Crime and Punishment
By Eric Rudolph
The Supermax Prison is a monument of America’s failed society. Instead of getting to the heart of the crime problem, America’s leadership has decided to permanently warehouse a significant portion of our population in order to maintain just a minimum of social order. The responsibility for this state of affairs belongs to both the Left and the Right. The Left created the crime problem by destroying the moral fabric of the nation. And instead of taking on the harder task of mending the fabric, the Right has decided to punish their way back to cultural health. This approach will not work, and the police state and number of prisons will grow until such time as they aim at the heart of the crime problem.
Traditionally, every prison has what is called the “hole,” or solitary confinement. This is a part of the prison set aside to house those inmates who have committed offenses while in prison-like assaulting guards, assaulting other inmates, etcetera. Usually, a stay in the “hole” was temporary and its length of time was determined by the type and magnitude of the committed offense. Once his time in the “hole” was up, the inmate was returned to the “population.” In more extreme cases, prisoners were kept in these conditions for longer periods. These groups of prisoners were comprised of death row inmates, incorrigible inmates, or inmates who could not safely live in population, so therefore they had to be placed in protective custody. This use of the “hole” was in keeping with the philosophy that an inmate’s behavior in prison should establish his level of confinement: if he was compliant with prison rules, he would have the privilege of living in general population, where he could work, have access to the library, leisure activities, and educational programs. Conversely, if he could not comply with the rules, he would be put in the “hole” for a period of time. When his time was served, he would go back to general population and attempt to follow the rules once again.
Then in the 1980’s, this country threw out the rehabilitative approach to penology and the government decided to permanently warehouse inmates, without parole, in facilities that were architecturally designed to torture the inmate through sensory deprivation. This trend toward harsher punishment came from the Right, and was an understandable response to the explosion of anti- social behavior during the 1960’s and 1970’s. America experimented in the 1930’s with this concept of Alcatraz. It is based on the mistaken belief that if permanent punishment became the norm, rather than rehabilitation, crime would be deterred.
This Supermax institution that I am currently in is the brainchild of that school of thought. Like Alcatraz, this Supermax is one big “hole.” The conditions are just above the minimum requirements for the “hole”: twenty- three hours of lockdown; one hour per day of exercise for five days a week; no physical contact with the other inmates or staff and very limited contact with the outside world; architecture that was designed to dehumanize and limit contact with the natural world as much as possible; and a staff encouraged by their superiors to be hostile and to see themselves as instruments of punishment. All these conditions represent the bare minimum set by the Supreme Court for solitary confinement. While the original “hole” was designed as a temporary place of corrective punishment before the staff returned the inmate back to population, this place is designed to hold inmates in inhumane and deplorable conditions indefinitely. The authority to confine prisoners indefinitely in solitary confinement has been stretched beyond the original purpose of segregating problematic inmates. Now, the feds are able to subject anyone they choose to these conditions for an indefinite period of time by simply labeling the inmate a “security risk.” No substantive act is necessary for this label of “security risk,” just the government’s assertion. In short, Supermax is a closed- off world of concrete and steel designed to induce mental illness and create such chronic physical conditions such as diabetes, and heart disease. It is a slow killer.
Both the Left and the Right have failed to understand the crime problem and they have consequently pursued foolish policies in their attempts to solve it. Generally, the reason a person does not engage in criminal or anti- social behavior is because he believes that it is wrong, there is a taboo associated with these acts, and the person carries an internal policeman around with him (conscience) which prevents him from engaging in criminal activity. Contrary to Leftist mythology, crime is not primarily an economic issue. Not all poor people engage in crime, nor do the rich, as a rule, refrain from it. And many societies which place a tremendous cultural taboo on criminal behavior are almost absent criminal activity, even among the poorest of the poor (Japan and rural America). During the Depression, rural America suffered incredible poverty, yet crime did not increase. As a matter of fact, crime went down during the Depression. No, crime in any given society is primarily cultural. If the culture is effective, that internal policeman is developed by mothers, fathers, preachers, teachers, community leaders, role models, and traditions.
For example, years ago girls did not routinely get pregnant out of wedlock because the general cultural consensus was that sex outside of marriage was wrong and should be avoided. Likewise, the reason that instances of men molesting and then murdering young children were rare in the past is that there was such a strong psychological restraint placed upon the mentally disturbed individual who might be entertaining these notions that he did not dare act upon his desires. It was not too long ago that a hand shake was often enough to settle a deal because community standards universally condemned underhanded dealing. In such a society, the purpose of the laws and the police is as a last resort to deal with those recalcitrant souls who refuse to obey the community’s standards of morality.
Every culture works out these moral constraints in its own unique way and this takes place over many generations. Ultimately, these common values are the glue that holds the community together and the reason that social order is possible, even when cops and courts are absent. Restraints are placed on virtually all thoughts and behaviors: speech, expression, beliefs about right and wrong. A psychological censor is lurking in the minds of each member of the community. The reason this is so is because the members of the community share the same myths, ideas, values, and traditions; they vibrate to the same frequency so to speak. As a result, conflict resolutions are seamless and do not always require a lawyer, a policeman, or a judge. Problems are worked out informally. A general trust exists. All individuals feel like part of the same community of ideas. This is organic culture. No amount of formal legislation can replace these informal standards of behavior. Without a common set of values and a common trust, there is no society, at least in an organic sense. That is the state America finds itself in today. She has set about to construct a culturally neutral society and prevent any one culture from defining the values of the entire nation.
Toward this goal, the Left has seized control over every important institution for shaping culture in this country: films, television, and universities. With this power, it has striven to weaken or destroy the dominance of Western Christian culture in America and replace it with a culturally neutral set of egalitarian abstractions that it hopes will be able to accommodate people of all faiths and traditions. Liberalism has also made war on the idea of “place,” and the dependence of the individual on family and community. All cultures assign a “place” or role in life for its individual members in order to produce social cohesion. Inequality and hierarchy are the natural products of these organic relationships because they reflect the actual conditions and not abstract, artificially- enforced concepts. Because liberals believe in the idea of absolute equality, they despise hierarchy and the notion of “place.” They wish to knock the individual loose from “place” and insulate him from dependence on family and community. They must replace the organic society with an amorphous collective, and one set of legal structures that guarantee the individual his independence from any familial or cultural constraints.
The egalitarian society must for the time being be culturally neutral because all cultures define questions of right and wrong differently. In their America, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Atheists, Satanists, Wiccans, and people who spend their weekends beating each other with whips while rolling around in their own feces are all equal, none more moral than any other. America should be neutral on questions of morality, they say. It should be merely a legal- economic contract between autonomous individuals. This is secular liberal democracy. The true egalitarians among the Left ultimately hope to eradicate all cultural differences in order to create a true socialist collective with one set of secular values. But in the meantime, they use classical liberal arguments of diversity to defeat the exclusive claims of the Christian majority in America.
The result of this liberal experiment was to produce in reality a completely amoral society. Whores are now role models for young women (Britney Spears), scum like Howard Stern are now examples of sexual liberalism, and the “winners” in our society are Hollywood actors who step all over people to get their way and wallow in narcissism and self- indulgence. Maternity is now seen as a fashion statement. Angelina Jolie keeps a few adopted kids around as fashion accessories. The hues of these children range in shades of fall and spring colors. But some women who won’t or can’t bear children decide on different courses of action. One befriended a pregnant woman, so she could later murder her and cut the still alive baby out of the woman’s lifeless body in order to raise this child as her own. Susan Smith wanted to rediscover puppy love and felt burdened by her two little rug rats, so she strapped them into her car and drove them into a lake. Later, she told the cops that carjackers had committed the crime. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were unhappy with their popularity at school, so they got a couple of shotguns, dressed up like the Terminator, and almost took out the entire class before shooting themselves through their heads at Columbine High School. And then there are the men who no longer have a hang-up about raping little children. John Couey was so turned- on by the nine- year- old girl playing in her yard that he decided to kidnap her, keep her around his trailer for a few days of rape and torture before he wrapped her in garbage bags and buried her alive in his back yard.
Yes, I know, some writers for the New York Times will tell us that these are extreme examples, very exceptional situations, and things like that have happened throughout history. Crime is actually going down, he will tell us. Things are getting better all the time. Although we listen to him with our ears and want to believe him, we all know in our hearts that he is full of crap. We all see society getting more vicious, more amoral. We all know this by personal experience, for we have witnessed first- hand the destruction of our families and communities. Our mothers betray us. Our husbands and wives cheat on us. Our siblings are mere acquaintances. Our children no longer listen to us; instead they model their behavior on the likes of Snoop Doggy Dog, 50 Cent, and Christina Aguilera. Our schools are now equipped with metal detectors and are patrolled by resource officers. And our preachers and community leaders are in many cases just shallow phonies who are trying to shake us down for money. There is no longer any organic family or community in America. We are all autonomous human grains of sand: even though we live side- by- side, we are completely disconnected from one another. Big Brother and Hollywood are the new family, the new community.
Starting with Nixon, the Right responded to this unraveling of America by enacting tougher law enforcement policies. We can punish our way back to social order they told us. We can execute our way back to the 1950’s. This approach required more cops, more laws, more regulations, regulators to oversee the regulations, and of course more prisons and longer sentences. As the New York Times reporter would attest, these policies have managed to keep crime in check and even reduce it below its out- of- control 1970’s level. But this has only happened because of the drastic increase in law enforcement personnel, legislation, and prisons. This was an understandable, but ultimately obtuse response to a problem that goes much deeper.
A good example of how the new approach works, or rather does not work, are the so- called zero tolerance policies in our nation’s schools. Every few months the absurdity of these rules are revealed when an otherwise decent student is expelled for bringing nail clippers to school. In the past, the handling of a situation like this would have been left to the judgment and discretion of the principal. This only worked, though, because the parents of this child trusted the principal to use his best judgment and were willing to leave any punishment of the child to his discretion. This was no problem because both the parents and the principal shared the same community of values. The parents trusted that any action taken against their child, by the principal, would be fair and not fall outside the boundaries of their shared value system.
However, in the new liberal society that promotes diversity above all else, the parents and the principal do not always share the same community of values, so the parents are liable to no longer trust the judgment of the principal in punishing their child. Thus, zero tolerance policies were enacted in order to remove judgment and discretion from the principal.
Let us look at an example that demonstrates the rationale behind the zero tolerance policies: one student is caught with a pair of nail- clippers, another with a pen knife, and another is caught with a buck knife. The principal uses his individual judgment, and he decides not to take any action against the first student because, among other things, he knows her to be a good kid who has never maliciously broken school rules. The principal lets the second kid go with a stiff warning not to bring his pen knife to school because again the principal knows him to be a good student who whittles as a hobby. But the third child is expelled. The principal has observed this kid acting like a little bully by attacking other students in the past with his bare hands, and the principal fears that this student may be about to escalate his violent behavior with weaponry.
In a community where everyone has shared values, chances are the parents of the expelled bully would readily accept the differing judgments handed down by the school administrator. However, what if the parents of that delinquent child are Satanists and the principal is a Baptist? In this case, because the parents and the school administrator do not share core values; the Satanist parents are likely to see the judgment of the principal, against their little angel, or rather, devil, as unfair and prejudicial. Consequently, these parents file a lawsuit against the school and the ACLU comes to their assistance. Instead of dealing with this all too frequent occurrence, the schools have enacted one- size- fits- all zero tolerance policies, which remove value judgments from the discretion of the principal.
This simple example is not isolated, but is symptomatic of the entire system. As America becomes more diverse and the individual is more isolated from any organic trust connections, the need arises for ever more rules to regulate virtually every aspect of human activity, rules that do not allow for personal judgments that may involve prejudice or discrimination.
It is the underlying cultural identity with its shared values, its “mystic cords of memory,” that make up the heart, soul, and strength of a society. This produces the all important trust that regulates most social interactions. The laws and the government are surface realities. No matter how healthy and strong these areas appear, if the society lacks some sense of underlying tribal , familial shared values and trust, that society is weak.
The strength of a society is revealed when the surface structures are removed, even if temporarily. If the society can function somewhat effectively without policemen, soldiers, and active law enforcement for short periods of time, then the society is healthy and the underlying value system is intact. Conversely, if a society breaks apart into chaos and barbarism after the police, judges, and soldiers are removed, it is weak. The events in New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina came ashore, are a good example. Within hours of this hurricane, New Orleans fell apart. It literally took an army to restore order. What Hurricane Katrina revealed was not the tired economic- centered arguments of the liberals, in which they constantly lament the perceived effects of racism and inequality on blacks in America’s inner cities. No, the hurricane and its resulting chaos, and the controversy that followed, showed that beneath the surface of American society-which is held together by a massive military, government, law enforcement, and economic structures-are two hostile communities that cannot function together in the absence of the social structures. This is because there is no shared culture between most of the residents in New Orleans’ 9th Ward and the rescuers that responded to help them. There is no trust.
The most telling evidence of a cultural disconnection in New Orleans was not only the chaos that erupted after law enforcement disappeared, but the explanation given by the residents of the 9th Ward as to why the government did not respond as expeditiously as they could have. A good percentage of the residents believe that their neighborhoods were deliberately flooded after agents of the “white government” planted explosives on the levees and then detonated them. Both the “Honorable” Louis Farrakhan and Spike Lee have voiced this conspiracy theory and it is now widely accepted in the black communities across America. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin won reelection by pandering to this paranoia in the black community. Recently, he told an association of black newspaper editors and publishers, “Ladies and gentlemen, what happened in New Orleans could happen anywhere. They are studying this model of natural disasters, dispersing the community, and changing the electoral process in that community.” Who are “they?” Well, agents of the Man of course, the same people who blew up the levees to begin with. When this level of distrust is evidenced, there exists not one society, but two; two societies with deep divisions that will likely never be bridged.
A similar test of community was the period of time when New York City experienced the blackouts of the 1970’s. As soon as the lights went out the city erupted into chaos and looting. People shut themselves up in their apartments, for they were afraid that they might be murdered at any minute. By contrast, a community with a shared cultural value system weathers such disasters with little chaos. In the early 1990’s, just north of New Orleans, the Mississippi River communities pulled together to build sandbag levees, and they created informal community support structures during the floods that inundated this area. Similarly, when an earthquake struck Kobe, Japan in the 1990’s, the underlying homogeneous culture was able to throw up makeshift, temporary community organizations after the formal structures like the police and the emergency services fell apart. Rescue teams made up of ordinary citizens formed; food, water, and rubble removal were organized in short order. There was very little looting. And I do not recall any conspiracy theories that came out of either the floods of Mississippi or the earthquake in Japan. The communities were able to function organically. They didn’t need a cop looking over each citizen’s shoulder. Even when formal societal structures are not threatened by natural disasters, the need for law enforcement in places like Japan and rural America is really very slight. In Japan, it is hard to find police officers, for there is little need for them. And in rural America, it is still common to find one sheriff and a few deputies that have the responsibility of patrolling an entire county. There is no need for a policeman on every corner and a massive military to maintain order in the event of a natural disaster because the culture is strong in rural America.
Not only are America’s inner cities divided and hostile as result of liberalism’s policy of multiculturalism, but the entire country, especially the dominant Western Christian Community, is under assault by an aggressive force of anti- culture. The pop culture is the most destructive force in human history, for it is slowly replacing the natural organic culture that was formerly handed down by parents, relatives, and the community. If there is one force that is most responsible for the deplorable state this country finds itself in, it is the popular culture of Hollywood films, television, and pop- music. At its height of power in the 12th century, the Catholic Church was never so powerful or as influential as Hollywood. People did not voluntarily sit around for six hours each and every night listening to sermons during the Middle Ages. The average American today spends more time watching television, listening to music, or otherwise imbibing pop-culture than he does doing anything else. Unlike the Church, Hollywood’s purpose is not to look after the health of Western Culture, rather its mission is to systematically dismantle the organic value system and replace it with a new ethos of liberalism, cosmopolitanism, narcissism, and death. An individual’s speech, expression, and sexual behavior were once conditioned by organic culture (community standards), but now they have been slowly subverted and replaced by Hollywood’s standards. Working in tandem with Hollywood, Leftwing organizations have taken legal action to erode any exclusive position of influence that Western values may still have in the law or in the public square.
The Right’s response to this destruction has been dismal. They are unwilling to face the fact that a pack of destructive individuals have seized control over our culture and are using their First Amendment rights to eat away at and destroy the moral fabric of the nation. These individuals have completely redefined what it means to be an American, what is right and what is wrong. The problem is that in order to effectively reverse the damage done over the decades, the Right would have to mend the moral fabric through an aggressive reeducation campaign, and would also have to pursue legislative action in matters of morality. But first, they would have to somehow shout down or silence those who are pulling the threads in the opposite direction. This, the Right will not do. They have neither the power nor the guts to get down to the real issues. This would involve censorship and issues of free speech- “slippery slopes” are spoken of. It would be an assault on our most precious liberties, they say. Therefore, the Right has opted for a stand- in- the- door- approach. The Left continues to destroy the country, while the Right merely attempts to slow them down a little with the full knowledge that their blocking tactics are only temporary. This is the basic description of American politics over the past seventy years. Every advance the Left makes, the Right responds by retreating a little farther out. When the Left seized the federal government, the Right retreated into local government and started talking state’s rights. When the Left bought up the mass media, the Right retreated to radio and pamphlets. When the Left took over the public schools, the Right enrolled their children in private schools. And when the Left undermined the culture and created the crime problem, the Right retreated into gated communities and built more prisons. Pretty soon, there will be no place to retreat to.
Meanwhile, the Left continues to batter down the invisible walls erected to keep out the darker angels of human nature. The fact is that without these walls, the individual cannot enjoy his liberty. When there are no moral restraints placed upon the individual to respect the liberties of others, then those liberties are only theoretical. It simply is not possible to maintain social order and community cohesion if the state is completely neutral on questions of morality, allowing its citizens to decide what, if any, values to live by. It cannot expect that all, or even most citizens living in a culturally decimated society will develop value systems that respect the liberties of others. This is especially true when you have a mass media that has geared its programming toward entertaining the lowest common denominator by challenging every notion of moral conduct. You can rest assured that a large number of people who are entertained and educated by this garbage will ultimately decide that the walls keeping them from violating your space and liberty are not deserving of their respect. Furthermore, every culture defines liberty, as well as most other values, somewhat differently. To attempt to resolve these cultural differences by imposing artificially constructed values is not possible. And long term conflicts, based upon the differing definitions of these values are inevitable.
I am no longer in a position to offer solutions, but I can point to the problem. For those individuals on the Right, that have worried themselves to death over the First Amendment, I need only point out that in the 1920’s Iowa, it would not have been possible to perform the “Vagina Monologues.” It would not have been possible to show Pulp Fiction, Brokeback Mountain, or American Pie. Marylyn Manson or 50 Cent could not have played Sioux City in 1920. Nor would it have been possible to march a Gay Pride Parade through downtown Des Moines. And it certainly would not have been possible to issue textbooks such as Heather has Two Mommies to second grade students. None of these things would have been possible in 1920’s Iowa, yet we had the same Bill of Rights back then. The reason none of these things would have been possible was that the community standards in Iowa in the 1920’s did not recognize such “expressions” as protected by the First Amendment. In other words, free speech is relative to community standards. A lot of water has passed under the bridge of community standards since the 1920’s, all of it poisoned by Leftist culture distorters. Little by little, one brick at a time, the walls of Western Christian morality that formed the community standards of America have been smashed down. My purpose is not to suggest a particular program for rebuilding those walls, but rather to say bluntly that unless they are aggressively rebuilt very soon, social order in keeping with a higher culture will not be possible in America within fifty years. No society anywhere has allowed absolutely unfettered speech. Every society defines parameters for acceptable speech. That is a given. The only real question is how those parameters are defined and whether those definitions will produce social order and cultural continuity.
In short, both the Left and the Right are responsible for the crime problem in America. The Left is in large part responsible for creating the cultural breakdown that lead to the current high crime conditions. And the Right has failed to properly respond because they do not have the guts to tackle the real issue behind the problem. Instead, they have opted for an obtuse punishment approach that necessitates incarcerating one percent of the United States population. This is the zero tolerance policy applied to the criminal justice system. Just as it is absurd to expel the honor student for bringing toenail clippers to class, it is also absurd to expect that permanently incarcerating 2.6 million people and increasing sentences will solve the crime problem. The fact is if the Right does not start down the road toward solving the underlying cultural problems, America will continue to slowly slip into Third World style barbarism. The culturally diverse, morally neutral, hippie- dippy, Berkley- style society the liberals have worked toward is a destructive myth. What lies on the other side of their efforts is barbarism, not Utopia. However, if you read between the lines that are written by these nihilists, you will discover that the liberals would rather have barbarism than listen to anyone telling them what is moral. And so they shall probably have their wish- On To Barbarism.
ERIC ROBERT RUDOLPH
FEBRUARY 8, 2007
"The Sentence"- A Satire by Eric Rudolph
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