The heated debate about whether or not the death penalty is ever appropriate will always be with us.  I support the death penalty as a valid way for society to promote the greater good of its members.

The human race has long since stopped acting as self-sustaining separate family units or even banding together in extended groups of families or tribes.  In order to function at the highest level possible, we have formed very intricate and sophisticated societies where an extremely large population of people with diverse backgrounds, skills, experiences, and cultures find a way to live together in a harmonious fashion that promotes the welfare and well-being of both the individual and the society as a whole.

This harmony and collective benefits are fostered both by laws and by unwritten social norms that we are all deemed to have agreed to as a member of society and which are sometimes referred to as our Social Compact.   In other words, we all have an understanding as to how a society should function, how we need to interrelate with each other, and what forms of behavior are acceptable and what is not acceptable behavior.  For example, physically assaulting someone is both prohibited by law and is socially unacceptable whereas a minor infraction such as jumping ahead of a line is not illegal but certainly violates one of our social norms that everyone should honor the unwritten rule that we need to wait our turn.

When someone violates the law or even breaks one of our social norms, they have breached the Social Compact or agreement they have with Society.   If the law is broken, generally the culprit is punished in some fashion which often includes being sent to jail to be part of a more restricted sub-society with its own rules and social norms as a way of banishing him from the larger society.  If one of our social norms is violated, the offender is usually met with some scorn or is otherwise scolded for his bad behavior.

Like it or not, we are all part of society and we will suffer some penalty if we act in an anti-social manner.   In the extreme, the most heinous violation of the Social Compact would be premeditated murder since that breaks one of the most fundamental rules that binds our society together and ensures its existence.  Clearly, murder would be against the Social Compact even if it was not against the law.

That is the dilemma, as I see it, with the death penalty.   If someone commits a premeditated murder and then is put to death have we committed another premeditated murder?  That seems to be a simple question that should have a simple answer, however, I believe one is drastically different than the other.  I am for the death penalty because I believe that the ultimate breach of our social agreement deserves the ultimate penalty.

If you murder another member of society, in cold blood, you have committed the most extreme violation of our Social Compact and have harmed not only your victim but the entire society.   If you are willing to inflict that much harm on society, I believe that you have forfeited your right to exist within that society.

Therefore, I believe that society as the collective enforcer and beneficiary of our Social Compact has a right and a duty to exact the ultimate penalty not only as punishment but also as society’s collective retribution for such a harmful violation of the Social Compact.

The death penalty is the ultimate and final banishment from society.