Friday, December 17, 2010

On punishment

IOZ makes a profound point about punishment:
I propose to you that the desire to see another human being punished, even a person who has done wrong, a category to which Bradley Manning emphatically doesn't belong anyway, is the most despicable of all human desires. Even if one admits to the necessity of punishment, a necessity that I find categorically problematic to begin with, then the only decent attitude is regret. To see punishment as an affirmative good is to be on the side of the barbarians. To turn your attention to a man who is not only decent and good, but who is innocent of wrongdoing, and to conclude that because he may have violated some bureaucratic doctrine in place for the sole purpose of obscuring and obfuscating the state's criminality, venality, and violence, he must therefore be tortured until he is insane, is psychopathic.
I have to say I agree completely. All I can add is that I don't believe the necessity of punishment is "categorically problematic"; I believe that punishment per se is never necessary nor desirable at any level. It is categorically unethical to ever intend for any reason to inflict nonconsensual pain, suffering or harm to even a sentient (much less sapient, self-aware) being for its own sake.

And, by the way, you should all be reading Who is IOZ?. He's the only self-described anarchist I've ever read who is not only not completely stupid, but considerably intelligent and nuanced. And he can really fucking cook.

1 comment:

  1. I probably already know the answer to this question, but something makes me want to ask anyways even if it is extremely stupid and simple.

    What is to be done to those that commit crime? Do not crimes such as rape and murder dictate punishment? Punishment in the sense of removing repeat criminals from society. Things such as life in prison and the death penalty of course are not desirable for its own sake, but as a medium for removing those that commit the most horrible of crimes.

    I am probably doing a gross misreading of your post, but I take what you write pretty seriously so I would like to understand all of it.


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