Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Joseph Bottum has an (I think) intriguing essay up at Public Discourse, called "The Authority to Kill," in which he presents an argument that I remember hearing at a conference, at Notre Dame, about 12 years ago, but not since. In a nutshell, Bottum's point is that there are some powers that some, but not all, governments (legitimately) have and exercise? Obviously, not all governments are vested by their constitutions with the same powers, but these variations among different jurisdictions' positive laws is not Bottum's subject. Instead, and focusing on the death penalty and war-making, Bottum asks whether there are some "forms of government" that may legitimately execute murderers, or go to war, while some others may not. Are there some forms of governments that lack what it takes to apply the death penalty "because its killers deserve to die?"
Check it out.