A few months ago, I was discussing the death penalty with some relatively bright young people. I shared my evolution on the topic—from being completely against it to becoming less and less opposed. I mentioned that my turning point was hearing a speech by Alan Keyes in which he invoked the instructive power of the law. A society teaches through its laws, and it teaches the value of human life and the seriousness of crimes against it by exacting an extreme penalty for such violations. To me, that is the best argument for capital punishment.
After we chatted for some time, I said that, in the end, a society has to decide for itself how to ensure civil order and to protect its people. Through the conversation, one girl was becoming more and more aggravated. After I finished speaking, she asserted that Hitler was put in power by “society” to do what the Germans thought was right. Somewhat surprised, I asked if she was equating a society’s due process killing of child rapists and murderers to the Holocaust. She said yes. “Who are we to . . . “
First they came for the child rapists, and I said nothing.
Then they came for the parricides, and I remained silent.
Next they came for the cannibals . . .