P. Edronkin

Surviving Our double Standards

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Is the death penalty something really so bad, after all? In the last decades, at least among western countries, the death penalty has been abolished for moral as well as political reasons, but that seems contradictory regarding the laws of nature. It is quite ironical that countries like the Netherlands and Switzerland, which have abolished the death penalty long ago, at the same time legally allow euthanasia, or the case of Norway, were abortions are even paid by the state welfare system but nobody even considers death as a legal penalty.

There are various contradictions regarding all these events which in essence are nothing more and nothing less than killing people. One of the most used arguments against the death penalty is that since justice is fallible, then such a sentence could produce irreversible damage if wrong, and that is indeed true, but so hazardous is the judgement of those who decide whether to perform or not euthanasia on a patient who apparently cannot survive based on scientific, medical evidence. And an analogous thing could be said of abortion: DNA is used to identify people; thus, if you find a living organism carrying its won, differentiated DNA then you have a living being. Thus, if you find a living, no matter how underdeveloped baby in the womb of a woman, you have a human being, and that is so since the DNA of the mother and the DNA of the father combined into a third, distinct form.

Under a strict, scientific valuation, performing an abortion on a foetus with its own DNA already in place is indeed killing someone.

On the other hand, what do you do with people like the late Ted Bundy? That man was a serial killer, very cruel, in possession of all his mental faculties and who confessed his deeds. Why disposing of such an individual should be considered intrinsically worse than performing an abortion over an unborn - thus innocent - baby or an old person being eaten alive by cancer? What purpose would serve to keep people like Mr. Bundy locked in a jail.

To say that justice should be done shouldn't mean that we act in haste, neither that we should act against nature: people like serial killers, rapists, genocidal leaders and so on are not recoverable and even if they are, wouldn't it be wiser to invest the money spent on them in some other cause? The question not only is whether they are recoverable or not, but whether it is wise to spend the money to rehabilitate them before setting them free, a feat of justice as fallible as condemning people to die.

Whether we like it or not, for us as well as for all animals on earth, it is only natural to escape or kill whatever menaces us; nature is not interested in morals and hunting and killing are also valid survival techniques. Those who have practised survival, or ever confronted a survival situation know that sometimes, survivors are confronted with a simple fact of life: you live or die based on whether you kill or not; even the countries that have discontinued the death penalty but allow abortion or euthanasia continue to act in this way.

And there is yet something else to consider, and that is the number of human beings on Earth: we are simply too many, according to every single scientific calculation, for there is a ratio between predators and preys, and we indeed are predators, but we have long surpassed the number of preys. We can raise cattle and eat rabbits, but disasters like those happening in Africa are closely related to this fact. There are places in the world where there are simply too many humans, and nature finds the way to reach equilibrium again, whether we like it or not.

I don't say this out of racism; I have no problem with Africans, Chinese or people from any other overpopulated place on Earth, but it is simply a matter of sustainability that they will either have to expand, conquering the environments of other humans or species, or suffer the consequences of overpopulation. It is a matter of survival, nothing more and nothing less.

And with all the cynicism that this may entail, I think that government officials around the world know that fact, and this is the reason why they show so little interest in fighting famine, AIDS and other forms of natural mass extermination. So, in this context, I think that we should at least question ourselves about our double standards regarding life and death.

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