Re: "Is the death penalty extropian?"
Wed, 25 Nov 1998 16:14:28 -0700

Hi, Brian, I wrote:
>Force was initiated by the murderer, but since the death penalty
>is not an immediate and direct response to the murderer's force,
>it does not qualify as defensive counterforce. Any harm inflicted
>after the fact is a *separate* application of force, and hence an
>initiation. Or is there some flaw in my reasoning here?

You respond:
> The flaw lies in the fact that I just re-read "the extropian
> Principals v2.6, and there is no non-aggression principal.
> "have some fire Strawman"

Now you're really burning me up. :-)

Obviously I wasn't referring to the Extropian Principles, but to the general libertarian prohibition of aggression. Extropians, by the coiner's own definition, are "libertarian transhumanists", so there's more to what we hold in common than the EPs, no?

So douse that torch already.

You said:
>> As citizens of a government we are subject to legal definitions.

I said:
>I disagree. Most of us haven't chosen to be "citizens" in the
>first place, we are simply claimed as such by the nearest
>gangsters calling themselves "government". "Subject to legal
>definitions" is somewhat ambiguous, but if you mean we're somehow
>("morally" or otherwise) bound to define things the way the
>powers-that-be tell us to, I'd like to know why.

You said:
> You don't have to agree on the definition, but if you violate it,
> you will be punished.

If that's all you meant, I agree - at least an attempt will (in principle) be made to find and punish the violater. That's the reality. I thought you were invoking some obligation to agree with the "authorities'" definitions.

> In a world where private agreements handle
> these matters you can be assured my contract will call for the
> death of anyone who murders me.

I suspect (and hope) that your death provision would be found null and void by most freemarket courts. There are things that can't legitimately be contracted for, including, especially, harmful effects on nonsignatory parties. (Right, Greg?)

You made another attempt to differentiate punishment from revenge:

> Punishment requires being convicted of a crime.

"Convicted of a crime" is just a way of saying "held responsible for an unapproved act". Of course, in taking ordinary revenge on you I show that I hold you responsible for a misdeed. I can call it "punishment" if I want, but it doesn't change the nature of what I'm doing.

> I argue it is fair because it is the only thing a murderer has of
> equivalent value to what he/she took.

What good does it do the corpse? How is it fair to forfeit yet another life, to nobody's benefit? What does it do to compensate for what was lost? IOW, exactly where is the justice?

> If an individual does it it is revenge.

...implying that a wrong, so long as it's perpetrated by some _non-unit_ number of individuals, somehow magically becomes right. How?

Peace and carrots,