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Saturday, October 24, 2009


Great post! I never thought about vengeance that way.

Well done...You point about vengeance is well taken.

Also agree with your point about how eye for an eye is not prescriptive but an attempt to limit the boundless human passions of rage and desire to inflict pain on the evildoers...

But also found myself thinking about some Biblical passages on vengeance:

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Romans 12:19

Deuteronomy 32:35 'Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.'

On the other hand, as you note, there are some times when It is clearly necessary to protect society from further violence. When making decisions about child molesters, for example, it is to our shame that our courts have generally seemed to put the rights and potential rehabilitation of perpetrators ahead of the safety of potential victims. The recidivism rates are so appalling, that I am not just posing hypothetical danger....

Also, arguably, there may be times when a government may even take vengeance on another's behalf or at least put an aggressor out of commission. Defeating Hitler is an obvious example. Intervening in Bosnia another. Then all of us have had moments of individual decision when we have intervened to try to save a person from bullying or other violence. We can't live with ourselves if we ignore it.


I did see the McClendon interview. I don't think it's possible to face every terrible blow in life without elements of denial. Perhaps he's trying to set a course for himself--trusting in an ideal. Not that he won't experience anger or struggle with the process of forgiveness, but his declaration can serve as a moral and emotional compass of sorts.

First, I like your blog; secondly, I agree, in general with your sentiments regarding punishment. However, we are on dangerous ground when (as some have proposed) that the only justifiable reasons for punishment are protection from society and rehabilitation of the criminal. Here's an essay I wrote awhile back which may interest you.

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