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Murray’s Cops and Progressives

Charles Murray has an excellent long essay, “Simple Justice” from about 2005 that is useful for thinking about attitudes towards the Zimmerman case and to self-defense and threat and intimidation statutes generally. He distinguishes between Progressives and Cops. Progressives dislike self-defense, retribution, and punishment generally and who do not like to differentiate people into those who follow rules and those who break them. They also think of the trial process being fair and do not worry about fairness of results, ordinarily (the Zimmerman case is a counterexample) but in odd contrast do not think following the rules is important (e.g. the Obamacare postponement, bailout corporate taxation exemption). Cops like rigid rules, but do not care about the gamesmanship of process, only about getting the rules so that the result is just. For example, a Cop would like for there to exist a truth serum that would prove guilt or innocence, whereas a Progressive would be appalled at using such a serum.

Murray notes that just about all the criminal justice authorities in England are strong Progressives. He did a clever little poll, which he invites the reader to take, too. For example:

“A woman is dragged into an alleyway by an unknown assailant. She
sprays Mace in the assailant’s eyes, enabling her to escape but causing
permanent damage to the assailant’s eyesight. Did the woman act
rightly? Does the assailant have a just complaint against her?

1 The woman used disproportional force, and the
assailant has a just complaint.
2 Technically, the woman used disproportional force,
but she should not be prosecuted and the assailant
should receive only nominal damages.
3 The woman acted rightly and the assailant has no
complaint”

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