Albert camus essay on capital punishment

Even in the most difficult and charged circumstances, humanity shares a, perhaps silly, striving for meaning that should be celebrated on its own terms. I went looking for other things by him, and was devastated to know that he was gone, before I even knew who he was. Of the many things by him that I read then and again, over the years , this one was my favorite. I'd pulled the books I had by Camus out of storage, to enter them here on LT, and was reminded that I'd "repaired" this book, long ago.

The more ancient one will go back into storage, while I read this fine work, yet again. It's an excellent collection of essays, speaking to that part of us that is best, and encouraging us all to be like him. Lyndatrue Dec 24, I love my Country too much to be a Nationalist states Camus in his introduction to his Letters to a German Friend and this sets the tone for these magnificent essays. They highlight Camus political stance, as the early letters published in shriek his defiance from a beleaguered Paris to his final defence of his position on the Algerian crisis in It is Camus himself who becomes beleaguered on this journey: firstly being fated as an intellectual hero of the French resistance and later; a man shunned by the intellectual left for his failure to support the Algerian Liberation movement.

Camus belief in justice, and his unwillingness to spill blood are twin themes of much of his writing, together with his struggles to come to terms with apparently contradictory positions and refusal to be anything less than truthful make for fascinating reading. This collection starts with the four "Letters to a German Friend" justifiably famous for their powerful indictment of the Nazis.

They are a rallying call to his compatriots in their fight for freedom from German oppression, but more importantly they are an intellectual statement as to why Frenchmen should not hesitate to kill their enemy. Having made his case for the moral rightness of the French freedom fighters, Camus says "I can tell you his German friend that at the very moment when we are going to destroy you without pity, we still feel no hatred for you. In a short section "Pessimism and Tyranny" there are a couple of essays making the point that nihilism and negation are natural thoughts harboured by people after the horrors of war and those thoughts should be posited, but Camus is ready to move on to a more optimistic philosophy.

Two more essays Defence of Intelligence" and "The unbeliever and Christians" further clarify Camus' position. The essays now jump ahead to when Camus is no longer writing articles for "Combat" and feels he can expound on one of his favourite themes Freedom. The section is entitled Defense of Freedom and we start to see Camus on the back foot. He has become fearful of the power of governments: the power of the state and criticises the intellectual left wing's love affair with Russia and its denial of individual freedoms. A selection of Essays about Algeria finds Camus at his most politicised.

He became involved in an attempt to instigate a civilian truce in the war torn country in when tit for tat murders were common place. His own position as a Frenchman born in Algeria placed him firmly in the French colonialist camp in many peoples eyes and his famous statement that he would not support a movement that could lead to the death of his mother who still lived in Algeria made it a very personal position. Camus could however point to the fact that he had written profusely about the injustices towards the Arab community and was quite clear that reforms had to be made to give the Arabs equal rights, but this was not enough to satisfy the left wingers in France.

It was all over for him in when he felt compelled to make a final statement on his position and in an essay "Algeria " he has clearly been left behind by events. By this time Camus had stated "I am incapable in rejoicing in any death whatsoever" and "no case justifies the death of the innocent" Their follows essays on the Hungarian uprising in , where Camus again found himself at odds with many of his former friends and while he lambasted them with stinging attacks for their support of the Totalitarian regimes, he saluted the voices for freedom and liberty only where they did not lead directly to the deaths of innocent people.

I am not one of those people who long for the Hungarian people to take up arms again in an uprising doomed to be crushed under the eyes of an international society that will spare neither applause nor virtuous tears before returning to their slippers like football enthusiasts on Saturday evening after a big game His long essay "Reflections on the Guillotine" should be read by all those that still support capital punishment, to my mind Camus' case against the use of Capital punishment is unanswerable and deserves to be read.

The final couple of essays steer the reader away from politics as Camus explores the role of the artist in post war society. Liberty, justice and freedom feature as usual as key themes along with an essential honesty that precludes art for arts sake; there has been enough of this with Camus exhorting a return to reality: Art which is nothing without reality and without which reality is insignificant This is an excellent collection of essays and essential reading for anyone interested in Albert Camus, but also some gems that capture the thoughts and ideas of one of the most important writers of mid twentieth century Europe.

A Five star read. The Algerian and Hungarian political essays, which may appear dated at first glance, are only too relevant to the modern world with its thoughts on uprisings and Arab feeling. One or two essays are bit dim, but all the rest are still shining gems of thought and feeling and are very much worth reading. The ones I do, like capital punishment, I find myself agreeing with his conclusions, but not so much his arguments. Home Groups Talk Zeitgeist. I Agree This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and if not signed in for advertising.

Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms. Clearly, the facts tell us that the death penalty is the least arbitrary and capricious sanction in the US. Nothing else comes close. Knowing those unchallenged facts, how could anyone call the death penalty arbitrary and capricious? Methinks its those anti death penalty folks, like Ms. Meehan, who are arbitrary and capricious, because, we know, that.

Rebuttal to 4 Anti death penalty activists and the media, often one and the same, are the ones fueling the publicity for death sentenced murderers. Stop doing it. If the death penalty goes, away, then those same folks will do the same thing with life without parole, then etc. Rebuttal to 5 There is no moral prohibition against doctors participating in execution, although there used to be very strong ones against them participating in euthanasia and abortions.

Some physician moralists found the prohibitions against euthanasia and abortions to be inconvenient and so, just, wrote them away. I am sure that Ms. Meehan will not see those examples as laudable. Meehan, in using the physician example against the death penalty. Rebuttal to 7 There is no category of crime or sanction whereby it will all be consistent with each subjective view of the crime, responding with an equally subjective opinion as to just sanction for that crime. We have categories of crimes with a range of punishments for them. You, simply, can do no better than that.

You would have to do away with all sanctions, if you went by the standards provided by Meehan. Rebuttal to 8 The Catholic Church has a year rebuttal to these comments, courtesy of Popes, Saints, Doctors and Fathers of the Church, biblical scholars and theologians. Pope Pius XII: "When it is a question of the execution of a man condemned to death it is then reserved to the public power to deprive the condemned of the benefit of life, in expiation of his fault, when already, by his fault, he has dispossessed himself of the right to live.

Part of Synopsis of Professor Lloyd R. Rebuttal to 9 In breadth and depth, traditional and eternal Catholic teachings, in support of the death penalty, overwhelm any teachings to the contrary, as we see in the year record from Popes, Saints, Doctors and Fathers of the Church, church leadership, biblical scholars and theologians. See rebuttal to 8, below.

Rebuttal to 10 Read the Catholic positions from rebuttal to 8 and 9 The right to life, just as the right to freedom, is conditional and not absolute. The Church agrees. Freedom and life may both be forfeited based upon the nature of the crimes. All life is forfeited by sin. Rebuttal to Richard Viguerie. As a rule, anti death penalty arguments are either false or the pro death penalty arguments are stronger.

Richard A. Viguerie gave a detailed revew of why he opposed the death penalty. It was easily rebutted, here: Rebuttal to Richard A. Virtually all Christian denominations, biblical scholars and theologians are aware that the correct translation is some version of "thou shalt not murder".

Viguerie wrote: "that Christ would oppose the killing of a human being as punishment for a crime. Well, no. Meehan writes: "A number of persons executed in the United States were later cleared by confessions of those who had actually committed the crimes. Can you name them and provide a link for the evidence? Follow up: There is no statute of limitations for murder. Were those who confessed prosecuted? Was the executed party ies pardoned?

Meehan has since added two more reasons to oppose the death penalty see footnote : 1 That the death penalty is assisted suicide; and 2 That murderers are executed despite mitigating circumstances to rebut 1 The death penalty is assisted suicide a Some of them waive appeals because they are doing the right thing, as they deserve their sanction and want to show that they accept it. We want criminals to accept their sanctions, to show contrition and remorse. Very few, if any, would be found to have committed suicide. Because the sanction has been imposed upon them -- it is not their choice, except in the context that they put themselves at risk of the death penalty , because of their decision to murder, just as all criminals put themselves at risk of sanction because of their bad choices.

Meehan's illogic would include removing any sanction whereby a prisoner commits suicide while in prison, likely, causing the removal of all sanctions, based upon Ms. Meehan's poor reasoning. Juries and judges weigh mitigating circumstances against aggravating factors and make the decision for death, based upon those cases wherein the mitigators are overwhelmed by the aggravators.

This is how it is intended to work. Meehan only lists alleged mitigators, not the rebuttals to them or the aggravating factors. In other words, she only presented the defense side, which may have been completely destroyed by the prosecutor and overwhelmed by the aggravating factors.

Meehan recommends: "Murderers should do productive work in prison in order to pay for their room and board and to make financial restitution to the families of their victims. I am certain that the respondents to this poll have no idea how grotesque it is. Let's say your daughter was raped and murdered.

Her birthday? Your birthday or wedding anniversary? The day she would have graduated from high school? Is there any day you would want to open that letter and hold that check from the man who raped and murdered your daughter? Think about it. From Ms. Meehan's other site, as well Ms. Executions are premeditated killings in which society actually imitates the killer. This is a common anti death penalty problem, not being able to see the obvious moral differences between the rape and murder of children a crime against an innocent victim and the execution of that rapist murderer a sanction for the guilty party.

Anti death penalty folks equate both killings, only because they have no moral compass. They also equate kidnapping and incarceration, as they do fines and theft. Zero moral compass. Just astounding. Meehan finds: 9. There is no good way to kill someone; all of the methods are appalling. Her statement is based upon her opposing the death penalty and not much else. The only relevant case she mentions is one lethal injection case, whereby a "cut down" was required. This is a common procedure with surgeries, when a suitable surface vein cannot be found, the same procedure used in lehtal injection, when required.

Lethal injection is painless. I agree with her assessment that the search for the most painless method is a bit of a bad story. However, I think she overlooks the constant efforts by anti death penalty activists to undermine any method of execution, by legal as well as public policy channels, inclusive of the absurd one with lethal injection, that made it all the way to the US Supreme Court.

A review of the most common anti death penalty absurdities. Camus is fascinating.

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But, I am not sure he's the guy to listen to on the death penalty. Camus sees this question of suicide as a natural response to an underlying premise, namely that life is absurd in a variety of ways. As we have seen, both the presence and absence of life i. But Camus also thinks it absurd to try to know, understand, or explain the world, for he sees the attempt to gain rational knowledge as futile.

But he doesn't argue for life's absurdity or attempt to explain it—he is not interested in either project, nor would such projects engage his strength as a thinker.

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Accepting absurdity as the mood of the times, he asks above all whether and how to live in the face of it. But he does not argue this question either, and rather chooses to demonstrate the attitude towards life that would deter suicide. In other words, the main concern of the book is to sketch ways of living our lives so as to make them worth living despite their being meaningless. Leszek Syski, a Maryland antiabortion activist, says that "capital punishment is the essence of dehumanization.

Anti abortion activists find the fetus to be profoundly human, some pro abortion folks find the fetus to be a zygote, a collection of cells. The Death Penalty: Recognizing the Humanity of the Murderer Both pro and anti death penalty folks recognize the humanity of the murderers. In fact, Christian moralist C. It is the sense of this sanctity that constrains the demand for the infliction of this penalty. The deeper our regard for life the firmer will be our hold upon the penal sanction which the violation of that sanctity merit. Gervas A. For capital punishment provides the murderer with incentive to repentance which the ordinary man does not have, that is a definite date on which he is to meet his God.

It is as if God thus providentially granted him a special inducement to repentance out of consideration of the enormity of his crime. Even divine justice here may be said to be tempered with mercy. Robert Ingram, ed. Thomas Press, Houston, , Indeed, this is the reason why scripture and Christian tradition have upheld it, a fact which suggests that, if anything, it may be the abolition of capital punishment which threatens to cheapen life, not its retention.

There is no greater legal due process than with the US death penalty, what the US Supreme Court calls super due process, only present because of our reverence for the human condition. To punish with death, each one of the 12 jurors must agree with the prosecution in each of five specific areas 2. If convicted and sentenced to death,some inmates may then begin an appeals process that could extend through 23 years, 60 appeals and over individual judicial and executive reviews of the inmates claims.

The average time on death row for those executed from was over 10 years. Gee, Dudley, you have me wondering what feeds your zeal to kill and defend that killing? A sense of justice, fairness? Or is it an ideology? What if it were your child who was condemned to die, yet who had not killed anyone himself? I know several cases, men children, really who are convicted of 1st degree murder and sentenced to die see the felony murder rule even though they neither killed anyone nor had an intention to kill.

Essentially, most were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Is this fair? If you respond to this, I would appreciate it if you would speak from your own life experience and not refer me to other sites. Dudley Sharp.

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Beth: Thank you for the inquiry. I thought it was clear by my responses. To be more clear: Anti death penalty arguments are either false or the pro death penalty arguments are stronger. That should have been obvious in every response. In any public policy debate, fact checking should be very important. In the case of the death penalty, justice is at stake. In the case of the death penalty debate, truth is at stake.

Truth and justice are preeminent moral concerns and thus, should always be defended, particularly in the primary context of the horrendous crimes and their innocent victims. I was much more thorough, here, because it is the America Magazine. Beth: It is doubtful that you are truly speaking of cases whereby the persons "were in the wrong place at the wrong time. To be clear, a criminal who can become a legal accomplice, under the felony murder law, or more properly, the law of parties, is one who was actually part of the illegal activity, an activity which resulted in a capital murder.

The accomplice is part of the capital murder, even if they did not "pull the trigger", because they were, legally and morally, an accomplice to the criminal activity, just as Bin Laden was, thousands of miles away. It is much more likely that the innocent murder vicitm s were in the right place at the right time - but a bad guy perverted it into the wrong time and place - the murderers turned something right into something wrong. You might end up on death row.

Texas Law of Parties: A person is criminally responsible for an offense committed by the conduct of another if acting with intent to promote or assist the commission of the offense, he solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid the other person to commit the offense or if, in the attempt to carry out a conspiracy to commit one felony, another felony is committed by one of the conspirators, all conspirators are guilty of the felony actually committed, though having no intent to commit it, if the offense was committed in furtherance of the unlawful purpose and was one that should have been anticipated as a result of the carrying out of the conspiracy.

By John Gramlich, Stateline. Beth Cioffoletti. Dudley, I will tell you about the case that I know most intimately, that of TW. I had known TW since he was 5 years old - he was a bright, creative, eager to please child. He was never in any trouble whatsoever at school. ZERO record of misbehavior of any kind. When he was 18 years old, just before he graduated from High School, he got "mixed up" with some questionable characters.

TW had a car and was coerced into driving these characters to a house where they were going to buy marijuana. TW waited outside while they went in to get the marijuana. While they were in there, a young man was shot and killed it wasn't planned, it just happened. TW's parents were not properly advised, legally, and could not believe that their son could be convicted of 1st degree murder, so they refused any plea deals.

TW was in fact convicted of 1st degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. This was in Yet all attempts for clemency and pardon have been denied. This is just one story, the one I know most intimately. Under the mandatory sentencing laws of the state of Florida, the judge had only 2 choices in sentencing Taylor: the death penalty or life in prison. Is this justice? Is this reason to condemn this young man to death? Beth: What is TW's name and do you have a link to the appelate or court record? I would need to look at the case and make a determination based upon the facts, which all can see.

Full disclosure, please.

Albert Camus on Death Penalty | Margin-o-Marginalia

When you don't have the court documents, who do you believe? The judge. Judge Maxwell writes in his order. Wells also stated that the co-defendants had two guns, while they were talking about picking up the weed, and that he saw them take the two guns into the house in Cape Canaveral," " Wells also stated that they wore masks when they went into the house so they could hide their identities.

A jury would not believe that the defendant did not know the co-defendants planned to commit a robbery after he saw them entering the house with masks on, carrying guns. Lykkebak defense counsel said the statements are false, citing portions of Mr. Wells' post-arrest interview. Lykkebak writes. Wells could not even see the house. Wells intended to reap the benefits of the robbery. The Court finds that even if co-defendant Kharibe Burgan testified that the co-defendants took advantage of, and intimidated the defendant, and that the defendant did not know about the robbery plans, the result of the trial would have been about the same.

The testimony of the four co-defendants would not overcome the defendant's statement to police. Lykkebak strongly disputes Judge Maxwell's opinion. Lykkebak states. In the arrest interview Mr. Wells said Burgan had Wells drive him to the grocery store, so Burgan could buy some zip-lock bags. Lykkebak argues that Judge Maxwell's ruling improperly relies on a previous opinion from another judge and not on the post-arrest interview and statements by co-defendants whose testimony was previously unavailable.

So you believe the judge? I was at that hearing. Lykkebak did a good job presenting the facts and gross misinterpretation of the case by the prosecution. From my point of view Judge Maxwell was a coward, unable to undo the rulings of previous judges because of political and career considerations. So you think that it is ok to execute this 18 year old who is still in high school and has no prior criminal or other record of misbehavior?

Or to send him to prison for the rest of his life? Beth: As I stated, the problem is that I don't have the trial transcript and as a matter of fact, any neutral party must accept the opinion of a neutral judge, over that of the covicted parties advocate, who is, by definition, not neutral. In addition, this judge repeated a number of the facts as stated by a prior judge, which as a matter of law and fact, provides a stronger case against Wells and less credibility to defense counsel. Under that scenario, yes, of course I believe the judge. I can see no evidence for your allegation that political or career considerations were part of the judges decsion and I suspect you have no such evidence, other than what appears to be your vested interest in being another advocate for Wells.

None of this is to say that your side of the story is untrue. However, the opinon I read is supported by two neutral judges and is only rebutted by two advocates for Wells. Both reason and probability makes one side wth the judges, which explains why pardon and clemency efforts have failed, based ONLY upon the limited evidence I have read. If you have court documents of other judicial opinions, that would be helpful. It is not a matter of me saying what is OK or not.

It is a matter of being fully informed, prior to rendering an opinion. We all want truth and justice. In our system it requires admissable facts of evidence. A prior record is, very often, not telling as to guilt. John Wayne Gacy, as well as a number of additonal serial murderers, had no priors to their being found guilt of their serial murders. Even criminalss with massive prior records can be innocent of other crimes they are charged with.

The issue is having all of the facts. For me, that is a requirement, as it should be for all. I think it is the responsible position.

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All I am asking, Dudley, is if you think that the law is just? A law that allows someone to be executed who is peripheral to a murder? Taylor's is the one case that I know the best. I know plenty of other cases where there is more or less involvement. A guy drives a friend to a to get cigarettes.

While he is in there the friend shoots the shopkeeper.

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The friend comes out with his cigarettes and the guy drives away, never even knowing what happened. Two weeks later the guy is arrested and then convicted of 1st degree murder. Whether you believe the judge or the attorney or me, or read the trial transcript - the end result is that Taylor Wells is culpable under the law and that the judge would have been perfectly within bounds to have him killed. It took me a few years to understand this. For a long time I wanted the judges to listen to reason, have some compassion, before I realized that they just follow the law.

You are a big proponent of the Death Penalty. This is how it works in America. Young kids are killed or sent to prison for the rest of their lives with no chance to get out, for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. They never killed anyone or held a gun or assisted a gun-man. Get to know some of these cases and families. When a party to a criminal enterprise knows that robbery, with threat of force, weapons, is part of that enterprise and someone gets murdered, yes, they should be prosecuted as part of that conspiracy and subject to the same culpability as the actual murderer, while also considering any mitigating circumstances, in additonal to the aggravators.

A crime with threat of harm, robbery, rape, car jacking, etc. That is why the weapon is there and that is always the threat, as all parties to the conspiracy know. Bin Laden was thousands of miles away. Just as it is the same for a robbery conspiracy, whereby folks are murdered. I must correct you. The only neutral evidence that I have read finds that Wells was in the wrong place at the wrong time at his chosing and with his full knowledge.

One has to be a minimum of 18 years old, at the time of the crime, to be sentneced to death or life without parole. These are not young kids, but young adults. If we are honest, most all of us will admit to errors of judgement when we were 18, 19, or 20 years old. Situations not so very different from that of my friend, Taylor Wells. In fact, most every one I tell the story of Taylor to say: that could have been me! You are saying that these situations warrant execution or life in prison without a chance to ever get out.

Paris Institute for Advanced Study. La Sorbonne. The Phi Beta Kappa Society. Princeton University. Summer Forbes College Graduate Fellowship. Part of her work focuses on the representations of extreme human violence and resistance from the 19th to the 21st century. It examines the ways in which literary language and forms shed light on the socio-political and moral questions posed by these phenomena, with a particular interest in Hugo and Baudelaire for the 19th century, and in Camus and Algerian Francophone writers for the 20th and 21st.

She is also beginning research on the faces of terror and terrorism in French and Francophone literature, from Victor Hugo to Boualem Sansal. In , she published "Albert Camus contre la peine de mort" with the support of Amnesty International Gallimard; prefaced by Robert Badinter, the former French Minister of Justice who abolished capital punishment in France, also former President of the Conseil Constitutionnel.

This volume was the basis for a public exhibition that Professor Morisi curated at the Camus Center in Aix-en-Provence in In , her book "Albert Camus, le souci des autres" Classiques Garnier came out. Articles that stem from her interest the craft of writing about or in the face of especially pressing ethical and political matters have also focused on such questions as infanticide, female objectification, bloodshed, colonialism, and the resistance to forgetting—in the works of Corneille, E.

Paris: Classiques Garnier, Although the etymology of the two terms points to the same object, our mores, Ricoeur notes that morality is informed by obligations and forbiddings modeled by a norm. The volume examines how the Nobel laureate's reflections, fiction, and actions define and address a number of ethical quests that still seem relevant today: among them "the good life," engagement with our human condition, with others, with history, as well as desirable modes of sharing and forms of community.

This monograph investigates the ways in which the works and thought of Camus are characterized by the refusal of exclusion and the establishment of a minimal threshold of the human. It analyzes these foundations of Camus's ethics and activism all while considering their limits through a close examination of his journalism, fiction, correspondence, and public interventions—with a particular focus on his less-studied writings.

This large corpus confirms the existence of a profound and multifaceted care for vulnerable communities, at once reviving the polysemy, etymology, and mythology of "souci" meaning both "care" and "concern" and foreshadowing the later development of the concept of care in the Western World.