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Culture War Roundup for the week of April 10, 2023

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I think you could make posts identical to this with regard to almost any ideological leaning. So for every conservative that would cite released criminals murdering again, so could someone else cite the various cases of suicide after DWP withdrew their benefits of the depravity of their enemies, or Trump's pardoning of war criminals etc. etc.

I'm reminded of Amy Biel who went to South Africa to fight apartheid, only to be pulled out a car by a black mob which slaughtered her despite the protests of her black friends that she was on their side. And then her parents flew into the country to testify a the "truth and reconciliation committee" in favour of releasing her murderers. They then started a foundation and hired these murderers.

It's not like Truth and Reconciliation was entirely one-sided though, see for instance Brian Mitchell.

Not giving someone welfare isn't the same as releasing criminals from prison (let alone when they're clearly a career criminal). Having your soldiers kill the wrong people overseas in fundamentally ill-conceived ventures is also very bad but ties into a large and complex problem with thoughtless foreign policy.

US cities have many crazy homeless people who go around harassing and sometimes killing random people. For example:

Whenever we have a public transport related post, it gets filled with Americans who will refuse to give any ground to an energetically efficient, compact and economical transport system because in their experience, train stations are where drug addicts go to enjoy drugs and harass other people. In my experience outside America, train stations are for catching trains. There are many large costs with having your very rich cities filled with these problem people, breaking into cars and houses, killing people, encouraging emigration. How much immensely valuable real estate is rendered uninhabitable by this 'urban decline'?

Now, this isn't one of the US's biggest problems. Bad diet is probably worse, in terms of general social harm. But this is an egregious and easy-to-solve program. All the US security forces have to do is get rid of the open-air drug encampments, they only have to outwit and overcome mentally ill homeless people! You can put them in an institution, you can enforce higher standards of behaviour by beating them up if they disrupt the public (Singapore doesn't have these problems), or you can shoot the problem people rather than letting them rack up lengthy criminal records. Drug dealers (by which I mean fentanyl and the like) are a net malus for society, they have only a very small chance of making positive contributions and have many bad effects. They should be killed.

Things tend to reach an equilibrium. If you don't maintain your garden, it gets filled with weeds. The problems compound on eachother and it gets much harder to do anything about them. Much better to solve problems while they're small. Imagine if the US was genuinely tough on crime, if they made a serious effort to kill or detain serious criminals, permanently remove them from circulation. Take a leaf out of Bukele's book and arrest all the people with obvious gang tattoos. There's an immediate cost but a long-term gain from not having these people running around causing problems.

If people simply appeal to the 'better ten guilty go free than one innocent be imprisoned' platitude forever, what is to stop the richest cities in the world turning into uncivilized eyesores? What is the point of the legal system, what is the point of our principles if they lead us here? Murder should be very low - the US is a very rich country. Medicine is very good now. There are cameras and drones and sniffer dogs and forensics and so much more! And yet it's going up:

Someone posted a while back that justice really should be two tiered. You have your normal clearly criminal street criminals whom you should deal with harshly. Then you have your more normal member of society. This person should receive the Blackstone Formula benefit.

That is why I strongly support three strike laws.

That is why I strongly support three strike laws.

I can only barely make out the reasoning for opposition to them. Every time I hear someone complaining about them and they provide an example, it's that the third felony was supposedly too minor to warrant harsh punishment, and I find that I'm just baffled by the reasoning here. There was a story floating around on Twitter recently where someone driving a stolen car recklessly struck another vehicle, killing the innocent driver in the process. During sentencing, he said something to the effect of, "I'm going to jail for life for a car accident?" and that seemed like the perfect encapsulation of the mentality opposition to three strike laws, this sense of grievance that people someone manage to hold after doing everything wrong and fucking with innocent people constantly.

Well, for example, the original CA three strikes law required that a defendant with two or more previous serious or violent felony convictions had to receive a 25-life sentence for any new felony conviction. Any felony could include such crimes as a theft of an item valued at over $400 or possession of more than an ounce of marijuana. Even if you are OK with that, surely you can can imagine why some people might not be, including a majority of CA voters, who subsequently changed the law so that the third offense must be a serious felony.

No, I can’t. First off, nobody forced him to commit those first two crimes. In my preferred system, he wouldn’t have been out and about after the first one, let alone the second, so he shouldn’t even have been in the position to commit that third felony in the first place. Secondly, let’s say you have a guy who has committed two armed carjackings. That’s a guy who, if given the opportunity and enough time, will commit a third armed carjacking. Or some other serious crime. Carjacking is not something that any normal, functional person would ever do to another person even once, let alone twice.

So, do you want to wait until after he has violently carjacked a third person - or, hell, graduated to an even more horrible and traumatizing and destructive crime - or do you want to jump on the chance to get rid of him when he has done something less horrible, and save some poor individual having their life ruined before we can finally say, “Alright, D’Quandre, we’ve given you enough chances to act like a human.”

This is my fundamental issue with progressive/liberal theories of crime: they are utterly allergic to thinking probabilistically. The mainstream consensus in the Western world is so infected with the braindead Christian focus on forgiveness that they can’t wrap their heads around the idea that you can accurately and reliably predict people’s future behavior based on their past behavior. Of course, people can readily accept this idea in nearly every other walk of life, but when it comes to criminal justice suddenly they are determined to pretend that it’s some horrible delusional idea. Minority Report and the idea of “pre-crime” gets thrown around as if it’s some knock-down argument against dealing with very obviously dangerous and impossible-to-live-around individuals before they are able to ruin even more lives than they already have.

Me personally? If you’ve already committed a serious violent felony, done your time in prison for it, and then you so much as jaywalk, that’s society’s perfect chance to execute you and I won’t miss you one bit.

Carjacking is not something that any normal, functional person would ever do to another person even once, let alone twice.

But having over an ounce of marijuana is.

If you’ve already committed a serious violent felony,

Three strike laws are not always limited to serious violent felonies.

Dude… how hard is it not to commit crimes? I’m dead serious. I’m in my early thirties and have never gotten so much as a traffic ticket!

If you're so confident that it is hard to commit crimes, I have a proposal for you that will allow you to demonstrate the correctness of your position, and it'll only take a few days. We'll make a recording of your entire day - every action taken, every little thing you do or say etc, and then hand it over to a veteran prosecutor, who will go over the footage and make sure you didn't actually commit any crimes. Do you think you would have a clean bill at the end of a typical day?