Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Do people indeed deserve a second chance?

Recently, someone claimed everybody who makes a mistake, deserves a second chance. This claim related to the alleged need for repatriating European born ISIS brides and their offspring (eg, NRC-1NRC-2). Similar claims are made about imprisoned murderers. These ethical discussions trigger related ethics like forgiveness (victim) and regret & remorse (perpetrator).

Deserving a second chance comes (very) close to appealing to some kind of an unwritten (legal and/or moral) right. In that context, forgiveness can then be viewed as the victim’s duty, and regret & remorse as the perpetrator’s duty.

The opposite might be more valid: the victim has a right for the perpetrator showing regret & remorse. If the victim believes such regret & remorse to be true then it becomes her/his duty to forgive the perpetrator, and to give her/him a second chance. One could argue that the legal system works – more or less – on this (second) principle.

The ethical debate becomes very difficult once you start including names of perpetrators. Clearly, the severity of the crime has an impact on forgiveness, regret & remorse, and whether or not giving someone a second chance.

The genuineness of regret & remorse is another debate in and of itself. An expression of regret may easily refer to being caught by the police rather than for committing the crime in the first place. While paraphrasing Mignon McLaughlin‘s words, (trueremorse means regret over motives, not just consequences (eg, being caught, doing prison time).

The legal system of various countries still has a death penalty or a life sentence. Clearly, the answer in those countries is a “no” to the question whether (all) people deserve a second chance. One could argue that this “no” is rooted in the Old Testament (eg, eye for an eye).

It’s often claimed that the New Testament preaches forgiveness to perpetrators (eg, Matthew 5:38–39), and would even preach pacifism. Hence, a “yes” to the question in my blog’s title.

Jerusalem Perspective: “When we examine Jesus’ words from a Hebraic-Jewish perspective, we can see what has been obscured by mistranslation and lack of familiarity with Judaism. The passages construed to support pacifism actually condemn revenge rather than self-defense. It is not surprising that this interpretation is consistent with Jesus’ other teachings and the rest of biblical instruction.”

In my view, second chances can never be unconditional. True remorse over motives is the bare minimum. Expected recidivism may however contradict “remorse” (eg, psychopaths, sociopaths). A pattern of compulsive lying makes any remorse doubtful. Last but not least, there’s the Greater Good theory in which society benefits from not giving some people a second chance.

This Never Happened Before (2006) by Paul McCartney

artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise


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