Wailing in the high court of the atavist

“All criminals force society back to a stage of culture earlier than the one at which it happens to be standing: they have a retrogressive effect.  Consider the instruments society is obliged to create and maintain for itself for the sake of its own defence: the sly police agents, the prison warders, the executioners; do not overlook the public prosecutors and defence lawyers; and ask yourself, finally, whether the judges themselves, and punishment, and the whole process of the courts, are not phenomena much more likely to produce a depressive than an elevating effect on the non-criminal: for no one will ever succeed in covering self-defence and revenge with the cloak of innocence; and whenever man is employed and sacrificed as a means to an end of society’s all higher humanity mourns.” — Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human (trans. Hollingdale)

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