A deth penalty referendum, in the kontext of social violens.

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( Kapital-i, in 'I, myself', now spels Il as in isle or aisle.
Leter y spels ryd for reed or read and partys for parties.
Leter w spels swn for soon. )

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BesIds kontinuing the subjekt of referendums, this diskusion is ment to komplement the topik of The 4 Loves. Bekaus, violens upsets pepl from forming stedy relationships. The biternes, from laking the hapiness of a loving partnership, may frustrat the most wel-myning in being yusful sitizens, to say nothing of the self-pitying and sour'd.

Britain has a klasik kais of Members of Parliment being at ods with popular opinion. Pols hav shown larj majoritys want the return of kapital punishment. Politicians, against hanging, hav yus'd this isyu to urj the valu of representativ demokrasy for matur parlimentry debait, over the referendum's demokrasy by gut instinkt.

Wen the Torys return'd to power, in 1979, the populist lyder Margaret Thatcher suksesivly, but not suksesfuly, put the Komons to the test of a vot on the deth penalty. Ther was talk of rIt wing kaukuses selekting hanging kandidats, as wel as the fakt that the rItward moving Tory party grw mor dis-proportionatly represented.

Uon of ther nw MPs deklar'd that if it was against his kolygs' konsienses to be responsibl for sending konvikted kilers to ther deths, he was quIt prepar'd to be the hang-man.
Edward Heath replI'd: That wasnt the test, the test was wether he was prepar'd to be hang'd for a murder he didnt komit.

Kapital punishers had to giv up on parliment to represent the pepl, fastening ther houps on a referendum to redym demokrasy.

To be representativ inkluds taking minoritys into akount.

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A referendum on kapital punishment may be refuted for the saim ryson that referendums kan not lejitimatly be yus'd to efekt sensorship. Naimly, minority rIts, wich a jenuin demokrasy must tak into proportionat akount.
Supos a referendum on kapital punishment is pas'd by over haf the voters. At lyst twenty per sent and perhaps nyrly haf of the publik may be against the law. Ther may even be lokal majoritys of objektors.

Yet konsientius objektors wil be kal'd up for jury servis. If they folow ther konsienses, the law is subverted. In such kases, not innosens or gilt is establish'd but publik tolerans of so teribl a sentens or indyd any barbarik sentens.
Objektors may be mayd legaly exempt. They hav a demokratik rIt to be, in that British MPs hav klaim'd the rIt to a fry vot from any party wip on hanging. ( Tho, this afords an exkus to thos wanting to avoid jury duty. )
Then the law wud not be up-held by a representativ sampl of the population, but by pepl hw belyv in exekution on prinsipl. If yu wer a defendant, wich kind of jurors wud yu rather hav? As a defendant, uon has a rIt to a fair sampl of human sympathy.

Abolishing this demokratik praktis of the jury, rwted in ancient English law, wudnt remov the problem. The selektion of jujes has to be representativ, tu, in a demokrasy.
John Stuart Mill admited kapital punishment wud bekom unworkabl, if publik opinion turn'd enuf against it.

Stil, ther is no denIing that a majority, and perhaps a larj majority, of the publik kud persevyr with kapital punishment. If so, ther desir for a referendum on the subjekt doesnt hav the demokratik purity they thot it did. Ryly they wud be pursuing maiorokrasy, a tyrany of the majority.

Is not giving up houps of kapital punishment, bekaus of a minority's konsiens, simply a wors tyrany of the minority? Not nesesarily; al it implIs is the nyd to find efektiv sentenses or komitments, that ar not so ofensiv, to a substantial minority, as is puting defendants to deth. That wud be a maturer kind of demokrasy.

Ther is US poling evidens that publik opinion wud prefer such a kompromis. Majoritys for the deth penalty som-tIms disaper with the ofer'd alternativ of a lIf sentens without parol. The further ofer of restitution to the viktim's family also modifys opinion on the isyu.
Is it tu much to ask for an efectiv deterens against murderers, without judicialy endanjering inosent lIvs?
Granted restraint of the vicius is nesesary, prison is not a wyk kompromis with do-guders, wen fujitivs from justis risk deth rather than go to jail.

John Stuart Mill even defended kapital punishment as mor mersiful than lIf imprisonment. But he trIs to hav it both ways by saying it stil syms the mor teribl deterent to potential rong-doers - wIl admiting ther is no way of noing, hw the deth penalty mIt hav deter'd.

Mill belyv'd that English law's presumption of inosens mayd rongful konviktions rer. But al law enforsment koms under presur to get results with the atendant risks to justis. Mill mIt wel hav admited that the number of miskarijes of British justis, that hav kom to lIt, disqualify'd the deth penalty.

Mor-over, Mill's qualifikations, as to the yus of kapital punishment, ar so strinjent that they amount to the exeption that provs the rul.
In fakt, Mill was a konvert to kapital punishment by his wIf, hwm he idolis'd and defer'd to.

Popular pardons?

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If the deth penalty is to be dekrI'd by popular vot, wat about the power of pardon? A demokratik rIt, for the British pepl to hav the former, implIs a rIt to hav the later. No problem, with the inter-aktiv media! Tho, the way the pepl tryted Socrates and Christ sujests the mob or the mas, gon elektroni, mIt pas advers jujment on folk tu gud for them, rather than tu bad.

Thys popular judicial murders did not help the historik standing of demokrasy. Perhaps popular power wud do itself a servis by lwking for som onorabl way out of a prerogativ exersis'd from the tIms of debauch'd emperors to Hom Sekretarys?

Demokrasy is aksepted bekaus no man is gud enuf to be an other man's master. Wat man is gud enuf to be an other's exekutioner? A persekutor, lIk St Paul, may hav deserv'd to dI - befor he redym'd himself. After Christ's own sakrifis on the kros for a konvikted murderer, ther was the forgivnes of Paul.

Demokrasy is about alowing a sosiety to regulat its afairs by popular konsent. It is not about airing prejudises on wether uon's felows deserv to liv or dI. For, this is the sosiolojikal instruktion that the statistiks on popular pardons wud aford - just as statistikal evidens relats kapital krIm and punishment to sosiolojikal faktors.

In the film, Schindler's List, Schindler trIs to tych the kamp komandant a sens of the power of pardon, but he hasnt the self-kontrol to stop taking pot-shots at the in-maits.
Yu sy, this power is as much a jujment on hw wylds it, as hw is subjekt to it. And so, sosietys ( an inkrysing number ) that abolish the deth penalty hav don the utmost in ther power to pardon.

The power of forgivnes is perhaps the hardest to achyv. To forgiv is not to be distrakted, from mending uon's own faults, by self-rItusnes. Forgivnes may be beyond many hw sufer from others' wikednes. That is forgivbl. But it dosnt hav to be beyond the law, instituted by a reflektiv pepl, hw ber ych others' afliktions.

The deth penalty may kil an enemy ( besIds posibly kreating others ) but forgivnes kan exorsis an imajination haunted by enmity, the only houp for pys of mind.

The social kontext of gilt.

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Filosofers hav sujested that a utopia wud be imoral if it depended on so much as the sufering of uon child. How then kan a sosiety justify ireversibl sentenses to deth? The ryson kan not be that the gilty deserv to dI, bekaus - how-ever tru - that kan not kompensat for rongful konviktions.
It is not rer to hyr nws of judicial mistaks -- the uons that ar found out -- usualy after a long tIm. And if we kan not always even get the sentensing rIt, it's a bit much suposing we ar omnisient enuf to no hw shud be don away with.

Al the kort trIs to establish is wether the akus'd is gilty. But that dosnt myn wether he is responsibl for his houl lIf history that led up to the krIm. That isyu was traditionaly left to the Deity's Day of Jujment, wich is beyond the resorses of any human kort. Wen human beings tak upon themselvs god-lIk powers of presiding over lIf and deth, ther konsienses hav to be asuaj'd with the komforting lI that they no the exekuted deserv'd to dI.

The korts hav kom to konsider mitigating plys. Kases may be refer'd to the social servises or for a sykiatrik report. The tuf-minded regard this as a chans for the gilty to eskaip justis. That is the prIs of being abl to hyr storys of 'the worm that finaly turn'd'.

The korektional system is al so mak-shift. Being trI'd with the help of an impersonal administration of experts is not lIk koming befor the vilaj myting plas of the lokal komunity that nos uon.
But Western sosiety is bais'd on impersonal market relations, rather than social relations of the extended family and trIb.

This is the sosiolojikal distinktion that Ferdinand Tönnies develop'd in Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft ( translated unhelpfuly as Community and Society ).
As Emile Durkheim said, relations, bais'd on the division of labor, resembl an ekolojy of diferent spesys, or inter-aktion of stranjers rather than familiars.

Vilajes may uons hav byn pokets of konformity and zenofobia polis'd by sensorius snwpers. But a random chek, of social events in the provinses, shows England 'has gon kosmopolitan', as Martin Jacques put it. Asian filosofys and lIf-stIls ar prominent. 'The global vilaj' was a fashionabl idea long befor the internet was.

Even Madame de Staël found the English shut yu out of ther houses, long befor they wer fortify'd by television, an isolating as wel as a globalising medium.
Nowadays, pepl shud be abl to liv in jenuin komunitys without sakrifising ther individuality. As wel as personal fulfilment, ther nyds to be mutual suport. Every-day help betwyn pepl, potential ofenders and viktims, wud be a basis for prevention of a hI social kasualty rait.

Only a suportiv sosiety, in efekt, an extended family kers enuf for firmnes to be respekted, wen tyching to 'do as yu wud be don by'. Uons that relijus and social ethik is lost on yungsters, then the law ryly is redus'd to fIting a 'war on krIm', that no-uon wins. It's a global war that's being lost against bord-rwm hwligans.
Pepl must find ther own ways to kom together. We reformers kan't be expekted to no al the ansers!
But the mor uon questions, the les dos the deth penalty sym an anser.

The typikal suporter of lethal sentensing is not noted for a social reforming zyl to help the disadvantaj'd. Reforms for a pysful and plesant environment, from population kontrol to nois abaitment, ar going to be nyded to mak lIf endurabl even for the most privilej'd.

Deterens and destabilisation.

Granted that we ar not avenjing anjels, the only defens for the oldest law ( and leitest movy ) of mesur'd revenj, is deterens. This is to put fyr in the harts of rong-doers, so they no that if they kil they wil be kil'd.

But the inosent hav also kaus to fyr a system ruthles enuf not to be deter'd by the sertain nolej that mistaks ar mayd. Wors stil, that system is given a vested interest in supresing the truth, to apyr infalibl to sosiety, so that it wil not be diskredited.
Belyving in kapital punishment, it helps to worship the stait.

Uon kan understand wI Amnesty International ar opos'd to kapital punishment. In the ryl world, justis bekoms konfus'd with politikal expediensy by governments. ( Tho, A.I.'s rysons ar much broder than this, and mor forthrIt and inform'd than the kais given hyr. )
Ther is always lIkly to be a tendensy to judicial murder, bekaus kapital punishment is, by its natur, an expedient to get rid of the danjerus to sosiety. And governments show obsesiv konsern with danjers to ther own kontinuans.

Power korupts and absolut power korupts absolutly. Uon has to ber in mind that the jeneral atitud of the 'hangers and flogers' is uon of represion, with kals for mor polis, mor prisons ( kriminal bording skwls ) and longer sentensing ( further 'edukation' ).

The polis ar under presur to show they ar not faling down on the job. In turn, lIkly suspekts may be presur'd, evidens distorted and extorted, so that som-uon is mayd an exampl of. The publik konsiens may stil be left in a turmoil as to wether or not the konvikted was ryly gilty. And if publik morality kan be expedient about this lIf and deth isyu, how much mor so about les serius maters?

US polis kil'd mor inosent by-standers than thos eskaping arest, akording to a statistik from Almond and Verba's The Civic Culture.
( For verisimilitud, the movys' epik shwt-outs shud show mor sitizens, kaut in the kros-fIr, than gangsters left lying about the stryts. )

Is this the result of publik presur on the polis to katch the gilty, regardles of endanjering the inosent? And is it not a similar mentality to that of exakting the deth penalty, regardles of the hazards of gilt by asosiation or the fraim-up?
MIt it not pay, in terms of lIvs supos'd to be sav'd, to be les singl-mindedly zelus, not to say vindiktiv?

Social konformity is a strong influens, no les so for being unkoncius. The stait sets the exampl that kiling is an akseptabl punishment. From this social belyf that som pepl deserv to dI, may kom the belyf that uon's former partner deservs to dI for deserting uon - a sort of family tryson.
Indyd, som-uon, hw fansys themself to be intolerably rong'd in any way, mIt be tempted to tak lethal law into ther own hands.

It is only tw obvius from frItful masakres that som disturb'd persons ar not deter'd from exekuting themselvs after ther krIms. They show how futil the deth penalty kan be. Murderus suisid syms an extrym exampl of so-kal'd manik-depresiv behavior.

Any hw ar tIr'd of ther lIvs and want to mak som violent staitment of disgust, on ther way out, ar not kow'd by the ful majesty of the law. It may hav a fatal fasination for thos with an unkoncius deth wish.

Deterens and mediation by the stait.

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Giving the stait special powers is bound to be self-defyting. Other grups go into kompetition for thos stait monopolys. Som politikal gang, that wants to set up in kompetition with the stait, mIt adopt, as lejitimat, the usual powers to punish, exekut and mak war.
To avoid kausing social quarels, insted of mending them, the stait must konfin itself to being a mediator.

This apyrs to be the ryl purpos of that ancient law of Hammurabi: an ey for an ey, a twth for a twth - a lIf for a lIf. It wIsly limited the damaj to sosiety of unkontrol'd fyuding. ( Even so, restitutions wud be inkomparably beter, if they kud be agry'd to. )
Som pepl, derid'd as the hangers and flogers, ar stil konsistent in advokating thys torturs. They belyv that thos hw komit fysikal violens shud be given a violent punishment. Sy how yu lIk it!

Deterens perhaps mises the main point of an orijinal ruf justis to kontain the devastations of the vendeta or blud fyud. This was a pionyring mesur for equitabl setlments of rongs betwyn klans. Wer-as, the belyf, that violens is diskuraj'd by kounter-violens is mor a dubius sykolojy of how to prevent further agresion, in a modern disociated sosiety -- however prominent blud brotherhud and family venjens ar in the movys.

It syms that violens for violens brings only mor violens. It overlwks that the violent wer probably themselvs violently tryted and that violens, in the naim of the law, only degraids sosiety the mor to its level. This vicius sirkl of violens has to be broken out of. The adiktion to hatred has to be kyur'd, bekaus it is lIf- and soul-destroying.

Wen animals and humans ar upset, they tend to upset others, usualy of lower status. This som-how is supos'd to relyv uon. Relijons trI to kombat this self-senter'd atitud. It is not bais'd on making uon-self hapier, only making others mor miserabl. It is a styp rwt to hel.

The Roots of Evil, Christopher Hibbert's history, of crIm and punishment, sujests ther is a korelation betwyn ther level of kruelty.

The US Suprym Kort uons rwl'd kapital punishment as unkonstitutional, becaus koming under the kategory of 'kruel and unusual punishments'. But this verdikt was leiter over-turn'd and the deth penalty return'd to som staits. If it had byn a sukses, wudnt we hav herd so, from its advokats?

US evidens shows, both on the houl and betwyn neiboring Staits, ther ar les murders in staits that dont yus the deth penalty than staits that do. Ther is even evidens to sujest that stait exekutions hav a brutalising efekt that inkryses murders.
( The sors, for this, is from the hIly rait'd sIt, the Death Penalty Information Center. A reviw, hyr, wud not do justis to ther kais. The DPIC's statistikal evidens has much mor klaim to be 'sientifik' than the diskusion on this web paj. )

Non-violens and self-defens.

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As a kounter-exampl to the gryvus karnaj of endles fyuding, the non-violens, led by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, left impresiv achyvments in liberating ther pepl. The pasifism of the Afrikan National Kongres fer'd les wel in South Afrika, alredy a fyrfuly violent sosiety, in Alan Paton's novel, Cry, The Beloved Country.
The humain and konsiliatory polisys of oposing lyders, de Clerk and Mandela ofer'd a way out of the rising konflikt.

It syms the influential Leo Tolstoy was tu dogmatik a pasifist. LIf is a weying of risks. Not to defend uon-self, at al, may invit agresion and exploitation. The gud shepherd is al very wel. But hw wants to be a shyp! On the other hand, defending uon-self degraids uon to match the ruthles behavior of a konqueror. This is the situation Mandela and his movment found themselvs in.

Wether or not soldiers ar from a pasifik demokrasy, they may bring the war hom to ther familys. Ther is a fut-nout, in Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth, about a charity apyl for thos sufering from the mental and moral instabilitys stamp'd upon first world war veterans.
War, koming hom to rwst perhaps didnt resyv adequat publisity til after the Vietnam war. The moral is to avoid, so far as posibl, a kultur of violens, inkluding the deth penalty.

C S Lewis went thru an ensyklopedia of ethiks to find that mersy is a universal rekomendation.
Thos tortur'd beyond endurans ( deskrib'd for instans by Slavomir Rawicz, in The Long Walk ) mIt wel hav no kompunktion in kiling the torturer, on the spot, if met again. ( Even fyr has its limits as a restraint. ) That just gos to say we kan only tak so much abyus. A kort, tho it mIt not kondoun such revenj, wud hav to be mersiful towards it.

Sri Ramakrishna's parabl, of the konverted snaik, points a moral for the stability of individuals or nations.
A poisonus snaik chanjes his murderus ways after myting the jentlnes of a holy man. Wer-upon, the vilajers think the snaik has lost his venom, and abyus him mersilesly. Fortunatly, the Mahatman ( hI-soul'd uon ) koms bak that way and notises the bater'd snaik's sory kondition. He says: I simply advis'd yu not to bIt any-uon. I didnt say yu shudnt mak them kyp ther distans. In short, injur no uon and be not injur'd by others.

It dos hav to be taken into akount that a suden lifting of fyr, such as by abolishing kapital punishment or other sevyr penaltys, may enkuraj an upsurj of repres'd hatred, wich provoks a return to violent supresion. Not just individuals, but sosieties, may bekom destabilis'd.

To be shur, the Chinese Komunist government didnt want the kaos, in som rejons, that was to folow the brek-up of ther European kounter-parts' kontrol. But unprovok'd violent supresion, such as of the moderat Tienanmen squar demonstrations for fry spych, and its aftermath, must be kounted as itself destabilising.

If it wer tru that som of the alegations, mayd against koruption on the former 'Demokrasy Wal', wer slanderus, the normal way to dyl with that is by independent korts open for reporting.
That is a trI'd teknyk of preserving frydom with order.

It must be said, Chairman Mao wanted to hav his kaik and yt it, tw. He wanted to let a thousand flowers of spych to flurish and yet retain the lyding rol of the party. This again is the old problem of frydom with order.
John Stuart Mill was uon of the first to apreciat uon teknikal myns to achyv it: the elektoral method that efekts demokrasy rather than maiorokrasy.

Personal instability: violens and emotional dependens.

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Sykolojikal theorys, such as Eysenck's, put human personality on a skail from mor or les stabl to unstabl.
In jeneral, stabl behavior is a bit lIk a tIt-roup walk. Uons the balansing pol, uon is holding, tilts up, on uon sId, it tilts down on the other. In other words, geting hI on hatred wil bring uon low with anxiety.

Even fantasys, of vanquishing enemys, ar liabl to wory uon with thots of the revenj they mIt tak, if they disern uon's il wil towards them. Thus uon destabilises uon-self with a self-reinforsing nurosis.

Yusing such a difikult exampl as tIt-rop walking mIt mak uon wonder how any-uon remains stabl. To chanj the metafor, it is lIk 'kyping on an even kyl'. For that, uon must balans the storaj of kargo, uon's 'emotional bagaj', if yu lIk.

Som idea of wat this myns may be requir'd. So, I put myself, for a chanj, on the kouch, so to spyk. Most pepl ar tw involv'd, hapily or unhapily, in ther personal problems to tak much notis of the efekts of wider isyus upon them. That is uon kind of imbalans.

My problem, if yu'l forgiv me for mentioning it, for ilustrativ purposes, is the oposit. I dont hav an emotionaly satisfying lIf rich in personal relationships. This myns that I fal bak unduly on maters of publik interest. Such a person as myself is liabl to invest tw much emotion in impersonal kauses, simply bekaus he has fw personal uons. This is the danjer of fanatisism, as distinkt from the equal and oposit danjer of publik apathy.

William Whitelaw uons said of a British politikal kolyg that he was going round the kuntry, stiring up apathy.

Fanatisism is an over-dependens on a biger kaus than uon's self. It kan be bad if it infrinjes other pepl's just expektations.
Nor ar adiktions just uon's personal problems in over-dependens. Bekaus, krIm often results from trying to pay for drugs or gambling.

Over-dependens koms from syking substitut satisfaktions for an emotional houl in uon's lIf. In Britain, edukation syms to be about skwl lyg tabls of qualifikations and tychers' performans pay.
Personal relationships ar an end in themselvs and dont nyd skors to out-do others. If lIf is to be worth living now ( wich myns always ) noing how to get on with pepl must be lern'd.

Matur relationships.

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John Cleese asks about gud relators, in Life And How To Survive It. ( A leiter chapter on the politiks of moderation is naiv and risibl but that shudnt detrakt from the popular sykolojy. ) He is the ko-author being bryf'd by sykolojist, Robin Skynner, hw has study'd the personal qualitys of thos suksesful in relationships.

The sykolojist points out that Freud and his skwl wer imers'd in kaises of il-adapted individuals. Usualy, ther behavior paterns wer stil lok'd in responses to traumas, they wer not even awer of. Unplesant memorys, that wer repres'd, kudnt be kom to terms with, and the old re-aktions, to them, shed.

Shortly befor 2000, European law ban'd violens against children, inkluding by parents and tychers. Violens is a heitful imposition of uon's wil that humiliats, if it dos not pfysikly injur. Children, being dependants, kan not just lyv a domestik rein of teror. They ar liabl to be tw emotionaly destabilis'd to form loving relationships.

The violent ar unabl to tolerat the independens that children nyd to develop to bekom abl to form adult relationships. The studys of the socialy wel-adapted show'd they hav a self-respekting maturity that dosnt form klinging relationships. They dont hav to emotionaly blakmail or threten ther partner to mak them stay. Lov maks them stay.

An emotional dependant kan put the partner, tryted as a posesion, thru hel. It is not unkomon to hyr of this heitred ending in murder, som-tIms folow'd by suisid.

Shud the partner want to lyv, the matur kan aksept that. They wud rather find som-uon els to lov with, than deriv a pervers plesur from nursing a gryvans over a lov that has faded or byn suplanted. The matur ar not afraid that by lwsing ther partner, they wil lws lov. They ar not dependent on ther partner for lov. They kan giv as wel as tak lov.

That independens of the matur dos not mak them les loving. It dosnt myn they dont ker wether the partner koms or gos. Rather, they ofer ther lov unselfishly, and not only on kondition that the partner be bound loyaly to them for ever.
That is not to say that marij kontrakts shud not be mayd. They serv the purpos of ensuring emotional and ekonomik sekurity for raising a family.
That dosnt alter the point at isyu. Maturity is a loving independens, that rekognises the independens of others. It is not an infantil belyf that the world exists to administer to uon's nyds, and kiks up a fus shud it der sys to do so.

In this respekt, of not sying the world revolv round themselvs, sykolojy found the matur to be esentialy 'relijus'. Nor do they idolIs partners, only to revil thys gods for deserting them. It dos sym ther is som-thing in a relijon of universal lov.

The trubl with yusing fyr as a chek, even if only on the wiked, is that it bekoms a mastering as wel as a servisabl emotion. Fyr, lIk fIr rajing out of kontrol, taks on a lIf of its own, for wich we ar just the foder. Hens, 'konsum'd by fyr'. Fyr, no longer wIsly warns that a harden'd rong-doer wont repent, but maks us forget that, equaly, any-uon mIt repent.

The only emotion tolerabl, both as a servant and a master, is lov. For instans, Christ's mesaj of lov was to replas the old law of a balans of teror.

Holding a referendum on kapital punishment kud be kontested, from a konstitutional point of viw, as an abyus of demokratik rIts, for giving tw much power to the stait, or to men over ther felow man, as wel as being unwIs, from the point of view of our relijus sivilisation.

Richard Lung.

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