Prison Abolition & White Collar Crime

As a member of Black Lives Matter, I have been near the conversation about prison abolition. The biggest problem, ulimtately, in abolishing prisons and the police is that not all crimes are the result of good people with bad problems or the injustices of the system. The mistakes borne of PTSD, bipolar, drug addiction, economic dispossession, and so forth, can be dealt with through social work, psychology, mediation, and other softer and scientific measures assuming the parties are of goodwill and have a good character. I can honestly say without exception the times I have gotten in trouble, I did not need anything punitive visited upon me or even threatened. But I don’t have a Dark Triad personality disorder. Whatever fuck-ups I claim to my history, I am fundamentally, a good person and if the vices of the world were the ones I have done then prison and the police could be abolished.

I use white collar crime as an example since it is disproportionately committed by dark personalities and those are notoriously difficult to treat. John Hinkley was realsed from mental custody, recently, and while he is likely cured of his schizoid delusions that made him think an A-list celebrity would marry him and that killing a president would win her heart, I highly doubt his narcissistic personality disorder has been cured. Maybe people with dark triad personality disorders can be made safe enough that they may be free and without much supervision walking on the street but that only works to make them safe in the acute sense. The founder of a multi-level marketing scheme is lucid and rational enough that they are not a danger to people in their physical proxmity but they are demonic leeches without consciences and the same goes for dark triad personalities on a smaller scale.

Someone who has the ambition of marrying an A-list celebrity and seducing them through murder can be made rational; whether someone with similiar personality traits but who lives in reality can be made ethical is another question entirely. It ultimately comes down to whether or not they are fundamentally good people because if they are not then fear is, seemingly, the best option. What is worse is with social media, dark triad personalities are increasingly common. It should be a cliché that those who lose Instagram get anorexia but those who win Instagram get NPD. That is a mental health epidemic that is mostly ignored. One thing the “teenage girl” movement has failed to point out that as much anxiety as competing with their peers has created, they are much more the victims of fellow girls than boys because the upper tier of girls have NPD. That movement assumes males are the problem but fail to account for the “Regina George” factor which is massive.

The biggest problem with NPD and disorders like it is, if rational and high-functioning enough, they tend to never get caught and they leave a path of destruction in their wake. This doesn’t mean they’re impossible to identify and bring to justice but it is far more difficult and requires significantly more sophistication and creative thinking. The system is very fucking obtuse with regards to dark triad personalities and I know this because I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to curtail bullying and while the overt bullying can get punished under some circumstances, the subtle shit and passive aggression, and anything with pluasible deniability typically goes unanswered for and the metaphorical Regina George flies under the radar of adults who are about as aloof as the adults on Charlie Brown who spoke in monotone, inarticulate, wonks. If they really want to save teenage girls, they need to learn how to bring down Regina George and they don’t know where to begin.

The way one brings down an adolescent Regina George is the way one goes after white collar crime in a world where prison has been abolished. The first and most important item is to abandon Rawls as the main basis of how behavior is morally judged. The most commmon form of bullying I endurred, as said on this blog before, was “circus monkey” bullying where my lack of social wareness of exploited to induce me to entertain and amuse others by humiliating myself. It was consensual and not a violation of my negative liberties but it was a gross violation of my dignity. If we shift the focus of judging behavior from whether they violate a person’s individual rights to whether they respect another person’s dignity then humiliating a special needs person goes from being in the moral right to being in the moral wrong. Regina George’s best defense is philosophical, that she doesn’t violate the negative liberties of others and therefore is right in the eyes of society and its rules and by focussing on human dignity then we try to create a society where people are valued for their full humanity and integrated into society so the attractiveness and other assets of Regina George don’t confer excessively disproprotionate power.

Multi-Level Marketing schemes get away with their horrors nearly the same way Regina George does; they check the boxes for being a legitimate business. If we switched from a deontological checklist to something that recognized human dignity then we could say. “Well, you’re a legitimate business according to unconscious statutes but you suck the metaphorical blood of the poor and the powerless so we’re not going to give you a pass on technicalities.” And then proceed to organize to undermine their power base. Until we can do that, and while we have the current system, we need to focus more on virtue ethics, dignity, and utilitarianism in our laws than deontology. Because dark triad personalities flourish under a code of deontology because they can lawyer and finesse their crimes through deontology but not if we judge them based on their honor and their harm done.

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