Tag Archives | Therapeutic State

An Ambiguous Dystopia

Under the Violet Sun

Going through old papers I find this gem from my Randian past: a very short sf story that I wrote in (but not for) college, titled “Under the Violet Sun.”

Some of my stories actually had plots (hopefully I’ll dig them up eventually). This one, not so much.

Hunt the Wild Justice

C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis’s article “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment” is simultaneously an excellent argument against the rehabilitative or therapeutic approach to punishment, and a lousy argument in favour of the retributive approach to punishment. Lewis makes a compelling and eloquent proto-Szaszian case for the thesis that punishment not based on responsibility is wrong; but, never examining his implicit premise that punishment must be justified somehow or other, he then slides without much reflection into the conclusion that punishment based on responsibility must be right. So when I read this article I’m cheering half the time and tearing my hair out the other half.

Of course that’s often my reaction when reading Lewis – as when reading Nietzsche, another writer who to my mind tends to mix together equal parts of the magnificently right and the horribly wrong (though his points of rightness and wrongness seldom coincide with Lewis’s). Anyway, Lewis, like Nietzsche, is generally worth reading even when he’s wrong.

While we’re at it, here’s another fine Lewis piece, “The Inner Ring,” that has a good deal less wrong in it.

The Cats in the Walls

It was the rats;
the slithering scurrying rats whose scampering will never let me sleep;
the dæmon rats that race behind the padding in this room
and beckon me down to greater horrors than I have ever known;
the rats they can never hear;
the rats, the rats in the walls.

– H. P. Lovecraft

So Chris Muth gets dragged off to the psych ward to treat his “bizarre delusion,” because he hears a cat behind his wall that no one else can hear. Then they finally have to let him out – after his neighbours start complaining about that darn cat behind the wall. (CHT Gavin in a comment on Charles’ blog.)

I guess Straczynski is luckier than he knew.


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