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A Thought on the Shaming Punishments Debate:
There's an interesting discussion going on in the blogosphere about shaming punishments, criminal punishments designed to embarrass or shame offenders. See, for example, this post by Dan Markel (against shaming punishments), this response from Doug Berman (not against, if not exactly for), and this reply from Dan. If I'm not mistaken, I think Dan's basic approach is expressed in this tnr.com online piece in 2004, and it's worth quoting his argument:
[S]haming offenders is simply wrong, regardless of whether it is labeled rehabilitative or punitive. The very goal of shaming . . . is the dehumanization of another person before, and with the participation of, the public. Before we permit democratic institutions to subject an offender to ridicule, scorn, and humiliation, we have to ask whether this kind of punishment comports with evolving standards of decency and the dignity of humankind. The answer is clearly no. Such punishment involves an unacceptable form of preening and immodest sanctimony. What's more, the condition imposed here constitutes a coerced self-laceration that conjures images of the denunciation rallies and ritual debasements of history's least liberal regimes.
  I'm basically with Doug Berman that this isn't persuasive. I think that so-called "shaming punishments" are less of an affront to human dignity than most other punishments, such as severe prison sentences. I've been to a maximum-security prison, and I find it hard to understand the notion that spending a few hours holding a sign (the punishment in the Gementera case) is more an affront to human dignity than a long sentence in max. [See Update below]

  More broadly, I wonder if Dan isn't overlooking something important about shaming punishments: Don't they rely on, and ultimately reinforce, the notion that the offender is a valued member of the community? It seems to me that the offender feels shame precisely because he values his position in the community. Thus judges hand down such punishments only when they think the offender values his position and will want to restore it to its earlier status. In that sense, then, shaming punishments are not about dehumanization, but about hope and community: the punishment is based on and recognizes the hope that the offender will feel a strong enough connection to the community that he will feel shamed, and that the community will value that person's connection to the community enough to react to the offender. Put another way, only a community that values its members would find shaming punishments punishment at all. If no one cares about the offender, and the offender doesn't care about anyone else, there is no shame and no punishment. In that case, they can just lock him up and throw away the key.

  To be clear, this doesn't mean that shaming punishments are good; I don't see myself as an affirmative proponent of them. Like any type of punishment, shaming punishments may be appropriate in some cases and will be inappropriate in others. My point is only that I find flat opposition to them based on human dignity concerns to be unpersuasive. (I guess that means it's you and me on the island together, Doug.)

  UPDATE: Dan responds to Doug in this post about the prison point; Dan's response, as I understand it, is that he is against both shaming punishments and long prison sentences, so the fact that long prison sentences are also equally or even more troubling doesn't mean that shaming punishments are okay. In other words, opposition to one piece of the status quo should not be seen as acceptance of the rest, and the ultimate goal, as Dan puts it in a comment, is "ensur[ing] that all punishments, including the conditions of confinement, are compatible with human dignity." That's certainly a fair response, even if I don't ultimately agree with Dan's framework or conclusions. For the fuller versions of Dan's arguments, see here.
Hattio (mail):
I've always thought that shaming punishments were partly punitive, and partly deterrent. I suppose I see the rehabilitative portion, but it seems that they're value to the community is their deterrent effect. I'm thinking particularly of something like printing the names of those who solicit prostitution.
10.13.2006 4:55pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Shaming works if, as Prof. Kerr suggests, the offender can be seen as having paid his dues and is eligible to be received back into the community.

But one of my notions about the U.S. today is that our Manichaean sense of good vs. evil makes it very difficult for us to acknowledge the evil in ourselves, and the good in felons. Once someone crosses the line, our impulse is to banish that person from the community.

I don't know how shaming fits into this problem, but I do know that we need some public leadership brave enough to remind us that, while we need to protect ourselves against criminals, we don't need to pretend that criminals are any less human than we are.
10.13.2006 4:57pm
whit:
". The very goal of shaming . . . is the dehumanization of another person before, and with the participation of, the public"

no, that is NOT the 'very goal of shaming'. Dehumanizing people is most definitely not the GOAL of shaming, and I would argue, not the EFFECT either.

Since his premise his faulty, the rest is just ... well... bogus

I used to live in Hawaii. This happens to be arguably the most liberal state in the nation, I might add.

In Hawaii, offenders for crimes such as DUI, Shoplifting, etc. could be sentenced to stand on the side of the road with a sign "I Drove Drunk" etc. and do that for a few weekends or whatever.

My understanding is that the data supported that it was an effective deterrent, not just for the offender (specific), but a general deterrent. people would drive by, see the person standing there are think "hey, I'm not gonna drive drunk" or at least "I'm not gonna get caught" :)

The idea that the INTENT was to dehumanize the defendant is absurd. I would argue it is not even the effect, and I agree that being confined to a jail cell is certainly MORE dehumanizing than the sign thing, although in neither case is that the intent.
10.13.2006 5:31pm
RainerK:
Hmmm, Orin. I have as much trouble articulating what troubles me about shaming as I have in answering the "If you have nothing to hide..." line. Shouldn't human dignity trump everything, period? Isn't it the essence of humanity?
Shouldn't the remedy to inhuman prisons be their reform?
Isn't this an area where a cool, lawyerly analysis is out of place?
I submit that the "valued member" argument is a red herring.
Any punishment has an element of indignity=dehumanization, that's what makes it punishment, no?
For example, the naked prosecutor: The man has already been shamed=punished before being indicted. No legalese nitpicking can change that fact!
"Beware of those in whom the impulse to punish is powerful." (Nietzsche, I believe).
10.13.2006 5:32pm
RainerK:
whit:
" Dehumanizing people is most definitely not the GOAL of shaming"
Huh?
If shaming is not dehumanising, then how can it be a deterrent?
10.13.2006 5:37pm
OrinKerr:
RainerK,

I don't understand what you're saying.
10.13.2006 5:37pm
Marcus1 (mail) (www):
Tough call. I'd say a mail thief might be the one perfect crime for the punishment, though. I'm just not sure I trust a judge to decide when it's appropriate and when it's not.
10.13.2006 5:39pm
RainerK:
Orin,
My argument is basically that punishment always has an element of indignity. Therefore we should limit it to the absolute necessary. Deliberately exposing someone to public ridicule is, IMHO so clearly over the line that I thought society might agree on that. Any discussion I thought to be unnecessary. As, by the way, I thought about torture.
I'm thinking too much, perhaps. :)
10.13.2006 5:45pm
OrinKerr:
RainerK,

Let's assume that the choice is not how much punishment, but what kind of punishment. What then?
10.13.2006 5:47pm
Paul Sherman:
This is right on the edge of being off-topic, but some of these issues come up in "World War Z" by Max Brooks. It's an fictional oral history, told by the survivors of a future zombie plague that wipes out most of humanity.

One of the survivors recounts how shaming punishments were reinstituted when American society began rebuilding itself, in large part because there just weren't enough resources to jail large numbers of criminals. In the story they find that making a man stand in the town square holding a sign that says "I stole my neighbor's firewood" ultimately served as a much greater deterent than the threat of imprisonment, and crime levels drop signficantly.

No real point to this post, just thought it was an interesting coincidence to bump into the topic having just finished the book.
10.13.2006 6:00pm
Jake (Guest):
How can a punishment simultaneously dehumanize and "involves an unacceptable form of preening and immodest sanctimony"? We aren't sanctimonious towards objects or animals, but towards people.

Nobody pats themselves on the back because they don't lick their own ***es like a dog. They preen when they buy a new car that's superior to the neighbors', or because their lawn is better cared for, or whatever.

A shaming punishment lowers somebody's status in the community, but still recognizes that they are a member of the community. Imprisonment, on the other hand, locks them away like an animal.
10.13.2006 6:12pm
RainerK:
As someone who doesn't believe that punishment creates much of a result in controlling peoples' behaviour, I'd say that strict restitution would be better. Clear example: Someone murders, he should be required to work, not for commissary money either, and pay anything above subsistence to the victim's family. To be sure, this raises difficult questions of procedure, among others.
But perhaps we should first ask what acts need to be punished. The list seems to be ever-expanding, a result of a very human urge, see quote above.
10.13.2006 6:13pm
Chris 24601 (mail):
I don't think shaming is intended to dehumanize; it simply attempts to act against the offender's reputation, just as the death penalty acts against his life, prison or probation conditions act against his liberty, and fines act against his property. Think of life, liberty, property, and reputation as a bundle of interests: to say that shaming sanctions are sometimes OK is just to say that reputation shouldn't be specially immune from criminal sanctions.
10.13.2006 6:19pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"As someone who doesn't believe that punishment creates much of a result in controlling peoples' behaviour (sic), I'd say that strict restitution would be better."

Don't you think that the Mafia controlled people's behavior by punishing them? How do you think dictatorships control people's behavior? Now a punishment might be excessive for a particular crime, but surely you can't believe that fear of punishment does not deter at least some people. Would you drive your car over the speed limit if it were a capital crime?

Suppose we did adopt a system of restitution. What would you do with someone who refused to make restitution? Wouldn't you have to punish him in some way?
10.13.2006 6:42pm
Bored Lawyer:
How about give the criminals (who are usually low-level criminals) a choice: jail or shaming? I'd bet you that the vast majority would prefer public shaming over even a short time (a month) in prison.

So much for what is and is not dehumanizing.
10.13.2006 6:52pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
For people with a sense of honor and dignity still in tact at the time of the commission of the crime and at sentencing, a prison sentence and the mere fact one is found guilty of a crime is a huge public shaming.

For people without a sense of honor and dignity or from a sub-culture that actually values and honors those convicted of crimes and those sentenced to prison, then there is no shaming at all. For these types, a sentence that includes some kind of deliberately humiliating and shameful exercise in ADDITION to adequate jail time as PUNISHIMENT for the crime committed might have a much more deterrent effect than prison punishment alone. Making them work a chain gang in prison garb on the streets of their own neighborhood, hold up humiliating signs, places humiliating signs on their vehicles or clothing, etc. seem perfectly appropriate to me.

Bottom line if prison isn't shameful to them, give them something that is shameful to them in ADDITION TO a prison sentence appropriate to punish the crime committed.

Says the "Dog"
10.13.2006 7:15pm
Marcus1 (mail) (www):
Bored Lawyer,

Well, I don't think you can give them the choice, or they'd feel like they're beating the system again, which is kind of the basic problem.

You might be right, though, if just suggesting that it's not as bad as a long prison sentence.

I guess I probably wouldn't mind it as a substitute for a fairly long prison sentence in certain situations, as long as it's not implemented for fairly minimal crimes, or implemented on top of long prison sentences.
10.13.2006 7:28pm
Hans Bader:
There's nothing kind about opposing shaming or long prison sentences for violent criminals.

In fact, it's downright cruel to the criminals' victims.

He who is kind to the cruel is cruel to the kind (Midrash).

We should be focusing our outrage against violent criminals, not the punishments they rightly receive for their crimes.

As the Athenian lawgiver Solon said, true justice will not be achieved until those who have not been injured by crime are just as indignant as those who have been.

We should put more societal resources into punishing violent criminals -- (especially those who commit physical assaults, or aggravated assault, yet who often receive little if any jail time under weak state criminal justice systems) -- even if it means spending less of our scarce resources on punishing non-violent "victimless" crimes, like drug possession.
10.13.2006 7:29pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
I find discussions of criminals rights not to be dehumanized to be dehumanizing to the innocent.

Just like burglar voluntarily and knowingly waives his rights to life and liberty when he enters your home (at least imho), any criminal voluntarily and knowingly waives their right, if any exist, not to be publicly humiliated and shamed and held up to public ridicule and scorn as part of their PUNISHMENT for having committed the crime involved.

The purpose of the criminal justice system is to PUNISH. For some the mere fact that they have been convicted and sentenced to a punishment is also a terrible shame and ridicule. For others punishment is a badge of honor and other measures are needed to accomplish the shame element that is always present among "normal" people.

Talk of dehumanization, etc. is just BS, imho. Fancy words for those who want to let the bad guys run the country and lock up the productive and the successful.

Says the "Dog"
10.13.2006 7:29pm
Joshua:
JYLD @ 6:15pm: For people without a sense of honor and dignity or from a sub-culture that actually values and honors those convicted of crimes and those sentenced to prison, then there is no shaming at all.

What is there to prevent such people from adopting the same attitude toward shaming punishments as they already have toward prison? It seems to me that people without a sense of honor and dignity are, by definition, impossible to shame by any means, period.
10.13.2006 7:44pm
Ricardo (mail):
In my view, someone who wants to criticize alternative forms of punishment as "inhumane" while not offering alternatives is at the very least being impractical.

At least 10% of men who spend time in jail or prison are raped and many more face physical abuse of some kind. Abuse is especially common for non-violent offenders, non-gang-members and smaller or weaker individuals. All live with many indignities such as being routinely strip-searched, living with no privacy and surviving in the inmate hierarchy.

My own view is that only repeat non-violent offenders should be subject to prison. If public ridicule for offenses like drunk driving acts has deterrence value then it would save offenders from the horrors of prison and save space for those who pose a much greater danger to society.

It is conceivable that some kind of public shaming could work even for gang members. Gang members, after all, care a great deal about honor and status -- many kids join gangs because they think they will get more girls and get more respect.
10.13.2006 8:22pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
I think there's a level where you stop dealing with the question of a criminal's rights or a victim's rights, and you're just dealing with a human being.

If you proverbially wouldn't do what you're doing to a dog, or wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy, or whatever... maybe it's something that shouldn't be done to anyone regardless of their crime.

I think there's a level of crime that can be dealt with using shaming. Theft, for example, or "blue law" offenses like you sold cigarettes to minors or consensually boned a teenager. One of the aspects of this appears to be that there is no victim to be terrorised by seeing their attacker.

That line isn't just having a victim, but having a victim who would be terrorised. Theft has a victim, but when you face that victim with the person who stole his property, he is not terrorised. Assault, however, is different: merely seeing the attacker can trigger a remembered fight-or-flight response. If the victim would be terrorised by further contact with the criminal, it ignores the victim's rights to leave the criminal in the outside world.

And then, of course, there's dehumanising crime. Crime that no human being should be committing. Like, say, injecting a disfiguring acid into bottles of eye drops to randomly blind people you don't know - not for any reason, but just because you don't like people. There's a line where the criminal effectively ceases to be a human being, and at that point nobody should be complaining about what we do to him.
10.13.2006 8:29pm
Brian Garst (www):
I can't help but wonder if people who demand dignity in punishment even know what the word means.

Dignity: the quality of being worthy of esteem or respect.

Appearantly, in the eyes of some, the commission of a crime does not make one less worthy of esteem or respect. Civilized society, however, has long rejected this view. The fact of the matter is, certain behavoir causes the rest of society to lose some or all respect for an individual. Punishment is what it is precisely because it reflects this change in status.

If you are bieng punished it is because you behaved in a manner not deserving of respect. Thus, there is no such thing as dignified punishment, as the very necessity of punishment is a testament to the commission of disrespectful behavoir.
10.13.2006 9:21pm
Steph (mail):
Well given the reaction to shaming as a punishment, I guess my proposal for corporal punishment is right out.
10.13.2006 11:07pm
dvorak:
With all the talk about Gitmo, I wonder how long it would be before someone mentioned Geneva banning "degrading" treatment.
10.13.2006 11:12pm
Sarah (mail) (www):
The only kind of punishment that really worries me is the extrajudicial nonsense society members decide to impose when they think the criminal justice system (and society in general) isn't functioning properly anymore. Every time I go to my temp agency office, I'm reminded that there is, apparently, no such thing as redemption (the sign that's been on the door for two years: "WE HAVE NO JOBS FOR ANYONE WITH A FELONY RECORD") and moreover, that everyone is subject to constant suspicion (I can't otherwise explain why, for a job that only involves reading information from a product catalog -- a job often done by actual prison inmates -- every applicant has to take a drug test. And because all my assignments are short-lived, I get to take four or five per year.)

If we decide to have chain gangs and stupid orange license plates for drunk drivers (which we actually have in Ohio) and other kinds of public shaming, I'd be relatively okay with it, so long as I could get to live like I'm not a criminal -- and, once any official sentences were over, so could anyone else...
10.13.2006 11:29pm
Truth Seeker:
we don't need to pretend that criminals are any less human than we are.

Um, anyone who rapes or murders or does any of numerous violent offenses against innocent humans is a whole lot less human than we are (well, I;m not sure about you). They do not deserve to live in human society and many do not deserve to live in prison society. Did you hear about the prisoners who blow torched another prisoner's face during an uprising? The death penalty is too good for them but it's the best we've got without lowering ourselves to their level.

All this respect for criminal "rights" is BS, they voluntarily gave up their rights and if we don't want to live like animals punishment needs to be swift and harsh, as a deterrent. If criminal appologists and mad dictator appeasers ran the world they'd soon be gone and it would be run by mafias and dictators.
10.13.2006 11:44pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Sarah,


I'm reminded that there is, apparently, no such thing as redemption (the sign that's been on the door for two years: "WE HAVE NO JOBS FOR ANYONE WITH A FELONY RECORD") and moreover, that everyone is subject to constant suspicion (I can't otherwise explain why, for a job that only involves reading information from a product catalog -- a job often done by actual prison inmates -- every applicant has to take a drug test.


1. The no felony record sign exists because the customers of temp agency want it that way; If the temp agency puts a felon on a job and that felon steals or hurts someone the temp agency is much more likely to be sued by any number of bleeding heart where's the redemption for the criminals plaintiff's attorneys in town and sued again by the lawyers for the corporation where the temp was placed.

2. Drug testing is again because the customers of temp agency prefer that; because the temp agency can use the 100% drug tested workforce as a "selling point" to potential customers; because it is a FACT and common knowledge that people who do illegal drugs file more unemployment and workers compensation injury claims than workers who don't do illegal drugs; and because workers who use illegal drugs are far more likely to injure someone else on a job causing unemployment and/or workers comp claims. For many businesses and for all temp agencies that handle workers other than pure office clerical stuff, workers compensation insurance premiums are one of the single largest expense categories for that temp agency. Every accident and every claim no matter how small can result in large increases in next years insurance premiums.

Says the "Dog"
10.14.2006 1:15am
Scroop Moth (mail):
Anderson, I agree with you. Society should not act beyond its need for self protection.

You are also right to relate shaming to the impulse to banish, rather than to an impulse to restore. Shaming is reduction, a less severe form of banishment. Shaming punishments are not physically injurious like pillory, but they are permanently socially injurious and dehumanizing, like a caste or chattel marker.

Against this position, Chris says that shaming is "simply" a cost imposed upon reputation. However, shaming is obviously more than such a cost, which society assesses automatically with the record of conviction, in measure of the gravity of the offense. Chris makes this error because he has moved so far away from self protection in the direction of retaliation.
10.14.2006 3:06am
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Scroop Moth,


Shaming punishments are not physically injurious like pillory, but they are permanently socially injurious and dehumanizing,


Well I certainly hope so. It would hardly be worth using them (and it definitely is worth using them) if they weren't socially injurious and dehumanizing.


Joshua,


It seems to me that people without a sense of honor and dignity are, by definition, impossible to shame by any means, period.



This could be true, but in reality those to whom I referred with no honor or dignity (in the "normal" sense) come from a sub-culture with its own very twisted and pernicious rules/customs of honor and dignity. These individuals find honor in their communities with serving a prison sentence. That's just criminal graduate school to them. However, picking up garbage and doing other menial tasks in an orange jumpsuit and an uncool haircut in their own neighborhood where people who know them can look at them and laugh, make jokes, and point is definitely a public shaming and punishment they want to avoid. Serving time away from home and family is not so psychologically traumatic because often their family doesn't give a sh*t about them anyway, but shaming and humiliation in front of their friends and gang brothers/sisters is something quite different.

Says the "Dog"
10.14.2006 3:30am
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Oh and for some lesser offenses by juvinille offenders a serious of shaming punishments, including a public spanking (with friends and neighbors invited to witness same), might be far more effective than a juvi detention sentence.

Says the "Dog"
10.14.2006 3:32am
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Some people *NEED* to be dehumanized a bit. Just so they can understand how it is they treat other humans.

Just a thought.... Things that make you go hmmmmmm.....


Says the "Dog"
10.14.2006 3:34am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Sheesh - I swear about 60% of this country secretly wants to be sadomasochistically "governed" (read abused) by puritans in black. (With dull-colored buttons, of course - pride is a SIN.) Either that or by the repressed, bitter, mentally ill spinsters and prudes of the nearest small town.

This crap raises the same issues as the "retibution" crap that Eugene is so fond of - what happens when you do this to someone that's innocent? Do they get to "shame" the whole sadomsaochistic "community"?

PS: I'm still waiting for Eugene's answer on what retribution a falsely accused and "punished" rapist gets to exact.
10.14.2006 4:59am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Mispellings above: Should be "sadomasochistic" and "retribution" where they are mispelled above.

Plus I need to go check all my buttons, some of them might be on the shiny side.
10.14.2006 5:01am
RDS (mail):
Recent BBC article provides exmpale of SHAMING punishment imposed by town elders:


A Sudanese man has been forced to take a goat as his "wife", after he was caught having sex with the animal.


Not likely to pass 8th amendment...Cruel &Unusual punishment of all concerned....certainly a benchmark for consideration in this proposal..
Don't think we want to imulate Sudan...nor should we move in that direction...
10.14.2006 7:00am
Ken Arromdee:
All this respect for criminal "rights" is BS, they voluntarily gave up their rights and if we don't want to live like animals punishment needs to be swift and harsh, as a deterrent.

I don't accept the idea that anyone "voluntarily" gives up their rights by any action short of explicitly saying "I give up my rights". In the abstract, saying "someone who murders gives up his rights" is no more of a foregone conclusion than "someone who blasphemes gives up his rights".

If I, as a mugger, decide that someone who refuses to give me his wallet voluntarily gives up his life, and so I shoot him, have they really "voluntarily" given up their right to life? No, of course not. The fact that someone voluntarily held back his wallet doesn't mean he voluntarily took on everything which ensued from that. The things that ensued from that were done by another human being who used force, they weren't a result of voluntary choice by the mugging victim.

Let's not pretend that anyone "voluntarily" accepts punishment just because we have decreed the punishment for the act and they commit the act anyway.
10.14.2006 11:23am
NickM (mail) (www):
From the original article: "The answer is clearly no."

It's a wonderful use of "clearly" in place of analysis.

Some crimes are much more appropriate for shaming punishments than others - shoplifting and drunk driving that didn't result in an accident may be the two most widely mentioned (aside from solicitation of prostitution, which has reasonable arguments for decriminalization). For these cases, I think there may be substantial deterrent value (both specific and general) in shaming - and for a crime that endangers public safety but does not actually injure any person, it's especially hard to measure retribution.

Nick
10.14.2006 2:05pm
Truth Seeker:
Let's not pretend that anyone "voluntarily" accepts punishment just because we have decreed the punishment for the act and they commit the act anyway.

It's part of the social contract.
Society says "Murders get lethal injection."
Someone who murders voluntarily accepts lethal injection.
Don't like the rules, convince your neighbors to change them or move to another society.
Without such rules we no longer have civilization, we have anarchy.
Shooting someone for not giving his wallet is a false analogy. Muggers don't get to make the rules (in this society, only in anarchy).
10.14.2006 3:09pm
SocratesAbroad (mail):
I'm curious - posters here have fallen on both sides, but has anyone expressing either view actually experienced shaming punishment?

And if so, did shaming achieve its intended effect?
10.14.2006 3:27pm
Scroop Moth (mail):
Dogs don't de-canine each other, and they have done and still do a fair job of "humanizing" us since they helped enable us to live in our first permament settlements. Let us learn from the non-judgmental, splendidly social dog. None of us needs to be dehumanized. It's bad for those who suffer the permanent injury, bad for those who do the dehumanizing, and bad for those who witness it, such as children.

I had a girlfriend whose girlfriend was forced to stand before a Dutch church in Michigan to confess fornication. My girlfriend was terrified of having to face similar shame. So, did it do any good? Not with regard to my girlfriend. Biology knocked out theology.
10.14.2006 4:54pm
Jay Myers:
RDS:

Recent BBC article provides exmpale of SHAMING punishment imposed by town elders:


A Sudanese man has been forced to take a goat as his "wife", after he was caught having sex with the animal.


Don't think we want to imulate Sudan...nor should we move in that direction...

Well now that depends. Was the goat of the same sex as the offender?

Not likely to pass 8th amendment...Cruel &Unusual punishment of all concerned....certainly a benchmark for consideration in this proposal..

Now how can it be cruel and unusual to allow the human to do what he was wanting to do anyway? The only difference is that now the entire villiage is snickering at him behind his back and it isn't the court decision that is causing that. And not only is the 8th amendment not applicible to the goat because it isn't the one being punished, but I don't believe that the Mass. Supreme Court has yet ruled that non-human animals are persons entitled to constitutional protections. Granted, I haven't seen the news in a couple of hours...
10.14.2006 5:10pm
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Truth Seeker-

Muggers don't get to make the rules (in this society, only in anarchy).

Actually, under the state of anarchy that most anarchists support there are still laws and property rights, so muggers don't get to make the rules there either. (I'm not an anarchist.) Muggers only make the rules in our society - when they are politicians or can pull the strings of politicians.
10.15.2006 1:10am
therut:
The idea of shame worked for me. When I was in school and a child got a spanking it was done immediately in front of the whole class. I made sure to never do anything would get me a spanking. There must have been others like me. Now if spanking is done it is done in private after lots of paper work etc. So one benefit has been taken away. Same as with disobeying parents as a child. The spanking was not near as bad as knowing how disappointed I made my parents. Not to mention the 10 commandents thing of honoring your father and mother. That also caused shame. I know our socity has changed and we have such nice children now that none of that ole fashined stuff is needed. Yea sure.
10.15.2006 1:56am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
therut-

Of course all the parental crap breaks down if the parents are criminal, or are enabling criminal rights violations. And of course they don't apply to anyone else's kids - your opinions on parenting end at anyone else's body, property, or rights. Same with your opinions on religion.
10.15.2006 6:46am
Rich Rostrom (mail):
'dehumanizing...'

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

To 'dehumanize' a person is to deny that person's human attributes, and justify treating him as less than human.

A slave-master might declare that his slaves cannot reason, and must be coerced with pain - like draft animals. A soldier might declare that enemy troops are incorrigibly violent, and must be killed - like mad dogs. A racist might declare that a hated ethnic group is malicious and dangerous by nature - like venomous snakes.

All these are examples of 'dehumanization'. Punishment by "shaming" is not, because it relies on human qualities of the subject: his capacity for shame and his need for approval by other humans.
10.15.2006 12:53pm
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
All these are examples of 'dehumanization'. Punishment by "shaming" is not, because it relies on human qualities of the subject: his capacity for shame and his need for approval by other humans.

Actually it can be, if you are a racist, ethno-supremicist, religio-supremicist, etc that thinks other races, ethnic groups, or people that believe differently from them "need" to be shamed for non-criminal behavior. Like attempting to shame people for consensual pre-marital sex.
10.16.2006 9:50am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I don't think we could do this to a POW. Is it common article 3 which prohibits degrading or humiliating treatment?

Drunk drivers who have no accidents, yes.

Terrorists who've killed civilians wholesale, no.

Something's screwy here.
10.16.2006 9:31pm