Friday, November 17, 2006

The Case Against Leniency

A.K.A. the answers to the latest test.

Sheesh, some of you are getting a little impatient, I see. We definitely live in the microwave society, where we permit problems to fester for years, decades, and longer, but we want the solutions implemented NOW! We want everyone to understand us and take our side, but get steamed when we believe someone doesn't "get it".

But I digress. Onto the answers.

1. What are the purposes for carrying out the consequences? In one way or another, you all answered the question correctly: a) punish the inappropriate behavior, and b) set an example to curb the behavior in others.

2. Why don't we fulfill these two purposes? Pick one:
- Personal guilt
- Fear of being disliked
- Fear of offense to disaffected parties
- Fear of retribution
- Laziness

Note that none of these reasons deals with the offense. They are all self-centered. They are all wrong. In actuality, we disregard the second purpose.

By not implementing the stated consequences, we make our policing efforts look weak. On a parental level, this happens when parents don't publicly back up each other on a disciplinary action. Even if the parents disagree, they should do so in private, away from the kids, but permit the discipline to occur. On the local/national level, it makes laws unenforceable, and erodes the ability of our safety forces to do their jobs, while giving the criminal element reason to continue in their unlawful ways. Internationally, it eliminates any baseline for legal behavior, making all activity acceptable, no matter how immoral, unethical or illegal it may truly be.

Remember this next time you choose not to carry out discipline in your own household, or when you want to advocate for a death row inmate who has been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You will be contributing directly to the ongoing disrespect of authority, and to the erosion of civility.

Here is a bit of teaching that merits consideration:

The civil intended to punish the gross, manifest crimes that people commit. Civil government is authorized to preserve external peace, so that each person may be able to preserve what belongs to him.

In this civil kingdom, there is no forgiveness of sin, but rather punishment for sin.... God did not put a useless piece of paper into the emperor's hand, but rather the hardest and sharpest sword with which to execute punishment; not a pen, but a sword.

It continues:

If civil government were to forgive crimes, you and I would lose everything. When a thief steals everything there is in a house, when a murderer robs and kills whomever he meets on the street, if the prince of a territory and the judge of a city were to ignore and forgive crimes, we would all lose our property, or bodies and our lives.

When thieves insist on stealing and murderers insist on killing, then the emperor and his agents have a responsibility to address the problem in a different way than I...would address it. To repeat, the job of the emperor and his forces is to punish evildoers, not to forgive them.

Keep going:

Unfortunately, what is happening today is that officials in the civil government, who are reminded of their responsibility to punish, not only are indifferent and lazy about punishing crime, but actually aid and abet the criminals...they brought secular government to the point where rulers pleaded conscientious objection when it was their duty to execute criminals.

Talk about hitting the nail on the head. So, now you have two new questions:
1. When was this teaching written?
2. By whom?

1 comment:

Marie N. said...

rats! I was five years off on the date.