I have recently watched many moralizing movies. There is always so much drama involved. But don’t get me wrong: the drama is actually interesting. The gravitas of the drama suggests that there is actually an order of criminal actions. There are two basic kinds of drama that I am going to distinguish: the drama that results from the crime, and the drama that drives the crime.
The resulting drama from the crime is rather obvious. The greater the resulting drama, the greater the crime. This is pretty much the essence of consequentialism. There are certain flaws to this. A flaw with an extreme incling would be: is it wronger to kill an influential person, than a noname? If you killed a Hobo, would that be less bad than killing a high-ranking political figure?
I, personally, don’t believe that there is a difference in intrinsic value of any individual human life. In the present, saving any person’s life should be of the utmost priority. But in the long run, we all die, and every scientific theory we have of our plane of existence ends without the possibility of transcending this existence – in that sense, we are all worthless. But there are immediate consequences to be considered: A Hobo dying (even violently) will not cast big ripples in our society; A state leader being assassinated would be an event that would drive the world mad for weeks, and the aftershocks would be felt years, even decades later. Just think of Franz Ferdinand 1918…
So, the gravity of the crime, and the power of the victim are both factors for the ensuing fallout. What about the drama fuelling the crime? In any good modern crime story, there is an elaborate background – personal, psychological, medical, socioeconomic and historical – to the perpetrator(s). Mostly this doesn’t justify the crime, as these backgrounds are investigated by some law enforcement agency to help find and arrest the criminals. There are plenty of movies, however, that focus on the criminal rather than law enforcement. If these movies are character driven, the viewer must be sympathetic to the criminal. Sometimes, you might not even consider the protagonists breaking the law ‘criminals’. The classical story of Robin Hood comes to mind, who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. The man upholding the law, the Sheriff, is the villain, because he represents the false justice, which allows Prince John of England and his vassals to live in debauchery after betraying his Brother Richard Lionheart to the French, while the simple folk have not enough to live, but too much to die.
This suggests that if the crime is driven by an equal or greater amount of drama than it causes, it is justifiable, or at least excusable. I am uncertain if this would hold up to any kind of legal scrutiny, but this is what we see when we turn on the television. The only crime, for which I can find neither justification nor excuse, is sexual assault/rape. I do believe that crimes involving sexuality are simply unconscionable. Since modern slavery also mostly means forced prostitution, slavery is, by extension, unconscionable.
Why now are crimes involving sexuality set apart from all other crimes? It doesn’t seem universal. There is hardly any society in the world in which female emotions are regarded as highly as in our western industrially developed countries, and even in our society there are dickwads who don’t think women are worth considering. But just think of it: can rape be anything else but self-serving? Can it be driven by anything else than lust, cruelty or greed?
Of course, if you CAN find a justification or excuse for forcing someone to sex, I would like to discuss that.