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Old 09-17-2011, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,538,289 times
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What will future historians regard as the most shameful and barbarian aspects of human culture, when they look back at the early 21st Century?

As we look back on Slavery, Genocide, Torture, Crusades, Royalty, Pyramids, and we wonder how people could have tolerated such institutionalized and accepted human behavior. How will future historians see US?

I think the idea of Democracy might be on the list. Future humans might wonder where on earth we got the idea that ordinary people, ignorant and uneducated, cab drivers and waitresses, could and should collectively decide matters of state or global import. Why we left it to ordinary people to form political alliances, to mess with Castro but let Pol Pot go unimpeded, to put a man on the moon, to block stem cell research.

I also think future school children will be shocked and horrified when they are taught about criminal justice and penology of this era, which in retrospect in an enlightened future, the early 21st Century will be almost indistinguishable from the Salem witch trials and debtor prisons.
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Old 09-17-2011, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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It all depends. Morality arises from the luxury of wealth, we start behaving better when we can afford to behave better. If wealth continues to expand, then future generations will become more moral relative to us and we will look primitive. If wealth collapses, future generations will be less moral than ourselves and we will look like a golden age of morality.
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Old 09-17-2011, 01:00 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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jtur:
Quote:
Future humans might wonder where on earth we got the idea that ordinary people, ignorant and uneducated, cab drivers and waitresses, could and should collectively decide matters of state or global import
Ordinary people do not decide those things. Ordinary people decide which set of people will get to decide those things for us.

All governmental systems require some sort of trade off, inclusiveness comes at the price of efficiency. Exclusiveness comes at the price of subjection to the caprice of the few. Security comes at the price of freedom, freedom comes at the expense of security.

Democracy is the sytem which substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few. Get rid of democracy and we shift our complaints to the flaws of whatever system we employ to replace it.
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Old 09-17-2011, 01:08 PM
 
2,885 posts, read 3,397,252 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
What will future historians regard as the most shameful and barbarian aspects of human culture, when they look back at the early 21st Century?
Of course, not everyone agrees with the premise that we now live in an especially shameful era, or with the assumption that the future will converge with what you seem to regard as enlightenment. The comparison of today's criminal justice system to the Salem trials seems especially silly to at least one person (me).
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Old 09-17-2011, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,538,289 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamish Forbes View Post
Of course, not everyone agrees with the premise that we now live in an especially shameful era, or with the assumption that the future will converge with what you seem to regard as enlightenment. The comparison of today's criminal justice system to the Salem trials seems especially silly to at least one person (me).
The fact that not everone would agree with the premise, is why I opened the topic for discussion. The premise, if you will look back and see, was a question. To which, the OP offered a few suggested starters.

How did the Salem witch trials differ, in principle, from the incarcerations at Guantanamo? Answer: The Salem witches were given a hearing.

Criminal justice in the USA and many other countries is still based on the premise that the prosecution is done at the public expense, and the defense is only as thorough as the private resources of the accused. (The people of Los Angeles county spend $6-million to try to convict OJ, and not one cent to defend a man "presumed innocent" against that onslaught.) And our sentencing guidelines and penal system are simply the vindictive reactions of a society that can't think of anything else to do with social transgression, except to throw people into inhumane dungeons.

Last edited by jtur88; 09-17-2011 at 01:45 PM..
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Old 09-17-2011, 01:44 PM
 
4,990 posts, read 4,453,373 times
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Well my 21st century list of WTFs would be the Citizens United decision which basically thrown away any illusion that politicians have to prostitute themselves to the highest bidder in order to get elected; the Patriot Act and one of the most nefarious of all practices, legalized sexual harassment which is now expanding from airports into recreational spaces like football games.

I hope these current day WTFs can become yesterday's WTF soon.
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Old 09-17-2011, 01:53 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
36,951 posts, read 17,431,639 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
(The people of Los Angeles county spend $6-million to try to convict OJ, and not one cent to defend a man "presumed innocent" against that onslaught.) .
Apparently you have not ever heard of court appointed attorneys. You should watch more crime shows on tv, every time someone is read his rights it includes.."If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one for you."

And OJ outspent California anyway, so you picked a horrible example.

That said, I'm all in favor of socializing the law. Justice should not be a matter of who can afford the better lawyer.
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Old 09-17-2011, 02:06 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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By the way, if we are currently in some "shameful" era, which are those eras which you regard as having been morally superior?
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Old 09-17-2011, 03:59 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,538,289 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
Apparently you have not ever heard of court appointed attorneys. .
Apparently, you have never heard how much time they actually spend working on the defendant's case, gathering evidence, paying the cost of bringing defense witnesses, or even staying awake during the trial, or how much they are paid to serve in that capacity. (In Illinois, and probably other states, refunded bail money is paid to the appointed defense attorney or public defender's office,)

In my experience, the court-appointed attorney functions solely as a gofer, to communicate the offered plea-bargain to his client.

I once watched an actual trial in which the defendant elected to go to trial and used a court-appointed attorney. As a mere spectator, I was certain that I could have climbed over the rail, and with no preparation, presented a better defense. The defendant spent a year in jail awaiting trial date, and in the trial, mentioned that he had not met his attorney until the day before the trial started.

Just watching this charade, I was filled with shame for my civilization, and I'm not even a 23rd Century historian.

I believe, that in the UK, the office of the prosecutor is charged with the responsibility not to convict the accused, but to establish the truth and arrive at a just verdict.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
By the way, if we are currently in some "shameful" era, which are those eras which you regard as having been morally superior?
I haven't seen those eras yet, but I expect them (perhaps overopitimitically) to transpire. Please don't misunderstand the premise. It not about a comparison of today with the past, but about comparing today with the historical perceptions in a future.

Last edited by jtur88; 09-17-2011 at 04:16 PM..
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Old 09-17-2011, 04:54 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
36,951 posts, read 17,431,639 times
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jtur88
Quote:
Apparently, you have never heard how much time they actually spend working on the defendant's case, gathering evidence, paying the cost of bringing defense witnesses, or even staying awake during the trial, or how much they are paid to serve in that capacity.
If that is what you meant, then perhaps that is what you should have written rather than:
Quote:
not one cent to defend a man "presumed innocent"
If your case requires such hyperbole to be made, then perhaps you should rethink your case.





Quote:
I haven't seen those eras yet, but I expect them (perhaps overopitimitically) to transpire. Please don't misunderstand the premise. It not about a comparison of today with the past, but about comparing today with the historical perceptions in a future.
If that is our understanding, then you have greatly expanded your premise. All of the past is now incorporated into the heading of "Shameful Era." Only the future offers possible redemption.

Anyway, I covered the answer to that in my first post. Morality is relative, so we will either look good to an immoral future, or bad to a more moral future.
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