On Punishments

Theodorus prohibits from encouraging any kind of violence, so what about Capital Punishment? Isn’t it a kind of violence?
Yes, it is, and it’s a very challenging issue. Despite the efforts put into Theodorus so it wouldn’t reflect personal opinions so it would not be biased towards a narrative of ideas or worse – discriminating a part of the demographics, its attitude towards violence is the function of my personal ideology. I believe that any kind of violence should be discouraged, not because violence doesn’t solve anything. On the contrary, it does. But violence causes habituation, meaning you’ll need more and more of it in order to keep it effective. Using violence will make you numb to atrocities. And worse – becoming violent will turn you into to the person with the behavior we’re trying to eradicate.

So you think murderers should go unpunished? you know that the one who shows mercy to cruel, ends up being cruel to the weak…

If I was to think that we should have the lives of all those who believe that “man has the right to take another person’s life”, I would end in the death-row myself. And what is cruel? I don’t deny the existence of cruelty and there are certainly unpleasant people out there. But is a man that kills in order to feed his children would be considered cruel? how about a person fighting to free or to protect his country?

I think it’s fairly simple to see who is an evil murderer and who is an innocent victim

No, not really. And what do you mean “an evil murderer”? can a murderer be not-evil? how about leaders, such as prime-ministers, who send thousand (if not millions) of people to their death, whether its their own people or other people – are they murderers? and what about a white-collar white-person who pollute a river and causes sickness and death to a native village – is he innocent? “innocent” is a term defined by the jurisdictional power and you, the citizen, just hope that it is not corrupted enough to decide for whatever arbitrary decision they might have. And it doesn’t really needs to be corrupted, it can simply be with a different opinion than yours, and you’re down for it. Different opinions about the legal age of marriage, or alcohol consumption, or sex, or drugs or homosexuality or a anything else that is a controversial. If you live in a tolerant regime, you’d probably have less criminals for many other reasons as well, but as soon as you implement a strict justice-mechanism, you’ll find it very difficult to breathe….

But there’s a big difference between killing a terrorist and killing a small infant!

Maybe there’s a difference between victim, whether the victim is an innocent bystander, or maybe the victim is a “bad” person himself and he deserves whatever we decided to inflict upon him. This would mean that the person that should be put to trial is not the offender, rather than the victim and see whether the violent act was justified or not.

Still, there’s a big difference between the person who set out to kill another person and something that happened by accident

Maybe there’s a difference in the intentions, whether the victim was hurt on a deliberate intention, or it was actually a purely accidental. It’s very important distinction, if we could actually get it to work. You shouldn’t forget we’re dealing with a person that intentionally and deliberately harmed another person. Would you trust him to answer truthfully when asked on his intentions? maybe you can, maybe you can’t, but if you agree to this level uncertainty, you may allow yourself to punish ill-intended people that were stupid enough to be honest.

Well, Yes! This is the best strategy we can take in order to have justice

What is justice? “An eye for an eye”? I think it’s a very bad morality, as it perpetuates violence and leaves both sides blind. We can try to think of a different kind of justice. Let’s say that justice is “objectivity”. What is the best interest of society when a violent crime occurred? why is it of our best interest to punish the offender? We don’t want to “give him a lesson” because from that kind of “lessons” people don’t really learn. We want to re-educate him. We want him to understand why what he did was wrong and how he could have resolve the issue without using violence. We would like to keep him as a productive member of society and not shun him away. Heck, he is the society: him, the victim and many people pretty much like them. Putting the offender in jail should be used only when we have reasons to believe that it is dangerous to have him roaming free in among other people. Vengeance isn’t objective. Vengeance is childish and should not be a reason for mature and responsible action.

Okay, okay, please stop! Bottom-line. If I believe that capital-punishment is legitimate – is Theodorus still good for me?

Yes, it is. Because the definition of what is would be considered violent is subjective and something the community decide for itself, so if the community don’t see a certain action as violent, they should simple not report it as such.

Also, you might consider Theodorus’ discouragement as aiming against Vigilantism and not against the Community’s monopoly over violence. Meaning it would be okay for society to use violence but not for the individual members.

If this is the society you want to live in, you can have, but beside the deeply-rooted fear society had brain-washed you to believe that government violence is legitimate because your fellow countryman are inherently evil (are they? will you become violent if there were no violent punishments?), I don’t really see why would you want such a thing.

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