Doing violence to prison statistics

November 15, 2017 § 5 Comments

Cane Caldo recently objected to my contention that violence is the besetting sin of incontinent men, citing federal prison statistics.  One problem with citing federal prison statistics — even stipulating the veracity of official methods which categorize various crimes proximate to violence (e.g. burglary) as as nonviolent — is that the federal prison population is not representative of the prison population in general:

Obama made this a key point in his NAACP speech: “But here’s the thing: Over the last few decades, we’ve also locked up more and more nonviolent drug offenders than ever before, for longer than ever before. And that is the real reason our prison population is so high.”

This claim, which is widely accepted by policymakers and the public, is simply wrong. It’s true that nearly half of all federal inmates have been sentenced for drug offenses, but the federal system holds only about 14 percent of all inmates. In the state prisons, which hold the remaining 86 percent, over half of prisoners are serving time for violent crimes, and since 1990, 60 percent of the growth in state prison populations has come from locking up violent offenders. Less than a fifth of state prisoners — 17 percent — are serving time for nonviolent drug offenses.

In other words, for all the talk about nonviolent offenders, a majority of our prisoners have been convicted of a violent act, and even more have some history of violence.

(Emphasis mine)

With great power comes great incontinence

October 21, 2017 § 38 Comments

The most primal power of men is violence. Therefore the besetting sins of incontinent men tend to be sins of violence primarily, and to involve sex only circumstantially/accidentally.  A violent man will use violence to get sex that he desires, but he will also use violence to get other things that he desires: money, drugs, prestige, etc.  This decreases as individual power decreases: the besetting sins of incontinent men with diminished capacity for violence will tend to be more effeminate or androgynous sins.

The most primal power of women is sex. Therefore the besetting sins of incontinent women tend to be sins of sex primarily, and to involve violence only circumstantially/accidentally.  A slutty woman will use sex to get violence that she desires, but she will also use sex to get other things that she desires: money, drugs, prestige, etc.  This decreases as individual power decreases: the besetting sins of incontinent women with diminished sexual power will tend to be more masculine or androgynous sins.

This is reflected in prison populations, which are mostly men, because our society is willing to punish crimes of violence but is not willing to punish crimes of sex.  In fact when a straightforward crime of violence perpetrated by a woman is perceived to primarily arise from sex, there is across the board resistance to punishing that crime.

Blaming the victim

October 19, 2017 § 127 Comments

There were once two Greek tribes living in very close proximity, under a High King who ruled from a distant city.

The γυναίκα tribe had plenty of tempting, delicious ambrosia; but small warriors and very few weapons. The άνδρας tribe had strong warriors and powerful weapons; but they had insufficient food of their own, and what food they did have was disgusting, unappetizing, and mildly poisonous.  Under the High King’s law the άνδρας defended both their own territory and the territory of the weaker γυναίκα.

The γυναίκα were very proud of their ambrosiac and abundant feasts, which made them feel powerful and important.  It became their custom to parade around in the territory of the άνδρας with their delicious and aromatic dishes, to eat in front of the άνδρας, to wink at them and tease them with food that the άνδρας did not have.

Any territory set aside for άνδρας alone was considered an oppression of the physically smaller and weaker γυναίκα; so the High King made it law that the άνδρας could not set aside spaces of their own where the γυναίκα could not go.  The γυναίκα were permitted to take their ambrosia with them wherever they went.  The High King permitted no limits on the public and brazen display of ambrosia.  The suggestion that lawful limits on the public display of ambrosia might be prudent — and that these limits should be set by άνδρας not by γυναίκα — met with outrage, scoffing and accusations of oppression.

It was permitted under the High King’s law that a άνδρας could approach, smell, sample, and participate in a γυναίκα’s meal only when the γυναίκα was explicitly asked and gave explicit permission for each smell and bite; a permission which could be revoked at any time.  The γυναίκα would often get drunk and allow a άνδρας to share a meal, and later regret the action; in such a case the άνδρας was considered a criminal because the γυναίκα had chosen to get drunk, thus impairing consent.  Sometimes the less morally upright among the stronger and more physically powerful άνδρας would become aggressive; even to the point of taking, without explicitly granted permission, a morsel from the plate of a γυναίκα who had shoved the plate under his nose.

And any suggestion (even from a γυναίκα) that there might be something wrong with the behavior of the γυναίκα was condemned as ‘blaming the victim’.

 

This time Lucy won’t pull the football away

September 18, 2017 § 63 Comments

From a new article at First Things (hat tip donnie):

It was characteristic of Michael [Novak] to frame the highest good as liberation from constraint. As he says at one point, “God did not make creation coercive, but designed it as an arena of liberty.”

The free market gives us a glimpse of the ideal society, one that features order without authority and purposeful freedom without the need for agreement about the common good beyond a procedural rule of law.

Democratic capitalism does a better job sustaining an open, pluralistic society than political liberalism[1], because capitalism, unlike political deliberation, guarantees freedom more jealously (and effectively).

Yet we’ve seen setback after setback, and the corporate tsunami that recently swept through Indiana after it passed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act made clear the link between global capitalism and progressive clear-cutting of traditional religious culture and morality.

Needless to say, Michael Novak did not foresee these outcomes when he wrote The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism any more than I did when I thrilled to his insights more than three decades ago.

…he described the anthropology of capitalism in a one-sided way. Its fearsome dynamism speaks to part of our soul, but it neglects and even works against the part that cherishes permanence.

This one-sidedness needs to be corrected, for our challenges are quite different from the legacy of postwar consolidation that Michael responded to with such élan. We do not live in a closed, regulated, regimented world. Political correctness is a serious problem, and it has an authoritarian tendency. But it is not born of loyalty to permanent things. As an outgrowth of liberalism itself, this rigid ideology comes under the sign of choice. It is an obligatory, enforced participation in a fluid, liquefied moral world. We are told that we are not required to think or live in any particular way—except that we can’t think or live in ways that constrain, compromise, or even throw doubt on anyone else’s free decision to think or live differently. Taken to its logical extreme—everything is permitted as long as it permits everything—this becomes a paradoxical totalitarian toleration that is all the more dangerous because it deludes those who promote it into thinking that when they drive all dissent from the public square, they are “including.”

My summary of the article:

Don’t blame us for the poison we’ve been pumping into society for decades. We had good hearts and meant well, we just accidentally neglected to keep our nice tame liberalism on a leash. No reasonable person could have foreseen a “how were we supposed to know?” stage to inevitably follow our “what could it hurt?” enthusiasms. Who would have thought that pouring acid over the moral social fabric for centuries would make it dissolve? Who could have predicted that treating human authority and hierarchy as if it were what is wrong with the world would lead to its dissolution and reconstitution as an inhuman monstrosity?

So the thing we should all do now is correct the ‘one sidedness’ of what we’ve been doing for decades.  We need to work together to promote a nice tame liberalism in common sense balance with moral constraints and the common good.  We need more water for the shriveled up plants in our common garden, to bring balance to the acid we plan to continue pouring on them.  And that is totally, totally different from what conservatives have been doing since the founding of America.  This time it will work, really.  We have to adjust to the times, to find a renewed way for political freedom to flourish.

Oh, and that crank Zippy’s understanding of liberalism is a big strawman.

——————

[1] Translation: our intramural team in the red shirts is so much better than the other team playing the exact same game by the exact same rules in pursuit of the exact same goals, because they wear blue shirts.

You have the right to Locke yourself in a closet

September 16, 2017 § 104 Comments

Your right to swing your fist stops when your fist comes anywhere near someone else’s face.

Your right to speak your mind stops when your unwelcome or unhealthy sound waves impinge upon someone else’s ears.

Your right to promote your favorite heresy stops as soon as your heresy corrupts the thoughts of another person’s child. (Everyone is someone’s child).

Your right to commit sodomy stops as soon as any other human being is forced to know about it.

In summary, your rights operate only to the extent that your choices have no effect whatsoever on others or on the common good. Deep inside the closet, your choices are between you and God.

Of course if anyone loves you then even that isn’t, strictly speaking, your business alone. Your right to destroy yourself ceases the moment it breaks someone’s heart.

Everything outside of the closet is the domain of the common good. It is here where authority operates: where these “rights” of yours cannot negate the operation of authority.

And there is no closet.

As 33, HCN, C17H21NO4, C3H5N3O9

September 13, 2017 § 57 Comments

In America, everyone has the right to free chemistry.  Chemical acts express ideas, and the expression of ideas is protected under the first amendment.

Free chemistry obviously doesn’t mean absolutely free chemistry.  Absolutely free chemistry is clearly a straw man, positing no middle ground between manifestly insane absolute rights and nice tame rights within due limits. Everyone who is committed to free chemistry agrees that there should be some limits on chemistry. We just don’t want to live under an inquisitional chemistry-restricting tyranny.

Free chemistry means that permissible chemistry should be permitted, while impermissible chemistry should be suppressed and punished.  It means we should take a live and let live approach to regulating chemistry.

So free chemistry, at least as understood by reasonable liberals, is restricted chemistry: chemistry circumscribed within limits.  The terms “free” and “restricted” are interchangeable.  For reasonable non-ideological liberals, free means the same thing as restricted.

There have been critical times when the right to free chemistry has prevented tyranny and protected the innocent.  Bad regimes, which have restricted chemistry and even imprisoned or killed people for their chemical acts, have produced incalculable horror due to those restrictions.

So every reasonable person should acknowledge the public goods produced and protected by the right to free chemistry.

You may speak freely in the asylum

August 24, 2017 § 102 Comments

In 1689, during the lifetime of John Locke, free speech meant that a member of parliament formally charged with a speech crime committed during a session of parliament had to be tried by parliament, not some other judicial body.

In 2017, free speech means that you can say anything hateful and false you want to about white people and Christians, pollute the community with despicable pornography, and commit blasphemy against Christ (but not against the false and violent religion of Islam). Yet stating facts about official victim groups in the most apologetic way possible can destroy your livelihood and turn you into a national pariah.

There are several features of free speech regimes worth collecting in one place.

  1. Free speech refers to a regime of restricted and censored speech.  Every reasonable person acknowledges that there have to be reasonable limits on speech.
  2. Free speech dishonestly frames the question of what restrictions there ought to be on speech as if it were a question of whether there ought to be restrictions on speech.
  3. This dishonesty in framing introduces instability into free speech regimes. There is nothing intrinsically incoherent about symbolic representations or slogans which refer to complex traditions. But free speech isn’t a complex tradition of what speech is acceptable; it is a simple anti-tradition which implies that restricting speech is wrong.  The configuration of empowered speech and restricted speech captured by the label “free speech” is thus mostly implicit and constantly changing.
  4. Free speech regimes have to police speech while pretending not to police speech. The result is that methods of censorship and enforcement are mostly unofficial, indirect, non-explicit, and generally sociopathic. People are regularly punished for having violated today’s nonexplicit unofficial standard some time in the past. Free speech regimes are thus intrinsically unfair.
  5. Because of their intrinsic unfairness and instability, free speech regimes create a progressive cascade.  Whatever you say today – even though it is permissible by today’s standards – might well destroy your life in the future, so you have to be constantly thinking ahead about the progressive pieties of tomorrow and adjusting your speech to accommodate those anticipated future standards.
  6. Because it is impossible for most people to maintain a complex lie over decades, the progressive cascade created by free speech regimes requires you to try to accommodate not just your speech but your internal thoughts to the anticipated inviolable progressive pieties of tomorrow.
  7. Because liberals generally don’t grasp the implications of their own ideas, the more conservative among a population of liberals attempt to fight the perversity created by a free speech regime with assertions of a right to free speech.

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