The Pathos of Politics (115) Punishment Synopsis


Law is born from despair of human nature. ~ Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset

▫ Rule of law theoretically aims at administration of equitable justice. It rarely works that way. Instead, stratified power is felt through the ‘justice’ system, with punishment mostly meted out to minorities and underclass miscreants. In much of the world, rule of law is a ruse for punishment à la plutocracy.

Laws are always useful to those who possess and vexatious to those who have nothing. ~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau

▫ In all but a few countries, the criminal justice system is but a misnomer for a criminalization system. Corrupt police states are the norm worldwide.


Acts of police brutality are not only crimes against the individual victim, but also are attacks on the communities in which they occur. ~ American district attorney Kenneth Thompson

▫ In their performance of ostensible law enforcement, American police have been stunningly counter-productive to societal interests by creating more crime than they solve, especially violent crime at their own hands. American police egregiously exemplify the core problem of civilization: acceptance of violence, especially economic and physical.


For my friends, anything. For my enemies, the law. ~ Peruvian politician Óscar Benevides

▫ There are 2 methods for establishing the rules of law: civil law and common law. While both rely upon laws, the common law system is accretive of judicial rulings, whereas the statutory system is largely legislative. Britain and the United States course with common law, whereas Germany practices civil law.

▫ Depending upon the legal regime, the judiciary takes a certain participatory role: investigator or referee. In an inquisitorial system, judges actively investigate the facts. Under the adversarial system, judges act as the umpire for legal combatants. Inquisitorial systems are typically employed in civil law countries, whereas adversarial adjudication is commonly used in common law countries, with some exception depending upon the proceeding. The inquisitorial system directly aims at getting to the truth, whereas the adversarial system only does so indirectly.

Court power varies by country. One factor in a judiciary’s power is its independence, which is an outgrowth of tradition and the nation’s constitution. Chinese courts, for example, are weak because they are ultimately beholden to the all-powerful communist party. In contrast, German courts are strong by dint of the country’s history, constitution, and commitment to judicial integrity.

Armed with a lame constitution, the US employs an inherited common law regime which, coupled with sloppy legislative practices, empowers courts with far more discretionary authority than if laws were redolent with detail, as in Germany.

▫ Partisanly conservative, the American judiciary capriciously succors the police state and corporate interests.

Wherever law ends, tyranny begins. ~ John Locke


Punishment is just legalized crime. ~ Indian guru Nisargadatta Maharaj

▫ Punishment for crimes has varied widely throughout history. Much of it has been barbarity which typifies human callousness. That exercise remains unabated.

▫ Extended incarceration is a societal illness of injustice which illustrates the moral corruption of modern man.

The law must be seen as a mechanism by which the rights and privileges of dominant groups are protected, and the continued subordination of weaker groups is enforced and maintained. Because the instruments of state power are disproportionately manned and controlled by dominants, the net results of the legal system are the substantial overrepresentation of subordinates within the prisons, dungeons, and gallows of all surplus-producing social systems. ~ Jim Sidanius & Felicia Pratto

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As soon as laws are necessary for men, they are no longer fit for freedom. ~ Pythagoras