Skip to main content

View Diary: The Progressive Moral Case for the Death Penalty (142 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  proportionality (0+ / 0-)

    is the moral argument.

    Out of my cold dead hands

    by bluelaser2 on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 10:52:34 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  So we follow the code of Leviticus 24:19-20 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lyvwyr101
      19. And a man who inflicts an injury upon his fellow man just as he did, so shall be done to him [namely,]

      20. fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Just as he inflicted an injury upon a person, so shall it be inflicted upon him.

      That isn't a moral foundation I'm comfortable with.

      Now, if you could make the case that the death penalty results in fewer starving children, or fewer wars, or fewer murders (and that all of those results are morally good), then you'd be making a moral case for the death penalty. But as far as I know, evidence says the death penalty doesn't achieve things like that.

      *** All our work toward economic and social justice won't matter the slightest bit unless we start reversing global warming right now. ***

      by CupaJoe on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 11:10:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  me neither (0+ / 0-)

        Now, if you could make the case that the death penalty results in fewer starving children, or fewer wars, or fewer murders (and that all of those results are morally good), then you'd be making a moral case for the death penalty.

        You just made my case, thank you.

        Out of my cold dead hands

        by bluelaser2 on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 11:21:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, "an eye for an eye" is a moral argument (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lyvwyr101

      It's just not one that most people are comfortable with in the abstract, and is one of those things that civilization is supposed to get us away from, as a species.

      •  my argument has zero vengence content (0+ / 0-)

        I reject the concept 100%- there is no moral basis for it.

        Out of my cold dead hands

        by bluelaser2 on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:10:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Er, I didn't mention vengeance (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lyvwyr101

          "An eye for an eye" is not intended as a statement of vengeance, and it was not originally formulated as such. It is an example of proportional punishment: "the idea that the punishment of an offender should fit the crime." If you take my eye, is it not appropriate that I take yours in return?

          The problem is, while it may not be intended as a statement of vengeance, taken to extremes, there's little practical difference between proportionality and vengeance. If you seek a true, 1:1 relationship between the crime and its legal punishment, then you are inevitably giving the legal system the right to do things that would, under any other circumstance, be unacceptable. So it's fairly well understood that there are limits to proportionality, as a legal philosophy. We don't rape rapists. We don't torture torturers. And, as I have argued, it's equally wrong to kill killers. They may deserve it, and it may even be "fair" to the convicted when judged in a strictly proportional manner, but it's still a bridge too far, too easily abused, and not worth the cost necessary to get it right.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site