A spot of public humiliation never hurt anyone. In fact, it is one of the major tools of yesteryear to keep uncivilized behavior under control. I’m sure that the love of fallen man for pointing fingers allowed such practices to get out of hand, and that the rules governing what was considered an offense worthy of such treatment would be considered odd, or even barbaric today, but the concept has merit, when considered in the light of the 21st century.
Take these for example.
Just your basic 17th century pillory. It’s nothing close to torture. I’m not advocating thumbscrews or the Little Ease, or the Iron Maiden. Just a spot of helplessness in the town square. This ashamed cavalier may get some tomato shaped bruises, but he’ll only go home feeling like an idiot, not a pin cushion.
Imagine how useful this would be! If we could isolate, rebuke, and humiliate the infractions of the populace, I bet incidents would drastically decline.
Here are some scenarios where it is clearly overboard to yell “Off with his head!”, but in which Something Ought to be Done.
Line Budgers. You may call it cutting, but everyone hates the person who always pushes in front of people in a queue.
People Who Park in Handicapped Spots without a Little Blue Card
Seriously. What unutterable frogs.
Those who Do Not Silence their Mobile Devices at Events
If your phone goes off in concert, during communion, or at a funeral…
Naw, that’s just not fair. Never mind.
Now, this is serious. Imagine a world where Public Humiliation and Potential Tomato-ing was an occupational hazard of Public Office. In fact, that is what brought this to my mind. Were we to conduct these current political debates with a handy civil judge to moderate and the pillories just outside the door where the candidates get to pass them on the way in, I bet we’d hear much more that was true. I don’t see a need to come down for one side or the other here. I just think that if America Laughed when Politicians Lie, and then threw a very soft and non-threatening Secret Service Approved Tomato in their direction, that we would have a very different state of affairs today.
So, your Honors, consider Public Humiliation as an alternative to fining people, and see if the tone of society don’t improve.