Re: Is the death penalty Extropian?

den Otter (
Tue, 24 Nov 1998 18:45:02 +0100

> From: Brian D Williams <>

> "Is the Death Penalty Extropian?"

Ah, the death penalty! One of my favorite topics... I dunno whether it's Extropian (only Max knows ;-) , but it certainly is rational.

> We welcome all comments on this, please state your reasons as
> thoroughly as you can.
> First of all, by definition, the death penalty is not murder.

Quite right.

> Murder: 1) to kill a person unlawfully and with malice. (Websters
> new world dictionary)
> Second,I feel that the death penalty is the appropriate punishment
> for the unlawful and malicious killing of a fellow human being.

Yes. I'd like to add that IMO, the punishment should fit the crime; serial killers/mass murderers/people who tortured their victims etc. should receive harsher death penalties than someone who kills just one victim in a relatively humane way. I also support corporal punishment for violent offenders, btw.

> I feel that the death penalty has it's problems however, it is
> often applied with a racial bias, and when it is decided upon, it
> takes too long to administer.

Of course, the whole justice system would have to be revised before any executions can start.
Main changes:

--"insanity" plea is abolished.  
--no age limit
--no gender/race/whatever bias
--convictions on hard evidence only, such as forensics,
video/audio footage (nation-wide camera system in public places with central databanks)
--lay juries are abolished
--executions within a week or so after trial, unless hard evidence is presented by the defence
--standard option of cryopreservation upon execution --"manslaughter" as a result of aggression (like beating someone up without intent to kill) or severe risk taking (drunk driving, unsafe gun handling) is punished as murder (death penalty).
--killing a cryonicist in such a way that his brain is damaged beyond any conceivable repair (i.e. burning, rotting to a pulp, exploding etc.) should be punished especially severely (slow & painful death). --same for destroying a brain in suspension --(option) executions done publicly in sport stadiums (tickets required), footage sold to commercial TV stations etc. Money made by these means can help to finance the justice system, and a part can go to (family of) the victims.

For good measure:
--all "victimless crimes" legalized. Police can focus on the real crimes, and much less officers are needed (you save $$$). --national (global?) DNA and fingerprint databank (for *all* citizens), of course with very restricted access and firm penalties for abuse. --jails must be automated. No physical contact between guards and inmates or between the inmates themselves. 1 person per cell, wholesome food and possibility for exercise, but no recreation. Possibly self-sustained labor camps.
--massive centralized surveillance system, for evidence and prevention. All government agents, including the police and judiciary, must wear video/audio equipment at all times while on the job. --heavily automated justice system (one for the whole country, or better yet, world). Precedents are binding, as consequence is one of the pillars of justice.(*)
--society (especially the economy) must be automated as much as possible so that everyone can receive a decent standard of living *without having to work*.
--the press is not allowed to reveal details of criminal investigations and trials, unless cleared by the authorities. Names are only released after sentencing.

--right to keep and bear arms
--right to kill intruders (on private property)
--right to kill in self-defense
--right to hold a duel (in specially designated places or on private
property that's sufficiently isolated. The entire event must be recorded by camera, all involved must participate out of free will). --people who fear that they might commit a (violent) crime because of "urges", can get free treatment from the government.

(*)[Justice: punishing harmful acts in a consequent manner and so that the punishment fits the crime]

> I do not feel deterrence is a prerequisite for it's existence, but
> I feel that if it was applied fairly, equitably, and quickly, it
> could have a deterrent effect.

Agreed. The surveillance system in combination with relatively few but firmly enforced laws should virtually wipe out crime. I bet that with a system like this you could even put Russia back on its feet...

Conclusion: if you want to do capital punishment right, it has to be part of a much larger package of progressive and rational amendments. In the justice system as seen in for example America today, I wouldn't recommend capital punishment.