Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Stuff I believe that isn’t so popular:

Apathy Jack writes:

Part the first:

I don’t believe in rehabilitating criminals.

See, I’ve never done anything that warranted my removal from society for the protection of the public. I’m not asking for anything from others that I don’t ask from myself – to whit: Don’t kill anyone.

If you want to live a stable, non-being-raped-in-the-showers-by-some-tattooed-thug-named-Twinkles life: don’t kill anyone. I’m living proof that avoiding murder is surprisingly easy.

Sure, a punitive prison system just turns petty criminals into hardened repeat offenders, so that makes them less safe to be part of society. However, the solution to this is deceptively simple:

Lock them up for longer.

If they never become better people (and of course they get no help or vocational training for this improvement – why should we spend more tax money on them than on their victims? Why do they deserve better treatment than the people they raped?) then they never get out.

Simple as that.

I don’t ask much of you people any more – You don’t have to give to charity, you don’t have to appreciate art or literature, you just need to treat people as you wish to be treated.

If you remove someone’s right to live without harm, then we can assume that is how you want to be treated, and we will remove your rights.

That is fair.

Part the second:

There are only two groups of people who don’t like the new anti smoking legislation: The first group are the people who smoke in my living room when they’re sitting next to me ie the ones who don’t care if they give me cancer. The people who go to a window or out onto the roof to smoke have all said “Yeah, probably for the best.” The people who whinge and moan and bitch usually have to blow a noxious cloud at me to do so. The second group is those non-smokers of a libertarian bent.

So: Only the complete and utter fucking wankers.

Smoking causes cancer.

Cancer: a disease that ravages your body and kills you in excruciating pain by eating you from the inside out.

And you unbelievable bastards are giving it to me.

Here’s the thing: Cigarette smoke gives you cancer – that is a scientific fact. When you smoke around me, cigarette smoke goes into my lungs. QED – you are giving me cancer, when I have done nothing to deserve it.

You fucking, fucking, fucking cunts.

You want to kill yourself, then do so away from me, but do not presume to murder me.

As for the whole “it’s your choice” argument? Well, if you choose to kill me by giving me the most horrifying death imaginable, then please don’t get offended when I choose to bend you over and fuck you up the arse with bunch of razor blades so that you can feel some of the pain you are dooming me to.

I get cancer you fucks, that means you are making my choices for me: not only the choice to live or die, but the choice of how much pain I’m going to die in. So it is not your personal choice, it is you overriding my rights and making my choices for me. Do the maths: If you’re allowed to override my rights qua not dying in horrible pain, I’m allowed to override your rights qua not being fucked in the arse with razors.

That’s fair, so the next time you light up near me, you’d better not be wearing pants.

And for anyone who thinks I’m being a tad self-righteous: Smokers seem to think that they are allowed to choose to give me cancer, but I’m not allowed to choose to ask them not to – I’m not the self-righteous one in this equation.

Part the third:

If you are, say, twenty-five and you do not have your shit together, you can fuck all the way off.

No, further.


Aaaalllll the way.

I am not saying that I have a perfect life: I live in a filthy hovel that somehow manages to be a student flat despite the fact that none of us are students. Of the five others living here, I only like two of them enough to be even passingly polite to. As for work; The teacher in the room next to mine trained under me but is already better than I am. A lot of the evidence points to my life being a clusterfuck of brobdignagian proportions.

However, I have a job, I pick up after myself most of the time, and I don’t whine about things I can change.

Twenty-one year olds have not got their shit figured out; big gold key notwithstanding, you’re still pretty young then.

A few years thereafter, you have no excuse.

Oh, sure, you may very well not have the perfect job, but there’s very little excuse for not having a job. (And let’s be very clear on this: Working towards your Masters in Political Studies is not a job. Right? Good. University is fine, if you know where that degree is taking you.)

When you’re a teenager, it is just bordering on acceptable to whinge on a livejournal about how none of the pretty girls like you and why oh why isn’t life perfect because by God you’ve ironed your anorak and your parents let you stay out past eleven now so you’re a pretty good catch all things considered and if only you could actually talk to a girl they’d find out how special you really were... When you are in your late twenties, well, just No, alright.

And you know, as much as I believe in complaining to anyone who asks, I’m actually getting a bit tired of the following conversation:

“How’s it going?”
“Not so good.”

See, I’m old and my brain hurts. Also, I quite like my life: I don’t need you losers ruining my buzz. When you’re coming up on thirty, your parents aren’t going to sort your shit out for you, and I’m sure as hell not going to either. Sadly, it’s up to you, and the simple reality is that the more time you spend whinging to me about it, the less time you have to actually sort said shit out.

Disclaimer: Of course life has its turbulent patches, and everyone is entitled to have a bit of a whinge come Friday afternoon. But I spend all week listening to teenagers complaining about trivial nothings they think are problems, so the adults in my life had better be kvetching about actual concerns.

Long story short: Shut Up.

Part the fourth:

Should marijuana be legalised?

Of course not – it’s a mood altering drug you stupid moron.

But I’m not a hypocrite – I believe all mood altering drugs with a proven track record of harming people should be banned.

You know.


No, seriously.

If alcohol was discovered tomorrow, the Powers wouldn’t even consider for a second legalising something so stupidly dangerous: An addictive chemical that reduces inhibitions, removes one’s ability to drive and not beat your wife and such forth. I mean, come on now.

Alcohol and cigarettes are way, waaaaaaay more dangerous than any other drug for the one simple reason that you’re allowed to use them in public. In fact, you’re legally allowed to abuse them.

The thing that gets me is the hypocrisy: You can’t rail against heroin and P and LSD while you’re lighting up or swilling a beer.

Hell, anyone who is saying that methamphetamine is a dangerous addictive drug better not be saying so over their morning cup of coffee.

Of course, lest anyone accuse me of being unrealistic: I don’t smoke or drink alcohol or coffee.

And look how much better I am than you.

Coincidence? I think not.

Of course there is the argument that these “social” drugs are less dangerous than the prohibited ones.

My counter point is as follows:

Shut the fuck up you stupid dick.

I could rail about how addictive marijuana isn’t when you compare it to smoking, or even coffee. But you all know this – You just want to excuse your disgusting addictions.

So shut the fuck up dick.

No, really. Shut the fuck up.



HORansome said...

Whilst I agree that smoking should be banned (hypocrisy is a trade that any good philosopher should be engaged in...) it should not be banned due to bad science (i.e. the passive smoking lark, which is still considered unproven; the studies that show passive smoking leading to an increased likelihood of cancer (because most smokers will never get cancer) have been shown to use highly 'polished' data sets and really aren't worth the paper they wasted printing them).

No, we should ban smoking because it harms users. We should ban smoking because it is addictive. We should ban smoking because, after a generation, no one will miss it.

(I should point out that as I don't believe in natural rights and think that social contract theory (rights as artefacts of the legal and moral system) is a dead end I really couldn't care less about your rights or anyone elses.)

I won't pass comment on your usual rant in re the prison system, except that your view still doesn't take into account the mountains of salient information we've been trying to drum into your skull for years now (and you really should look at the amount of money we spend on rehabilitation vs. keeping people locked up if you are really concerned for the victims of crimes...).

As for weed? Rid the world of it, I say.

Apathy Jack said...

Cigarette smoke causes cancer. Says so right on the box.

I inhale cigarette smoke whenever someone lights up around me (which, given that my parents smoked and I have never lived in a flat where at least one person didn't smoke a pack a day, is fairly often.

I don't care if the statistics say that 'not many' passive smokers will get cancer - those odds are still to high for me.

As for the expense of punative vs rehabilitative prisons, well, if we make the cages smaller, stop feeding them quite as many times a day and take away their televisions, the cost is going to start plummetting. If we introduce some manner of chaingang system to get them cleaning roadsides or making highways, this system is going to start paying for itself.

HORansome said...

Perhaps I wasn't clear; no respectable studies show a link between passive smoking and lung disease. Studies do show a link between being a smoker and getting cancer (although what it shows is an increased likelihood; you can still get lung cancer if you have never smoked, as has been shown by the reports of tumours found in the lungs by doctors in ancient times (i.e. in the time 'Before Phillip Morris' (BPM)).

The two main studies (the WHO and FDA, upon which the American and New Zealand legislation ultimately is based upon) that claim a link between passive smoking and lung cancer have been shown, in the court of law and the court of science, to include inflated claims and datasets designed to produce a wanted result. Proper inspection of the testing methodology does not show a correlation between passive smoking and lung cancer (and where you have no positive correlation you cannot then move on to postulating a causal mechanism).

I agree that smoking is a filthy habit but I also expect people to do a little more than be anti it because someone with a fancy title has told them to be.

As for prisons... Well, I can only hope, with your attitude, that we never get a change in law that suddenly makes something you do criminal. You might changr your tune if you knew what it was like inside.

Josh said...

Re: Part the first, your solution only works if you change "lock them up for longer" to "lock them up forever" -- every criminal sent to prison stays in prison until they die. Otherwise you're not solving the problem at all, just delaying it a bit.

My personal view is that the victim is totally irrelevant when it comes to deciding what to do to the offender -- their relationship is over. All that matters is that the offender doesn't do it again. So either you lock them away forever (or, y'know, kill them), or you make the effort to fix them. Not because they "deserve" it, but because it's in society's (i.e yours and my) best interests to do so.

To use a modified version of one of your old examples:

Scenario A -- Jimbo the Fuckwit beats shit out of Jack and leaves him drooling in a wheelcahir. Jimbo is taken to prison, where he is beaten with rubber hoses and made to eat dog food. After his lengthy sentence, he emerges an even more headfucked individual before, which means that the next time he goes off, I end up dead.

Scenario B -- This time, Jimbo goes to prison, where time and money is spent on turning him into a productive member of society. He leaves prison, gets a job and leaves a happy life. Jack is still in a chair, but I'm not in a grave.

Obviously, Scenario B is the one I prefer.

Lumpy said...

You forgot Scenario C: ship him off to some backwards-of-nowhere island where I'll never have to see him again or be bothered about his life. Basically the same effect as locking him up for the rest of his life only more cost effective with greater belligerent-person support.

I'm still trying to figure out how coffee makes me a bad individual on society. What about chocolate? Coke? McDonalds? Nike? Judas Priest?

I still think if NZ became a McDonalds state we'd be the biggest, best and richest country in the world (but probably have to wear stupid uniforms).

HORansome said...

And I can't believe that I forgot to mention this, but life isn't fair.

Apathy Jack said...

Re: Part the first, your solution only works if you change "lock them up for longer" to "lock them up forever"

Easily done. Problem solved.

My personal view is that the victim is totally irrelevant when it comes to deciding what to do to the offender -- their relationship is over.

But their pain isn't. Tell a rape victim that her part in things is over, and she's free to toddle off and live as if it hasn't happened...

Certainly, life isn't fair, but that doesn't mean we can't try to make it more fair by locking animals in cages unitl they die.

Apathy Jack said...

(Much as I dislike the social faux pas of replying more than once in a row, this has been percolating, and I can't be bothered rushing into work...)

The more I think about it, the less I like this idea:

(I should point out that as I don't believe in natural rights and think that social contract theory (rights as artefacts of the legal and moral system) is a dead end I really couldn't care less about your rights or anyone elses.)

While that makes for great philosophy on paper, I'm pretty sure that if some big bloke were to come up to you, grab your arms, start swiching them across your head and repeat "Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself" then even the most esoteric of all thinkers would probably start contemplating their rghts after the first ten or fifteen minutes...

And in terms of

I also expect people to do a little more than be anti it because someone with a fancy title has told them to be.

That is a descision I came to by myself through the factors of
a) It smaells very bad
b) It makes me unable to breathe
c) If inhaling their smoke gives them cancer, then what happens when I inhale that very same smoke?

No one has ever told me to be against smoking, in fact, most people, with their weak hypocritical cries of "it's my body and anyway it's not like cigarette smoke can waft around a room or anything" have told me I should be for it...

And finally, back to the argument that life isn't fair. Well, wouldn't it be great if that was the offical end to all argument:

Victim "I've been raped."
Police "Yeah, but, y'know, life isn't fair, so some people are just gonna get raped. You have a nice day now, and call us if anyhting else happens."

HORansome said...

You misconstrue me; I do not believe in the notion of rights but this does not mean that I do not believe in ethical relations and treatment. Like most philosophers I think that any statement phrased in rights discourse can be rephrased to a true description in a proper ethical or legal theory (I am a virtue ethicist and thus believe in the inculcation of belief structures that would lead to the inability of functionally normal citizens to commit crime; yes, I do mean thought control).

And rale to your hearts content about smoking being smelly or causing you constricted breathing; these are valid reasons to ban smoking from your home and the places you work and, I agree, the very outside world. Just don't use bad science to do it; until such time that a proven link between passive smoking and cancer is put forward (and I suspect that this might be then case but currently we really don't know that) all you are doing is helping the liberals to what is, by lack of natural or social right, what is not theirs.

(Why is passive smoking not meant to be a cause of lung cancer, you don't ask. It's due to smoke diffusion, the active nature of the reagants and the relatively low a passive smoker takes in vs. an actual smoker. You are probably more likely to get lung disease from living above an intersection.)

And, finally, life isn't fair is not an argument; it is a statement. It's merit is that if you find it to be a plausible premise in an argument then it aids in the understanding of the world. When you believe in such notions as 'rights' then life not being fair is irksome. When you have (dare I say) a proper ethical-cum-legal theory then life not being fair becomes irrelevant.

(And I'm not going to go through and mention all the strawman arguments you use, mostly because I have a meeting with the Department of Conservation to attend.)

Lumpy said...

My dick's still bigger than yours.

Josh said...

Tell a rape victim that her part in things is over, and she's free to toddle off and live as if it hasn't happened...

That's not what I said at all -- I said her part in deciding what happens to the offender is over, pretty much as soon as she testifies in court. The victim will doubtless feel the effects of the crime for some time, and is entitled to all the support and aid they need to get back on their feet. Again, though, this has nothing to do with what happens to the criminal.

Personally, if anything like that happened to me, I would not waste a single fucking second more than I had to on thinking about the prick who did it to me.

RSJS said...

Point the first: At the bottom of the thread is the two options of "home" and "pie" both of which appeal right now.

Pointthe second: Locke 'em up and throw away the key is financially crippling to a country. It's like epic numbers of dole-bludgers sodomising each other into their twilight years. Wheras rehabilitation, making the buggers grow and learn, is closer to a work-for-the-dole scheme. Which makes me wonder why the make the bludgers work crowd also propose longer sentences for crims?

Anyway, Isaac, hate to agree with Josh but I'd rather the guy who puree's your skull and leaves it for birds to feed on doesn't do the same to me. Solidarity and all, but nuts to that, I want my headmeat unmulched. So edumacating the fuckers is a better option for the society as a whole. It's not fair, it's not nice, it's not blood-fuelled vengeance but the alternatives are sucky, too. Maybe we should just kill everyone and go party hearty in heaven with the harps-and-halo brigade?

Shit, that's an idea - global extermination. Right now. Okay, one noble person goes to hel lfor pushing the button, but the rest? Eternal bliss and sherbet. Who's with me?

Anonymous said...

Make mine a gallon of sorbet and a crate of bittermints and I'll press the button (thirty times for safe keeping).

Krimsonlake said...

But when you keep those criminals in prison it costs the taxpayer money, therefore a mandatory death penalty for all those who commit crimes worthy of a prison sentence is the only logical solution.

P.S. Now I just want to start smoking again.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else noticed that when Jack goes off on his anti-smoking rants, what it all really seems to come down to is: my flatmates, who I don't like, smoke in my lounge.

Y'know what? All of the people in my flat smoke, but no-one smokes in the house. Why not? Well, all rational arguments on the subject aside, they don't smoke in the house because Daniel and I won't let them. We won't let them because we don't like it.

It turns out that amongst those rights you're so concerned about, you do, it seems, have the right to live in a filthy, smoke-filled hovel if you so desire. If you don't like it - well, you're over 25. Get your shit together.


Apathy Jack said...

Actually, the one remaining smoker doesn't do it in the lounge much anymore. Usually, I've liked the flatmates who have smoked - I've just disliked the fact that they were trying to give me cancer.