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Emotional Damage

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Emotional Damage

Law & Liberty May 24, 2022
OtherCulture & Society

The demand that criminals express remorse, preferably in extravagantly emotional terms, reveals a cultural tendency to place emotion above reason.

In sentencing the former tennis champion, Boris Becker, to imprisonment for having failed to disclose assets during bankruptcy proceedings, the judge referred to his lack of remorse, which is to say his lack of publicly expressed remorse. The implication was that if he had expressed such remorse, his sentence might have been lighter.

In not expressing remorse, Becker displayed a kind of probity. Either he did not feel it, in which case it would have been dishonest to have expressed it, or he did feel some remorse but refused to express it in order merely to obtain a reduction in his sentence. In either case, he showed himself in a certain respect the superior of his judge.

Continue reading the entire piece here at Law & Liberty

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Theodore Dalrymple is a contributing editor of City Journal and a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Photo by Tayfun Salci/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

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