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Monday, December 8, 2008

A Heartless Society

It is not a new thing. I have voiced my opinions on the matter many times here and elsewhere. But this article from Times Online goes into quite a bit of detail as to just how far our litigious society has gone and what it has cost us. This is why I often post stories which reflect poorly on law enforcement and legal authority (though far from the only reason!).

The truth is that ours is a prison-based society where we are constantly reminded of the potential punishments we face should we choose to do wrong and no rewards are offered for doing right. This oppressive environment has a damning, and self-perpetuating, effect. Like all oppression, it leads to a breakdown in reasoning and an outlash of emotion - in short, rebellion. This is, in large part, the psychology behind recidivism.

If one feels there is nothing to gain from doing the right thing and - worse yet - is likely to be punished regardless, fear, frustration, and anger take hold. This heightened emotional state becomes so common that one builds-up a tolerance to it, becoming perpetually "on-edge." It becomes harder to make rational decisions and, eventually, one gives-in and consciously decides to do wrong, specifically as an act of rebellion.

In an age of road rage and "reality TV," xenophobia has become the common the norm - yet it is a heightened emotional state; we are living in a state of fear and anxiety, which promotes irrational thought. As some crimes are committed in "the heat of the moment" and are sometimes defensible in like manner, the bar is being pushed ever higher: formerly, someone suffering xenophobic thought processes might be argued to be insane (even temporarily); as this has become the prevalent mindset of society - as the individual's tolerance is expected to have been built-up as a matter of society's acceptance of it - we are being expected to "take responsibility" for irrational decisions we admittedly cannot defend - decisions we never would have made, had we not been in a constant state of near-panic to begin with!

More and more, we hear people saying, "I don't know what happened; I don't know why I did it; I just couldn't take it anymore; I just snapped." In fact, there is a show on American cable with that very title! And it deals specifically with female criminals, who comprise about 7% of all murderers... which is up somewhat from previous eras.

Maybe I'm just supposing on a hypothesis here, but more and more, the effects of this heightened state of agitation, as a sociological mindset norm, are being seen... and ours is a poorer society because of it.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

1 comment:

  1. And the very next article I read perfectly illustrates the point!!!