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.

Friday, September 23, 2011

On the death penalty


Dennis Sanders is a blogger I often agree with — probably, in fact, one I usually agree with. But in two recent posts he takes a position I really cannot accept: perhaps because he is a Christian minister I can understand it (after all, their Bible has "turn the other cheek" in it, as mine does not).

In a posting entitled "Death Penalty PR", Sanders says, regarding recently executed murderer Lawrence Brewer:

But the fact is, most of the folks that come before the electric chair or lethal injection are more than likely guilty as sin like Brewer was. Davis makes people wonder about the legitamacy of the policy. Brewer confirms in the minds of many that this is the right thing to do.

In the end, I still can’t support the death penalty. One reason is that we can never be totally certain that someone is guilty. But another reason is that I think killing by the state is something that has to be done sparingly (such as war or law enforcement). I would rather take away someone’s liberty than take their life even if they are reprehensible.


And in an earlier post entitled "On Troy Davis" he writes:

Clive Crook sums up my view:

The strongest case against the death penalty, I have always thought, is simply that it is irreversible, and criminal justice is prone to error. The thought that an innocent man might be put to death is appalling. I don’t know whether Troy Davis, scheduled to be executed tonight, is innocent, but according to what I read about recanted testimony and questionable physical evidence it I cannot believe he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt–let alone beyond all doubt, which is the standard that ought to pertain in death-penalty cases. In 2007 the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles appeared to uphold that more demanding standard. Nonetheless yesterday it ruled the execution should go ahead.

And it did go ahead tonight.

Well, in these posts, Sanders clearly puts forth his opposition to the death penalty. but I certainly cannot agree. Allowing a convicted murderer to live, even as an incarcerated prisoner, cheapens the lives of the victims of murder. These lives are deemed to be worth less than the life of the murderer. And for this reason alone, I firmly support the death penalty — but only for murder or those other crimes that cause the death of innocent people. Making other crimes, like rape, capital is not something I would support. But I firmly believe in "eye for eye, tooth for tooth," and thus, "life for life."


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