Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I continue looking at Roger Lancaster’s (RL) book.*

RL raises the ominous point that in many States ex-offenders are denied the vote. (p.149)

And even in States that are now choosing to restore voting rights numerous conditions are imposed. In Florida, for example, your offense has to be deemed “non-violent”, although that might cover up to 80pct of Florida’s ex-offenders.**

But even the good news is tinged with bad: the ex-offender must initiate a demanding process of paper-work collection and documentation (sometimes stretching back many years) and all applications – once laboriously completed – must be approved by the State’s small Clemency Board.

In Florida there are somewhere between 628,000 (the State’s estimate) and 950,000 (advocacy’s estimate) eligible persons.

And if you are re-arrested – even on the technicalities of parole violations – you must wait an additional ten 10 years post-release before you can apply.

And “even those convicted of non-violent offenses” must first prove that they have “made restitution to the victim”. (p.150)

You can see – queasily – where such laws primarily work against the voting-rights of males, and RL points out that this is especially true of black males.

Nor is this true only in States of the old Jim Crow South. “Progressive” Wisconsin has its own skein of punitive laws.

Here you can see a clear indication of the toxic ‘bipartisan’ nature of SO Mania Regime law: Florida is most aptly classified as a ‘conservative, law-and-order’ State; Wisconsin clearly as a ‘liberal, progressive’ State – and yet they both are robust participants in the Mania Regime. “Punitive governance” may be more predictably evident (to the uninformed citizen) in the old Jim Crow States (p.150), but that is only a matter of appearances: the ‘liberal, progressive’ States are equally enablers of punitive governance.

Victim-friendly law is anchored in and plays-to both law-and-order and ‘liberal’ politics.***

Also, I would add that States such as those of the relatively peaceful upper Mid-West, the old heart of the Progressive movement, where you would not expect so deforming an anxiety about crime, were immediately and thoroughly ‘criminalized’ by the rapid engorgement of Victimist law and especially sex-centered Victimist law: now you can have a crime-wave wherever there is the possibility of sexual encounters. Neat.

You can see the a further element of these same dynamics operating in a State such as “progressive Wisconsin” as well as in an increasing number of other States, where in order to qualify for a public defender you have to earn less than three-thousand dollars a year.

And in many States application fees are charged, even though you are applying for a public defender.

The imposition of ‘fees’ is partly a spin-off of the victim-friendly ‘restitution’ gambit. But it is also nowadays an increasing characteristic of many now-cash-strapped States where State services now require the payment of a fee. And this can only get worse, amplifying the already-bad Victimist dynamics.

RL then goes on to draw the dark line of connection between Victimist-law and the militarization of police and law-enforcement, where the ‘dangers’ now so astronomically multiplied through the workings of the Victimist re-definition of ‘crime’ were used to justify that militarization.****

RL thus refers to “lawlessness unleashed as law”. (p.153) I would add that it was precisely this dynamic of ‘legalizing the illegal’ and of ‘making the illegal legal’ that fueled Hitler’s early but vital establishment of the ‘legal legitimacy’ of his odious regime. And once law-enforcers realize that illegality – if deployed against designated ‘enemies’- is actually approved by the government, then an awful Rubicon is crossed. In the SO Mania Regime this was done early-on, when all the initial ‘enabling laws’ of the Regime included a specific Section that made the police and all enforcement personnel immune to criminal or civil liability for any violations of law committed in the well-intentioned pursuit and apprehension of SOs. Those laws are still on the books.

And yet, as RL then points out, (p.153) the increasing number of investigations into wrongful-convictions continue to discover alarming numbers of persons railroaded ‘legally’ for major crimes they were alleged to have committed. This is especially of concern in cases where DNA evidence has removed any doubt whatsoever.

All of this got its start in the general public revulsion at the lawlessness that erupted in the country at the end of the 1960s (fuelled largely by social unrest, cultural change and agitation, but taking advantage of the Warren Court’s two-decade long emphasis on protecting the rights of the accused). But in the Reagan years this drive was hugely reinforced, even as Victimism was embraced by the law-and-order Right but then quickly by the radical-feminist and ‘victim-friendly’ Left as well.

Nor – as is only now becoming evident – has the slyly publicized presumption that ‘only the guilty’ needed to fear this massive and pervasive engorgement of the writ of the Sovereign coercive power proven accurate. Especially with the expansion and ‘re-definitions’ enacted by the SO Mania Regime, a huge swath of the Citizenry became liable to police activity. And it was on this entire foundation that post-9/11 engorgements were easily constructed.

Excluding traffic violations, 14 million Americans are arrested each year – up from 3 million in 1960; and the arrest rate as percentage of population has thus almost tripled from 1.6pct in 1960 to 4.4pct now. (p.155) All the recent ‘liberation’ has – ominously – come at the cost of a vast increase in prosecution and imprisonment. And this should have come as no surprise, had anyone been actually paying attention to the essential operative dynamics of the SO Mania Regime from Day One.

“Crime control … has become the dominant model for government”, RL quotes a pair of researchers as saying. (p.155) So when you hear that ‘9/11’ and ‘the Republicans’ (for whom I hold no particular brief) have done all this, be ye not deceived. This thing really got its start in the bipartisan Victimism of the later 1970s and the 1980s, which then took fully invasive and draconian public form in the ‘governance feminism’ 1990s.

And if “punitiveness” was bad enough, “pre-emption” and ‘prevention’ intensified the evils astronomically. And again: by ye not deceived: pre-empting crime (in its newly and vastly enlarged definitions) is ‘the next logical step’ only if you are not working on the logic of the Framing Vision. By effectively casting all Citizens as ‘potential’ (or ‘not yet discovered’) Perps, Victimism requires a police-state Government and undermines any sense of the Citizens as The People. They are no longer the fundamental governors of their government, but rather constitute a vast pool of potential perps who are thus enemies of the “zero-tolerance” police-government, whether they have been finally discovered or are still – like Communist agents – still loose in the land perpetrating their evil designs.

Thus the Citizenry is fractalized into Perps (known or as yet still hidden) and Victims.

And – this demonstrates the lethal instability of this paradigm of governance – today’s decent-citizen and Victim might yet, through the mysterious and unpredictable workings of Victimist calculus, become tomorrow’s latest perp-du-jour. Nobody, really, is safe or should feel safe … from the Victimist classification of Perp-hood.

And a government that has so richly engorged itself and its authority through such a calculus is going to remain addicted to that engorgement, even if from time to time a particular form of Perp is no longer the prime target. There will now always be some particular Perp raised up as a boogey-man to justify the metastasized Sovereign police and coercive power.

And technologies have developed to the point where they can directly support or merely feed-into this tendency toward preventive or ‘protective’ surveillance. Not only the panoply of background checks and security checks and various tests for various things, and computer-guided surveillance and identification programs, but even something as apparently harmless as Google and other search-engines, which can yield whatever material (there is no guarantee as to its accuracy) at the touch of a keyboard. All of which contributes to “the dragnet of everyday life”. (p.159)

All of which has been especially engorged in an effort to maximize ‘child safety’, turning schools into the security-equivalents of mini-Pentagons.

And yet – weirdly – the Family itself has not only been ‘devalorized’ in the process of ensuring somebody’s idea of ‘liberation from oppression’, but has actually been turned into Victimism’s largest ongoing crime scene, as RL comes to realize. (p.160) Again, it seems to me, even as adults have been officially pooh-poohed as sources of wisdom and authority, and parents not only included in that but also rendered suspect in all manner of victimizations of their own children, the government – like a poison tide – has quickly flowed into the vast holes in society that it has itself created, using its ever-engorging authority to compensate for what it has destroyed.

How did it all come to this?

In his seventh chapter, “Constructing Victimization”, RL looks at “how Americans learned to love trauma”. (p.181)

“Americans have long imagined themselves to be a nation of innocents”. (p.181) This is true – and it has kept Americans from looking carefully at some of the darker elements of their history.

And the presumption of their own innocence quickly enables Americans to imagine themselves standing on the moral high ground as a matter of definition (i.e. We are America and therefore we are innocent and good).

It also justifies Americans’ easy leap to the conclusion that if something has been done to us, and we are innocent, then such outrageous evil must be eradicated and we are totally justified in doing whatever it takes to do so. It is as lethal a conceptual ‘equation’ as the chemical equation for an explosive.

Victimism surely piggy-backed on this predisposition in American culture.

Although to do so Victimism had to divide Americans up: you still need an Evil Perp for the melodramatic Innocent-Good vs. Guilty-Evil script that would appeal to the public’s TV and movie-trained tendency to see human experience through the mental-lens of the standard melodramatic scripting.

So now Americans were divided up. No longer were they essentially and ultimately a single Citizenry, The People, united around a common faith-in and adherence-to the Framing Vision, the Constitution, and a common culture built on them.

Rather: there were sheep and there were goats; there were the (pure and innocent) Victims and there were the (evil and guilty) Victimizers and Perps.

From the get-go, Victimism required a lethal weakening of the American people’s sense of its own identity and unity. And this terrible requirement could not but have the most baleful effects on the political stability of the country and on the legitimacy of any government based on the authority and sovereignty of The People. From Day One.

And there’s something to think about around 4th of July time.


*Lancaster, Roger. Sex Panic and the Punitive State. Berkeley: U/Cal Press (2011). ISBN: 978-0-520-26206-5 (pb). 246pp plus Appendices, Notes, and Index.

**And if the vast expansion of “non-violent” crimes reflects a government need to substitute criminal-laws for the internalized self-governance missing from so many children’s lives in today’s culture and society, then you can see yet another powerful and deep force pushing the country toward a police-state level of government intrusion and imposition.

***As this article demonstrates, the latest scam – fomented by the New York Times, as is so often the case – is to declare Statutes of Limitations “predatory-friendly laws”. This is a clear effort to counter the awareness that so many Mania Regime laws are actually part of the Constitutionally-toxic ‘victim-friendly’ movement. But it clearly reveals the lethal dangers at the heart of Victimist law: “predator-friendly law” turn out to be the very laws erected at the Founding to protect the rights of the accused (who, but of course, has been re-painted and re-badged as the ‘perp’ and the “predator”).

****And as I have pointed out before on this site, this militarization has also begun to seep into prosecution and law, where the far-more draconian sex-laws and jurisprudential procedures of the military-justice system have already merged with Victimist tendencies driving civilian law and jurisprudence.

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