Tuesday, November 23, 2010

An Argument against Punishment

By Nicholas Stix

‘People convicted of crimes should not be imprisoned.

‘I understand why their victims and the latter’s loved ones would want them to be imprisoned. They ruined lives and destroyed futures.

‘But the justified anger of the victims and their kin does not justify state-sponsored slavery.

‘Imprisonment is morally wrong and irrational.

‘A recent report exposes many of the basic problems with prison.

‘First of all, it is not a deterrent.

‘Prison does not effectively reduce crime.

‘Second, imprisonment is arbitrarily applied.

‘Third, there is a pronounced racial bias.

‘Another major problem with imprisonment is the cost.

‘Then there is the gnawing question of innocence. How can we ever be sure that the person who is imprisoned is not innocent? Have we already imprisoned people who did not do the crime?

‘Even if we are confident that the person is guilty, imprisonment is still wrong.

‘It is premeditated slavery, and thus immoral, and the fact that it is state-sponsored slavery does not change its character, or make it less immoral.’

* * *

The foregoing was a thought experiment. I took an argument that a Brian Gilmore made against the death penalty in the “Black Voices” section of the November 4, 2009 L.A. Times, and replaced Gilmore’s references to the death penalty with references to imprisonment. As far as I can see, the argument against imprisonment is just as valid as the one against the death penalty. Which is to say, just as invalid.

By the way, Gilmore made his argument on behalf of convicted Nation of Islam serial killer, aka DC sniper, John Allen Muhammad.

Even if we are confident that the person is guilty, however, as in the case of John Allen Muhammad, capital punishment is still wrong.

It is premeditated murder, and that's immoral whether an individual is doing the deed or the state is.

For all of his sanctimony, Gilmore is a nihilist who is intent on eliminating the difference between good and evil. Either he is unaware of the moral basis of state punishment—not blood y likely, since he’s a liar, er, lawyer—or wants the reader to be ignorant of it.

The foundation of criminal justice is in revenge. People have a natural right to personally avenge wrongs committed against their person, loved ones, and property. The state offers the citizen a bargain: If he will renounce his right to exact personal retribution, it promises to exact fair and impersonal retribution. That is the conditional basis of the “contract theory” of politics. Conversely, if the state violates the contract, by taking the side of evil, in tacitly granting a “right” to one or more groups to violate the persons and property of members of one or more other groups, the “contract” is nullified, and the victimized groups owe the state’s laws no obeisance.

Gilmore does not oppose murder, he embraces it! He seeks to cheat law-abiding citizens of any justice at all. This is because he is loyal to black cut-throats like John Allen Muhammad, and seeks to increase the harm that they commit against peaceful whites.


Hirsch said...

Nick, I think the ex-con and writer Edward Bunker had some interesting things to say about crime and punishment. For one, it makes more sense to punish a man harder his first time for committing a crime, and to mete out a shorter sentence as time goes on. It sounds absurd until you hear his rationalization, which is essentially that when he was young and full of piss and vinegar, he would rob banks with a loaded weapon and not think twice about the consequences for himself or his victim. But crime, with the exception of pedophilia, is mostly a young man's game. There are geriatric bank robbers, but the sensible thing to do is to hit a man with twenty years for his first offense. Your heels will cool considerably by the time you reach middle-age. Also, three strikes legislation seems to backfire many times, as Bunker points out. If I have two felonies, limited prospects for work, and I steal a bicycle, I understand that if I'm caught I will be going down forever. Now my motivation for not getting caught is to avoid spending the remainder of my life in jail. Thanks to the structure of the laws, I'm now willing to kill anyone (including policemen)over a bike, whereas without the 3 strike law looming over my head, I would have surrendered quietly.

On the death penalty, I'd have no problem with it if they could expedite the process. No one, no matter what their crime, deserves to live with the realization that they are to be executed for years at a time. The human mind isn't developed to endure it. Also, I think they should abolish all methods of execution besides firing squad. The solution used for lethal injection was outlawed in veterinary medicine because it was proving too painful for dogs. I understand that some people are unmitigated evil, and they do deserve to die, but I don't want to think about the state killing them in ways not fit for dogs. If I did want that, I could move to Saudi Arabia.

I understand you'll read this as an apologia for criminals, but the trend toward "getting tough on crime" has run concurrent with a twenty year trajectory of lower crime rates nation-wide. Quite simply, fewer people are committing crimes and more are going to jail.

Wackenhut (formerly Corrections Corporation of America) is making money housing non-violent offenders side by side with killers. You have potheads developing PTSD from their encounters with people they have no business being around, returning to society having been raped and stabbed, and ready to inflict payback on the community.

Please check out Ken Hartman's website, and his book "Mother California." Here's a link to some of his articles:


You won't agree with everything he says, but you would be hard-pressed to deny that the cat can write.

On the "slavery" concept of prison, and disparate sentencing for blacks, all of the studies have carefully omitted a piece of relevant data, either deliberately or out of incompetence. And that crucial piece is that blacks, contrary to popular belief, are not handed out stiffer sentences on the basis of being black. They get stiffer sentences due to recidivism; a black and white offender, on their first offense will get similar sentences. The studies that show racial discrimination in the justice system will unscrupulously compare a black on his second, third (or tenth) offense, and compare him to a white on his first, and claim the white male is benefiting from privelege.

Speaking of the white privelege racket, get a load of Tim Wise's "cartoon."


It's hard for me to imagine Jared Taylor being immature enough to create an animated rebuttal. Sorry for rambling.

Anonymous said...

Years ago, I read somewhere that if (when) capital punishment is totally abolished, the same people will be calling for the end of Life Without Parole. They will say that LWOP is also "cruel and unusual punishment."

I've been seeing signs of this lately. The claim is that after murderers have been in prison for a time, they will "not do it again because they are now old."

This is being taught in law schools. A commenter on an article about a reprieved death row convict wrote that his law school profesor told him that "studies proved it."

David In TN

Hirsch said...

Nick, please check out this man's writing. Let me know what you think.


Nicholas said...


Bunker's ideas make sense, but go too much against the grain. Too harsh.

As a matter of practice, the authorities are going in the opposite direction, at least as far as punishment for blacks and Hispanics is concerned.

I don't even know how much crime actually went down, and how much the police decreased crime reporting. In any event, not only are we in a period of criminal justice affirmative action, but as we slide ever deeper into this depression, the authorities are going to empty out the jails and prisons, releasing an army of racist cut-throats, which will please "Obama" and his comrades to no end.

I just bookmarked Hartman, thanks. I only read one brief essay about prison books. He claims that the prevalence of prison rape is exaggerated. He failed to convince me. I'll check him out again, down the line.

Thanks for all of your meditations.