mercredi 4 septembre 2013

Punishment and rehabilitation

So Ariel Castro has been found dead by hanging in his cell.

Ever since I was a young man, I've always opposed the death penalty for many reasons, the least being that at the very moment the so-called penalty applies there's no penalty any longer. But the imbecile crowd is pleased and convinced "justice" has been made.

The State, through its officials, knows this isn't a question of "justice" but the ultimate goal of the death penalty is to frighten the masses and asserts its power in the name of protecting the citizens.

But sometimes the ones who've been convicted to death commit suicide and the State isn't at all pleased with this last act of rebellion of individuals.

This is another question I've been asking to myself when I was young (I no longer do since I know the answer): Why aren't death convicts given the possibility at any moment to put an end to their life the way Erwin Rommel was?

The belief is widely propagated that justice is all about punishment and rehabilitation, just that in the case of the death penalty there's no rehabilitation prospect and what is left is the notion of punisment which -precisely- is not a punishment as we've seen above. Talk about "justice" then when there's neither rehabilitation nor punisment.

For the State, death as final outcome of trials isn't the point of course since the whole affair has nothing to do with "justice" but all to do with asserting its terrifying power. For the masses on the contrary, death epitomizes the strictest punishment "justice" can deliver, the one considered the best and most adequate outcome of any judiciary process whereas it is the very opposite, just another tragical farce based on sheer sadism for barbarians.

Most of us believe death is deliverance and in the same time, all those who support the death penalty (many of them believers) consider it to be the most terrible punishment. So which is which then?

(The film is Death by hanging by Japanese flm maker Nagisa Oshima)

16 commentaires:

Anijo a dit…

I see what you're saying about having the so-called death penalty, but then if someone gets a life sentence they do their best to keep them from committing suicide. I would think that allowing them to kill themselves would save the taxpayers from having to support them for the rest of their life in prison. And what about "thou shalt not kill", one of the ten commandments. I don't know how Christians who are pro death penalty justify this.

Flocon a dit…

" I don't know how Christians who are pro death penalty justify this."

Whatever their faith, believers know that when it comes to dealing with reason they're always on the losing side of the exchange. Therefore they just totally ignore the reasonings that are presented to them, ignore the arguments and can only recite some parts of their respective mantras because that is the only thing they can do since they're locked in their fantasy world.

So, whether they are Christians, Muslims or Jews, they simply don't justify anything, they're still stuck in their archaïc (read 2000 year old) ways of thinking and even disregard the very tenets of their own faith (forgiveness, love, the golden rule etc.)

Anonyme a dit…

Flocon: Oh my, there is much to be said here.

Best to start off by pointing out that the translation (into English anyway) of the commandment as "thou shall not kill" is misleading, as five minutes of research will reveal. Even the English Wikipedia article confirms this linguistic fact.

The Hebrew verb used in the commandment is best translated into English as "You shall not murder." This verb is always associated with unlawful violence. A different Hebrew verb is always used to describe homicide in war. And yet a third different Hebrew verb is used to describe homicide as a punishment for crime.

In short, the Hebrew reader of the original text sees no contradiction between a commandment not to commit private murder, and the admonition to the soldier to commit justifiable homicides against the enemies of the state.

In your view, there might be no ethical distinction in fact, but the Hebrew definitely makes a distinction.

I also note with some disquiet the frequent use of the connector "of course" in your post. If you are using this phrase as a substitute for the assertion that these claims are self-evidently true, I disagree.

Of course, if your claims are really self-evident, what is the point in discussing them?

Assuming for the moment that you are not asserting that your claims are self-evidently true, further discussion would be valuable.


Anijo a dit…

No matter what happens, I keep wanting to return here, in this space.

Anonyme a dit…

flocon: I mistakenly typed "frequent." I actually meant "crucial." My dispute is with your assumption that your conclusion is "of course" self-evident.


Anijo a dit…

oops.. forgive me Semperfi.. I didn't mean to post such a frivolous thing amidst your more serious comment. We must have been posting our comments almost simultaneously.

Flocon a dit…


Who would have thought I would agree with two of your points in the same comment? Stuff happens then.

1°- Re. "thou shall not kill" (Tu ne tueras point), I wasn't aware of the interesting linguistic distinctions that you bring along and I am thankfull that you did.

On the other hand, I am not really curious about what such and such holy book written in the course of centuries 2000 years ago would tell me how I shall behave in the society I currently live. I've never been in the mood to kill/murder anyone as a matter of fact.

But yet, this could be the beginning of an unexpected discussion about the consistency of a commandment that forbids murdering but yet authorises killing a human being in the name of "justice" whereas such proceeding I refer to as legal murdering.

Please note that I didn't quote the Ancient Testament but someone else did. You can count on Anijo to bring chaos and havoc into a gentlemen's friendship!

2°- The only thing I remember from my first course of philosophy when I was 17 is our teacher telling us never to write "Il est évident" in our essays. So, I've never done that mistake and each time I'm about to I remember the warning given to us 44 years ago now.

Indeed the "of course" comes too many often in my writings (probably as a substitute for "c'est évident") which wouldn't happen should I write in French.

In English though, it is a convenient filling which, as you rightly notice, isn't meant to assert a definitive point upon which no discussion is any longer tolerated but simply a loosened way of uselessly extending phrases.

There are exceptions though, for example when I write that "Anijo is a lovely character of course". Who in one's own mind would be rude and gross enough to consider the matter is open to discussion because it wouldn't be self evident?

Anijo a dit…

I could list many exceptions, and you know it Flocon. ;)

Anijo a dit…

Rafa just won the U.S. Open! Woo hoo!

Anijo a dit…

I just received a document explaining when to use liaison in French. I never realized how complex it is! Languages are strange.

Flocon a dit…

I'll write to you about this Anijo but my advise is you should put much less emphasis on these issues whose rules most of the French ignore.

The liaisons indeed are all a matter of habits in the end, kind of do and don't. You inform me there are rules, well I don't know what they are. They don't govern the language but they come across rather frequently though.

I suppose their ultimate goal is to bestow the French language an air of fluidity that the German language certainly doesn't possess.

Perhaps the liaisons partly play the role of the intonations that make Italian and English sound singing since as you know we have next to no intonation in French.

Sometimes some people want to put liaisons at all cost as soon as they see fit which ends up with the result that they appear to be both snobbish and ridicule. A correction is instantly applied to their mistake which is called a "cuir" (like leather, I don't know why). Only people with a certain level of education know what a "cuir" is, which is the reason why I tell you this since you belong to the club ;-)

Flocon a dit…

Uh, oh, I've just checked and (of course) Wiki has something to say about it and it even mentions the "cuir" I've just told you about.

Je vais lire l'article just to please you but I know that should I learn any language, this sort of "information" would discourage me forever to pursue the study of the language.

It's like music: One doesn't learn to know any piece of music by reading how it is conceived but only through hearing it again and again.

An example comes to mind. In Yesterday, of McCartney's fame, the bridge starts with Why followed by She (had to go etc.) there's a semitone difference in the harmony which adds to the pleasure of the listener. Many, many years ago (say over 40 years), while I was learning to play the guitar, I wondered how he'd obtain this. The sheet of music told me the secret: Paul had altered one of the notes of the major third (I think) by a chromatic (or maybe is it a diatonic) semitone.

Had I started to read the music without knowing the song, I would have noticed anything special (unless I'd been a professional musician of course).

Listening to France 24, or France culture on a regular basis will do you much more good than trying to learn undecipherable rules in the wee hours of the night while the bats come home and the Moon says goodbye.

Anijo a dit…

Listening to France 24, or France culture on a regular basis will do you much more good than trying to learn undecipherable rules in the wee hours of the night while the bats come home and the Moon says goodbye.

lololol... yes, i know, but curiosity killed the cat and will no doubt kill me. But when playing music, there is that sense of what sounds right which one adjusts for... And it is this precisely what I so love about French. The language itself is poetry and art.

Anijo a dit…

Such an error is sometimes called cuir ("leather") when the inserted consonant is /.t/, velours ("velvet") when it is /.z/, although dictionaries do not all agree on these terms:

Yes, and it is precisely that which makes languages so fascinating!

Anijo a dit…

J'imagine que 'cuir' ça à qqc à faire avec a Salty Dog

Anijo a dit…

I need some punishment and rehabilitation to cure me of this obsession of wanting to improve my French... but why not? I'd just end up obsessing about something else otherwise. :/