13 December 2005

Death Penalty – For, or Against?

As far back as the Militant Pacifist can remember, he has supported the “death penalty.” As he considers his thought, the Militant Pacifist has (in his "memorable memory") always supposed that the “death penalty” was the appropriate penalty in cases where what was taken could not be “restituted” (e.g., murder and rape). The recent high-profile execution of Crips founder Stanley “Tookie” Williams demands that the Militant Pacifist reconsider his position.

Previously, as he has pondered the death penalty, the Militant Pacifist has always approached the matter in a philosophically idealistic manner (i.e., he has assumed a righteous state mandating punitive action against an evil law-breaker).

But the Militant Pacifist exists “existentially” in the “real world!”

What if reality is not “philosophically idealistic” at all? What if the state under consideration is a kind of modern “Sodom?” What if the state under consideration has sanctioned (and continues to sanction) the killing of millions of innocents? What if the state under consideration has sent its citizens on foreign military adventures in which thousands (perhaps millions) of human lives have been squandered under such pretexts such as “saving the world from communism,” or “defending our freedom” or “fighting a war on drugs,” or “fighting a war against terrorism?” What if the state under consideration has stolen (at gun-point) the hard-earned money of its citizens to do immoral, unwise, and wicked things? What if, rather than a “philosophically idealistic” state, the state that is to administer the “death penalty” is the wretched, sodom-like state described in the sentences above? What if the state under consideration is wicked, wicked, wicked.

Should the Militant Pacifist existentially “support” the death penalty when it is to be administered by such an immoral entity?

The Militant Pacifist confesses to a philosophical quandary – but he is leaning towards “carte-blanche” opposition to the death penalty in the United States of America (i.e., 21st century Sodom) - though he may maintain a theoretical (logical) support for the notion (the Militant Pacifist acknowledges that the "argument" above is not a logical but an emotional argument).

If you have wisdom to share with the Militant Pacifist – please comment!

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