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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Well Waddaya Know XIII

Last week's question and answer:
According to Michel Foucault (french philosopher) the main difference between punishment till the 18th century and from then on is:

Pre-18th century punishments were harsher
3 (11%)
Pre-18th century punishments were more public
10 (38%)
Pre-18th century judges didn't take mitigating circumstances into account
11 (42%)
The use of capital punishment dropped significantly after the 18th century
2 (7%)

Foucault said that punishments until the end of the 18th century were public (public hangings, walking around with signs, stocks) where as today's punishments (death penalty, jail, fines) are not seen by the public. Once upon a time the king was seen as having god given power and few would think to challenge him. The public punishments were a very in-your-face way of deterring people from rebelling against the king's authority. The French revolution (1789) was very instrumental in changing things. Secular ideas started slipping in. People demanded equality. And the king was seen as more of an equal and someone who was empowered by the people. The elite still wanted to rule over the lower class, but had to be more subtle so as to avoid an uprising. Laws and punishments are there to keep people in line with what the ruling class wants. Laws define who and what is acceptable and the punishments are there to normalize the people who would otherwise not toe the line.

As always, this week's is up to the left. Enjoy!

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