There are over 2 million people in prison. Each week, there’s another thousand. We pay for their housing, food, medical care, education – about $30,000 per year per prisoner.
So I propose a new three-strike law: first crime, you get rehab (maybe it was truly an accident; maybe you’ll change your mind about stuff; maybe you’ll grow up); second crime, you get imprisoned (okay, this is punishment, pure and simple, because if that’s what it takes – ); third crime, you get exiled – you get kicked out.
Given your inability or unwillingness to follow the rules of this society, you should live in some other society, yeah? If you have found another society willing to take you, great. Bye. If not, we will escort you to a remote designated area. You’re on your own.
Really, it’s not as if the bar is set that high. Basically, you just have to pay for the stuff you use (via taxes for the stuff in common, such as roads and parks, and at the check-out for everything else) and abide by a bunch of laws, most of which are pretty reasonable. Sure, some of our taxes are unjustified and some price tags are too high, but we don’t have to say we agree, we don’t have to serve in the military, we don’t even have to engage in that bare minimum of participation, voting. And a lot of price tags are too low, given the actual materials and labor. So geez loueez if you want a free ride and you can’t abide by a few rules, then I say get the hell out. We’re tired of carrying you.
I wonder if the overwhelming sense of entitlement, which is what, I think, justifies much lawbreaking in the eyes of the lawbreakers, comes from a life of getting what you don’t deserve and not getting what you do deserve (and, conversely, seeing others get what they don’t deserve). For example, most ‘kids’ who live at home – do they still have to do daily chores to earn their allowance, not to mention their food and shelter? Every time I hear that they expect their parents to just give them money – for everything – I think, wait a minute! You want it? You work for it! Slave at a minimum wage job for a year and save up for it.
As for not getting what you deserve, yeah it’s hard knowing that people with ten times as much didn’t work ten times as long or ten times as hard. They either had it given to them or they got it through grossly unfair salary differences (bonuses at work, golden parachutes, severance pay – I’ve been declared redundant, I’ve been fired, and I’ve quit, but I’ve never gotten more than a – well, actually I never got a farewell party either. But that injustice doesn’t justify the other injustice. And anyway, all this addresses just theft and property damage in all its manifestations – economic violations of the social contract, if you will.
Other violations of the social contract, such as personal damage in all its manifestations (assault, manslaughter, and so on) are harder to explain. And, truthfully, I find these people easier to exile. If you have so little control over yourself or so much disregard for me, for my life, I’d rather you be somewhere else. Far away.
So, go! Let us escort you to our border. Cross over into this designated non-country, and you can do whatever you want. If you’re not killed first by others like you. Or by just trying to live without society, without the benefits of a couple thousand of years of others’ work. Work that has given us dvd players and ipods, not to mention medical treatment, and shoes, and light bulbs, and flush toilets. But hey, you gave all that the finger. So make your own damn shoes. And be careful not to step in your own shit.
(I dare say you’ll miss us a lot more than we’ll miss you.)