There are Precedents to Barbour’s Pardons
On Friday Governor Haley Barbour defended pardons for the four murderers who had impressed him with their repentance and redemption while working as trustees at the governor’s mansion. In an interview with Fox Insider’s Bret Bair, Barbour used a line of reasoning based on Christian forgiveness that was lampooned in the Coen brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou as an ignorant misunderstanding of the relationship between religion and one’s debt to society.
Here is a video that demonstrates that Barbour’s defense of his pardons is straight from Hollywood–in a bad way.
Ignorant misunderstanding of religion and justice or
well-reasoned argument by a former governor? You decide.
Barbour’s pardons are what you get when you believe in the “humanitarian” view of punishment. It demonstrates that if a murderer gets close to a friendly bureaucrat for a few years and convinces him that he has been rehabilitated, he will be released without regard to whether or not he has fully paid for his crimes as specified by the justice system.
C.S. Lewis warned us about the humanitarian theory of punishment in The Problem of Pain:
Some enlightened people would like to banish all conceptions of retribution or desert from their theory of punishment and place its value wholly in the deterrence of others or the reform of the criminal himself… What can be more immoral than to inflict suffering on me for the sake of deterring others if I do not deserve it..? And what can be more outrageous than to catch me and submit me to a disagreeable process of moral improvement without my consent, unless (once more) I deserve it?
Barbour in the same interview says (at 4:56)
When my grandchildren are over at the governor’s mansion, we trust them to play with and be looked out for by these people.
I think the governor forgets that when these men killed their victims, they were not at the time servants on the estate of a man who had the power to pardon them if they behaved themselves or bring down the wrath of a powerful grandfather if they did not. I dare say that Governor Barbour would not want his grandchildren to be with these men in the same vulnerable surroundings that their victims were in when these murderers killed them.
WELCOME Nice Deb readers!