Last time I checked vengence was considered immoral, and the only moral use of violence was to prevent further violence. When did vengence become moral?
You and I probably agree mostly on what is right. Our basic difference between us is this. You are labeling as "moral" what you think is right. I am pointing out that, when people use the "moral" label, it is usually applied to what I don't think is right.
Vengeance has always been moral and is one of the centerpiece of morality. I view morality as an anthropologist, not as a user. When you look at issues that people consider particularly moral issues, most of the time they are about achieving vengeance. The 9/11 attacks, the War on Terrorism, even Pat Robertson's prayer for a hurricane to strike Florida because Disney gave benefits to gay partners, are all actions considered highly moral by their users and much of the audience.
The basic problem with the concept of morality is that what people say it is isn't even remotely related to how they use it. If you're going to view it scientifically, you have to look at how it is used.
Otherwise I agree with you that rehabilitation is always the goal
I didn't say that rehabilitation is always the goal. I said that it may in fact be the most appropriate goal in the current circumstances. See, you have someone who was involved in crime, including murder, in the past, who is trying to make a new life. I don't think much of religiosity, but it seems to me, at least prima facie, that he is actively seeking some form of rehabilitation.
My goal is to prevent people from becoming criminals in the first place. But then again, I'm an immoralist.
but that we just don't seem to be able to do it.
Who's "we?" How do you know he can't achieve some form of rehabilitation in his new community? You don't. "We," I guess, means the justice system or society at large, which things highly of the justice system. So, then what? Do you advocate mandating taking him out of a situation in which he may very well achieve rehabilitation and put him in a place where it is the one thing he can never achieve? If so, do you advocate this in the name of morality, which is essentially what the original article was advocating?
And, even if "we" can't rehabilitate people, the U.S. has a higher percentage of people who are locked up than anywhere else. Can't we look at some of the reasons that this may be the case? No, of course not. Everything that we could possibly look at (e.g. the War on Drugs, Zero Tolerance) has Morality stuck all over it like white on rice.
I'm not saying that this person is in a position where he can be rehabilitated. I'm saying that I don't know. But the point is that the original post assumes that it is a foregone conclusion that there is a moral imperative to put everyone in a system that it known to make rehabilitation impossible. To put it another way, permitting the possibility of rehabilitation is de facto immoral, even if one does not know any of the other circumstances of the situation.
That is, of course, also the basis of the highly moral War on Drugs, and all you have to do is compare the funding of this with funding for drug treatment programs to see which is the preferred choice.
Personally, I find confinement the most moral option.
Do you? Maybe it is. Do you know that it is in all cases? Is there never an alternative that is more moral than getting someone beaten up and anally raped for the rest of his life? It seems to me that if that is the most moral alternative that it says something about morality.
Take another example. The age of consent in Florida is 18. A couple of things can happen, though. A 17-year-old might have sex with another 17-year-old. Most people would consider this immoral. A parent of one of the 17-year-olds can coercively take her daughter who has had sex in for a "rape examination." Most people would consider this moral. I know, because I was married to a nurse, that this is an extremely brutal procedure; she participated in exactly one in her career and said that it itself was like a rape. Most people wouldn't care about this, because it muddies up their concepts of what is moral and what isn't.
You're still, of course, welcome to disagree with me, but do you see where I am going when describing morality?
The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett
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