Ron Paul

Ron Paul Endorses Anti-Death Penalty Group

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Credit: Gage Skidmore / Foter / CC BY-SA

Ron Paul may technically be retired, but he remains as active and vocal as ever. The former 12-term Republican congressman is speaking out about the death penalty.

Today, the doctor formally endorsed Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty (CCATDP). The former presidential candidate had this to say about the organization:

I believe that support for the death penalty is inconsistent with libertarianism and traditional conservatism. So I am pleased with Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty's efforts to form a coalition of libertarians and conservatives to work to end capital punishment.

I spoke to Marc Hyden, CCATDP's National Advocacy Coordinator, who described Paul as a "significant political and thought leader" and explained that the organization is "ecstatic" to receive the doctor's endorsement.

"This reiterates that we already know," says Hyden. "From the grassroots to political leaders and conservatives to libertarians, there is a growing concern about the death penalty."

Although Paul campaigned on his consistent principles, his views on the death penalty seem to have shifted over time.  

The congressman has said, "There was a time I simply stated that I supported the death penalty." However, he now notes that "believers in the omnipotence of state military power are enthusiastic supporters of the death penalty." Paul also cites concerns that capital punishment is unfairly implemented against minorities and low-income citizens.

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53 responses to “Ron Paul Endorses Anti-Death Penalty Group

  1. What can I say. Ron has his special place with people whom I genuinely admire. Michelle Rhee is on that list. At the moment that is all I can think of.

    Also, first. Now to take over am/pm links first.

    1. Is is just me, or are libertarians doomed to admire only people who have been ignored and marginalized in politics?

  2. The congressman has said, “There was a time I simply stated that I supported the death penalty.” However, he now notes that “believers in the omnipotence of state military power are enthusiastic supporters of the death penalty.”

    The omnipotence of the state is exactly the problem with the death penalty. If no one were immune from wrongful convictions, if those involved could be convicted of killing an innocent person as well, even in the case of an honest mistake, I’d have much less of a problem with the death penalty.

    1. I totally see your point although as a man of faith have a different view.

      That view is that God is the ultimate purveyor of death and inherently reserves the right to choose when you die. State sanctioned murder obviously flies directly into the face of this idea.

      That said, I again understand your argument that ever-present state is the real problem with due process violations, wrongful convictions, etc…

      1. So “the state” acting is never “when God wants it?” I never get this argument, and seek further enlightenment.

      2. That view is that God is the ultimate purveyor of death and inherently reserves the right to choose when you die. State sanctioned murder obviously flies directly into the face of this idea.

        I don’t see any command in the Bible that prohibits capital punishment. One of the first laws in Genesis was “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”

        1. One rabbinical tradition and interpretation of capital punishment in Levitical law which dates back to at least the Alexandrian conquests has been that capital punishment is a legitimate response to certain moral crimes, but that only God has the moral authority and knowledge to ensure that this punishment is carried out justly. Judging by the debate between secondary sources on this topic, capital punishment appears to have been very rarely employed by the state of Israel, and the above rabbinical argument has been presented as a reason for this apparent discrepancy.

          Oddly enough, that argument parallels a similar argument by William Blackstone that the death penalty under common law was a liberal policy intended, in conjunction with jury trial, to establish the gravity of criminal proceedings and was thus employed judiciously or (in some shires) not at all — in essence, that it was one more way to ensure that the accused got a fair and non-frivolous trial.

          1. One rabbinical tradition and interpretation of capital punishment in Levitical law which dates back to at least the Alexandrian conquests has been that capital punishment is a legitimate response to certain moral crimes, but that only God has the moral authority and knowledge to ensure that this punishment is carried out justly.

            Which would contradict the above passage in Genesis, since it clearly states “by man”.

            As an agnostic, I don’t base my reasoning on religious texts, but I fail to see a Biblical condemnation of capital punishment.

            1. I didn’t say I agreed with the argument, though it is odd that the sources involved in this debate all conceded that the death penalty in ancient Israel was rarely invoked. (Whether this was an accurate characterization of ancient Israel is worthy of debate.)

              As I understand the argument, the burden of proof which needed to be presented to conduct an effective murder trial was quite high; the death penalty was effectively abolished in practice by the Sanhedrin only a few years after the death of Christ and before then was rarely invoked.

      3. What is your position on legalizing assisted suicide?

        1. For Justin Beiber? I’d support it.

      4. I agree with both of these posts. There is a pragmatic argument that the state simply cannot be trusted to employ capital punishment justly, and (to folks like BTR and myself) that it is not for man to assert a right to killing when it isn’t in the service of the protection of innocents.

        Of course none of this should be construed to mean that all killings are unjust.

        1. Definitely have come around to not trusting the state to kill – no longer support the death penalty. I’m just askin’ how it cannot be that a death from the state, or me, or a soldier, or a terrorist, or whomever, ISN’T “God’s plan”.

          I don’t know that to be the case – so I don’t assume that all state-sanctioned/created deaths are NOT God “choosing” when someone dies. Maybe he/she/it did?

          I dunno – just askin’ questions…

          1. I can’t speak for all Christians, but my personal thoughts on the subject are that death is a consequence of sin and not part of the original plan — and that no death (unless explicitly revealed) is part of “God’s plan” or anything other than man’s cruelty to man or random chance. God gave us the world; we can (and do) screw it up if we want to. If God refuses to kill those who violate His moral laws, I can hardly pretend that I have that authority.

            I’ve heard other Christians say some pretty absurd things on the subject (e.g., every kid that dies of leukemia is part of God’s divine purpose, or that God engineered the Holocaust to provide impetus for the creation of the Jewish state). I’m not all that bright, but I figure that once you start pinning some of the worst crimes in history on the deity you’ve lost any claim to the whole “loving God” thingee.

            That might be one reason why I get along with atheists and agnostics — I’ve never heard an atheist say anything about God that was half as bad as what Christians have said.

            1. One twist on this is that evil is evil, and evildoers are the authors of evil, not God, but that God can choose to *permit* certain evils with the idea that it can be turned to good. On the one hand, if God stopped all evildoers he would abolish free will, but on the other hand he can decide *which* evil deeds to permit with the idea that some long-term benefit will result, contrary to the evildoer’s will.

              1. …”on the other hand he can decide *which* evil deeds to permit with the idea that some long-term benefit”…

                Like the kid with cancer? The women kidnapped in Cleveland?
                I’ll try to keep that in mind.

                1. Sevo,

                  God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God.

                  1. Sorry, there is no independent record of a historical Sevo if we throw out his posts on this blog and the posts of people responding to him. Stop talking to imaginary friends.

                    1. Tulpa (LAOL-VA)| 8.7.13 @ 11:08PM |#
                      “Sorry, there is no independent record…”

                      Poor Tulpa! Busted for BS constantly, now trying for a non-sequitur!
                      Up yours, asshole.

                  2. “God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God.”

                    I’m sure there is some sophistry that presumes that to be an answer.
                    Not to me.

                    1. Just yanking your chain. Strictly childish on my part, I apologize.

            2. If God refuses to kill those who violate His moral laws, I can hardly pretend that I have that authority.

              So how does killing in self-defense fit into this ideology?

              1. So how does killing in self-defense fit into this ideology?

                Because another party is involved.

                If murder were consensual between all parties, then there would be nothing to discuss.

                Since it is not, the Christian must take into account the other party and weight the freedom of conscience of the murderer against the deprivation of the victim’s freedoms.

                Fifteen years in and I am still working out the implications of this statement, but suffice it to say killing as an instrument to prevent a worse crime is a different kettle of fish from killing in the name of justice for acts already committed.

      5. I’m an Atheist, and I’m for the death penalty in principle, but I simply don’t trust the government to only kill people who have it coming.

        -jcr

      6. The phrase “as a man of faith” needs to be stricken from the language.

        You might as well say “as an irrational retard”.
        How many varieties of “faith” are there and how are we to know what “faith” means to you?

        If you are a Christian, or Jew, or Muslim, or Jainist, or whatever… Just say it already.

        1. Copernicus| 8.7.13 @ 10:43PM |#
          “The phrase “as a man of faith” needs to be stricken from the language.”
          Well, it make the superstitionoists feel good!

          “You might as well say “as an irrational retard”.”
          Tulpa and other idiots aren’t going to like that!

      7. I’ve heard Christians argue that capital punishment can be good because immanent death can lead to last-second conversions.

  3. I support the death penalty for alt-text skippers, child molesters and people who talk at movies.

    1. child molesters /=/ public urinaters

      Statist!

      /sarc

    2. As long as cops continue to terrorize the public with illegal, unjustified shootings, I remain in support of the death penalty, even though they never seem to get it. Or get charged with murder… or get charged with a crime, or get fired, or… fuck, now I’m just depressed. Still on hold with that psychiatrist.

    3. Auric Demonocles| 8.7.13 @ 5:39PM |#
      “I support the death penalty for alt-text skippers, child molesters and people who talk at movies.”

      Well…
      Seriously, I’m backing np’s comment; the state is not to be trusted with such power.
      Even in those cases where it might be appropriate, I do not trust the state to make that decision.

      1. You do trust “the state”* to lock people in cages for decades, though?

        * the state doesn’t make that decision, juries do, but FTSOA…

        1. Tulpa (LAOL-VA)| 8.7.13 @ 11:05PM |#
          “You do trust “the state”* to lock people in cages for decades, though?”

          Oh, Tulpa, how………..
          infantile.
          Perhaps, but that can be corrected. And I’m sure you were hoping no one would see the false equivalence.
          What is it you teach?

  4. I don’t have a problem with capital punishment in theory. Some criminals really do deserve it, and aren’t worth any more time or consideration or risk than that. I don’t really want to pay tax money to have to feed and clothe monsters for their whole lives.

    But to trust our gonzo government to implement it properly is either insane or suicidal.

    When they suspended IL’s death penalty, over 50% of the people who had been put on death row over the last few decades, had later been exonerated as not actually guilty. Whoops.

    And it’s just as bad in many other states.

    1. You do trust the government to implement locking people in cages for the rest of their lives, though?

      When they suspended IL’s death penalty, over 50% of the people who had been put on death row over the last few decades, had later been exonerated as not actually guilty. Whoops.

      Whoops indeed; you’re incorrect. Equal numbers of executions and exonerations had occurred between 1978 and the moratorium in 2000; there were many more death row inmates than either number.

      I also fail to see how death row exonerations are an indictment of the death penalty process; the luxurious system of appeals, unavailable to lifers, that produced those exonerations is part of the process. If Reason’s former poster boy Cory Maye (before they moved onto more left-friendly poster boys like Aaron Schwartz and Ed Snowden) had been sentenced to life in prison instead of death he probably would have been in jail for the rest of his life, rather than getting a new trial and an acquittal.

      1. “You do trust the government to implement locking people in cages for the rest of their lives, though?”

        There’s not really any alternative to that. And in case you haven’t noticed, death is not reversible.

        And how the fuck is Ed Snowden a left-friendly poster boy? He has embarrassed and given a giant metaphorical middle finger to the sitting Democratic president. Sure, there are some principled people on the left who supported him, but there’s even more partisan idiots who hate the guy for it.

        1. There’s not really any alternative to that.

          Suddenly we’re pragmatists! I would agree that alternatives to coercive state punishment of criminals are impractical or likely to cause greater problems, but I don’t get how state kidnapping is OK but state killing not.

          death is not reversible.

          Neither is decades in prison, unless there’s a time machine or fountain of youth available.

          1. Tulpa (LAOL-VA)| 8.7.13 @ 11:20PM |#
            death is not reversible.

            “Neither is decades in prison, unless there’s a time machine or fountain of youth available.”

            No, you idiot, it’s ‘correctable’.
            How stupid are you?

        2. Lots of people on the left like Snowden. Not every leftist is a full-throatedly partisan Democrat; a lot of them were seriously holding their nose for BO last November.

          1. Tulpa (LAOL-VA)| 8.7.13 @ 11:21PM |#
            “Lots of people on the left like Snowden. Not every leftist is a full-throatedly partisan Democrat; a lot of them were seriously holding their nose for BO last November.”

            Yep, there may have been some who voted for that ignoramus you supported!
            Who was that? Oh, well, it doesn’t matter, no more than you do.
            Oh, and I thought you were going away to prove how much we’d miss you. Hard to miss you if you won’t go away; please do.

        3. And how the fuck is Ed Snowden a left-friendly poster boy?

          Being a “Law and Order Libertarian” means never having to question any program by any means undertaken to preserve our precious, precious security. It’s like you’ve forgotten 9/11 already dude. The only people who could possibly think collecting data on every telecommunication sent over an American network is a dangerous idea are commies and leftist poster boy sympathizers.

        4. There’s not really any alternative to that.

          For many crimes, corporal punishment would be a suitable if not superior alternative. The only reason to “lock somebody in a cage” should be if they have established a clear and irremediable propensity for harming people.

  5. About half a century ago I was the only Goldwaterite I knew against capital punishment. That meant siding with liberals but even then it seemed consistent with (what I thought was conservative) opposition to ultimate government power.

    1. oldtimer| 8.7.13 @ 10:32PM |#
      “About half a century ago I was the only Goldwaterite I knew against capital punishment.”

      There was two of us.

  6. I believe that support for the death penalty is inconsistent with libertarianism and traditional conservatism

    Earth to Ron Paul: libertarianism is the opposite of traditional conservatism.

  7. DEAD WRONG: Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty
    Dudley Sharp

    Every point from the CCATDP website is false.

    It appears that CCATDP has simply parroted anti death penalty frauds, with no effort at finding out if they were true.

    Quite irresponsible and common.

    Rebutted, point by point at

    http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/…..death.html

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