Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Death Penalty in a Post-Christian Society

"…in a post-Christian society, the idea of a death penalty is quite abhorrent. A man's greatest possession is not his soul, which does not exist, but his life, which is all he has. In that case the very idea of execution is quite intolerable, even if the alternative is—as it turned out to be–a grave increase in armed crime and the gradual arming of the police force."

The argument between Christianity and liberalism had been quietly lost during the First World War, and particularly in the mud-pits of Passchendaele and the Somme, when men from the educated classes had seen so much death and so little mercy that they had come to hate killing of any sort, and had ceased for ever to believe in the certainties of the world before 1914. In the lingering afterglow of Christian belief, the old guard had been able to preserve some remnants of punishment and retribution. But in general the ruling elite could not justify such cruelties to themselves, and had come to despise the masses for clinging to their belief in the power of the noose. " Peter Hitchens, The Abolition of Britain, P. 272

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