The following is an excerpt from a comment by one “E.G.” I don’t think it particularly matters in which context the comment was made or where. I just find it worth reading and pondering over.
“No person should be above the law, but the laws should be rational, transparent, and open to debate by all experts who can shed light on the issues (not just lawyers), just like any other idea that supposedly holds the fabric of our society together. We need to apply all of our science, technology, and intuition to the ills we face collectively and come up with solutions that are creative, coherent, and empowering. Incarceration is simply wrong in many situations and hearkens back to previous historical periods when death and suffering were the only options. That is, we still point our fingers at individuals who ‘deviate’ without recognizing that we are participants in and complicit with the very system that creates them. In the past this was called the inquisition, or the witch hunts, or eugenics, etc. and in each case the people doing the labeling felt perfectly justified. What history has shown us is that making individuals suffer for what are actually our collective failings leads to a dissonance that can only be addressed by convincing yourself they ‘deserve’ it, a dehumanizing of the ‘other’. The law and its sanctions should not be about dehumanizing but about humanizing; coming to terms with what it means to be human and to face the problems that arise in a particular era.
So long as we put people ( and animals IMHO ) in cages instead of finding ways to bring about their humanity and ultimately help them find purpose, we are no better then the people we lock up and who actually commit terrible acts. We just conveniently turn the channel, sip our coffee, and relax in the knowledge that we are ‘good’ because we would never steal or lie or take advantage of the situation. We would never buy products that are harmful to others or the planet, we would never place money before well-being and enlightenment, and we would certainly never grant human rights to an entity whose only concern is to consume and convert natural resources into waste, pollution, corruption, and money.
Plato had the right idea, we should strive to order our soul with the heavens, whether that soul refer to one man or woman or one city or one country or one beautiful blue planet.”
The comment appears in connection with this article at the Scientific American site.