Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Extreme right-wing views

I stumbled upon some fairly extreme views at work today.  I, of course, argued against such worrying viewpoints.  It's first time I've ever been outspoken at work, or rather, the first time at my current place of work.  Unfortunately, I can't stay quiet when someone says something so terrifying.

Apparently an eye for an eye is a worthy system of governance.  Apparently we (as in the UK) are just too soft and harsher punishments are the only thing that will save society.  Why don't people think bigger than individual crimes and see the effects that harsher penalties will have on sociological behaviours?  It used to be acceptable to hang people in the street, until we evolved away from such barbaric practices.  If we step ever nearer to socially acceptable extreme punishments this will, in turn, normalise the barbaric treatments of human beings. It is a well-known psychological fact that to kill is difficult for most people.  Yet when someone kills once, it becomes easier to kill again and again.  We internally normalise it.  Women used to knit in the street whilst people were beheaded.   This sounds totally horrific in today's society but that is only because society has changed.  If we return to sanctioned barbarism, we begin normalise it.  Human torture and death should never be normalised.  The very prospect is terrifying.

Moreover, capital punishment and the kind of punishment my colleague suggested, cannot be undone.  If someone is tried, serves time in prison, yet is innocent of their crime, they only lose time.  Upsetting though that is, it can, in theory, be recovered from.  If they receive the death penalty, and are later found innocent, there life is already over.  Likewise, if someone is brutally tortured or disfigured through the justice system, as my colleague suggested, then found innocent following appeal, they cannot grow back an eye or a hand.  (This is assuming of course, that we continue to allow appeals in my colleagues terrifying vision for the future).  Her suggestions place absolute faith in the justice system. Her suggestions do not allow for human error or, the more worrying, intentional 'error'.

Even if we discount human error and the normalisation of barbaric behaviours in society, we simply have to consider this: quis custodiet ipsos custodes.

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