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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

January 10, 2006


I've always disliked the modern use of the word "respect". It always seems phoney. As Chris Morris said, 11 years ago on The Day Today, "you gotta kill someone to get respect. But not everyone because then there won't be anybody left to respect you."

So, why am I dredging up quotes from an ancient comedy?

It's the government looking at new measures to diminish antisocial behaviour. The very use of the word "respect" in reference to this matter means that they are seeking to address these people as though they are thinking humans rather than stick-beating chimps. It all smells of 40-year-old educated detatched-owning lefties thinking that they are with it with the kids on the street, mkay?

So they've proposed these solutions: fines for parents; parents attending compulsory parenting courses; truancy officers with powers for on the spot fines. Something to do with drugs too.

You know what depresses me? The idea that these people somehow can't help their behaviour.

Are they really just the victims of fate? Would you or I behave in exactly the same way if we were in the same social circumstances? Do they have no choice when they perform these acts?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then you are denying free will. And if you deny free will you deny any purpose in praise or blame for human behaviour. And once you do that, you deny any virtue in punitive measures. Someone rapes and murders your child? That's OK: they couldn't help it so it would be unfair to punish them.

Personally I think we need to attribute a lot more of this bad behaviour to choice on the part of the individual. There should be less pissing about with understanding and nurture, and more teeth-cracking arse-burning punishment administered to them. They need to learn the old meaning of the word "respect".


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