Monday, September 19, 2022

Lindsay Mitchell: Self-responsibility surcharges?

As it is now common practice to accord sentencing discounts to criminals with childhood experiences beyond their control, what about surcharges for not exercising self-responsibility?

Every individual has the ability to exercise personal agency. It might be argued for some it is reduced to a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea but it is usually evident that arriving at that impasse could have been avoided.

Compassion is one thing. But excuse-making is another. It is the latter habit that now defines this country and the wrong-headedness holding sway.

Effort and persistence go unremarked while failure and indifference mark out the victims among us. And don't we love victims.

So long as, of course, the culprits are fashionable - colonization, capitalism, racism and patriarchal oppression.

In reality people have never been more able to control their lives than right now. There is more prosperity and choice than has ever existed.

If it were my call, there would be no discounts. They make a mockery of the free will that defines us. They are in direct conflict with the very reason laws exist. Worse, they send an ambiguous and confused message to offenders and society.

If they are going to be handed out, they should be delivered with a surcharge and explanation.

"Yes, you had a terrible childhood, but so did many others who managed to avoid criminality. You knowingly chose the wrong path so here's a matching surcharge for not exercising the self-responsibility that others with similar backgrounds managed to."

Lindsay Mitchell is a welfare commentator who blogs HERE.


Anonymous said...

I completely agree. Those who cry "Poor darling" all the time are doing such a disservice to young and old. This does not mean being unhelpful, but giving people the respect of autonomy, while you work out how to 'fix it'.
Pity is corrosive, disempowering, contemptuous even - don't pity me!

Anonymous said...

An excellent and appropriate idea, but of course that doesn't align with the current narrative of reducing incarceration times, especially for that cohort that is grossly over represented in our justice system. I'm afraid getting those who currently yield the power to adopt such a policy has about a snowball's chance in hell of happening. Personal responsibility? No, it's still way too fashionable to look for someone or something else to blame. And as for colonisation, who would have thought it would take more than a century for the problems to become so evident and that it justifies bad behaviour.

DeeM said...

Bang on, Lindsay.

Our current useless government, made much worse by the endless self-pity of the Maori caucus for their part-ethnic fellow travellers, makes being charged with a crime almost desirable, so you can milk the sympathy from the "progressive" pillocks and then avoid any personal responsibility.

It's a dreadful way to go and we'll be repairing the damage for decades to come.
Bottom line - some people are just bad and giving them a ready excuse and a free pass will not rehabilitate them, it will only encourage them to do it again but blame society even more.

Robert Arthur said...

John A Lee got no credits for his deprived chidhood. The severe punishment for offending did not seem to damage him long term. He did perhaps have the advantage of pure colonialist blood.

Doug Longmire said...

OH !!
I am so sorry judge. Not my fault.
I was hurty hurty as a youngster. That made me do these crimes. I had no choice.