Justice Minister Kris Faafoi, announcing the government’s intention to abolish the three strikes law, demonstrated the all too common human failing of disrespect for logic. First, he cited two cases where the law was excessive to support the repeal. They don’t.

They would only be meaningful if seen in the context of the total number of times the law has been applied and thus locked up persistent crims to the public’s benefit.

“Better one guilty man go free etc, etc” Kris may argue, but the two cases quoted were on notice yet still offended. In short they were guilty, albeit their third lock-up resulting crimes being minor.

He then trotted out that woeful old utterly illogical saw of criminologists, namely that the law has been ineffectual as there’s been no drop in crime.

For God’s sake. That doesn’t prove the law has been ineffectual. It may well be that its existence has prevented numerous crimes and if it was possible to know, and it’s not, I’d give long odds it’s been a highly effective deterrent.

Why? Because crims, knowing they’re on the two strike mark and being stupid and villainous though they may be, would surely think carefully about the consequences before committing another offence.

A few months ago a much admired American philosopher published his latest book which was accorded widespread respectful reviews across the spectrum, that is by way of example, ranging from the Economist to the Guardian Weekly.

The book’s theme was how little logic plays a part in human affairs and cited all sorts of everyday examples. Kris Faafoi has demonstrated exactly the author’s point.

That said, it should be no surprise. I say that as overwhelmingly in human behaviour, emotion shows itself to be a much more powerful influence than reason.


Coincidentally or not, on the point of your last paragraph there is a fine article in the Times today: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/we-are-too-emotional-about-risk-no-wonder-we-make-bad-decisions-f9plzgz3m

Yes, there was an analysis on Kiwiblog a couple of years ago showing that those with two strikes were far less likely to commit another crime than you may otherwise expect. So there is a deterrent effect even though some judges have tried to circumvent the effect of the legislation.

We’ve known for nearly 100 years at this point that all logic is ultimately self-defeating – as proven by the likes of Godel, Turing, and Chaitin.
The fact is those that extoll the virtue of rationalism above all are paradoxically being insufficiently rigorous due to the inherent limits of (particularly first order) logic, rationality, let alone any even moderately powerful formalism. So while reason can be a useful tool it is extremely bounded due its inevitable self-destructiveness, whereas emotion as the far older surviving force will continue to rule the roost.
It’s shocking most people aren’t aware of this by now given all the ways it increasingly gets expressed in different places and forms, but I suppose it’s because such hard truth doesn’t play well with the various kinds of modernism and offshoots, post or otherwise.

So true. I assume it’s Pinker’s new book? It’s excellent. Blackwell’s are selling signed copies cheaper than other versions: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Rationality-by-Steven-Pinker/2100000274109?a_aid=gbbooks

One might find this is a byproduct of the state running out of jail cells to house this lot.

The solutioni might be compulsory military training, to install some discipline iand respect nto those that clearly have none

And if they were smart enough, they could offer reduced sentences for jailed criminals who are prepared to commit to reintegration. I’d further encourage them by reducing the sentence more for doing apprenticeships while in bootcamp.

Solutions are so simple, but one can not expect much from those who know nothing other than self preservation and have no appetite for risk.

You can be 100% certain that the people being released early from jail don’t live anywhere near the minister and their family.
If a condition of parole was to live next door to a government minister, I assure you, everyone would serve the sentence the judge gave them.

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