In all the discussion about Pope Francis's teaching on capital punishment there is another practical consideration that to my knowledge no one is addressing. we have an enormously important international challenge. How can we convince dictators to step down and turn power over to democratic government. Dictators and often their staff and followers are reluctant to step down because they fear being punished, including capital punishment.
The leadership of Kim is in some ways particularly frightening. It is widely reported that Kim is holding wild parties fueled by alcohol, and that he himself drinks heavily. There have been reports that in past the leaders of France, America, and the Soviet Union talked about using their nukes while under the influence of alcohol.
The tradition at these dinners was that everyone had to make a toast to the glories of the socialism. Each country had a table for its officials. There were about twenty officials at each country's table and for each toast a very small glass of vodka had to be consumed. These glasses were far smaller than a one oz shot glass but by the time about twenty of them were consumed the dinners were very drunk.
Brezhnev, the leader of the Soviet Union, came to the party at least somewhat drunk and so as the toasts proceeded he became very drunk. He stood up from the dinner and tried to exit the room shouting, I'll show them. The other officials at the Soviet table got up and wrestled him to the floor in the middle of the state dinner. As all the officials there were from satellite nations that were under the Soviet thumb, this probably was not too important.
One of the Czechoslovakian officials got up and asked the Soviets what Brezhnev wanted. A Soviet offical told him, he wants to start the war. I assume this was after Brezhnev took power in 1964 and before the Prague Spring which was in 1968.
Brezhenev died in 1982, and was succeeded by Yuri Andropov, who died after only 14 months in office. Andropov was succeeded by Konstantin Chernenko who died a little more than a year later, and was succeeded by Mikhail Gorbachev.
From his position as designated keeper of the button he overthrew the system and ended the cold war and more generally the conflict between the Soviets and the West.
We thought our nuclear problems were over but the recent news out of North Korea suggests otherwise. Given the history of alcohol and nuclear weapons the heavy drinking of Kim Jung Un is very disturbing.
Many people support capital punishment because they are understandably shocked at the vicious cruelty of serial killers and other murders. We need to consider, however, that the crimes of dictators dwarf those of our serial killers, and yet it is in our interest to offer those dictators solid guarantees of amnesty if we are to convince them to step down peacefully.
The relatives of the victims of our serial killers may demand that we execute the killers who murdered their loved ones, and we are naturally sympathetic. However, the victims of the dictators also have relatives and as the dictators have many more victims their victims have many more relatives. For us to demand that people of former dictatorships simply tolerate the former dictator's luxurious retirement on some South Pacific island and then demand death for serial killers would be hippocritical, in fact it would be monumentally hippocritical. And yet we need to tolerate the luxurious retirement of those dictators because the alternative maybe slaughter on a grand scale, and in worse case senarios the death of intelligent life on our planet, and as far as we know the universe.
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Last updated April 10, 2020