In response to: We need the death penalty precisely because respect for human life is so important

2019-09-16 15:56


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The primary aim of the state is to protect us from harm, both physical and material. By this mandate, the state is allowed to deprive citizens of their freedom, and their material wealth, for the purposes of protecting others from violence, or to reclaim losses due to damages inflicted.

Slowly but surely, the state has been vested with more and more legal powers, to the point where you may now be thrown in jail, fined and sued, for causing offense with words and flags. Words and flags do not have physical implications, unlike imprisonment and fines.

The highest value of human life is existence. If we are true to this estimation, then the premeditated murder of anyone, even if it is wrapped up in legal pronouncements from a judicial bench, cannot be allowed. The best we can do, unsatisfying though it may be, is quarantine the perpetrators of violent crimes in our jails and prisons, so that they cannot cause any further harm.

READ: We need the death penalty precisely because respect for human life is so important

The issues we face as a country, especially as it pertains to the state’s inability to protect us from harm, will not be solved by the reinstatement of the death penalty. We need proactive and preventive measures, not retroactive and retributive. To realise this ultimate, yet fundamental goal, we require a serious realignment of our philosophical presuppositions and our political priorities, something which cannot be gleaned from the legalised, premeditated murder of human beings.

We should safeguard human existence, not because we value the lives of those who violently end it, but because we value and respect all life. If we should succumb to our emotions, and allow the state to become judge, jury, and executioner, not only do we run the risk of the state abusing this power for political ends, we also run the risk of losing our very humanity.    

Read more on:    death penalty

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