Why Doesn't Liberalism Believe in Punishment?
Liberalism has two problems with punishment and they are both a part of Liberalism's wider ideals, Equality and Progress. Both present problems when it comes to punishment. Punishment implies that someone has done something wrong and that they must be corrected, or even destroyed to show how wrong the transgression was. But Liberalism keeps running into the twin problems presented by it's believe in Equality and Progress.
Equality states that everyone is equal, that there is no real difference at all between people. Black and white are the same, men and women are the same, the sick and the well are the same, the guilty and the innocent are the same. What! Equality does not mean that the guilty and the innocent are the same. But it does. Equality means that there is no real difference between any two people. Everyone is basically the same person regardless of any outward appearance or utterance. If thats the case then how can people do wildly different things in life? Very few people are murderers or rapists or burglars, but some people are. How does Liberalism reconcile the idea that as everyone is equal and that they are basically the same person, with the idea that some people do very bad things, but most don't? Environment, people become criminals because they grow up poor or because of drugs or alcohol, they are basically good people who because of something beyond their control committed a crime. They may be guilty of committing a crime but they are at the same time innocent because they are not a bad person, merely someone who did something wrong that was beyond their control.
Progress says that things get better, they always get better, they never stop, in fact it is impossible for Progress to stop. It is relentless. Progress is one of Liberalism's oldest ideals, it is in fact a cornerstone of Liberalism. But it isn't just technical Progress that is believed in and supported, but also human Progress. That we will all become richer under Liberalism, that we will all become healthier, smarter, in a word, better. Think of it as spiritual evolution but without God. As Liberalism rules, the average person gets better all the time. If people are constantly getting better then how does Liberalism explain crime? Well criminals are just late bloomers, their just like everyone else but not quite there yet. Don't give up on them, they will bloom.
No where is there the idea that certain actions and/or people are evil and that is because Liberalism doesn't believe in the existence of evil. They don't believe in it as a supernatural force, nor as something that exists within nature, let alone human nature. Evil is like superstition, something best left alone and forgotten about. Because if evil exists then it would imply, very strongly, that equality is false. That people are not basically the same person but that instead they are distinct, so distinct from each other that some of us do evil deeds and are either born or become evil. If that is so how can Progress be real, how can people become better if it is possible to become evil? It's not and therefore Liberalism denies that evil exists.
The Law is much older than Liberalism and it was created by men who believed absolutely in the existence of evil. They believe that it was important not simply to judge but to punish. Modern Law has been much changed by Liberalism, but that older Law still exists. Both in spirit and in text. Certainly ordinary people expect punishment just as much as the people of other times did. But modern Law tries it's hardest to find ways to not punish. Harsh words from the bench, fines, community based orders, suspended sentences. Now I am not saying these things are not appropriate, they may or may not be depending upon the crime and circumstances. But often prison sentences are not adequate and Capital Punishment is looked on a judicial murder. At each turn Liberalism seeks to minimize punishment. Every bad boy (or girl) needs the chance to show that they can be good. Sadly as Liberalism believes that the guilty and the innocent are equal, very little thought can be spared for the innocent. The victims of crime shouldn't exist, Liberalism is making everyone a better person. The victims of crime are an embarrassment to Liberalism and it doesn't know which way to look. It loves the control and power that the Law gives it, but it doesn't have any answers for crime because crime isn't supposed to exist!
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