We’ve lost punishment somewhere along the way. We’ve lost it together with many other things we keep on losing in this scary process called “social change”. All those things, good and bad, that slowly, or suddenly, changed their form and meaning or completely disappeared from our culture.
Yes, we’ve lost punishment. Or rather, the idea of punishment. Even when we do punish, the punishment is actually very mild. Murderers and child rapists simply dissipater from our eyes and get locked in institutions with warm showers, few meals a day, visiting rights, walks in the yard, workshops and exercise facilities. Punishment? A lesson not to do it again? And most of all, a warning to others with similar intentions? Am not sure about that.
What I am sure about is that that for the chosen few, we have completely lost the idea of punishment.
Is punishment good? Is it bad? Who has the right to punish whom? And for what? I don’t know. As a kid, I’ve never been punished. But then, it wasn’t necessary. I was an extraordinary good kid. A nerd by nature, just pretending to be cool. So I can’t tell if punishment really works. What I know that definitely doesn’t work is double morale.
But kids we’re not and there are some dreadful crimes happening in front of our eyes (thank you, globalisation and mass media!), shocking us, some having major impact on our lives, just to end up with the ones responsible leaving without any corrective action being taken. People guilty for those injustices are known to us, and so is their undoubtful guilt, but out of some reason, we are not punishing them. We are not even considering punishing them. Why? What makes bankers, catholic priests, consulting companies (and other conglomerates), and American/British presidents untouchable?
Why should they be treated differently than you and I? Because you and I would, in contrary to them, end up in a prison (enjoying all those nice features described above) if we:
- Conducted some major financial fraud in which we would financially ruin a few (and not billions) people
- Raped, tortured and beaten children
- Helped someone to falsify their account books with the result of a few (and not millions) people ending in debt they cannot possibly ever pay back
- Broke in into someone’s home, destroyed their belongings and killed their family (especially if we did this with absolutely no reason)
Is this democracy? I don’t know. If “those up there” can do whatever they want to the people they should be serving and not get punished, isn’t that called something else? What effect does this have on our perception of morale? Of fairness? Of responsibility?
And why the hell do we not speak out????