Categorical distinctions: special victims unit
| Gabriel |
Alcibiades: But Socrates, what is it that you mean by justice?
Socrates: Remember that Polkurgus gave a young girl unwatered wine and then once she was drunk forcefully made love to her both as one would a girl and as one would an eremenos. Certainly it would be just for the city authorities to punish Polkurgus?
Alcibiades: But Polkurgus was and remains a great poet, certainly the beauty of his poetry is greater than the suffering of his crime.
Socrates: Did not Agamemnon deserve to suffer for his crimes, even though as in conquering Troy he brought great glory to Greece than he would have by preserving Iphigenia?
Alcibiades: I see, indeed it would be as just for Polkurgus to suffer as for any criminal among the thetes. But I know this sad story and in fact Polkurgus fled his city and took refuge in the Lydian court. His friends could not see him without a very inconvenient voyage and he could not enter his works in the city’s poetry competitions. Furthermore, while in Lydia, he violated no more girls. Over the course of a lifetime away from his city, certainly you would agree that Polkurgus suffered greatly.
Socrates: Indeed, Polkurgus suffered but suffering is not justice. Justice consists in righteous punishment by the city authorities. Even if it created greater suffering, Polkurgus’ exile was mere suffering and not justice, indeed it was the denial of justice.
Alcibiades: You are wise indeed Socrates.
(If you don’t know what I’m talking about, see Kieran’s post at CT, including the mostly odious comment thread).