Bring back the stocks. Among other needful things.
The coronavirus has given politicians new opportunities to project the power of government, and it has given us new opportunities to observe politicians breaking their own rules. Few things are as vile and contemptible as the hypocrisy of the ruling class.
We recall that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), during the lockdowns, had her hairdresser open up her shop for a private, maskless salon treatment. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was photographed at Dulles airport in September without her mask, shortly before she flew out on her husband’s $50 million Gulfstream jet. John Kerry took his mask off on a plane, and he was flying commercial—first class. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) was maskless on the streets of New York City last year, where he was gratifyingly heckled by a fearless New Yorker as his entire entourage and the press corps and even the heckler were wearing their masks. Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo (D) wore a mask for the interview in which she tried to explain why she was seen without a mask at a bar after closing bars and telling everyone to wear a mask. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) traveled to visit family in Florida after telling everyone to avoid nonessential travel. Austin, Texas Mayor Steve Adler (D) also told people to stay home—while on vacation in Cabo San Lucas (he apologized, and said he wouldn’t do it again, but there was this wedding he really needed to attend). And over the weekend, photos surfaced of Barack Obama’s lavish, huge, and non-socially distanced birthday celebration on Martha’s Vineyard, as the rest of the country is being threatened with a renewed mask mandate and other restrictions.
After listing several international examples of same, we come to a suggested remedy worthy of serious consideration.
All these incidents serve to remind us what an exceptionally luxurious, frivolous, out-of-touch, one-percent-of-the-one-percent life is led by the politicians who tell us to be patient with losing our businesses or being forced to stay home from work. Their hypocrisy, their abuse of political power, should be a crime. Perhaps not a capital crime. But it does deserve something beyond a fine.
Oh, I’m perfectly fine with making them capital crimes, myself; if nothing else, all possibility of recidivism would be eliminated. But hey, maybe that’s just me.
Politicians who abuse their power should be put in the stocks. Money means nothing to the super-rich and super-powerful, and they will never serve jail time. But Nancy Pelosi would long remember being forced to sit in the stocks for a day outside the hair salon she had opened just for her. Gavin Newsom might learn a thing or two from having to look up at the people who walk by him while he has his feet up outside the French Laundry.
The point of the stocks was to humiliate people—not as an end, but with the intention of reforming their behavior. In 2004, a mail thief was ordered to stand outside the San Francisco Post Office for eight hours wearing a sign that read: “I stole mail. This is my punishment.” The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this sentence, inasmuch as the humiliation served the purpose of making the culprit a better citizen.
Nothing else would be so effective or work so quickly in cutting these political big shots down to the size of ordinary people. It would force power-abusing politicians to do what they hate most—be confronted by their voters. Perhaps any politician who serves more than two terms should be put in the stocks for one day every year as a reminder of the basic loathsomeness of his profession. It might be easier than passing national term limits.
Politicians should be compelled in every respect, as much as possible, to live like ordinary, average, people. When they abuse their power, they should be treated far worse than average people, because their power and responsibility is so much greater. Politicians seem to think they deserve special treatment—and they do: Set them in the stocks. Not for long. Just for as long as it takes for them to learn their lessons.
Again: not harsh enough to suit me, not by a long yard. If “let the punishment fit the crime” is to be our standard, then full weight must be given to the innumerable lives ruined, the businesses destroyed, the human misery created, and the fortunes lost or stolen because of the actions of the career-politician class. That can only mean that leaving ’em stocked and subject to public abuse and humiliation until they’re well and truly broken, in body, mind, and spirit, is the way to go. “Learning their lessons” will never be adequate to the task; they never will, it’s completely beyond them.
Personally, I think even the stocks are insufficiently “cruel and unusual” for such despicable toads. If we truly intend to balance the scales of justice as compensation to the victims for all the harm politicians have inflicted, we should also consider bringing back, say, the Brank:
The device was a metal cage or mask that enclosed the head, often with ridiculous adornments designed to humiliate its victim. In some towns, the Brank had a bell attached to its rear only to announce the presence of the victim who was instantly mocked by the people she “endangered” through gossip.
Many variants of the Brank appeared throughout the Middle Ages, some included spikes that penetrated the victim’s flesh when she spoke.
The duration of this torture could range from a few hours, to months. In some cases, the victim was left to die with the Brank; if she ever removed it, she’d be tortured with another method and sometimes killed.
NOW we’re getting somewhere. Among the many other options which also merit looking into would be the Rack, the Breaking Wheel, the Thumbscrews, and my all-time favorite, the Judas Chair:
Also known as the Judas Chair, the Chair of Torture was a terrible device of the Middle Ages. It was used until the late 1800’s in Europe.
There are many variants of the chair. They all have one thing in common: spikes cover the back, arm-rests, seat, leg-rests and foot-rests. The number of spikes in one of these chairs ranges from 500 to 1,500.
To avoid movement, the victim’s wrists were tied to the chair or, in one version, two bars pushed the arms against arm-rests for the spikes to penetrate the flesh even further. In some versions, there were holes under the chair’s bottom where the torturer placed coal to cause severe burns while the victim still remained conscious.
This instrument’s strength lies primarily in the psychological fear caused on the victims. It was a common practice to extract a confession by forcing the victim to watch someone else be tortured with this instrument.
The time of death greatly varied ranging from a few hours to a day or more. No spike penetrated any vital organ and the wound was closed by the spike itself which delayed blood loss greatly.
Ingenius, and just the thing to instill the proper fear into the malificent buggers. One of these placed in a prominent position in both Congressional chambers, the Oval Office, and the Supreme Court could go a long way towards rectifying our problems. One in every state’s Governor’s Mansion, situated so that every last elected and appointed bureauweasel had to walk right by the thing multiple times each and every working day, would probably fix the whole mess practically overnight.
After that, restore the lost art of pistols at dawn on the Field of Honor to full legal status and we’d have ourselves a civilization worthy of the name again.