If impunity were a form of entertainment, modern civilization is one giant carnival of impunity. Everywhere you look someone is getting away with something extremely wicked, and what’s worse, it’s often officially sanctioned! Indeed, we have to wonder whether our current practice of government aims at systematically manufacturing impunity for various and sundry beneficiaries.
Some of this has gone so far that we need an ancient perspective to begin to recognize it:
“New legislation may be proposed only at the first session of each month, and the member who offers it is held responsible for the result of its adoption; if these are seriously evil another member may within a year of the vote invoke upon him the graphe paranomon, or writ of illegality, and have him fined, disenfranchised, or put to death; this is Athens’ way of discouraging hasty legislation.”— Will Durant
Why indeed should a legislator, whose edicts have the force of law implemented with the force of a gun, be immune from prosecution for pushing laws that violate individual rights?
“[In Athenian courts] plaintiffs who fail to substantiate their charges are also fined; and if they receive less than a fifth of the jurors’ votes they are subject to a lashing, or to a penalty of a thousand drachmas [roughly 50,000 ca. 2016 dollars].”— Will Durant
Malicious prosecution? It happens all the time, but is only rarely and lightly punished.
Hospital mistakes are a leading cause of death in America, and yet when was the last time you heard of a doctor or nurse being prosecuted for negligent homicide? Could it possibly be that rare that there exist in the United States lazy doctors and/or nurses, not washing their hands, and then infecting people? Obviously not. The truth is that when these things happen there is no accountability, so the cases of criminal negligence are simply never uncovered.
I could go on and on. It’s as if we live in a world where most people want to do something they know is wrong, and then don’t want to be questioned about it or held to account, and so they look the other way when other people are doing something wrong and don’t want to be held to account, and that this breeds the impunity we all suffer for. It’s as if the dictum “judge not lest ye be judged” has put people’s minds in the gutter, lowering their standards to the minimum possible, which makes them look the other way, and is thereby ruining civilization.