Thursday, December 14, 2006
He was born 25 November 1915 in Valparaiso, Chile the son of Augusto Pinochet Vera and Avelina Ugarte Martinez. He married Lucia Hiriart Rodriguez in 1943. They had three daughters Lucía, María Verónica, Jacqueline Marie and two sons Augusto Osvaldo and Marco Antonio. He died 10 December, 2006 in Santiago de Chile.
Augusto Pinochet Ugarte graduated from the Millitary School of the Republic of Chile in 1937 and served the Republic of Chile for the rest of his life. After many commands at the company, battalion, regimental, and division level he was appointed General Chief of Staff of the Army in 1972 and Army Commander in Chief in 1973. He lead the armed forces in a revolt against the usurping president Salvador Allende. He reformed the laws and constitution of the republic and after losing a plebiscite called for by his own reforms stepped down from the presidency peacefully and returned to his role as commander in chief and later senator for life. He died surrounded by family and honored by a grateful nation. Isn’t that a nice story.
Augusto Pinochet Ugarte over threw the legitimately elected president of the Republic of Chile. His coup was a violent one and the early years of his rule bloody and tyrannical. It is believed that about 3,000 people suffered extrajudicial execution during the course of his rule and that an additional 20,000 were tortured. His policies were by no means all successful. During the course of his rule he used his office to personally enrich himself. In short he was a murdering, torturing, thieving dictator . In retirement he was pursued by public prosecutors from many nations, including his own. He is a warning to all those who would over through legitimately elected governments. Isn’t that a nice morality tale.
The truth of course is somewhere in between these two caricatures of his life. I am in fact writing today to commemorate the life of a man who if the Catholics are right about the afterlife, will if he avoids roasting in hell, spend a very long time in purgatory.
At his death, he stands reviled as a murderious dictator. This is of course true, but neither is it the whole truth. In justice to the memory of Pinochet, it is important to lay out the context in which the coup of the 11th of September 1973 took place.
The first thing to remember about the coup is that the government of Salvador Allende which he over threw was by no means a functioning republic. On the contrary, under Allende the rule of law had been suspended in favor of extra judicial expropriation, the suppression of a free press, and rule by decree. The orders of courts of the republic were being routinely disregarded. The power of the printing press was being used to inflate the currency to deliberately impoverish the middle class. His supporters were being organized into armed militias independent of legal state control. Allende was in fact in the middle of establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat.
The situation had reached the point where the supreme court had publicly issued a unanimous resolution denouncing the Allende government for its “ disruption of the legality of the nation.”
On August 22, 1973 the chamber of deputies adopted by a vote of 81 to 47 a resolution charging the Allende government with attempting “to conquer absolute power with the obvious purpose of subjecting all citizens to the strictest political and economic control by the state... [with] the goal of establishing a totalitarian system." This resolution called on the military to over through the government.
Now none of this can excuse many of the later actions of Pinochet, but it does explain why he and the rest of the Chilean military decided to over through the government of President Allende.
The second thing it is important to remember is that Augusto Pinochet is by no means the only dictator in the history of the 20th Century. To fairly evaluate his life he must be evaluated against his peers, that is to say his fellow dictators. In this context we must evaluate several things, the oppressiveness of his regime, how he behaved himself personally as head of state and government, and what was the result of his extra legal rule.
One extremely crude measure of oppressiveness is the number of people killed in extra judicial killings. It is undisputed that about 3,000 Chileans were killed outside of the normal processes of law, mostly during the early days of the military government. To compare this to Stalin, one of the most bloody dictators in history, if the same proportion of the population was killed, under Pinochet as under Stalin, about 2 million, instead of 3,000 people would have died. That is to say about a 1,000 times as many. Another standard of comparison would be the dictatorship of the same period in Argentina where about 20,000 people “disappeared.” Argentina has about 2.5 times the population of Chile. The Argentine dictatorship was about three times as bloody as Pinochet’s regime.
Pinochet clearly did not act personally as head of state and government in a manner that was above reproach. He accumulated a large fortune that he stole from the government and people of Chile. That this is the predictable out come of absolute power is shown by the vast majority of his fellow dictators who personally enriched themselves at the expense of their people. As Lord Acton wrote, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Most dictatorships end in one of two ways. Ether the dictator is himself overthrown or assassinated, or he clings to power until his death. In either case the state is left in a state of chaos. It is to Pinochet’s credit that he voluntarily established a new constitutional order and that when, in accordance with that law, he had to relinquish power, he did so. His economic policies were a mixed bag, but generally positive. Since the end of his rule, Chile has been a prosperous democratic republic.
That as dictators go he was not totally blood soaked and that he reestablished a constitutional system of government, of course does not excuse his many sins, but it does put them in perspective.
A third point that I think needs to be considered is to look at a counterfactual example.
If during the early years of his rule, the German army had revolted against Adolph Hitler, the 20th Century would be considerably less bloody. The army considered it several times. Knowing what we know now, if the army had in 36, 38, or 39 risen against the government, they would have earned eternal glory.
However if they had done so, we would never have known how awful Hitler’s regime would have been. Would the German army have been praised or vilified? After all, they would have had to have killed a lot of Nazis to take power. They would likely have put a stop to Hitler’s social programs.
If the army had overthrown the National Socialist German Workers Party would they be remembered as the crushers of a potential democratic socialist state? Remember Hitler was elected and on a national welfare platform not so different from Allende‘s. Would Hitler in that event have been seen in retrospect as the poor well meaning social reformer who was gunned down by the ruthless army? We will never know, because the German army failed to act.
If Allende had not be overthrown would he now be known as the founder of a foul and murderous socialist dictatorship. Would people be saying “what if” and “why didn’t” the Chilean army over though Allende while there was still time? We will never know, because Pinochet did not fail to act.
This of course does not excuse the excesses to which Pinochet went, but it does caution us against blind condemnation.
So, on Sunday died a man who should be condemned for his crimes, but not out of proportion to his crimes.
If that sounds ambivalent, it is so for a reason. If a consistent standard was applied to former dictators, I would be more inclined to be condemnatory, but this is unfortunately not the case.
How many African dictators have committed absolutely or proportionately more killing than Pinochet, totally impoverished their people, equivalently enriched themselves, left a worse state of affairs to their successors, clung to power till the end and then been buried with plaudits to “the father of the nation” or at least allowed death in the dignity of unnoticed anonymity.
I guess my over all ambivalence can be summed up by a story about Ayn Rand. She received a letter asking her to join a group of writers condemning Father Coughlin. The group was an obvious socialist front and Rand wrote back that she would be happy to join when the group was against Father Coughlin and X, Y, and Z other left wing totalitarian public personalities, “but not until then comrades, not until then.”
So to paraphrase Shakespeare, as Augusto Pinochet Ungarte was a patriot, I praise him, as he was a good soldier, I admire him, as he overthrew a usurper, I proclaim him, but as he was a tyrant, I condemn him. The evil a man does lives after him, the good is oft interred with his bones, so let it be with Pinochet, but that won’t be the whole truth.
Update: BTW I have had responses from people who seem to think that I think we should go easy on Pinochet. On the contrary, I think he should have been tried for what he did, just as the Nazis were tried at the end of the Second World War. I just think we should be more consistent about it. How many communist dictators are living out their last days in peace? Will they receive international condemnation when they die? So by all means lets shoot ALL former dictators or at least write nasty things about them when they die of natural causes, but not some of them.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Eternal Father Strong to Save
who’s arm hath bound the restless wave.
Whom bids the mighty ocean deep
its own appointed limits keep.
O hear us when we cry to thee
for those in peril on the sea.
UPDATE: It was the 65th not the 75th anniversary.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
He was born 30 November, 1874 at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, the home of his fathers, the first son of Lord Randolph Churchill and Jennie Jerome. He was a graduate of Harrow and the Royal Military College Sandhurst. He served in India with the 4th (Queen’s Own) Hussars and fought on the Northwest Frontier. He charged with the 21st Lancers at Omdurman, the last real cavalry charge of the British Army. He served with the South African Light House during the Second Boer War. He was elected to parliament for the first time in 1899 and sat almost without interruption through the reign of six monarchs. He joined the cabinet for the first time in 1908. During the First World War he served with the Royal Scots Fusiliers commanding the 6th battalion (territorial army) on the Western Front. He was a journalist, inventor (the patent for the tank), author, painter, soldier, statesman, and quite possibly the savior of western civilization. He was, in short, a very great man.
He died 24 January, 1965 and after a state funeral was laid to rest in the graveyard of St. Martin Church, Bladon a short drive from where he was born. May his memory endure as long as our people.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
BTW I just realized my previous post on boarding schools was my 100th. Seems silly now but I had meant to make a big deal about that. Now just shocked.
UPDATE this should have been posted sooner but I had trouble posting
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
I am interested in this topic for what is basically two reasons. First, I think they are exactly what we need to look at in rebuilding an educational system for our country and the Anglosphere at large. Secondly as an old boy myself, I am naturally interested in boarding schools.
Anyway, here is a bunch of information for any one who is interested. I am going to start with a little parochialism giving links to the two boarding schools I attended, Eaglebrook, a junior boarding school and Avon Old Farms, a high school.
Then for those who are wondering what St. Grottlesex stands for, it is a name for St. Paul’s, St. Mark’s, St. George’s, Groton, and Middlesex.
Other famous American Boarding Schools include Andover, Exeter and Deerfield. The Association of Boarding Schools with links to U.S. and Canadian boarding schools is here.
Probably the most famous of the boarding schools in the Anglosphere is King’s College of Our Lady of Eton Beside Windsor. Others famous schools include Winchester, Rugby, and Harrow. The Dragon School is one of the more famous junior boarding schools. I could go on school by school, but here is a link to the Independent Schools Council in the UK and the Boarding Schools Association site.
Other organizations with links include the New Zealand Boarding Schools association here, a link to an Australian site is here, and the Independent Schools of Southern Africa site is here. A list of wikipedia links to boarding schools is here.
There is an interesting presentation by The Association of Boarding Schools here.
Finally what discussion of boarding schools would be complete without mention of boarding school’s contribution to English literature in the form of the boarding school novel, the most famous of which is no doubt Tom Brown’s Schooldays.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I want to ask the left what is “Liberal” or “Progressive” about asking people about their religion to provide “context” for a news story. When I was a boy anyone asking such a question in that context would have rightly been universally reviled as a bigot.
What is liberal about making common political cause with people who believe in the subjugation of women and the stoning of homosexuals? Not just common cause in some minor detail of politics, that would be understandable, but common cause in the defeat of the armed forces of the United States, the United Kingdom, the Kingdom of Canada, and the Commonwealth of Australia.
What is liberal about embracing the big lie theory of propaganda. “Bush Lied!” is just such a big lie. Anyone who has paid even the most cursory attention to the media realizes it is a lie. The much ballyhooed British Cabinet Documents which the anti war folks tried to spin into proof that “Bush Lied” when in fact by confirming that the intelligence picture was unchanged, showed that the Iraqi regime was still trying, as they had been trying for a decade (corrupting the international civil service in the process), to obtain biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. Never mind the additional fact that Iraq had violated virtually every provision of the cease fire agreement that had ended the previous war and that we had been launching retaliatory air strikes all the while, which means there was no peace, only a war we were not trying to win. What I want to know is what is progressive about embracing the fucking Nazi theory of propaganda while calling the President of the United States Bushhitler all the while?
I will answer these questions, there is nothing liberal or progressive about it.
While there are no doubt well meaning people in the democratic party and I don’t just mean Joe Lieberman, the fact is that the democratic party and the left throughout the west is being corrupted by its flirtations with International ANSWER and other apologists for religious terrorist groups. I want to note here by the way ,the very honorable exception of Christopher Hitchens and the rest of that crowd. They are especially to be commended because they must know that this will not totally shield them from unjustified smears post war.
Here is the thing that really offends me about this, I am a liberal at least in the original sense of the word. I dislike it when conservatives use liberal as a smear. I don’t like voting republican as a least worse alternative. I wish the democrats would put up a moderate candidate who I could feel safe in intrusting with the defense of the republic. I would like a much closer watch put on the use of coercive methods of interrogation and stricter rules for military commissions.
Instead what do I get? A party that is to busy cozying up to the anti war movement to give a thought for the average voter who would like a choice.
Now back to the title of this post. I am an atheist, but I was raised in the Episcopal Church. In the hymns we sang every Sunday, which hold my heart still, even if I can’t make my self believe them, we identified ourselves as the people of Zion or Israel. When the crucifixion was told on Good Friday, it was not the Jews, in the sense of some evil other, but the Jews in the sense of us, the people of god who were blamed for rejecting the messiah, just as it was held we rejected him when we sinned. According to the religion of my childhood, the only one to which I could return, I am a Jew.
If playing anti Semitic games is now thought to be A.O.K. in politics, count me among the Jews. I would rather stand with King Christian X of Demark who when told by the Nazi occupation government that they were going to make his Jewish subjects ware a Star of David to mark them out from the rest of his people, said that in that case he was going to ware one also. I would rather stand with King Christian and the many heroes who have opposed anti Semitism and bigotry than with those who stand with Neville Chamberlain for the appeasement of the enemies of our civilization.
That seems to me anyway to be the heart of the question. The left (with the exceptions before mentioned and some others) seems to have lost all respect for our civilization. A civilization which traces it roots from ancient Greece and Rome through the fall of the empire to the Germanic conquerors. A civilization which for all it faults never lost touch with the primitive democracy of the German tribes or the Roman idea of the rule of law. A nation which centralized without abandoning the idea of feudal rights and which then expanded them into rights for all. As a conservative it is this great tradition of rights, democracy, the rule of law, and the struggle for progress that I want to preserve.
Now I don’t want to pretend the English Speaking people have a perfect record, not in general or certainly with respect to our Jewish fellow citizens or subjects. Obviously the expulsion of the Jews from England by King Edward was a disgrace. Nor do I want to pretend that there has never been any anti-Semitism among our people. However it was George Washington who assured the Jewish citizens of Providence that they would always enjoy religious liberty in the United States. It was the voters of the United Kingdom who in the Nineteenth Century returned Benjamin Disraeli as Prime Minister (the conservative voters at that).
Our civilization is a great one and I love it, not only in its manifestation as the United States, but as all the myriad of countries over which, Elizabeth by the grace of god, of the United Kingdom and her other realms and territories Queen, Defender of the Faith, Head of Commonwealth, reigns. For this I have been called a traitor by someone who of course has no idea what treason is under the Laws of the English Speaking People. While my first loyalty, is and must be, while I rely on its protection, to the United States, I feel a strong bond with my people, where ever they live. I hope as the title of this blog proclaims for the Union of all our people living around the world in London, Delhi, New York, Melbourne, Kingstown, Capetown, Singapore, Toronto, Christchurch and a million other places. You might even say I am a bit of an internationalist about it.
International relations is always a bit of a snake pit, but the English Speaking People always prefer if they can to support a country that shares there values. Israel, a liberal democracy in a region of dictatorships, is one such country and one of the most disturbing things about the left’s flirtation with the radical anti-war movement has been how this has turned them against a cause they once treasured. I for one support Israel’s right to exist. If that makes me a Zionist so be it.
In fact from a certain point of view one might almost say I am a Liberal, Jewish, Internationalist, Zionist and I am well known to be a supporter of Capitalism too. If that be treason, make the most of it.
Long Live the Republic!
Friday, November 03, 2006
I dislike the president, especially his position on civil liberties and the budget. I WAS thinking that if the Democrats took control of one house, that might not be such a bad thing. Then John Kerry opened his mouth and reminded me of everything that I loath about the modern Democratic party.
I heard about Kerry’s “joke” or “misstatement” and could not help but think of Kipling’s poem “Tommy.” The one that begins,
“I went into a public house to get a pint of beer,
The publican he up and says, We serve no red coats here.”
And concludes with the famous lines.
“Don’t mess about the cook room slops, but prove it to our face
That the Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier man’s disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, and Tommy that, and “Chuck him out, the brute!”
But it’s “the savior of his country,” when the guns begin to shoot
And it’s Tommy this, and Tommy that, and anything you please
But Tommy ain’t a blooming fool you bet that Tommy sees!”
If the Democrats want to win elections, they have to make sure that me and a million voters like me don’t remember what we dislike about their party right before election day. Maybe then we will either vote for them or at least not vote for the Republicans. They ought to always keep in mind the old saying “it is better to remain silent and appear ignorant than to open ones mouth and remove all doubt.”
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
This is interesting not only as it is the first treason indictment since the second world war, but because, the U.S. law of treason is very much an Anglosphere phenomenon.
The U.S. restricts the crime of treason as follows “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.”
The whole definition comes from the English statute law. The first sentence is two of the possible forms of treason under the Treason Act of 1351 (25 Edw. III St. 5 c. 2). The second sentence which requires two witnesses comes from the Treason Act of 1695 (7 & 8 Will. III c. 3).
Friday, September 15, 2006
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Monday, May 29, 2006
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead.
Short days ago
We lived, saw dawn, felt sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
A further problem is that most of the “solutions” that are being proposed in Washington to the culture of corruption are going to make things worse. This is because most of it centers around “Campaign Finance Reform” which gags free speech and increases the protections for entrenched incumbents.
What is needed is something that will bring fresh blood into the House of Representatives and reduces the cost of Senate elections. I have a few different proposals which I believe would help reduce the corruption in Washington.
First let us deal with the problem of the House of Representatives. The problem is that what is supposed to be the most democratic branch of our federal government is at the current incumbency rates, not that democratic.
Part of this problem stems from the fact that house districts have become unreasonably large. Each member of the House of Representatives represents a district of more than 600,000 persons. U.S. House districts are the second largest election districts of any lower house in the world. Only India with a population more than three times a great has larger districts and even then, their districts are smaller as a portion of the population. The House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Briton and Northern Ireland is almost fifty percent larger than the House of Representatives even though the population of the UK is about an eighth of that of the U.S.
These larger districts make large scale fund raising necessary, because they make grass roots campaigning less effective and TV advertising more effective. This both directly increases opportunities for corruption and tends to entrench incumbents by making it harder for challengers to unseat sitting members since challengers have a harder time raising money and need more to successfully challenge an incumbent.
One of the things we need to do is increase the number of members of the House of Representatives so that each representative has a smaller district. To do this I propose a constitutional amendment something like the following.
“After the next and every subsequent actual enumeration of the population, the Congress of the United States shall increase the number of elected Representatives by one hundred, until such year as the number of elected representatives is greater than or equal to one per 250,000 persons. After such year, at each subsequent actual enumeration of the population, the Congress of the United States shall increase the number of elected Representatives so that the number of elected representatives is greater than or equal to one per 250,000 persons.”
This would do two things. It would start to make House districts smaller and would add a hundred new members to Congress every ten years for the next 70 or so years. This would be like a tidal wave of new blood every 10 years, especially since redistricting already shakes up congress and brings in new members.
This alone should make the House substantially more responsive to the will of the people and reduce the hot house atmosphere that is so conducive to corruption. However to make the house even less subject to special interests, I believe, that we need to consider choosing about a third of the members of the House of Representatives by sortition.
Sortition means choosing the office holder by lottery from among the citizens. This would have problems of course, it would elevate a certain percentage of fools to the House of Representatives (no big change there), but it would also elevate a larger percentage of intelligent public spirited citizens from all walks of life who would not normally be members of congress. Those who did well could then run against the incumbent in their district for a elected seat.
It would mean that a third of the members of congress were not only new members, but ones who most likely would return to their normal life after serving the republic for two years.
If nothing else, it would brake the strangle hold of the legal profession on congress.
As for reforming the senate, I believe that ending the direct election of senators could have positive impact on the huge amount of money spent on senatorial races, Google “repeal 17” or “repeal 17th amendment” for details.
Today, the punishment for crimes consists chiefly of fines, imprisonment, and forms of probation. While some anglosphere states do have capital punishment, it is infrequently applied and thankfully only for the most serious offenses.
The problems with the current system are as follows: it is expensive, it is often to lenient on first offenders, it is often to harsh on multiple offenders, it is not as effective a deterrent as it could be because it often fluctuates wildly between excessive leniency and excessive harshness.
The current system of incarceration is expensive and its expense is in a sense an injustice against law abiding citizens. There is no way of getting around the fact that jails cost money and so do jail guards. That the prisoner must be feed, clothed, etc. is an additional expense. That prisons are needed for certain types of offenders, is undeniable. Murderers who are not put to death, rapists, strong arm robbers, those who have committed assault with a deadly weapon, and multiple offenders all need to be incarcerated for the protection of the public and as a form of punishment. However it must be remembered that incarceration, being expensive inflicts a harm on the public.
Because there is no intermediate form of punishment between fines and imprisonment under the current system, many first offenders are treated with excessive lenience, they are sentenced to the term that the crime they have committed calls for, but the sentence is suspended on the condition of good behavior. While this may deter some criminals, because they don’t want their suspended sentence imposed, it is important to remember that the criminal mentality is often a short term and concrete bound one. That is to say, they see not the punishment that hangs over them if they re-offend, but the lack of punishment. Also for a concrete bound mentality, the psychological pain of imprisonment is fairly abstract, especially if never previously experienced.
The excessive harshness of the system on some multiple offenders is a result of the excessive leniency. Firstly, the punishment for first misdemeanor offenses being basically nothing, often not much effort is put into catching those who commit them. Then when the lack of punishment has not deterred a budding young criminal and he or she commits a felony often the sentence is still only a suspended one. The lack of punishment having encouraged further malefaction, the book is now thrown at the criminal. In the worst instances this may even include the “three strikes and you’re out law.” In this most serious instance, the criminal has never been effectively punished until society is stuck with paying for his life incarceration. To call such a system absurd is to be polite. Even when the “three strikes law” does not come into play, a criminal must be incarcerated for two long terms of imprisonment, the one suspended and the one for the new felony. (As for the nonsense of concurrent sentences, don’t get me started.)
This is clearly not an effective way to deal with criminal justice. It does not deter, and often it is not just. Not to the public who has to pay for long prison stays that might have been prevented and not to the criminal who might have learned the error of his ways had his early crimes been meet with appropriate punishment. I believe that corporal punishment could be an effective intermediate punishment between fines and imprisonment which would solve the problem of over leniency and over harshness.
Corporal punishment has a number of benefits. First, it is cheap compared incarceration. Secondly, it is a deterrent that even concrete bound minds can understand. Third, it allows for fine gradations of punishment. Fourth, it does not ruin the criminals life the way even a two or three year prison term could. Fifth, it allows the person punished to benefit society by acting as an example for others.
Even if we had to buy a new whip for each person, corporal punishment would be cheaper than even a short six month prison sentence. Since it is the innocent who pay for the penal system, cheapness is not to be despised. By saving money, corporal punishment is more just than incarceration.
A real problem with suspended sentences and the incarceration model is that for a concrete bound mentality, it is not a very strong deterrent. In contrast everyone knows that pain isn’t fun. We all try and avoid it. Corporal punishment is therefore a practical form of punishment.
Like incarceration, corporal punishment allows for gradations of punishment with minor crimes receiving a lesser punishment and serious ones a harsher penalty. For example, misdemeanor crimes could be punished by up to 12 strokes of the lash, lesser felonies by up to 24 strokes and serious felonies by up to 36 strokes. With in these broad categories, even finer gradations could be made. This allows the punishment to fit the seriousness of the offense which of course is just.
Unlike incarceration, corporal punishment does not ruin the life of the convict. A person thrown in jail for any substantial period of time has his life thoroughly ruined. Youngsters can’t finish school. Prisoners lose their job and possibly all their material positions. Single parents lose custody of their children. These ill effects do not fall only on the convict, but effect spouses, children and society at large. Corporal punishment punishes the convict without the side effects that harm others. Because it does not cause the side effects, corporal punishment is more just than incarceration.
While incarceration causes society additional harm in the form of the expense, corporal punishment has the potential to benefit society because its infliction can be used as an example to others. First offenders whose crime is not serious enough to merit the whip could be sentenced to watch it applied to another criminal. Further when a convict returns to his usual haunts, his healing wounds will bring before the eyes of his compatriots the penalty for breaking the law. Instead of the injustice of further harming the law abiding, corporal punishment includes an element of restitution.
While the forgoing points out defects of the current system and some of the advantages of corporal punishment, it does not address the belief of some that corporal punishment is so degrading that it is beyond the pale. My view on this is two fold. First of all, I am not convinced that the violence and ennui of prison life are any less soul destroying than a whipping. Secondly, punishment is supposed to be unpleasant, that is what, we hope, will deter people from committing crimes. I recognize that will not convince some, but I think most readers will see the sense in them.
If corporal punishment is a proper intermediate punishment, how is it to be used? I suggest the following as a starting point for discussion.
For first offenders who commit a misdemeanor, a sentence of between 2 and 6 strokes suspended on the condition of good behavior for the next 20 years plus a sentence of involuntary observation of between 24 and 48 strokes applied to other convicts. This would let the convict see with his own eyes what further malefaction would bring him and put a number of lashes hanging over his head like the sword of Damocles.
For second offenders who commit a misdemeanor, a sentence of between 4 and 12 strokes depending on the offence would be appropriate. This would be a strong punishment when added to his suspended sentence. Also the second offender should have an appropriate jail term imposed with all but a week of the sentence suspended on the condition of good behavior for the next 20 years. This would give the offender a weeks taste of prison, but leave most of the sentence as a deterrent against further crime.
For subsequent misdemeanor offences, a sentence of between 9 and 12 strokes of the lash depending on the offence and a jail term would be appropriate. This would be both a strong corporal punishment and for third offenders a relatively long jail term adding the suspended sentence. Hopefully these terms combined would be a taste of long term incarceration (i.e. 6 months to two years) that would warn off the criminal from further malefaction.
For first offenders who commit a lesser felony, a sentence of between 12 and 24 strokes and prison term of 1 to 4 years with half the lashes and all but a week of the prison term suspended on the condition of good behavior for the next 20 years would be appropriate. This would allow the felon to feel on his own back the consequences of continuing a life of crime and leave half his corporal punishment hanging over him along with the majority of the prison term.
For second offenders who commit a lesser felony, a sentence of 24 strokes and a prison term of 3 to 6 years would be appropriate. This would both be a very significant corporal punishment and would put the convict in prison for a relatively long time, especially if he had a suspended felony sentence.
For subsequent offenders who commit a lesser felony, a sentence of 24 strokes and a prison term of 6 to 9 years would be appropriate.
For first offenders who commit a more serious felony, a sentence of 24 to 36 strokes and a prison term of 6 to 9 years with half the lashes and two thirds of the prison term suspended on the condition of good behavior for the next 20 years would be appropriate.
For second offenders who commit a more serious felony, a sentence of 24 to 36 strokes and a prison term of 9 to 12 years would be appropriate.
For subsequent offenders who commit a more serious felony, a sentence of 36 strokes and a prison term of 12 to 18 years would be appropriate.
For the most serious non capital offences such as assault in the first degree, robbery in the first degree, rape, and manslaughter, the following would seem to me appropriate.
For first offenders 36 lashes plus a term of imprisonment of 15 years.
For second offenders 36 lashes plus a term of imprisonment of 18 to 21 years.
For subsequent offenders 36 lashes plus a term of imprisonment of 21 to 30 years.
The most serious crimes murder, treason, and slaving, are not in my opinion a fit topic for this post as they fall under the rubric of the debate over capital punishment, which I hope to write about at future date.
One thing that I have not mentioned thus far is the limits of corporal punishment. I certainly don’t think that it can eliminate crime. People have freewill; therefore some will chose to live by violence and parasitism, rather than by productive work. The only hope I put forward is that a more rational system of punishments might teach some that a life of crime is not the right course. For just this reason, I believe that there must be a limit to corporal punishment. The purpose of corporal punishment is to punish and teach, not to torture.
Thus those who are demonstrably unteachable (i.e. habitual offenders) should not receive corporal punishment. They must instead receive long prison sentences so that the public is protected from their predation. Thus something like the “three strikes” law is necessary, though I believe that a more complex approach is needed. Likewise people sentenced to life in prison or to death, should not receive corporal punishment as it will accomplish nothing.
So there it is, my proposal for reforming the penal system in as far as non capital crimes are concerned. I am sure some will denounce me as a fascist, but what the heck, I have been thinking about this for some time and it seams to me this is an idea whose time has come.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
First, the main issue should be protecting our country from terrorists and fanatics who want to come to our country and destroy it.
Second, we rightly want to preserve the culture and political system that has served us so well and which is directly or indirectly the reason people want to come to our country.
To maintain the integrity of our boarder, we need to end the industry that has built up to smuggle people across the boarder. To do this we need to do two things, increase boarder security and decrease the incentive to illegally enter the country.
The way to achieve the first of these objectives is to increase the number of boarder guards and build a fence or the like to make crossing the boarder harder. Israel is doing some work in this line and we could benefit from their experience.
The way to decrease the incentive to enter the country illegally is to make it easier to enter legally. That means in essence much easier immigration for those who apply to come to this country.
What I propose is that we should heavily patrol the boarder, but build 50 or so immigration point were anyone wanting to immigrate to the United States will be held for one or two days while a background check is performed so that we do not admit terrorists, criminals, or others who mean us harm. Those who are not found to be a threat to the safety of the republic would be admitted with a green card good for ten years.
How exactly tourists, people visiting friends and family, and people coming for brief business trips would be worked into this system will require more thought, but it is not impossible. For example companies that want someone to visit could be required to pay for a bounty hunter if the person does not leave our country and could have their right to admit people additional for business trips suspended until the first person is caught and deported. Hotels which have tourist come to stay and people who have foreign visitors could also be held to a similar standard.
The system I have proposed would reduce the number of people illegally entering the country and thus reduce the demand for the industry which smuggles people into the country. This would make our country significantly safer.
As for how to preserve our culture and political institutions, I believe that what we need is a strong program of education aimed at assimilating emigrants. Specifically we need to ditch the immoral and impractical multiculturalist ideology in favor of a assimilationist, melting pot, patriotic, Whig-historical ideology.
That is to say we should teach students about how people came to this country and built new and better homes for themselves and their descendants. How the colonists rebelled against the unconstitutional usurpations of George III and built a new constitutional system on the basis of the old English Whig tradition. We should tell our students about how generation upon generation have come to this country and adopted the essential parts of the Anglo-American cultural heritage as their own while also preserving and helping to incorporate into American culture many good parts of their native cultures.
Multiculturalism is just poison and we should get it out of our schools. As Jim Benet says, “democracy, multiculturalism, and immigration chose any two.”
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
What if the new conservative government repealed blair’s “reform” of the House of Lords and began selling titles with the proceeds to go to the treasury. Pay a billion pounds become a Duke, 750 million and you’re a Marquess, 500 million and you’re an Earl, 250 million a Viscount, 100 million a Baron, 50 million a life peer.
This would have the advantages of simultaneously giving a legitimate outlet for rich people who wanted to enter politics and raise money for the state without raising taxes. If 50 titles were sold at an average price of 100 million pounds this would be enough to buy one of the Queen Elizabeth class Aircraft Carriers.
If there is no objection to the decline of the Royal Navy, the money thus raised could instead be put in a fund which would pay a certain amount to the state each year and thus allow a long term cut in taxes.
Some will say this plan would devalue the peerage, but the fact is that most peerages were rewards for services of one kind or another to the state. Many of those were political or military, but I am sure some were for financial contributions as well.
This topic also reminds me of a Churchill quote. He was commenting on the large number of former ministers of the crown that were receiving peerages. He said, “They can’t all have peerages, there ought to be at least some disappearages.”
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Those who say that criminalizing incitement to riot is a violation of the right to free speech are in essence saying that it is a fundamental human right to stand in front of a crowd that one knows or reasonably should know will follow ones orders and state in the imperative that they should commit a crime.
The fact of human free will not withstanding, there are instances when one can know with a reasonable certainty that ones words will cause another to act in a specific way. In such instances one is not free of responsibility for the result when one utters the words. If one knows that if he orders it done, another will violate the rights of a third party, he has no right to order it.
To make this issue crystal clear, I hold that when Rohm ordered his SA thugs to break up a meeting of Jews, Catholics, Liberals, Social Democrats or even of Communists if they were meeting peacefully, he was guilty of violating the victim’s right to free association. To punish Rohm would not be to violate his right to free speech, but to protect the right of free association.
To take a slightly more ambiguous case if one spends several hours whipping a crowd into a frenzy of hate against blacks, whites, Christians, Jews, Moslems or who ever and then brandishes a torch over ones head and yells, “I don’t have to say anything more, you all know what to do,” one is at the very least guilty of criminal negligence when the crowd runs out and burns down the homes and businesses of the people or person he has incited them against.
Now there has been an idea seemingly put forth that because it is o.k. to punish a person for incitement, that some how means the people who carry out the deed are not guilty of a crime. I am not aware of any such legal doctrine and it certainly is not, in my view, an excuse for a crime that one is following the orders of another.
Part of this confusion seems to arise from the idea of a “fighting words” exception which is different than the incitement exception.
To take an example of this legitimate exception to the right of free speech, if one walked up to someone at the funeral of their mother who has just died of HIV and says to them, “your mother was a fucking slut and she deserved to die,” one has a reasonable expectation of being punched in the face.
My understanding of the fighting words doctrine is that it is reserved for just such situations where two people are in a confrontation and one person uses words that he knows or reasonably should know are going to cause an overmastering emotional response in the recipient such that he will attack the speaker. In such a case the speaker cannot claim to have been innocently minding his own business.
To bring this whole question to the most important present example, let’s see how this affects the cartoon war.
The scum marching through London with banners saying “those who insult the prophet should have their heads cut off,” have every right to do so. However if the leader of the protest turns to one of the people in the protest who he has encouraged to carry such a sign and says, “go cut off the head of X,” then I hold he has committed a crime.
When the Danish paper published the 12 cartoons it did so, not in the proximity of the persons who might have been offended and in a forum where offence is to be expected. (i.e. the editorial pages of paper) The most that could be expected was for the Moslem reader to shake with rage and then get a hold of himself. The problem was that instead after the moment of shock was over the Moslem’s did not get a hold of themselves, instead they went out and organized riots.
If instead the editorial board of the paper had marched up to innocent Moslems going about their business in peace and got in their face and said, “Mohammed is a pig who likes to fuck ten year old boys up the ass while they pray,” they would have been punched in the face and they would have deserved it.
There are few things more dangerous than a false understanding of rights. This tends to discredit the very idea of rights and can even lead to their subversion.
While people have every right to have opinions that are offensive to others and they have a right to express them, there are limits. They do not have a right to order a crime committed. They do not have a right to deliberately put another person in the position of having to instantly master the first spike of anger after hearing a deadly insult.
In both instances one is complicit in a breach of the public peace. In one case because one orders it, in the other because one is deliberately causing it by putting someone in a position beyond the limits of normal self control. Defense of the peace is a legitimate action of the state.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Friday, February 03, 2006
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
the Prime Minister's office is a pretty good bully pulpit, and he would
be smart to use it to start deconstructing the Trudeavean deconstruction of the
old Canada. He should make sure the Canadian troops in Afghanistan are
decorated in a visible and public ceremony, exactly what has been denied to them
to date. He should make a show of honoring the Canadian WWII veterans
conspicuously and repeatedly, and having a substantial ceremony on every one of
the big Canadian military anniversaries: Vimy, Dieppe, D-Day, etc. He
might bring back the Red Ensign in a historical context -- ordering it flown as
a "veteran's memorial flag" on select days like D-Day, and for Canadian ships to
fly the Blue Ensign on a suitable day as well, maybe November 11th. It
would be very hard for people to criticize him for remembering the veterans more
conspicuously. And perhaps he might even consider a surprise visit to the forces
Read the whole thing
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
In addition to the Tories gain of 26 seats in the House of Commons, the New Democratic Party won 29 seats up 11 seats from the previous parliament. Of the opposition parties only the Bloc lost seats with 51 down from 53.
The important thing is that Martin's usurpation was not given the imprimatur of a win at the polls and that the corrupt Liberal Party is going to be investigated.
To celibrate for our Canadian cousins you might want to listen to O'Canada.