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“Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again.”
This ancient law from Judaism is perhaps the first written expression of a principle informing justice in all civilized nations to this day—the punishment must fit the crime.
If the Old Testament introduces this concept of reciprocal justice, the New Testament might be a very early expression of restorative justice. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus refers to Leviticus, but offers a revolutionary twist:
You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.
The concept of restorative justice, introduced by leftist intellectuals and now spreading across America, regardless of whether or not it is inspired by Christian precepts, rejects imposing consequences proportional to the crime. Violence is a product of oppression. Looting is a consequence of poverty. Rather than punish offenders, we should give them counseling, give them money, and forgive their crimes.
This leniency toward crime, central to leftist ideology today, does not extend to cancel culture. People who commit thought crimes against values sacred to the Left are shown no mercy. They are not only denied the empathy that thugs and thieves are granted, they are typically punished in ways that are vastly disproportionate to alleged crimes.