Capital Punishment as the Perversion of Justice
The issue of the acceptability of the capital punishmenthas appeared not so long ago, for even several decades ago it was a common practice in the majority of civilized countries. However, the public opinion against the death penalty in the end of the 20th century has been growing steadily and now there are only a handful of civilized states that practice it. And it seems to be a natural process, for it moves in this direction whenever a nation enters the period of development and progress.
The main reason why the death penalty is immoral is that it is the punishment imposed by the being of a lower kind (the state) upon the being of a higher kind (an individual) and thus, whatever crime it is thought the individual has committed, the arbitrary imposition of the power of one person or persons on another one. There is no such thing as impeccable and just state – there is no such thing as state at all, for the state is always nothing more than a collection of individuals that cooperate in a slightly more or slightly less inefficient way. And any decision made by it is the decision of imperfect people whose imperfection is multiplied because they have thought on it together.
The cases when it can be said absolutely for sure that somebody has committed a crime are very rare – most commonly there is a wider or narrower space for doubt left. It is bad enough when an innocent person is convicted to a term in prison, but this decision can be undone, at least partially, for no one can return the time he or she has spent in prison, as well as health and feeling of personal dignity. But when a human being is condemned to the death penalty – and this happens often enough – it is much worse, for wrong decision cannot be amended. The state is guilty of many crimes, no matter what state it is, but it is among the worst of them.
Moreover, even in the case of convicting a real guilty party – the capital punishment is much more dreadful thing, than any crime it may serve as a penalty for. The victim of a murderer always has hope for salvation – maybe the killer will feel mercy for him, or something will happen that will save him; but the victim of state does not have hope – he knows perfectly well when and how he will die, and this practical, mundane approach to it makes the punishment much worse, than the actual crime.
That’s why it must be clear for everyone that…