In this special fourth episode of The Rationalist podcast, host Mike Coté is joined by guest Robb McClintock to discuss an idea that is central to our criminal justice system: capital punishment.
In this show, we only discuss the death penalty and do not touch on separate domestic or foreign policy issues, as we had quite a lot to say on the capital punishment front. Robb’s background in philosophy, ethics, and rights lent a great deal of intrigue and clarity to the discussion and made our disagreements (there were many) on the issue far more nuanced and interesting. In this episode, we detail a history of capital punishment around the world, as well as in the United States, and deal with many of the legal issues involved therein. After that, we talk through some important statistics when it comes to the death penalty in the United States and describe the trends those statistics reveal. In the remainder of our conversation, we debate the merits of capital punishment on a moral, ethical, legal, and policy basis. We discuss some of the major issues surrounding the death penalty, including innocence, racial disparities, and the humaneness of methods used. Finally, Mike lays out his case for why we shouldn’t have the death penalty and we go through the arguments for and against.
Look below for links and references from the podcast. Thanks for listening to The Rationalist, and don’t forget to leave a rating and review!
- Two Part History of Capital Punishment – Part I, Part II
- Bureau of Justice Statistics
- Death Penalty Information Center on County-Level Issues
- Death Penalty Information Center on Costs
- Draconian Constitution
- Code of Hammurabi
- Blackstone’s Formulation
- Judge Kozinski on Death Penalty
- Oklahoma’s Nitrogen Gas Method