Re: Is the death penalty Extropian?

Paul Hughes (
Mon, 30 Nov 1998 13:53:55 -0800

Michael Lorrey wrote:

> wrote:
> > However in state sponsored executions I would like to see the method changed.
> > I think total body organ harvesting would be much more appropriate.
> Hardly. Putting a profit motive before the state would cause the state to seek to
> expand the penalty to more and more crimes. Even, and especially, in a popular
> democracy, with an aging population, there will be public pressure to expand the
> penalty to more and more crimes. Larry Niven discussed this in many of his Known
> Space stories.

Absolutely. China has been engaged in for-profit organ harvesting of executed prisoners for at least the past 20 years. Not only are these prisoners executed in public stadiums, but their organs are harvested immediately afterwards and sold to the highest bidder. The Chinese government, inept in obtaining money by any legitimate economic means, resorts to the most arbitrary definition of what a "criminal" is, that it can essentially arrest anyone at anytime for any reason. Motivate arbitrary arrest with a profit motive, and you have one of the most cruel and tyrannical governments on the planet.

Perhaps that is why, when I see rhetoric on this list discussing mechanisms moving in the same direction (no matter how well intended), I see China as the end result. There is a reason we have the Bill of Rights, because humans are fallible, and large numbers of them without checks and balances can be downright dangerous.

Paul Hughes