The Ethics of the Underworld

1 Jun

 I love the Israeli TV show “The Arbitrator”. It’s about a family of organized criminals. There seems to be more justice there than among law-abiding society.

You betray them? You die.
You collaborate with the enemy? You die.
You cheat on them? You die.
You kill their child/parent/spouse? They kill yours.
You break your word? They break your spine.
You beat a pregnant woman to the point she loses her baby and can’t have any more? You die.
Breakers of words get broken, destroyers of life get destroyed.

Law never seems to cover nearly enough on one end, but too much on the other. You liberate a tortured animal, you go to prison. You share the crimes of your government with your fellow citizens, you go to prison. You make love to a consenting minor who regrets nothing, you go to prison. But you cheat and betray, you cause hurt and even suicide, and that’s fine by law. You order a genocide (america’s war on Iraq), you get re-elected.
Law makes little sense that way. A traitor can do as much damage as a rapist. One violates trust, the other violates intimacy, but both violate a deeply precious, vital, and vulnerable element of a person’s soul that they need in order to be strong in their personal integrity. So why should one be punished, while the other one gets away with it? Same with school bullies. Victims of real crimes can be utterly devastated, and for that the perpetrator is punished. Yet bullying victims can sustain just as much damage, and are left to cope alone while their tormentors are rewarded by lack of consequence? Makes no sense.

I don’t think it’s right that the victim has to deal with the damage done while the pereptrator gets to get on with their life. It doesn’t matter to me how a victim responds. I don’t think there is responsibility in sustaining or dealing with something you didn’t choose to happen to you, but that was forced upon you needlessly and deliberately by a third party. It is not blameless misfortune like an earthquake or disease. It is a choice action that has been forced upon the victim. And so, any and all responsibility should lie with the perpetrator. Which is why it’s nice that in the Arbitrator, the person who started it when they did not need to, ends up dead, in a wheelchair, or worse.

You can’t spell reaction without re-, which means it’s a REsult, a REsponse to what has been done to you. Would I tell anyone to fuck off if they didn’t deliberately offend me first? Would a person be in prison if they hadn’t committed a crime first? So why should the response/ibility to any other type of transgression be anyone but the perpetrator’s problem? You can always, without exception, choose to not be the initiator of evil. The choice is yours and with it, the consequence. Victims have limited options – the most important limit being the inability to not have transgression happen to them. You get the stone rolling = it’s your fault and yours alone if someone doesn’t make it out of its path in time. Just as not everyone can outrun a rolling stone, not everyone can heal from a non-criminal transgression. A victim hasn’t got 100% control over the degree of damage done to them, a perpetrator always has 100% control over whether or not to initiate transgression. This should relieve the victim of any and all responsibility. A soul can be broken like a bone. One can have as little control over how fast the soul heals, as one has over the bone.

After all, when a crime is one by law, the perpetrator gets punished no matter if and how much damage was done to the victim. Some rape victims brush it off easily, others kill themselves, but the rapist still gets the same punishment and nobody tells the victim it’s their job to suck it up and move on. The perpetrator is still punished, the victim defended. Why not in the case of liars, cheaters, traitors etc.? Morally, they are no better than legal criminals. The underworld/organized crime is cruel, but at least people reap what they sow. Law-abiding citizens? One does something that kills the other’s soul, but the body remains intact, so he gets away with it.

One of my favorites on that show was when Nomie Spoonie ordered her lover killed. He pretended to love her to get in her pants, then promised to marry her with no intention of doing so, so he got what he deserved: his best friend was ordered to kill him, but only severed his spine and put him in a wheelchair, to be forever the captive of Nomie Spoonie, now legally married as promised, and miserable as deserved. That is justice. That needs to be legalized.

Reality makes no sense.

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