...now here are some refutations.
-drop the jury system. it doesn't work even though the idea is nice and all. Aim for maximum professionality of parties involved in the case.
Despite some of the very widely publicized failures of juries in the U.S. (i.e. O.J. Simpson) I think you'll find that for the most part juries work. They're also a lot more fair, and less subject to the politization that would occur if juries were professionals hired by politicians. There may be some room for reform (the defense shouldn't be able to reject and engineer because they're more likely to think logically), but that's no reason to throw it out entirely.
-drop the death penalty. this is the single most devastating justice issue in comparisons between US and other legal systems, particularly European ones. I'd wager that if the death penalty was abolished in US it would be fairly competitive in 'fairness points' to the EU ones (who by no means should be thought of as fair and equal justice).
Hmmm... Seems to me like this one is actually keeping our prison numbers down (just kidding). Seriously, though, I'm not going to argue this one with you because your opinion on it is most likely based on core values that can't (and shouldn't) try to change in a Kuro5hin discussion.
-fix your gunlaws. most handguns and rifles are seldom used outside a practice range even in proliferant gunowning countries such as Canada and Sweden. The difference in Deaths-by-arms count is with anything semi- or fullautomatic that is primarily made for military usage. Those type of arms have no place in a civilian lawabiding home, end of story. So why are they legal?
You make a good point. The truth, though, is that most guns used by hardcore criminals aren't obtained legally anyway, because that would make them more easily traceable. You say that semi- and fully-automatic weapons don't belong in law-abiding homes. My question is "why?" If the home is law-abiding, why shouldn't they have whatever they want if it's not hurting anyone (and may protect them someday)? I should also point out that the places in the U.S. with more lax gun laws tend to have lower crime rates, not higher ones.
-fix your taxproblem. Not many persons WANT to relieve themselves of their money, but a LOT of non-USians understand the basic need for a government to provide services for its people, regardless of an individuals position in society or income. And the higher the demand by the populace the higher the taxes need to be. If people want and need healthcare and good education its the government's responsibilty to provide it in the best amount possible. And that requires money. Loads of money. Either by taxes or fees.
A good justice system requires money too.
Well, I'm not sure I buy that state supported medical care and crime are related. I'd like to see some evidence for that. As far as law enforcement goes, doesn't it make sense that if we reduce our law enforcement, it would cost less money?
-Depolitisize your justice system. When judges and prosecutors both have to get themselves elected by a regular populace they open themselves and their offices up for lobbying from fringe groups, outright bribery, and more importantly lesser integrity of the invokation of the law itself. The highest court of a country will always be subject to, as it should be, some influence from the political arena as the court always will get its pointers from the laws the politicians write according to a politicians mandate. But each court and position under the highest court should always be appointed on merit base, which is formed on the professionality of practice of the law. Politisizing a complete pyramid in a field of work only undermines the authority of the decisions made at the top since the whims of politics is introduced at the lower levels. Hence in the case of justice the integrity of the Law is undermined and placed under political scrutiny. Separation of powers is useless if you dont separate them as much as you can.
Well, at the Federal level, our judges are appointed. In the highest court (the Supreme Court) the appointment is even for life, to ensure that once they have been chosen they are no longer bound by the winds of politics to keep their jobs. Of course, politics to play a role in the appointment of judges, but I'd like to see a system proposed that would eliminate politics from the process (short of a computer choosing them, I don't see how it could be done--and even the computer program would have to be written to choose based on rulesets chosen by people with political motivations). There are some states (maybe all of them?) where judges are elected, but they usually run very low-key campaigns and reelection is often just a matter of voters saying whether or not the judge should be retained.
-stop being so goddamn moralistic about sex. To some extent the practice of unsafe and weird (IMO anal, animal, drunken) sex is introduced to the US population by the sheer enigmas and excitement they seem to be when it is prohibited or hushed. Moralistic education on sex only lead it to become more interesting to an always-rebellious teenager. When the topic of sex in all its forms become boring since there is nothing particularly exciting or secret about it, society benefits as most people will keep in the mainstream as they always do. Less extremes cost less money to manage and causes less grieve (and less fun, sadly. but hey, this is life).
Again, this is a valid opinion, but doesn't really have a lot of bearing on the issue at hand. I don't know how your medias portray it to you over there in Europe (which is where I'm guessing you are--my appologies if I am mistaken), but for the most part things are pretty open here. In most places there are very few things that are illegal, and even in those places that still have sodomy laws and such, they are rarely enforced and few people base their actions out of fear of those laws.
-kill your politicians. Change the rules of politics. Restrict monetary contributions or make them equal for all parties. Bribery, favours and lobbying will always exist in a politicians world. But you could atleast pave the way for simple normal joes to venture into politics and change things by making it less obvious and less necessary to be rich to make powerful friends.
Here's a question. Do "normal joes" venture into politics at the highest levels in Europe? By "higest levels" I don't mean your national levels, either, since those correspond in populations more closely to our state governments, where "normal joes" do get into politics--maybe not starting out as governors, but certainly in the legislatures. What about the EU, though? How many average construction workers or fry cooks have successfully run for offices at the EU level and won? I'm going to guess that none have. Running for office at that level requires a lot of money, because it requires a lot of visibility. On the other hand, "normal joes" actually do get elected to our House of Representatives, because they are running for office in small regions where it doesn't take that much money to mount a campaign.
-stop yelling at the Government, BE the Government. Go vote. Dont know of someone or some partyline that you agree with? Find one, or become one. If you don't vote you can't complain on the results, it's that simple. Realize that government can easier become Good, if YOU do your part. Avoiding the governemtn just because you dont like it dont fix a goddamn thing thats wrong with it. It only seems so because the sand looks better up close.
No arguments here.
-fix your voting rolls. Make it mandatory for an eligible voter to vote on all levels of participation. It shouldn't be punishable to not vote, but it must be mandatory. And THAT means providing the infrastructure for voting. Why is there any need of registering to vote? You are already registered - in lots of governmentprovided records! Its just a matter of sending you a Voters Card and showing you the location to vote. Dead people are dead people and black people are still people, even if they live in Florida or Texas. Stop inventing the wheel all over again, and let the EU parliament do that.
I would agree that there are a lot of reforms that could be done to our voting systems. The voting systems should be good enough that problems like what happened in Florida in 2000 don't occur. The dead voting, on the other hand, is a fairly rare, isolated problem, and becomes less and less of a problem as computers make records more and more accessable. As far as blacks voting goes, I don't really think there is much credible evidence that blacks were disenfanchised in Florida, and I haven't even heard about it occurring in Texas (if you have references to contrary evidence, by all means produce it). As far as "mandatory voting" goes, I disagree. Everyone should have the right to vote, but those who don't take the time to learn the issues well enough to make an informed decision are not helping things by voting. In an ideal world, everyone would learn the issues and make an informed vote. In reality, though, that will never happen, and increasing the number of uninformed voters will only make it easier for a demagogue to sway the populace.
-make your laws changeable, not amendable. Do a national vote to abolish your constitutional restriction on changing the constitution. You can't fix a problem if you can't fix the problem!
I'm not sure what advantage is to be gained by making our laws changeable instead of amendable, other than making the lawbooks shorter and making it easier to the historical record of what laws used to be (the first being somewhat desirable, the second one being very undesirable). As far as making the constitution easier to change goes, all that would do is take away a stable constant that protects us from the whims of polititians. Anyway, other than possibly the second amendment (the one on guns) and the somewhat anacronistic electoral college system for electing a president, I'm curious what you think should be changed about our consitution. Should politicians be able to use temporary changes in public opinion to do away with things like free speech or freedom of religion. Or, should it be easy enough to change the constitution that it would become possible for a single demogogue to manage to pack the congress and get them to change the rules so he/she could become a dictator?
Incidentally, a national referendum would not be sufficient to change our constitution. It requires either an amendment passed by congress (with a 2/3 vote) and then ratified by a certain percentage of the states (can't remember the exact percentage off the top of my head), or the calling of a constitutional convention. On what grounds a constitutional convention could be called is not well defined, nor are exactly what powers it would have (presumably all bets are off and the constitution could essentially be rewritten). A constitutional convention, however, has never been called, and at this point I don't think it would ever be possible to do so (too much time has passed, without it ever being really defined).
-Less media in the courtroom! Respect the right of privacy. The populace have no need to get each detail on the lives of suspected criminals or victims of crime. Most criminals think of themselves as failures anyway, I do. The two faces of justice is that there is punishment, and there is forgiveness. A victim doesn't have to forgive the offender, but society has to, and that becomes impossible if a criminal gets plastered all over the land when process is ongoing and possible punishment is given. In the media there is no forgiving, there is only the Next Story. Be gentle.
Again, no arguments on this one.
-Realize that, as the story's editor points out, addiction is treatable.
-drop the three-strikes rule. Justice isn't baseball! It's lives at stake, for Christ's sake! Besides, by making all third crimes equal in terms of punishment there is no real grading of the crime commited and of the err against a citizen or society. If your third strike is up, then what is the difference between stealing an apple, raping a woman, killing a child or airbombing WTC? None.
Well, the 3-strikes law is only a law in California. As far as whether or not is works or not, I don't know any statistics to argue either way.
-understand that liberalism is about conceding. Conceding of power, space, resources and time to those around you so that they can help themselves and also help you. One can only go so far. Two and a bottle of water can move even further. It also means acknowledging mistakes for what they are and understand that solutions sometimes cannot be provided by you yourself, even if you pay for it.
That depends on who you ask, and what type of liberalism you're referring to. I'm not going to argue that those things aren't true, but I personally tend to subscribe my own views more to the classical liberalism that supports individual rights and limited government.
-understand that morality and religion has nothing in Justice to do, ethics however do.
-chill out. relax. take a few weeks off from work every year. bring some pals over. make food that makes your stomach juice for more. have some french wine. sleep outside under the stars. learn a language. see foreign films. go places you dont understand. read old books. read new ones. think. make art, make babies. be human.
I do (well, not all of those specific things, but you get the point). I also do things like that throughout the year, even when I'm working. There's not much point in living if you don't enjoy it. On the other hand, chilling out does absolutely nothing to solve societies serious problems. That takes hard, tireless work.
Do you want to fix your justice system, or just pretend you are for your own conscience?
I'm all for fixing it. It's actually quite broken. I just don't happen to think that most of your solutions are the correct ones.
"If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for everyone else."
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