From the rhetoric, you’d think the People’s Republic of Berkeley was a sickle short of Communism.
In reality however the university itself is fairly standard, probably no more radical than any other in the US. I sat in on a political economy class today (full of PE majors who are in general quite leftist) and the professor took a poll. 39% (!) said the banksters deserved a bailout. A stunning 82% would have bailed them out (though granted, not doing so is more of a libertarian – or far left – position than anything else). However, only 12% said that the banksters should have been given bonuses. The feeling against banker bonuses however is so near universal that I don’t think this is much out of the ordinary. (On this point, I have to disagree – the banksters DO deserve their bonuses. If politicians are going to bail you out, with no popular opposition to boot, it is not only justifiable but a moral obligation to take any bonuses you are offered and give the finger to those suckers!).
Also, in response to another question about the nature of the “state of nature”, 7% said man is inherently good and cooperative; 47% the former, but that society corrupts him; and 47% said he was selfish and competitive. Berkeley students are therefore surprisingly realistic. Even a cursory reading of non-politicized anthropology will reveal that – with a few exceptions – primitive societies are extremely violent, competitive, and hierarchical.
And those respondents were for the most part social science people. Engineers and techies at Cal are considerably further to the right. More general freshman opinion polls show that Berkeley students aren’t all that much more radical than the average American population (e.g. opinion on the death penalty is split 50/50). Actually just considering that Berkeley is associated with the likes of John Yoo (the pro-torture lawyer) or Arthur Jensen (the HBD’er) should prove it is no seething, uniformly liberal hotbed. A year ago, the College Republicans organized a “Diversity Bake Sale” in which discounts were given to Hispanics, blacks, and women to protest affirmative action; a liberal attempt to get the university to ban it failed.
The impression I think arises from Cal’s close association with the City of Berkeley which actually is full of politically far left citizens.
Last time I looked at the financial cost of capital punishment in the US was several years ago and already in the late 1990s – early 2000s, the cost of executing someone was US$8 million in Florida… There are costs involved like the various appeals processes which take up people’s time and hiring and paying juries for several trials that might take weeks or months. Economic austerity may be the one thing that gets cash-strapped states like California to abolish the death penalty.
My highlights. The death penalty is expensive in America only because it chooses to make it so. I’m not much against that because the US is also clearly rich enough to afford the process. The only problem of course is that it in effect nullifies the deterrent value of the DP. I read in Freakonomics that the average life expectancy of a man on death row is actually higher than of a bro selling drugs in the hood. So what kind of deterrent is that? Either go the Singapore/China route of a quick trial and execution – or you might as well cancel it altogether.
But it’s not really an issue I care about much either way. It’s not exactly going to make the US or California bankrupt. As long as the DP applies for appropriate crimes (e.g. premeditated murder, serial murder, national treason during wartime, etc) and not stupid shit like blasphemy or drugs possession then I’m basically fine with it. I’m not a bloodthirsty person but why the hell should I care about the life of some lowlife who derives entertainment from killing people or eating children or whatever?
I submit that in some places and circumstances however the DP would be highly useful. In low IQ / high testosterone countries where violent crime levels are extremely high – and where policing isn’t very effective. Visceral demonstrations are very good deterrents and this is in fact probably the reason why virtually all pre-industrial societies enforced the DP. I submit that the DP would still be highly desirable in places where violent crime is out of control like Venezuela or South Africa.
Just the old liberal hamster wheel logic in action.
I’m actually quite indifferent to the DP. But I’m not indifferent to using mental retardation as a defense. If anything it is more of a reason to execute the murderer as the very dull operate by instinct and emotion, not cost/benefit calculations, and as such cannot be expected to reform and make positive contributions to society even if provided with incentives to do so.
The other reason is shown by the graph above. Stupid people are simply far, far more likely to be criminals than normal people. Making retardation a defense against the DP effectively puts the most criminally prone cognitive fraction of the American population above the law.
I’ve remembered about the article What We Believe I wrote two years back, in the early days when I was still writing anonymously (as “stalker”) and was pretending to be a team. Had fun rereading it, almost like a time machine. My views on Russia have remained mostly unchanged. I’ve grown to become somewhat more positive about the legacy of the Soviet Union; like most Russians, I retain the same ambiguous attitude towards Stalin, whom I have described as “the despotic Messiah who led and ruled [Russians] like the God of the Old Testament”; and I am as convinced as ever of the hypocritical and double standards-laced coverage of subjects like Putin, Chechnya, and Russia’s human rights record in the Western media.
Furthermore, I’ve become much more skeptical about the universalism of liberalism and HR. Two years back I believed the West should be actively involved in cultivating social progress in regards to women’s rights, LGBT rights, etc, in backward areas of the Muslim world; not any more, though I remain a social progressive. It’s just that I’ve recognized that these concepts – liberalism, HR, etc – are but manifestations of a specific Romano-Germanic (Western) culture, and do not necessarily have much resonance with the cultural traditions of other civilizations. In some cases the cultural clash between the two leaves produced nothing but destruction. Other civilizations should be left free to forge their own path into the iron cage of modernity, or not.
Far more interesting was reading my own “General Values” from two years ago, back when the world was so different and global neoliberalism appeared to be at high noon – whereas in reality it is near sunset, in large part due to the imminence of peak oil and the creeping insolvency of Pax Americana. I too have changed a lot. Reading about myself from back then is almost like listening to a highly familiar, but nonetheless different, person. From economic centrism, of the Krugmanite variety, to Green Communism. From atheism to pantheism. Lots more postmodernist claptrap. Etc. Let me outline my beliefs two years on.