Sunday, December 31, 2006

OT- Saddam Execution


Big Picture still crystal clear

Effective and proportionate. Nobody is saying you should be hanged for sheep stealing, but the evidence is now overwhelming that the death penalty does deter homicide.

That's why I back the return of capital punishment in Britain (see this blog). Although I understand the moral objections of others, I still haven't heard the compelling argument as to why an act of commission- executing killers- is morally inferior to an act of omission- not killing them and simply accepting a tripling in the number of homicide victims (cf the debate over compulsory vaccination).

Saddam's hanging? Well, personally I wouldn't have taken that voyeuristic and potentially counterproductive video. But you can't argue with the proportionality.

As to deterrence, I guess you might argue that it would take more than possible execution to deter ruthless military dictators. But given what we now know about homicide deterrence in general, the burden of proof is clearly on those who follow that line.

Predictably, none of this has been aired on the BBC's 48-hour anti-capital punishment fest. Even though they couldn't find a single Iraqi in the street to speak against it.

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