Monday, August 24, 2009

On the Regression to Feudal Law

From the BC thread "What a Wonderful World" linked to below.
Mad Fiddler,
(who commented on "Thought Crimes")
The continued rise of the concepts of thought crimes, the allocation of punishment based on inferred intent or reliance upon either aggravating associations on the part of the perpetrator or membership in a protected class on the part of the plaintiff or victim. troubles me. First as you indicated it empowers a bureaucrat to make subjective judgements. Second is that is a return to the feudal concepts of special laws for members of special communities or guilds. In England Peers of the Realm can no longer demand trial before the Lords and you no longer face special punishments for offending the nobility. In America however if you are charged with an offense against a member of a protected group then your motives will be examined to determine if that aggravates the crime and increases your punishment. In America between the end of the oppressive Black Codes and the rise of the EEOC codes, and related criminal and civil procedures, there was a brief period when the only vestiges of such laws giving special punishments based on the identity of the victim was in the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

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