The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A stupid decision

The German Medical Association and several pharmaceutical companies have called for a boycott of the United States as an outlet for the drug sodium thiopental. They apparently feel that their ethics cannot allow them to send the drug because of its use in administering the death penalty in the U. S. Obviously, this is within their rights. But it is one of the stupidest decisions I've ever seen a professional association make.

Europe, in general, has been taken over by anti-death-penalty fanatics. This has been the case for many years. But there is really no sensible case against the death penalty, at least for murder. Refusing to execute murderers says one thing: You don't recognize the value of innocent human life. For you are saying that the victims' lives aren't worth the life of the murderer. Ironically, anti-death-penalty fanatics claim to value human life, but how they can claim this is impossible to fathom: to them, obviously, the victims' lives are worth little.

But what are the Germans accomplishing? They will not succeed in eliminating a single execution. All they can do is postpone the agony of the perpetrators. The executions will be carried out eventually, with supplies of the drug obtained from outside Germany.

I suppose that, if you are Christian, there is a justification for sparing murderers' lives in the "New Testament" doctrine of "turn the other cheek." This is, of course, not in my Bible, since I'm Jewish. My Bible says "life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth." And that is one probable reason I cannot be convinced by arguments that sometimes do convince others. But one of the strange things is that Europe is supposedly less overtly Christian, more secular than the United States. Yet here, the relationship between overt Christianity and secularism seems to be reversed. (An exception is the Catholic church, which has been outspokenly anti-death-penalty both in the U. S. and in Europe.)

As I said, the German boycott will not accomplish anything but a short term delay of some executions and prolongation of the agony of those on death rows in the U. S. A. If they had wanted to influence American politics against the death penalty, or spare some murderers' lives, they won't accomplish it. All they can do is generate more ill will from the Americans. Greater stupidity than this is a rare thing.

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