Who is your favorite criminal from history?

Have philosophical discussions about politics, law, and government.
Featured Article: Definition of Freedom - What Freedom Means to Me

Who is your favorite criminal from history?

Jesus (executed)
2
15%
Socrates (executed)
1
8%
William Wallace (executed)
0
No votes
John Brown (executed)
1
8%
Martin Luther King Jr. (assassinated)
1
8%
Mahatma Gandhi (assassinated)
1
8%
other (please specify in replies)
7
54%
 
Total votes: 13

User avatar
Sculptor1
Posts: 5102
Joined: May 16th, 2019, 5:35 am

Re: Who is your favorite criminal from history?

Post by Sculptor1 »

Steve3007 wrote: February 17th, 2021, 7:07 am I'm going to go with Johannes Kepler and his mum. His mum was allegedly a witch (he had to defend her against the accusation) and there are rumours that he poisoned flamboyant gold-nosed astronomer Tycho Brahe. But who can honestly say that at one time or another they haven't poisoned a famous astronomer to nick his astronomical data and succeed him at the court of the king?
TB had a pet elk.
Such heroes are hardly comparable with MLK and Gandhi.
User avatar
Pattern-chaser
Posts: 4684
Joined: September 22nd, 2019, 5:17 am
Favorite Philosopher: Cratylus
Location: England

Re: Who is your favorite criminal from history?

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Pattern-chaser wrote: February 17th, 2021, 9:44 am A criminal is someone who has acted (in some way) against the wishes and/or wellbeing of their fellow citizens. Such people do not warrant remembrance, in the way this topic refers to it. I do not recommend 'cancelling' such people, but I do not think we should venerate them
Steve3007 wrote: February 17th, 2021, 11:34 am
Pattern-chaser wrote:A criminal is someone who has acted (in some way) against the wishes and/or wellbeing of their fellow citizens.
An alternative definition (possibly a more standard one) is that a criminal is someone who has broken the laws in place in the society in which they find themselves. Not necessarily the same thing. I assume that's the point of the topic.

Fair enough. But, in the context of the topic, is my slightly unusual phraseology not still pretty much on the mark? We are all agreed, I think, that some few who break the law are justified because the laws they break are unjust in themselves. But most are just criminals, in the normally-accepted sense of the word. It is to the latter that I refer when I suggest that these people are not worthy of remembrance.
Pattern-chaser

"Who cares, wins"
User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 6519
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Who is your favorite criminal from history?

Post by LuckyR »

Depends on what you mean by criminal. If you mean someone convicted of a crime, among your choices I would go with John Brown (over MLK, since Brown officially died for his cause whereas King was killed by a citizen). However choosing beyond your list, I would choose Georges-Jacques Danton since he started the French Revolution before Brown and King and also was officially killed for his work.

If, OTOH one considers professional criminals as opposed to folks who happened to get arrested somewhere along the way, I would go with Pancho Villa.
"As usual... it depends."
User avatar
chewybrian
Posts: 1410
Joined: May 9th, 2018, 7:17 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Epictetus
Location: Florida man

Re: Who is your favorite criminal from history?

Post by chewybrian »

Sculptor1 wrote: February 17th, 2021, 12:35 pm Seriously?
It's a bit of a stretch. Socrates to CBT via Epictectus, when compared to MLK making himself a target for people's hate and getting shot.
I mean, what game are we playing here? I was asked to pick my favorite, and it should be no surprise that someone on a philosophy forum might prefer Socrates. He had more direct impact on me because his ideas hit me directly. MLK was also a great man who died for his beliefs, and I'm not sure how you decide which is greater, and I don't care to try. I don't have to look down on one to admire the other.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."
baker
Posts: 599
Joined: November 28th, 2020, 6:55 am

Re: Who is your favorite criminal from history?

Post by baker »

HJCarden wrote: February 16th, 2021, 4:35 pm Don't see how this is very philosophy related but I absolutely love DB Cooper. Not only for his reference in the Kid Rock classic Bawitabada, but also for the fact he did a crime that no one else has ever successfully pulled off. Robbery, skydiving, getting away with it all? Top 1 of all time.
What a display of integrity on your part, as someone who believes in God and objective morality. :shock:
Tegularius
Posts: 588
Joined: February 6th, 2021, 5:27 am

Re: Who is your favorite criminal from history?

Post by Tegularius »

Robin Hood, the one described in legend. One has to wonder how many times criminality has been reversed by making it legal, incorporated in law, while those who fight against injustice get labelled as criminal in its resistance to a decrepit legal system.
The earth has a skin and that skin has diseases; one of its diseases is called man ... Nietzsche
User avatar
Scott
Site Admin
Posts: 4741
Joined: January 20th, 2007, 6:24 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Diogenes the Cynic
Contact:

Re: Who is your favorite criminal from history?

Post by Scott »

Pattern-chaser wrote: February 17th, 2021, 9:44 am A criminal is...
Steve3007 wrote: February 17th, 2021, 11:34 am An alternative definition (possibly a more standard one) is that a criminal is someone who has broken the laws in place in the society in which they find themselves.
I am using the word criminal in the way @Steve3007 has described above.

According to my dictionary, a criminal is someone who has committed a crime, and a crime is an activity that is illegal.

These are the definitions I am using:
Merriam-Webster wrote: criminal noun
1 : one who has committed a crime
2 : a person who has been convicted of a crime

Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/criminal
Merriam-Webster wrote: crime noun

1 : an illegal act for which someone can be punished by the government

Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/crime
My understanding was (and is) that the above definitions are standard to say the least, but I apologize nonetheless for any misunderstanding or lack of clarity in my preceding posts.

Thus, using the above dictionary definitions, a person like Martin Luther King Jr. who broke many laws, was repeatedly arrested, and did jail time is indubitably a criminal.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
Steve3007
Posts: 10351
Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm

Re: Who is your favorite criminal from history?

Post by Steve3007 »

So, I guess an interesting question might be: What criteria might we use in deciding who is our favourite criminal from history, and do those criteria vary widely from person to person?

Obviously one common/almost universal base criterion will be that the criminal has broken a law which we consider to be wrong by doing something that we consider to be right. But on top of that might be a greater variety of criteria. We might think that the criminal's actions are emblematic of some kind of very broad moral principle (e.g. Spartacus) or we might simply think that the criminal made some great additions to the sum of human knowledge and that the alleged crime was incidental to that (Kepler?).
User avatar
NickGaspar
Posts: 656
Joined: October 8th, 2019, 5:45 am
Favorite Philosopher: Many

Re: Who is your favorite criminal from history?

Post by NickGaspar »

My favorite is our Modern Economic System. It has killed more people than any other criminal or historical physical disasters and still does while even moral people jump to its defense!
Steve3007
Posts: 10351
Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm

Re: Who is your favorite criminal from history?

Post by Steve3007 »

NickGaspar wrote:My favorite is our Modern Economic System. It has killed more people than any other criminal or historical physical disasters and still does while even moral people jump to its defense!
Net or gross?

Given that the current population of the world is approaching 8 billion I assume you can't mean gross.
User avatar
NickGaspar
Posts: 656
Joined: October 8th, 2019, 5:45 am
Favorite Philosopher: Many

Re: Who is your favorite criminal from history?

Post by NickGaspar »

To be accurate, we don't really have historical sources that could verify the existence of Jesus or Socrates in a high standard. (non contemporary recordings)
Both were not criminals (on objective standards) but only those teachings attributed to Jesus have been inspiring to future criminals.
So if our standards are not that strict we could include also criminals like Batman and Robin Hood.
User avatar
NickGaspar
Posts: 656
Joined: October 8th, 2019, 5:45 am
Favorite Philosopher: Many

Re: Who is your favorite criminal from history?

Post by NickGaspar »

Steve3007 wrote: February 18th, 2021, 12:33 pm
NickGaspar wrote:My favorite is our Modern Economic System. It has killed more people than any other criminal or historical physical disasters and still does while even moral people jump to its defense!
Net or gross?

Given that the current population of the world is approaching 8 billion I assume you can't mean gross.
Well, the number of people surviving a criminal economic system isn't a metric for its "benevolence" or its economic profile.
A single number of its own can not really inform us for the efficiency, economy or success of a method. i.e. observing a pond with a huge number of frogs tells us nothing about the "economy" of their reproductive methods. We need to compare the number of their eggs vs the surviving adult population. Quickly we will see the wasteful nature of their reproductive methods.
An other serious problem of our economic system is that ...it also destroys our "pond"...making it a potential criminal in a league of its own.
User avatar
Scott
Site Admin
Posts: 4741
Joined: January 20th, 2007, 6:24 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Diogenes the Cynic
Contact:

Re: Who is your favorite criminal from history?

Post by Scott »

To summarize the additional suggestions to add to our list of possible favorite criminals, I noted these nominations:

DB Cooper, nominated by @HJCarden

Spartacus
, nominated by @Sculptor1

Johannes Kepler and his mum, nominated by @Steve3007

Georges-Jacques Danton, nominated by @LuckyR


If I missed any other nominations, let me know! :)


I also asked a similar question on Twitter and recieved the following additional suggestions of criminals via Twitter:

- Jesse James

- Dr OYENUSI

- Bridget Bishop


Finally, while I didn't include him in the original poll, I think Henry David Thoreau deserves a mention, especially considering he is literally the author of Civil Disobedience.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
User avatar
Sculptor1
Posts: 5102
Joined: May 16th, 2019, 5:35 am

Re: Who is your favorite criminal from history?

Post by Sculptor1 »

Scott wrote: February 18th, 2021, 6:39 pm To summarize the additional suggestions to add to our list of possible favorite criminals, I noted these nominations:

DB Cooper, nominated by @HJCarden

Spartacus
, nominated by @Sculptor1

Johannes Kepler and his mum, nominated by @Steve3007

Georges-Jacques Danton, nominated by @LuckyR


If I missed any other nominations, let me know! :)


I also asked a similar question on Twitter and recieved the following additional suggestions of criminals via Twitter:

- Jesse James

- Dr OYENUSI

- Bridget Bishop


Finally, while I didn't include him in the original poll, I think Henry David Thoreau deserves a mention, especially considering he is literally the author of Civil Disobedience.
Was he ever convicted?
User avatar
Sculptor1
Posts: 5102
Joined: May 16th, 2019, 5:35 am

Re: Who is your favorite criminal from history?

Post by Sculptor1 »

Steve3007 wrote: February 18th, 2021, 8:09 am So, I guess an interesting question might be: What criteria might we use in deciding who is our favourite criminal from history, and do those criteria vary widely from person to person?

Obviously one common/almost universal base criterion will be that the criminal has broken a law which we consider to be wrong by doing something that we consider to be right. But on top of that might be a greater variety of criteria. We might think that the criminal's actions are emblematic of some kind of very broad moral principle (e.g. Spartacus) or we might simply think that the criminal made some great additions to the sum of human knowledge and that the alleged crime was incidental to that (Kepler?).

Galileo would be front and centre.
What about Thomas Paine????
Post Reply

Return to “Philosophy of Politics”

2022 Philosophy Books of the Month

Emotional Intelligence At Work

Emotional Intelligence At Work
by Richard M Contino & Penelope J Holt
January 2022

Free Will, Do You Have It?

Free Will, Do You Have It?
by Albertus Kral
February 2022

My Enemy in Vietnam

My Enemy in Vietnam
by Billy Springer
March 2022

2X2 on the Ark

2X2 on the Ark
by Mary J Giuffra, PhD
April 2022

The Maestro Monologue

The Maestro Monologue
by Rob White
May 2022

What Makes America Great

What Makes America Great
by Bob Dowell
June 2022

The Truth Is Beyond Belief!

The Truth Is Beyond Belief!
by Jerry Durr
July 2022

Living in Color

Living in Color
by Mike Murphy
August 2022 (tentative)

The Not So Great American Novel

The Not So Great American Novel
by James E Doucette
September 2022

Mary Jane Whiteley Coggeshall, Hicksite Quaker, Iowa/National Suffragette And Her Speeches

Mary Jane Whiteley Coggeshall, Hicksite Quaker, Iowa/National Suffragette And Her Speeches
by John N. (Jake) Ferris
October 2022

2021 Philosophy Books of the Month

The Biblical Clock: The Untold Secrets Linking the Universe and Humanity with God's Plan

The Biblical Clock
by Daniel Friedmann
March 2021

Wilderness Cry: A Scientific and Philosophical Approach to Understanding God and the Universe

Wilderness Cry
by Dr. Hilary L Hunt M.D.
April 2021

Fear Not, Dream Big, & Execute: Tools To Spark Your Dream And Ignite Your Follow-Through

Fear Not, Dream Big, & Execute
by Jeff Meyer
May 2021

Surviving the Business of Healthcare: Knowledge is Power

Surviving the Business of Healthcare
by Barbara Galutia Regis M.S. PA-C
June 2021

Winning the War on Cancer: The Epic Journey Towards a Natural Cure

Winning the War on Cancer
by Sylvie Beljanski
July 2021

Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream

Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream
by Dr Frank L Douglas
August 2021

If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your Buts

If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your Buts
by Mark L. Wdowiak
September 2021

The Preppers Medical Handbook

The Preppers Medical Handbook
by Dr. William W Forgey M.D.
October 2021

Natural Relief for Anxiety and Stress: A Practical Guide

Natural Relief for Anxiety and Stress
by Dr. Gustavo Kinrys, MD
November 2021

Dream For Peace: An Ambassador Memoir

Dream For Peace
by Dr. Ghoulem Berrah
December 2021