Know What? Criminal Justice is Just Plain Ugly

I'm reading Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Black attorney Bryan Stevenson. It was lent to us by a very liberal friend, and I can see why. The book tells us that the old South of racists and Confederates and a justice system that is flat-out unjust to Blacks is still alive and well here in post civil-rights America. Small towns in the South are still far too quick to frame up an innocent Black for the murder of a White girl. That's not all: teenaged kids get a gun handed to them by the local gang and end up on death row when someone gets killed. And the whole justice and mass incarceration system makes things worse for people with mental health problems.

Needless to say, when you Google "just mercy" you get pages of articles from liberal institutions oohing and aahing about Stevenson's 2014 book.

I can see why; Just Mercy is catnip for liberals. Injustice! Racism! America the Shameful! But I found it interesting. Imagine! Our liberal friends are still getting a high out of their fervent belief in the Original Sin of White racism, half a century after the civil-rights era. They all rush out to buy a book that says that nothing has changed, Down South.

I had a different take.  If down in the rural South the justice system is full of people who still go with the racist Narrative and deliver injustice, I wonder about the justice system in big Democratic cities with the one-party system and staggering crime. You think it's any less corrupt and agenda-driven than the rural racist South? You think the good little liberal girls in publishing would publish a book about it?

And mental health. Look, I get it: Stevenson is selling a book. But what interests me is that nothing has changed. Whether it's madmen chained in the basement, or locking up crazy people in asylums like Bedlam, or putting people with mental health issues away in mental hospitals and psychiatric wards under the vile supervision of Nurse Ratched, society's dealing with mental illness is broken, and it always has been. Activist lawyer Stevenson is properly outraged, but has no brilliant ideas about what to do. Says he:

I had a notion that if we acknowledged our brokenness, we could no longer take pride in mass incarceration, in executing people, in our deliberate indifference to the most vulnerable.

Only I don't think that we racist-sexist-homophobes "take pride" in whacking criminals. Criminal justice is a confession of failure, that some people have to be put away, because we don't know what else to do about them.

Personally, I think that our liberal masters for the last century have Made Things Worse with their big government, welfare state, and administrative autocracy that has obliterated the little platoons of society in a blind confidence in administrative expertise and a religious faith in activism. I think that the crime problem, the mass incarceration problem, and mental health problem arise out of the liberal cultural beliefs and liberal political power that our liberal friends have used to impose their beliefs and culture on the rest of us. And for most people not in the laptop class liberal culture and power make things worse. But I could be wrong.

Earth to liberals: Urban violence and murder rates are a witch's brew of fatherless homes, welfare, and the separation of sex from marriage and child-raising. And You Did It.

Earth to liberals: Mass incarceration and three strikes laws are the knee-jerk response of ordinary people to the rise of crime and violence that amped up in the Sixties with the Great Society.

Earth to liberals: Mental health expertise and treatment has been under the care of educated experts for centuries, and Nothing Has Changed. And just today I read Ben Stein mourning his son, who committed suicide while

getting six to eight psychotropic meds simultaneously. The “doctor” who prescribed them never once met him in person. She (a female doctor) “treated” him by “telemedicine” by “seeing” him for three or four minutes per sixty to ninety days.

I tend not to read liberal books because I don't expect to learn anything from them. But maybe I am wrong. Oh sure, liberal books have nothing to say about how to heal our wounded society, but they do tell us what liberals want to believe, need to believe, as they desperately struggle to deny that their glorious rule has been inglorious, that they gift themselves while oppressing the ordinary middle class and betraying the lower class.

At some point, dear liberals, I hope you will come down from your power trip and acknowledge that politics and activism can't transform the world. Then we can all sit down, laptop nobles, deplorable commoners, and lower-class victims, and talk about how to heal America.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.

Image: Ford Motor Company Collection

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