Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Justice and Mercy 

As long as Jason is going to link to every story published by NRO in the last 6 months (j/k), I figured I would link to a particularly interesting piece on the relative merits of justice and mercy, framed in a discussion of "Star Wars" and "Lord of the Rings" (Again, kudos to WMD). Those who cry inconsistency when they hear that many (myself included) support capital punishment but not abortion need to read on, and read carefully.
They all wanted me to realize that justice without mercy is inhuman and a boon to tyranny. That's true. But I wanted them to realize that mercy without justice is a sickening evil unto itself, one that corrodes the souls of victims and victimizers alike. God is indeed love, but love without responsibility is just a pretty bubble on the wind. I heard too many demands for "mercy" that were just softly-scented pleas for sentimental injustice. Real mercy respects justice enough to submit to it. Real mercy seeks atonement, not excuses.
(emphasis is mine)

This is why we fight so hard to bring to justice those who have done wrong. Such doctrines of "mercy" as proposed by the critics he mentions would mean that we ought not to seek out the murderer, the rapist or the terrorist at all, but rather forgive and forget, and pick up the pieces with whatever other cheek is left to turn. Mercy implies justice, and justice is itself merciful. What greater mercy is there for all parties involved than to atone for wrongdoing?

Damn straight. I want Goldberg to speak here before I graduate.
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