Imprisonment, Human Rights, and Justice

That the punishments of imprisonment prescribed by justice amount to the deprivation of the guilty party’s fundamental human rights points to one definition for punishment: the treatment of an individual with less dignity than meets man. Saying in some way, that the crime for which the guilty was found guilty, is characteristic of a lack respect for the dignity and fundamental human rights of others. Therefore the guilty ought also suffer a loss of dignity, freedoms, and/or possessions for justice to be done. Not exactly ‘an eye for an eye,’ but, not unreasonable, and not insufficient in measure.

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) 2010 implicitly acknowledges that imprisonment based on ‘civilised’ justice and a fair trial is not torturous, is not inhuman, and is not degrading. if imprisonment is inherently non of these then one can ask how it is a punishment at all. Therefore there lies an apparent contradiction with article three of section one (Prohibition of torture): No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. And because it carries an absolute sense, and embodies the spirit of the entire document.

Prisoners are a people under captivity, and those in solitary confinement are as under house arrest. So imprisonment, by nature, is at the very least, degrading to the dignity inherent in man. A man’s freedom of movement and his privacy are severely restricted. Additionally, human beings are put in cages and may even fed as animals in a zoo. And depending on the individual psychology or choice of the prisoner, it may be properly torturous.

Rephrasing the article three: it says that just punishments, including incarceration and detention, should not be torturous, inhuman, or degrading. But Punishments typically have elements of torture, are an act in degradation, and might be inhumane. So the question, in terms of human rights, if punishments are just, cannot be fundamentally of torture … . Rather, it should be more about whether a punishment and its severity are just and warranted; whether the practice or act of it meets the purpose of it, without reducing the effectors to sadists or mere barbarians.

One may thus actually say that the article three gives no room to imprisonment, thereby going against certain conditions in articles four and five that permit them. And maybe also, it goes against the laws of a country to which it applies. (I’m thinking of Norway and the Anders Behring Breivik human rights case.) It says that imprisonments are illegal and should therefore be abolished.

Hence, for instance, if Anders Breivik must be punished having his ‘fundamental rights’ violated, he should be freed instead. The notion that breaking one law means that the whole law has been broken applies here. If one right is broken, then all is broken. It is therefore false to seek to implement some rights while permitting others to be denied. Should all prisoners be freed and should the ECHR 2010 document be voided?

Finally, if punishments by imprisonment is a true necessity for justice, the thought of the possibility of infringing on any fundamental human rights specified in the ECHR 2010 should not arise. There should be no statement in it absolutely prohibiting imprisonment directly or indirectly. Perhaps the article three should be rethought, expanded, or rephrased. Where do we start if what it says now is fundamental to everything we mean to uphold absolutely?

The Justice of Miracles

Miracles come for Justice;
Justice answers the call of Law.
Law exists to define the Ideal;
The Ideal is for (our) Peace.

And Peace;
It is the Truth that we seek.
There’s the peace of excitement, joy, and laughter.
And there’s that of wholeness, calm, and quiet.

But our peace must follow the ideal,
And the ideal be according to law.
The law that gives reason to justice,
So that miracles respond to effect it.

The Purpose of Law

The need for law is the need to make a man a certain kind of man; to make a society a certain kind; to make a system a certain kind. It says that the man, or the system, has a potential/tendency to decay, deteriorate, or dissipate energy wastedly; to attain to an undesirable state, one that flows from the opposite of truth or the accepted facts.

What are we really doing when we make laws for our children and ourselves?
Every law that the government produces makes a statement, not just of what is legal, but also of what we should aspire to: how it wants us to be. Law is a codification of the ethics (imposed rules) of our existence, citizenship, and residence.

The purpose of law is to make the perfect man; the purpose of law is to make the ideal citizen; the purpose of law is to make the ideal society. But the ideal does not exist where the law exists, otherwise there would be no need for law.

If full love ruled, then perfection would be real. Husbands, fully love your wives, and wives, your husbands. (Love for your children is implicit in loving your spouse.) Imperfect people leading ideal lives.

So the law functions to train one’s conscience. Your conscience is the arbiter of personal convictions. Convictions which may be of truth, or falsehood in the guise of facts or feelings. The law trains us, like the media tries to do.

Two Kinds of Law

“Ariel, make sure you’re home before dark.” That’s a prescription. A law telling us what to do. The expected reward for following a prescription is health (improved/sustained/maintained).

The father is an authority. Law cannot exist without authority: authority to define laws, and to recompense or condemn. An authority is an entity that has a just cause to be obeyed. This is why law lies with authority.

“Uriel, don’t miss the deadline!” That’s a proscription. A law telling us what to skip. There is no reward for obeying a proscription. One only succeeds at avoiding negative consequences. So that every proscription is a direct threat.

Prescriptive laws say, in some sense, that everyone is sick or susceptible to sickness. And so  prescribes a pattern of living and response to stimuli that lead to, or keep one on, the path of health or longevity.

Proscriptive laws say explicitly that we are all well until we cross ‘the line’; that there is an authority over us; that crossing the line is what is bad for us; that it is bad for us because of associated negative consequences.

One speaks to promise of gain, the other, to threat of loss.

A wife said you her husband, “don’t go there.” That’s different from her saying, “stay here.” ‘Don’t go there’ tells her husband of a certain potential loss or suffering that he might experience for disobedience. ‘Stay here’ tells him that it is to the health of their home that he obeys.

“Ariel, I know that guy likes you. But I don’t like him.” is an implicit prescriptive law that Ariel may choose to defy. Defying authority leaves the authority with several options: To create exceptions, change the law, or condemn—even though the authority by ‘itself’ may/can not effect punishment or correction. Many consequences are left to natural law, sometimes called karma, but applied to this life not the next.

Breaking either kind of law is sin, i.e., to miss the mark. Do we see the ‘marks’ for the laws we’ve made for our selves, and the religious (spiritual, societal, institutional, philosophical religions), national, familial, organisational … laws we follow? It is the mark that justifies the law. Thus we can ask the question: is the mark itself just.

Every prescription and proscription must have a mark, otherwise, they cannot stand. The marks must be just, otherwise, we could call them unlawful. The reasonableness of any resulting laws notwithstanding, it is just for parents to be concerned for the safety of their children. It is likewise just for a business to want to ensure that they meet their obligations; a prevalent obligation being to ensure continued existence. And, any human law that contradicts a natural law cannot be lawful; it can only be legal. Any law that contradicts the constitution is illegal given the nature of a constitution.

The Ten Commandments is like a constitution. And it has a ratio of 4:1, proscriptive to prescriptive laws. (Its two prescriptive laws are notable and instructive: honour the Sabbath, the day of rest, and honour your parents.) A contraction of it and other laws into two prescriptive laws is to Love God with all one is, and to love our neighbours as ourselves. These two values were said to constitute the basis of ‘the law and the prophets’ in the Old Testament.

What might this view of laws mean for running our households, businesses, corporations etc.? Many laws can be framed either way. And the way we choose determines our goal and meaning. If we only tell people what the can’t or shouldn’t do, then they’re free to be or do everything else. When there are few ‘thou shalt nots,’ it could be scary what this might lead to. If we only tell people what they ought to do, then they are being taught to become a certain kind of person or to lead a certain kind of life along certain lines.

Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?
And he said to him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy understanding.
This is the great and first commandment.
And the second is like it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments the whole law and the prophets hang.
(Mat 22:37-40, Darby)

A Legal Poem

Love is as love does
Action speaks louder than word
Except where word does
So it is with law

Law is as law does
Line that draws a line
Leaving no middle ground
Like the continental divide

It says where the streams flow
From the deed that is done
To life or to death
As there is no middle

Because of law
There is justice
For we’re imperfect
Justice must speak

It kills us at justice’s call
For that’s its job
And, for loves sake she says
Go to jail and stay for some days

Then he looks and says
Good comes from cane
Let wisdom prevail
Though we feel a pain

As we falter forward
Two laws work
One that saves
And one we pay

Homosexuality in the Limit

In the limit (as in mathematics), with regards to the natural biological function, and if births were strictly by [natural] procreation then there are two extreme cases:
Case 1:- If everyone were strictly heterosexual, then the human race should continue to exist.
Case 2:- If everyone were to be strictly homosexual, then the human race would necessarily have ceased—completed when the last person died.

Mathematicians use this method among others to investigate functions and their properties. And it isn’t necessary that the limiting situations occur or be feasible.
We can, from this viewpoint say, considering case 2, that promoting homosexuality could be an assault on humanity and unfair to human existence.

While it has been said that there’s a scientific evidence to support homosexuality as ‘natural,’ there’s still sufficient evidence and questions to prevent it from being given the regard of scientific law or principle. It appears to have been given this status by the media and public emotion—which are hardly bases for good legislation.

One could say that, homosexuality, at best, should be left as one of the very many permissible anomalous behaviours, even though it makes a fundamental statement against humanity.

What might one say about the confusing and paradoxical idea, homosexual marriage? It neither follows from our essential biology nor from natural law, works against the idea of evolutionary biology, and is diametrically opposed to nature and natural law. Any enabling law for it is so naturally unlawful and should be itself illegal. Any laws against it isn’t thus unlawful.

It’s for individual peoples to decide how their society would be on this. Ireland recently, and the US supreme court, this week, decided for same sex ‘marriage’—ignoring, I think, that insight mathematical thinking provides.

Footnotes/Additional thoughts:
If the constitution of the United States of America provides for homosexual marriages, then it must certainly provide for a lot more abnormal things. It is likely that we hear more questionable cases in the near future.

To promote an aberration isn’t a just ideal.

‘Mathematical thinking’ applied to socio-philosophical issues.

Making the exception the norm requires great PR—with a dose of irrationality.
Why are we irrational on some points?
How do we get irrational?
Wouldn’t ‘preventing’ irrationality require some sort of tyranny?

Fear of Islam (Islamophobia)

“I met a Brit one day at an international social, and the first question he asked me seeing I wore the Nigeria tag was ‘do you want to make a dupe of me.’ And he said it three times! In an interestingly serious tone and with a straightened face. The attempt at conversation was over.”

By definition, all phobias have a negative connotation. It is therefore unjust to tag something that could be neutral or rational as permanently negative. Great PR, an erosion of values, and a confusion of meaning could do this.

When one considers the jihads of Muhammed’s era, and subsequent eras, returning in the so-called modern world, people reasonably develop and evolve fears that Islam is a keg of gunpowder. (“When will it not be an era of the so-called violent jihad?” She asked.)

Beyond the connotation, the sense of the use of word Islamophobia is mostly negative—as gleaned from the news and the ‘net. People have been accused of islamophobia as if their fears are all irrational, as if it were a disease to be cured. This is wrong because the use many times assumes inordinate reaction, and ignores that some of those accused of it give well-reasoned and rational motives for their reactions.

When Arab Muslims get ‘extended’ treatment at some airports? It’s nothing personal, and certainly islamophobia—perhaps crossed with the fear of Muslims. It’s a simple principle at work; there is a cause.

The same principle occurs with countries (and peoples) stereotyping Nigerians and checking with extra care their travel documents and luggage at some airports (putting it nicely, some would say). For Nigerians, this is unfair to say the least. And we express displeasure with that country’s policy, and anger against the Nigerians that made something that should be fast and straightforward, hard for the rest of us. Then we trod on saying they’re racist and nigeriaphobic.

Is the principle universally wise?

Would it be right to call islamophobia racism or persecution? Would calling this racism trivialise racism and the experience of blacks in the then apartheid Americas and South Africa. Religious sentiments, funny thinking, and pride calls Islamophobia racism and a persecution of muslims when it fundamentally can’t be.

“People did not just read the book, they read his life. Believing him to have lived the ideal way, to have lived the doctrine, led many to want to follow the same path. With the motivating quotes, regardless of explanations and any counter-quotes, there’s that example of action and life that some prefer to follow.”

What we’ve said generally is that Islamophobia is reasonably a human response to ‘experience,’ and should not just be waived off as unfair to Islam and Muslims, or irrational. We’ve said that it isn’t really a phobia. Issues only potentially arise with people’s response to their fears: whether it leads to reasonably irrational behaviour given the context.

Fear of Islam and fear of muslims are not the same thing. But fear of Islam has led to the fear of, hatred, and prejudice against muslims for many people. We should all kick against this.

Phobia: An anxiety disorder characterised by extreme and irrational fear of simple things or social situations [Wordnet].

This Thing Called the Government

Words to put you on alert I’m told: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
No you’re not! Friends help, neighbours help, family helps, colleagues help, even strangers help, but the government never helps anyone but itself.

But she does render services.
It’s a means to an end; a camouflage even. Government isn’t about services. What it reduces to, on the one hand, is to create and collect, and to assign, distribute, or facilitate the distribution of resources. On the other hand, She counts order before law, looking to stability before peace.

Government is the formulation and utilization of public policy. Law is public policy; it is for control. An attempt to control the behaviour of self or other is an attempt at government.

While the idea is that the people make the government, the reality is that the government is not the people, and cannot be.

It’s a system with a life of its own. An 8000 lb gorilla (or hyena if you prefer) that must be reckoned with—or else. A king, to rule and to reign, with emotions as grey, to exercise dominion—democratic or not. It is a force that for its own good, fights. But it must be contained by practice and law. They must be on the leash—the constitution.

We the government hereby make this constitution, acceded and assented to by the majority of the majority of us (which in reality could be the minority). The people permit it.

A Professor Teitelbaum once said, (I recall vaguely), that in essence, the government has no brains because what it produces, public policy (hence government), comes out of the lobby wars between interest groups. The situation is thus always potentially fluid.

Would it be safe to assume no interest or friend of the government is permanent? They’d never say that to your face. We go by history, and governments change.

Because the government is a self-serving force, sometimes foolish and sometimes wise, it needs to be watched, and praised or corrected. Hence, the judiciary (the new first estate), and the freedom of an unbroken people (the third estate), and the fourth estate of the realm (the media).

We consider the legislature (the new second estate) part of the government. And the fifth estate, neighbourly countries who follow the golden rule, can only speak from their side of the fence. But they can speak. And we don’t mean asking other countries to legalize the contradiction and confusion called homosexual marriage. And does every country have to be a democracy ….

We can’t fully leave the government to check itself, or leave only the judiciary to check it, when it is the government that makes the laws. So the people try to make the government see that their interests align, or should align. We vote everyday.

Where is this government official capitalist, and where is he socialist?