Kent posted earlier today about the importance of the Presidential election in shaping the federal judiciary. I could scarcely agree more, but there is, in my view, an even more compelling reason that America must make the right choice.
Law, and criminal law in particular, rests on a particular view of human nature: That adults of sound mind are responsible for their lives and behavior. Were it otherwise, punishment would be unfair. If those who commit crime are mere vessels of adverse social forces, we have no business punishing them. They would deserve, as the defense bar always reminds us, not punishment but service. The real villain would be, not the criminal, but the rest of us, for having failed to see to it that the fellow who knocked over the gas station or embezzled the church fund or raped the 11 year-old didn't get all the "opportunity" that he "deserved" and thus was "forced" into his misdeeds.
The criminal, in modern left wing parlance, has become the "other" -- the despised, downtrodden, and (let's not forget) "marginalized" creature against whom society has arrayed its bourgeois forces and anachronistic mores.
The welfare/grievance/nanny state rests on this same view. The individual has no particular responsibility. We're all instead a bunch of infants and children, ever in need of therapy, counseling and (of course) a goodly chunk of dough someone else earned -- all to compensate for the inequities society inflicted on us.
The notion of just punishment will always be playing defense in a culture where that is the reigning narrative. One candidate buys into that worldview, although he makes occasional attempts to pretend otherwise; the other, for the most part, doesn't.
Make sure to vote tomorrow.