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Cheers - AE

Friday, 5 August 2011

Hanging together

Despite the last post saying there'd be no blogging 'til after the weekend I'm going to make the time for a very brief blog on the topic of capital punishment, currently the subject of a reinstatement campaign by The Sun and Guido Fawkes. As usual it's a splitter, and in the blogosphere as well as day to day life. Some bloggers for whom I have a lot of respect - the Ambush Predator, Sue and Anna Raccoon, to name just three - are in favour of capital punishment while others who are equally estimable - such as Captain Ranty, Sadbutmadlad c/o The Raccoon's Arms virtual pub and ironically The Grim Reaper - are opposed to it. As I've written before (here and here, for instance) I'm very much in the opposed camp, and trying to put it beyond reach is one of the very few things that I think politicians have somehow managed to get right. Quite possibly by accident or for other motives but whether it's design or serendipity I'm not the slightest bit sorry about it.

Since this is supposed to be brief, at least by my normal prolix standard, I'm not going to go deeply into the reason for my opposition, which can be found on those links anyway, but I'll summarise it with a copy of a comment I left at Captain Ranty's an hour or so ago.
I say this time and time and time again: it simply astounds me that so many people who are so critical of the state - an entity that so many of us agree is corrupt, incapable of finding its arse with both hands and prone to abusing its authority if not acting ultra vires - are willing to give it back the power to kill its citizens. Fuck the criminal scum, a noose around the neck of the most evil man in the land is a potential noose around the neck of all.

Oh, you might be safe with a Cameramong or Millivanilli government but which of you death penalty supporters knows what kind of toad-licking swivel-eyed fucknuts you'll have for PM in 10, 15, 20+ years? For all we know right now the future could hold a Chancellor Sutcliffe or a British Mugabe, and why the hell would we want to make the bastard's job any easier? And I can't think of any democracy that hasn't elected a bastard at some stage and we all know that some have elected utter batsards, so there's really no reason to think it can't happen. In fact I'd bet that if you wait long enough it's almost inevitable.

If you love liberty the answer is straightforward: you must never, ever entrust the state with any power that you would not also be happy giving to a homicidal dictator.
It can be put even more succinctly than that (though clearly not by me). Old Slaughter, who doesn't even describe him as a libertarian but a "small government conservative", comments at Anna Racoon's blog:
... the death penalty is the ultimate symbol of the state's presumption of authority over our lives. I would find it incongruent with libertarianism to advocate such a policy.
Indeed, and I did leave a comment telling Old Slaughter him that I was going to nick that. Please don't hang me for it.
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