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By Luc Loranhe (2007)
In judging crime, the big divide ought to be between violent crime and non-violent crime. More determined measures ought to be taken to prevent violent crime than non-violent crime, and the punishment of violent crime ought to be harsher than the punishment of non-violent crime.
This view may appear logical, and when the main bodies of penal law were written down in most countries in the 19th and 20th century, this view prevailed and largely resulted in codes that were proportionate along the above principle of differentiating between violent and non-violent crimes.
But since then, the penal codes of many countries have become the favorite tools of politicians, feminists, and Christian fundamentalists for trying social engineering or for tackling what they consider social ills, but basically often are just other lifestyle choices.
Individual drug use, for example, which does not involve violence against others and does not do harm to others (unless strange cases are construed), ranked as a minor offense in original penal codes (if it was considered an offence at all), but now is threatened with punishments on par with murder in many countries.
Likewise, sexual harassment, which mostly only involves words, or light touching which is not physically painful, is, when the victim is female, now punished more heavily than beating up a male, who may suffer a black eye and many bruises. And the police of many countries will take much more interest in the sexual harassment case of the female than the physical injury of the male.
Making such comparisons, of course, is not politically correct. I will be blamed for defending the male "right" to sexually harass females, even though this is not what I mean. But compared to hitting somebody physically, saying something to a person which the addressed person considers not in accordance with her role model or finds offending, really is a very light transgression of justice.
Furthermore, I believe that it is a perversion of justice when the governments of certain countries push the parliaments over which they have influence into passing legislation that primarily serves the purpose to allow the government to steer a society in a direction that matches the ideology of the government.
The constitution of a country should forbid such manipulation, and a Supreme Court should rule such machinations unconstitutional.
But then, Supreme Courts in most countries are ruled by the same people and political parties that also are in government and control the parliaments. What would be needed in most countries would be a constitution which puts more limits on governments and parliaments to implement or pass legislation that violates, for the purpose of social engineering, the principle of proportionate punishment. Furthermore, Supreme Courts should not just be a reflection of what parties where in power when their members were appointed. (ge*l)
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Copyright Luc Loranhe