[ExI] punishment

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Tue Mar 24 08:11:56 UTC 2009

Stefano writes

>  > To me, attempting to make true criminals into better
>  > people exhibits sheer arrogance on our part.
> I fully agree.
> See also the tale of the Pale Criminal in Thus Spake Zarathustra 
> <http://philosophy.eserver.org/nietzsche-zarathustra.txt>.
> More modestly, what we can say is that every society attempts to make 
> its members more functional to its value system and internal working 
> through punishments and rewards, not to mention a pinch of propaganda 
> during punishment.

Yes. While we may say, objectively, that some societies are
more advanced than others technologically, it's difficult
to make the case that some are more advanced than others
morally. Of course, *we* embrace---and should embrace---
on this score that our values are preferable and "better",
but I don't think that these are really scientific claims.

That is, the Aztec practice of torturing small children to
death in order to make it rain can be criticized with 100%
objectivity on scientific grounds (it doesn't work), and
can be seen as primitive and barbaric. Yet our vigorous,
unrelenting denunciations of the morality of their solution
---denunciations which should be acerbic, tendentious, loud,
and near hysterical---should simply be seen for what they
are: our wishes to supplant their morality with ours.
Namely, us vs. them.

(Speaking of Us vs. Them, Saturday was a bad day in California
for us: one of Them scored 4-0 against Us when one of them
killed four Oakland Police officers, a "hero" that will live
long in the annals of our gangster enemies. We win some, we
lose some against the enemy.)

But to return to the subject at hand, should brain-washing
techniques be used against *our* captives, i.e., the morally
depraved criminals who fall into our hands? For example, the
animal who killed those four Oakland Police Officer---should
"Clockwork Orange" techniques be tried against him?

I myself doubt it---but only because the techniques may be
too non-humanitarian and because they probably (in 2009) cannot
be made to work well enough.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list