I have absolutely no idea why organized crime is romanticized and glorified. In the movies, in books, in culture. Heck, even in school, you have to "respect" the gang kids. What the hell is this?

Organized crime, be it the Mafia, the Yakuza, the Triads, or whatever country it comes from, is a nefarious entity that bases its existence on fear and intimidation, and its own lust for power and more importantly, profits. It uses the suffering of others to fuel itself.

Its operations include drug trafficking, racketeering, blackmail, extortion, prostitution, money laundering, loan sharking, the slave trade and blatant murder, just to name a few. Laws are made for the good of the people. When laws are broken, someone suffers. Organized crime blatantly infringes the law for its own benefits, while at the same time making others suffer for its crimes.

Mob rule is decided by the force of arms and the ability to intimidate. People who question their authority are punished. Sort of like the Gestapo or KGB isn't it? It is all enforced by people who, with nothing to contribute to society, will make society pay thorugh their crimes so it can survive. Like a parasite.

The ridiculous "respect" hierarchy comes from the ability for people high in the order to do whatever they want to people lower on the pecking order, again through the fear and intimidation. How can you respect a person who has lusts for power and would make all suffer for his own selfish interests? Only people who also single-mindedly lust for power can do that.

And yet, there are so many cultural icons today that represent respect for organized crime. Why is that so?

"Damn it feels good to be a gangster"

What the hell was that? Of course you won't mention how many people's lives you've ruined to feel good.

The movie "Goodfellas". Sure the moral of the whole movie is that organized crime is bad. But throughout most of the movie it depicts a glamorous and wonderful lifestyle. Many youngster don't see the moral of the story but they do connect with the lifestyle.

The young mind is easily manipulated because it cannot fully differentiate between good and evil. Adults can dismiss it and not take it seriously. Youngsters cannot do that.

I rant on this because my family in the past have been victims of organized crime and its disgusting, abusive crimes. And yet it is glorified in culture today. I just don't get it.

Update: Yes the roots of organized crime is often grass-roots (the Chinese Triads came from the rebellion against the emperor and foreign oppressors). But once they achieve power, they end up emulating the people they were originally against, become no better or even worse than them. A shame really.

Many institutions of organized crime were originally established to help the little guy - because the system was against them, they had the right (nay, responsibility!) to work outside the system to make sure that justice was done! (Let us not forget also that what constitutes a crime is determined by those in power - corrupt politicians -and that in many times the simple fact of a person's existence has been a crime depending on their race and location.)

The Underground Railroad was organized crime. Believe it or not, the Mafia began as a means for Italian peasants to protect themselves from the excesses of the Inquisition. The only real problem is that people are weak, and once they get some power they often find themselves liking the experience, wanting to continue enjoying it and occasionally having to, well, execute those who might threaten their comfort, the comfort of their friends, family members or business partners, or suggest that enjoying such comfort at the expense or discomfort of others is unfair or somehow dishonourable.

Though they're technically six of one..., I prefer "civil disobedience" to "organized crime" myself because its dogma at least sounds smarter, less greedy and usually it results in fewer people getting killed (with the exception of periodical police rampages...)

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