The Principle of No Harm II
THOSE WHO DELIBERATELY CAUSE HARM TO THE INNOCENT DESERVE TO BE PUNISHED PROPORTIONATELY.
The reason for the Second Principle is that it is necessary to sustain the first. If those who have caused no harm ought not to be harmed, then those who harm them ought themselves to suffer harm. The First Principle is empty, a mere velleity, unless it is accompanied by the second.
In the course of the twentieth century the idea of punishment has undergone a revolution. The traditional attitude in Western society emphasized that crime deserves punishment. During the Middle Ages, however, forms of punishment were developed which today are generally considered cruel and inhumane, a system which reached its peak in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries when it was possible for children to be sentenced to death for stealing a pair of shoes.1 As we mentioned above, humanitarian feeling led to demands for reform, and imprisonment came to be generally accepted as a milder substitute for corporal punishment such as flogging and branding, while the scope of the death penalty was greatly reduced.
With the growth of the social and biological sciences an intensive effort was made to discover the causes of crime, in the hope that once these causes were known, it would be possible to remedy them, just as a physician cures a disease by removing its causes. For criminologists crime became a disease, psychological or sociological, and the criminal a patient
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: No Harm:Ethical Principles for a Free Market. Contributors: T. Patrick Burke - Author. Publisher: Paragon House Publishers. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 207.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.