Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Concepts of Retribution and Revenge
Concepts of Retri merelyion and RevengeQuestionRetri scarcelyion and penalize are, and must be, strictly distinguished atomic number 53 from the other.Discuss foundation garmentIt is not necessarily ideal to begin a discussion paper with a direct challenge to the veracity of the statement under review, but that is on the dot what is demanded here.The first step in this analysis is easy to assimilateRetributionnoun recompense, usually for evil vengeance.1Revengenoun 1. ( bring of) retaliation 2. desire for this.verb ((-ging) 1. Avenge 2. revenge oneself or in passive often + on, upon) claver retaliation.2The statement for discussion concretes itself in absolute terms, but that, it is submitted, is no more than a faade. It is confidently submitted that retaliation and revenge are far from strictly distinguished one from the other in 21st century Britain. The average man or woman on the route on whose behalf the law is maintained and enforced would struggle to put clear blue sk y between the two conceptions, even in the abstract.3Once a factual scenario is added to the mix for context, once flesh and blood and sentiment are brought into the equation, the edges of these respective notions blur yet further. Indeed, the words retribution and revenge are so closely associated in the mind of the ordinary man that they are practically interchangeable. In the glossary to Oxford University Presss Criminology textbook4, retribution is defined as the act of taking revenge upon a criminal perpetrator. Given the mutuality of this definition it would seem difficult to divide the two concepts quite as sharply as the statement under review suggests. From a cynical view, it could be argued that retribution is merely revenge with slightly better P.R.In the auspicious words of Sir Francis Bacon in Of Revenge5 the issues seem to be distinguished by the notion that, while revenge is essentially a private affair, retribution has more public, and perhaps publicly acceptable, application program and connotations. Whereas retribution may be seen to exercise a positive social function, revenge is forbidden fruit a sin perhaps if not, a lavishness dressed in vice.Revenge is a kind of wild justice which, the more mans nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out. For as for the first wrong, it doth but offend the law but the revenge of that wrong putteth the law out of office Certainly, in taking revenge, a man is but even with his confrontation but in passing it over, he is superior for it is a princes part to pardon. And Salomon, I am sure, saith, It is the glory of a man to pass by an offence. Some, when they take revenge, are desirous the party should know whence it cometh. This is more generous, for the delight seemeth to be not so much in doing the hurt as in making the party repent. further base and crafty cowards are like the arrow that flieth in the dark.6Contextual AnalysisIt is submitted therefore, that retribution and revenge are in fa ct closely related concepts. Together they probably comprise the most basic, most deeply engrained and most pervasive elements of human social justice reactions and drivers. That state however, at least one mode of distinction should be clear in the mind. While academic comment on revenge and retribution has in the past tended to revolve slightly the issue of criminal justice,7 it is a trite observation that retribution is of prime significance in steering the justification and rule of other intelligent matters. For example, beyond the criminal arena, discrimination, medical negligence and malpractice, and a veritable constellation of other species of civil litigation can hinge slightly and be fostered by a base desire for retribution and retributive justice.8 Retributive motivation can also burn at the heart of stubborn personal, family or business disputes.Retribution is a fascinating psychological and social phenomenon. It can be analysed from a variety of legal, philosoph ical and other social learning perspectives. Discussion of the topic should address the full range of psychological, societal and sociological functions that punishment serves, embracing the cognitive, behavioural and emotional dynamics of retribution in context.9 almost all of the worlds cultures operate an organised system of social regulation and conflict firmness. Among them, legal systems predominate as the most popular and widespread. lawfulness is retribution and conflict resolution by public administration under the unchallengeable authority of the state. Retributive justice is that which is state sponsored.10 It is possible to distinguish the concept from other forms of retribution and conflict resolution on several grounds. First, law can be said to be retribution or conflict resolution that is managed by a centralised authority or federal structure. Under this model, retribution for wrongdoing and conflict resolution should not be in peril of escalation into a deleter ious cycle of mutual and personal revenge.There is of course always the danger of complimentary retribution if I penalise you for hitting me, youll penalise me for punishing you theoretically an unending cycle of reciprocal and ultimately destructive violence. A legal system, under the administration of a central body, removes responsibility for retribution from the hands of individuals and puts it at the discretion of the state.Given that it is vast, impersonal and all-powerful, it is unlikely that those convicted and punished would attempt to revenge themselves in any direct or specific manner against the state. The seductive revenge element of the law is manifest in notorious crimes including for example the killing of Polly Klaas in California and the popular revulsion and controversy godly as a consequence.11 That case can be compared with the United Kingdom public reaction to the sentencing of the Jamie Bulger killers, themselves children.12 One essential point of observat ion is that the respective families of the victims, no matter what punishment they aspired to visit on the killers, are not the ones who decide on the penalty and they are not the ones who administer the punishment.Because most law is written and long established it can be argued that it assumes an independent and distinguished persona beyond the emanation of the state that is charged with its administration. This matrix conspires to derive a bodied sociological fiction that it is the inalienable Law that governs those who implement the law, and that it is somehow the law that exacts retribution, not individual human beings or the servants of the state. This neat trick ensures that the law stands above and apart from the real world as something conceptually flawless in essence if not reality, something truly independent of human frailty, vicissitudes, fallibility and instability.13There is a primary and thus cogent argument that Law is, at its beating heart, no more than a mecha nism for revenge. This should not come as a surprise. It is submitted that the aboriginal response, the base socio-cultural mechanism for addressing unacceptable activity and behaviour, is to exact revenge. Incompatible activities that fell outwith the sphere of revenge were not initially embraced within the worlds legal systems. Generally speaking it was only later hundreds of years later in many cases that retribution-neutral disputes were encompassed within legal regimes.14The earliest-dated code of laws available for scrutiny is the Code of Hammurabi,15 which sees it origins around 1780 BC. Significantly, the Babylonian Kings rules were obsessed with mechanisms for retribution. This early legal system assumes the form of a lex talionis the law of retaliation providing for exact retribution. The biblical mantra isan eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, an arm for an arm, a life for a life.16Mankinds very earliest systems of law were almost exclusively species of lex talionis . As can be seen from the aforementioned quote, in the tone of Hebrew Scripture the lex talionis is a law of equal and direct retribution. Revenge, in this context is arguably surplus to requirements. King Hammurabis legal code and the nascent Syro-Roman and Mahommedan systems that followed,17 almost wholly founded on the explicit principle of equal and direct retribution. In so doing it reveals the origins of law and justice per se in the gore of retributive violence.Concluding CommentsIn light of the fact that something similar to the lex talionis is typically the foundation stone of every legal system, it is argued that we can deduce that the basic functions of law are those of revenge and retribution and in no particular order. However, unlike systems of direct retribution (which are in one sense the straightaway food of societal sin), legal systems are implemented and enforced by the state and its human embodiment in dislocated fashion. The individuals responsible are parkly insulated from the threat of reciprocal revenge in return. While revenge and retribution may jeopardise less well regulated societies as protagonists attempt to inflict reciprocal revenge on one another, retribution as it is embodied in established legal orders and controlled by the state entity in theory strives to impede a deleterious circle of mutual revenge from undermining the fabrics and glues of society.In a perfect world the concepts of revenge and retribution would indeed be distinguished unequivocally and precisely, one from the other. Alas, this is far from a perfect world and the legal matrix in which these terms sit is an organic hotch-potch of socio-political compromise. Thus, both in respect of their common and legal meanings, it is likely these concepts will be employed interchangeably by journalists, judges and the world at large.In closing, it is pertinent to note that, with a some notable exceptions, most countries, including the U.K., have abolished the death sentence. international war crime tribunals now award only life sentences for the most appalling crimes against humanity. It is submitted that this global electrical switch in emphasis away from revenge-based sanctions has been driven by the emerging philosophy among criminologists that punishment in the form of revenge and retribution sits incongruously in a modern civilised society.18The Bible has a great deal to say on the subject of revenge and retribution. Much of the sentiment expressed therein has aslant the legal systems of the Christian and Western worlds for hundreds of years, in the interpretation and application. It is a matter of regret and stifled consternation that even in that highest of resources contradiction, ambiguity and confusion is rife. deuce quotes end this commentary, leaving objectivity in the eye, and at the disposal, of the reader.If the person strikes another and kills him, he must be put to death. Whoever strikes an animal and kills it is to make re stitution, life for life. If anyone injures and disfigures a fellow countryman it must be done to him as he has done. Fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.Book of Leviticus, Chapter 2417-20You have heard that it was said, Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.Matthew, Chapter 538-41ENDWORD COUNT 2122 (exclusive of footnotes)This is the sole intellectual and creative work of the author.BibliographyEnglish Legal System, Elliot, C. and Quinn, F., 3rd edition, Longman (2000)Criminology, Hale et al., Oxford University Press, (2005).Smith and Keenans English Law, Keenan, D., thirteenth edition, Pitman Publishing, (2001)Sir Fran cis Bacon The Essayes or Counsels, politel and Morall, Kiernan M, (editor), Oxford University Press, (2000).Clint Eastwood and Equity The virtues of revenge and the Shortcomings of Law inPopular Culture, Miller, W. I., Law in the Domains of Culture, University of Michigan Press, (1998).Perceptions of Neighborhood Safety and detain for the Reintroduction of Capital Punishment, Keil T.J., et al, International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, Vol. 43, No. 4, 514-534 (1999)The Practice of Punishment Towards a Theory of Restorative justness, Cragg W, Routledge, New York (1992).Restorative Justice and Civil Society, Braithwaite J, and Strang H, (editors), Cambridge Cambridge University Press, (2001).You can kill a burglar if you have to, but not if you want to, Gibb F, The Times, February 2 2005.Babylonian Law The Code of Hammurabi, Johns CHW, Encyclopaedia Britannica, (11th ed).Restorative Justice An Overview. Home Office, United Kingdom. Available at http//www .homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs/occ-resjus.pdfRestorative Justice When Justice and Healing Go Together, Zehr H, http//ccrweb.ccr.uct.ac.za/archive/two/6_34/p20_restorative.htmlEmpowerment and Retribution in evil and Restorative Justice, Barton C, Victim Offender Mediation Program. (1999) http//www.voma.org/docs/barton_empre.pdf1Footnotes1 The Oxford Paperback Dictionary and Thesaurus, Oxford University Press (1997)2 Ibid.3 See, inter alia, Perceptions of Neighborhood Safety and Support for the Reintroduction of Capital Punishment, Keil T.J., et al, International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, Vol. 43, No. 4, 514-534 (1999) at pp.522.4 Criminology, Hale et al., Oxford University Press, (2005).5 See, Sir Francis Bacon The Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall, Kiernan M, (editor), Oxford University Press, (2000).6 Ibid, and see http//www.ardue.org.uk/library/book3/revenge.htm.7 For broad-based comment see Smith and Keenans English Law, Keenan, D., 13th edition, Pitman Publishing, (2001), chapter 25.8 The Practice of Punishment Towards a Theory of Restorative Justice, Cragg W, Routledge, New York (1992).9 Clint Eastwood and Equity The virtues of revenge and the Shortcomings of Law inPopular Culture, Miller, W. I., Law in the Domains of Culture, University of Michigan Press, (1998).10 See for insightful comment Restorative Justice and Civil Society, Braithwaite J, and Strang H, (editors), Cambridge Cambridge University Press, (2001).11 See for comment http//pollyklaas.ga0.org/law/law_enforcement.html12 Justice? This is insanity http//www.papillonsartpalace.com/jamie.htm.13 For supporting analysis and a uniquely positive perspective see Empowerment and Retribution in Criminal and Restorative Justice, Barton C, Victim Offender Mediation Program. (1999) http//www.voma.org/docs/barton_empre.pdf14 You can kill a burglar if you have to, but not if you want to, Gibb F, The Times, February 2 2005.15 Ancient History Sourcebook Code of Hammurabi, c. 1780 BCE http//www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/hamcode.html16 Babylonian Law The Code of Hammurabi, Johns CHW, Encyclopaedia Britannica, (11th ed).17 See for background http//www.wsu.edu8080/dee/MESO/CODE.HTM.18 Tamilnation.org, 10 celestial latitude 1999 http//www.tamilnation.org/intframe/india/rajiv/99unfairtrial.htm.