Compassion

Here’s a hypothetical for everyone: do you have compassion for a criminal who is exactly like you in every way, except for the circumstances leading up to his crime?

It’s a question of social justice versus personal justice, in my opinion. In a universe without free will, the circumstances leading up to a crime are no fault of the criminal. For example, a man steals to feed himself, or kills to defend himself. Society feels we have to punish a man for theft or murder, but on what basis is this grounded? Some two-thousand year old religious text? Some concept of personal debt, as if one man’s thwarted assault can doom his intended victim, simply out of retribution to the assailant’s family?

If you can imagine circumstances in which you are the criminal, in what way are you different from actual criminals?

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