If you want clarity on the issue of Capital Punishment – a debate that is (no pun intended) seemingly dead in Canada – listen to this engaging 35 minutes of radio from the January 29, 2007 Dennis Prager Show: “Mercy for Murderers – Interview with Austin Sarat, Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College”.
Prager is a prominent proponent of the death penalty. Sarat is an “abolitionist”. Very eloquently, Prager boiled it down to this:
“…you lose sleep over the fact that murderers are put to death, and I lose sleep over the fact that murderers are not put to death.”
Prager rejects the “deterrence” argument, and sticks with his understanding of civilized morality: that it is a cosmic injustice for a murderer to keep his life after unjustly eliminating another.
You’ll have to listen to the whole interview to hear Dennis – often unfairly derided as a blowhard and a fool by left-wing critics – use logic and universal morality to expose the vacuous nature of the professor’s views. As someone who grew up in a culture that was 100% convinced that capital punishment “lowers us to the level of the murderer”, but was never at ease with that assertion, this interview gave me some invaluable debating ammunition that helps make the anit-death-penalty absolutist, rather than the capital punishment supporter, look like the savage.