Sent: Monday, June 27, 2011 7:35 PM
Subject: Re: The Brain on Trial
On 6/27/2011 8:56 AM, Rex Allen wrote:
> And it seems like the question can only be answered by trying out
> approaches like those described in the article.
> You seem to have already made up your mind though. No testing or
> evidence required - Brent has spoken.
Not at all. I'm all for trying such methods. But that doesn't
invalidate my point that there are reasons for punishment, deterrence
and prevention of feuds, that are not dependent on some theory of
personal culpability or deterring re-offense.
And no I'm not for returning to public punishments, and especially not
executions and corporal punishments. By coarsening public empathy they
probably produced more crime than they deterred. In fact I worry that
the harshness of our overcrowded prisons may also have the effect of
producing more recidivism.
Why does it seem that there is no motivation to consider the victims of
The article that was originally posted seemed to imply a start of a chain
of reasoning that leads inevitably toward arguing for a government control
mechanism where *any* behavior can be declared to be criminal and thus in need
of adjustment. The ban on smoking that is occurring in the US is a good example
of this, IMHO! A secular version of a theocracy, for example. The movie
Equilibrium (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0238380/ ) comes to mind.
The main problem that I see in such schemes is that they inevitably lead
to situations where a small elite decide what is and what is acceptable
behavior, i.e. tyranny. Only when the individual is self-incentivized to "to
the right thing" do I see a general diminution of criminal behaviors. But such
requires that the true causes of criminal behavior be identified and minimized
at an individual level, not by some state institution. If criminal behavior is
the result of natural predilections within humans then are we going to have to
genetically engineer out criminality?
Perhaps there is no complete solution to criminality, maybe there are just
various methods that work in some cases and fail in others.
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