Decriminalizing Crime

Decriminalizing Crime

Time for a new edition of the Newspeak Dictionary. All words that mean “criminal” must be abolished, according to Kimberley Brownlee, who teaches legal and moral philosophy at the U.K.’s University of Warwick:

We brand people as offenders, criminals, crooks, felons, convicts, lawbreakers, outlaws and delinquents. We label those who spend time in prison jailbirds and yardbirds. And we call those who’ve completed their sentences ex-offenders, ex-convicts and ex-cons. We also apply more specific epithets to people for particular offences, such as thief, murderer, rapist, sex offender, paedophile and serial killer. Even conscientious newspapers such as The New York Times and The Guardian use these labels…

In many other social areas, we have moved away from this kind of labelling. We’ve largely abandoned labels such as the autistic, the handicapped, the retarded, the disabled, the blind, the poor, and the undeserving poor. We now see just how prejudiced these labels are.

Some might say that criminals deserve to be called criminals even if this word is an “epithet,” because they have committed crimes.

But this thinking is wrongheaded. People who offend are not always blameworthy. And, people who are blameworthy are not always criminally liable.

It is politically incorrect to acknowledge a correlation between criminal behavior and blameworthiness, or to regard those who do not commit crimes as morally superior to those who do. After all, anyone might commit a crime. Like deviant sexual behavior, it is not a voluntary act of will, but just something that happens to you, according to egalitarian ideology. Otherwise, we would not all be the same.

The job of progressive social engineers will not be finished so long as any meaningful notion of morality or personal responsibility survives.

On a tip from Dragon’s Lair. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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