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Single Idea 19811

[catalogued under 25. Society / C. Social Justice / 5. Right to Punish / c. Deterrence of crime]

Full Idea

There is no wicked man who could not be made good for something. One has the right to put to death, even as an example, only someone who cannot be preserved without danger.

Gist of Idea

Only people who are actually dangerous should be executed, even as an example


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract (tr Cress) [1762], II.05)

A Reaction

This formulation implies that we could execute a dangerous person as a deterrent, even though they were not guilty of this particular crime. I suspect that Rousseau was too nice to go through with that.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.160