The Government Knows What It’s Doing

edmittance, Flickr.

edmittance, Flickr.

SODOM & GOMORRAH: The government gets everything wrong, except when it kills people.

Back during the healthcare reform debate, Republican politicians and various libertarian groups came out against Obama’s and Clinton’s suggestions. They claimed in many cases that the reforms would put critical medical decisions in the hands of distant bureaucrats rather than patients, creating the ever-feared “death panels” that would tyrannically make life and death decisions for citizens.

I too, despite my extremism, am comfortable saying that I can sympathize with an anti-death-panel position. I don’t particularly like when people make life and death decisions based off of economic calculus; I think it’s bad for society, bad for the soul, and bad for the people who are subject to the decisions.

So imagine my shock (not really, I’m far too jaded) when Republican candidates took some very frightening pro-death-panel positions in the recent primary debates.

First, there was the question about Texas’ rate of execution. Rick Perry who, mind you, killed a man just to watch him die, has never struggled with the possibility that the government could sometimes kill someone who didn’t deserve to die. The process is, in other words, infallible. The audience flat out clapped when it was said that Perry’s Texas has the highest execution rate in the country. Don’t tread on me indeed.

Second, there was the issue of the killing of Anwar Al-Awlaki, a US born alleged cleric for Al Qaeda. President Obama decided to kill a man, presumably also to watch him die. The US military flew a drone out and killed the fellow. When candidates were asked about the issue, most were in favor of it. When the host pressed Gingrich on the issue, asking if he was really ok with letting the president unilaterally decide to kill an American citizen, Newt responded by saying that the president did not unilaterally decide; the decision was made by…a panel.

Rest assured, Republicans will save you from the evils of the welfare state (sometimes) and will empower the government to do what it does best: kill people.

Lest anyone be confused, I’m not against capital punishment. I just think we shouldn’t trust a modern, liberal government to decide who should die.