the absurd observers

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

A more serious reply

While Reeve says he wants to confine the debate to the theoretical, he curiously talks about the need to fight fire with fire. Such a statement is non-sensical in the theoretical realm. There is no theoretical "fight" going on. If Reeve mens to justify the death penalty on the grounds of stopping criminals, then the argument is really a policy one, and the statistics overwhelmigly demonstrate that the death penalty has virtually no deterrent effect when compared to life in prison without the possibility of parole. If Reeve means to confine the debate to the purely theoretical realm, then the issue is what to do with a person known to be guilty, assuming that whatever is done to him will have no affect on anything else in the world.

There are several famous arguments for why we should not kill such a person, but the reason why I ultimately am against the death penalty in such situations is that I have always felt huamn life, even in the form of a brutal criminal, has an inherent value to it. While there are rational arguments that can be made for why the life of a criminal has an inherent value, ultimately it seems to me to be an inate feeling more than anything else.

Certain artistic represntations seem to tap into such a feeling, so ironically, they may serve as the best arguments for why we should not kill the guilty. There are numerous examples of such representations, but two I can think of off the top of my head are Dead Man Walking and The Stranger.


  • For an artistic argument in favor of the death penalty, I recommend "Luther the Geek," which you can read about here:

    By Anonymous Mark, at 7:28 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home