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

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  •  Because animals can't transcend their nature. (5+ / 0-)

    If a dog is trained and conditioned to do nothing but kill, it does not have the sentience or will to overcome that training and conditioning. We do not see animals as capable of moral reasoning.

    Human beings, even the most depraved and disgusting among us, are capable of moral reasoning.

    Once we go down the path of deciding that some criminals are "animals"—subhuman—we pave the way for all sorts of trouble.

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 10:58:31 AM PST

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    •  their nature is to kill (0+ / 0-)

      as are the subjects we are talking about

      Out of my cold dead hands

      by bluelaser2 on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 11:18:50 AM PST

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      •  and you complain about other diarist's sophistry! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        alain2112

        I seek, always, soulful talk, for I believe that the healing possibilities of poetry are also available in ordinary, dinner-table conversation--if enough imagination is brought to bear upon it.

        by aitchdee on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 11:20:19 AM PST

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      •  The very foundation of reasoning from morality... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aitchdee, lyvwyr101

        ...as you do here, is that humans are not simply creatures that follow their nature, but are capable of and responsible for the exercise of moral reasoning, such that they transcend or overcome their natural desires in following a higher law.

        A married man may have an incredible mutual attraction with another woman, and his nature (from an evolutionary standpoint) would be to sleep with her in order to spread his genetic material, but he is expected by moral law not to do so as it would be a betrayal of the vows he has made to his wife.

        The expectation of a capacity for moral reasoning is no less for the convicted criminal, even the most heinous one, than it is for the rest of us.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 11:25:33 AM PST

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        •  WTF? (0+ / 0-)

          The expectation of a capacity for moral reasoning is no less for the convicted criminal, even the most heinous one, than it is for the rest of us.

          Out of my cold dead hands

          by bluelaser2 on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 12:12:54 PM PST

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          •  That's what I wrote. (0+ / 0-)

            In other words, human beings should not be treated like animals.

            The dog that is trained and conditioned to do nothing but kill is put down, because it has no capacity for moral understanding of its actions and it is incapable of changing what it is.

            The criminal who has killed or violated others, even in the most brutal or heinous ways, is still capable of morally understanding what he or she has done, and still capable of at least some form or level of repentance; that is why we should not kill the criminal, but keep him or her alive.

            That is not to say that we should allow those who are guilty of heinous crimes to breathe the free air again; for many, their debt to society is too great for them to repay in their remaining years of life. But perhaps they may find some measure of moral or psychological redemption, or at least repentance for their actions.

            To deny them that opportunity and take their lives simply in the interest of saving money, as you suggest, takes us down a road at whose end all of us are judged not by our intrinsic humanity but by our net positive or negative contribution to a monetary economy. That is an odious end, in my opinion.

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 06:11:39 AM PST

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      •  "Who knows what's in the mind of a pit bull?" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Grizzard, aitchdee, lyvwyr101

        You said that, down thread. You can't have it both ways. You can't argue that animals are capable of self-awareness and moral responsibility just like humans to support your pro-death penalty view, and then turn around and say, no, actually they're just creatures of instinct who exist only kill when someone else approaches the argument from a different angle.

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