On Matters of Life, Punishment and Virtues

In bringing up John McCain’s VP pick, Sarah Palin… a cohort posited the following declaration in response to Palin being both Pro-Life and Pro-Death Penalty:

“No one can call themselves “pro-life” and support the death penalty.”

I address that statement as follows:

That is an intellectually unsupportable position. I understand you have picked a side to the discussion. I grant that and will not address it beyond that acknowledgment. However, you are mistaking your passionate conviction for your cause as rational conclusion.

“Pro-life” as a term reflects the idea that human life begins before the physical being of human offspring exits the mother’s body, and should therefore be protected as a higher right to life. Your concerns with THAT argument are irrelevant to your statement. Pro-life does not now, nor has every been meant as a pacifist concept of “life worship”.

The death penalty is completely consistent with the concept of punishment as an agent that deprives an individual of their rights commensurate to offenses they willfully commit. Other rights are equally disposed of in such a fashion.

For instance, slavery(forced labor) is outlawed in this land, [B]except as punishment for crimes.The 13th Amendment reads:1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

  1. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Liberty and privacy are forfeit for crimes as well. Your possessions can be taken and distributed to the state by merely being charged.

As you can see, what would be considered gross deprivations of liberty and inalienable human rights are normative and morally acceptable under certain proscribed circumstances.

By that rational progression and by precedent of law, it is completely and in all ways logically consistent to hold that that a penalty of death is acceptable and appropriate punishment to grievous and willful criminal offenses against society.

The one thing(defense of pre-born) has nothing to do with the other(death penalty for capital offenses).

The real problem with the abortion issue is the demonization that has replaced rationalization.

Pro-Life people are not trying to take control of women’s bodies and health choices. The are trying to keep unborn from being aborted because they value those lives. That is a good thing.

Pro-choicers are not trying to murder human beings. They are trying to limit the power of the state over the individual person body. That is a good thing.



To treasure both of these things is to hold a virtuous foundation. Are you going to say that upholding the lives of the unborn is not a virtue? Are you going to say that upholding a personal choice about ones family, health and welfare is not virtuous? Shall you turn your back on life or liberty?

Or shall you see this as a clash where one side puts more weight in their virtue over the other, leading with life or choice but not denying the virtue of either? In others words… both are good people trying to make good decisions.

The reason why this becomes an untouchable topic is because we demonize the opposing side. The irony is, if we could actually accept the virtues of each other’s point of view on this…we could actually have a civil talk and minds could be swayed one way or the other. As it is… nobody wants to share company with baby-killers nor fascist body tyrants.