Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dennis Prager : why governments should dispense justice, not compassion

Dennis Prager : This Week, It Was Scotland's Turn To Shame the West - Townhall.com: "As the Chicago Tribune noted in an editorial appropriately titled 'Scotland's Shame,' at al-Megrahi's 2001 trial, the Scottish prosecutor pointed out that 'four hundred parents lost a child, 46 parents lost their only child, 65 women were widowed, 11 men lost their wives, 140 lost a parent, seven lost both parents.'

But all these people and all their loved ones were not the recipients of Scotland's compassion; the murderer was.

What the Scottish government, its Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, and millions of others in the West do not understand is that, unlike justice, compassion cannot be given to everyone. If you show compassion to person X or group X, you cannot show it to person Y or group Y. Justice, by definition, is universal. Compassion, by definition, is selective.

That is why, generally speaking, governments should be in the business of dispensing justice, not compassion. Individuals can, and often ought to, dispense compassion, not societies.

When governments try to dispense compassion, they usually end up hurting people, as in the case of Scotland."

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