24 August 2020

Formal and Material Collabration again.

D'you know, at one point I was tempted to consider a career in Criminal Law? It's as well I dropped the idea; the Law is far beyond me.

One of our judges has just sentenced a youth to at least 55 years in jug for murder ... when the fellow took no hand in a mass killing carried out by his brother but just helped to plan and facilitate it. And do you remember Adolf Eichmann? The Israeli courts sentenced him to the drop, although his defence was that he had never killed a Jew but had simply organised their transportation to Death (I shall not enable comments which tell me that not nearly as many Jews were killed etc. etc., so don't waste your time).

Yet, a few years ago, two senior Glaswegian midwives were sacked ... and our courts upheld their sacking. The midwives had argued that the Conscience Clauses in our abortion legislation excused them from having to organise other people to do the killing. The judges held that the Conscience Clauses did no more than excuse these women from their own personal physical participation in the killing.

I have problems with what seems to me to be a logical dislocation between these two approaches.

13 comments:

Steve said...

I would fully agree. There are too many examples double standards in "justice" currently.

neilmac said...

Don't expect logical consistency from our (il)liberal lords and masters.

What matters to them are: intersectionality; grievance culture; and destruction of the West's cultural achievements.

When stating a factual truth can be considered a hate crime, then we should realise that the basis for intellectual discourse has indeed been lost.

The questions now to ask are:

a) Is it possible to recover Western and Christian culture and the basis upon which these were founded?
b) If so, how is this to be achieved?
c) If the battle is irrevocably lost, what should we do?

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Oncet, ABS worked for a Catholic Organisation in Portland, Maine called Holy Innocents that, among other things, provided psychiatric social workers to assist the mentally ill. During one staff meeting (nearly all are penitential acts) the Director averred he had been getting complaints that staff at Holy Innocents were not providing poor pregnant women with all information pertaining to their condition- he was referencing abortion services - and said that was sectarian and an attempt to try and force religion on the poor.

ABS asked The Director if we should develop a service plan for suicidal clients and also give them the telephone number of The Hemlock Society?

He said "That is not the same thing " but he never agin raised his objection.

Stephen Barber said...

I am interested in the use of the word 'just' in the sentence 'the fellow took no hand in a mass killing carried out by his brother but just helped to plan and facilitate it.' The court took the view that he was also morally responsible for the deaths through his complicity in the planning. I don't think Hitler personally killed anyone but himself, but he is held morally responsible, with others for the Holocaust. Those who organize and direct such crimes need to be held responsible, even if they delegated the actual deeds to others. Surely you would agree?

Terry said...

I am as keen as you seem to be, "neilmac", on the promotion of intellectual discourse. So would you be able to give us a specific example of the statement of a factual truth being considered a hate crime?

Terry Loane

Fr John Hunwicke said...

I believe that the killings which attracted the 55 year sentence and the hanging of Eichmann were totally and wholly wrong. And I believe the slaughter of the unborn is just as wrong.

I think most readers will have detected the irony in the adverbs 'just' and 'simply'.

My point is that ... oh, never mind. If you can't see the point I'm making, it's probably dangerous for you to read my blog. I suggest you give it up. Of course the courts were completely right to find the killers guilty of their crimes. And then they were completely wrong in their view that the Glasgow midwives should "just", "simply", have got on with cheerfully organising the NHS killings.

They were what I call, in my piece, illogical.

Courts correctly convicted those guilty of 'formal' collaboration. Then they were incorrect in requiring the midwives to collaborate formally in killing the babies.

neilmac said...

Hello, Terry

In answer to your post:

Consider the case of Ria Cooper, odd as it is. And the case of Harry Miller. I know that these were not finally considered crimes, but the process of investigation is decidedly chilling, and the result for the people involved pretty much the same a criminal conviction.

You might also consider the cases of JK Rowling and Lawrence Fox, the man who hired a plane with a "White lives matter" banner; and the growing number of people who have lost their jobs because of the truth, labelled a hate incident.

Further: consider that every so-called hate incident must be recorded by the police and may be used on a DBS, and the effect that may have on employment prospects.

Then consider all those others who have been "cancelled" and "no-platformed", often depriving them of a livelihood.

All of these (while I accept they do not yet quite fall under the definition of a "crime") have the pretty much the same effect on people's lives as an actual criminal offence. In fact, in some cases, a conviction for a minor offence would have caused less harm. So the recording of a hate incident is, for many, tantamount to a criminal conviction. Blame Mr Blair.

And, of course, the climate of fear that activists have built up over hate crime has the effect that many people are now frightened to say what they think, even if it is the truth.

The proposed Scottish law would seem to make speaking the truth a hate crime, despite the protestations of Mr Yousaf, whose opinion will carry no weight in a court.

So to all intents and purposes the truth can be a hate crime. I wonder how long it will be before the courts or parliament decide it is one in name as well.

Christophorus said...

Back in the 1970's I was taking a course in jurisprudence. One of the books was Oliver Wendell Holmes' Common Law. I remember one quote: "The course of the Law has not been logic it has been experience." I thing that covers it.

Terry said...

Thank you, "neilmac", for taking the trouble to write such a detailed response to my comment. I certainly share your concern for anyone who is unduly punished for speaking truth to power – the classic example is Galileo and how he was treated by the Church.

But I note that you were unable to come up with a single example of "stating a factual truth" being classified as a hate crime. That is surely reassuring. (Indeed, the interesting thing about the Harry Miller story is that what he wrote was deemed in court NOT to be a hate crime.)

I am struck by something else in your first post. You refer to "Western and Christian culture". Now we all have to use labels, as a sort of shorthand, but an important aspect of the "intellectual discourse" to which you, commendably, seem to be committed is that we must be able to analyse and explain our labels. Would you be able to explain what you mean by "Western and Christian culture"? Some might say that this term is inaccurate and unhelpful given that (a) it is generally accepted that Western culture had its origins in Greece several hundred years B.C., and (b) that, following the 'Age of Enlightenment' humanism rather than Christianity has been the dominant feature of Western culture since the mid-18th century. So it would appear unhelpful simply to elide Western culture and Christian culture. Indeed the achievements of Western culture with which most people are familiar are post-Enlightenment, and perhaps also therefore 'post-Christian'. I think it would generally be accepted that all of the following were important exponents, each in his own field, of Western culture: the aforementioned Galileo Galilei, René Descartes, Spinoza, John Milton, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Émile Zola. What do all these have in common? – the fact that each of them had many or all of his works included in the Catholic Church's Index Librorum Prohibitorum. Surely this suggests at least some level of conflict between Christian (or at any rate Catholic) culture and Western culture.

By the way I remember a Catholic priest saying when I was a teenager in the mid-1960s (and before the Index Librorum Prohibitorum was quietly abolished) that if one wanted to understand Western thinking the Index would make an excellent reading list!

Terry Loane

neilmac said...

Hello, Terry

I do not think my response should have encouraged you in the least, since, as I said in my reply, although there have, as yet, been no actual cases where someone speaking the truth has been convicted for speaking the truth, for a growing number of people the punishment they have received has been as bad as a criminal conviction, especially if they lost their means of employment or been "cancelled" or "no-platformed" or had the incident recorded on a DBS. Furthermore, it seems all-too-likely that there will be criminal convictions in the near future.

And, yes, the Harry Miller case is interesting. He was contacted by the police initially, as he was told "to check your thinking". He was further contacted by an Assistant Chief Constable who warned him about "escalation and proportionate action". This ACPO then told Mr Miller to sue him if he did not like what he had been told. Mr Miller did win in court, but the incident is still logged as a hate incident. It is also telling, is it not, the the police can find such resources to hound and threaten Mr Miller, but cannot be bothered even to attend scenes crime such as burglaries, much less to investigate them.

I am aware that some parts of Western culture have conflicted with parts of Christian, especially Catholic, culture, and that the conflict is growing as Western civilisation disintegrates. But, as I am sure you know, Western civilisation was built upon Christianity while at differing times adopting and adapting aspects of Classical culture. These adoptions and adaptations, well into the Middle Ages were almost exclusively made by the Church, since the Church was home of scholarship. The examples are far too numerous to list, but you might consider the use Greek and Latin as the language of the Church or the works of Aquinas.

Any conflict between Western civilisation and Catholicism , as we see it today, is largely owing to the rise of Humanism and Protestantism. However, both of these movements grew out the Catholicism of the West. And so while there remained a large degree of commonality between Catholicism, Humanism and Protestantism, Western civilisation could survive. But as this commonality has diminished, so what is left of Western civilisation becomes weaker and less able to survive.

However, this is not really the forum for such a massive subject, nor do I intend to tackle it except for the very general comments I have made above, which are solely in reply to your comments.

Besides, as I am sure you realise, the point of my initial post was not to try provide any detailed analysis of the Church and civilisation over the last 2,000 years, but to point out the dangerous illiberalism of the modern age.

Terry said...

Well, 'neilmac', I am on your side when it comes to being concerned about the dangers of illiberalism. I am almost always in favour of being liberal rather than illiberal. Of course in relation to Western culture the epitome of illiberalism is surely to create a list of banned books that include many considered part of the canon of Western thought, and to threaten those who read the banned books with punishment and perhaps even damnation.

It is interesting that although many who regard themselves as traditional Catholics seem to dislike any change that happened during the 1960s, both inside and outside the Church, I have never (yet) heard anyone call for the reinstatement of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. Do you think the church should reintroduce its former ban on important scientific, philosophic and literary books?

Terry Loane

neilmac said...

You seem to want to expand the discussion into a whole set of areas, including the Index.

There is much to be said about these, though this is not the forum for such a wide-ranging debate.

Therefore, as I said to you before, I am do not propose to venture into such complex matters on this blog. I am sure that, if as you claim, you are prompted by a spirit of intellectual enquiry, rather than by a desire to promote your own agenda, you will find an ample supply of books to satisfy your curiosity.

I am pleased that you are against illiberalism and, therefore, must be willing to condemn the way in which free speech is under threat from various grievance pressure groups and the dogma of intersectionality.

As I have already answered your point about Western culture/civilisation and Christianity and as you really do not seem to have anything constructive to offer on the subject under which you are commenting, I am afraid that I do not see the point in responding to you further.

I wish you a good night.

stephen cooper said...

I started my career in criminal law many long decades ago, as an "intern" with public defenders (in the USA, those are the sad sack lawyers local governments pay a few grudging coins to for each sad sack defendant, unable to hire their own lawyer) (or trying to save money by pretending to be unable to hire their own lawyer), and I have spent about a thousand hours a year since then on various criminal law issues. Not the way you want to spend your day, I guarantee you, no matter how much you are paid!

From my point of view, your words have the ring of truth.

That being said, after all these years, I have become fairly convinced that nobody who has the adequate mens rea to be convicted of a serious violent crime against a clearly innocent victim should ever walk the streets among free people again. So there's that.