If he who breaks the law is not punished, he who obeys it is cheated. This, and this alone, is why lawbreakers ought to be punished: to authenticate as good, and to encourage as useful, law-abiding behavior. The aim of criminal law cannot be correction or deterrence; it can only be the maintenance of the legal order.
No one punishes the evil-doer under the notion, or for the reason, that he has done wrong -- only the unreasonable fury of a beast acts in that way. But he who desires to inflict rational punishment does not retaliate for a past wrong, for that which is done cannot be undone, but he has regard to the future, and is desirous that the man who is punished, and he who sees him punished, may be deterred from doing wrong again.
As a lawyer, as a private citizen, you see a lot of injustice. You see a lot of people who should have been punished and are not, and people who were punished wrongfully are not vindicated. Fiction is sort of a way to set the record straight, and let people at least believe that justice can be achieved and the right outcomes can occur.
It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished. But if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizen will say, 'whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial, for innocence itself is no protection, ' and if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizen that would be the end of security whatsoever.
It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished. But if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizen will say, "whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial, for innocence itself is no protection," and if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizen that would be the end of security whatsoever.
(From the Author Note at the beginning of the book.) Dorothy L. Sayers used to say that mystery stories were the only moral fiction of the modern world-because in a mystery, you were guaranteed to see that the bad got punished, the good got rewarded and in the end all was made right. I'd like to think that fantasy does the same thing. It reminds us that this is how it should be, and maybe if we all put our minds to it a little more, this is how it will be. The good will be rewarded. The bad will be punished. Sins will be forgiven. And they will live happily ever after.
...But we enjoyed playing games and were punished for them by men who played games themselves. However, grown-up games are known as 'business' and even though boys' games are much the same, they are punished for them by their elders. No one pities either the boys or the men, though surely we deserve pity, for I cannot believe that a good judge would approve of the beatings I received as a boy on the ground that my games delayed my progress in studying subjects which would enable me to play a less creditable game later in life.
Whoever fails in the consideration generally due to the interests and feelings of others, not being compelled by some more imperative duty, or justified by allowable self-preference, is a subject of moral disapprobation for that failure, but not for the cause of it, nor for the errors, merely personal to himself, which may have remotely led to it. In like manner, when a person disables himself, by conduct purely self-regarding, from the performance of some definite duty incumbent on him to the public, he is guilty of a social offence. No person ought to be punished simply for being drunk; but a soldier or a policeman should be punished for being drunk on duty.
John Stuart Mill
Justice demands that the good and hard-working be rewarded and the evil and the lazy be punished (if only by the withholding of the rewards of doing the right things). Modern Liberalism demands that the good and hardworking be punished as the recipients of an unfair advantage and the evil and the lazy be rewarded, their acts of evil and their failure all the proof the Modern Liberal needs that somehow they have been victimized by forces out of their control.
In the move The Last Emperor, the young child anointed as the last emperor of China lives a magical life of luxury with a thousand eunuch servants at his command. "What happens when you do wrong?" his brother asks. "When I do wrong, someone else is punished," the boy emperor replies. To demonstrate, he breaks a jar, and one of the servants is beaten. In Christian theology, Jesus reversed that ancient pattern: when the servants erred, the King was punished. Grace is free only because the giver himself has borned the cost.
Men: Stand in solidarity with women. Women, if you were born female, you were born on a battlefield. You will be punished for even saying that out loud, but the grim truth is you're going to be punished no matter what for the 'sin' of being female. Battering is the most commonly committed violent crime in the United States. That's a man beating a woman. Globally, half of all women will experience life-threatening violence from a man. Half. That's more hatred than I can comprehend. Right now, that battlefield is such a slaughter that we can't even collect our wounded.
When he broke that long kiss, he smiled at her before kissing her hard. 'So, my love, I hope that your punishment will stop you from trying another payback for a while at least?' Laura laughed and sighed, dramatically. 'Of course, it will. I never want to be punished like that again. Well, not until tonight anyway. You will be back tonight, won't you? I'm often very bad at night so you may have to do this all over again to me until I learn how to be good. Hmm, and during the day, I'm not always very good either so you'd better watch out for that too.' 'You don't make punishing you an easy task, do you? It almost seems like you enjoy being punished.' 'No, it's not that, baby. Though, your punishment was very well given. It's just that I have a very aggressive, bad gene and it makes me backslide, umm, and often frontslide too. I have learnt with you that I'm always wanting to backslide and frontslide but, as it's obviously a genetic defect, I can't really be blamed for that, now can I' (Tales from Terrigal, Book 2, WIP)