Posts Tagged ‘Death Penalty’

English: George Bernard Shaw date between 1900...

English: George Bernard Shaw date between 1900-1910 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“It is the deed that teaches, not the name we give it. Murder and capital punishment are not opposites that cancel one another, but similars that breed their kind.”

–George Bernard Shaw, Maxims for Revolutionists

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, n. The premeditated killing of individuals by the state for real, imaginary, or concocted offenses, and an excellent example of the primacy of the individual in the land of the free. As Senator Orrin Hatch so cogently put it, “Capital punishment is our society’s recognition of the sanctity of human life.”

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–from the revised and expanded edition of The American Heretic’s Dictionary, the best modern successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary


Front cover of Provocations:  Don't Call Them Libertarians, AA Lies, and Other Provocations, by Chaz Bufe


(This is a brief excerpt from the essay “A Future Worth Living” that will appear in Provocations: Don’t Call Them Libertarians, AA Lies, and Other Incitements, by Chaz Bufe, which is scheduled for October publication.)


The religious folk in large part responsible for the “war on drugs,” attempts to outlaw abortion,  anti-blasphemy laws, anti-sodomy laws, obscenity laws, attempts to outlaw contraception,  etc.,  justify their positions with perverse, often transparently faulty,  “moral” arguments. Why? To mask the fact that they simply enjoy inflicting pain upon the “immoral.”  (You might object that some of these repressive measures  no longer exist in the United States, but the point is that they’re gone despite religious conservatives, not because of them.)

Probably the clearest example of the religious tendency toward “moral” sadism is the support by religious conservatives of the death penalty. At this point, it’s beyond dispute that this penalty is applied very unequally, with its victims being primarily poor and nonwhite.

It’s also beyond dispute that many, many innocent people have been wrongfully executed, and that more are scheduled to be. A current estimate puts the percentage of the wrongfully executed at 4%. Frankly, this seems low, given widespread prosecutorial vindictiveness and misconduct (withholding exculpatory evidence, for instance), the routinely inadequate legal representation of poor defendants, and the notorious unreliability of eyewitness testimony.

All this matters not a whit to conservative religious folk. It doesn’t matter to these “freedom lovers” that handing the government the power to kill its citizens is the ultimate triumph of the state over the individual. Nor does it matter to these “conservatives” that they themselves routinely portray government as being unable to find its metaphorical butt with both hands.

No.  They support capital punishment for one overriding reason: they want blood. And it doesn’t matter to them that the blood of  innocents is mixed with the blood of the guilty.

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