I don’t have all that much to say about the Troy Davies issue, but there is one thing that seems to me to be most perplexing, so I think a quick rant is in order. Now, I understand the reasoning behind capital punishment – it’s incorrect in every facet (regarding prevention, economics, rehabilitation, etc.), but I understand it from a prima facie point of view.
What I don’t understand is the celebration of death, no matter who it is that is dying. Even during my conservative days, I never supported the death penalty, and I think I can safely say, with hindsight as my guide, that it was the genocides and other forms of ritual murder in the Old Testament which provided me with lines of flight which have defined my own subtraction narrative more than any other “progressive” cause. I just couldn’t accept the various interpretations which were given: allegorical ones were hermeneutical gymnastics, and justificatory ones (like Bill Craig’s excuse that divinely-sanctioned infanticide is acceptable if all the babies go to heaven) made me recoil in horror. I simply cannot sympathize with the celebration of death, protectionist or otherwise.
And here is where the real juicy bit of this is taking me. I’m often told by those very serious people who have been appointed the moral legislators of our time that I will understand this notion of sometimes dirty protectionist justice when I’m older, when I’ve “had kids of my own.” The idea is that starting a family and having kids turns on a switch that retroactively invalidates all the adolescent ideological posturing of the past (which is true sociologically, people do tend to move to the right politically when they have kids), and that the reality that sometimes you need to get your hands dirty to protect yourselves and your loved ones finally sets in. And it is this trope which disgusts me most of all: the blatant admittance that this all just a cynical ploy for a genetically determined desire to be the mother hen. If our society’s sense of communal justice is just a projection of deep-seated parental instincts, then we need a new way of thinking about ethical life.