Article Title: The first socialist
The article at hand introduces the reader to the thinking of Cesare Beccaria, and comments on the surprising profundity he must have held for his centuries-old opinions to be relevant even in contemporary climes. Beccaria’s areas of inhabitation or travel, when he lived, was in or around France or Italy, and he held forth on several subjects related to law, politics and governance. He realized very early in his life that laws are tilted to favor the privileged, and they will forever keep all but the elite oppressed if not changed radically. He was an advocate of making large-scale, institutional reforms in existing laws, and not doing minor tweaks here and there. He was against the use of religion to control the morality of masses, as he felt that that system was too arbitrary to truly lessen people’s sufferings and guide them on the right path to moral salvation. He was a staunch proponent of abolishing unnecessary and extreme violence, as he felt it encouraged further violence in society instead of condemning it, and also vested more power in the elite. He was in favor of doling out very limited violent punishment, if at all, in direct proportion to crimes committed by accused parties. This is the main political thought for which he should be remembered. People have later appropriated his discourse to make him sound like he was primarily the progenitor of utilitarianism, but that is incorrect as his thoughts on violent punishment go unnoticed. With the modern resurgence in interest in Beccaria, the author hopes his visionary ideas will be recognized for their relevance.
Words to learn from this article:
Asphyxiation: the condition of not getting enough breath, or oxygen. This may be fatal.
Manifesto: the official handbook or document or declaration containing the aims and goals of a group.
Pugilists: fist fighters.
Maxim: decree, or law.
Tenet: a main component.
Arbitrariness: the quality of being governed by whims as opposed to reason and democracy.
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