|MSK wrote (post 25)
I love to see the bad guy get it in the end, but I don't like the government having the power to kill a good guy by mistake. The abuse of government power is always frightening. I doubt I'd get any disagreement on SOLO (or at least not too much...) that less government power would generally be a good thing.
However the court system, particularly the criminal justice system, is one of the few areas of the proper use of government. I'm not an anarchist.
Even a non-Objectivist, but well respected American, once wrote:
Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force. George Washington
The quote above is a true statement of reality; governments as they have existed throughout history represent the use of force without reason. Of course, it is the failure of government to use reason that is the primary source of the abuse of government power. It is the exercise of force, for appropriate purposes, such as national defense, or the protection of individual rights, guided by objective reason that is a proper government function. A government that applies force without reason is an illegitimate government.
We presently have a faulty legal system. Many of the rules unjustly favor the criminal defendant over the rights of the victim; some are unfair to the criminal defendant.
Whether we ought to apply the death penalty, necessarily should assume that a conviction was obtained that not only complies with all the state and federal laws, but complies with reason, itself. Under an unjust legal system, there should be no punishment at all, much less the death penalty.
When a conviction does meet those standards, then the death penalty may be appropriate and the "bad guys" can be punished.
I think it is wrong to simply establish a rule that the death penalty can never be imposed, based on the premise that the death penalty is sometimes inappropriately applied. The appropriate principle should be to examine the facts in each particular case.
As I posted earlier, the facts in Cantu's case appear so flimsy that it is hard to believe there was a conviction at all, much less the death penalty. (Which is why I distrust the news as reported by CNN (by way of AP))
I agree with MSK that I don't like the government to have the power to "kill a good guy by mistake." Government is force, and if it is not controlled by reason, and by that I really mean "Objectivist principles", then any use of government power is scary indeed.
Edited to correct some misspellings
(Edited by steve carver on 11/22, 12:00am)