July 05, 2007

Excused from Responsibility

I'm an Old Testament kind of God. I think, if you do something wrong, then you get smote. Smite! Smite! Smite!

Today's divine retribution is SO slack! People do dumbass things and instead of being smote with the stone of brim, people just get sent to rehab.


It's ridiculous that starlets can just prance into a dayspa and call it rehab. Unless they teach you how to wear panties, rehab just doesn't satisfy anything I hope to get out of these things.

And I am doubly offended by the notion that someone can go to rehab to cure his homophobia, anti-semitism, or simple idiocy. Smite! Smite! Smite!

Today, it struck me (not unlike being smote but only lightly) that this rash of people running to "rehabilitation" programs to excuse themselves from being the responsibility of their actions is the social manifestation of the liberal notion that prison is for rehabilitating criminals.

Rehabilitating criminals in prison is an absurd idea and undermines the point of them being smote in the first place. It is an injustice to even attempt it because you can't punish people while at the same time trying to teach them to integrate rational ideas about the rights of other human beings. They're passed the point of learning that and they should be punished. Smite! Smite! Smite!

You have to have a pretty low opinion of humanity, I think, to suggest rehabilitation for criminals. I mean, you'd have to start off with the notion that there's no real fundamental difference between law-abiding citizens and the ones who do the raping, murdering, and pillaging.

Let's get this straight: there is a world of difference between the person who goes about trying to make their way in the world as a CRIMINAL and a person who actually earns their living through work and rational thought. I, for one, won't entertain suggestions to the contrary. This idea of rehabilitating criminals and excusing them from being punished is predicated on this idiotic and savage view of human beings -- as if it's too much to ask that a person behave themselves.

So, first we have this effort to make prison a nice place to be to set these otherwise kind, gentle souls back on the path to righteousness.

THEN, we get people who do a crime and then the run right into a rehab program or they promise to go into a rehab program and in exchange the court makes their sentence lighter. The punishment aspect is all but removed! It's just rehab!

And in the social scene, we have someone being impolite or saying things that other people find offensive and they run into rehab so that people won't think they're a bad person.

Here's my proposed solution: SMITE! SMITE! SMITE!

For social problems, don't talk to rude, offensive people. Don't be their friend. Don't date them. Don't buy things from them. Just shun them completely.

For criminal problems, punish them as appropriate to their crime. What is appropriate is a question for another post and the entire career of legal philosophers.

I'm bringing this up because I just clicked over to CNN and saw this:

CNN: Spokesman: Gore's son getting treatment

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Former Vice President Al Gore's son is getting treatment after his arrest on suspicion of drug possession, according to a Gore spokesman.

Al Gore III, 24, was arrested early Wednesday in Los Angeles after being stopped for speeding, according to a sheriff's department spokesman.

Police found four types of prescription drugs in the car, but Gore did not have a prescription for any of them, according to Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino. He also said a small amount of marijuana was found in the car.

Gore faces three felony drug possession charges and one misdemeanor possession charge, a sheriff's spokesman said.

Obviously, he still faces the criminal charges, but you can bet that his immediate move to rehab is partially motivated by a desire to alleviate his sentence some.

"In a 2004 plea deal, Gore was sentenced to a substance abuse program."

I mean, it worked before, why not try it again?

From a philosophical perspective, this blurring the line between criminal and non-criminal behavior has the very distinct odor of subjectivism, the idea that there's no such thing as good or bad, really, it's all just a matter of perspective.

I have a solution for those people: SMITE! SMITE! SMITE!

P.S. I do actually know how to conjugate the verb "to smite" but "smitten" isn't as fun and doesn't communicate the collateral devastation that I think should be involved.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at July 5, 2007 04:02 PM | TrackBack

Smite On, Brother! I'm right there with ya.

Posted by: Rational Jenn at July 5, 2007 09:44 PM

Flibbert, I had planned on reading your blog anonymously, because for the most part, I agree with what you say. I find you knowledgeable and witty and I have come to enjoy reading about the going-ons in your life and your unabashed opinions of people. But I disagree with you about prisoners. Not most, but some prisoners are good people who made a unintelligent mistake in their life. From personal experience with my brother, drugs and alcohol are a huge factor of him being in prison at this very moment. He is in a medium security prison in the Adirondack Mountains and he is receiving therapy for his addictions while he serves his sentence. He is working on his life to make the transition easier when he gets out. People that arenít rehabilitated in prison are the people that end up spending numerous sentences as repeat offenders. Iím not in any way saying that rehab should be an alternative to a prison sentence, but I feel that it is possible to rehabilitate criminals.

Posted by: Debbie at July 5, 2007 10:08 PM

The reasons why people make these bad decisions with their lives aren't really that important to me. The fact is that they make them and there's a huge intellectual breach they have to cross in order to make these decisions.

They have to go from being a person who presumably respects the rights of others to being a person who doesn't.

(Without getting into too much detail, I'm going to state that I do not count drug dealers and drug users as criminals per se. So, if your brother is in jail for one of those two reasons and not for actually violating the rights of others, I will happily excuse him from the above remarks.)

But your brother isn't receiving treatment for being a criminal. He's receiving treatment for drugs and alcohol. I don't think that should be provided to him in prison. That is something he should pursue on his own.

The role of the government isn't to make people right in the head. It isn't to make sure that people learn from their mistakes. The role is simply to protect the rights of individuals. And when people violate the rights of others, the government comes in and gives them the punishment they deserve. Punishment only.

It's not that I think that people cannot break bad habits, it's that the process of breaking those bad habits is antithetical to the concept of justice that the punishment is supposed to maintain.

It isn't important whether or not people will repeat their crimes. They should simply be punished repeatedly.

My opinion is that punishments should be strict and strictly enforced. I don't expect it to deter anyone from committing any crimes and I don't expect it to make anyone better. I only expect people to get what they deserve.

I hope that your brother not only learns to abandon the self-destructive patterns that lead him to drugs and alcohol. More than that, I hope that he learns to value himself enough to know that he may not violate the rights of anyone else to get what he wants.

My only point is that it is not the proper function of the government to teach him those lessons.

Posted by: Flibbert at July 5, 2007 10:39 PM

Oh! And thank you for not staying anonymous!

Please comment more often; I love hearing from my readers even when they don't always agree with me.

Posted by: Flibbert at July 5, 2007 10:40 PM
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