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2018年06月07日
Macdonald looked triumphant
"I suppose I did."

"Ah!" Macdonald looked triumphant. "In other words you forgot your principles and punished?"

"Human nature is weak," I said sadly. "If I saw a boy sticking a pen-knife into the tyre of my bicycle I should kick him ... kick him hard and then kick him again. There is such a thing as elemental rage in every man—even Christ used a whip in the temple. There aretimes when you cannot reason: you act impulsively. Principle can't touch this, but it comes in when rage is gone. If I am a magistrate and a boy comes before me charged with destroying a bicycle I personally have no rage against the boy, and if I punish him I'm merely serving out juridical vengeance. If I order him to be birched the jailor has no grudge against the boy. The main point is that the owner of the cycle acts before reasoning, while the magistrate acts after reasoning. And his reason cannot prompt him to behave any better than the injured owner did. The owner is primitive man for the time being: the magistrate stands for reasoning civilisation. In other words reasoning civilisation is no better than the barbarian. That's why I object to juridical punishment."

"Ha! Ha!" he laughed with a sneer, "when it touches yourself you let all your principles slide, just as the most extreme Socialist turns Tory if he happens to getmoney!"
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