One of the problems with what I do is that I look for patterns in human behaviour, and once I see them I have difficulty un-seeing them. And there’s a set of patterns I keep seeing that are implicit in our news reportage—specifically, the reporting of legal cases. Patterns which seem to me to have a very simple underlying cause but which we take so much for granted that we don’t recognize them explicitly.
- Justice is a religious cult.
- Law is holy scripture.
- Judges are priests.
- Judicial capital punishment is human sacrifice.
Charlie Stross is a science fiction author who can usually be counted on to have an…unusual perspective on things. That said, I have heard the US Constitution referred to as the scripture of our “civic religion“, so I’m not sure I’d say he was completely off base here. While I am opposed to the death penalty, I don’t think I would go with him on 4.