note: when i first heard about #bad2014 I wrote the following article, mistaking the theme of inequality for something other than wealth equality… well that’s good because I don’t know jack about wealth equality, soooo shut up.
Inequality is a fact of life. While life is physically balanced through the causal nature of reality, there is a great imbalance in the varying experiences of conscious entities due to the differencing situations to which people are born into. Many people live their entire lives in suffering, while others may find obtaining pleasure a trivial matter. Just as we are born unequally rich and poor in terms of wealth, we are also born unequally in morality – fact: people born to poor, uneducated, crime ridden broken homes are more likely to commit crimes themselves.
However, there’s a difference between free will and caused choices, there’s a difference between forced and willingly chosen choices.
It has been traditional western culture to believe that criminals deserve punishment, because of the fictional construct known as free will. Like guns, free will is supposed to make everyone equal. After all, you may be rich or poor but “no one can take away your ability to choose” (actually they can), and that is what makes you accountable for your actions. Yet, your ability to shoot a gun, like your ability to choose, is dependent on many uncontrollable factors.
We couldn’t make choices without pretext, and pretext removes any accountability. Our brain is a calculator and our memories are the math problem. Input the wrong math problem and you get the wrong results, and we cannot control the contextual math problems that have been dealt to us, and therefore we are not morally accountable for the things we do, because that is where the inequality lies: We are all different calculators being dealt different math problems, so we as individuals cannot be blamed when we output different results.
The crucial difference between human beings and calculators however, is that human beings are intelligently conscious: We experience, see and feel, and we also hold the desire and ability to actively improve upon our experiences. That is why, when the calculator of the human brain outputs the wrong answer, we do not simply chuck it in the bin.
Instead, we empathize with its ability to feel, and we make effort to improve it so that it can continue to feel without actively harming other people’s ability to feel. We educate when we can, protect when we can, rehabilitate when we can, quarantine if we have to, and only kill as an admittance of defeat. Further murder should not be the go to response for murder, for when we do kill we are not exacting punishment. When we declare someone to be a lost cause, we are admitting that we have failed to input the math problem that causes him to output the correct answer.
That is the inequality, some people seem destined to suffer, destined to commit crimes, destined for the death row, destined for injustice. However, we can change the future of that.
Every act of crime is caused by many factors, and by altering the significant factors we can significantly reduce crime. Sure, executing a murderer might prevent future murders from being caused by the executed, but it will not bring back the victim. What if, the victim were prevented from being murdered in the first place? (wow, so radical I know)
The problem with the argument that punishments scare would be criminals into reconsidering their criminal ways is that it doesn’t solve the root social causes of crime – you may be raising your crapital punishment shield in defiance but it doesn’t stop all of the swings from the criminal sword. Instead of giving criminals a reason to not commit crime, why don’t you take away their reason to commit crime in the first place?
And I understand that is hard, curbing violence with violence seems like the easy way out but society has to progress, and if you take an honest look at history you will find that victimful crimes (ie. NOT Cannabis use) have been progressively reducing thanks to progressive changes to society (eg. decriminalization of non-crimes), and the only reason the situation seems to be degenerating is because of increased social transparency and that more crimes are being caught and reported on the news.
True justice is a world where nobody lives in fear of anything. True equality is when everyone coexists and sustains the social construct of their own willing choice, without being threatened with violence and death. Inequality is when those lucky enough to find themselves on the moral high ground decide to flatten the area by commanding the M.A.D. bomb of capital punishment in order to eliminate the morally inferior, instead of giving the fallen a helping hand up the slope – even though there’s plenty of room up here for everyone.