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Blog Watch: WB on the death penalty

Danzig U.S.A.: Wendell Berry Makes Public Statement on the Death Penalty.

[Not to be altered in any way without the approval of Wendell Berry]

“As I am made deeply uncomfortable by the taking of a human life before birth, I am also made deeply uncomfortable by the taking of a human life after birth. Obviously, it can be well argued that the world would be better off if certain people had never been born or if they had been killed in early youth by a fall from a tree. And I certainly can imagine circumstances in which I might kill another person. But I don’t believe that mere humans have the mental or moral capacity to decide rightfully, let alone infallibly, that another human should be killed. As I don’t condone the illegal killing of a human by a human, I cannot condone the legal killing of a human by a human. One killing is not rectified or atoned for by the addition of a second. An illegal killing is in no way made better by a legal killing. A society is not made saner or more morally secure by the deputation in it of legalized killers. Whereas many illegal killings are done in hot blood, legal killings are always done in cold blood and with a procedural deliberation that is horrifying. Hot-blooded killing is of course horrifying also, but to me it is more understandable. Probably we have no choice against illegal killing, which continues to happen against the wishes of nearly everybody. But it is possible, morally and rationally, to choose to withhold one’s approval from legal killing, and I so choose.”

[Not to be altered in any way without the approval of Wendell Berry].

 --Wendell Berry
Port Royal, KY
January 23, 2009

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