Straf

“If he who breaks the law is not punished, he who obeys it is cheated. This, and this alone, is why lawbreakers ought to be punished; to authenticate as good, and to encourage as useful, law-abiding behavior,
The aim of the criminal law cannot be correction or deterrence; it can only be the maintenance of the legal order.”

Thomas Szasz: The Second Sin. London 1974, s.42.

Det tilsvarende argument, set fra den kriminelles side, er selvfølgelig, at han har krav på en passende straf alene af den grund, at en udeladelse deraf er en krænkelse af hans person i den forstand, at det er en både en umyndiggørelse og en underkendelse af de rettigheder han burde have som individ. At undlade at straffe den kriminelle – eller ikke at straffe ham på en måde der står i rimeligt forhold til forbrydelsen – er at overgreb på hans person. (At en og anden kriminel – stillet overfor en retsags alvor og udsigtens til tilsvarende straf – nok ville være villig til at afstå fra denne umistelige ret til at blive straffet er i øvrigt sagen underordnet.) Man kan sige, at den kriminelle har et krav på at blive taget alvorligt, men selvfølgelig i langt højere grad at samfundet har pligt til – for dets egen skyld d.v.s. af hensyn til opretholdelsen af en vis lov og orden – at omgås den slags med den største alvor og uanset hvad tidsånden ellers måtte indikere.

“Punishment is no longer fashionable. Why? Because – with its corollary, reward – it makes some people guilty and others innocent, some good and others evil, in short, it creates moral distinctions among men, and to the “democratic” mentality, this is odious. Our age seems to prefer a meaningless collective guilt to a meaningful individual responsibility.”

op. cit, s.42.

Pointen med det “demokratiske sindelag” er ikke bare en klarsynet observation, men den er også vidunderligt ironisk derved, at denne ophæver af alle vertikale forskelle, i dette tilfælde gør lige netop det modsatte, hvis den fratager individet dets ansvarlighed overfor sig selv, overfor dets medmennesker, overfor samfundet som helhed og i sidste instans overfor en højere retfærdighed, hvorfra den så end – alt efter ens præferencer – måtte komme.

“There can be no humane penology so long as punishment masquerades as “correction”, No person or group has the right to “correct” a human being; only God does. But persons and groups have the right to protect themselves through sanctions that are, and should be called, “punishments”, which, of course, may be as mild as a scolding or a small fine, or as severe as life imprisonment or death.”

op. cit, s.42-43

Hengivelse

“Den, der ej er i stand til i omgang at give sig således hen til andre, at han for en stund bliver til ét med dem, at han ganske går ud af sig selv og taber sig i en fremmed bevidsthedskreds, han kan vist nok ved sin tilbageholdenhed redde sig fra at overvældes af nogen åndelig magt; men den individualitet, der kun på denne måde bjerges, bliver altid ensidig og fattig. Den åndelige fuldkommenhed kan ligesom den fysiske vækst kun fremmes derved, at individet jævnligt smelter sammen med, hvad der fremmed for det, og tilsyneladende opofrer sig selv til at vende beriget hjem igen til sig selv igen.”

Poul Martin Møller: Strøtanker, Kbh 1994, s. 53

at have en sag

“Det er faldet mig paa, om ikke her atter stikker et Hykkelsk i denne megen Tale om at have en Sag, at være en alvorlig Mand, der har en Sag o: s: v:.
Jo ganske vist. Sagen er den, Ingen tør i vor Tid være Person; den ene er saa bange for »de Andre« at han ikke ɔ: at Ingen tør være et Jeg. Msk-Frygt er det Dominerende; og som jo allerede Oldtiden (Aristoteles etsteds i Politik eller Ethik) har sagt: Tyrannie og Demokratiehade hinanden ligesom den ene Pottemager hader den anden, det er, det er samme Regjeringsform, kun at i Tyranniet er Een, i Demokratiet de Mange Tyrannen.
Men tilbage til det at have Sag. Man tør ikke af Frygt for de Andre være Jeg, derfor stræber man at blive et | Upersonligt, blive en Sag, Sagen, et Princip o: s: v:.
Dette har saa igjen ført til Anonymitet. I saa smaa Forhold som de danske er Anonymitet næsten nødvendig, hvis Misundelsen og de Manges Tyrannie ikke altfor stærkt skal sættes i Bevægelse.
Alt tenderer til at afskaffe Personlighed; men naturligviis skeer det under det hykkelske Opspind, at det naturligviis er et stort Fremskridt, at det er en ganske anderledes Alvor end da der var Jeg’er og Personlighed.
Hvor hykkelsk! Nei, det er Cujonerie, og tillige er det Klynkerie, for nemlig altid at kunne være Flere – og man tør aldrig være alene, aldrig være Jeg. Men naar det er »Sag«, saa er det jo strax Flere – saa man da fremfor Alt er sikkret for den Fare man i vor usle, usle demoraliserede Tid meest frygter for: at være ene, et eensomt Jeg.”
Kierkegaard: NB29:2

at være en kvinde

“At være en Qvinde er noget saa besynderligt, saa blandet, saa sammensat, at intet Prædicat udtrykker det, og at de mange Prædicater, hvis man vilde bruge dem, sige hinanden imod paa en Maade, saa kun en Qvinde kan udholde det, ja hvad værre er finde sig lykkelig derved. At hun i Virkeligheden betyder mindre end Manden, er ikke hendes Ulykke, end mindre hvis hun fik det at vide, thi det lader sig jo udholde, nei Ulykken er, at hendes Liv i den romantiske Bevidsthed er blevet meningsløst, saa hun det ene Øieblik betyder Alt, i det næste slet Intet, uden nogensinde at faae at vide, hvad hun dog egentligen har at betyde, og dog er dette ikke Ulykken, men væsentligen er den den, at hun ikke kan faae det at vide, fordi hun er Qvinde. Jeg for mit Vedkommende, hvis jeg var Qvinde, vilde hellere være det i Orienten, hvor jeg var Slavinde; thi at være Slavinde, hverken mere eller mindre, er dog altid Noget i Sammenligning med at være hu hei og ingen Ting.”

Kierkegaard: SLV, SV3 bd. 7 s. 54

ægteskab på græsk

I mellemtiden, i Sparta:

“… their marriages the women were carried off by force, not when they were small and unfit for wedlock, but when they were in full bloom and wholly ripe. After the woman was thus carried off the bride’s-maid, so called, took her in charge, cut her hair off close to the head, put a man’s cloak and sandals on her, and laid her down on a pallet, on the floor, alone, in the dark. Then the bride-groom, not flown with wine nor enfeebled by excesses, but composed and sober, after supping at his public mess-table as usual, slipped stealthily into the room where the bride lay, loosed her virgin’s zone, and bore her in his arms to the marriage-bed.

Then, after spending a short time with his bride, he went away composedly to his usual quarters, there to sleep with the other young men. And so he continued to do from that time on, spending his days with his comrades, and sleeping with them at night, but visiting his bride by stealth and with every precaution, full of dread and fear lest any of her household should be aware of his visits, his bride also contriving and conspiring with him that they might have stolen interviews as occasion offered.

And this they did not for a short time only, but long enough for some of them to become fathers before they had looked upon their own wives by daylight. Such interviews not only brought into exercise self-restraint and moderation, but united husbands and wives when their bodies were full of creative energy and their affections new and fresh, not when they were sated and dulled by unrestricted intercourse; and there was always left behind in their hearts some residual spark of mutual longing and delight.” (Plut. Lyc. 15)

… og noget om jalousi og utroskab:

“After giving marriage such traits of reserve and decorum, he none the less freed men from the empty and womanish passion of jealous possession, by making it honourable for them, while keeping the marriage relation free from all wanton irregularities, to share with other worthy men in the begetting of children, laughing to scorn those who regard such common privileges as intolerable, and resort to murder and war rather than grant them.

For example, an elderly man with a young wife, if he looked with favour and esteem on some fair and noble young man, might introduce him to her, and adopt her offspring by such a noble father as his own. And again, a worthy man who admired some woman for the fine children that she bore her husband and the modesty of her behaviour as a wife, might enjoy her favours, if her husband would consent, thus planting, as it were, in a soil of beautiful fruitage, and begetting for himself noble sons, who would have the blood of noble men in their veins.

For in the first place, Lycurgus did not regard sons as the peculiar property of their fathers, but rather as the common property of the state, and therefore would not have his citizens spring from random parentage, but from the best there was. In the second place, he saw much folly and vanity in what other peoples enacted for the regulation of these matters; in the breeding of dogs and horses they insist on having the best sires which money or favour can secure, but they keep their wives under lock and key, demanding that they have children by none but themselves, even though they be foolish, or infirm, or diseased;

as though children of bad stock did not show their badness to those first who possessed and reared them, and children of good stock, contrariwise, their goodness. The freedom which thus prevailed at that time in marriage relations was aimed at physical and political well-being, and was far removed from the licentiousness which was afterwards attributed to their women, so much so that adultery was wholly unknown among them.

And a saying is reported of one Geradas, a Spartan of very ancient type, who, on being asked by a stranger what the punishment for adulterers was among them, answered: ‘Stranger, there is no adulterer among us.’ ‘Suppose, then,’ replied the stranger, ‘there should be one.’ ‘A bull,’ said Geradas, ‘would be his forfeit, a bull so large that it could stretch over Mount Taÿgetus and drink from the river Eurotas.’ Then the stranger was astonished and said: ‘But how could there be a bull so large?’ To which Geradas replied, with a smile: ‘But how could there be an adulterer in Sparta?’ Such, then, are the accounts we find of their marriages.” (Plut. Lyc. 15)

Plutarch: Plutarch’s Lives. with an English Translation by Bernadotte Perrin. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press. London. William Heinemann Ltd. 1914. Via Perseus.

skurke og fjolser

“I en verden, hvor mindst fem sjettedele er skurke eller narre og fjolser, må enhver af den øvrige sjettedel, så meget desto mere, jo længere væk han befinder sig fra de andre, basere sit livssystem på tilbagetrukkethed, jo længere tilbage desto bedre. Overbevisningen om, at verden er en udørk, i hvilken man ikke kan regne med selskab, må blive til fornemmelse og – habituel. Ligesom væggene indsnævrer blikket, der atter udvider sig, når det blot har mark og vang foran sig, således indsnævrer menneskeligt selskab min ånd, og ensomheden udvider den atter.”

Arthur Schopenhauer: Kunsten at kende sig selv, Kbh 2007, s. 36.

tabte horisonter

“Have you ever been in need of money? Almost every man who enters our society joins it as a young man in need of money. His instincts are unsullied, his intellect is fresh and strong, but he must live. How comes it that the country is full of maimed human beings, of cynics and feeble good men, and outside of this no form of life except the diabolical intelligence of pure business?….He must get on. He goes into a law office, and if he is offended at its dishonest practices he cannot speak. He soon accepts them. Thereafter he cannot see them. He goes into a newspaper office, the same; a banker’s, a merchant’s, a dry-goods’ shop. What has happened to these fellows at the end of three years, that their minds seem to be drying up? I have seen many men I knew in college grow more and more uninteresting from year to year. Is there something in trade that desiccates and flattens out, that turns men into dried leaves at the age of forty? Certainly there is. It is not due to trade, but to intensity of self-seeking, combined with narrowness of occupation.”

John Jay Chapman (1862-1933): Practical Agitation, New York 1900, s. 55-56. Via Laudator Temporis Acti, 15. feb 2017.