, but his life was completely ruined, when at age 15, they enacted the zero tolerance policies and he was tried as an adult, and put in prison for 2 years because he gave one ritalin to another girl at school.

    she took ritalin. she had simply forgotten her dose that day.

    they stuck a naive 15 year old boy in with rapists and murderers and now we're all supposed to be surprised how he turned out.

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  4. That is absolutely sick. What the fuck was the purpose of that? What did they think that would accomplish? That disheartens me. :(

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  5. Actually, I think a commentator on Krugman's new blog post on Conservatism's intellectual bankruptcy, had a really interesting take on Conservatism.

    He basically called it an ideology to find a higher reason to justify their selfishness and greed. Prime example is how much of a heroine Ayn Rand is for most movement conservatives (and Reagan).

    The irony, however, is that man (and many animals) is actually biologically designed for generosity, and selfless behavior. Thats the only way we could have survived against much larger, stronger, faster animals that wanted to hunt us for food....

    Conservatives, however, insist that their moral deficiencies are actually a human condition, and liberals are "soft".

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  6. anonymous wins the thread, btw.

    beamstalk: he was to be the example that would, like Mr. Adams said, dissuade others from possessing/selling drugs on a school campus.

    haven't you noticed how students never have/sell/use drugs at school anymore?

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  7. gah! jail time for rec drug use (or drug addiction for that matter) has been PROVEN to not work! i was AT that meeting, 14 years ago in the State Juvenile detention, as a volunteer i was tapped to play secretary.
    they never published those findings. but *I* was there, and let me tell you the finding.
    if you incarcerate a 15 year old for a minor drug charge (doesn't matter if its felony or misdemeaner, and btw the felony/misdemeanor is more about race than anythng IME.), when that 15 year old is released at 18, now you have a guy with an actual habit, generally something harder, and *more criminal skills(

    prision: serving the educational needs of criminals, one lockpick at a time...

    why the hell are drug users sent to prison anyway, instead of rehab - rehab that actually as a *chance* of getting the "criminal" to stop his crimes, without teaching him more crimes! and without ruining some guys life TOTALLY because he grows his own pot for is OWN use (also, his wife, and his mother with cancer. it goes without saying that neither pay for pot. and so he is in jail for FOUR YEARS as a "dealer" even though he wasn't! what kind of job can he get NOW? chances are ober 65% that it will have to be criminal - no one will hire anyone with a felony...

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  8. Based on my limited experience, the one attribute that all conservatives share is an enormous ability to endure the suffering of others.

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  9. I was once a Republican. Guys like this are why I quit. Actually G.W. Bush was the final insult but religious freakazoids certainly helped me along with my exit.

    I am conservative on some issues and completely liberal on others. At one time the Republicans were a decent fit. Although I called myself a liberal Republican. However the parties endless spiral in to the grip of big government and cross kissing has pushed me way out of the "big tent"

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