Scott Lemieux points out a very silly column about the death penalty. He points out the lunacy of acting like the morality of the death penalty should be judged based on extreme cases. That is, of course, a good point. I would still oppose the death penalty even if it was restricted to the 100% guilty and the 100% horrible. But it would certainly change the moral argument, compared to the status quo which uses the death penalty in disproportionate terms against people based on race, class, etc.

But for me, the absolute absurdity of the article is based on something even more simple.

Yet, on one point, Breivik is not talking crazy. At his trial, which began April 16, he pronounced the maximum penalty for his actions — 21 years in prison, or longer if the government meets certain conditions — “pathetic.” He “would have respected” the death penalty, Breivik said. Of course, he won’t get it; Norway abolished capital punishment long ago.

Yes, we should definitely take a mass murderer’s sense of masculinity and righteous violence as our standard for justice. I can see no problem with that.

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3 Responses to Hmmmm

  1. David says:

    Really? Once you have 100% certainty, why should the state spend resources keeping that person alive?

  2. David says:

    Charles, sometimes your humanism confounds me.

  3. olneyce says:

    I just don’t think the state should be in the business of killing people via the instrument of criminal justice.

    I’m not quite an absolutist on it. Meaning: if there were genuinely catastrophic consequences to the state not employing the death penalty, then I could be persuaded that it is justified. I just don’t see ‘wasting some resources’ as anything close to catastrophic consequences.

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