Winter 2014, Temptation




Advance Sheet: Can Moderation Give Us Justice?

The Greek philosopher Aristotle famously described moral virtue as a mean between extremes. The extremes comprised either too much or too little. A fine example of this was the virtue of “liberality,” what we might call generosity or even charity. A person who gave too much was a spendthrift or possibly a too-conspicuous consumer. One who gave too little was a miser, a Scrooge, more worried about his purse than other persons. Between these two vices of excess and deficiency was the virtue of proper giving, no more than, but at least as much as, one could afford.


LEGAL LORE: War Crimes in Sicily

On the afternoon of July 14, 1943, near the Biscari airport in Sicily, Captain John T. Compton, a company commander serving in the U.S. Army’s 45th Infantry Division, ordered his men to execute 36 prisoners of war (POWs). Only three hours earlier, Sergeant Horace T. West, also serving in same division, committed a similar war crime when he murdered 37 Italian and German POWs by shooting them. This is the story of those two events, the courts-martial of West and Compton for murder, and the very different outcomes of those trials.