Arguments Over The Most Desirable Form Of Justice

2384 words - 10 pages

Mahatma Karamchand Gandhi, the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of the Indian independence movement, is famously asserted “an eye for an eye makes the world blind” speaking of the need for a fundamental paradigm shift in relation to the global view of justice. The global concept of justice has a vast theoretical base which was founded upon the thoughts of John Rawls, the state of nature, and the Divine Providence (also deemed the Golden Rule). However, in recent years two opposing, philosophically based groups have rallied their proverbial troops and taken part in verbal wars over the most desirable form of justice. These groups are specifically those that subscribe to the tenants of retributive justice, and restorative justice. This argument is far reaching, and is a basic conversation focused on what is and is not ethical in relation to the treatment of offenses and the offender. Before an emphatic and clarion call for action can be sounded it is imperative that the tenants of these two opposing factions be examined. Second, the explicit examine the argument it is important to employ a rhetorical analysis in order to display how the factions are getting their points across. Finally, examination must occur to justly identify which of these ideological bases is the best alternative for current societal needs.
Dorne and Gewerth, Professor of Criminal Justice at Saginaw Valley State University, assert in their 1999 research entitled “Mercy in a Climate of Retributive Justice: Interpretations from a National Survey of Executive Clemency Procedures” assert that “retributive justice is a theory of justice that considers that punishment, if proportionate, is a morally acceptable response to crime, with an eye to satisfaction and psychological benefits it can bestow to the aggrieved party, its intimates and society” (p. 130). In more practical application retribution is the basis of the system, and its roots are founded in the both the Messianic tradition and archaic Arabic ideology. The book of Exodus 21:23-21 and verse 27 assert the basis of the Hammurabi Code of “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, and foot for foot”. The process of punishment becomes semiotic to the mitigating offense. This idea has received added emphasis because the early Framer s of American government were largely classical English thinkers and embrace the thought of philosophers like Thoreau, Locke, Hobbs, and Immanuel Kant. Kant asserts in “The Metaphysical Elements of Justice” that retribution is the basis of justice and that it is the fundamental legal principle, and because of the Framer interpretation of such statement retributive justice became the basis of securing societal norm violators (1965). Furthermore, Kant believes that “judicial punishment can never be used merely as a means to promote some other good for the criminal himself or for civil society, but instead it must in all cases be imposed on him only on the...

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