John Mikes wrote:
> Brent,
> now that Wei Dai reincarnated me to the list, I hurry to agree with you 
> (almost).
> Good/bad is not only a personal Whahooh (Yahoo??) but it is a culture 
> related (changeable) set of value-judgments.
> *
> Re: capital punishment:
> 1. it is not a punishment because after the fact the punished has no way 
> to be sorry or to improve.
> 2. punishing is a vengeance-related hypocritical self-aggrandisement 
> assigned to gods and god-like feelings in humans.

Capital punishment is vengeance-related (or "retribution-related" if you're for 
it). Historically, the state/king/chief/society took away the right of 
individuals to kill for retribution/vengeance and reserved that right to the 
society as a whole.  By society providing the judgment and execution, vengeance 
could be satisfied without leading to blood feuds.

> 3. I agree to discontinue the existence of individuals who are incapable 
> to keep up with the prudent societal living (even by execution) -  not 
> as a punishment, but as the self defense of society. Long term 
> incarceration has the danger of a jail brake  turning the incorrigible 
> also loose. Emotions in sentencing would degrade the punisher to the 
> level of the murderer.

Even if there were no chance of escape (and practically there is almost nil), 
life imprisonment would not satisfy the desire for retribution felt by not only 
the kin of the victim but by everyone else who empathizes with the victim.  
Whether the death penalty is an effective deterrent to crime is question I've 
never seen answered definitively.

Brent Meeker

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