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Friday, August 21, 2020

The Long Term National Dangers of Turning a "Blind Eye" to Community Crimes?

 We have been talking a lot about bigotry and racism because of the upheaval in society but also because these are long term existential threats to our country. I can also relate to some of what is being felt and said on both sides because I have some experience with multiple different types of societies within the U.S. To create a stronger nation and to draw people into a central view of what our country should look like we should have some serious discussion on the subjective application of law and who is ultimately punished. Different rules for different people create a "blind eye" and that detracts from our long-term strength.

As a nation we want to ensure we maintain as much trust in the Justice system as possible. It is the leveler and authority on the relationship of the government to its people. Society will grow and develop the fastest if people, regardless of background, feel as though they are treated fairly. That doesn't mean treated better or with extra rights which will create new problems. It means all people are seen as equally important, based on individual merit, to society and deserving of the same human rights. 

Let's say we have a law enforcement officer with a history of bad behavior, multiple formal complaints, and a community that generally distrusts that person because of real or perceived crimes. At the same time the officer is associated with a group of individuals that also may have engaged in possible hate crimes that have damaged other people in the community. Turning a "blind eye" opens up legal, moral and ethical considerations that will likely reverberate throughout society for a long time. 

Let us further consider some possible scenarios. Typically when people are not held accountable it is because we don't want to open up a Pandora's Box of problems, have no idea what they did, or don't have the mental or financial resources to hold them accountable. We make a judgement call about who is more important, what kind of problems we will face, where we will spend our resources and whether or not people have the ability to ensure their rights are protected. 

When we know the perpetrators but fail to act we have made a value statement that certain crimes will be enforced and some won't depending on the people involved. There becomes an "in" and "out" group and that leads to our current social discord. Sure...one person no problem....but play that scenario out over and over and that becomes a big problem.

Furthermore, if there is a history of bad behavior where people have been injured and superiors were aware of these behaviors that creates a serious liability for society and the Justice System. Think about it.....what we are saying is, "I know something is wrong, people are saying it, but I don't want to look because I might actually find stuff!" That is the "blind eye" and that causes problems!

From a moral standpoint we have an obligation to face the truth head on. Confident people do that. It takes courage to do that and not all people have developed to master themselves. Yet if we don't face these issues then we are giving signals to society that bad behavior is tolerated if you have a certain background, certain race, practice a certain religion, or have the right friends.  Authority is a borrowed trust f the will of the people.

The more society does this the weaker we become as a nation and the more social discord we will experience as marginalized groups become aware of the two different legal systems at play. We also may find that our economy begins to decline, in part because some members of society don't receive the same compensation and benefits for the same types of work that others are receiving for much less effort, we will have increasing social discord. 

I've been reading magazines like Foreign Policy, Economists, and many more for a long time. The central theme of all declining societies is economic animal spirits going haywire because trust in societal systems have been damaged. Thus, economic growth and trust in the institutions of the capitalistic system (or any other viable system) are a must for this society and any other. 

Now Justice doesn't necessarily have to come to a specific conclusion and provide a specific punishment; this is why I oppose minimums or maximums. Sometimes it may be mental health help, sometimes community service, sometimes a ticket, sometimes a demotion, sometimes jail time, sometimes even a positive pat on the back. We don't know what to give unless we actually face the issue and remove as much bias and discrimination from the system as possible. 

There really is no benefit to the long term interests of society to have multiple conceptions of Justice working at the same time for different groups of people. Sure....there is a benefit to those who are not held accountable but the benefits to our children and grand children are zilch. There are hungry countries out there and if we want to maintain our central position as a nation we must maintain trust in our institutions and the central tenants of Capitalism. 

What made American a growing and thriving society was its belief in core principles of human freedom and an economic system that says, "No matter what your background or creed you are welcome to work hard and achieve your dreams here!" In order for our nation to succeed we must believe in universal truths and universal human rights that fit within the capitalistic system that provide consistent signals that if you produce you are rewarded based on your performance and contributions to society. The "blind eye" is against American principles and we must act with honesty and integrity in all of our dealings with people; regardless of their background. Our national destiny relies on it!



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