Only Rightness Makes Justice True
Only rightness makes justice true.
Therefore, to what extent does any human being have an innate moral right to kill any other human being? Fundamentally, that right extends to physical self-defense alone—defending against an immediate physically life-threatening cause—whether in the case of an individual, or of nations, or of groups within a society, or of societies as a whole.
It is, in the natural sense, reasonable to assume that, unfortunately, in certain stark and otherwise unavoidable instances of a physically-threatening event, self-defense might call for a strong physical action that could (possibly) result in the killing of another human being—or, in the larger context of collective struggle, even the killing of many human beings. Nevertheless, there is no right—nor is it in any sense right—to kill another human being outside the immediate physical situation of necessary and unavoidable physical self-defense. And even the decision to take aggressively self-defensive physical action should, optimally, be made on the basis of a careful measure of what is the better consequence of the any event—and whether even self-sacrifice is the best of causes to allow.
If a violently-threatening person has been subdued and incarcerated, that person is no longer physically threatening, either to any particular other individuals or to society as a whole. Therefore, there is no cause for society to pretend to defend itself by judicially murdering an already-incarcerated person. The physically-incarcerated person has already been contained and stopped—and, therefore, there is no further right or cause to kill such a person.
The motive of either murder or revenge—even against individuals who have committed the most heinous of acts—is never right or acceptable. Outside the unavoidable necessity of immediate physical self-defense, all killing of human beings by human beings is murder—whether the killing is done by individuals or by collectives.
Everyone is inherently involved in a universal world-pattern of causes and effects—and, thus, there is no "personal" absoluteness about moral faults. When capital punishment is exercised, the executed individual is defined in absolutized "personal" terms, by exclusive identification with a particular fault and that absolutized "personal" definition (or fixed and exclusive "objectification" of "self") reduces the "person" to a "thing" than which he or she is altogether more. The action of capital punishment denies both the Universal Non-"Objective" and Irreducible Self-Nature of Reality and the indefinable (and non-"objectifiable", and inherently ego-less) depth-nature of human existence. The judicial action of capital punishment, like any other act of murder or revenge-killing, aggressively de-humanizes both the one who is punished and the one (or the one-and-all) who punishes.
The social order does have both the right and the obligation to physically defend itself and all of its members. Therefore, it is certainly appropriate for the social order to exercise itself so as to physically control people or situations that are presently physically threatening. However, once any physical threat has been brought under physical control, there is no moral rightness in executing the person (or persons) who had previously posed a particular physical threat. Once such a physical threat has been brought under physical control, the social obligation is to (for as long as necessary) retain the person (or persons) in a circumstance where it is no longer possible for him or her (or them) to cause any physical harm to others.
Except in cases of immediately necessary and otherwise unavoidable physical self-defense, all killing of human beings by human beings is inherently not right. Therefore, murder is not a human right, revenge is not a human right—and capital punishment is not a human right. People (and whole societies) that commit acts of either murder or revenge thereby "toxify" and harm and (potentially) destroy themselves. The moral integrity and the altogether human integrity of humankind is aggressively discarded and lost in acts of murder and revenge—whether committed individually or collectively. Thus, the exercise of capital punishment violates an inherent moral law in the human depth.
To perform, or to watch, or even to condone capital punishment is, necessarily, to perform, watch, or condone murder, blood-lust, revenge-killing, evil intention, and heart-negating purpose. Proof of this is in the fact that, virtually universally, all who perform, watch, or condone any kind of real physical human-to-human violence feel an unavoidable and unquenchable hurt in their hearts.
Therefore, this moral law should be universally observed by all of humankind: Self-defense (and physical defense of human life, altogether) is, in principle, reasonable, and may be appropriate, in the immediately necessary and otherwise unavoidable case of physically controlling what is physically threatening to oneself or others—but there is no longer any right to kill (and, thus, to murder, or to exact revenge upon) a person (or persons) whose physically-threatening activity has been brought under physical control. Likewise, as a direct effort to practice and ensure universal human fidelity to this universal human law, there should always and every-where be socially-exercised means to prevent acts of murder or revenge from being carried out by individuals, or by nation-states, or by any human collective whatsoever.
Only rightness makes justice true.
Murder and revenge are inherently morally wrong and never justified. Therefore, capital punishment is morally wrong and is never justified.
The negative exploitation and killing of human beings by human beings violates the heart of one and all. Therefore, all should always actively participate in the positive moral rightening and cooperative pacification of "self" and of the relations between all human beings, in order to maximally avoid and prevent the negative exploitation and (outside the strict boundaries of unavoidable exercises of self-defense) the killing of human beings by human beings.
The negative exploitation and killing of non-human beings by human beings violates the heart of one and all. Therefore, all should take care to positively morally righten and pacify the relations between "self" (or even all human beings) and all non-human beings, in order to maximally avoid and prevent the negative exploitation and non-necessary (or otherwise inhumane) killing of non-human beings by human beings.
The negative exploitation, and progressive degradation, and potential destruction of the fundamental order of natural environment on which all Earth-life depends violates the heart and directly threatens the life of one and all. Therefore, all should always take care (and always exercise "self"-discipline) to always actively participate in positive service and global cooperation that respects and perpetuates the fundamental order of the natural environment of Earth-world.
The positive moral rightening of all human activity (human-to-human, human-to-non-human, and human-to-environment) would, if everywhere exercised, become the universal demonstration of a right and true human disposition, that (altogether, and in general) "self"-disciplines the tendency to physically, politically, socially, culturally, and environmentally "toxify", harm, and, altogether, negatively affect the human and natural "world" (by not only physical means, but, altogether, by bodily, mental, verbal, emotional, and generally "psychic", or psychological, and even every kind of energy-manipulating means).
The positive moral rightening of all human activity (human-to-human, human-to-non-human, and human-to-environment) must always concentrate on (and proceed on the basis of) the disciplining (and the summary de-"toxification") of the human "self"—itself, and in all of its relations, and in the context of a social order of mutual cooperative pacification of human ego-patterns of "self"-destructive, and "other"-destructive, and "world"-destructive behavior.
The positive moral rightness of human "self "-responsibility should (and, inevitably, would) include, among all the many practical elements of its totality, the personal (and not merely legally-enforced) responsibility to take genuine care and direct physical precaution to avoid unwanted pregnancies, medically non-necessary abortions, the bodily exchange of sexually-transmittable (or otherwise bodily transmittable) diseases, all participation in the habits and social reinforcing of "self"-poisoning, and "self"-deluding, and socially harmful addictions, and all participation in negative, "self"-deluding, self-evidently false (or profoundly unsupportable) and potentially destructive political, social, cultural, religious, and, otherwise, philosophically-based institutions, traditions, and idealisms.
The positive moral rightening of all human activity (human-to-human, human-to-non-human, and human-to-environment) is, essentially, a matter of always pre-establishing (and, thereafter, always correcting and re-asserting) the principle and the practice of prior unity—and, thus, of mutually sympathetic relational bonding—which inherently, and specifically, eschews (and always prevents) mere "objectification", dissociative detachment, negative exploitation, casually reactive threat and violence, all of unjustifiable destruction, and the will to both relationlessness and chaos.
The intrinsic integrity of prior unity is the necessary rightness that makes all justice true.
Only rightness makes justice true.
The negative exploitation (or mere imprisonment, and suppressive, or non-corrective, punishment) of those who commit (and are duly convicted of) crimes violates the heart of one and all—and, ultimately, threatens the future social peace and order of one and all. The imprisonment of human beings by human beings, without otherwise allowing for the human rights and moral impulses of those so confined to be actively exercised, is inherently not right. Such suppressive (or non-corrective) confinement, and even every other kind of mere and intentionally suppressive (or non-corrective) punishment of human beings by human beings, is merely an aggressive act, committed by the larger society, upon those who are already under control (and, thus, are not a present danger to others). Thus, mere imprisonment and all merely suppressive (or non-corrective) punishment are, themselves, criminal acts—and they are always done as acts of revenge, rather than as acts of justice.
Acts of justice are (and require), by definition, moral (and, altogether, morally positive) acts.
Therefore, rightly, those who are duly convicted of crimes should (to the degree, and for the period of time, necessary) be appropriately controlled, and prevented from further criminal (and, altogether, aggressive and threatening) acts. However, while under such control-and-prevention measures, those who are duly convicted of crimes should—and must, for the sake of everyone—actively and daily perform (under proper and necessary supervision) acts of reparation and service, in direct relation to those whom they have wronged or harmed, and, altogether, in direct relation to the larger society in which they have done wrong or harm. To the degree possible in the circumstances necessary to keep them under proper control, those who have been duly convicted of criminal acts should actively and daily perform their acts of reparation and service directly within the public circumstances of the larger society, and, also, within the private circumstances of those whom they have directly wronged or harmed.
Such moral process relative to all those who have been duly convicted of criminal acts rightly observes this should-be-universal moral law: All acts of revenge and merely suppressive (or non-corrective) punishment are, inherently and always, morally wrong—and, indeed, are, themselves, the essence of all criminal motivations and all criminal acts.
Unless society as a whole functions in an inherently morally right manner (even in relation to all who have done wrong or harm), society as a whole is unjust and an outlaw.
If society as a whole is an outlaw, it, inevitably, breeds outlaws, or criminals—or those who are, themselves, motivated to perform, and justify, and condone criminal acts (or acts based upon the motives of revenge and merely suppressive, or non-corrective, punishment).
If an unjust or outlaw society commits acts of revenge and merely suppressive (or non-corrective) punishment on those who are duly convicted of doing wrong or harm, that society as a whole is a threat to itself.
Therefore, any and every unjust or outlaw society should everywhere (and by all truly just and positively lawful societies) be called upon (and expected, and helped) to correct itself.
Only rightness makes justice true.
All of this right moral understanding and right morality of action should be universally cultivated in the necessary global cooperative society of humankind—and this right moral understanding should (thereupon) guide the activities of every nation-state, all individuals at large, and the global cooperative human social order as a whole.
from Not-2 Is Peace
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