Aiming For My Weak Spots

by Jonah Goldberg

A reader invokes Gandalf:

Jonah,

It may be a little late to chime in on this, but I’m just now catching up on the weekend’s Corner posts. To be opposed to the death penalty, it is not necessary to assert the criminal’s right to life. Gandalf articulated this very well, speaking to Frodo about Gollum: “Many live that deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.” (FOTR, Bk1, Ch 2)

Seriously, I oppose the death penalty not because I think murderers have the right to live, but because I don’t think the state has (or should have) the right to kill those who are not a threat. And an incarcerated person is no longer a threat. Indeed, what I find so abhorrent about the anti-death-penalty activists on the left is their insistence on lionizing the condemned murders. Not only does the felon deserve no such treatment, but it is a slap in the face of the families of the victims and there is nothing intellectually or morally redeeming about this tactic. But I can maintain contempt for the murderer while still believing that the state exceeds it rights when it kills the felon post-arrest.

Still looking forward to your book…

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