Confessions Of A Criminal Mind: Part Two

When I spoke about the criminal mind previously the reader may think that the criminal mind is in rebellion against civil society or against any authority, and on at least a certain level this is true. Criminals certainly are hostile to the rules and restraints that authorities and institutions place upon them. But if we conflate criminals and rebels we do both a disservice. What I would like to do now is to draw at least some distinction from the criminal mind as we see it and the rebel mind, as there are some serious differences between the two, and the social conditions that inflame some of these tendencies also inflame the other tendencies, so it is that we find criminals and rebels frequently existing in the same way.

One of the clearest ways to distinguish the criminal and the rebel (or dissident) mind is to see how they exist in the same space. Sometimes, for example, we find both of them involved in the same social movements that show hostility to some aspect or institution. Here we find that criminals opportunistically support those groups that allow them to do what they want to do–be it arson or violence or something else of a criminal nature, while those who are genuine idealists want to change society in order to get rid of some perceived or actual injustice that is going on, and who see the opportunistic support of criminals as evidence that their cause is growing in popularity, even as the movement is often hijacked by grifters who see the funding as a means of profiting themselves, all of them involved as allies with different goals and ideals in mind that can be served by whatever movement they are jointly a part of.

This difference between opportunism and idealism that can be found between the criminal mind and the dissident/rebel mind is something we also see when these people find themselves in jail. In the gulag archipelago, for example, criminals would frequently find themselves as the trusties of the people who ran the jail with shorter sentences and better conditions than the political prisoners who were viewed as true enemies of the state. The criminals could be trusted to prey upon the idealistic political prisoners who wanted to make the regime a better one, instead of the criminals who simply sought a better condition for themselves and less restrictions and more freedom to do the bad things that they wanted to do without hindrance. So long as a state can turn such violent and antisocial interests of the criminal class against some internal or external enemy, such tendencies can be useful and beneficial to a state that lacks moral legitimacy. The desire of dissidents or rebels to change society and to become authorities in a more just regime, on the other hand, is not a desire that can be tolerated or used by a tyrannical government. While dissent can be tolerated in a just society, those societies that are weakening in their republican institutions tend to view dissent as increasingly unjustifiable and worthy of punishment, instead of being healthy and beneficial to a functioning society that needs to build consensus before adopting grand plans for change.

What we see, therefore, is that while there may be alliances of convenience between various people in various positions, that there are still distinctions between them based on what drives and motivates them. The criminal mind is focused on personal pleasure and seeking to gratify desires as well as rail against restraints without having a principled or consistent view of life, or empathy towards other people. While criminals are limited in their ability to form stable institutions, they are frequently useful to those who are in positions of authority who may recruit them and channel their predatory instincts on useful enemies of the state or institution. Those who are dissidents or rebels, on the other hand, wish to be in authority over institutions and may have very long-term and disciplined plans and strategies about how to gain control over institutions and use that power to force their ideals on the larger members of society or those institutions, frequently disastrously it must be admitted, but in a principled manner that is far beyond what the criminal is capable of. Those in authority of institutions are largely faced with the choice of whether to allow dissent as a means of showing the strength of those institutions, provided the dissent is expressed in nonviolent terms that allow for diverse counsel and opinions to build consensus in institutions through free expression, or whether to enlist the criminal class against dissidents in order to sow terror among those who would dare oppose the authorities. To the extent that we see a particular side support or seek to use the criminal class, we can recognize that side as being evil. To the extent that dissidents use the criminal class to sow anarchy and threaten peace and order, those dissidents are evil and deserve to be crushed. To the extent that the government uses the criminal class against their own citizens who desire a better society, that government is tyrannical and evil. Let us therefore profit by seeing the behavior of other elements of society with regards to those who live under the burden of a criminal mind.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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