Specificaly this form:
There is no way to equally judge another human being or bring back what the violation has caused equally. The attempt will lead to mistakes and cruelty. More insidious is the notion someone can bring justice. I bring this up because the smart men and women I know (asked 40) all agreed this is why they still believe in the religion they believe in. Some cited fear of death as number 2 but all said they believe there has to be justice from higher power ultimatey. And that this is the only solace they have in this world. They believe someone who took so much life, like a Dahmer, would have to be judged by something eternal. I said someone in war may take 100's of lives but this is judged justice because they did it under orders or for a "just" cause.
Justice does seem to be hard wired instinctual.Most social mammals show different degrees of abhorrents to inequality.Especially primates.
But essentially isn't the pursuit of real justice not possible? Calling it necessary means this will make those who deem the power to wield it, to better humanity, unjust from the beginning? Isn't justice another way of claiming superiority? Doesn't a despot in the world use it to claim there power? If we agree justice is not a noble pursuit and clearly impossible (like following the word of god), what laws or punishments should be changed or updated? How would you feel if a mass murder or child molester was treated with a kind hand, rather than the visceral feeling of gutting them like a pig and dancing in the entrails as they slowing die. I am the first to admit this sounds more like justice at a primal level. But should we be smarter than that?
"Where then is the difference if a psychopath acts according to his nature?"
We grant culpability to those who we agree can assess a situation and make a decision. It doesn't matter whether a person can or can't choose any other decision because of determinism. The point is that person chooses to commit the act and in doing so reaps the consequences thereof. That person is punished because of the choice they made. If another choice could have or would have been made is irrelevant. The justice system works on what is or was not what might have or might never have been.
"Why would murderers not be rehabilitated, because it is expensive? What does that say about the society? Is humanity so poor that it can't afford to rehabilitate one of its own?"
It's more a matter of practicality. If we lived in a world where resources were infinite and and people life spans of forever where they could spend their time working for these causes, then yes we could attempt to rehabilitate every criminal (if there would be any in such a world). As it is, resources, time, man-power, and collective will are limiting factors preventing this from becoming a reality. People just have higher priorities then to work for the redemption of those who for whatever reason couldn't abide by the laws of society or thought those rules did not apply to them.
'Why wouldn't a psychopath change?"
Because they are incapable of feeling empathy, which brings up an excellent point that someone mentioned previously. The justice system also works to remove harmful people from society thus preventing more harm from happening. It's very utilitarian.
Aspergers syndrom some are quite incapable of empathy of any kind but can learn how to get by and be very successful. And btw not kill anyone.
'Why wouldn't a psychopath change?"Because they are incapable of feeling empathy
A true psychopath is incapable of feeling empathy, but they are very much able to assess cause/effect and understand the concept of consequences. The majority of the psychopaths we have housed in jail cells are also drug addicts/alcoholics which adds a deeper level of complexity. They must first overcome the addiction to be able to change. However change does not come in the sense you might expect. They are hardwired to do what is most profitable/convenient/advantageous for themselves, therefore to motivation behind many of the rehabilitation programs in existence today, (focusing on god, remorse, etc...) are simply not enough...I believe it is for this reason alone that one might think they are beyond reach. In many cases this is true. But not in all of them.
Another pet peeve of mine sorry:) Overcoming addiction is not possible or even the goal. No matter the addiction it is a part of our CHEMICAL make up to have them. The only recovery from the social and physical adverse affects of addiction is replacement therapy.
You swap a destruction addiction with either a stages of less addictive or more controlled addictive substances or experiences and then to a benign addiction followed by a constructive addiction or if the patient is willing and the addiction has a good counterpart directly to a more powerful constructive addiction. Food is one of these btw. The process should account for addication automatically because the assumption should be that they are ALL addicted to something.
I do agree however that the will to do this needs to fostered systematically. the carrot and stick is usually replaced with just a stick that is so harsh the carrot presentation is really just purgatory, waiting for the pain and disappointment so they get wise and plan to strike before it comes. What makes it so harsh is the stick doesn't even come from someone or something but out of nowhere to a lot of them. So the carrot has to be explained thoroughly, over and over again. pain staking process. And a system has to be fool proof so that none experiences a stick until they are ready and understand the stick. that gives the afflicted an understanding of the trigger that brings back their disease for themselves. but the will to be that compassionate to someone that horrible is a rare quality. i don't think i really posses that to be honest.
A true psychopath is not capable of change.
@Mo: A true psychopath is not capable of no longer being a psychopath, however they are quite capable of changing their behavior and perhaps rehabilitating to the point of exiting the criminal justice system and choosing different behavior. They will never however stop being psychopaths.
@Mat: I respect your opinion that overcoming addiction is not possible, I understand that this is the train of thought among many recovery programs and I understand the widely held belief that addiction is a "disease." I would however challenge this notion that recovery is not possible. I would like to know how/what sources you have to back up that statement. Saying that recovery is not possible is perhaps a pet peeve of mine :)
Recovery is only possible when you replace and addiction with an addiction that is constructive or good to your social or physical well being. I don't believe addiction is a disease either, its the normal way we perceive the world around us. the disease aspect somes in when its the individual is unaware and unwilling to change the pattern.
Every drug feels or pulls different emotions or feelings that are exagerrated from the norm. when I had a problem with drugs in my youth I found somethings that mimiced those feelings, mostly speed related, that gave me a high that at least was enough to replace the feeling the destructive use of that drug had on me to a less destructive addiction. I used food, because the feeling meth gave me that i am addicted to is that everything was going to be good and great and so am i. I thought the drug was the only way to get that. but I didn't know what I was really replacing meth for food. i was not aware of the process at that time, and that makes the outcome far from certain, i thought it was cold turkey. I was lucky I made it through. I became aware later in life as I changed the way i ate, because, although, i got off the drugs, i got real fat and unhealthy doing it. Every diet i tried failed until I decided instead to replace the feeling the food gave me with good food that gave me that feeling and i could it eat the same way, or overeat the same way really. I lost 72 pounds in 2 years and was able to do things like play softball and kayak that I was not able to do any more since my youth, which actually now makes thos feelings of comfort the drug used to give me as well. but because I understand what I did now, I do not crave anymore the bad patterns.
the thing is everyone is different. The therapy would have to be different for every individual. different levels of awareness and different levels of enthusiasm have to be expected and taken into account. i think by calling every addiction a disease is not a compolete understanding of the role addiction plays to either be a social and physical parasite or to be an example of how to live that can be emulated and respected since its actually carved from your own gut. It isn't about survival its about how we can thrive.
Could it be that sometimes a condition is misdiagnosed as an "addiction"? Also, some addictions are controversial: sex addiction, video game addiction, etc., and may not be real addictions after all.
What is a true psychopath because we all show psychopathic responses given the correct stimulus. A lot of psychopaths recover every day.
Good question. It seems that definition still varies. The following from Scientific American (and some of the comments are interesting):
It is not quite what you may think
Are you willing to accept the risk that a psychopath has been rehabilitated? What will your comment be when you discover they committed another murder after their release? How do you address the family of the innocent victim? 'Whoops, we got that one wrong!' isn't a valid response.
It's very common for the worst offenders to reoffend after being released from prison. Perhaps the American penal system is particularly poor at rehabilitation or perhaps rehabilitation is asking too much of many offenders.