New York Times’ token conservative apologist Ross Douhat is cut a lot of slack by people left of the Hard Right and often tagged as a ‘reasonable’ conservative and usually we are inclined to agree — hell, he’s a HUGE step up from the bloodthirsty jingoistic asshattery of Bill Kristol, whom he replaced. But it is times like this that we have our doubts about just how compatible the word ‘reasonable’ is with the word ‘conservative.’ In his Sunday column in the Times, Douthat twists logic to the breaking point with his head-scratching defense of the death penalty in the wake of the state-sanctioned murder of Troy Davis — a man even Douthat admits may well have been innocent and should have been given an opportunity to prove himself so. And yet, the takeaway from this column is that prisoners should actually be thankful for the death penalty because…well, we’ll let him explain why:
If capital punishment disappears in the United States, it won’t be because voters and politicians no longer want to execute the guilty. It will be because they’re afraid of executing the innocent. This is a healthy fear for a society to have. But there’s a danger here for advocates of criminal justice reform. After all, in a world without the death penalty, Davis probably wouldn’t have been retried or exonerated. His appeals would still have been denied, he would have spent the rest of his life in prison, and far fewer people would have known or cared about his fate.
Instead, he received a level of legal assistance, media attention and activist support that few convicts can ever hope for. And his case became an example of how the very finality of the death penalty can focus the public’s attention on issues that many Americans prefer to ignore: the overzealousness of cops and prosecutors, the limits of the appeals process and the ugly conditions faced by many of the more than two million Americans currently behind bars.
Simply throwing up our hands and eliminating executions entirely, by contrast, could prove to be a form of moral evasion — a way to console ourselves with the knowledge that no innocents are ever executed, even as more pervasive abuses go unchecked. We should want a judicial system that we can trust with matters of life and death, and that can stand up to the kind of public scrutiny that Davis’s case received. MORE
By this line of reasoning, the Jews are better off because of The Holocaust, cancer patients should be thankful for the gift malignancy and the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis would have been REALLY screwed if we hadn’t used the sledgehammer of our military might to crack their country open like a walnut and scoop out all the oil. It’s glue-sniffing reasoning like this that gives priveleged white man wisdom a bad name.
RELATED: My inner Pat Buchanan reminds me that chunky Reese Witherspoon gal failed in her white race duties by not allowing me to tap her ass while fertile — though the neck-beard remains irresistible. MORE