Thursday, July 29, 2004
Polluting The Social Environment
Our future PM points out the joke that life sentences have become. He's dead right and that's without considering the cases that should attract the life sentence but don't because the Courts have let it drop to manslaughter to evade the mandatory sentence.
What I want to know is whatever happened to the Precautionary Principle ? Liberals used to go weak at the knees at the idea that no form of progress could be allowed without absolute proof that it was harmless. Yet, take the comments on PC's post. The L3 are queuing up to proclaim that all we need to do with murderers is pop up the bonnet, tighten up a few screws and WD40 their moral sense, and they'll be practically indistinguishable from St Francis of Assisi.
I mean, it's not like the science here is exactly foolproof. Au contraire, most of the evidence in favour of rehabilitation has been produced by folks who've dedicated their careers to proving it works. It's great that they're committed to their job, but it doesn't make them the best choice to audit the results of these programs. The flip side of that is that no member of the rehabilitation industry is prepared to go as far as to provide any form of guarantee of their product. And why would they ? Take the case of Roy Whiting - jailed for the abduction of a young girl, he was released early then subsequently abducted and murdered Sarah Payne. What definition of 'dangerous' were the Parole Board using ? Who knows ? But try to imagine the reaction if Sarah Payne had been killed by an accidental release of toxic chemicals from a nearby factory. The self-same folks singing 'That's Life' right about now, would have led lynch mobs to the factory gates.
Then again, there has always been an underlying humbuggery to how the L3 have dealt with paedophilia. Liberals claim to be disgusted by people, usually religious folk, who claim to be able to turn homosexuals, presumably by showing them pictures of Sir Elton, Mandelson and Barrymore and asking 'do you really want to be associated with these people ?'. Yet, the people who claim it's unnatural to try and turn a gay man straight, also claim paedophiles can be persuaded to lose their attraction to children. So, which is it ? Is sexuality hard-wired or is it malleable ?
Of course, sex offenders are only a minority of murderers, but they are a group who definitely do suffer from a mental condition, yet even here rehabilitation is frequently a fiasco. As for the rest, well, to quote P J O'Rourke, drugs are the answer, if the question is 'how can I get rich without working' ? When well-known Jamaican cultural ambassadors, the Yardies, used to boast that in Britain 'The Law don't hang, the cops don't bang, look 'em up, not lang', it's hard to believe their criminality arose from anything other than a rational assessment of risk and reward. How exactly is drawing angry faces and smiley faces in group therapy supposed to persuade them not to do a job which brings them huge amounts of money, sex and power ?
Of course, the L3 do recognise that not everyone can be rehabilitated. Take Jeffery Archer for an example. Or, more seriously, the assailants in the Stephen Lawrence case or the Brixton Bomber. No one's claiming they just need a stiff talking to. Liberals use the word 'rehabilitate' as code for dealing with crimes they don't really think are that serious. Paedophiles are really just sexual pioneers, Yardies are oppressed by The Man, while even slashing up the Mrs is really just a case of taking healthy self-expression too far.
That's why Liberals are uneasy about the death penalty. The idea of the ultimate sanction for the ultimate crime is a no-no for people who think everything is a shade of grey. These are people incapable of judging any issue divorced from the need to, in their favourite phrase, send the right message. That's the chicken and egg nature of the Liberal fascination with rehabilitation. The L3 have to believe that murder is sort of like catching a cold otherwise they'd have to face the true nature of those they seek to defend. That's why scumbag rights bodies far outnumber those dealing with the victims of crime. That's why Liberals fetishise the idea of objectivity: they claim we can't get drawn into the details of the crime, we've got to stay clear headed. We're talking about murderers, but the Left doesn't want us to talk about the actual murders. Who'd study Shakespeare without reading the plays ? We should know what they did, we should know what the victim went through, their terror, their agony.
It's an arresting thought that the people who babble on about Feeling Your Pain and The Children are the ones who don't want us to feel the pain of actual, murdered children. Stay detatched, stay objective, says the Left. The only way to be civilised is not to feel rage when the innocent are slaughtered, to cast a jaundiced eye over murdered families and the agony of those left behind. Well, screw that. No one would be detached from the murder of their child, and so to proclaim your indifference to the murder of strangers is to announce that other people do not matter to you. As long as you're OK, even the foulest crimes are merely an intellectual diversion. This is the secret at the heart of the L3 approach to crime: it rests on utter selfishness.