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  • Our failing prison system


    by Rumbold
    2nd January, 2008 at 12:28 pm    

    There has been a rise in prison suicides by nearly forty percent in the past year:

    “Prison reformers expressed outrage after figures released by the Ministry of Justice showed that 92 prisoners killed themselves in jail last year, up from 67 in 2006. The figures include seven inmates under 21 and one boy of 15 who killed himself while serving a sentence of just 45 days for breaching a supervision order.”

    In part this huge rise probably resulted from greater prison overcrowding, but it is also symptomatic of a deeper malaise:

    “Frances Crook, director of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “A leap of 37 per cent in the annual prison suicide rate is the human cost of the prisons crisis. The prison service has taken great strides in suicide prevention in recent years but it is all for naught when the system is on its knees with record overcrowding.

    “Staff and resources are strained to the limit coping with an ever-swelling prison population rife with mental health problems, drug and alcohol addiction and histories of neglect and abuse.

    She added: “Prison is where we seek to sweep away social problems, blithely unaware of the fact that we are simply compounding the problems we seek to avoid. Little or nothing is done to tackle the underlying causes of crime in custody. While prisoners are inside, their families struggle to cope without fathers and mothers. For those individuals who survive a prison sentence, two thirds will be reconvicted within two years of release and most likely for more serious offences than before.”"

    Prison is meant to serve three purposes: to deter, to keep dangerous individuals off the streets, and to reform. Society is clearly failing on the third one, not only due to the state of our prisons, but also the way in which we treat prisoners after they are released. Having a criminal record makes it very difficult to get any kind of job. Some people might say “serves them right”, but they are missing the point. Society needs to re-habilitate criminals not so much for the criminals themselves, but to prevent those criminals committing more crimes against society. How can we do this when prisons are so overcrowded?


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    1. Laban — on 2nd January, 2008 at 7:44 pm  

      Surely the failure is of government, in failing to build new prisons, rather than of the ‘prison system’ ?

      A glance at the graphs on May 2nd, 1997, would have told the new Home Secretary what was needed - especially given that they were pledged to be ‘tough on crime’ - which in practice meant sticking with the Howard reforms of the mid-90s which started the rise in imprisonment (and the associated/purely coincidental drop in crime levels).

      My reading is that

      a) the last thing Nu Lab wanted to do in its honeymoon period was to announce a prison building program - you can imagine what the Guardian and BBC would have said.

      b) they were convinced that their ‘tough on the causes’ program would work - as it might have done had they bitten the bullet on welfare reform, as Clinton had done in the US with PRWORA (Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act). But again they didn’t want to alienate the base, and stuck to what they know best - throwing money at outreach workers and schemes like Sure Start. By the time their failure was apparent Blair had too much on his plate to worry about it. And now the prisons are full.

      My contacts tell me that the ‘expansion’ in prison numbers is a bit of a smokescreen too. The idea is to build new PFI-funded, privately run prisons on greenfield sites, while simultaneously selling off lots of highly desirable city centre sites (i.e. the Scrubs, Swansea, Armley etc) to their developer mates. Gordo’s strapped for cash.

    2. Rumbold — on 2nd January, 2008 at 8:18 pm  

      Laban:

      “Surely the failure is of government, in failing to build new prisons, rather than of the ‘prison system’?”

      They should either have built more prisons or reduced the number of prisoners. However, I still think that there is a more widespread problem with our prison system, namely the high re-offending rates.

    3. Dave S — on 2nd January, 2008 at 8:50 pm  

      As Anatole France said: “The law in its majestic equality forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges and beg for food in the streets.”

      Soulless capitalism and a me-me-me “society” that doesn’t believe in society are the reason we have so much crime. Think about it - our society manufactures it’s own problems, because it doesn’t believe in the delicate nature of it’s own existence.

      Funny in all their 10 years and promises to be “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime”, New Labour have done nothing as far as I can tell to identify the actual causes of crime.

      Well, let me tell you, the cause of probably 95% of crime: inequality caused both directly and indirectly by capitalism.

      Then there’s also mentally disturbed people (can any person who murders or rapes another not be classed as seriously in need of help?) who do not get the proper life-long care and assistance that would help them to deal with their problems before they get out of hand.

      Our society does not care about these people, because it’s far, far to easy to write them off as “scum” and just brush them under the carpet.

      But doing this does nothing to tackle the causes of crime. Inflicting punishment on people without any real form of rehabilitation or future incentives and opportunities to stay away from crime also does not help people to reform their lives.

      Hard right-wingers who want zero tolerance, harsh punishments, the death penalty and so on simply have no understanding or care about the realities of life for underprivileged members of society.

      Their “solution” is a sticking plaster, not a preventative measure.

      Because to take preventative measure would mean we’d have to reduce inequality and set aside serious time (and funding) to care for people, rather than just punish them in an essentially meaningless fashion.

      It is a fact that prisons manufacture criminals.

      If you want to cure crime, you need to abolish prisons completely, because they don’t work, have never worked, and will never work.

      Ironically, the biggest criminals and murderers of all are the ones in the ivory towers of Westminster and the City, who we have no chance at all of ever holding accountable, or seeing brought to justice. But then, this is to be expected - they make the rules up!

      The Anarchist Federation have an interesting couple of chapters on the subject of “Crime and Punishment” from one of their booklets, starting here:
      http://www.afed.org.uk/ace/aspects.html#Part20

      Feel free to ask about whatever doesn’t seem to make sense, and I’ll be happy to try and explain.

    4. saqib — on 2nd January, 2008 at 11:23 pm  

      I found the article very unsatisfactory, for while it mentioned suicide had increased by 40%, it didn’t give any reasons why that may be the case. Instead we hear very vague remonstrations of ‘prisons mismangement’ from opposition MP’s or we hear from anti-prison campaigners that, in a nutshell most of the prisoners have mental health problems and shouldn’t be there in the first place!

      Is it the case, and this is an extrapolation, that due to prison overcrowding more cells and social space is being shared by more “vulnerable” people along with “hardened” campaigners, leading to bullying, isolation, with suicide being the only way out. This needs to be determined, if it is the case it is unacceptable.

    5. saqib — on 3rd January, 2008 at 12:16 am  

      Rumbold:

      “Prison is meant to serve three purposes: to deter, to keep dangerous individuals off the streets, and to reform.”

      What are these three purposes based on Rumbold; are these readily built into our legal system, are they your assumptions?

      I have always felt the concept of prison being somewhat opaque; is it there to punish criminals, to deter would be criminals, or to rehabilitate criminals, or all three, or two of the three?

      I think the problem is that the function of prison has a multiple meanings to different people; and this is largely linked to peoples’ social perception of what both causes crime, and how crime is actually proscribed? Subject to this, we define the function of prison; liked to an holistic understanding…actually you could even say ideology at times, of socio-political dynamics.

      For example, we have clearly seen on this thread, that there is a strong opinion that crime is driven by ‘structural inequalities’, exacerbated by a free market economy.(though I’m sure some people meant ‘created’ by it). If this is the case, then prisoners are largely victims of circumstances, and hence require ‘rehabilitation’. If it is felt that criminals are such, due to their exercising personal autonomy to do wrong, then prison is there to punish and/or deter. Hardliners stick rigidly to one or another opinion, others, who are less dogmatic seek to include all factors in a proportionate way.

      This is slightly simplistic; however it does frame the debate.

      Personally, I am not satisfied that it is merely material inequality resulting from the market economy, that is the key driver for crime - certainly violent crime. For example, in developing countries, there are far greater structural inequalities, and certainly poverty is a chronic problem. Yet, we do not see, with regards to violent crime, the same level of problems, when in fact they should be more, given the accentuation of the inequalities.

      Much of the violent crime; youth violence, muggings, gang warfare seem to be born out of social disintegration, where communities do not exist to exercise due authority, allowing civil society to work with law-enforcement agencies to maintain law and order. This is crucial.

      Additionally, I believe it is about society’s expectation, indeed, definition of being successful; which places an individual‘s importance to their material status. So many times you will see children, from what we would define as being from poor backgrounds, possessing the latest fashion accessories, games consoles, and even mobile phones. They are clearly living beyond their means, wanting and demanding more, all the while building up an antipathy toward the rest of society for unfair treatment.

      The predominant values of society, which places such an emphasis upon material status, inadvertently exacerbates a feeling of victimhood, which can, and does cause a thorough lack of respect for other people and their well-being.

    6. Praguetory — on 3rd January, 2008 at 8:27 am  

      What Laban said. Frances Crook is in no position to criticise - she’d oppose any prison-building tooth and nail.

    7. Praguetory — on 3rd January, 2008 at 8:28 am  

      Rumbold said -

      However, I still think that there is a more widespread problem with our prison system, namely the high re-offending rates.

      The root cause of this is overcrowding!!!

    8. Morgoth — on 3rd January, 2008 at 8:55 am  

      Well, let me tell you, the cause of probably 95% of crime: inequality caused both directly and indirectly by capitalism.

      Gently quivering piles of steaming bollocks.

      If that were the case, the Soviet Union would have been a crime-free paradise.

      95% of crime is caused by evil fuckers who know they can get away with it because they know muddle-headed eeejits like yourself will blame anything but them for it.

      Tell you what Dave S, you can take a glorious leap forward and reduce the inequality (and therefore the crime rate) by giving away all your posessions. Think of all those criminally poor people out there who cant afford internet connections and the bandwidth to post ludicrous bollocks like you’ve just posted. Oh the inequality!

    9. saqib — on 3rd January, 2008 at 11:28 am  

      Morgoth:

      ’95% of crime is caused by evil f@*$@ who know they can get away with it because they know muddle-headed eeejits like yourself will blame anything but them for it.’

      What about the other five percent?

    10. Morgoth — on 3rd January, 2008 at 11:59 am  

      Oh ta muchly to whoever fixed my dodgy italicising.

      The other 5% would cover crimes of passion and such like.

      Incidentally, Saqib, I have a strong interest in this area. One area where the current prison system is badly lacking is in the area of education. It used to be said that Republican prisoners back in Ulster came out of prison with a degree, whereas Loyalist prisoners came out with new tattoos. Even I would accept the use of taxpayer’s money to ensure that every long-term prisoner that was released came out with either a degree, or a equvalent vocationary qualification.

    11. Dave S — on 3rd January, 2008 at 8:29 pm  

      Morgoth:

      The former USSR was “communist” only in name, and basically operated a state capitalism model. There were still massive inequalities in the hierarchy of society there, and thus largely the same problems existed there as we have here, only under even more dire circumstances.

      There were millions in poverty, and a tiny elite with far too much power. Are you deliberately being obtuse? Isn’t this common knowledge?

      I don’t know why I’m bothering to reply to you really, because I have observed your right-wing trolling enough times to know better than to bother.

      For what it’s worth, I regularly give away a lot of my possessions (basically anything I’m no longer using) and my skills (anything I can afford to, as long as I can still afford to eat and live OK) for free. I also volunteer fairly regularly at our local independent (as in run by our community, for our community) social centre - working on the bar, producing leaflets, cooking meals, mending things and so on.

      I’ll admit it’s not totally altruistic - I get a lot out of giving my time.

      What do YOU do for your community?

      Also, please define “evil”. Go on, define it (perhaps in legal terms), if you are going to label people with it.

      I happen to believe that nobody is inherently evil.

      There are some people who are extremely psychotic (let’s take Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Stalin, Pol Pot, George W Bush, Harold Shipman, Ian Huntley and so on) and are in need of serious help to stop them being a danger to society. They are not evil though - something is wrong with their psyche which makes them unable to empathise with other people, and thus in many ways they don’t fully understand what they are doing. They are certainly very dangerous, but not inherently “evil”.

      Then there are those who have been fucked up by society, and have done stupid things because they were in a shitty situation, unable to cope, or unable to find help when they needed it. They are also not inherently evil. Stupid and only human perhaps, failing under stress or misled into the wrong “solutions” perhaps, but not “evil”.

      Labeling people “evil” makes it very convenient for you to get on your high horse and point fingers, while doing absolutely fuck all about actually solving the problem.

      How nice that you’d like prisoners to be able to get degrees while inside. What about finding ways to help people not to commit crimes in the first place - such as things that add meaning to their life (beyond money or work), or help them stay out of poverty, or don’t scapegoat them for problems that are not of their causing?

      It seems to me that your only interest is in preventing these people causing problems to YOU, and beyond that, I very much suspect you couldn’t give a shit about them in any shape or form. They are just “evil”, aren’t they Morgoth?

      What a nice guy you must be.

      So, back to the two groups of criminals that seem to exist - genuine “psychopaths” and those who are messed up by society. (There may be more, but I think that probably encompasses most.)

      What purpose does it serve to punish either group? What deterrent is offered by prison that would affect either group? What rehabilitation is offered by prison that will work for either group? Is there another group I have missed? Do you simply believe I’m wrong about everything?

      What I’m saying is that people like you pretend to want to be “tough on crime” but actually offer nothing in terms of really dealing with it and sorting it out at it’s cause, and even less in terms of trying to understand what actually makes it happen. You simply say “evil” and sweep the problem under the carpet, because you could never face up to the reality that it is all of us, including yourself, who have to change.

      Well, it is plain to see that this approach is - to borrow a phrase from you - “gently quivering piles of steaming bollocks”.

      As usual though, as I have seen you do with other people on here, I fully expect you to dodge my questions and refuse to even reconsider your worldview, so go ahead and troll away.

      If you have something worthwhile to say, then I am open to suggestions. I am NOT open to bigotry, ignorance and lack of empathy for the plight of other people.

    12. Rumbold — on 3rd January, 2008 at 8:44 pm  

      Saqib:

      “I think the problem is that the function of prison has a multiple meanings to different people; and this is largely linked to peoples’ social perception of what both causes crime, and how crime is actually proscribed? Subject to this, we define the function of prison; liked to an holistic understanding…actually you could even say ideology at times, of socio-political dynamics.”

      Sorry for the late response. I agree with you that the purpose of prison is in part what society wills for it at the time (for instance, many societies only used prison for debtors, political prisoners and as a holding area- the common punishments were death, exile, public humiliation or fines). I do think however that the three purposes of prison that I gave are the best ones. Punishment is no good in itself, unless it benefits society through reform, deterrance, keepinng dangerous people locked up, or a measure of all three.

    13. saqib — on 3rd January, 2008 at 9:20 pm  

      Rumbold:

      “Punishment is no good in itself, unless it benefits society through reform, deterrance, keepinng dangerous people locked up, or a measure of all three.”

      But don’t you think that the instinct of wanting punishment meted out to those who have clearly transgressed society’s laws is natural, and if not given an outlet within the legal framework, will give rise to it from without? Surely this would be far worse.

      I am not advocating people pursuing punishing others, our ideals shouldn’t push us in this direction, however the common denominator of peoples’ level of tolerance and compassion should not be set so high so as to undermine respect for law and order.

      I think punishment, whilst having other benefits, which I do agree, is a good thing in and of itself.

    14. Morgoth — on 4th January, 2008 at 11:41 am  

      Morgoth:

      The former USSR was “communist” only in name, and basically operated a state capitalism model. There were still massive inequalities in the hierarchy of society there, and thus largely the same problems existed there as we have here, only under even more dire circumstances.

      Ah, I see you retort firstly to the communist equivalent of the “no true scotsman” argument.

      Every time Communism has been tried, to whatever extent at all, its turned into a mass-murdering disaster, to put it kindly.

      There were millions in poverty, and a tiny elite with far too much power. Are you deliberately being obtuse? Isn’t this common knowledge?

      Aren’t you being obtuse? Aren’t you denying the real effects communism has? Communism and every other form of collectivism goes directly against the nature of the human spirit. It hasn’t worked, and it CANNOT work.

      I don’t know why I’m bothering to reply to you really, because I have observed your right-wing trolling enough times to know better than to bother.

      Because I nailed your ludicrious apologia for mass-murdering collectivism?

      For what it’s worth, I regularly give away a lot of my possessions (basically anything I’m no longer using) and my skills (anything I can afford to, as long as I can still afford to eat and live OK) for free. I also volunteer fairly regularly at our local independent (as in run by our community, for our community) social centre - working on the bar, producing leaflets, cooking meals, mending things and so on.

      I’ll admit it’s not totally altruistic - I get a lot out of giving my time.

      What do YOU do for your community?

      The square root of fuck all, and I’m damn proud of that. I’m forced to pay taxes (i.e. government theft) to support those less worthy than myself. I care only for my family (and to a lesser extent than that, my friends). Apart from that, the human race can go hang themselves.

      Also, please define “evil”. Go on, define it (perhaps in legal terms), if you are going to label people with it.

      I’ve covered a prima facie definition taken from the writings of Crowley on my blog. “Evil” is basically restriction, the ultimate “sin”.

      I happen to believe that nobody is inherently evil.

      Then you’re the bigger fool. A pollyanna at best.

      There are some people who are extremely psychotic (let’s take Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Stalin, Pol Pot, George W Bush,

      Wheeee! Obligatory Guardian-pleasing gratitious ChimpyMcHailiburtonBushHilter reference! Bingo!

      Harold Shipman, Ian Huntley and so on) and are in need of serious help to stop them being a danger to society. They are not evil though - something is wrong with their psyche which makes them unable to empathise with other people, and thus in many ways they don’t fully understand what they are doing. They are certainly very dangerous, but not inherently “evil”.

      Who cares whither they have “emphathy” or not? Why should someone emphasise with someoone “out of the tribe”? Why should Joe Bloggs deserve a preassumption of empathy? Empathy is earned, not granted.

      Then there are those who have been fucked up by society, and have done stupid things because they were in a shitty situation, unable to cope, or unable to find help when they needed it. They are also not inherently evil. Stupid and only human perhaps, failing under stress or misled into the wrong “solutions” perhaps, but not “evil”.

      Oh the tiny violin strings are out in force tonight!

      Labeling people “evil” makes it very convenient for you to get on your high horse and point fingers, while doing absolutely fuck all about actually solving the problem.

      Why should I do anything or care about people who by their own stupidity fuck themselves up?

      How nice that you’d like prisoners to be able to get degrees while inside. What about finding ways to help people not to commit crimes in the first place - such as things that add meaning to their life (beyond money or work), or help them stay out of poverty, or don’t scapegoat them for problems that are not of their causing?

      There already is a system for that - its called the “law”.

      It seems to me that your only interest is in preventing these people causing problems to YOU, and beyond that, I very much suspect you couldn’t give a shit about them in any shape or form. They are just “evil”, aren’t they Morgoth?

      Again, why should I give anyone a presumption of worthiness that they haven’t proven?

      What purpose does it serve to punish either group? What deterrent is offered by prison that would affect either group? What rehabilitation is offered by prison that will work for either group?

      Fuck deterrence. Punishment should be about retribution and vengeance. My point about education is a simple observation that when people have a sense of self-worth, when they have the capability to invoke even a modicum of their own true potential, things go better for them.

      Is there another group I have missed? Do you simply believe I’m wrong about everything?

      Basically, you are. You’re a gullible idiot who in a few years time will probably be be found knifed to death by a drug-addict with the newspaper headlines “but he was so nice to him! Why did the psycopath take advantage of him!”

      If you have something worthwhile to say, then I am open to suggestions. I am NOT open to bigotry, ignorance and lack of empathy for the plight of other people.

      Oh poor weak-minded diddums. You have so little sense of self-worth that you think by pissing on yourself you’ll get validation from others which will allow you to self-justify yourself. The typical self-hating liberal in a nutshell.

    15. Dave S — on 4th January, 2008 at 2:21 pm  

      Morgoth:

      What an unpleasant world you live in! It’s clear you don’t really value yourself, so I’m not surprised you don’t value (or even acknowledge the existence of) your community.

      By the way, I am not a fucking liberal, I am an anarchist. (Some might call me anarchist-communist, but to me the anarchy is more important than the specific nature it takes - I believe we can work that out later, and that localised economic solutions are better come up with by the people affected by them.)

      Every time Communism has been tried, to whatever extent at all, its turned into a mass-murdering disaster, to put it kindly.

      That is because it is not communism that is the problem, but authoritarianism.

      “Communism” as in Stalin was every bit as authoritarian as the fascism of Hitler. The opposite of fascism isn’t authoritarian so-called “communism” (state capitalism), but anarchy.

      Anarchist-communism combines libertarian ideas with non-hierarchical ideas, and is, I believe, the only thing that can really be called “communism”, in the truest sense of that word. I’m not sure it’s totally a good idea, but I think ideas in the libertarian-left direction offer the greatest chance of an enjoyable and worthwhile life for the greatest number of people, and are clearly more likely to result in the survival of humanity rather than it’s destruction.

      Of course authoritarian “communism” was a load of shit, but it’s because of the authoritarian (totalitarian) nature of it, not because of the communist element of it.

      But whatever, you must be one of the most miserable, wretched people I have ever encountered online. I doubt you have ever considered that you are not a wave all on your own, but part of the bigger ocean?

      Nothing you do has any context without the existence of a community, and just because you are too much of a dipshit to want to reach out beyond your preconceived ideas about what “community” constitutes (I’m guessing you’re probably at least a latent racist, if not an active one?) doesn’t mean you are right.

      Ain’t nobody knifing me to death either! As someone who studied martial arts for quite a few years, I know more than enough ways to fuck someone up with my bare hands, thank you very much.

      So, fuck you and your dark, boring world.

      In fact, thank you, actually - because if anything has given me today’s dose of spurring on to do everything I can for my local community, it’s encountering negative shitheads like yourself.

      This morning I came up with (hopefully) one of my best ideas to date. It occurred before this little exchange, but after encountering the ramblings of similar negative shitheads to yourself on the BBC “Have Your Say”.

      Well, you go ahead and be just another of those pathetic, miserable gits who just sits there and complains. I actually get off my arse and do something to make it better.

      We are all the problem, and we can all be the solution - we just have to give a flying fuck in the first place, and you don’t appear to.

      That’s never going to solve anything in a million years, but it seems you’re quite likely too thick to realise that.

      Whether you give a shit or not, you just don’t get it that your own fate hangs in the balance with everyone else’s. Take your “individualism” and stuff it up your porky arse, because you are living on borrowed time.

      Without community, we are nothing - we are already dead.

    16. Refresh — on 4th January, 2008 at 2:25 pm  

      Morgoth

      “The other 5% would cover crimes of passion and such like.”

      Lets have some fun: Lets have your personal list of crimes of passion; followed by perhaps Ulster’s list, divide the list between the divide.

    17. Morgoth — on 4th January, 2008 at 2:31 pm  

      But whatever, you must be one of the most miserable, wretched people I have ever encountered online.

      I’m perfectly happy, thank you very much.

      That is because it is not communism that is the problem, but authoritarianism.

      Wrong. Communism by its basic nature IS irrevocably authoritarian. Because it denies the true nature of the individual.
      Without community, we are nothing - we are already dead.

      There’s no such thing as “Community”. There’s simply attempts by wannabe-authoritarians to force themselves on others, in the name of others.

    18. Dave S — on 4th January, 2008 at 6:22 pm  

      Morgoth, you say:

      I’m perfectly happy, thank you very much.

      After saying:

      Apart from that, the human race can go hang themselves.

      Riiiiight! So let me get this straight:

      You’re perfectly happy… but also convinced that nobody apart from your family and friends is even worth the time of day?

      What about your future friends that you haven’t yet met? Can they also go hang themselves, until you waltz into their lives and suddenly give them some purpose in life?

      If you were perfectly happy, you’d have plenty of happiness to share, and view strangers simply as potential friends you haven’t yet met. So, I’m sorry but I just don’t believe that you are perfectly happy - though I’m sure you think you are.

      Nobody who devalues total strangers out of hand (as in, without trying to get to know them first, without even observing their actions in life to get an idea of who they are as a person) can be truly happy inside.

      Your world beyond your black-tinted spectacles is full of enemies and evil people. Are you not simply mirroring yourself and your views onto those around you, expecting them to behave just as you would?

      Well, get over it. Not everybody is as negative and self-centred as you are!

      You go on to say:

      Wrong. Communism by its basic nature IS irrevocably authoritarian. Because it denies the true nature of the individual.

      Anarchist-communism (aka. “libertarian communism”) is not authoritarian. Peter Kropotkin (one of the first anarchist-communist writers) even said:

      “Anarchist Communism maintains that most valuable of all conquests - individual liberty - and moreover extends it and gives it a solid basis - economic liberty - without which political liberty is delusive; it does not ask the individual who has rejected god, the universal tyrant, god the king, and god the parliament, to give unto himself a god more terrible than any of the proceeding - god the Community, or to abdicate upon its altar his [or her] independence, his [or her] will, his [or her] tastes, and to renew the vow of asceticism which he formally made before the crucified god. It says to him, on the contrary, ‘No society is free so long as the individual is not so!’”

      But I don’t suppose you’d be interested in that, would you? It doesn’t fit onto your pre-conceived radar, so therefore it doesn’t exist.

      Continuing:

      There’s no such thing as “Community”. There’s simply attempts by wannabe-authoritarians to force themselves on others, in the name of others.

      In what way is it authoritarian to consult everybody, and try to find solutions that fit the general consensus and are mutually agreeable?

      In what way is it authoritarian to accept that this may not always be possible, and to offer friendship and support to people who wish to drop out of a situation to go off to do it their own way?

      In what way is it authoritarian to take all possible steps to ensure that everybody is genuinely equal - that everybody’s views, wants and needs are genuinely as valuable as anybody else’s?

      Do you need someone to tell you what to do and how to live your life? Or is it only other people who do?

      It’s clear that you don’t apply the same thinking (or at least, the same permission to be their own person) to others as you do for yourself and your friends.

      What makes you so much of a better individual that you should be granted this liberty, but that the rest of humanity can go hang themselves?

      Who decides who is worth it and who isn’t?

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