Friday, March 19, 2010

The case for public shaming...

18th century illustration of perjurer John Wal...Image via Wikipedia
Today, something briefly came to mind about the state of the justice system in America. I believe we all have felt the insidious effects of the trickling down of greed from members of societies elite as of late and their criminal actions. Enron, Worldcom, Madoff, have all become common day occurrences and yet when these individuals are punished, the fines and the jail time never quite seems to fit the destruction they have caused to working families across the country.

While some of the individuals affected by their actions were just as equally filled with greed and enough ego to challenge most third-world dictators, very often when these economic pariahs collapse we all, well, eat shit. The men who made the millions, billions, and plenty of other illions have already won all their spoils; they have their toys, yachts, penthouses, and high-priced-hookers; when and when they are finally convicted these individuals are at the end of their lives. The party has come to a natural close. These upstanding gents can face jail knowing they had everything; with nothing it means little.

What real penalty can be handed to these people? I truly believe that the stocks and pillory should be brought back as a reasonable form of punishment for these people. Why? Well, if these people felt that they wanted all of the wealth and worth in the world so they could be held up on a pedestal, then as a punishment, they should literally be put on one for all of the public to see. 

While I hated having to read the Scarlet Letter as a teenager, I realize more and more that there is some value in this type of punishment for certain types of megalomaniacs. The common worker robbed of hard earned income deserve a spectacle of these individuals beyond the media parade allotted to these individuals. Perhaps a rotten tomato and the ability to publicly mock the person face to face, or in a riotous crowd in more appropriate. 

The Wall Street Journal has an article about how Madoff was allegedly attacked while in prison, I don't think of this as justice in any sense of the word. I do believe the man should be punished and humiliated. While the pillory  seems contrary to almost all senses of decency that I have honed over the years, and all ethics I with which I have been raised, it seems like a reasonable way to treat what is becoming a more and more common societal ill.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments:

Post a Comment