Re: Justice is so revenge
Thu, 8 Jan 1998 14:19:46 -0800 (PST)

On Thu, 8 Jan 1998, Michael Lorrey wrote:

> I would say that encouraging, and even enforcing respect for contracts
> and the concept of mutual consent to be a greater good for both society
> AND the individual. I define people who violate either concept to have
> done a 'bad' thing, that requires redress.

I agree that it's a bad thing to violate a person or a contract (uh, duh),
but even someone who doesn't agree with that would surely have to agree
that to undertake such a violation is to do *something*, and that this
something can be recognized as such. If civil society is the sum of
ongoing voluntaristic associations (for simplicity's sake, I'll let it go
at that), then to violate a person or a contract is to "communicate" one's
separation from that civil society. Civil society properly responds to
this "communication" by listening to it -- either literally separating the
criminal from the society she or he has separated from by means of the
violation (exile, imprisonment), or specifying the terms under which the
criminal can return (restitution, rehabilitation). I'll add that since a
*robust* civil society would recognize the extent to which it thrives on
diversity -- even such diversity as is represented by those who in moments
of weakness or confusion or whatever temporarily fail to live up to its
stipulations -- the terms for re-entry into civil society should be pretty
generous. I don't see why revenge should enter into these transactions at
all particularly. Best, Dale