Like Your Prisons, Keep Your Prisons?
Although it’s been a tenet of the social justice movement for decades, Democratic Socialists have recently renewed their call to abolish prisons. It's part of a counterintuitive and un-American agenda that has Republicans licking their chops in anticipation of the midterms, and Democrat hopes of a Blue Wave receding like the expended fifteen minutes of Stormy Daniels' claim on the Donald Trump presidency.
Sharing billing on the Democratic Socialist marquee with Marxist wealth redistribution schemes and punitive race reparations proposals is the idea that the U.S. correctional system in its current iteration is racist, classist, and capitalist in the most egregious sense of the word.
On a recent episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight, philosopher, social activist, and author Cornel West, who serves as honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America, intimated that right-wing media is spinning the particulars and thereby misinforming the public about what the call to end the extant U.S. system of crime and punishment is really all about.
During part of the debate, West, a noted public intellectual with a Ph.D. from Princeton, made clear that he realizes how insane the notion of doing away with mass incarceration sounds after Carlson framed the debate in terms of murderers, drug dealers, rapists et al. set free to prey upon the law-abiding citizenry.
The show clock was ticking, but West managed to allude to a system that would implement ideologically progressive interventionist and rehabilitative programs aimed at achieving transformational results. Though West didn’t mention it, such a system would doubtless come with a never-ending and never-enough flow of increased government spending.
In other words, criminals would not be running rampant through society. They would still be put away, somewhere, and for some duration. But it’s probably safe to assume that a Democratic Socialist penitentiary would be a lot different from a contemporary San Quentin or Leavenworth.
The problem is that, like the blanket abolishment of prisons that more radical Democratic Socialists seem to be calling for, West’s liberal equivocation of Tucker’s scary scenario is not what Americans besieged with criminal aliens, drug kingpins, human traffickers, foreign and domestic terrorists, identity thieves, gang-bangers and mass shooters want to hear.
And the very last thing they’re interested in hearing about or experimenting with is a social sciences-based system that shields perpetrators with sanctuary lawlessness and ensures judicial outcomes sieved through permutations of class, race, and ethnic grievances.
For example, most law-abiding citizens would rather not see criminal illegals like Kate Steinle's killer, Jose Zarate (acquitted and deported), in a tough love encounter group, getting in touch with his feelings like one of the mentally ill patients in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. In Zarate’s case, twenty years with no parole would have been more like it.