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Political Activism and Ideology

For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.


Many have a goal to change the world. Our goal here is presumably to improve legal institutions in Florida. To pursue that goal, it is helpful to understand how people from across the political spectrum think, and what kinds of arguments they will respond to. Others have argued that conservatives have a more detailed and tragic view of the world, whereas liberals have a more cartoon unconstrained view of the world. In the conservative view, cops have to shoot black teenagers because there is no better option. In the liberal view, man can have his evil and aggressive nature reduced through community programs.

The difference I want to address today, is the view of a stable world, compared to a dynamic world, and how that leads people on the left and right to view justice issues. The best example of the stable world view is Warren Buffett. When bitcoin went to 20k and crashed, almost everyone took a dynamic view. People either thought bitcoin would go to the moon, or go to zero. Warren Buffett was unique in that he compared bitcoin to gold. Buffett said from the Second World War to today, gold underperformed stocks. While stocks went up during that period from earnings, gold went more sideways. And bitcoin, Buffett suggested, would do the same.

Miraculously, bitcoin defied the predictions of everyone but Warren Buffett. The price spent the next two years relatively close to where it had been the previous two years. Presumably this view that things will continue as they have been, is the secret to Buffett's investment success. He finds companies that have been around a long time, with stable brand names, that are in some kind of crisis. And he buys stock cheap, on the assumption the company will continue on as it had been. The companies return to a stable state, and Buffett makes billions.

In general, those on the right take a more dynamic view of the world. They think the cities are about to be overrun by criminals, or Obama will crash the stock market, or the President will go to jail, or whatever. We are always at the end of America, always on the verge of a revolution. And those on the left think you can just raise tax rates, and rich people will just pay more in taxes rather than change their activities, and revenues will go up, and the rest of the world will go on unchanged. You can use examples from healthcare, minimum wage, foreign policy, employment, whatever. Those on the left do not fear job losses from left-wing policies. Republicans think the climate was never in a steady state, and we can't possibly control it. Democrats think the climate will remain in a steady state, as long as we don't touch it.

In justice, Democrats are already open to change. They don't fear that any change or experimentation can have disastrous consequences. Democrats think you can add any bizarre law or case law, without thinking through the long-term dynamic effects, and how it will play out in real life. For example, they think prosecutors objecting to defendants striking jurors from identifiable racial groups, will help defendants. When Democrats advocated new "rehabilitation" and "root causes" approaches to criminology in the 1960's, Republicans had a terrible time persuading them the result was a catastrophic rise in crime. This after crime rates had been dropping for decades.

In justice, Republicans believe any effort to change or improve, is an effort by leftists to subvert and undermine civilization, and destroy the world. Which it may be. So Republicans need dynamic arguments, to be persuaded of impending doom as a result of flawed and corrupt criminal justice instititions. Here are some of the arguments I have come up with, to appeal to Republicans' dynamic view of the world:

1) Rather than conserving our effective criminal justice system, we have allowed it to backslide and change for the worse. There are specific examples of new things, that weren't around in the 60's or 80's, so that criminal justice is changing and has changed, and moved away from the good state you want to conserve.

2) Example: The Supreme Court decision in Connick v Thompson in 2011, changed the behavior of prosecutors. It emboldened them that they could hide evidence and victimize the innocent, without any possible consequences. So prosecutors are becoming more emboldened over time, to try to win votes with a coliseum show of mock trials and false convictions.

3) Example: "Hands Up Don't Shoot" - After Ferguson in 2014, and Heather Mcdonald's book "The War on Cops" in 2016, there is a backlash of mayors and sheriffs and voters, who have become more willing to protect police from accusations of misconduct, to hide misconduct, and to make sure there are no consequences for any accusations of police misconduct. This has resulted in another backlash from citizens, in the form of the "defund the police" movement. Policing and crime policy have entered a volatile state, as a result of a lack of a strong underlying regulatory structure for police at the state level. So things are on a trend for the worse and into volatile territory.

4) Perceptions affect reality like the stock market. The more you have a preconception that police don't lie, or that prosecutors don't supervise witnesses to lie, the more lying they will find they can get away with before anyone believes it is happening or reacts. So the preconceptions that there is not a problem, allows policing problems to grow in plain sight. And you are blinded to the changes by your own preconceptions, until they reach a crisis. It may tend to defy your perceptions like the stock market. The more skepticism accusations of police misconduct are prejudged with, the more misconduct police can get away with, before facing any consequences. So it is like a financial market bubble, followed by a crash.

5) Jailhouse witnesses probably started out as one real witness in the 1960's. In the time since, everyone in prison has learned they can get out just by claiming they overheard another inmate confess, even as every defendant has learned religiously his right to remain silent. This has grown into a way for prosecutors to avoid the spirit of the Bill of Rights, by coercing confessions, and letting dangerous felons out of prison as a reward for lying to fix the outcome of show trials. The reliability of jailhouse witnesses collapsed as their use exploded, and the second-round effect has been a collapse in the credibility of jury trials and the justice system, and a relocation of guilt determination to appeals courts. This is still in flux with liberals in charge, and can only be brought to a steady state by eliminating the underlying problem.

6) Felony murder laws and life sentences for drugs, have increased the use of plea bargains and coerced testimony. This is results in an increase, over time, of the amount of years of prison given out based on the coerced testimony of drug felons. So the original cause, an increase in sentences, over time leads to an increase in perjury, and then to people voting for Democrats and judges who let everyone out, the exact opposite of the original intention. When you increase drug sentences, it doesn't just reduce drugs. It sets in motion all kinds of effects and case law, that end up perverting the justice system with no end in sight.

7) Over time, the justice system manufactures Democrat voters with a greater persistence and inevitability than immigration. People whose family members have been wronged by their government, have longer memories and more passion than any other type of voter. Suppose cops lie about just 50 people a year in 10,000 incidents (one lie in every 200 incidents). Multiply that little lie times four family members, times 20 counties per states, times 50 states, times 20 years. That is four million voters who run to the other party if Republicans align themselves with police and prosecutors and the justice system. This number is growing as I type like the national debt.

8) Even honest and functional police and prosecutors, enforcing good laws that make too many people into criminals, can destroy the country. 2 million people with long prison terms equals 6 million family members voting for radical nihilist judges who will let everyone out. DeTocqueville would recognize the unsteady state: What happens when the voters realize they can vote their family members out of prison? What appears on the surface to be a steady reduction of crime through incarceration, is actually a gathering storm of nihilists who will sweep Democrats into political office.

9) The Bar and the legal political machine, have evolved like any institution or movement, to become more self-interested and more self-perpetuating over time. It has evolved to where the only interest of The Bar is to protect members of The Bar, judges are completely captive to local politics rather than abstract justice, and it is impenetrable like Sicilian omerta. Just as the justice system needed to come up with new tactics when the Sicilian mafia evolved to defeat their existing measures, so too are new measures needed to break up the tightening and democratically unresponsive grip of the justice overclass. The end can come cataclysmically under Democrats, or in an orderly way if addressed in time by Republicans.

10) Finally, liberals don't want to fix the justice system. They want to keep it in a steady state of dysfunction, so they can use it to paint Republicans as racist for defending it, and generate steady votes for Democrats each election cycle. This actually results in a steadily growing takeover of national and ultimately state offices by Democrats - with progressively worse results - until Republicans fix the justice system. Or until it is too late, the point of no return has been crossed. Then everyone will get out of prison anyway, except Republicans.

If Democrats are always on an Easter egg hunt - always finding simple ways to improve the world - Republicans are always between a rock and a hard place. Except in one area. Republicans think increasing life sentences, and lying in court, and shooting people who haven't been convicted of a crime - and increasing the role of municipal employees in day-to-day human fate - are somehow a free lunch to improve the world. They either think someone else will suffer the hard place. Or, like Democrats, Republicans don't imagine any adverse consequences to their justice policies. They need to be shown the hard place.