I think if I supported the death penalty, I think I'd be comfortable finding out that 5% of executions were of innocent people. If I was religious, I'd be willing to accept a much higher number.
The suffering associated with death is the suffering associated with the survivors and the suffering in being told you're going to die.
How much money do you figure it is reasonable to spend to avoid the risk of killing one innocent person?
How many people is it reasonable to let be killed/raped/etc because guilty people were kept alive?
I don't think "it's never ok to sacrifice an innocent person" is the right answer.
You need to show a strong deterrent effect of the death penalty for this to be a reasonable line of argument. In addition, you'll find that almost all of the rich democratic world, except the US and Japan, have answered this with "nobody is allowed to be put to death by the state" as per the article.
The death penalty exists so the decent don't have to suffer the truly evil to live.
This is why arguments weighing pros and cons fall on deaf ears.
This ^. I don't want to end someone's life because they did something bad. I want to end it because it's too much of a cose to keep them alive. Most importantly, the risk they will do something horrible again. If a given person has shown themself (grammar?) to be a severe risk to society, then ending that person may be the right solution.
Thus, it makes no sense to ask what is or is not a "privilege that can be taken away", since this is a question with no logical or scientific meaning.
The only thing you can ask is "given a specific set of criteria we are trying to optimize for, is it better or worse for this to be a privilege that can be taken away". Which, of course, depends on the criteria.
A civil society breaks its pact with law abiding people people when it allows these people to go on living when they've not only broken the social compact, they've destroyed it by dint of murdering, raping, selling drugs, ruining the lives of others, some of whom were parents who have left a child parentless, sometimes orphans, who then become a burden on the state (albeit a worthy burden). Actions like these are grounds for state-sanctioned execution of the offender.
However, that's an irrational cognitive bias like any other, and I wish people wouldn't succumb to it on HN.
Whether I agree with it or not, your comment is an interesting and rarely-heard perspective, and rationally argued.
Say you have an opportunity to end a person's life instantly, without their foreknowledge, without pain. This person has no friends or family or responsibilities of any kind. This person is virtually guaranteed to do more harm than good to society on par over the rest of his natural life. No other people will ever know of this execution. Without emotions, there's no reason not to legally oblige such an opportunity to be taken.
I have always suspected that Asperger's and autism (full disclosure: neither of which I have) are just extreme versions of the same underlying personality trait, but I have no background in psychology so that could also just be totally wrong pop-science BS :)
That in turn is a problem because an innocent person convicted almost always also means a guilty person left free to reoffend.
Jailing the offender also prevents them from killing/raping/etc because now they are in jail. Really a false comparison here. I think all the countries of the world overwhelmingly have voted in favour that this cost is worth it. The countries that did not, made it very hard to execute prisoners anyways and very rarely use it.
That works out to about $0.14 per year per citizen, or $0.37 per household (assuming all my math is more or less correct)
I agree with your analysis that it's not a lot of money. I will ponder this.
1. How many lives are we willing to end to save one life? 1:10? 1:100? 1:1,000,000?
1.1. Does it depend on the lives (if they are kept in jail and kill other inmates, is that better than if they get loose and kill non-inmates)?
2. What are the odds that one killer that is kept alive will kill more people?
There's a lot of questions to be answers, and some of them are opinion not math. However, I don't believe the correct answer is that it is never ok to end the life of another person.
If you are uncomfortable with and unwilling to examine the consequences of your stances, consider that that may mean you know on some level that they do not hold up.
I have the totally opposite impression. That commentator is very explicitly making the point that yes, in fact, sometimes policies leading to the killing of innocent people have benefits that outweigh that cost.
Where did you see any equivocation or "dancing around" ?
The human race is going to end on Tuesday unless Bob is killed. Bob has done nothing wrong. However, he has a unique genetic condition that means, on Tuesday, he's going to come down with the plague, and it's going to spread and kill everyone. There is no way to stop it except to end his life before that happens.
I would kill Bob in this situation. I might hate myself for it, I might even take my own life knowing I had killed someone (or maybe not, because of my religion; I wouldn't know until I was in the situation). That being said, I would kill Bob to save the rest of the human population.
10000 that are guilty of something else (example: they were not the shooter, but they helped)
Compare with deaths by lightening, car crash, bath tub...