I was reading a book (Night Watch by Terry Pratchett) Which contained the quote, “But personal isn’t the same thing as important.” Which got me wondering, should importance be impacted by how personal the issue is? Perhaps you’re wondering how this relates to our good friend Mel.
Almost every movie with Mel Gibson contains some sort of “It’s personal” rational¹. in his movies this line of thought is portrayed as heroic and almost morally required. Now the Pratchett quote in context is rejecting vigilante justice. In the quoted context personal justice against an individual who murdered a man’s lover, whereas William Wallace was slightly different he went against an army, that is to say, a lot of individuals (who weren’t the ones who executed his wife) versus a single individual in Night Watch. I’m wondering if this is an issue of scale or something more… fundamental.
The purpose of government/religious arbitration was to proclaim consequences instead of personal justice because, and this is important, some people have a tendency to weight what personally affects them too heavily² or follow the I don’t get even, I get ahead³ mantra. If appropriately limited and viewed properly (two substantially big if’s depending) vigilante justice should be no more or less just than government issued judiciary justice under the same constraints.
Though after my recent “didn’t turn right in a right hand turn only lane” ticket of $240 +an additional $85 and a day in traffic school if I don’t want insurance costs to increase or my coworker’s recent seat-belt ticked of $140, I’m thinking the government might have lost sight of the limitations originally put into place to prevent excessive punishment for the wrongdoing committed things like, you shouldn’t harm others more than you were actually harmed a.k.a. “an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth”.
¹ William Wallace kicks it into high gear after the some solders attempted to rape his wife and her subsequent execution due to his intervention of said rape.
² My eye is worth two of yours, because I use mine to see.Your eyes are of less value because I don’t use yours at all.
³ Example: Fool me out of $20 and I shall fool you out of $100.
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