或曰:“以德报怨,何如?”子曰:“何以报德?以直报怨,以德报德。”

Emmanuel Jaffelin: criminals deserve a bit of gentillesse

The moral exhibitionist Emmanuel Jaffelin: criminals such as murderers and rapists have difficulty in their relations with society, and are crying out for a soupçon of understanding and gentillesse

The cult of insincerity

Confucian Analects (from chapter 14):

Someone asked, ‘What about the notion that we should requite injury with kindness?’

The Master said, ‘With what then will you requite kindness? Requite kindness with kindness: requite injury with justice.’

Dalrymple writes that many intellectuals who advocate soft criminal justice and holiday-camp jails

in their heart of hearts do not believe a word of what they say.

They are just moral exhibitionists, wishing to advertise their

generosity of spirit at other people’s expense.

It is

Personally sado-masochistic, the profoundly malign Michel Foucault 'tried — using an entirely bogus historiography — to demonstrate that humanitarian reform was actually nothing of the kind, but the replacement of one kind of raw power by another, more hidden and therefore dangerous and sadistic power'

Personally sado-masochistic, the profoundly malign Michel Foucault ‘tried — using an entirely bogus historiography — to demonstrate that humanitarian reform was actually nothing of the kind, but the replacement of one kind of raw power by another, more hidden and therefore dangerous and sadistic power’

one of the sicknesses of our age, this desire to appear more compassionate than thou.

It is especially common when approaching the matter of crime, and the effects of crime

both on individual victims and on society as a whole.

Dalrymple, who avers with Orwell that ‘restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men’, points out — because however self-evident, it needs to be pointed out, often and loudly — that crime

causes fear and alters the mentality and behaviour of almost everyone in the direction of mistrust, caution and loss of freedom.

The more perverted and morally cretinous of intellectuals view crime as

an arbitrary social construction, and a criminal as someone who merely has difficulty in his relations with society as some men have difficulties in their relations with their wives.

What of prisons? Should they be therapeutic institutions, salubrious ‘places of social reintegration’, day care centres where convicts are treated no differently from other people with difficulties of one sort or another — winos, schizophrenics and the like? Or should murderers, rapists, and torturers, for instance, be made to suffer a small degree of disgrace? Is abasement, where it is called for, a bad thing? Dalrymple writes:

A cane maintains this bush in an upright position

A cane maintains this bush in the upright position

The prospect of humiliation is one of the things that keeps us upright, as a cane keeps many a rosebush upright. We are social beings because we have a capacity to feel humiliated – or it might be the other way round. There could be no prospect of humiliation if there were no actual means by which we might be humiliated.

It is

condescending to suggest that criminals do not know what they are doing, and that what they need is some kind of help to know it.

It

Inscription at the Old Bailey, above the main entrance to the building opened in 1907. 'He shall keep the simple folk by their right: defend the children of the poor, and punish the wrong-doer.' From the Book of Common Prayer, Psalm 72

Inscription above the main entrance to the rebuilt Old Bailey (opened 1907): ‘He shall keep the simple folk by their right: defend the children of the poor, and punish the wrong-doer.’ From the Book of Common Prayer, Psalm 72

empties the world of moral meaning

to call crimes mistakes, minor follies, peccadilloes,

equivalent to putting the wrong postage on a letter or forgetting to put salt in the soup. Criminal justice is not group therapy.

The purpose of the criminal law, Dalrymple asserts,

is to protect the population from criminals, not to make criminals better people.

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Comments

  • James M.  On August 20, 2017 at 03:09

    A much-needed article. But why the insincerity ? Few things are more pernicious to the moral health of persons or societies. A society eroded by insincerity cannot stand.

    An example. Criminals are “differently moral” – for we must not “impose [our own] morality on” others by doing anything so “Fascistic” as “judging” them. But if we try to pretend that criminality is as morally valid as behaving like a civilised, decent and honest human being, there is no reason why we should “impose” our morality upon the Nazis, and “judge” them. Or why people should “judge” Christians for being “homophobic”, believing in the truth of the Book of Genesis, or burning heretics at the stake.

    This refusal to call criminality criminal, and to condemn and punish those guilty of it, is all the more exasperating when it is joined, as it usually is, with readiness to condemn the Tories, or Pres. Trump, or Christians, or some other favoured person or group singled out for especial obloquy. This refusal – inability ? self-inflicted inability ? – to make basic moral distinctions, this self-delusion that good and evil are indistinguishable and are to be treated identically, is a truly horrible development. Maybe this country is too degenerate to deserve to be free of the EU.

    This readiness to condemn X and not Y, even when they are seemingly indistinguishable, seems dangerously close to the Communist ideological ethics that approves tyranny by the Party because it serves the Party’s ends, yet condemns the identical tyranny of “Fascists”. Fascist tyranny is condemned because it is the wrong kind of tyranny – that right kind, that of the Party, is ipso facto no tyranny at all. Until, that is, it becomes ideologically expedient to condemn it. Humanity and morality are not involved.

    The insincerity reproached in the article, and that of totalitarian ideologies, are too alike for comfort.

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