On Monday’s episode of “The Michael Knowles Show,” Knowles discusses Attorney General Barr’s decision to bring the death penalty against five criminals and lays out the conservative case for capital punishment. Video and partial transcript below:
William Barr, the attorney general, is now going to be enforcing the federal death penalty again for the first time in 16 years. We have not executed a federally condemned criminal since 2003. And the reason this story isn’t getting a lot of traction is because the Left says the death penalty is the worst thing in the world and the right is kind of divided on the issue. A lot of conservatives don’t really understand what the death penalty is for. So, I will defend the death penalty. I will defend as your resident bloodthirsty autocratic theocratic — whatever lines they want to use. I’ll defend the death penalty.
So, the Left hears their argument. Corey Booker says the death penalty is immoral and ineffective. … Ayanna Pressley, the Ringo Star of “The Squad,” says, quote, “the death penalty has no place in a just society.” Ilhan Omar, she took a break from sympathizing with al-Qaeda to call the death penalty a heinous totalitarian practice often used against innocent people. The very definition of cruel and unusual punishment.
Oh, by the way, all of those people support abortion on demand at any stage of pregnancy. They all support killing innocent babies up until the moment they’re born, which is the law now in New York because of the current Democratic governor there. In the case of the governor of Virginia, he supports killing babies after they’ve been born. But they don’t think that we should kill violent, awful, terrible murderers. That is unjust. That is the worst crime in the world. The Left always gets it exactly backward.
Who is this going to affect? Five criminals who are going to be executed. They are murderers. They are child-murderers and child-torturers, people who tortured and killed their own children. White supremacist murderers. These are the worst people on earth. But according to the Left, all those people should live. And innocent babies should die. One of the stupidest arguments against the death penalty is an argument that disingenuous left-wingers use against conservatives. They say, well if you’re pro-life then you need to be consistent that it’s inconsistent to be pro-life but then support the death penalty. Not true at all. There is nothing inconsistent about thinking we shouldn’t kill innocent babies and, also, the state can execute criminals. Nothing inconsistent.
I mean this, that the Left does their politics in slogans, and [their] slogans or are usually pretty stupid. The right doesn’t use slogans too much, but one of them that we use is the term “pro-life,” which basically defines what we think. But if you want me to clarify, I’ll clarify. I’m pro-innocent life. I think I think we should save innocent babies from being killed and I think that the civil authority can kill criminals, of course, as has every civilization that has ever existed for all of human history. And the reason for that is I’m pro-justice. Justice is a wonderful thing.
There’s two reasons why I think support for the death penalty has dropped even among conservatives. On the one hand, we’ve lost a sense of justice. We think that the only purpose of the criminal justice system here … is to rehabilitate criminals. And obviously, you’re not going to rehabilitate them if they’re going to hang from a noose. Actually, there was an argument there that that hanging or facing capital punishment will actually really clear up your mind and it might not save you in this world, but it might reform you for the world to come.
But still, let’s say it’s not going to rehab you. OK. There were three purposes of punishment. One of them is rehabilitation. The other one is deterrence, and the death penalty is actually carried out as a great deterrent. And the third one is retribution. And this the retribution people now say that that doesn’t matter at all. We don’t want actually punish people because they committed a crime. We want to punish them to rehabilitate them. We want to punish them to deter other crime. No. The most important one is the retribution because of the justice. Because of the injustice that they’ve committed, the civil authority has to exact justice from the criminal. The reason this is the most important one is because, look, we could all use a little rehabilitation.
We could all do things that we could all improve on our lives and … stop doing things that we shouldn’t do. We could all deter other people from doing things. The reason that you get arrested and prosecuted and sentenced is because you committed a crime. The differentiating factor between me and those guys who are going to face the death penalty is not that I can’t use some rehabilitation. I’m extraordinarily imperfect. There’s a lot I could improve on in my life. The difference is they committed the crime and I did not.