Is revenge the root of justice?

vbimport

#1

Before polling, some things you may wish to consider:

Take a hypothetical society where no feeling for revenge exists, yet the desire for personal gain does. If someone cheats another individual, or similar, the victim would have no concept of retreiving his or her money, and perhaps teaching the perpetrator a lesson. The perpetrator gets off, and is free to commit another crime.

The whole justice system seems to be based on either a punitive or reformative system, the former applying more to “teaching criminals a lesson (e.g. fines)” or “preventing them from doing wrong again (e.g. incarceration)”; while the latter seems to apply more to a less harsh means of teaching them a lesson.

Justice seems to be rooted in revenge, although the people who mete out the justice obviously has to be distanced from the victim (or else disproportionate justice may occur…) IMO anyway, other opinions would be most interesting.

P.S. Drybaboon: started another thread about the matter because you rightly pointed out the poor terrorism thread was getting swamped by ethical debates :p.


#2

It sure as hell makes you feel better…

But off course thats my opinion.

What else is there…

Bootcamp, re-edjucation…

Do a crime, get caught, do the time. Its as simple as that.
Three time losers should not get free anymore.


#3

no…afther revenge, you get revenge…you get revenge…etc

i think in my country (netherlands) police/justie department should be able to punish much harder then they are allowed now.
The punishments we have here right now are not hard enough to scare criminals.

When criminals are punished according their deed, revenge will occure less often


#4

Originally posted by damiandimitri
[B]no…afther revenge, you get revenge…you get revenge…etc

i think in my country (netherlands) police/justie department should be able to punish much harder then they are allowed now.
The punishments we have here right now are not hard enough to scare criminals.

When criminals are punished according their deed, revenge will occure less often [/B]

The point is that the justice system will not exist without the desire for revenge. There will not be any concept of justice to start with. (IMO, anyway)


#5

why not…you can go to the police for justice…not for revenge

revenge is something that will hurt others for what they caused you. I don’t want revenge for everything, sometimes i just want justice


#6

Justice for who

Justice for oneself is Your Revenge

Justice for The State is societies revenge

All meeting out of so called justice is IMHO revenge of one kind or another


#7

I don’t really think revenge is the ROOT of all justice , since even justice is something subjective. My justice isn’t yours.

If i would say that all teddybears in the world should be destroyed because i firmly believe they spread evil in the world , i doubt you will agree with me. But when i burn down a teddybear factory to the ground , that is my justice , since it brings forth evil !
Till i get arrested of course …


#8

@The Poacher

i think revenge is something i control/do myself…
justice is something i don’t control…and have it done by the justice-department/cops

and by the way…it was my opinion…just mine


#9

Revenge is personal. Justice is social.

Revenge and Justice are not same. And neither is motive for it. Revenge is payback. Justice enforcing laws and is setting examples so others become aware of consequences of criminal activities.

There are many kinds of criminal activities and punishment is designed to fit the crime, usually.

Revenge is emotionally charged and severity of punishment greatly exceeds the wroing doing, usually.


#10

Originally posted by DawnLoader
[B]Revenge is personal. Justice is social.

Revenge and Justice are not same. And neither is motive for it. Revenge is payback. Justice enforcing laws and is setting examples so others become aware of consequences of criminal activities.

There are many kinds of criminal activities and punishment is designed to fit the crime, usually.

Revenge is emotionally charged and severity of punishment greatly exceeds the wroing doing, usually. [/B]

Hmm…I wonder. I think justice on a social context is just revenge on a social level. Part of it is empathy for the victim, and part of it is anger at the perpetrators.

Making a distinction between revenge being personal and justice being social does not really make sense…after all, if someone wanted to take revenge on someone else, one of the ways to do it is report any wrongdoings they have done to the authorities. The authorities then do the hard work of prosecuting and punishing the person, while the snitch just sits back and watches the fun. In this example, personal revenge is exacted by social justice; therefore it makes no sense to make that distinction.

I think justice itself is emotionally charged. If you were a judge sentencing a child rapist + murderer, for example, you’d be putting a lot of effort into self-restraint to give the convicted a “legally proportionate” sentence when all you really want to do is give him life or a noose. This is even when it may not be your kids who are affected.


#11

Originally posted by Devils Advocate

P.S. Drybaboon: started another thread about the matter because you rightly pointed out the poor terrorism thread was getting swamped by ethical debates :p.

Why, thank you DA. I guess you knew I would pitch up here eventually - but hey, we already have a veritable socratic symposium going on here.

Hm, what can I add to this…

Well, I didn’t feel able to vote on the poll because I didn’t know what was meant by "justice"in your question -

By “Is revenge the root of justice”, did you mean to ask:
1- whether modern societal enactments of judicial punishment are (a) subconsciously or (b) overtly based on notions of revenge
OR
2- whether Justice is best defined as institutionalised revenge
?

For any of you looking for a good place to read about definition of the word ‘justice’, Plato is the best place to start, then all the footnotes to Plato which we call the rest of western philosophy.:wink:

In the well-established philosophical debate about Theory of Punishment, the following words are used:

Retributive
Reformative
Preventative / Incapacitative
Deterrent
Protective

The question here, as I see it, is whether the “retributive” aspect of the justification of punishment is nothing more than a dressed-up expression of the basic primal response of revenge.
Revenge is seen as an uncivilised (and as I characterised it in the other thread, immature) response to public or personal injury, so is our view of “Justice” essentially hypocritical and nothing more than an imposition of the strong (society) on the weak (the individual)?

Well, I would like to turn the question round - when an animal exacts revenge - and when you feel that animal urge - does it not contain each one of the rational justifications listed above?

Are civilisation and society anything more than a contest of wills?

I think this level of conversation is too elevated for the “living room” - perhaps it should be renamed the CDFreaks Pub. :wink:


#12

Originally posted by DryBaboon
[B]

Why, thank you DA. I guess you knew I would pitch up here eventually - but hey, we already have a veritable socratic symposium going on here.

Hm, what can I add to this…

Well, I didn’t feel able to vote on the poll because I didn’t know what was meant by "justice"in your question -

By “Is revenge the root of justice”, did you mean to ask:
1- whether modern societal enactments of judicial punishment are (a) subconsciously or (b) overtly based on notions of revenge
OR
2- whether Justice is best defined as institutionalised revenge
?[/B]

Presumably, since I talk about the the “roots” of justice, that would suggest origins. In which case definition #1 applies. It seems strange that you make the distinction between the two, if justice as we know it today was based on notions of revenge, then unless it has been overhauled along the way (which it hasn’t) then it is still, for all intents and purposes, revenge, although perhaps distanced from the victim via institutionalisation.

Originally posted by DryBaboon
The question here, as I see it, is whether the “retributive” aspect of the justification of punishment is nothing more than a dressed-up expression of the basic primal response of revenge.
Revenge is seen as an uncivilised (and as I characterised it in the other thread, immature) response to public or personal injury, so is our view of “Justice” essentially hypocritical and nothing more than an imposition of the strong (society) on the weak (the individual)?

What type of primal are you referring to? Definition #1 of primal from a dictionary is “original, primitive”, definition #2 is first in importance or fundamental. Presumably from the context of your phrasing, you mean #1.

At which point, why is revenge a primal response? I actually believe that it is a bit more evolved than one might originally be inclined to believe. Part of revenge is a survival instinct, someone or something hits you, you hit back. Another part of revenge is a social instinct, because, if you believe (like I do) that revenge is necessary for the social fabric of justice, then it follows that coherent and civilised societies are based on revenge (or “institutional revenge/justice”).

Also, how would you distinguish between a primitive response and an evolved response? It seems fairly arbitrary and subjective. The only consistent (no comment on sensibility) definition I seem to come across is that negative emotions (anger, hate, etc.) and/or those that predominantly focus on the individual are primitive, while positive emotions (serenity, happiness, etc.) and/or those that predominantly focus on the collective are evolved. If that is your definition, then it needs some justification before revenge is labelled as primal.

The assumption that revenge is primal and uncivilised is unjustified. The whole point of the retributive act by a 3rd party is to maintain objectivity and to prevent disproportionate revenge by the victim. The judicial system which determines if action is appropriate sees to it, in theory, that the perpetrator is in the wrong in the first place. Perhaps, based on our social structures, revenge where the victim seeks out retribution personally is uncivilised; but revenge where the victim seeks out a 3rd party to arbitrate the matter and administer punishment is civilised. Its very enactment is an affirmation of how societies must be built on the principle of “proportionate consequence for a given action”.

To explain the latter statement, if there were no such thing as “proportionate consequence for a given action”, anarchy would reign. It is (naturally, I might add) expected that when you buy something, you pay for its costs; when you do wrong, you pay for the consequences and when you do a service, you get paid your worth.

The view of imposition of the “strong” (society) on the “weak” (individual) is misleading. First off, Strength is the only real authority. Society will be a dismal place if its authorities had no power to enforce laws. If police had no ability to jail people, write up summons or use force, no one (except, perhaps the people with immense consciences) will listen to them.

The “weak” in this context (if found guilty) was strong enough to cause grief to the “weaker” individual. The justice system just steps in to pull its errant member back in line. It is just a natural order of strength - the stronger as a collective punishing the weaker criminal who in turn commited a crime to an even weaker (or perhaps, more vulnerable) individual. There is nothing hypocritical here.


#13

The problem with most legal systems is that they punish even the innocent because most systems have so many loopholes and leave things open for abuse.


#14

I wanted to re-analyse my motivation on my answer after watching the movie Bowling For Columbine :

Now i’m quite convinced the root of justice is STUPIDITY in most " modern " societies , especially the United States of America.


#15

Originally posted by Mr. Belvedere
the root of justice is STUPIDITY in most " modern " societies , especially the United States of America.

or the root of injustice?
I should have kept my previous signature - Stupidity is the root of all things. I really think you don’t need any other explanation for the history of mankind. Historians look for motivations and cultural shifts etc - but you rarely see incompetence studied as a factor.
People in America are getting more stupid because they are overprivileged and undereducated. The British are even worse educated.


#16

Education has nothing to do with being stupid & in Britain a far larger % of peeps go to University (thats education)

Stupidity is a different thing <> we all can be Stupid (at times) but we all cant be educated


#17

Originally posted by DryBaboon
[B]

or the root of injustice?
I should have kept my previous signature - Stupidity is the root of all things. I really think you don’t need any other explanation for the history of mankind. Historians look for motivations and cultural shifts etc - but you rarely see incompetence studied as a factor.
People in America are getting more stupid because they are overprivileged and undereducated. The British are even worse educated. [/B]

Actually, I read an article from a reputable source several months back that gave a startling report that the ‘cultural illiteracy’ rate in the US - meaning the ability to do everything from read to access the internet - was a staggering ~70%. The author described a situation where a Hispanic man came to him and asked for directions to a street, because he could not read the signs. Interestingly, the US has been beaten by some ‘less developed’ countries in this respect, because those countries pay more attention to literacy education.

In terms of GDP per capita adjusted via Purchasing Power Parity, the US is the most priviledged country. The British are several steps behind. Most interestingly, China occupies the worlds #2 position after the US, because of the extremely low cost of goods in China. One US dollar will go a long way for you in mainland China. Economic projections say that China’s economy will surpass the US within decades at the most. It is already slated to be the biggest importer in Asia by 2005, and the biggest exporter by 2010.

Methinks the EU should really get its act together (if it ever will).