Is Vigilante Justice Sometimes Justified?


Horse thieves should be lynched.

Q1 Analysis

This is a Q1 violation if you believe that individuals should not measure guilt and weigh punishment or you believe in the justice system. It may also be a Q1 violation if you think that evidence of guilt must be high before a death penalty is carried out or you are against the death penalty in general.

Q2 Analysis

This is not a Q2 violation if you would not blame someone who lynched you because he thought you stole his horse.


Vigilante justice is the assignment of guilt and administration of punishment by an individual or group that is not an official agent of the law (or is an agent of the law but is acting outside the bounds of authority). If you live in a society where there is a system for investigating guilt and administering punishment, you must have a justification for working outside of that system if you believe in vigilante justice.

Which of these reasons (if any) for vigilante justice would you allow?

All of these justifications bring with them additional difficulties. For example, is it best to work outside a broken system, try to repair it, or both? Might vigilante justice violate prohibitions against double jeopardy? Does that matter? And what standard of evidence should the vigilante require before meting justice?

If you are willing to take the law into your own hands, are you willing to accept the consequences? Should you be? For example, if you lynch a man for stealing your horse, would you:

You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at and See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.

Posted on November 2, 2010 at 9:41 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: 2Q

3 Responses

Subscribe to comments via RSS

  1. Written by Michael
    on December 31, 2010 at 2:04 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    Read the Victoria Murders Blog about vigilantes who “execute” the drug dealers that plague the kids in Victoria B.C. Would you see it as murder or justifiable homicide. Go to and vote

  2. Written by curt
    on January 5, 2011 at 10:08 am
    Reply · Permalink

    If you’re an athiest, what do you care what GOD thinks? You dont beieve in him anyway. It never ceases to amaze me how some of the smartest people in the world can’t graspe a concept as simple as GOD’s love and grace.

    • Written by ideclare
      on January 5, 2011 at 11:31 am
      Reply · Permalink

      As an atheist, I don’t care what God thinks because I don’t think that there is a God to do any thinking.

      As for God’s love and grace — I do understand the concepts as defined by Christianity. I just don’t think that they conform to common sense, and I think that many Christians who say that they understand them actually don’t know what their own religion has to say on the subject.

Subscribe to comments via RSS

Leave a Reply