Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Hanged Man

I’m sorry guys, but you shouldn’t even be debating this. In times of peace there is no valid argument for the death penalty, not in a civilized society.

What you have is a culture of violence that has been allowed to fester, fed with handguns and nurtured by narcotics.

What kind of state is it that allows such conditions to exist, and then has the audacity to arbitrarily assassinate its own citizens in the name of the common good? It’s medieval.

First of all, the people who are put to death, mostly underprivileged young gentlemen of color, are often innocent. And if they are not innocent, they are most likely victims of systematic social injustice. And in the rare case that they are just plain evil, they should have had treatment. And if they had treatment and it still didn’t work, they should have had some more treatment, and some sedatives probably. Any way you turn it, the state is responsible.

If an innocent citizen is put to death, the state is responsible. If social conditions are allowed to exist that drive citizens to murder each other in order to subsist, the state is responsible. If a citizen is allowed, without detection or treatment, to develop some sort of malignant, anti-social condition that makes him prone to murder, the state is responsible. If an insane or dangerous citizen is released back into society before his treatment is effective, the state is responsible.

Why? Because responsibility is inherent in - and proportional to - power. The sovereign state as a violence monopoly, a justice monopoly and a power monopoly is therefore also ultimately a responsibility monopoly. Ultimate power means ultimate responsibility.

It follows that the state is directly responsible for the basic economic, social and medical welfare of its every citizen, at the very least to a minimum, common degree of subsistence. That's the price of power: If necessary, the state has the right to levy taxes for the redistribution of wealth. The state also has the right to field vast armies and build colossal organizational structures, shift things around and do whatever the hell it wants to get the job done.

The state does not, however, have the right to blame its citizens for its own incompetence. And never, ever in a time of peace does it have the right to kill - unless it is directly to stop one citizen from harming another. In time, with better non-lethal police technology, even that will disappear.

Grow up, America. You are embarrasing your last remaining allies.

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8 Comments:

Anonymous anne said...

very well written, mikkel! keep up the good work!

9:49 am  
Blogger Mikkel said...

Anne, I adore you, but this has to stop. Due to your sweet encouragement I am developing a bad case of megalomania.

10:19 am  
Blogger MGL said...

I'm with you all the way.

11:17 am  
Anonymous adam said...

Word

12:47 pm  
Blogger Mikkel said...

Thanks for the support. I hope you will keep this in mind when I run for lifetime world dictator.

4:15 pm  
Blogger MGL said...

Liberty through dictatorship! I love it.

10:45 pm  
Blogger Mikkel said...

Not exactly a novel idea, I know. But this time it's me, not some psycho. You trust me - don't you?

12:56 am  
Blogger MGL said...

As far as I can throw the Storebältespänd bridge.

1:30 am  

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