Courts Have Institutionalized Revenge

I’ll never understand how the output of the government’s court system passes for “justice.” If you ever find justice in a courtroom it will be a fluke; an accident.

Justice doesn’t require government, or even laws. Those only obstruct justice.

Justice is the attempt to return a victim to their pre-violation condition. Justice is made unnecessary by self-defense, which nips crime in the bud. Justice is mainly restitution, if self-defense fails.

The state is never the victim, and is never owed compensation from a wrongdoer; only the individual human victim or their survivors are owed.

The right to defend yourself against bad guys does not come from laws. Laws are not what creates a debt from an act of aggression or property violation, and they don’t create your right to restitution. You have those rights whether or not laws agree.

Punishment isn’t justice. I understand the desire to see a person suffer when their actions have hurt you. I’ve been there. But that’s not justice, it’s revenge; justice’s polar opposite. Government courts — the misnamed “justice system” — are founded on ritualized revenge.

Maybe you believe revenge is justified and, if so, remember this if you’re ever on the other side. I don’t believe revenge is justifiable, even though I have personally wanted revenge a few times in my life. I was wrong. If you embrace revenge through government courts, you are also wrong.

This doesn’t mean people “just get away with it.” Could you continue to treat someone like a good person, knowing they did wrong and never tried to make it right? Justice is your job. You can’t pawn it off on anyone else.

You have the right to shun unrepentant violators. If not for government’s laws you would be free to shun them to death — to refuse to sell them food, housing, energy, clothing, or any other necessity — and to convince others to join you. Those who intentionally harm people but won’t take full responsibility aren’t worthy of your consideration or help. Leave them to the wolves. You would be well within your rights, and their cold, lonely death would be an acceptable substitute for justice.

If, however, you choose to shun someone who made a tragic mistake, admitted it and tried to make things right, I would probably not join you. Mistakes are human. Without the intent to cause harm they can’t be crimes and shouldn’t be treated as crimes, even though they can hurt just as much.

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Kent McManigal

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