Dealing with NGO-driven Courts
and the bigger problem of the Activism Culture
Now that the death penalty is just about kaputt, our activist friends are working on ending life imprisonment without parole, writes Jeff Jacoby.
"As part of a slate of legislation targeting criminal justice reform," the Globe reported on July 28, "state lawmakers are pushing to end the practice of sentencing people to life in prison without the possibility of parole."
See, back in the day, the whole point of the activists railing against the death penalty was that we could get the same effect for less cruelty with life imprisonment without parole. That was then; this is now.
Or this from Instapundit:
Democratic Socialists make up the left flank of the Democratic Party, supporting abolishing prisons, aggressive climate policies, rent controls and radical racial equity policies, according to the Democratic Socialist website.
Yeah! The injustice of it all!
Then there are the homeless. If you are wondering why the police don’t clear the homeless off the streets, well, it’s because of a federal court decision of The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The panel upheld a trial court ruling that Grants Pass, Oregon, couldn’t enforce ordinances against homeless people for merely sleeping outside with rudimentary protection from the elements, or for sleeping in their cars at night, when there’s nowhere else in the city to go.
Citing a 9th Circuit precedent from 2018, Martin v. City of Boise, the panel’s majority said it was unconstitutional, under the Eighth Amendment, to punish “sleeping somewhere in public if one has nowhere else to do so.” The amendment bars cruel and unusual punishment.
So who were the plaintiffs in Martin v. City of Boise? Glad you asked. It was “Idaho Legal Aid Services Inc., Boise, Idaho [and] National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, Washington, D.C.”
In other words, the liberal activist community. In other words, the educated ruling class.
So, the national ruling class has decided that the City of Boise (and by extension all cities in the 9th Circuit) is subject to federal supervision and authority when it comes to the homeless problem.
Is this a good thing? Here’s the text of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution:
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
So, is it “cruel and unusual punishment” to force the homeless to “move on” from camping on the sidewalk, to get a job and get a place to live? Or to have capital punishment? Or life imprisonment without parole?
And more to the point, does it Make Things Better?
The whole point of liberal NGO outfits and activist groups is to impose their values on the rest of us, by virtue of their domination of the court system and the minds of the legal profession and the culture.
I say that the Activist Culture is the equivalent of the fantasy in Medieval Romances like King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table that upper-class knights were not ruling-class thugs but protectors of damsels in distress and on a Quest to find the Holy Grail from which Christ drank at the Last Supper. On the contrary:
Today’s Activist is a ruling-class stooge.
All Activism comes from a place of privilege.
Activists are fake revolutionaries.
Activists are actors, play-acting revolution.
All ruling classes are consumed by conceit, and the conceit of the members of our ruling class is that they are noble Allies of Oppressed Peoples fighting against the White Oppressors.
In fact they are just like the upper-class knights of the Medieval Romances, flattering their ruling-class egos with fantastical stories about their nobility and compassion. But let’s be honest. Anyone that has power abuses it, because they imagine that what they believe and they do are the highest and the noblest imaginable. In fact, they have no idea what other people need and want.
Do they care about the oppressed peoples? Of course! Do their programs and activism improve the lives of the oppressed peoples? Of course!
But it is my belief that ruling classes down the ages do not have a clue what helps the lower classes. And it is my belief that our particular ruling class almost always Makes Things Worse for everyone except the ruling class.
Did the ruling class make things better for the working class? Maybe, for a season. But then it pitched the working class into world War I. Then it messed up the Crash of 1929 and the workers suffered for a decade. Then it increased social programs in the Sixties and collapsed the low-income family.
Did the ruling class make thing better for women? Of course! Oh wow! Before the day before yesterday women had been oppressed by the patriarchy since the Dawn of Time. But I wonder. Of course, educated-class women are having a grand old time. But I don’t think that women are really doing well when they are expected to “put out” without any commitment. And I don’t think that women are doing well when, with abortion on demand, their lover can say “get rid of it.” I say that “women expect to be protected” and I think that in a multitude of ways, women are not protected in the modern society. Especially lower-class women with the collapse of the lower-class family.
Blacks? Please. Life under slavery was brutal, and life under Jim Crow was humiliating. But life as liberal Mascots is meaningless, as liberal ideas on minimum wage makes it hard for unskilled people to find jobs; liberal welfare destroys the family; liberal crime and policing politics surrenders low-income people to gangland; liberal race politics makes blacks into useless workers with attitude that don’t need to get with the program.
In recent years the conservative program to end the Supreme Court legislating from the bench has seen some success. But there’s a bigger problem.
The problem is the educated class conceit that activism is the highest form of life, and is a knightly quest to fight injustice. I say the opposite is true, and we need to change the culture so that activism is regarded by all good people not as the highest and noblest form of life but as a rather pathetic form of self-conceit. Something that rich or over-educated kids do to create meaning in their meaningless and privileged lives.
But that is a much bigger project than getting a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.