This is a very good interview with Matt Taibbi discussing what has happened to the American justice system. One of our myths is that we have the fairest justice system in the world but, like our fantasy that we have the world’s freest press, it is a delusion. As with the press we aren’t e! ven in the top 25. It is very hard to maintain a healthy democracy if both the government and the people insist upon lying to themselves.
‘It’s Total Moral Surrender”: Matt Taibbi Unloads on Wall Street, Inequality and our Broken Justice System
ELIAS ISQUITH, Assistant Editor – Salon
Morally, it doesn’t work anymore. You just cannot have a society where people instinctively know that certain people are above the law, because it will create total disrespect for authority among everybody else. And that’s completely corrosive. You need to have people believing in the system to some degree – even if it’s just an illusion, you need to have them believing. And that was … another thing I was trying to get to in this book, the difference between what happened in the Bush years, with the scandals with Adelphi and Enron and Tyco, and what happened now, [when] they just stopped seeing the necessity of keeping up appearances. They didn’t even make a few symbolic prosecutions, and so it leaves the entire public with this glaring statistic that there were no prosecutions and there was massive crime. How does that make anybody else feel? How does it make you feel when you pay a speeding ticket, you can’t write that off, but HSBC can write off its $1.9 b! illion fine for drug trafficking? People start to think about these things, and they start losing their faith in the system and it doesn’t work anymore. It’s funny, because when they talk about income inequality on the campaign trail and in these elections … They always talk about it in this unthreatening, antiseptic way, and it’s just so much more extreme than that. It’s much broader and more disgusting problem than the way they typically present it in our political debate. So that was another thing I was trying to do, was to try to bring out the grotesque nature of the whole thing.