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Monday 28 June 2004

Liberalism and the chair. [brit]

Here's a musing for you - is it possible to be a leftie liberal, and pro capital punishment, without that is, appearing as an opinionated dichotomy - the likes of which usually end up in a padded cell?
Imagine if you will, a method of execution that was instant. Something like complete 100% atomic dispersal which took less than 1/100th of a nanosecond to achieve. That would kick the collective head in of the 'cruel and unusual' crowd, no? Yes? good... so on with the musing.
Take the example of Marc Dutroux; a confessed psychopath who raped and killed 4 girls, and raped but didn't kill 2 more. He's been found guilty, and sentenced to life imprisonment.
I ask the question - why keep him alive at all? Surely, he is officially surplus to requirements in terms of our need for people like him on Planet Earth? Isn't my Insta-Atomizing-Death-Machine just perfect for situations like this?
We've got this character in prison now for the rest of his natural life. I've no idea what currency they use in Belgium (presumably some sort of cocoa based edible coinage) but I bet it'll cost a metric shitload to keep him alive for the next 40 years.
And so, here I am, advocating the use of the death penalty in capital cases, yet I am deep down a liberal idealistic sort of guy that'd rather see everyone just get along. How can this be?
Or, is the notion of a true lefty pinko simply dying out? After all, last time I saw someone wearing a Che Guano tshirt and driving a VW camper, was in a Chevy Chase movie... is the majority of the 'left' like me? left of center but with rightwing thinking when it comes to justice, punishment, crime and all that?
Terribly confusing.


  1. I think there are practical reasons for keeping monsters like Dutroux alive. Aside from the simple fact that no legal system is perfect, and if you introduce the death penalty you WILL end up killing innocent people - I think there's the arguably more important fact that if you kill Dutroux, everything that he knows dies with him. Kill him, and you lose a key witness in any other prosecution connected to his crimes.
    Yes, it costs a lot of money to keep these people locked up - but if that money both protects innocent people, and increases the chances of catching other criminals, then I think it's a worthwhile investment.
    As to your question on liberalism... I think the big problem is that the yanks have inflicted this whole concept of the far-leftist liberal on us all, thus making it extremely difficult to categorise yourself as a genuinely reasonable liberal thinker. As Iain Banks put it in Dead Air, 'I'm telling you, its a sick, sick nation that turned the word liberal into an expletive...'

  2. Consider too that it costs a heck of a lot of public money to prosecute someone of an offense this grave and frequently we are also paying for their defence as well. Then when they get in jail, they're given bed and breakfast for 25 years or so before being chucked out into society where reasonably, one can expect them to be on the dole for the rest of their life.
    It's a lot of cost but what can you do? Jail is supposed to be a deterrent and I guess the thinking goes that someone in jail tells people outside, his ex-associates in crime perhaps, that jail wasn't much of a party as things go.
    I think we should get more use out of people in jail at the least and I think it needs to be evaluated as a punishment and a deterrent. If we're not going to kill them, we need them rehabilitated but we don't want to make that such an attractive proposition that people feel free to commit heinous crimes.
    I'm not sure death penalties are a deterrent either, no one thinks about consequences of committing a crime really. On the other hand, it's just plain wrong to keep clothing and feeding a monster like Dutroux and then ultimately kick him free into society.
    People like Dutroux ought to pay the highest price. Deterrent, maybe. Punishment, sure. Removal from the gene pool, absolutely.The problem with the argument that you'll kill people by accident, is the bleeding heart liberal view that it is completely unacceptable to kill people by accident. In fact it happens a lot and we have no problem about considering that just plain 'unfortunate' when it comes to foreign nationals.
    We're prepared to set back the space program a decade because it's unacceptable that people might concievably die.
    You know, there's one thing the human race has been doing pretty well over the entire history of our genenome, and that's dying. I think society could do with being less obsessed by it.
    No one wants to die before their time but I just do not accept that an individuals death is of such paramount importance that you can sweep aside virtually any raft of benefits which might result from the circumstances/policies which lead to the possibility.

  3. This subject gets me pretty cross. In fact it gets me incrediblyangry. So much rubbish talked to so little purpose. There is only oneargument that matters here beyond which all other arguments are justirrelevant. And it's this; the police and the justice system are notperfect. Some of them are in fact bent. We prosecute and jail innocentpeople. Hopefully not too many but we do. A civilised society CANNOTcondone creating a system where it will result in killing innocentpeople. Don't give me all that rubbish about certainty, level of reviewand all the rest. It's abdication of our duty as human beings.

  4. Somehow I think that the hundreds of people who have been deliberately fitted up, for crimes they didn't commit, by over-zealous police forces would feel that there was a significant problem with considering such unfortunate executions of the innocent as merely accidental.
    Personally, while I agree that it is horrible that society has to pay to keep these people alive, I also think there is too much risk that it would be misused and so we shouldn't have a death penalty. So I am prepared to accept that we pay. Likewise I am prepared to accept that I must pay large amounts of Tax (whether it be income tax, council tax or whatever) in order to pay for the income support for a large number of lazy fuckers who are probably cheating the system anyway. But I do expect the system to at least try to detect the ones who are cheating and prosecute them.

  5. Liberals are fucking around to be honest - the Home Secretary is blind - how does that work then? Part of me thinks its wonderful (as a gesture? as an experiment? as a level playing field? whaaaat?) but part of me also thinks the liberal pinkos need a big slap in the chops from the Trout of Realism.
    The penal system: you either need to support the death penalty or you must create a fantastic all-in system that caters for all types of crims, falling between the two extremes of those who can be identified for reintegration via re-education, and those who must be removed from society and identified for 'Release: Never'.
    The Turks have their island prison for Ocalan, in their eyes a Grade-A Enemy of the State. Maybe it's a tad excessive, but hey, it certainly makes a point...

  6. Brit why are you trying to apply political stereotyping to an ethical question? They hardly go hand in hand.
    It's clumsy and dammit we expect better.
    That bastard in Scotland who was high on coke and whisky running over a family killing three, ELEVEN years he got.
    I'll admit to tears in my eyes while I read about his carnage on my way home that night.
    I despise who we expect criminals to dish out appropriate punishment to inmates. 'rapist, aye only 5 years. But he'll get tore a new arse in Bar-L.'
    It's despicable. Our courts have lost any balls they had, yet we expect the lags to dish out justice.
    Fucked up world.

  7. That's the problem when you've got victims of crime screaming for revenge and justice via pain, agony and death on one side with bleeding heart liberals screaming that he's just misunderstood because mummy treated him bad, he just needs his tummy rubbed.
    Like everything else, you end up with a compromise which inevitably will seem unsatisfactory to either side.

  8. Actually that reads rather wrong. I misread Lurks and therefore came in with the diplomatic subtlety of a half brick. I don't want to come across like a cunt. That's Slim's job.

  9. I havnt got any problems in the way people gets executed. But there is a chance the system backfires, and then we all become killers. And that is just wrong in so many ways. So im against the deathpenalty. Not because its cruel but because there is no return. And revenge through the law... well, why dont we just skip the whole law bit and go back to every man for himself and guns for everyone. I always figured that the law was to protection not for personal 'gain'.
    Life in prison is good enough. That way there is a possibilty to correct any mistakes before its too late.

  10. I think Dutroux should also be given a television, some books and maybe a little fridge with beer in it too. After all, we could be wrong about him.

  11. How it should be in prison is a totally different matter. They got fucking golfcourses inside the prison walls here. So im all for a more desciplined approach. What i dont understand is how they can get food if they dont work. But books? Fuck yes. Cant lock people up without anything. And tv should be there too, atleast to the ones we will let out some day. Gotta keep in touch, cant have cunts running around looking like they escaped from miami vice can we :)

  12. At least that would have some amusement value...

  13. Books, yes. Television... Restricted access, perhaps only to current affairs / educational type stuff. And yes, inmates should have to work their bollocks off - while they'll never manage to earn enough to pay for the costs of keeping them securely, it'd be a start.
    That said, prison isn't the cakewalk it's made out to be in some quarters either. Have any of you ever been inside one? I've been in Mountjoy, the biggest prison in Dublin (visiting, smartarses!) and the place is downright chilling.
    Then again, that's to me. I also find the places that most of the crims they incarcerate in there come from downright chilling, so I guess to them it may not seem that bad...

  14. I'd be happy to see prisoners having to work for their keep.In fact I think we should make them work, and if they refuse then their sentences should get extended until they've worked enough to pay for the time they were free-loading. But I also think they do need a certain level of outside world access - ie newspapers, TV. I'd be quite happy if they were restricted to educational, documentary and news though - don't see why they should get to enjoy things like live football matches, or get to watch decent films, it supposed to be a fucking punishment after all.But I cannot see how the death penalty helps at all - it gives you a few less people to keep in prison, but since murderers et al are a tiny fraction of prison population it would be a small saving. And you'd have yet more cases of people who were found to have not committed the crime years later - and I imagine we'd have to pay even more money out for having killed them than we would if we'd simply locked them up. If not then its a fucked up system :-)