AST and the Cause

I need to place us in context. When you talk about the medical model, the school model, I’m melting down. Those models are the parenting model, and abuse is the social model, the parenting model. Everyone needs to be anti-spanking, anti-punishment or things don’t change for anyone. Spanking is abuser-making, and acceptance can be difficult for the hurt. We must be allies to all children, even to the children of the masters of the universe, or we simply grow a new crop of abusers.

We are not the only group who is abused, many groups are abused, and all appeal to be exempted from the flood of abuse, I mean, rightly so, of course.

But this is not our problem – wait.

I mean, we didn’t make this problem.

It may indeed be our problem to solve – that’s one theory, right, that the diversity of the human brain is the adaptability of the human species, that it is some divergent mind that is always finding the new way forward. In that sense, perhaps this is indeed our job to solve it – but still, the problem isn’t part of us. It is very much part of general society, isn’t it? There is some dominant group, always, and all smaller groups get the smelly end, always, right?

Isn’t that the real problem?

Honestly, I have always felt it was my problem to solve, see something, say something, and I seem to be the only one who sees it. Again, it may indeed be autistic people’s problem to solve, and . . . and I’m sorry. I diverge from the divergent too, I guess. It seems unpopular to imagine a larger problem, I mean, that makes some sense,  the Cause is already an umbrella, it is the whole conversation for its members, of course. I’m sorry. The universe is an onion, and the layers are connected. If the conversation ends somewhere, that line isn’t real and true, it’s a social construction at best. The universe and life do not stay in-category.

Meaning, you can’t really speak the truth when you must “stay on topic.” If we abused ourselves, we would be the topic, not the case, or not the relevant case, we seem to be the topic when we are not the problem here, every group does. Again, we are not the only abused group.

I spent my life on the attempt to understand this larger, all-group problem. I knew I was odd, I just thought I was clever and lucky, I had an insight, a gift or a curse of some kind. I had done it, pretty much had my understanding of the problem before I had a child get diagnosed ASD and then it started to sink in about me. But not before I gave myself a rare, autistic level understanding of abuse and the mythical Human Nature. It’s been a good theory, things get clearer, more things get explained – finding out I’m autistic hardly hurts it, it’s that good. Worried me for a bit there, I admit.

It’s an answer to “why the abuse?” the question every group, and frankly every person asks but only rhetorically – really, no-one is surprised. That’s the Human Nature myth: no matter how badly they behave, no explanation is really required. ABA torture of children? Meh, dumb doctors. No reason! They just don’t know any better, and when people don’t know, of course they torture children! This is the explanatory power of Human Nature, no horror is “unnatural.” Of course.

The answer is punishment turns bad to good.

They think it’s good, threats and force, they think when their children survive it and go off to war, looking for strangers to kill, that this is “good.”

It’s what “punishment” means, bad is good, a deterrent is magic that turns bad abuse to good . . . good what? Teaching? – but it colours all identical looking abuse forever. Wars are advertised to “teach them a lesson.” The NRA tried to bring the primary schoolers’ behaviour into their defense about Newtown. Not kidding. The bad guys already know what I try to tell the libchallengeds, that we have already bought the false principle and can therefore buy it in almost any sick form whatsoever.

Not kidding.

I want us all to remember, we are asking for an end to our abuse – and their entire system is abuse, they do it to their own children on the regular. We are never going to reach smug happy abuse survivors that their abuse is a problem, they are proud of how strong it has made them – strong means mean. Aggressive and insensitive. Your “problem” is their one size fits all solution, discipline and strength, and here’s the rub – we have to stop them doing it to themselves first, or they are never going to hear anyone.

I climb the walls listening to people speak as if the abuse happens by accident, and people only have to be told. It is our entire system. It is going to take more than a leaflet campaign.

We want to do this not just to save ourselves, but everyone. The ways that we want to teach, the ways of treating us and dealing with us, people need to learn that for everyone, and that means understanding that the bad stuff happens from error and will, not by accident or automatically – and not because of anything about us as a group, but because it is the forever policy of mainstream human society. The magical Human Nature ends all inquiry, and if we are not allowed to question why the abuse, then we are not being effective, we are simply pulling babies out of the river and not minding that society throws all of its babies in the river and more importantly, not stopping it.

I’m autistic and I know it now – but spanking is still the First Cause of all human problems. It is our job to fix it, perhaps, because the abuse fails to convert the same number of the ND to its cause than it does the rest of the world, and that immunity is our superpower, maybe.

Jeff

May 2nd., 2022

AST Genes

AST is conversion therapy for NT people, and they all believe it will work for anything, because it does “work” for them – poor definition of “works,” as always, of course, but it does something for them, it sets those epigenetic options. For the NT, abuse is indeed a stimulus with a predictable (if misinterpreted and unconscious) result.

The ABA argument, it’s my argument about spanking and police, same for same, except complicated by the fact that the abuse does seem to “work” for the NT, to the NT. I worry that the ND seem to agree with the NT about that, that the NT’s system “works” for them, and only fails the divergent, and I am certain that this is not the case (or, again, that “works,” means something we could all live better without).

So now I’m thinking that AST is a behaviour and a genesuite, just one not everyone has, but it’s one that is self protective and self-propagating and seems destined to drift through the entire population rather than be selected out, a successful mutation. What do they call one that saturates, that leaves no organism untouched, I forget, is there a name for that? I worried AST was one such when I thought it was universal, before neurodivergence entered my mind and the equation, and now, perhaps I worry less, and it seems the whole world will end before this saturation would ever be reached anyhow. But no, AST perhaps doesn’t require saturation, it has a strategy for the “non-compliant” (sorry, horrible term, “their” term, AST’s term – I know, another three letter acronym’s term, ABA’s. I don’t say it as a cop or a nurse, AST’s “strategy,” not mine) already, same strategy it has for everything.

Not an endorsement.

Perhaps there is some room between, I keep coming up against this with AST, that I am describing something that is both “biological,” and “behavioural/cultural”, the space between, where these things interact, meaning not all common problematic genes drift to saturation, that in the space between random and universal, perhaps there is sometimes a control mechanism, even for a trait that violently imposes itself upon the world?

AST is the control.

I have said, it’s both, genes, and the environment, which, we control our environment, so “environment” is “behaviour” to AST, it is both, genes and behaviour, that it is in the behaviour . . . phase? Aspect? The behaving time, no, just in the behaviour, in the behaving that we get to attempt to exercise some free will and make adjustments. Ah, I guess it’s been some time since I’ve spelled this out for myself, but it was always the point of AST, that if we behave less violently, we will become less violent, if people generally get less rough with one another, with their kids mostly, the next generation will grow up less prone to violence. AST simply endeavors to prove the old adage that violence breeds violence and tries to make it matter to people – even your violence. Even your dear old mother’s violence breeds violence.

Is all this not contained in the phrase “there is environmental control of genes?” Imagine knowing this soundbite and ever saying again, “Bah. Human nature.” Folks are very compartmentalized.

I’m having this odd idea, all genes aren’t selfish, not as selfish, perhaps most are selfish in an enlightened, sustainable way, but that our fellow Dr. Dawkins has perhaps been reading mostly the AST genes, I mean, if he has managed to explain our unsustainable human ways with genes at all. I hate to throw out work, perhaps it only wants a bit of a tweak, and to be said from a different angle, in a different context. I’m having a lot of random thoughts as neurodivergence makes its way though my mind, into all the places – one just now, that if the AST genesuite is not present or available in the autistic, is it in there still anyway, inactive and not activatable – as some of that “junk DNA” we hear about? Is one individual’s junk maybe working in another? A known thing, in general DNA terms, I guess?

I suppose if AST is a genesuite, then the NT world will frame this as the divergent lacking something, but I assume they have searched for autistic genes and come up empty – I wonder if anyone has thought to turn the search over, look for the gene that makes the difference in the NT, my AST genes, which probably include things they have called “warrior alleles,” among an unknown number and types of others. Perhaps one or more of those sort of alleles that have been suggested could be viewed as markers for AST, correlations. Over my head, of course. That would be too easy and too clear, that is not real life in the world of genetics, I don’t think.

And anyway the point isn’t to find the evil gene and weed it out, the point is to stop activating it, and perhaps identifying something about these genes will help us see when we’ve managed to set the option the other way – but if we never learn any of the details and simply stop with the forever socialized abuse, stop intentionally choosing the bad option, that will solve the problem.

I only worry that it needs a gene to make people see it, some sort of proof from the microscope. Again, it’s obvious to this now obviously divergent mind, as soon as I learned of the environmental control of genes, having already had some insight about punishment and abuse being identical, there it was, I don’t know how humankind suspends their disbelief about it, but again, that’s the whole point, most folks don’t see the simple logic in it that I do, we are so different, you and I, we really are.

Jeff

April 11th., 2022

I suppose this is a continuation of this one, in the personal blog:

Punishment and Respect

Punishment and Respect

 

I’m gonna change my approach a little here, start making these things short and sweet.

 

So this third one of those will be on this idea here: if you punish, it instills respect. Otherwise why would they respect you? So a couple of thoughts:

 

Punishment is a betrayal, of communication, of love, of respect; to be punished is to have our personhood rejected and denied. Punishments happen when a more powerful person or persons has given up talking to or reasoning with us and simply treats us like an object rather than any semblance of a peer, or even a person. To my mind, this is a worst case scenario in adult relationships. At its best, it’s Mandela’s incarceration, a classic walk underground and into legend (though, let’s not forget, not a good time for him still) resulting from a considered difference of political opinion. Rest assured most of the outcomes of this everyday betrayal, punishment, are not so good. One thing at a time, though. Respect.

 

To my mind, punishment is the end of respect. After one punishment, maybe, after some good apology, but after a regular application of it? Talk of ‘respect’ is empty chatter, mind-boggling hubris. A half-century of post-Skinner parenting crap literature never seems to acknowledge that you can’t have discipline from punishment and respect at the same time. I’ll tell you though: you’ve got a choice, and I repeat, you might not lose trust and respect the very first time – but don’t push it twice.

 

Have we really forgotten how it felt when we were the kids? Really? How many of us only come to respect our parents later in life, after we’ve spent a few decades dishing it out on our own kids? How many of us never do? We weren’t born disrespecting, they earned it – and we understand them after we earn it.

 

 

Jeff

 

Jan. 20, 2016

 

Rare Research Opportunity

Parenting styles don’t matter, that is what all the analyses of all the twin and adoption studies came up with. They postulated three sorts of parenting – permissive, authoritative, and authoritarian, and with that in mind and all the twin and adoption data, they found that the middle road was best.

I don’t see it that way, because for them, the middle was the middle and permissive was one direction and authority the opposite direction, when really, it’s a one directional scale. Really, the spectrum goes from no application of authority, through some (permissive), through more (authoritative), to much (authoritarian) application of authority. “Application of authority” means control and the tools for it, meaning punishment, meaning force. My point being the three “parenting styles” they postulated are increasing levels of force, and the data says a little is bad and a lot is bad, but in between is not as bad. To my mind there are other ways to interpret that pattern than that the middle amount of force simply strikes the right balance, I need to know if that’s true, balance between authority and what? Original Sin? If two out of three dosages of it are bad for you, why is the third not?

My interpretation is this: children of permissive parents fear punishment less, the deterrents fail because the child is not convinced he’ll have to pay the price, so some number more of those kids develop bad habits, find trouble. Conversely, children of authoritative parents can be any combination of damaged or bitter and angry from abuse they’ve suffered, and the rougher their parents are, the rougher some of the kids learn to be, and so perhaps more of those kids find trouble too. A multitude of abuse and corporal punishment studies will support that. But then, why the middle road? The other things don’t apply, the punishments are consistent, so the deterrents work, the child has a higher expectation of having to pay the price, and the child has a better chance of avoiding real abuse and damage, along with other things as well, probably. I think that small win for the authoritative parents represents more children trapped in impossible binds, more kids who aren’t hurting enough to really speak out, more kids we’ve fooled into taking it like a man. But the point is this.

The permissive parents’ kids still know they can and will be punished for some things, they know the adults reserve the right to do it, same as with the rougher parents, so they’re carrying the bitterness too, them, the middle-road parents’ kids, they all know that. To my mind, the force is the trouble – and the science also says individual parents don’t leave a trace, that children are raised as a group function, by other kids, with the adult rules and structures in place – the force itself is an issue, but maybe just that all kids know generally that the adults will use the authority, the force, on them is more to the point. That knowledge offends all children, irrespective of how strict or wishy washy their own caregivers are. (That will be a sticking point, of course, I imagine a lot of parents don’t acknowledge that sense of offense, and I would respectfully suggest that not understanding that feeling means there is a large blind spot in our empathy.)

Again, they say individual parents don’t leave a trace on their kids, so that must mean individual parents’ styles don’t matter either – again, by their data, and their analyses, because of the simplistic categorization of “parenting styles.” Life certainly, but their science particularly needs a control set of zero authority parents, because that is the fundamental difference, authority, punishments and force, yes or no, and then perhaps we can make sense of the floating scale of less, more and most too. They saw very little difference, again, the middle road was only a little better, their main point is none of it makes any difference at all, so really, what that means to me, because I postulate force and punishments as the operative force in these matters, is when force is present, the amount of it makes little difference. Perhaps it’s a binary condition, like the presence of some poison the smallest amount of which is enough and more makes little difference. What we need to see is if there is a difference if we remove it altogether. Now it just so happens, I know a family like that we could interview, put through some tests.

Of course, they’d have to be compensated for their time, and these people are rare, which may drive up the price . . . really, though, for a “science” that is a hundred and twenty-five years old, a chance to establish a null control, for perhaps the first time?

What price could be too high?

 

Jeff

 

Jan. 16, 2016

Mom’s Such a Martyr – Parental Sacrifice and the Six Year Challenge

 

One of my many differences with people in the parenting groups and with the prevailing climate in the gentle parenting movement is around sacrifice, around parents looking after themselves as well as their kids, because it’s important to model self-love and care, and because we figure happy, less stressed-out parents will have more success with their efforts to make the gentle change in their parenting. All this and more, and it’s obvious, impossible to deny in theory . . .

LOL. Of course I’m kidding!

My contrariness is not easily intimidated. I don’t know if you, the postulated reader realize it, but I’m kind of living on the edge here, when I start these sorts of rants, often the subject of my critique is something apparently unassailable like this. This is a high wire act in my mind, unconventional thinking, and it’s not easy. But with every new aspect of my study here, I’m gaining confidence and I don’t think I’m going mad. Fooling myself that I’m winning any points in these arguments doesn’t seem overly difficult or complex, which tells me I’m not so far diverged from the reality of things. Of course, for a curmudgeon, this is where the fun is. So to it, then.

This generation’s allergy to parental notions of sacrifice has some strange roots. The image of the sacrificing Mom is that of the Nineteen-fifties middle America, thing, Dad off at work and Mom at home, a slave to the house, the laundry, the kids, and of course Dad, and Mom lives out her life never doing a thing for herself, a martyr for the family. That, yes, a horrible standard for Mom, working twenty-four seven and the most hardworking of Dads not working those hours at all, home time being largely off-time for Dad. This is a situation at which to rebel, and when I was young, it was Women’s’ Lib, the women’s’ liberation movement, or more generally known then as today, feminism, that broke the spell and let us all know that this sacrifice was neither ‘its own reward’ or the model anyone should set their daughters up for.

All right and proper, not strange, I know, but here it is: was that also not the time and culture that beat the crap out of their kids, out of our parents, us and our friends? (I’m fifty-five as of this writing.) I know, right, parenting blogs and feminist blogs and never the twain shall meet, but, folks, it’s all one world out there. Our martyrs passed on their second-class citizen status and associated abuse to us, right? I know, many acted as protectors, shielding us from our more violent fathers, but really, in that demographic, who raised the kids? All I’m saying is, I get it, that culture of “sacrifice” was bad, that model needs to go, for both feminist and – childist – reasons, no argument for that larger thing: that whole culture needs to change, absolutely.

But (and here come the comments), was the sacrifice really the problem in it?

If it seems to be, I think it’s only because of its close ties to abuse, that Mom’s sacrifice means she allowed herself and therefore us to be abused. Does the feminist movement want to say that Mom was complicit in her own and her children’s’ abuse, that is, is Mom’s shared guilt what they want to shine a light on, or should we not just keep the parenting talk focussed on abuse? Abuse is the real scourge here, focussing on sacrifice is oddly misogynist when we’re talking about abuse or parenting, it’s a form of victim blaming – as though there are impersonal, automatic cycles of abuse with lives of their own, but these martyr women, they’re making a choice in it, like they’re the only ones who are. It just smells off to me. Mom may have done it as an adult, but abuse is still abuse, even if we seem to volunteer for it. It’s the driving force in the dark side of our parents’ and grandparents’ parenting and Stockholm Syndrome in itself is a reaction, not a cause. All I’m saying is, Ladies, mothers, feminists and those who are both especially, yes, no-one should model that, that was some misguided sacrifice indeed.

To give the devil and the dark side it’s due, though, some bullshit in the name of a virtue is not a new thing in the world, and many a callous abuser has beaten his chest and cried about his “sacrifice.”  As Dark Side as I can ever be: is the flip side of ‘happy parents are gentle parents’ an ultimatum: ‘Call me out on my bullshit and I will beat the tar out of this kid?’ Misreads and abuse exist for everything, including sacrifice; it doesn’t mean things can’t ever be the good, proper versions sometimes. Sacrifice was our mothers’ and grandmothers’ immediate personal problem, their battle, and maybe still many ladies’ battle today, and solving it saves women, absolutely. Suggesting that fighting this battle somehow saves children, and that the two groups, women and children (read adults and children) can never be in conflict, that one’s gains can never negatively impact the other, however, isn’t right and it’s not helpful. Your fight for freedom was and is against the men, the adults. It’s still OK to sacrifice a little for your kids.

How sacrifice hurts us as children is only one of the many, many ways abuse hurts us. Let’s keep our eye on the prize.

So. ‘One of my many differences.’

I don’t mind some sacrifice. Yes, I’m a cultural Christian, and while that doesn’t mean I agree with the sacrifice of human beings in the literal sense, nailed to trees, I do think sacrifice is, at least in it’s better forms, a good thing, a moral act. In fact, it’s a big part of my planned cure for abuse and punishment in the world. In it’s most practical, generational terms, what I’m advising is that some punished and also possibly abused generation swallow that pain and find a way not to repeat, in fact to sacrifice what they see as a “normal, happy life,” live with the pain and troubles their childhoods left them with and keep their fucking hands off of their own kids, even if they think “raising their kids right” will make themselves feel better. That is gonna feel like some sacrifice, I won’t lie to you.

I felt it, believe me.

I can’t imagine how many times I’ve told the half-joke that I sometimes wish I had beat my second daughter up at least once, just so that during all the frustrating times with her afterward, I could have just closed my eyes for a second and treasured the memory. Man, it would be nice, once in a man’s life to bark an order and see it swiftly carried out. That is an immediate gratification I have rarely enjoyed, believe me. I have fantasies of personal power, my worldview tells me we all do, and I have happily (usually happily) sacrificed getting the payoff those fantasies promise.

In practical terms in a slightly shorter time frame, I would say the sacrifice of our inheritance of parental power needed to last until my younger daughter was old enough to talk and reason with, old enough to understand things, and as I remember it, she was five or six. She was born a full three and one-third years after our older one, so the difficult years, where we manually did everything we might want to train our kids to control themselves for, were then over before ten years had elapsed from the first one’s birth. I mean, ten years into our life as parents, we never had another cause to consider punishing. This when the teen years were still before us, and they aren’t anymore. We sacrificed, and it paid, sorry if that sounds ironically old fashioned.

We sacrificed a lot, all the other things, besides the sense of parental power I will save for another post, but there was a lot of work, and we had opted out of much of normal life around normal families, we sacrificed the support normal parents get from each other. Not kidding, it was a lot, but again: for six years after the birth of your last child, then it’s payoff time. Not kidding about that either.

 

 

Conclusions

 

That old model of family life, yes, that was bad, let’s do away with that, but let’s also make sure we’re fighting the real devil here, not some victim proxy. Mom’s sacrifice didn’t help, but abuse and force, these are the issues that shape us, negative things like these. Sacrifice is still a moral tool, with a legitimate existence. Do we imagine that in harsh, unforgiving nature, sacrifice on the part of parents is not a survival adaptation for the young and so for the species?

Having said that, part of what was wrong with the model of Mom’s martyrdom is that it never ends, the payout is never made. They thought the payout was our success and our happiness – but again: they whooped our asses while they said that to themselves, so that payout maybe never came either, right? Sacrifice for nothing really isn’t, in hindsight. What I’m offering you here is old-time, tried and true sacrifice, hard work for actual results.

Face that Mom and Dad were and all your friends and colleagues are wrong about the benefits of any sort of punishing, and hold back your punitive urges until your kids are six years old. Make that sacrifice and see what happens. And don’t get me wrong, be nice to yourselves, that part is true, it will be easier if you’re getting breaks. If, however, when it gets hard, and you can’t help but feel you’re somehow repeating Mom’s errors, over-sacrificing, I promise you, six years. Six years of feeling like something of a fool, six years of letting your kids get away with stuff you never would have gotten away with, six years of feeling like your inner child has lost a fucking lottery, and after that the hard part is behind you – a decade or two earlier than it was when our parents parented us, if you recall. For my wife and I, it meant it was that long before it ever got any easier for many of the parents around us, and neither the strictest ones nor the least so were immune, which, BTW, fits the social science study data.

Some sacrifice is a good thing, sometimes.

 

Jeff

Jan. 16, 2016

#SixYearChallenge

Negative Proofs

It’s a hard row to hoe, convincing people that all punishment is harmful, Sisyphean, in fact, but the opposite, that was pretty easy: a complete lack of punishment, no dispensing of negative consequences whatsoever – has no ill effects. Punishment is not necessary for life.

You may not be ready to allow that it’s harmful – but for the lack of it to be harmful, me and my family would have to show some harm, some of the sorts of harm we all agree might result from a lack of discipline, wildness, inconsiderateness, poor boundaries, violence, opposition, poor morals – and that is just not the case.

You can’t prove a negative, but you can prove whether removing an organ kills the patient. Punishment is like our appendix, a legacy condition that can only cause trouble. It’s not a requirement for life. I’ve proved that much, and that is no small thing.

You’re welcome.

 

Jeff

 

Jan. 16, 2016

The Cruel Irony of Deterrents

This is my favourite series right here. It’s outside the box, it’s to the point, and entertaining.

 

😉

 

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/10/22/law-and-order-the-irony-of-deterrents-part-2/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/11/06/the-irony-of-deterrents-part-3/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/11/27/prisons-and-bad-neighborhoods-the-irony-of-deterrents-part-4/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2015/02/02/the-carrot-and-the-stick-the-irony-of-deterrents-part-5/

 

These ones are better coupled with the Irony series too, I think . . .

 

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/09/01/punishment-a-self-fulfilling-prophecy-and-the-roots-of-institutionalized-racism/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2015/07/12/shit-flows-downhill/

 

Thanks for reading, folks! Please, share and retweet, it’s all free. Trying to save the world here.

 

Jeff

Dec. 19, 2015

Policing at a Crossroads

. . . same crossroads all things eventually reach when they start down the road toward humanism, or just plain exist, moving like the rest of us into the future. At some point in the train robbery, you have to commit to letting go of your horse and holding on to the train. The period where you still have both options is dangerous, so safety dictates it be short. I know, sorry.

I’ll go straight to it, but it’ll take a minute still – still sorry.

I caught a headline somewhere, most likely Twitter, some person got released from a wrongful conviction, and got paid some great amount for damages, which got me thinking. Of course, the first NPLP (something I’m trying to start – Namby Pamby Liberal Pussy. Folks like me.) thought is ‘Yes! Science has saved another wrongly convicted man from police machinations!’ and yes, there could be a racial aspect to the story, I mean of course, there always could be, but the picture was of a black fellow.

Then of course, I sort of globalized the concept, like I enjoy way too much, started to wonder, if there are say, a thousand such cases in a given place during a given period, then how many of the thousand were non-criminal innocents and how many might have deserved their sentences or worse for crimes they weren’t prosecuted for and/or convicted of? I mean, surely, if the police can be known to have railroaded an innocent black man into prison, then it is probably not beneath their morals to have set some heinous, dangerous criminals up for solid wrongful convictions either.

So, the first RWN (Right Wing Nutjob, something that’s a normal epithet on a site I play on, Thoughts.com) thought following that probably is, I hope somebody is reviewing which sorts of folks they’re setting free, like trying to make sure the newly free drug-related convicts really are only that or something. And, yeah, we always hope for some local knowledge, some attention to detail. Numbers games are always error-riddled.

But for me, again, trying to globalize, trying to see the social implications of all things punishment-related, this is it here.

That second practice must have felt pretty justifiable, if the cop knew, for sure, that his target’s incarceration would make the public a good deal safer, that if in short, the end really was justification for some evil means. However, technology, humanism and morality have moved on in this case, specifically, the old setup tactics are failing now because some humanists, someone who cares, have applied DNA testing etc. and caught the police cheating.

In the long term, each generation gets treated better than the last, and they each learn to expect to be. We expect moral circles to expand, and we are viewing moral issues in a more egalitarian, more logical way with each decade as well, and one result of that process is this. We want to hold our police to the law more than we perhaps have in the past. Police forces evolved because the wealthy found their prosperity to be more stable when the King tried and punished crimes, rather than living with the endless feuding produced by the previous vendetta sort of system where families looked after offenders to their interests privately. So police came into being long before modern democracies. Now, we are taxpayers and the police don’t work for the King anymore, they work for us. So the time honoured tactic of setting a man up to please the policeman’s employers, now, looks as criminal as it always did, except worse.

Worse, because the victim is supposed to be the boss. Worse, because it’s now our moral issue, because we’re the boss. Can’t blame it on the King anymore, it’s us. Now that it is, I think we think the police are supposed to do their jobs and somehow succeed while never straying across the line of the law themselves for the very good reason that when they stray, it’s sometimes against us. I don’t imagine anyone has escaped the image of an experienced cop’s disdain for the idea, and fair enough, I get it, I do. It’s violence for violence, the experience is real, the danger is real . . . but still. As true and undeniable as that is, it’s still, I’m sorry, not that meaningful, uh . . . scientifically, yes, even for social science. Anecdotal, to be sure, but not only that. The thing is, all that is life as viewed from the past, from horseback. Our societies, and our police forces are at the choice-point now, still feeling the ongoing trauma of our authoritarian ways of the past and still trying to keep a grip on it, but we also have one hand on the train of the future, where mass media and big data are starting to show us who we really are.

So when the King’s dragoons abuse their position, it’s a moral crime, sure, but he’s the King, he’s responsible and we’re not. When our tax-funded, public police do, it’s our moral crime, we’re responsible, and in democratic societies like ours we need to do something about it. That is our job, to vote intelligently and not support evil, law and order politicians.

For the police, that is the crossroads we’re at. Yes, we have in the past turned a blind eye to some over-stepping on the part of the police, but now here we are, taxed and paying for it. Any herd of herbivores tolerates the presence of the predators, perhaps, the wildebeests live with the lions as a fact of life – but I don’t think they would if they had to pay for it too. I think this crossroads perhaps adds up to a slight change in job description for the police, an acknowledgement of the democratic nature of our society and who’s working for who.

Specifically?

What if we did let’s say, refresh our commitment to the police staying on the right side of the law themselves? We the people might try to remember that the goal, eventually, must certainly be a lawful world where at least the police aren’t criminals too. Sorry, also not very specific. Let’s just brainstorm a bit, point form.

  • It might not be going too far to suggest that police need to lose a few more fights to regain public sympathy. Personally, I reserve my concern for the people who lose the vast majority of the fights. Today, the police don’t look vulnerable enough to justify their shoot first policies. I think non-lethal weaponry in the hands of the police would go a long way towards building some public trust for the police, and for that to happen, there has to be some sense that police casualties are indeed a negotiable thing, as long as there are so many more citizen casualties. As long as the life of a single cop is supposed to be worth more than any number of citizens, we’re going to be in conflict and in that sense, police are creating social problems rather than solving them.
  • I actually like the idea of this possibly fictional ‘Ferguson Effect.’ If the police are really engaged in a sort of work slow-down action to protest the growing public scrutiny of them or to avoid getting themselves into trouble, that might be a good thing. If they are not going through a door when their only possible security is to kill those folks on the other side, maybe that’s a good thing. Personally, I can imagine that there are ways in which even gang activity and drug dealing are less offensive than state-sponsored murder of criminals. I mean, if this is the conversation?

“Hey, Police! Stop shooting unarmed alleged criminals!”

“Hey, it’s dangerous out here! Do you want policing or don’t you?”

“Yes, but murder is a crime, so it is for you too!”

“Hey, it’s my security! Do you want this crime stopped or not?”

“Yes – THIS crime, but your crime too!”

“Hey, if you haven’t got my back, I ain’t working! If it’s my life at risk, I ain’t going through any more doors. See how you like it when we’re not out there killing criminals for you.”

This adds up to an immediate threat, a pressure play, but what if maybe we call the police’s bluff, what if we stop and think about it for a minute? I say we give it a try, see how it plays out. Whatever happens, we learn something. So here’s my response:

“Good idea. Let’s see how it works out. If everything goes to Hell, we’ll make changes again, but for now, yeah. Let’s see how it pans out.”

  • We need to stop arresting people for minor crimes, period. An arrest is an action that is an escalation compared to many of the “crimes” we arrest and detain for, and as such, worse. We need to mail out invoices for fines, and we need to help the miscreants pay the fines – not arrest them and start potentially deadly fights to do it. If we are trying to lessen crime, then we need to stop justifying larger crimes – confinement, violence – by using them to stop smaller ones.

 

So, this is getting long, I’ll stop.

Long and short? As a society, as many societies, we seem to have missed the change, we seem to not have noticed that democratic governments change everything, all the ancient social institutions, and that police forces today work, literally and officially, for the people, all the people. What was police brutality in the past and used to be a private act, the King’s goons working out on His citizens, is now insubordination. Eric Garner was a member of the consortium that employs the NYPD, a citizen, and he was murdered by his own public servants. Ironically, that should offend authoritarians everywhere as well as everyone else.

It stopped being us VS them when we established our democracies, Folks, it’s all us now. Let’s deal with crime generally, not just some people’s crimes. Ours too.

 

Jeff

Nov. 23, 2015

Getting Carried Away – Punishment Psychosis

Getting Carried Away – Punishment Psychosis

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: these mass shooters are punishing their victims.

It’s NOT a new thing, and it’s not remotely anything different than what we all do, what we all approve of, violence as a response to things we don’t like.

They learned it at home.

We all agree with their basic premise: we should hurt people who do stuff we don’t like.

Because that’s supposed to straighten them out, as if our punishing stimulus is the only stimulus, as if nothing else in the world has any bearing on what people do, as if we’re all living in one of Skinner’s boxes. Manson, Brevik, probably all of these idiots, they have such an unconscious, un-formed idea of what they’re doing – those two apparently thought the spark of their violence would ignite the whole world in race violence – that it betrays a kind of blindness, a sort of blind faith in the power of violent punishment, that all they thought they had to do was begin and some sort of chain reaction was going to start the race war that cures the world of whatever they don’t like. This seems to be the fantasy of the mass shooters, one violent act of punishment and the world is changed. This is perhaps what may be referred to as Punishment Psychosis, when this fantasy takes over your life.

I repeat: we agree with this idea. Punishing what we don’t like is supposed to change the world for the better.

Yes it is, and we agree! Well – YOU do. I’ve seen through it, I’m working that poisoned insane logic out of my system, but trust me, I spend a lot of time online and in person fighting what I have determined to be a terrible scourge, the practices of punishing. Almost no-one doesn’t think we shouldn’t hurt people to make them do what we want; in positive wording, almost EVERYONE thinks hurting people to make them do what you want is the way to live.

It’s not. It’s really, really not, and we’d all agree if the only example is these mass shooters, but we’re corrupted. We get our own payoffs, we get things to go our own way in this system, so we can’t or won’t admit the connection when we see the obvious logical extreme versions of it in the news. Repeat: obvious. Really, really obvious that murder is nearly always a punishment, yet somehow that fact is irrelevant, and I find myself baffled, echoing the Aboriginal view of the environment.

How are basic truths somehow irrelevant?

How is it that the basic, obvious motive for the mass shooters – punishment – somehow not a part of our attempt to solve the issue? It’s because punishment is ubiquitous, invisible. It’s something we do, actively, it’s not something that happens by itself, yet we can’t factor it in to anything, we can’t imagine it as an option, we can’t imagine taking it out of our equations as a factor.

OK, look. I know you see this as quixotic and stupid, I know the point I’m making looks like this: people get poisoned, and poison one another, and that’s all because we all eat. If we didn’t eat, we couldn’t be poisoned, what’s the point? You gotta eat. If that seems a good objection to you, I respectfully submit that you’ve given the game away, suggest that you have maybe just proved my point, if you can equate punishing with eating: you think punishment is like food, we can’t live without it.

That’s just not true, despite that we all think it.

My wife and I raised our kids without using punishment once, and my girls did not grow up wild and amoral. They are moral and brilliant, and if they do anything wrong, it’s never anything punitive or violent. Because that’s just crazy when it’s supposed to be for a good reason, let alone when it goes pear-shaped.

My model, my hypothesis predicts this: that this phenomenon, angry mass shooters, is not going to change and it’s not going to end, because the prime driver, punishment, has something like Diplomatic Immunity. It isn’t going to improve because of ideas about gun control, because in the Punishment Culture, or the Punishment Cult, the tools of violence are held on the ‘solutions’ side of the ledger. If we could change that, then real change could be possible. But until we do change that, this thing isn’t going away.

Because the basic thing happening there? You LIKE it.

Don’t We Think Our Parents Did their Best?

Don’t We Think Our Parents Did their Best?

Kids nowadays got no respect.

They’re out there right now, whining about their pasts and blaming their parents, like their parents were supposed to know better or something, telling their own kids what brutes their parents were, while condescending to these poor, just started walking upright past generations that they ‘did the best they could,’ or ‘the best they knew.’

In past generations, my ‘no-punishment’ talk might have at least found an argument. The older generations at least knew that they were punishing, and they knew it was a practice that could be attacked and/or defended. But these kids now, trying to raise their own? You can’t talk them out of something they don’t even know they’re doing. These nampy-pamby modern young parents think they can get it all their own way without corporal punishment, without getting physical on their kids – which means when these too-nice parents do get it all their way through intimidation and threats and having shown the kid who’s boss while he’s a baby and can’t tell anyone, as well as by occasional violent outbursts, that no-one’s allowed to realize it because ‘We are not a Family that uses Corporal Punishment.’ That is the difference between the honest corporal punishers of the past and a whole lot of the ‘non-spanking’ parents that were the children of the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.

Don’t get me wrong – these are the gentler of these children with children! Many still just spank – but they still mostly think they’re nicer than the old folks were, and maybe so. Maybe so, but the first group mentioned above, they tried to make a real change in principle, at least in their minds if many perhaps failed in practice, but the others? It’s not even a philosophical split. For the ones who are staying the course with parental authority and physical methods, it is only a matter of degree, what the old folks got wrong. They just took things too far.

So here’s the insolence, the lack of respect.

What did the previous generation, the children with grandchildren fail at? Were these knuckle-dragging forefathers simply incapable of controlling themselves once they started with the whoopin’, is that the theoretical basis for the ‘took it too far’ theory? Perhaps it was something they thought instead. Maybe they simply held with stronger deterrents and stronger penalties than we do today, or they had a longer list of punishable offenses., so the difference is perhaps not that the beast remained so strong in our parents and grandparents that they were simply more impulsively violent, but that they were more institutionally violent, that it was not accidental, but a belief driving the action. If that’s closer to the mark . . .

Then what did they fail at?

Strictness level too high, penalties too harsh? So this generation has the dial in just the right spot, is that it, kids nowadays don’t have the same feelings and the same complaints as our parents did and our grandparents did, because we have dialled in just the right amount of pain or deprivation to match their crimes, and they can’t help but admit it? Or are the children of the children of these modern middle-aged children still going to make the same complaints to each other because the basic principle hasn’t changed, namely, ‘they never let me X and they think they own me and they shit on my life whenever they want?’ Find me the evaluation of any matter of degree in that, I ask you.

So were our parents, our grandparents unevolved, incapable of non-violence, or less violence? No, that wasn’t the trouble then, any more – or any less – than now. There were some gentler people living in even the far past than many people living today; civilization is not a linear progression, it’s messy. Did they simply ‘go too far?’ No, because of course we don’t go too far – and you know our kids have all the same complaints we did and our parents did. Again, I’m still getting to it: the disrespect.

They didn’t do their best and fail. They’re not animals with no self-control any more than you are, and they didn’t fail at assessing what was punishable and what was an appropriate punishment, either. They failed because there is no winning this game. Spoiler alert –you are not going to win the game of discipline in child-rearing either, and self-control won’t save you. Getting just the right amount of force and/or fear in your discipline isn’t going to win it either – because . . .

The right amount of force, violence, deprivation, unpleasantness of any sort is none, exactly none, which is a principle. These are the contrasting principles in this story: the betrayal, violence and/or deprivations of punishment – or not; yes or no, that is a difference of principle, and that is the only change in our child-rearing that would be a real, qualitative change.

The old folks, they didn’t fail, because that’s not fair to say of someone who never had a chance in the first place, and it’s disrespectful. Those folks weren’t stupid. They were exactly like us, they had better intentions, and they did the best they could within a bad system. If we think we’re going to do better, without having a better idea, without having a different idea, then we’re going to find out, and we’ll know that we were no smarter than they were. Too late to make a change, of course.

Evolution isn’t automatic. It happens because we want to live and sometimes in order to do that, we have to figure out a better way.