Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Second chances for violent teenage criminals

This article raises interesting questions and tells a relevant story about the circumstances under which it may be appropriate to give a young person a real chance at rehabilitation after they commit a heinously violent crime. I'm inclined to think that circumstances could move me to fall on either side, but it also seems to be something of a crap shoot. I suppose the testimony of expert psychologists and criminologists, as well as the details of individual cases, could go a long way to providing a basis on which I would be comfortable making a decision one way or the other. However, it just seems impossible to reliably predict the future behavior of a child. I certainly wouldn't have wanted anyone determining the outcome of the rest of my life based on a single emotionally-charged action of my life as a 13-year-old. It really highlights the grave importance of having thoughtful judges.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Imitation is the highest form of flattery

The key paragraph of this article for me (bold italics are mine):

"Over the past 20 years, the World Bank and some rich nations Malawi depends on for aid have periodically pressed this small, landlocked country to adhere to free market policies and cut back or eliminate fertilizer subsidies, even as the United States and Europe extensively subsidized their own farmers. But after the 2005 harvest, the worst in a decade, Bingu wa Mutharika, Malawi’s newly elected president, decided to follow what the West practiced, not what it preached."