In comments, Billy mentioned that a real-live politician is proposing a variation of an old, old idea of mine. Naturally, it’s doing as well as you’d expect from a rational idea.
His latest proposal isn’t receiving a warm welcome. The House speaker’s office noted that O’Neil is bringing the idea alone.
His bill would allow physical pain as a substitute for jail for those convicted of misdemeanors or felonies. This is too vague, because I would never let predatory criminals opt for pain in lieu of prison. One reason our system is insane is that it forces our non-violent criminals to live for years with our most brutal people. Only one set of habits rubs off in that scenario, and it’s supposedly the one we seek to eliminate.
This is just standard-issue human insanity. If this Jerry O’Neil wants to make the most of this near-lucidity, he should just keep asking one thing over and over until every single opponent is gnashing his teeth:
“If you had to choose your own punishment, would you prefer twenty lashes or twenty years in prison?”
You could take on the entire Earth with that argument and either eventually win or see every one of your foes flee the battlefield.