Re: Is the death penalty Extropian?

maxm (
Tue, 24 Nov 1998 22:26:56 +0100

From: <>

>Max M [] wrote:
>>You can argue that a violent criminal is not that, and I would have to
>>agree. But wouldn't it be better to lock up the criminal until he can be
>>rewired with nanotech drugs or something else?
>Now you just have to explain why "rewiring" criminals is somehow better
>killing them.

Well as I plan to rewire myself in the hopefully not so distant future I can hardly se it as a threat to anyone.

>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.

They don't have to be erased, only changed, and change is not the same as death. change is a consequence of life. Or else going to bed, sleeping and thereby loosing your conscience and then waking up again tomorrow would equal death. Even living from moment to moment changes you subtly.

We are just talking about the pace of change. As far as I understand jails in the US are called correctional facilities. In this there is also implied a reprogramming. Just not as effective.

It could be as simple as falling asleep with a terrible anger inside you and then waking up happy but still understanding the consequences of what you had done.

>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
>regardless of any economic arguments. Given a choice between physical death
>or involuntary reprogramming into slave labor, I'll take death, thanks.

Never said a word about slave labour. Didn't even say involentary reprogramming. If you find it important then give them the choice between death and change. Fine by me.

>Interestingly, all the fictional treatments of this I can think of (1984,
>Clockwork Orange, Babylon 5) seem to agree with that.

Well ... it reminds me of the arguments against tempering with genes because it changes who we are, and it's unnatural. No matter that agriculture has been changing genes for centuries now. Albeit at a much lower pace.

Btw: the word natural should be forbidden in any extropian/transhuman conversation. Nothing that we want to do is natural.


Max M Rasmussen
New Media Director Denmark