A fellow blogger recently posted about the newest Dutch innovation – ‘scum villages’. The plan calls for exiling nuisance neighbours and anti-social tenants from the city to be rehoused in caravans or containers with “minimal services” under constant police supervision. This in addition to the already existing measure of sending the worst offenders for a compulsory six month course in how to behave. This fellow blogger has his doubts about the idea, as it reminds him of bad history, internment camps and such. I, on the other hand, am for teaching those in apparent need of it how to behave as a human. It has been suggested to me that this could be seen as indoctrination, and where would it end?
Well, sure it could be seen as indoctrination. And if you take it to both extremes, you’ll end up in an unhappy place. The thing is, as a society we have a set of rules by which we live. And if someone deviates from these rules, in a way that has negative effect on other members of the society, we (the society) reserve the right to take measures against that someone. We protect ourselves from antisocial behaviour, and try to find a balance between hurting the rights of an individual and protecting the rights of other individuals. Compare it to fines for speeding. You are not free on the freeway (ironically enough) but are limited to a certain speed, and if you exceed that speed, you are a menace and risk a fine. If you collect enough fines, you might be sent to a course on safe driving.
I think that if someone is being such a jerk, that his neighbours are considering moving, it is much more just to send the said jerk to a course in decent behaviour than to tell his neighbours to move. And if the jerk is still being a jerk, then he’s the one that should move, and not his/her law-abiding neighbours. What do you think?