Justace and Punishment

John K Clark (johnkc@well.com)
Sat, 14 Mar 1998 21:46:28 -0800 (PST)


"den Otter" <otter@globalxs.nl> Sat, 14 Mar 1998

>Justice is punishing harmful acts in proportion to the crime and in
>a consequent manner.

Justice is doing what is needed to prevent harmful acts from being repeated.

>Punishments can be fully "customized" and monitored so that no-one
>is hurt worse than intended.

If you could prove that then I'd have no objection to corporal punishment,
but I don't think it's possible, or at least not practical.

>if you can't take the heat then *stay out of the kitchen*! No-one
>is forced to become a violent offender

My point is that people should not be punished differently for the trivial
reason of having different physiques, and that nobody should receive the
equivalent of a death sentence for committing a very minor crime.

>Primitive man pesumably acted even more on impulse than we do, and
>feelings of hate and revenge might have helped him on his way to
>the top.

Certainly, but so what? My genes have their agenda and I have mine, besides,
I'm a lot smarter than my genes, even they know that, that's why they gave me
a brain. If you look for wisdom or morality in Evolution you will not find it.
Evolution is brutal and stupid, it has no foresight and can't design worth a
damn, that's why biological creatures are so poorly made.

>Vicious slander can ruin someone's reputation for life, and can lead
>to loss ofjob(s), family problems, severe mental damage (sometimes
>suicide) due to rejection by the community/society etc.

If your skin is that thin then never say anything controversial, be just like
everybody else, make sure you don't do anything creative, don't be too good
at your job and don't make a lot of money, such people are so dull the
tabloids would never dream of slandering them. Nobody is forcing you to
aspire to more and if you can't take the heat then *stay out of the kitchen*!

A word about reputation, my reputation is an opinion on the value of my past
actions that's useful in determining the probability that my future actions
will be of value too, but my reputation is not set by me nor is it used by me,
it is used and set by others. This is fortunate because if I could set my
reputation there is no reason I would do so accurately, I would inflate it.
On the other hand it's to your advantage (unless you're a competitor) to set
my reputation at what it's really worth, set it too high and you'll pay more
for my services than they're worth, set it too low and you won't hire me
even though I could be of value to you. It's true that a competitor would
want to set my reputation to a lower value than I should have, but everybody
knows that and takes it into account when he bad mouths me. Nothing is perfect
when you deal with fallible venal human beings, but most people have the
reputation they deserve most of the time, and Big Brother getting into the
act with slander trials is not the reason why.

>People don't really care about the truth, they want dirt

Then these people are fools, and I don't care much if a fool thinks I'm a
fool. If you feel differently and their opinion is that easy to sway then
just sway them back.

>No amount of oral or other defense can fully reverse the effects of

Especially if the "slander" is true. If there were an all powerful oracle
that could always tell truth from untruth then it might be a good idea to
stop those who spread ideas that are untrue, and if politicians always knew
how to make the correct decision I'd be in favor of a strong central
government, but pigs can't fly and such oracles are a little hard to find.

John K Clark johnkc@well.com

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