Sunday, May 15, 2016

Austin Petersen, the Death Penalty and Me

One of the amazing things about Austin Petersen as a presidential candidate is that he reaches out to the people who support him, not just with personal appearances, but through livestreams that even reach out to people who are shut in at home or in enclosures with chimpanzees. So it happened that yesterday, while sitting here with Bow, I was able to catch one of Austin Petersen's livestreams while it was ongoing -- and he even said hi to me, personally!
 Being acknowledged by name made me very happy. However, I didn't necessarily agree with everything he said, and yet I'm still a supporter!

So let me explain what the problem is and how as a rational supporter of a limited government I resolved it without dropping my support for Austin Petersen. He is Pro-Life. I am not. Up till now, that was something that came up when abortion was discussed. But now it appears that his principled stance on this issue extends to the death penalty. You've got to give him this: he is consistent. However, I, too, have a consistent set of beliefs that go the other way.

If you have read my novels, you will know that Jean Laffite was in favor of the death penalty, so much so that he executed people himself, at his own expense, after trying them in his private courts. His friend and lawyer, Ed Livingston began speaking out against the death penalty after he saw innocent men executed for standing up to corrupt customs inspectors. He ended up drafting a model penal code that removed the death penalty from the list of possible punishments. He wanted his penal code to be adopted by Louisiana, but instead people in France embraced it. It's more of a European idea, I think.

An excerpt on the Death Penalty and Unjust Conviction by a Corrupt Government
from Theodosia and the Pirates The War Against Spain
One of the less principled arguments against the death penalty is that many an innocent man has been executed, due to the inherent fallibility of our system of justice. But Jean Laffite rightly understood that life imprisonment is an even more cruel punishment, when it is unwarranted. And for those people who have the mistaken idea that life imprisonment can be more easily reversed than an execution: even if released after a lifetime of unjust imprisonment, the accused will never be the same and his life will still have been stolen from him. Better to have just laws and a system that really believes we are not guilty until proven to be so beyond any reasonable doubt. I support a strong burden of proof.

Some people argue that life incarceration is fiscally responsible, because it costs less than an execution. But that is only true under a government that mismanages things. Executing someone is possible on a shoestring budget and depends entirely on the method used. Here below is a discussion of the various ways used by different cultures throughout the ages to execute people, taken from Our Lady of Kaifeng.

Excerpt from Our Lady of Kaifeng, Volume 1

Austin Petersen's argument against the death penalty is much simpler than fiscal issues or inadequate proof of guilt: he does not believe the government has the right to take a citizen's life even if guilty of murder. But while I disagree, this does not bother me, because Petersen is a constitutionalist, and a strict constructionist, and he knows that murder is not a Federal crime. It is up to the states. This is why I can wholeheartedly endorse Austin Petersen as a presidential candidate. I might not vote for him as governor of Missouri, but he has my complete support as President of the United States! And besides that, I like him. He does not hide his positions, even when they might turn away many potential supporters. I like a presidential candidate who does not pander!

Living in a Federal system, we can agree to disagree on important issues, while supporting the constitution which allows for this disagreement. To me, that's the most important thing.

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