In Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed the morality of vigilantism. The question was:
Where is the line between justice and vigilantism? When is it moral to take the law into your own hands – meaning pursuing, detaining, and/or punishing criminals as a private citizen? Suppose that you know – without a shadow of a doubt – that some person committed a serious crime against you or a loved one. If the justice system cannot punish the person due to some technicality, is it wrong for you to do so? If you’re caught, should a judge or jury punish you, as if you’d committed a crime against an innocent person?My answer, in brief:
The vigilante is not an agent of justice, but a threat to innocents and to the foundations of civilized society.Here’s the video of my full answer:
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