A Case for Corporal

In addressing the case for a reactionary ideal as the locus of a future society, it is necessary to delve into various societal issues and problems and provide the solution that the reactionary can offer.
Many areas are studied with an eye to history, asking how those in the Traditional World perceived these problems and ended up with the solutions that they implemented. For some issues, there is no historical parallel and we may use good judgment to adapt to controversies peculiar to our age. For other, often more broad fields of debate, there is a clear solution revealed by our ancestors.

One such area is criminal justice.

Robert Kosilek – convicted of murdering his wife
now receiving a ‘sex change’ operation in prison, courtesy of Massachusetts

Traditional man would be dumbfounded by our modern conceptions of how to deal with criminals (neglecting of course how horrified they would be in response to many of the laws of modernity themselves!), that is: locking people up for relatively brief periods during which they receive high quality ’round-the-clock care, and in many cases throughout the western world, access to gym equipment, television sets, and even games consoles. Robert Kosilek, pictured above, a mentally deranged sadist, recently made headlines in America after a state court found that he had a constitutional right to receive ‘sex re-assignment surgery’ while in prison. Previously in the article on terrorism, Norwegian mass shooter, Anders Breivik was mentioned. He can only have laughed as the society he had declared war on in such a brutal way, awarded him with his own cell, a refreshing daily walk, a $48 weekly allowance, and a Play Station 2.

And we wonder why the recidivist rate is so high in the modern world (43% in the USA according to a 2011 Pew Research study)?

One of the ideas dealing with crime that has largely been phased out in the modern world is that of corporal punishment, or the infliction of physical pain as a method of justice and deterrence. Corporal punishment takes three forms, parental, educational, and judicial. I won’t address parental and educational forms, especially as the latter seems peculiar to the modern concept of education. Instead, let us discuss judicial corporal punishment.

puritan whipping

Putting aside the various practices of limb amputation prevalent particularly in Saudi Arabia, judicial corporal punishment typically takes the form of lacerating the guilty party through some method, whether it be with a type of whip, a cane, or a birch. The reason for this is that the wounds are not typically life-threatening and yet they remain as scars, a reminder to the perpetrator of his crime and his punishment. For most of human history, in varying forms, this type of punishment has been typical across cultures. It is only with the dawn of the modern era that imprisonment has become virtually the only means of criminal punishment beyond financial penalties.

At corrections.com, John Dewar Gleissner writes,

“Judicial corporal punishment is far less expensive and time-consuming than incarceration. Incarceration saddles taxpayers with expenses for food, clothing, shelter, medical care, security, personnel costs, building expenses and other burdens. America’s 2.3 million inmates are essentially a huge mass of full-ride welfare recipients. Incarceration removes people from the productive economy, cages them, and prevents most of them from working productively or efficiently in the private sector.”

I fully agree with this assessment, and as our prisons become more akin to recreational centers, the argument gains power. Would it not be preferable to have a system in which criminals could pay their penalty quickly and rejoin the general population without the stigma that a prison record creates, a ball and chain which effectively condemns one to the lowest strata of the society? The financial savings alone would be enormous!

One might object to this assessment and say that to force criminals to endure such pain would be cruel and unusual. While I disagree with this point of view, let us accommodate it and say that no criminal would be forced to endure such punishment. What if it was a voluntary alternative to serving time in prison, wasting the years of one’s life and being forever branded an ex-convict? I have a strong suspicion most inmates in the United States today would take a lashing if it secured their immediate release. Which would you prefer? Ten years in prison, or ten lashes on your back followed by immediate release?

pictured: the sane man’s alternative

This is only a cursory discussion. Entire volumes could be written on why a reactionary society, indeed the most functional society, would approve of a judicial corporal punishment for various crimes, even if only optional. With taxpayers, society, and justice itself in mind, it is the rational thing to support.

2 thoughts on “A Case for Corporal

  1. Plenty of single women as well, not naming any celebrity names. I have to say I do enjoy the poetry on the Wikipedia page

    “Then was the Scold herself,
    In a wheelbarrow brought,
    Stripped naked to the smock,
    As in that case she ought:
    Neats tongues about her neck
    Were hung in open show;
    And thus unto the cucking stool
    This famous scold did go”

    Quite masterful.


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