Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Imagine If A Republican Said This...

There's a bill before Congress to prohibited convicted murderers, rapists, and pedophiles from receiving Food Stamps.  Mother Jones (well known left-wing publication) explains why this is a problem:
On Wednesday the Senate agriculture committee approved a GOP proposal that would amend the farm bill the Senate is considering to ban "convicted murderers, rapists, and pedophiles" from getting food stamps. On its surface, the idea sounds unobjectionable, but the measure would have "strongly racially discriminatory effects," according to the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).
So Mother Jones is saying that blacks are disproportionately convicted murderers, rapists, and pedophiles, and so such a law is unfair?  Perhaps they meant that it was unfair to black murderers, rapists, and pedophiles?  Well, no, it treats all murderers, rapists, and pedophiles badly, regardless of race.  How can you parody the progressive mentality effectively when they do it to themselves so well?


  1. I'd be fine with such a complaint if it was coupled with evidence that such convictions were wrongful (ie, that black people who were innocent were disproportionally convicted of such offenses).

    But it isn't, because as far as any evidence shows, they aren't.

    (On the other hand, I disapprove of such a law; a felony conviction makes it damn near impossible to get a job or a place to live.

    Removing food assistance is going to do what good, exactly?

    Best case, a sort of extra-judicial secondary "starve to death!" punishment, arguably a violation of the Eighth Amendment (and a run-around of due process and judicial oversight, too).

    Worst case it just drives them to crime even more than the normal recidivism rate, because literally it seems to leave even a non-recidivist murderer (ie, someone who wasn't going to kill again) with no recourse but crime to avoid starving.

    That's mediocre posturing on the part of the Republican sponsors, and horribly bad policy.

  2. Three questions:

    1) What's the purpose of prison, in your opinion?

    2) If the purpose is to punish people for their crimes, then what's the purpose of continuing to punish them when they've finished serving their time?

    3) Where does punishment stop? Shall we simply require all people who've spent time in prison to sew special gold stars on all of their clothes, so that we can more easily identify them? Because that's such a great idea...

    And an observation: an implicit premise of your post is that government (including the lawmakers, the cops, the courts) works the way it claims to. If that's what you think, I know some Democrats you should meet.

  3. But you have to remember, according to progressive doctrine, that blacks are merely convicted more often than whites; they don't actually commit more crimes; whitey gets away with anything.

  4. The usual two-step here is to add, "Blacks and other minorities are more likely to be found guilty." The justice system itself if unfair.

  5. Shavone:

    1. The purpose of prison is to protect the rest of society from the hazards of persons who are unable to control themselves. Primary focus should be on those who have committed violent crimes, or crimes that are likely to lead to violence (such as DUI or burglary). I have little interest in seeing anyone sent to prison for drug possession or use.

    2. There might be a case against this proposed law because it is harsh, but I don't have a problem deciding to allocate government assistance to those who have not shown a history of predation on others. There are poor who deserve assistance, and those who do not.

    3. Where does punishment stop? It depends on the crime. Until the Civil War, American states often branded convicted felons who were not executed. Barbarous, yes, but a way of warning others that this guy is dangerous, and unfortunately, we can't afford to keep him locked up.

    4. Does the criminal justice system work perfectly? No. One of the reasons for the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard for criminal convictions is because the government has enormous advantages, and we need to be very sure before we brand someone (metaphorically) as a criminal. This is one of the reasons that I so strongly object to plea bargaining -- it encourages people to plead guilty to crimes that they did not do. If the government's case is so weak that they offer a plea bargain, they probably shouldn't prosecute the case.