This blog post on abortion and assisted suicide set me thinking about the ways in which society likes to kill people, and the moment we get rid of one means, we tend to introduce others.
prudential problems are only secondary objections in regard to the practice of assisted suicide. The primary problem is that it still involves the deliberate, intentional killing of an innocent human being. To kill an innocent, even to prevent suffering, is to violate a moral law deeply ingrained in our nature. To create a system where such killing is protected and celebrated is a distortion of proper human community, and like ripples in a pond, that distortion with flow outward to have effects which none of us can fully anticipate.
(Hat-tip to A conservative blog for peace)
And it turned my thoughts to capital punishment, which some people would like to see return to the statute book, though I haven’t seen as many bumper stickers in favour of it as there were ten years ago.
It was the mention in the Ordered Liberty post of taking the life of an innocent human being. Of course in the case of captial punishment there has been due legal process, and the executee has had his or her day and say in court.
As the song puts it:
I learned that murderers die for their crimes
Even if we make a mistake sometimes.
And it occurred to me that capital punishment might be acceptable if it were reintroduced with one proviso: if it should ever be shown that a person put to death by order of a court was actually innocent of the capital crime they were charged with, then the judge and the prosecutor (if the prosecutor demanded the death penalty) should, within three months, suffer the same fate as the vindicated accused, with no appeal, no reprieve, no remission. They could, however, the option of going to a thanatorium and being assisted in suicide earlier, if they chose to do so — at their own expense, of course.