Why the People Should Not Mete Out Justice

“It is a curious subject of observation and inquiry, whether hatred and love be not the same thing at bottom. Each, in its utmost development, supposes a high degree of intimacy and heart-knowledge; each renders one individual dependent for the food of his affections and spiritual life upon another; each leaves the passionate lover, or the no less passionate hater, forlorn and desolate by the withdrawal of his object.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

“This day of torment, of craziness, of foolishness—only love can make it end in happiness and joy. —W. A. Mozart and Lorenzo Da Ponte, Le Nozze di Figaro (1786)”
― Martha C. Nussbaum, Political Emotion

“What do you regard as most humane? To spare someone shame.” Friedrich Nietzsche

“Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power’s disappearance.
Hannah Arendt

Chinese mistress beaten in the streets by a mob of women marks new trend of wronged women meting out punishment in China. This disturbing bit of news brings to mind so many social, moral, and philosophical questions such as the meaning of justice, the role of power and violence and social contracts. But mostly, it is a disturbing lack of humanity to use shame as a method of punishment.

The details of this bizarre story may be found here:

7 Replies to “Why the People Should Not Mete Out Justice”

  1. Since when have humans always displayed humanity? The same man who lavishes love and praise on his dog is the same man who massacred thousands of villagers in Bosnia.

  2. Let’s look at shame in this circumstance (and in the other one noted in the article. So, the woman (and her 3 friends) attack the accused mistress, presumably because SHE should be ashamed of HER OWN behaviour. Who really owns the shame? The one moved to violence is the one who feels powerless, so, the truth behind this is that the WIFE feels the shame and is trying to regain her power. Could these 4 woman not have delivered a harsh beating on the one man? Why are they not attacking him? I find it interesting that the attackers AND the onlookers all attach the blame (and shame) to the mistress, at least publically. One last note, we don’t see the victim lashing back out at these women… wouldn’t you defend yourself? Unless, she too, assigns the blame to herself. This is disturbing on so many levels.

    As far as MPM’s comment, great love and great violence stem from the same source, do they not? (Ask any domestic abuser and he/she will tell you how much they love their victim.) Both bred in passion? Maybe both bred in fear?

    1. Lucy, great love and violence DO reside in the same source. That is what I was attempting to convey in my comment. I believe all humans – yes ALL – are capable of both.

      Regarding your comments I agree that the wife is humiliated. But she wants to publicly shame the mistress and what better way to do so than to strip her naked for all to see in the street. Also, most cultures do hold the conduct of a mistress – and the idea of a mistress – as shameful. I’m certain the mistress herself felt a degree of that prior to her public degrading. So, both the wife and she feel shamed and A-shamed.

      You ask why the attackers didn’t attack the man. My response is simply, that ain’t gonna happen in (most) Asian cultures. Period. Men can act with impunity when it comes to treatment of women and a woman wouldn’t dare attempt to make a man feel any less that manly. It is just ingrained in their culture(s) the way it is in Islamic cultures.

      Finally, why didn’t the woman try to defend herself? Psychologically maybe she felt she deserved the treatment. But addressing the physical circumstances, she probably accepted that being outnumbered the best way to survive the attack was to retreat into a defensive mode and defend herself as best as she could.

  3. MPM, perhaps if, as a society, we held men responsible for their behaviour… ah, what a dream! 😉

    So, they can’t beat up the man for his part in this, but it’s allowable that a group of women attack another woman, publically. That’s f*cked up, nuthin’ more to say on that. This appears to be yet another example of why feminism is ineffective BECAUSE of women. As far as being beaten publically by a group of women, perhaps I’m a little scrappy, but even outnumbered, I’m taking some teeth home with me, if you know what I mean…
    Regarding the roles in this scenario, the social stigma of being a mistress, I would think, would actually allow her the freedom to fight back. She is already considered the lowest of the low (in this culture), and, ultimately own the power of being the delicious side dish that gives this man pleasure… why not go “balls to the wall”?
    The question this brings to me, as does this blog, on a regular basis, is, why do we judge the mistress so harshly?

    1. Lucy, I wish I knew why we judge the mistress so harshly. Personally, I have had mistresses and have been (and currently am) a “mister” to many women throughout my life. Although in American culture the mistress is almost universally scorned that is not the case in all Western cultures. Remember several years ago at the funeral of a French president whose name I can’t recall stood his wife and his mistress next to his casket.

      Lucy, may I ask, are you yourself a mistress? Have you ever been? Are you considering becoming one? If you answer yes to any or all of the above, can I have your number? Lol!!

  4. MPM, I’ve been a mistress once, have been a “mister” more than once. I prefer the “mister” role, though the role does not come without it’s own challenges… I know some will judge for that statement. It has been a blessing in my own life, to have been able to love more freely at times, and I truly value the person willing to play that role. I’m booked, but thanks for the compliment. 🙂

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