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Our Justice

Today's Letter from an Ohio Farmer is entitled "Our Justice" and it considers the killing of bin Laden.
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This Letter is about half right. I cannot agree with the argument about the justice of vengeance. The lust for revenge is real enough; perhaps it is part of what doing justice must of necessity rely upon. And I thought Julie's comment a while back was thoughtful. But the argument here seems retrograde - a corruption of shared ideals. I prefer something Bill Galston posted recently:

I also like Bill Galston's piece (though I would expunge the last line as it is just false). Yet I do not see as much tension between it and the farmer piece as you seem to do . . . and I lean more toward the rabbinic teaching of leaving what is proper to God to God and not presuming to imagine that it is something proper to us or, even, within our capacity if we attempt some poor replica of it. I think there is more danger of corruption of principle in that (which amounts to hubris or a boast) than there is in the admittedly sometimes extreme expressions of joy in the face of a great repayment of justice like the killing of bin Laden. For all of that to have bordered on the obscene, people would have to be imagining that his death was the end . . . Teleogically and literally. That sentiment may exist on the fringes of polite society, but it is respectable no where. And I still argue for distinguishing between youthful reactions and those of more seasoned citizens. What is proper to one may not be proper (or even desirable) in the other.

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