Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Libertarian Twaddle about the Death Penalty

In the middle of a post about the Supreme Court's consideration of the death penalty for juveniles, McQ at QandO says:
...I am against the death penalty, have been for years. Yes I know all the arguments for to include the emotional ones. I simply don’t accept them as valid. My objection is based in man’s right to life, and unlike Jon, I feel it is inherent (man qua man) and therefore inviolable by all, to include the state. In essence I believe the state does to the murderer precisely that for which it is punishing the murderer....
By that logic, we shouldn't have armed forces and use them to kill our enemies. As I have said:
...I don't care whether or not capital punishment deters homicide. [Though it does, as the post explains.] Capital punishment is the capstone of a system of justice that used to work quite well in this country because it was certain and harsh. There must be a hierarchy of certain penalties for crime, and that hierarchy must culminate in the ultimate penalty if criminals and potential criminals are to believe that crime will be punished. When punishment is made less severe and less certain -- as it was for a long time after World War II -- crime flourishes and law-abiding citizens become less secure in their lives and property.
The state doesn't do to the murderer that for which it is punishing the murderer. It does to the murderer that which the murderer shouldn't have done, as a lesson to other would-be murderers, and as a way of ensuring that that murderer won't murder again. Similarly, the state deprives other criminals of freedom (but not life) for doing what they shouldn't have done, and as a way of keeping them away from the rest of us for a while. Or does McQ object to depriving criminals of their freedom? After all, freedom is right up there with the right to life in the pantheon of libertarian values. Oh, and what about abortion?

Related posts:
Does Capital Punishment Deter Homicide?
Crime and Punishment
Abortion and Crime
Saving the Innocent?
Saving the Innocent?: Part II
More on Abortion and Crime
More Punishment Means Less Crime
More About Crime and Punishment
More Punishment Means Less Crime: A Footnote
Clear Thinking about the Death Penalty
Let the Punishment Fit the Crime
Another Argument for the Death Penalty
Less Punishment Means More Crime
Crime, Explained