Re: Is the death penalty Extropian?

Paul Hughes (
Tue, 24 Nov 1998 22:28:08 -0800 wrote:

> Now you just have to explain why "rewiring" criminals is somehow better than
> killing them. As I see it, there are just certain kinds of people you can't
> share a planet with, and you have to either exile them, kill them mentally
> with this kind of reprogramming, or kill them physically. I don't see why
> killing them mentally is an improvement over killing them physically, and
> personally I'd argue for precisely the opposite.

How can you decide what is good for everyone else? You can't. So how can you say that killing someone is better for them than re-programming them? Let them decide. They can be subjected to re-programming or they can push a button at the convenient cyanide dispensary and kill themselves. The choice is theirs.

> Your argument seems to be that you can reprogram them into a 'useful member
> of society' and that society will benefit from that. I find the idea of a
> legal system deciding what mental software people should run utterly abhorrent,
> regardless of any economic arguments. Given a choice between physical death
> or involuntary reprogramming into slave labor, I'll take death, thanks.

That is *your* choice! And I agree that its a murky area deciding what is mentally sound or not. But searching for answers there is much more humane than killing them without a choice. Otherwise we are creating a system based on vengeance, not rational inquiry, experimentation and possible advancement.

Paul Hughes