Wojtek Sokolowski sokol at
Mon Jan 24 08:47:11 PST 2000

In response to various postings in this thread:

1. Justin & all other who think that the criminal justice system is used to opress the working class - how many union & labor rights activists are jailed for their political activism in this country? I have not heard of any - can you show me otherwise? That is NOT to say that our labor laws are not heavily skewed in favor of employers - but that is an entirely different pair of shoes.

2. Those who believe that our criminal justice system is basically unfair - can you tell how many people are serving time for murders, rapes, muggings or burglaries they did not commit? Do you really think that cops just go around hunting for innocent people whom they can charge with murder, rape or robbery? I understand that some people may get more lenient sentences if they could afford better defence lawyers. But that is a far cry form saying their are innocent.

3. I can also understand that drug possession might be an excpetion to the above. Drug charges are very difficult to disprove esp. when the cop says he "saw" you dropping a bag with the substance - and the drug possession laws are simply idiotic. But I also sincerely doubt that cops go around "planting" false drug possession evidence to frame innocent people. Why should they take the trouble of doing that when they can simply go to the well known drug markets and pick up as many junkies as they need to meet their quota with minimum effort and risk. So why the incidence of innocent people serving time for drug possession might be higher than incidence of innocent people serving time for other crimes, I also doubt that the problem is widely spread. Again, that is NOT to say that there are no scandalous abuses of justice - but there isa diffrence between scandalous incidents and statitical prevalence.

4. We can moreover debate fairness or usefulness of certain laws (e.g. drug laws in this country) - but that is a different issue from punishing those who broke those laws. Dura lex, sed lex - as the ancients used to say. It is one thing to try to change an unfair law through legal or at least legitimate means, but quite another thing to break the law and then ask for leniency and a "free ride" out of jail. Most inmates maintain their "innocence," but a rational person should know better.

5. All those who believe that criminal justice system is arbitrary and reflecting nothing but the ruling class interests - there are some acts that are considered crimina in virually every society - such as violence agains a fellow human being or theft. Otoh, there are different definitions and exceptions to the above. There are also deeds that are considered criminal in some societies but not in others. Ergo, criminal laws is a mixture of various elements - nearly "universal" prohibition of certain acts, institutionalized tradition, ruling class interests, etc. Thos who see only the ruling class interests mioss quite a substantial part of the picture.

6. Free will vs. determinism - philosophical puzzles intersted me when I was in high school - my passage to adylthood in this respect was marked by re-discovering Marx saying "philosopheres only explain the world differently..." The point is that philosophical dilemmas have no impact on how people act in real life. In real life, most people including the underclass have less choice than conservative philosopheres and social commentators claim, but also much more "free will" or agency as I would say than assorted liberals want us to believe. An underclass youngster may not have a realistic option of becoming an investment banker, but he certainly has a choice of beating or not beating his girlfriend, or robbing or not robbing his neighbor.

We do not need a weatherman to tell which way the wind's blowing. In the same vein, we do not need a philsopher to punish a person who violated the rules by which a society lives.

7. What happened to common sense and materialist analysis on the left? Why do so many lefties find perverted pleasure in embracing multi-culti, relativistic speculations? What is so attractive about Left X-files?


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