Monthly Archives: July 2012

Moral Contradictions

It never ceases to amaze me that people can make such broad statements and propositions on “moral” grounds, and not see the contradictions therein. A good example of this is the death penalty. Proponents of the death penalty say, “Murderers, rapists, and child molesters shouldn’t be allowed to live, and should be put to death.” They base this on moral principle, but in reality, they have no base besides emotional reaction. In the case of murderers, the proponents of the death penalty advocate a paradox; they advocate for the government to commit acts of murder in order to prevent and discourage murder.

A parable could be put forth here in the form of a vengeful young man who takes a vow to kill every criminal in the world, and when he finally succeeds, realizes that in order to actually complete his goal, he must kill himself. After all, did this young man not commit acts of murder? Is he not a murderer according to his own definition of the term, and would any sane person regard him as anything but a murderer acting in an outrageous sense of righteousness and corrupted sense of morality?

This is one half of a two-fold problem with the death penalty, and the doctrines the proponents of the death penalty propose. The second half of the problem comes from those who think along the lines not of morality, but of reason. “Life without parole is costing us millions. Why should we house murderers, rapists, and child molesters when we can simply execute them and save money. This would cut down prison costs as well as weed the useless out of society.”

This is the typical attitude among atheists who support the death penalty, as well as the Social Darwinists. If monetary costs are a concern, this is easily remedied by legalizing non-violent behavior, i.e., drug use, prostitution, etc., and dropping those charges from current prisoners.  The monetary issue, however, pales in comparison to the moral risks involved with letting the government picking and choosing who lives and die. The second part of the problem is in the historical fact that the death penalty never stays to rapists, murderers, and child molesters. It always extends to lesser crimes.

What is to stop the government from saying that anyone who speaks ill of the regime will be put to death, or what stopped the state from saying that anyone who speaks against religious institutions will be executed? You might say, “oh we have constitutional protections against that, unlike in all those commie Muslim countries,” but this argument is naive because it assumes the State will check itself from overstepping its’ boundaries, which has never happened historically.

There is only one reasonable, consistent conclusion you can make with regards to the death penalty and its advocates; the death penalty is murder, and the advocates of such a policy are either incredibly misguided, or they are simply evil people who want an excuse for someone to be murdered.