Selling Prosecutorial Overreach to the Masses (with pre-order bonuses)



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17 Responses

  1. Avatar tom van dyke says:

    Priest/”saint” Thomas Aquinas [d. 1274] understood the Clockwork Orange equation, that free will—if such a thing exists—must be given some play or else it doesn’t exist atall.

    Take that, John Rawls. Pwnd by a video game that never heard of you, anticipated and answered in advance by a great mind and soul 750 years ago.

    [I just happened to be reading the above link the other day, and it hit me that Anthony Burgess and Thomas Aquinas would have got on famously, and Rawls would have been as a fart scolding the room.]Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      Tom, I gotta second what Mac says below. What the hell does any of this have to do with Rawls? Have you even read Rawls, or is he simply your bogeyman for all things left, or at least all things “social justice?”Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        It *IS* a discussion of the point of (man’s) Law, whether it be to serve Justice or something else entirely… and what that would, in practice, consist of.

        To have Aquinas and/or Rawls show up in that discussion is something unsurprising.

        Unless it’s also a video game thread. It might be surprising to have it show up there.

        But not unwelcome.Report

        • Avatar Chris says:

          Jay, it’s not so much that Rawls shows up, but that he shows up in the context of Tom’s comments, which seem to have nothing to do with Rawls, that I find baffling (he was digging on Rawls in another recent thread, too). I’m willing to accept that there’s a point to it, but if there is, Tom hasn’t laid it out very clearly.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            The essay he posted was about Rawls’ criticisms of Aquinas’s discussion of Law…Report

            • Avatar Chris says:

              Yeah, the essay is actually on a brief criticism by Rawls of Aquinas’ theory (or lack thereof, in Rawls’ mind) of tolerance. So again, I find it odd to include, and the jabs about free will make it even odder (perhaps Tom doesn’t know Rawls’ view of metaphysically-based political and moral theories and how it relates to the use of free will to ground them?). I suppose I’m just trying to figure out what Tom’s going on about, given this comment and his Rawls comments on the previous thread.

              If Tom really wants to read some Rawls on Aquinas, at length, I’d recommend this:


              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Well, given that the original question was “is it cool to throw a serial molester in jail for a murder he didn’t commit?”, discussions of free will for the citizenry (that is to say “wiggle room to be wrong”) was kinda touched on by the essay…Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Kinda, but not really in the context of Rawls. That is, there’s nothing on Rawls’ theory either of the role of free will (except a mention of his “pragmatic” approach, without elaboration) or his views on anything like that situation.

                Look, I can see brining Rawls into this. I’m just not sure why Tom’s doing so, or what the hell he’s saying about it, in this discussion or the last. And the article doesn’t clarify that any more than Tom’s disconnected and vague comments on it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                What would Officer Rawls have said in response to Rusty’s argument?Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                The operative text would probably be this one:

                He also has a brief, though much discussed section on punishment in ToJ. I have to admit that I’m not quite sure how to approach Rusty’s reasoning from a Rawlsian perspective. I’d have to think about it for a bit, and I suspect that any explanation of that perspective on this particular issue would be lengthy. However, I think we can say that in the abstract, Rawls’ view of the sort of utilitarian reasoning that Rusty applies is that it only applies at the institutional level, or at the level of justifying punishment for crimes in general, but can’t be adequately applied to individual instances of crime or individual criminals. So he would likely have an issue with Rusty’s reasoning, if not because the practical result is that a man gets punishment that he deserves for other crimes, then because a man who did commit the crime didn’t get punished for it since, again, utilitarian reasoning of the sort Rusty is employing doesn’t apply to the individual application of punishment.Report

  2. Avatar mac says:

    @Tom–I have no f’ing clue what you are talking about.
    @Jaybird–this sounds like a pretty good old-skool “Adventure” game. What that byplay is, is a McGuffin. (I wonder if the game is even deterministic? If not, it’s a genuine tour de force. Non-deterministic games with plot are a rare breed.)Report

  3. Avatar tom van dyke says:

    Hi, “Mac,” whoever you may be. Welcome to the blog & thx for the reply. It’s cool you have no f’ing clue what I’m talking about, Burgess, Rawls, Aquinas. Inside baseball shit. McGuffin is more germane here.

    Enjoy the game, sorry to intrude on the discussion. I’m out.Report

  4. Avatar Barry says:

    What I would say is that this is the ‘ticking timebomb’ scenario, or the ‘the constitution is not a suicide pact’ scenario, or any other such thing. 99 times out of 100, it’s used by people to justify abusing their power in the ways that they’d like to.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Every time I’ve seen the “ticking timebomb”, it’s always been given as a larger-than-life hypothetical involving issues of national security.

      Seeing the problem rephrased as a problem involving someone banally evil… evil the way that you and I have casually encountered evil people from time to time… was striking. The ticking timebomb is, of course, something that will never happen.

      The guy in the bushes? That happens pretty regularly (if not every day).

      Of course you can see that thumb of the questioner on the scale… but a hypothetical that happens regularly is much more jarring than a hypothetical that merely could happen, maybe.Report

  5. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    Incidentally…is there a “right answer” to the situation, or is this one of those games where no matter which choice you make it’s the “right” one (or “wrong”, depending on what story the writers wanted to tell.)Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      There are answers that result in the police chief clapping you on the back and calling you an up-and-comer, and there are answers that result in the police chief saying that he is disappointed that you brought him a case with little but circumstantial evidence.

      So it’s like real life.

      More reason to bet on Duke.Report