Friday, January 05, 2007

Some thoughts about killing Saddam Hussein


The reactions after the killing of Saddam were three, basically: The civilised world criticised it, Poland criticised it in principle but showed sighing understanding, Iran and the USA lauded it. (As an aside, whatever you think about executions, the Bush claim that it was a fair trial is ludicrous.)

What is the difference between the USA and the (rest of the?) civilised world? It's religion, of course. A particular form of Christianity, to be precise, and that makes it all the sadder to see American Jews share the lust for killing even if they think they don't have anything in common with the Amerikaner goyyim and are really the same as British or Israeli Jews, only in a different location.

Whatever you tell me, the main motive for killing convicted people is bloodthirsty revenge, not deterrence, or general or individual prevention. These do play a rôle in rationalising the existance of the death penalty, but they'd never have effected its introduction without the issue of satisfaction, pleasant creepiness and revenge. It seems to be quite widespread, maybe even a "natural" feature in people. Still, that alone wouldn't justify anything, because even if scientists find out that it's in fact inherent in human nature, or that there's a revenge gene in Republicans, still the rules of a society and in particular the Tôre are there daffke to keep us from primitive drives.

The death penalty says killing as such is fine. If you're not cautious or rich enough, we'll kill you too, so you see, there's nothing evil in killing, it's more like a game. If you object that there is a difference between allowed killing and forbidden killing, let me point out that the typical non-licenced killer has an under-average IQ and is even more trained to think in categories of violence than the rest of trigger-happy America, while the licenced killer, the American people, is by definition of average intelligence and education. The average non-licenced killer kills for money, while the licenced killer kills for revenge. That is, as Siessche points out, regarded "first-degree murder under aggravating circumstances" by the very same system.

But back to the question how comes this peculiar US fondness of killing convicts, unless you want to explain it as a piece of folklore or a traditional pastime. I said above it's because of religion. In the US, over 90% of the people believe in God, mainly meaning God as understood by Protestant free churches, while in Europe the figure is something between 40% and 60%. Now that doesn't mean the rest of Europeans are atheists. But if you're an agnostic, even one leaning to the theist side, you just don't know. (Or you know you don't know, more exactly.) If, however, you think you know there is a Protestant-free-church-style God, then there's a Protestant-free-church-style netherworld, and even if you killed the wrong guy again - well, shit happens, and he'll be somehow rewarded in the afterlife, getting some extra perks and benefits.

But if you're not sure about this, even if you tend to believe it, you won't take the risk of the sheer horror of irretrievably ending a human being's life.

Related: "We have helped to officiate at a human sacrifice. For shame."
My two cents: I oppose the death penalty except when there is insurmountable evidence of an atrocious crime. I think Sadaam meets that standard - while also recognizing and acknowledging the points Lipman makes. I've always found it hard to accept the law and order Republican assertion that "Killing is absolutely and positivily wrong, um, except when it, um, isn't."

No comments: