Re: The Death Penalty

by Jonah Goldberg

I have no objection to the point of view in the email. Or I should say, i respect the position of this emailer even if I disagree with it. What I was referring to was the argument made by some, including our own Rod Dreher if I recall, that doubt about the guilt of some somehow mitigates the case for executing those about whom there is no doubt. Anyway:

Dear Sir;
I consider myself a Libertarian-Conservative and am also a practicing Catholic. You state, “You must defend the right to life of the people who do horrible things like this. And I suspect that will be very, very hard to do in this case. ” I don’t think so at all. I oppose the Death Penalty, period. I oppose it for Saddam Hussein, I would have opposed it for Adolf Hitler and I will oppose for these people, too. The Death Penalty is state-sanctioned Murder, just as is Abortion. It is wrong, in the “hard” or “easy” cases.
I am not one of those who says that the Death Penalty is “unconstitutional,” the Fifth Amendment clearly contemplates the Death Penalty, “no person shall be deprived of LIFE, liberty or property…” Nor do I argue that it is cruel and unusual punishment, the Founders envisioned the Death Penalty and at that time the usual method of execution would have been hanging. If hanging wasn’t cruel and unusual, then certainly lethal injection is not either. It is not that we CAN NOT execute, but rather that we OUGHT not execute.
When one comes from that perspective, it is easy to say, “No this person or group of persons does not merit death.” For NO ONE merits death. So, no I have an easy time of stating these people do not deserve the Death Penalty.

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