The Death Penalty

I hear the folks over at Reason talking the death penalty.

Their points:

The death penalty cannot be merciful. The drugs and the inability to get drug companies to help mean that all such cases stand a good chance of being botched.

Doctors and heath professionals who assist will be corrupted.

The legal costs are appalling. They are also justified. We must be careful in whom we kill.

We do not have the moral right to force doctors to help kill people. It violates their oath.

These are all good arguments. Very good. I just cannot help remember the same arguments being debunked a few months ago when the talk was about physician-assisted suicide.

The Whig Interpretation of History

Peering-through-the-cosmic-sphere-illustration-from-Latmosphere-meteorologie-populaire-Paris-1888-by-Camille-Flammarion

Amanda and Johnathan,

There is a view of history that is especially seductive to affluent college students. The Whig Interpretation of history is that NOW is a wonderful time!  If not the best of all times, then the present day is pretty darned close to it. And all of history is pointed right at today. This is the obvious outcome of all the past. Obviously the hand of Providence has guided us to this point! We are, we think modestly, God’s elect.

Resist this outlook. Not because it dulls you appreciation of the fragility of life, but because it leads to unhappiness.

Life is change. One thing is sure: If you decide that life is ideal, and that divine Providence has led you to this place, time will surely lead you away. And for the rest of your life things will move farther from that point that you unconsciously defined as the acme of history.  If all choices that led to now were desirable and proper, then all the choices from that point out will be, somehow, a false step. Some people spend their lives wondering where things went wrong.

All of history always points to the present. There is only one history. It points to the next present as well.

Embrace change. Or defy it. But today is neither the zenith nor the nadir. Count not on providence. You make your own path.