[ExI] punishment

Samantha  Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Mon Mar 30 21:33:55 UTC 2009

On Mar 24, 2009, at 1:11 AM, Lee Corbin wrote:

> 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.

No it isn't.  The society makes most decisions based on secular  
reasoning and politics versus according to some ancient book  
interpreted by priestly caste is one first cut.    Individual rights  
are respected and individuals are at least in principle treated  
equally by the law is another.  I believe you can make a pretty fair  
argument that these things grow out of a better morality.  I don't  
believe for a second that it is all relative when it comes to morality  
or cultures.  I think that is one of the most poisonous notions there  

> 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.

It is not a matter of science.  So what.  That does not mean it is  

> 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.

Sorry.  You have been tooting this horn a long time and you are dead  
wrong.  All efforts to debug this meme of yours have failed so I want  
try again.

- samantha

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