21 September 2011

riot police

twitter | BrazenlyLiberal

If you need riot police outside the building where justice is being served, maybe what you're serving up isn't exactly justice. #troydavis
Okay, fine. That's fairly clever, and maybe it's a good rule of thumb to make you stop and do a smell test.

But what's the logical conclusion of this sentiment?  That justice is served when no one is angry? Or the least number of people are angry? Isn't this just morality-by-popularity?

The mob is hardly a good indication of what's just and what's unjust either. In fact, it's probably a pretty terrible indicator. Let's add up all the mobs that have ever formed in history. How many of them were on the side of Justice? And how many of them were just mobs?  Have the riot police been on the unjust side of the balance more or less than half the time?

Long-time readers will know I don't have much love for the police.  But I don't have much love for masses of people either.

Edited to add — I should make clear that this is not a commentary on the Troy Davis situation in particular. I have zero idea if the state is being just or not here. My bias is that it's not, but I have literally zero bits of information about this case.

As a general rule I oppose the death penalty not because I have problem with homicide as a punishment, but because I have no faith in the state to make the decision on my behalf about who should live and who should die.

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