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One man's punishment is another man's abuse. Literally. Nobody admits to being an abuser, but punishing "them that deserve it" is widely practiced. Who "deserves" to be punished? Well, if one listens to the Cons' assertion that everybody is born evil, punishment and deprivation are the default conditions and the right to go on living has to be earned.

However, it's not necessary to be overt and posit an ideological rationalization. Abuse spawns resentment and then resentment turns around and punishes to even the score. It's a reverse cost/benefit situation in which the loss and deprivation are visited on strangers.
Abusers punish someone else because they can't retaliate against whoever beat them up. In a just society there'd be an intervention and abusers would not get away with their behavior from the get go.

A society which tolerates abuse is unjust.

So, what are we to make of citizens who are convinced that the sole function of public corporations is to be punitive? They have apparently taken the proposition that only agents of government may punish and substituted the belief that their sole function is to punish. They see the President as Disciplinarian-in-Chief. No wonder Obama strikes them as weak.

How to explain the difference between the use of force being restricted to governments and governments being restricted to using force?

Do flawed individuals, like Mark Sanford, get elected because citizens expect them to know punishment is not nice and to restrain themselves in meting it out?  Or, again like Sanford, do they just want to get the abusers out of town? Is that how we end up with a Capitol full of clowns?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Wed May 08, 2013 at 03:27:42 AM PDT

  •  Mark Sanford is God's way of punishing (7+ / 0-)

    John Boehner.

    Because House Republican Leadership isn't exactly jumping up for joy at the prospect of Sanford returning to DC.

    They GOP owns him now. Whatever antics he ends up engaged in will reflect accordingly upon GOP Leadership.

    So while he'll likely be on his best behavior for awhile, he will undoubtedly be put under the microscope. The media can't resist a good scandal, and if there's one thing Sanford is good at, it's finding himself in the middle of one.

    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
    ~ Jerry Garcia

    by DeadHead on Wed May 08, 2013 at 03:43:32 AM PDT

  •  I saw this coming when the ladies on the View (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    luckylizard, myboo, AoT

    said Sanford was in the forgiven column because he was in love with his soul mate.

    And, Weiner showed his wiener and lied and it was terrible and he should stay away. (also the unfortunate name to go along with the whole enchilada)

    Sad but true. Sanford was in pursuit of true love and looked foolish, Weiner just looked foolish.

    And Hunter says we are governed by morons. Yeah much like watching ourselves on TV.

    Validate my parking Validate my parenting Validate my politics Validate my religion And I will be happy.

    by 88kathy on Wed May 08, 2013 at 03:47:49 AM PDT

  •  I'm pretty sure Sanford won... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx, freerad

    ...because most White voters in his district won't associate with a party that believes in equal rights for African-Americans.  It's always and exclusively about race in SC and vicinity. Nothing else, ever.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Wed May 08, 2013 at 04:02:49 AM PDT

    •  S. Carolina has been a state where baggers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dannyboy1, AoT

      and bible-thumpers have moved to "take over'.

      This is clearly the best they can do: voting for a lying brain-dead moron.

      Really, they deserve whatever befalls them.

      I live in Georgia, so I know what it is like to live in a state that INSISTS on sucking ass.

      They can move or get used to it.

  •  Well, what can be done to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    reduce consumption, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions that doesn't seem like punishment?

    And yet, ought we not be doing so in incredibly dramatic fashion?

    From here on out, no one can escape the havoc wrought by the unmitigated Class, Climate and Terror Wars.

    by Words In Action on Wed May 08, 2013 at 04:30:36 AM PDT

    •  The actions you reference are directed (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      semiot, myboo, unfangus

      towards the environment or, if you will, the vagaries of nature. Self-centered people may well be incapable of getting the difference between being constrained and cleaning up wastes, but public policy ought not to be directed by misperceptions. Power plants and industrial facilities not spewing carbon into the air we breathe cannot be considered punitive by any stretch of the imagination, unless we let Congress continue to perpetrate the fiction that children must starve or go without schooling because there's not enough money to pay for cleaning up waste.
      That there is not enough of what the Congress is tasked with creating and disbursing would be the biggest joke, if it weren't such a shame. That the system was rigged a hundred years ago to perpetrate the fiction does not change the fact that "not enough money" is a myth.

      It is, however, ironic that Nixon got rid of the "cross of gold" to prevent foreign speculators from holding our dollars hostage and then the Congress, along with their henchmen on Wall Street, proceeded to do just that. "Sequester" is just a new name for what they've been doing for decades. The accumulation of dollars by the one percent is not a happenstance. It is the inevitable consequence of Congress laundering dollars through the banks so they can claim a "cut" of every dollar spent on public works. The sequester merely aims to reduce the flow ever further and increase the banksters' "take." Keep in mind that dividends on bonds used to be 8.1% as recently as 1991. The 2.0% being realized now are apparently insufficient to curry favor with the banksters who fund political campaigns.

      Here's a lengthy story about dividend rates for bonds. Note that it doesn't mention what the rate actually is.

      We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Wed May 08, 2013 at 04:58:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The matter of environmental regulation is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        native, hannah

        precisely to your point.

        "These people" relate to the government entirely as a 5-year-old relates to an overbearing Daddy. They love to brag that their Daddy can beat up somebody else's Daddy, but they also live in pathological fear of Daddy's potential for violence, and in perpetual childish resentment of Daddy telling them what they can or can't do.

        And my guess is that the vast majority of them actually had an overbearing, bullying Daddy.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Wed May 08, 2013 at 07:58:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I certainly don't support Sanford in any way (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hannah, Rich in PA, GreenMother, Urizen, native, AoT

    but I think before we get too outraged about an adulterer and liar (and trespasser, let's not forget) we should stop a minute to remember that Massachusetts Democrats--myself included--kept voting for Ted Kennedy long after that famous episode in Cape Cod in which a young girl died.

    Mock Sanford all we want, I say, but we had better remember that Democrats have chosen for ideas over morality more than once, just like Republicans have.

    I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

    by commonmass on Wed May 08, 2013 at 05:01:05 AM PDT

  •  The Idiots in S. Carlina (0+ / 0-)

    voted their IQ.

  •  It's silly to vote the person over the party (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    semiot, native

    If they're Republicans, they should in fact vote for any Republican over any Democrat.  Electing someone isn't a reward to that person, it's a way of getting outcomes you want.  Voters wanted certain outcomes (foolish, hateful ones, but set that aside) and it would have made no sense to vote for the nice person who wanted other outcomes over the bad person who wanted what the voters wanted.  I'd always vote, however grumblingly, for the adulterous Democrat over the pleasant Republican so on what basis would I expect SC voters to act differently? Their flaw is the same as last week or last decade: they just want the wrong things.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Wed May 08, 2013 at 05:56:54 AM PDT

  •  I must admit, I just don't have much hope for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    any politician being effective on behalf of the people.

    I am kind of shocked that Sanford is let back into the game like this. But I guess I should just be happy that his other partner was a consenting one, and of age.

    I can be forgiving of a lot of things, but not of modern expressions of Republicanism. To me that is his most damning quality.

  •  How can you stop abusive behavior (0+ / 0-)

    unless you punish it? (If to punish means to curtail or limit the actions of an abuser).

    I wouldn't consider Sanford's behavior to be "abusive" exactly... more like impulsive and irresponsible.

    •  There is a difference between punishment (0+ / 0-)

      and restraint.
      Now, some people do consider restraint punitive, but there is a difference.
      Our response to abuse is inconsistent with the professed objection to violence. If we were serious, there would be no simple assault. All physical aggression and abuse would be considered a serious violation of a person's bodily integrity. Human rights would trump property rights.

      We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Wed May 08, 2013 at 10:32:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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