Ms. McArdle says:
I think that a state which commits cold-blooded murder is a brutalized state, and I have a visceral horror at the idea of putting a man in a cage and declaring to him the day that he will die. The process of executing criminals damages the moral fiber of all who are engaged in it, including the voters, a cost far in excess of the benefit to be gained from either deterrance or retribution.
Why does she feel the need to speak for the rest of us on what damages our moral fiber? Moral fiber can’t be observed and its a pretty subjective thing. If I don’t think my moral fiber is being damaged, but Megan does, who’s right?
Besides, I’m pretty sure executioners don’t see it her way or at least they’ve weighed the moral cost of doing their deed against its (monetary) benefits and found executing to be in their best interests. Who is she to tell them their preferences are wrong?
If executioners can do this calculation, then the rest of us can. It may be for Megan the costs are greater than the benefits to such a degree that she’s willing to move to a jurisdiction without capital punishment. For some of us, there may be no moral cost just emotional benefits of revenge killing or maybe we feel the deterrence effect of capital punish outweighs the moral costs.
There’s an interesting third group of people for which the moral costs do outweigh the benefits of executions, but not by so much that its worth it to take on the fixed costs of moving to a different jurisdiction. There’s probably quite a few people who don’t like the death penalty but don’t think its worth it to move to Canada. It seems the extent of the political economic market is a problem for these folks. The market, perhaps due to policy restrictions (i.e. the monopoly of current governments), just doesn’t provide enough varieties of jurisdiction.
The funny thing is Megan actually fits in this third group. The cost to her outweigh the benefits but she’s not willing to pay for a change in jurisdiction. Apparently, she finds it more cost effective to try and brow-beat the rest of us into changing our moral preferences.