Dear Dr. Boli: How do our governing powers decide where to direct our law-enforcement efforts, and what punishment to demand of criminals once convicted? I have been trying to figure this out, but without much success. —Sincerely, Clarence Thomas.
Dear Sir: Our law-enforcement resources are allocated, and our sentences meted out, according to a strict calculation of the moral severity of the crime. Thus we may construct an accurate table of possible deeds and misdeeds, from most to least reprehensible, merely by observing the actions of our legal system:
1. Infringing copyrights held by large conglomerates.
2. Growing marijuana plants.
3. Stealing food for your family.
4. Robbing banks.
5. Murdering children one at a time.
6. Parking at an expired meter.
7. Stealing pensions from your employees.
8. Embezzling a few billion dollars from your bank depositors.
9. Murdering a hundred thousand people at once.
The last few items on the list are considered rather virtues than vices, and are generally rewarded rather than punished.