Why Zero Tolerance Makes Zero Sense
Zero tolerance is philosophical bulls — , if you’ll pardon my French, and I hope I haven’t offended any bulls out there with this admittedly somewhat unwonted epithet.
Why is it so? Pray, be seated and perpend.
Zero tolerance is “all of a piece” with the creation of “czars” in American government. It is a deliberate attempt to find a kind of moral and political “cover” for our desire to handle problems in a completely un-American way: namely by giving up on mere justice, equality before the law and common sense, and resorting to bare knuckle, unapologetic enforcement of inflexible edicts instead, often by assuming prima facie that certain types of people (read “male” in the case of sex crimes and “black male” in the case of so-called drug crimes) must be considered guilty until proven innocent whenever they are viewed from a standpoint of jurisprudence. The use of “zero tolerance” is a sign that we’ve grown tired of victims suffering unnecessarily, and so we’ve decided that the solution is to make the innocent suffer instead.
When we invoke “zero tolerance,” we are saying that the precise facts of a case no longer matter. If the case in question serves to illustrate a sufficiently despised trend, then the suspect must be treated as if he or she (typically he) had committed the worst possible crime in the category involved, whether it be sexual harassment or a so-called drug crime. Did he make a woman uncomfortable with some gender-laden language? Let him be treated as if he committed rape. Did he use marijuana? Let him be treated as if he was selling opioids. Compared to such despotic chop logic, bullshit itself smells sweet, for the latter will help a rose to grow while the former conduces only to tyranny and injustice.
Arise and go now, with your newfound grasp of the problematic nature of “zero tolerance” as vouchsafed to your worship by my humble adumbrations.
Well, don’t just sit there taking up my bandwidth: scoot!