Societies society

Reviving Hammurabi’s Code: Different Laws For Different Castes

There was once a king of Ancient Babylon who made a law code and had it written down for perhaps the first time in history.  Fundamental to this code was the assumption that the ranks of humanity are not equal and therefore given different treatment under the law.
In Hammurabi’s time, this meant lighter punishments if the victim of a crime was lower in rank.

It sounds unjust to us now, but if we think about it, one of the great perversities of our present system is that there are still protected castes in our society, it just can’t be written or spoken.
The human experience shows us if we do not explicitly codify rank, parasites implicitly become the most-protected.  Equality is hypocrisy because to espouse it is to defy the timeless lessons of human nature.

Every human society organizes into hierarchies and in a healthy society, people are ranked as they contribute to the society’s survival.  Higher status people, being more valuable, are given greater powers and protections.
The ranks of humanity tend to stratify into breeds based on temperament and ability for abstract thinking.
Therefore, the incentives and deterrants that work for one caste do not work for another.

An underlying problem of our present system is that everyone from professionals to the underclass are subjected to the same laws.
In practice, this means the underclasses are threatened with punishments that deter people with families and careers reasonably well, but give hardened gangsters little pause.

Unable to admit that society can’t deal with its underclass, over 2 million people are locked up in America with millions more on probation or parole.  Rather than being truly punished, society prefers to neutralize them.  Then feeding, clothing, housing these captive consumers, like students or soldiers, becomes an industry of Keynesian broken windows.

Underclass troublemakers tend to have high testosterone, low IQ,  and short life histories. The strategy for their niche is to take big risks with drugs and violence that get them killed young, but also get a few women pregnant.  They don’t really think far ahead.
They’d very much like to stay out of a jail cell, but it doesn’t come with the same stigma it does in polite society.  It might even increase their status and get them more women when they get out again.

For thousands of years the solution for dealing with underclass aggression across the world has been pretty similar.  Either beat the crap out of them with nightsticks or, if they can’t be trusted to contribute to society again, just have them shot.
An egalitarian system is forced to try to harden the laws against its underclass, but as it does so it ends up dumping a steaming load of feces on normal people going about their business.

We end up with nice professionals bewildered by “militarized” police who treat them like dangerous animals at a routine traffic stop and it ends up making even ordinary workers suspicious and frightened of the police.  The quality of life falls dramatically for everyone and the morale of the tribe is damaged.

The irony of making a law for everyone is no one gets dealt with properly or proportionally.  
Unable to simply beat down underclass thugs and unable to admit they require more attention from the law, a phony “war on drugs” gets invented.

At the same time, the cooperative classes do not get the friendly benefit of the doubt their lower risk profile would merit, causing fear and resentment.
Inevitably some get caught and ruined by the indirect dragnets meant to catch the underclass.  To cap it off, those who have jobs and earn a wage by the rules have to feed and house a small country worth of prisoners.  What is a struggling worker to think when they cannot afford to see a doctor and the prisoner gets to see one for free?

A legal system that cannot properly punish low-level dysfunction ends up punishing cooperators instead.  In the long term, this dangerously undermines trust in the legitimacy of the rulers and makes people question the good and worthiness of the society itself.

A society correctly aligned with the Divine Justice punishes low-consciousness defectors with the negative reinforcement of raw force that even animals can understand.

Those who work jobs, and can behave so long as they are given structure can be threatened with humiliation and damage to their reputations.  Just a few hours of being pilloried in the public square being posted to social media would make most hesitate before breaking the law.  
Those who become repeat offenders and no longer care about their public image can be demoted to underclass and treated accordingly when they commit their next transgression.

Those of high agency have greater understanding of their actions in the context of society as a whole so they are mainly punished for crimes they know full well can puncture the lifeboat everyone relies on.
Demotion to the job classes, temporary or permanent, would be one of the simplest penalties.  For people of active awareness, a 9-5 job scraping for money is little different than a prison sentence.

Those who betray high responsibility over wealth and culture must bear the greatest punishments.  An underclass murderer might be quickly dispatched with a bullet.  Reckless speculators and embezzlers who crash the economy are destroyed in every respect with elaborate ceremony as befits fallen angels.

For all classes incarceration ought to be a last resort, where it would potentially do actual good, not indulged in as a net-negative industry.  Already, most other countries imprison a tiny fraction of their people compared to the USA.

Above all, societies are not charities.  Every tribe exists in tough competition with its neighbors.  If it does not run a tight ship, it is conquered and subsumed.  Life is already hard enough for people who faithfully spend their lives helping the group.  It must be relentlessly reinforced: the fruits of society are always for cooperators first. 

There must be severe limits on patience with takers.  A criminal, whatever their class, is put to death or exiled when society can no longer trust them to participate in the mission of the tribe.
Come to think of it, the United States could send thousands of its criminals to Cuba as they once did to the US.  If a tribe finds a neighbor weak and stupid enough to take in their unwanted exiles, why not use it against them?  Then, even the worst become useful as shock troops.
Or just have an actual island or an entire walled-off province where the exiles get a real second chance to build something.

The unprecedented abundance of the industrial revolution has led to such splendid rot that we house and feed people when they go on killing sprees and pat down our worker bees.  
The quick gains of the last two centuries are taken now and societies everywhere are reaching the point of saturation.  Where there is less insulation against reality provided by accumulated wealth, criminals and drug dealers are again being put to death rather than nicely hidden away from the common life.

By Giovanni Dannato

In 1547 I was burnt at the stake in Rome for my pernicious pamphlet proclaiming that the heavens were not filled with a profusion of aether, but rather an extensive vacuum.
Now, the phlogiston that composed my being has re-manifested centuries in the future so that I may continue the task that was inconveniently disrupted so long ago.
Now, I live in Rome on the very street where I (and others) were publicly burnt. To this day, the street is known as what I would translate as 'Heretic's Way'. My charming residence is number 6 on this old road. Please, do come inside and pay me a visit; I should be delighted to spew out endless pedagoguery to one and all...

31 replies on “Reviving Hammurabi’s Code: Different Laws For Different Castes”

There’s a short story by Vernor Vinge called “Conquest by Default” that you may enjoy …
Think of it as an intersection of Mencius Moldbug and Anarchist Sci-Fi.
The core plot: aliens arrive on Earth to discover that the three major surviving post-collapse factions, all located within the Southern Hemisphere, have settled into a slow-burning war of attrition. Along with coming to terms with understanding humans in anthropological terms, the Mikin corporations responsible for the invasion also have to come to terms with understanding elements within their own unique system of non-government that would like to keep it from being imposed on Earth.
The Mikin system in a nutshell: when organisations get too big, umpires break them up.
Everything that is not forbidden is allowed.
The underclasses have “Clown Towns” that are ruled by the universal presence of the potential for violence that may appear at any time, and so nobody walks around unarmed.
Actually, given the recent robbing by “youfs” of a SF/Bay Area BART train, I’d like the question not to be whether I have “a gun on me” but instead how many guns that happens to be …
Underneath the civilised exterior of America lies a National Clown Town.
And so my question to you is this: what would you do in a case where one of the underclass decided he was going to stage a petit revolution against one of the more accomplished classes?
I’d expect it would end in bloodshed — the blood of the underclass, naturally, with possible reparations paid to the more accomplished classes with more of the same …
Consider a more concrete case: how should they pay for killing a future Marconi, and at what point does ceteris paribus go well beyond tit-for-tat?
Insofar as intra-class warfare goes, I’d expect the rule of law in this situation would not be whether certain acts of violence were mallum in se, but instead whether they were mallum prohibitorum relative to the level at which they weren’t deserved.
In case this seems somewhat alien to you, keep in mind that the American Southern culture has a concise way of expressing this concept: “He was a bad man, he needed killin’”.
One day Blake gets it in the back from Gordon Gekko with those steak knives that he gave to the second-prize winner … and Premier Properties is now undergoing a hostile takeover.
Where should the investors send the thank-you notes? 🙂

Sounds like an intriguing story! I kind of like the name “Clown Town” for the vast piece of dysfunctional America that gets hidden away in welfare systems, and the prison system. It’s the same problem with every system though: who umpires the umpires?
We just trust we’re not being cheated when we pump gas into our cars but take for granted our governments are corrupt.

Underclass doesn’t do revolutions, that’s the business of a frustrated upper middle class and near elites.
Prole peasants revolt when they get hungry.
Underclass gangs sometimes become the new government when the established order collapses, or co-exists with it when it is weak.

I have an idea for this.
First offense go relatively easy if not a violent crime.. The second offense and violent criminals get sent to the “Great Western Desert Permaculture Project”. It’s absolutely amazing what you can do with permaculture. This guy takes hard packed clay desert next to the dead sea and turns it into productive farm land in about five years. The steps are contouring the land, using mulch with drip irrigation to start the process, planting nitrogen fixating plants then plants like fruits and nuts with bird boxes and other animals integrated. This video is astounding. Look at what the Jordanian guy did who went to his course.

So the steps are that you get various privileges when in the Permaculture Project (gulag) and we should call it, the gulag, so everyone knows what’s going on.

Lowest step. You refuse to cooperate at all. They put you in a concrete triangle with a hole in it that can be covered so wolves don’t eat you and you are chained to the triangle like a dog with no one to talk to. Once a day someone brings basic stuff like water, beans, sprouted grain. All the stuff needed to live but with no taste.

2nd You work and live in camps. Maybe keep the same triangle houses. You’re chained to a rock so you can’t run away. The work at first would consist of making swales(contour the ground to have a very small fall across a landscape) with a A-frame level.

Instead of drip irrigation we would build air wells.

The mulch will have to be trucked in at first but would rapidly increase in size exponentially as the system started. The whole system would after maybe two or three years pay for itself. As areas are made farmable cattle are put on them and that provides meat, vegetables can be grown. The better you work the more trust you get until you get the rock chained to your leg off. Prisoners are given increasing complex task as they work better or are able to. Those that screw up…back to the desert chained to the triangle by themselves. Now I could live by myself but I bet that the mass of criminals would absolutely fall apart if they weren’t able to run their mouths constantly. They would dread being alone but I suspect some would be so dangerous that we would just have to leave them chained up like that.

For security it’s possible to vastly amplify personal with drones and remote cameras tied to a remote internet run on blimps and solar cells.

I think with long sentences that eventually they would see that working long hours and being paid beats working on a chain gang in the desert. We would have to change the laws so that when the worst of the prisoners attack others they are punished severely or they are hanged…quickly. Right now violence pays in and out of prison.

I would also add that if you commit violent crimes, maybe you get one chance, but the second time you’re sterilized. This would be one of the biggest steps. I would also make it non noticeable. That way when the girls who like thugs take up with the violent ones when released they would be shooting blanks and the girls wouldn’t know. Like releasing sterile male mosquitos. If they wanted kids they could only get them from the non-violent.

The Federal government could run the thing and charge States like 2 dollars a day per prisoner. The whole system would rapidly start paying for itself. Such that we would have to be careful that everyone wasn’t put in jail. There also should be segregation due to race and crime. It wouldn’t take long before we could go out on a walk in the city at night or in the park with no fear that someone would kill you. All the criminals would be in the gulag. It would also pay for itself in vast productivity increases in the inner cites. Lots of people moving about doing things, whatever, that they can not do now.

Sounds like you have an outline for some kind of dystopian novel. Liet Kynes, the planetologist from Dune meets Judge Dredd…Could see something like that having appeal.

I was thinking maybe you start them out with some training and equipment and some kind of environment it’s actually feasible for a population to survive in. Beyond that, leave them to their affairs. If they want to fight or get drunk off pruno when they must cooperate and work hard to survive, it is the Divine Justice that they perish. They’re already where they’re at for good reason.
Show them how to terraform, maybe even get them started, but why make them do it if they don’t want to? I think a key concept is society’s investment in them has pretty much ended so people who don’t cause mayhem actually get decent perks and can live in high-trust neighborhoods they actually care about defending against external enemies.

You should not leave them to their own devices. That’s how they got where they were in the first place. If they don’t behave then you leave them in the triangular concrete shelter by themselves. Alone. The idea being that most of these people will be back in society so they should be shown that they can build something cooperatively. Under no circumstances should you let them make their own society. The society they are in will conform to our standards not theirs. Much of this can be down by themselves if we set standards and ruthlessly demand conformance to those standards. Very simple stuff like you would tell your children. Work, don’t lie, don’t attack people. The whole permaculture idea is because it would be useful and seeing something produced from nothing I believe could be inspiration to some of the. Some of course are useless and after they violently attack other prisoners we should put them top death and be done with them. Ever read,”Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member”. He I could see being put to death. In reality I think he’s out of jail. Probably making more kids we have to pay for.

George Carlin had a great bit about this: basically you wall off the state of Kansas and throw all the criminals in there, then televise all the different types of executions and creative punishments. You could even PPV the more anticipated ones. Monday Night Executions!

They did stop-and-frisk in NYC and it seemed to work but human rights NGOs agitated because racism. You’re never going to do anything without tackling the human rights religion.

I don’t identify with either the bleeding heart left or the christian conservative right so I vote for the anti-establishment anti-neocon candidate.
In 2008 I voted for Obama. After 8 eternal years of George W. Bush trying to thump A-Rabs with “compassionate” bible bombs, the very idea of another neocon president was vomit-inducing.
It was clear by 2012 Obama was just another establishment politician and Romney was like a Hollywood stereotype of an establishment politician sent straight from central casting. I sat that one out and had no intention of caring anymore. The giant douche vs. turd sandwich election.
Watching Trump bust open the PC pinata and trash and humiliate his competition was glorious, he had a decades-long record of saying the same things about protectionist trade policies and putting American interests before those of overseas allies. He liked Reagan but also criticized, not a toe-kissing worshiper like most republicans are.
Nevertheless, it seems it takes someone like him to prove to everyone the system is impervious and the problem is the system itself.

“In 2008 I voted for Obama.”

!!!? You must like dancing on the edge of the volcano.

Middle class White Americans in 2008 elected someone who actually hates them. Quite an achievement. I thought for sure once the Most Reverend Wright came out of the shadowy world of Alienated Rage he’d be finished. But, to my surprise, not at all. Virtue signaling Eloi are everywhere. Not that I think you’re one. Maybe just too young at that time. Heck, I voted for McGovern and Carter.

In 2008 I would have voted for anyone campaigning against Bush2’s idiocy.
In retrospect, Wright was an early warning of the race-baiting Obama would indulge in.
Even back then though, I knew the game was up as soon as he put Hillary in his cabinet.
As you say, I was in my mid-20s at the time and I’ve only really paid much attention to politics since the 2016 election. Being a member of the over-educated underclass, I was usually apathetic about machinations of the political class that did not affect me.
It seems Trump’s flips also predictable by looking at his cabinet appointments. While his political views on trade were remarkably consistent since the early 80s, Trump U and the Baja real-estate collapse suggest a guy who’s coasting on his fame by licensing out his name to anyone who pays a fee. That kind of moral and mental laziness kept biting him in the ass.
But it’s still a 2008 type of situation. Short of threatening to nuke the planet to ashes on live TV, there’s nothing that would have made me vote for Hillary instead.

Unlike with Obama, I remain quite pleased with Trump, though.

-My initial calculation in voting for him is he would either reform things or burn what’s left of the system to the ground.
As millions watch even a brash trash-talking rebel get easily co-opted, they will begin to lose their enthusiasm for re-arranging deck chairs.
As it stands, he still has to keep his base happy enough if he wants to get re-elected. It seems he has to keep the generals happy but relies otherwise on his voters since the GOP hates him.

-The eruption of Trumpism has changed the culture. It’s like a christmas for dissidents that doesn’t end.

Trump was completely broke by the early 90s. If I recall correctly he met with his creditors and basically said he’d give them a stake in his brand – his persona. He’s got balls of steel. Like a pro athlete or artist who will sell a stake in future winnings or sales. He’s somehow able to exploit the star system and turn it against the “controllers.” Kitsch is the articulate, “creative” elite disenfranchising the authenticity of materialistic groups through irony and paradox. Except Trump reverses it and disenfranchises the elites.

you will likely find this interesting…

anyways, the “war on drugs” is the real crime, you can put on a buzz and then go to work the next day. Alcohol will often do more to “impair judgement” than many other drugs that are illegal…

“For people of active awareness, a 9-5 job scraping for money is little different than a prison sentence.”

If you could avoid prison rape (and you probably could) you would likely find a prison sentence an opportunity to “catch up on reading.” Most people don’t realize how much energy is wasted being a “worker bee.” Try working on your “passion projects” after 8-12 hours in a cubicle…

Anyways, I think you are wrong on a few things, when you talk about “takers” we are reaching a point where sizeable portions of the population will be unemployable, even, gasp many white people with IQ’s below 100 (and there are allot of white people in that demographic.) So, we will have to have “welfare” or “make work” when the robots take everyone’s jobs. If society prepares for this one way, we may see a “paradise” but if society does not, we will see hell on earth…

Damn, you’ve halfway persuaded me prison could be better than a pointless job(actually that thought occurred to me before). It’s always been obvious to me what a waste of energy and waste of life most work is—for people that will never be grateful for your endless sacrifice, or even know or care. I figure it takes a certain personality type and mindset to be able to function optimally(without pills) in this crap society.
Fortunately, for now, have figured out how to have a job where people leave me alone and I can pass the day researching for and writing a blog post on my phone with my bluetooth keyboard.

By takers, I don’t mean in the “trucon” sense of anyone who doesn’t work upper prole trades, white collar “careers” and upwards in the job hierarchy. I mean people who genuinely make life miserable for their fellow man and backstab a decent society when time comes to defend it. I would see a homeless drunk who sweeps the streets and picks up trash as worthwhile enough to get a bowl of rice and a bed.

I don’t actually recommend prison, but, I’ve noted even guys like Nathan Damigo and David Duke have survived it. For me the worst part would be physical confinement and not being able to eat the food I like. You might be happier if you can build up some savings and then get laid off. I’m currently on unemployment insurance and since I don’t have many bills, it’s quite survivable. I used to do 1099 contract work, my last two jobs were w2. When they ended, it was nice getting a check. The first time I had to fight, the second time, they put me right on. (and yes, I am saying this just to antagonize the libertarian tough guys who think I’m getting a free ride on their dime.) I don’t understand the live to work types. They should get a hobby like guitar or mountainbiking. Of course for many guys a “hobby” means money, guys like Advocatus who visit prostitutes for example. That’s where I don’t think most MGTOW are really going their own way, because once you stop chasing women, you stop giving a shit about status. And then you don’t mind that you are driving a beat to hell old truck that most illegal immigrants would be embarrassed to be driving, you are just glad you don’t have a car payment.

I suppose by “takers” you are mentioning what AD calls “rent seekers.” That’s another thing, some big cities have been finding that by giving homeless a place to live they spend less. There was a case study on a guy who was homeless. He cost the emergency sercvices 150K in one year. They put him in an apartment and gave him food stamps and it cost less than 30k. (and I think it costs more to house a prisoner…)

I’m being facetious about actually preferring prison. But I think it speaks for itself that the thought really did occur to me.
That’s what deterred me as well: Having control over my time, what I do, where I go, what I eat and drink when I’m off the job, even if it’s just a few hours a day. Even as a small child I loathed fixed schedules and being woken up by alarms and just loathed it more the older I got.
I actually nearly used my history degree to become a military officer out of cynical calculation. Despite the tough times, very glad I did not go down that route. I came face-to-face with the opportunity to just go along with the system to get along and I flinched.
That was a fork in the road and when I started blogging in earnest.

These days, I don’t even have to do much on the job, it’s almost as good as being unemployed and I have learned over the years how to save up money no matter my circumstances while having enough left over for craft beers, bourbon, aged cheeses, raw local honey.

“Judge a Society By Its Prisons”
– Fyodor Dostoevsky (Direct translation)

Few people, thank goodness, enjoy locking people up. In fact, it’s a rather messy and expensive process. You have to neutralize a offender, presumably with force, go through an elaborate process, and explain to any friends and family why you are sending this person “away” to be warehoused with the dregs of society for whatever time period. It is not surprising that it was the drug war, particularly on marijuana, that destroyed much of the social contract on this matter. The US Congress, in their haste to “toughen” sentencing, ripped apart the social contract.

And unfortunately, few sane people are willing to dump their own friends and family in such a manner, no matter how richly someone deserves it. In fact, the worse the prison conditions are, the less likely someone is to turn in someone they know, a fact which comes into play with the practice of using the correction system(s) to house the mentally ill. Instead, as Giovanni points out, we have a system that rewards violence, inside and outside, and imposes it’s burdens, as usual, on those in the middle…have something to lose (respectability, family, wealth), but don’t have the protections of wealth.

Which is why successful societies have entrusted such responsibilities to their most just people, not because they are nice people, but because they must balance harshness with the social interest. Instead, our current system rewards harshness to some, and absurd leniency to others.

Damn, you sum it up in a very powerful way.
The concept of putting adults in prolonged “time out” with a dunce cap is an extreme, humiliating approach in every way when used as a default punishment but it puts them out of sight, out of mind for the average Joe who needs to show up at work tomorrow morning. It sweeps it under the rug for the short term, but eventually you do have to have a real society to survive real-world shocks.

It serves the desire for many to lash out as a socially acceptable “other”, to see the mighty fall, and as a stark warning to those who get ideas about taking power themselves.

However, like so many things, a threat only works if you have something behind it. With the drop in resources and effectiveness, that may no longer be the case.

The title would sound better with “different treatments for different crimes”. “Different laws for different castes” sounds like a privilege.

The underclass commit different types of crimes under different circumstances than the upperclass. And if an upperclass perform the same crime as the underclass [eg mugging people on street], then he probably have the same mindset as an underclass and deserve the underclass treatment.

A member of the upper class who mugs people on the street is either a) Mentally Ill and needs help, or b) Decided to betray his society. In the first case, treatment, in the second case, publiclly cast down from society’s heights as befits a fallen traitor.

Instead, we have the current system, where Hollywood stars/starlets can assult people on the street and pay a minor amount of gold (to them), the underclasses just laugh about it, and the middle class is afraid to walk outside at night.

I’ve heard the underclass talk about casual violence, most of it’s talk, but even that talk would get you banished from Working to Upper Middle Class society.

But part of my point is because police can’t explicitly punish the underclass they have to make up excuses like sending people to prison for marijuana possession.
This will inevitably catch some otherwise law-abiding college kids and sends even the underclass types to prison for the wrong reasons.
Furthermore, we do see rich NFL players who came from the underclass get off with just having to pay a fine when they keep up their thuggery.
As public figures with careers, it would still be most effective to ritually humiliate them, then demote to underclass once they have no more reputation to lose.

As has been pointed out, prison is an immeasurably worse punishment for normal people who work jobs, because your friends and family are more likely to disown you, much harder to get work again.

Then because upper class crimes are not treated separately, they, like the NFL players are given a fine, get off without penalty, or get fired with a golden parachute, when they should be getting arrested by the inquisitors and then cast off the traitor’s rock after being forced to watch as all their assets are seized and their family and friends demoted and left with nothing.

I agree with what you said, but what you described is the corruption of the law, rather than the problem of the law itself. Imagine we have a perfectly rational computer meting out justice according to the spirit of a just law. Then the NFL thug won’t just get a fine, he would be sent to prison like an underclass would have (or whatever better punishment conceived), and have his reputation and career damaged, hence achieving the effect you described.

The fact that currently the upper class can get away with treachery and thuggery already shows that we de facto have different laws for different classes — just that the laws are NOT in flavour for justice. Like I always say, it is the corruption of authority that is the root problem.

The entire crime industry — from cops up to judges — is in symbiosis with the criminals. New criminals come up from the bottom like tadpoles rising to the water surface, and the officials are like inept fishermen trying to push them down into the water.
You, Lord of Commodus, are seeing the sloppiness of the system. But there are two dams at either end of this creek.
One dam is that the underclass destroys itself, saving society the trouble.
The other dam is that television and minimal welfare money narcotizes the underclass, also helping out society.
Three helpings to a better future.

One other point:

There is a symmetry between politicians and judges, because both stem from the lawyer job sector.

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