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June 15, 2015

Ron Paul at Townhall: "Death Penalty is Big Government at Its Worst"

Former Texas congressman Ron Paul has this notable new anti-death penalty commentary now up at Townhall.  Here are excerpts:

Nebraska's legislature recently made headlines when it ended the state's death penalty. Many found it odd that a conservatives-dominated legislature would support ending capital punishment, since conservative politicians have traditionally supported the death penalty. However, an increasing number of conservatives are realizing that the death penalty is inconsistent with both fiscal and social conservatism.  These conservatives are joining with libertarians and liberals in a growing anti-death penalty coalition.

It is hard to find a more wasteful and inefficient government program than the death penalty.  New Hampshire recently spent over $4 million dollars prosecuting just two death penalty cases, while Jasper County in Texas raised property taxes by seven percent in order to pay for one death penalty case!  A Duke University study found that replacing North Carolina's death penalty would save taxpayers approximately $22 million dollars in just two years....

Despite all the time and money spent to ensure that no one is wrongly executed, the system is hardly foolproof.  Since 1973, one out of every ten individuals sentenced to death has been released from death row because of evidence discovered after conviction. The increased use of DNA evidence has made it easier to clear the innocent and identify the guilty.  However, DNA evidence is not a 100 percent guarantee of an accurate verdict. DNA evidence is often mishandled or even falsified.  Furthermore, DNA evidence is available in only five to 10 percent of criminal cases.

It is not surprising that the government wastes so much time and money on such a flawed system. After all, corruption, waste, and incompetence are common features of government programs ranging from Obamacare to the TSA to public schools to the post office.  Given the long history of government failures, why should anyone, especially conservatives who claim to be the biggest skeptics of government, think it is a good idea to entrust government with the power over life and death?...

As strong as the practical arguments against the death penalty are, the moral case is much stronger.  Since it is impossible to develop an error-free death penalty system, those who support the death penalty are embracing the idea that the government should be able to execute innocent people for the "greater good."  The idea that the government should be able to force individuals to sacrifice their right to life for imaginary gains in personal safety is even more dangerous to liberty than the idea that the government should be able to force individuals to sacrifice their property rights for imaginary gains in economic security.

Opposition to allowing the government to take life is also part of a consistent pro-life position.  Thus, those of any ideology who oppose abortion or preemptive war should also oppose the death penalty. Until the death penalty is abolished, we will have neither a free nor a moral society.

I cannot help but wonder if Ron Paul's son, Senator and GOP Prez-candidate Rand Paul, shares these (conservative?) perspectives on the death penalty and might even espouse some anti-death-penalty sentiments on the campaign trail in the future.

June 15, 2015 at 01:47 PM | Permalink

Comments

Paul, who has said in the past that death penalty is a state issue, used his ideological support for federalism to avoid staking out a firm position.

“It’s a tough issue,” he said. “Most crimes are adjudicated at the state level and should be, so there really are almost no crimes at the federal level really under the Constitution that would require the death penalty – I think treason being one. It isn’t a big issue, I think as far as a change in federal policy, and I would leave it for the most part to the states.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/05/28/in-iowa-rand-paul-sticks-with-death-penalty-skepticism/

What about crimes involving the military, federal officials and so on?

Posted by: Joe | Jun 15, 2015 2:20:43 PM

Ron Paul. The preferred and endorsed presidential candidate of Stormfront, White Pride, World Wide. Zeig Heil Ron Paul, We Will Rise Again. Ron Paul, anti-Semitic, racist, Hate America, a Holocaust denier. Is that OK with the lawyers here?

From a favorite left wing site, so should be credible here.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-wilson/ron-paul-to-speak-at-holo_b_3881363.html

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 15, 2015 10:25:16 PM

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