Before I pose my question, I will clarify what I mean by 'punitive justice' in this context.
'Justice' means only the creation and enforcement of laws by a recognized political agency/ authority. There is no implication that these laws are just or moral per se.
'Punitive' means that the afore mentioned law enforcement punishes by design. The law making and enforcing agencies deliberately punish offenders for their crimes under the belief that punishment has intrinsic value.
The question I pose is this: Is there still a place for punitive justice in modern society?
This isn't intended a 'yes' or 'no' question. Shades of grey are encouraged. Various anarchistic views are also relevant. I don't care about thread drift here provided it is drift and not total derailment. Perhaps I'm thinking too narrowly on this subject.
On a side note, disagreeing with my views on this subject is punishable with death by forced Glenn Beck marathon!!!! Grrr.
I am very judgemental. I try not to be. My simple reference is the golden rule, clarified to include everyone with a nervous system and the ability to feel sadness or pain. The eastern religions first teaching of "Ahimsa", which means :"Do no harm" works well. Anyone who chooses to cause the suffering of others for his own benefit, is acting badly, in my view.
I feel rage at those who abuse, starve, rape, or kill someone (including other animals) over whom they have power. I feel vengeful. I imagine poetic justice. I want to carry it out. I might "turn the other cheek" for injustices against me, and I may be forgiving. When the injustice is against some powerless "other", I want retribution. I admit this generally unacceptable point of view. Still, I do do wish to give the power of severe punishment to my government. I do not trust them.
Is there still a place for punitive justice in modern society?
What a great question to think about and pose. Thanks for posting this. I'm curious, is there anything in particular that you have been reading or hearing about that brought this topic to your mind?
Punitive Justice almost sounds like it could be an oxymoron to me. Punishment might have nothing to do with justice. Equating the two may just be a rationalization to help make the one administering the punishment feel they are doing the "right" thing.
Alfie Kohn has done years of research and writing on the subject of punishments and rewards. In fact, he has a fascinating book called "Punished by Rewards" that I highly recommend checking out. He often talks about the subject in the context of education, but it is applicable to other realms where punishments or rewards are used (government policy, law enforcement, interpersonal relationships, etc.)
Punishment and reward proceed from basically the same psychological model, one that conceives of motivation as nothing more than the manipulation of behavior. ~Alfie Kohn
We have a whole society that is very entrenched in the idea of using punishments and rewards to manipulate people into behaving the way we think they should. While these techniques sometimes work in the short term, they are almost always nothing but a short term fix and are generally counter-productive in the long run because they never address the most important issue: what are the motivations behind a person's behaviors.