Blog: Justice as contingent results

Justice as contingent results
Justice as contingent results
Date: 2018-Apr-18 22:49:43 EST

This demonstrates the failing of some ideas that both liberals and conservatives occasionally flirt with - that it's valid to aim for equality of outcomes from our legal system, rather than equal treatment under neutral laws. Locally this often comes in the form of attacks on Broken Windows policies, on the theory that such laws have a disproportionate impact on lower-income neighbourhoods. The thought being that we should empathise with criminals on these topics, from turnstile jumpers to breaking of windows not because it's enforced unevenly (or that the laws have too harsh a penalty), but merely because of the impact.

I can have some sympathy for the other arguments, but bundling an impact argument in sours me on any further discussion. And likewise with the linked article above with people upset that Trump's people are being prosecuted and there are not many people on the other side being prosecuted. If there were legitimate concerns about selective enforcement narrowly tailored around Trump, sure, that would be unacceptable, but the mere fact that Trump's people get more focus plausibly can (and likely does) come from the fact that they're breaking various laws a lot more. And if that produces varying outcomes, it should. Attempting to rebalance based on that is inappropriate.