Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise."

Plea Against the Death Penalty

Look, examine, reflect. You hold capital punishment up as an example. Why? Because of what it teaches. And just what is it that you wish to teach by means of this example? That thou shalt not kill. And how do you teach that "thou shalt not kill"? By killing.

I have examined the death penalty under each of its two aspects: as a direct action, and as an indirect one. What does it come down to? Nothing but something horrible and useless, nothing but a way of shedding blood that is called a crime when an individual commits it, but is (sadly) called "justice" when society brings it about. Make no mistake, you lawmakers and judges, in the eyes of God as in those of conscience, what is a crime when individuals do it is no less an offense when society commits the deed.
-Victor Hugo


  1. OOH! This makes me think of a Tolstoy quote that you'll love. I'll look for it and pass it on.

  2. OOH! It just made me think of another one by the Italian criminologist Beccaria, too. OOH! Looking now--