In most cultures throughout history, [justice systems have] been dominated by compensation… Medieval systems, and all tribal systems, that don’t have centralized governments are compensatory in nature. Sometimes it’s individual compensation, sometimes it’s group compensation (you compensate the clan of which the person’s a member). But it’s very compensatory… What happens is, if the communities ended up having to pony up for your crime (because they would have to pay the other clan) then they would have an interest in policing you. And if you turned out to be a repeat offender, they kicked you out, and they made you an ‘outlaw’. The term outlaw meant outside the protection of the law. They didn’t actually kill you, and they didn’t actually punish you, but once you were made an outlaw and they withdrew their protection from you, anyone else who wanted to kill you and punish you could do so with impunity, and that was a really tough spot to be in. So, by withdrawing protection, you end up ‘punishing’ people without directly punishing them.
It was only when the monarch started intervening in this local tribal system—which the people were very reticent about giving up, they were very reluctant to give up their rights to compensation—but eventually the king superseded them, and then breaching the king’s peace turned out to be the major offense. And it’s sort of the way it is today. A crime against ‘society’ is not a crime against you. So, it turns out, if you are raped, if you are assaulted, you are not the official victim of the crime in our legal system. I represented as a prosecutor ‘The People of the State of Illinois’, and I didn’t represent you. So what happened to you is simply a crime against the polity and not against you at all. Well, I think that’s perverse. And if that perversity is expressed, then people would rebel against it.
“The 1994 congressional election is a revealing example of the gap between rhetoric and fact. It was called a ‘political earthquake,’ a ‘landslide victory,’ a ‘triumph of conservatism’ that reflects the continuing ‘drift to the right’ as voters gave an ‘overwhelming popular…