[ExI] punishment

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sun Mar 22 23:22:13 UTC 2009

Gordon wrote (in "What is Grace")

> Other related societal goals include retribution
> and rehabilitation. Should we make the guilty suffer?


> Should we try to make them better people? Open questions.

Well, the first one wasn't hard, so I'll address the
second one.

To me, attempting to make true criminals into better
people exhibits sheer arrogance on our part.

We assume that *we* are so superior that we can look
down our noses at their "inferior" behavior and that
since *we* are so smart and so superior, *we* can
devise ways to change them. Now, I've made this point
before, to no avail, so I'll illustrate in a way
that I hope works better.

The story of a certain Viking (I'll call him Rolf) is
well-known. When pillaging English villages, Rolf not
only failed to enjoy stabbing babies through the middle,
swinging them around a bit, and seeing how far he could
toss them, he actually spoke out against it! All the
other Vikings could clearly see that Rolf was a bit
nuts. If it weren't that he was still a very capable
and bloody warrior, they would have suspected him
completely sick of mind, tear his balls off, and leave
him at home with the women.

Now what if a number of them had tried to "rehabilitate"
Rolf? I can just hear the conversation:

Jarg: "Let's force him to butcher all the babies in
the village himself. He'll get used to [good works]."

Odar: "I heard of a case where that was tried, but it
didn't work."

Jarg: "Is there no way that Odin will help us varsig
[rehabilitate] Jorg?

Their problem, which they cannot see, is that Rolf's
nature is different from theirs. He's a throwback to
a vanished tribal way of life in which *all* babies were
to be nurtured and if possible saved from death for
the sake of the tribe. The Vikings here just aren't
smart enough (i.e. don't have advanced enough
technology) to "solve" Rolf's problem.

Well, neither do we! A criminal (especially a sociopath)
is just as deeply wedded to his values as we are to ours.
And it's an arrogant waste of money to assume otherwise.

If we can get the upper hand against them, they become
fewer and we dominate (as in modern Sweden). But if they
breed faster, and conditions favor them (as they did in
the days of the Vikings and as they do today in big
cities), then we lose and they dominate.

It's us against them, and those of *us* who don't realize
that---those idiots among us---are just helping us dig
our own graves.


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