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Why Restorative Justice Fails At Meting Justice
Restorative Justice, the Salem Witch Trials, and My Throat Issue
I wrote for my Law of Attraction Substack, you all may enjoy some of it too. Below I’ll share a portion of it and a link to continue reading the rest if you desire.
I woke up shortly after going to bed, having difficulty swallowing, which isn’t too unusual for me these days. About a year ago I started to have troubles with my throat, after trying to treat my hypothyroidism. I was told by an ENT the throat issue is silent reflux, but I have been thinking it’s allergies. I used a nasal rinse with salt water, took a mucus thinner, drank water, and I had to stay up a little while blowing my nose to clear things up before trying to sleep again. (While researching for this article I may have found out the actual problem, read on for more on that). Because I was going to be up anyway I read Substack.
I saw a note about the Salem Witch Trials. I lost the note due to Substack’s app crashing. But the links were in my browser app history.
So, as I waited to be able to fall back asleep, I listened to it. To be fair, I didn’t finish it, but that doesn’t matter to the point I want to write about here today.
(Social) Restorative Justice
During the tour, Dan Lipcan, the Ann C. Pingree Director of PEM’s Phillips Library, started talking about the background of the 2023 Salem Witch Trial exhibition called “Restoring Justice.” You can read more on that with the transcript and article called Restoring Justice after the Salem Witch Trials: PEMcast Episode 32. So of course it brought to mind the idea of “Restorative Justice” that the woke keep pushing.
So that we’re on the same page, according to Wikipedia (and I’m sure the woke) the definition of Restorative Justice is “an approach to justice that aims to get offenders to take responsibility for their actions, to understand the harm they have caused, to give them an opportunity to redeem themselves and to discourage them from causing further harm. For victims, its goal is to give them an active role in the process and to reduce feelings of anxiety and powerlessness. Restorative justice is founded on an alternative theory to the traditional methods of justice, which often focus on retribution.”
As I lay in bed last night, I thought, “It doesn’t sound bad.” But is it sound? Does it have no logical flaws? It seems to me that the whole idea of restorative justice requires people to try to get offenders to take responsibility and that is something that no one on earth (but the offenders) can do.
If someone has been caught up in hysteria and chosen to do things that harm others, they have a lot of motivated reasoning to never accept responsibility for what they did. You could, perhaps, get them to say the words and perform apologies, but you can’t stop them from ever doing it again because they likely will not be truly sorry because they will not believe they did anything wrong.
It is when people have boundaries enforced (through attracting retribution) that people feel enough personal harm that they will decide it’s easier to stop lying to themselves and actually be sorry. It’s when they come face-to-face with reality through consequences that they have to give up their illusions that they were the correct ones.
There may be people who, when confronted, feel enough shame that they would truly apologize and never do it again. But those are the sorts who already felt shame and that shame just became public. Those are not the sorts of people who felt they were correct. We have lots of people who feel it is morally correct to physically attack people based on their beliefs. We have seen plenty of people who believe they are morally correct to mandate a mask or vaccine on unwilling peers. How are you going to get them to truly take responsibility when they don’t believe they were wrong in the first place?
You aren’t. Only they can change their minds. With hard-headed people, it takes them feeling retribution (whether physical, mental, or emotional), before they will decide to change. You only change when the desire to change outweighs the desire to stay the same.
Check out my recent article on Hazelbrook’s lack of a zero-tolerance policy for physical assault on The Drama of It All. When a child is kicked out of school because they engage in violence at school, they feel a sort of emotional retribution. There is a longing to be where others are, like their friends, and, knowing that that is the consequence, the desire to not hit others and stay with their friends would be greater than the desire to engage in violence.
The boundary keeps them in the school without violence. But, the lack of a boundary lets them continue abusing others. They continue to feel as if they are in the moral right because there are no consequences (of any real consequence).
Talking with people in therapy or counseling helps people who want help, but it doesn’t help people who don’t. What those who push “restorative justice” believe (as a faulty premise) is that all people can be helped by just talking things through.