Is Society Too Soft On Misbehaviour?

A crime is an act that results in a victim. If there is no victim there can be no crime, just a difference of opinion, lifestyle choice, or belief. Interfering with people for having a different belief or opinion is a form of persecution. Persecution is a crime, because it results in a victim. Failing to understand what actually constitutes a crime and deal with actual crimes appropriately sends out completely the wrong message. Getting respect from people and discouraging criminal behaviour involves getting it right and placing the appropriate emphasis in the right places!

Two Options: There are two ways to deal with undesirable action in anyone. One is to teach respect and a moral understanding, so that a person naturally does what is right, because it is right, they know it is right, and they know it is right to do right. The other, if a person has no moral appreciation, is to treat any undesirable action with an undesirable consequence, such as when you smack a child for misbehaving. Good health and upbringing is normally achieved with a balance of both. Nature teaches us not to touch hot things because it hurts and consequently we remember what happens if we do. When it comes to social conditioning, a short sharp shock at the right time can possibly avert a lifetime of suffering for the unlucky. Who are the unlucky? Well, it is not just the victims of crime and their families that suffer. Equally, every person that gets locked up, or commits an act they later regret, and their families too, are the unlucky victims of a failing society.

Confused? Our society is currently very confused at times. We still punish consenting adults for indulging in mutually agreeable activities, where no one is being forced to do anything against their will, no one is being hurt and everyone involved is in favour of what is going on. I.e., there is no victim in equation. If there is no victim in the equation, there can be no crime, just a difference of opinion. Therefore, morally speaking, society has no right to interfere and yet we do it all the time. Who is the real criminal in such an instance? Society is the criminal for perpetrating an act of ill will against people harming no other. In some instances people can get punished more severely for such matters that are strictly a matter of personal choice than for rape, fraud, distraction crime and numerous other things that do result in victims and which cause significant trauma. Such criminal acts devastate people's lives and yet criminals get away with it, or get off lightly because society is too soft or can't be bothered to deal with it. This means that perpetrators of such crimes are able and in fact almost encouraged to continue with their criminal activities leaving more and more victims in their wake.

Society's Responsibility? If someone is being hurt or affected against their will society has a responsibility to step in to protect the victim and deal with the offender. However, this does not always happen. Society is blasé about its responsibilities sometimes. Society is mixed up about its responsibilities sometimes. Society is too soft on its responsibilities sometimes. If someone is being hurt or abused against their will, society needs to step in and sort it out. If this is not the case and there is no victim, society needs to butt out. Otherwise the law is behaving in a criminal fashion and will justifiably lose respect for itself. Legal processes and police resources cost the taxpayer billions of pounds every year. It is important that legal processes and the allocation of police resources are carried out as efficiently and appropriately as possible. This is certainly not the case at the moment. The legal process fails continually to address many issues sufficiently and police resources are often used to target crimes that are not really crimes. A waste of time and taxpayers' money!

Painful Consequences: Pain is always experienced by the victims of criminal acts. They are the innocent ones who have had no choice in the matter as they are dragged into it by the perpetrators of criminal acts. It should not be the case that the victims suffer more than the offenders, however, all too often that is the case at present. Nature teaches us that if we do something potentially damaging there are painful consequences. Pain induces understanding and awareness. It's not very nice, and best avoided if possible, so generally, once we've all had a taste, we try not to go there! Simple! The other thing about human nature is that being too soft causes morally immature people to take advantage. They see this as a weakness and will try and exploit that weakness to their advantage. If you are too soft with young offenders they will stick their fingers up, keep offending and will remain morally stunted failing to develop respect or a sufficient moral framework.

Achieving Success: When children are too young to have developed a moral understanding, a smack or sufficient punishment helps steer them in the right direction. If a person goes off the rails and causes suffering to others as a result, or ends up in prison, it is too late, and society has failed once more. Life is full of regrets for many young people as it is, we shoudl not encouraging more through failing to act sufficiently. Achieving a satisfactory upbringing for an individual means they will be a useful and constructive member of society, rather than costing society in the form of human misery and resources. Therefore it is well worth giving it proper consideration and getting enough emphasis in the right places, rather than wasting it in the wrong!