The Corner

European Attitudes to Death

One might expect, given the Bottum thesis, that European attitudes would be hardening against abortion and euthanasia if the abolition of the death penalty had been at popular demand. Yet it wasn’t. Virtually every poll in Europe that I’ve seen shows support for reintroduction of the death penalty. Even in Sweden, there is majority support for reintroduction of the death penalty for some specific crimes. In the UK, there is considerable resentment that the death penalty was abolished against the will of the people that generally manifests itself in 70-80% support for capital punishment. In short, the British and Europeans are pretty sanguine as people about death. Yet we should also remember that abortion is still severely restricted (or even illegal, as in Ireland) in several European countries and that considerable anger arose when the toothless European Parliament said it should be a right. So the picture is slightly more complicated than the views of European elites might suggest.

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