Will and I have a difference of opinion on the death penalty, but fortunately we’ve never had this argument (and there are even instances where Will admits his anti-Death-Penalty stance wavers, because of people who are “poster children” for the death penalty).

However, a standard attack by anti-Death Penalty advocates uses the “odd” idea that many DP supporters are also anti-Abortion (or, sometimes, the phrase “Pro-Life” is used, since the other size uses “Pro-Choice”).

The attack goes as follows: If you support the death penalty and oppose abortion and still claim to be “pro-life”, you’re a hypocrite. After all, you’re claiming one thing that the “Pro-Choice” people claim isn’t a human yet is worth protecting, but an actual matured human being isn’t.

The alternative is simple, but I’ve never heard it expressed so clearly until a local radio host did. I’ll paraphrase slightly because I can’t remember the wording precisely:

In the first case, you have someone who’s committed a crime so heinous that society needs protecting from that in the most ultimate form we can imagine. In the other, you have an innocent (fetus? baby? child?) that has committed no crime. That’s how I can be pro-Death Penalty and anti-Abortion all at once.

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2 Responses to Nope, Not Hypocrisy

  1. trumwill says:

    I’m “consistent” on these two issues insofar as I am broadly against abortion and the death penalty, but I agree that these are two different issues with two different sets of criteria.

    I should point out that it works both ways, though. Someone that is pro-choice but against the death penalty simply makes different calculations about what constitutes human life and whether or not it is moral to kill someone that has killed someone else.

    This reminds me… “hypocrisy” is one of the most abused accusations thrown around today. I should write a post on it.

  2. Willard Lake says:

    Many religeous types have fine arguments about being both pro-life and pro-death penalty. It all comes down to the reasons we exist on the earth, and that there is an after-life. With this view of things, killing someone isn’t snuffing out their life force, but rather shunting them sideways to another plan of existance. God did this all the time in the Old and New Testaments, and commanded his followers to pursue the same course (mainly in the Old Testament, as the New is more about lovey-commandmenty-do goodery stuff). Now, denying a child the ability to exist in this plane, many believe, is going against the will of God. Some stop short of calling it murder, especially those of my religious bent, and when under certain, other than ideal, circumstances (rape, incest, health/life of mother), but others go whole hog and, well, we’ve seen the clips of their demonstrations and determination to stop such practices. Now those same people, as well as myself, would have no problem busting a cap in Jospeh Duncan’s head as soon as his sentence was reached.

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