Punishment as Societal-Defense by Phillip Montague

By Phillip Montague

Humans punished by means of legislation are taken care of in ways in which we reflect on immoral in different contexts. In Punishment as Societal-Defense, Phillip Montague develops a brand new idea of punishment that, rather than justifying it at the foundation of deterrence or retribution, constructs it as analogous to person self-defense. If individuals are justified in protecting themselves opposed to wrongful aggression, Montague argues, a similar ideas of distributive justice underlie punishment as societal protection.

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MPs are not only close to citizens in representational terms, they are the only group within the national political system who are directly accountable to voters. Thus, it should be unsurprising that perceptions of MPs are not merely the same underlying perception as the more general ‘trust’ perception. Of course, three ‘trust’ items also relate to MPs or government ministers (who are usually MPs), and these are empirically linked to the scale. This is not unsurprising, given that the items all refer to the same group of actors.

We can therefore plausibly think of a small number of dimensions that structure citizens’ beliefs about government. Undoubtedly there are more dimensions than the few discussed here. Yet the central feature of this discussion is the existence of far fewer dimensions than items. In each case, disparate items unite as part of an underlying perception that accounts for responses to more detailed questions. However, two problems prevent this view from being accepted without further evidence. Firstly, it is uncommon for researchers to test a pool of items that is sufficiently broad to test the hypothesis of there being essentially a single underlying dimension of the order of ‘political support’.

However, very little work has been conducted evaluating the structural connections between trust and performance. As both the variable concerning perceptions of the process performance of MPs and the variable concerning perceptions of public probity tap an element of political performance, this chapter is also able to add to the wider debate about the relationships between performance and trust. Indeed, as has been noted in Chapter 2, both the ‘perceived public probity’ variable and ‘perceived process performance of MPs’ variable contain important information about the political system’s and MPs’, respective, process performance.

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