Five Reasons Conservatives Should Oppose the Death Penalty

2. Arming the government with the power to kill is a bad idea. Considering that governments throughout history have killed hundreds of millions of individuals, it follows that we should minimize the government’s authority to use lethal force as much as possible. At most, government should serve to protect life, liberty, and property, in both domestic and foreign affairs. Government is no longer protecting life if they are murdering a violent criminal at a later date after the offender is apprehended. They are only taking life — whether one deems that act to be moral or not is irrelevant for this point.

Some may charge that it is a leap to suggest that the United States government would abuse their power with regard to lethal force. It may be true that the government does not and would not abuse the power of capital punishment. However, if we accept the argument that capital punishment is warranted because government would not abuse it, then what else will we accept on the grounds that government will do no harm? If we were content with this notion that the government will not abuse their power, we would not need a separation of powers with checks and balances.