Retribution as State Policy

The Secular Jurist

By Robert A. Vella

„Vengeance is mine,“ saith the state.

One of the hallmarks of authoritarian systems is the retribution it seeks to inflict upon its detractors.  This is obviously no laughing matter.  The wielding of state power against the individual, when motivated by animus, is by far the greatest threat to a free and democratic nation.  Nothing else comes close;  no amount of foreign terrorism, no geopolitical rival, no natural or unnatural disaster of any kind is as menacing to a people as the potential peril posed from their own government.  Just ask the Jewish survivors of The Holocaust.

Scale is not the issue here, human psychology is.  Whenever government officials engage in this kind of behavior, ruthlessly persecuting those who defy them as deterrent-setting examples for other would-be dissidents, the door is opened for the very worst kinds of crimes against humanity.  Given sufficient reason or rationale…

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