I suppose I’m soft and not a patriot

I disagree with most of Peggy Noonan’s remorse and dismay that Zacarias Moussaoui didn’t receive the death penalty, but this seems particularly insincere:

I happen, as most adults do, to feel a general ambivalence toward the death penalty. But I know why it exists. It is the expression of a certitude, of a shared national conviction, about the value of a human life. It says the deliberate and planned taking of a human life is so serious, such a wound to justice, such a tearing at the human fabric, that there is only one price that is justly paid for it, and that is the forfeiting of the life of the perpetrator. It is society’s way of saying that murder is serious, dreadfully serious, the most serious of all human transgressions. It is not a matter of vengeance. Murder can never be avenged, it can only be answered.

I hope I’m not the only person calling bullshit on that. It’s absolutely about vengeance. Otherwise, why all the pictures and interviews with family members of the September 11th victims? Why the sobbing testimony rehashing the gruesome details of that day and how it’s affected us since?

That day was awful. As much as we’d like it to do so, killing Moussaoui would never lessen that wound. The worst fate he can suffer now is to be relegated to the past. His lies and deceptions achieved his goals once. Imposing the death penalty would only increase his murderous impact. That’s not a sufficient reason to spare him, but we’re not the murderous thugs. This time, the jury didn’t forget that.

Post Script: It doesn’t sound like his incarceration will be a picnic, for those who want him to suffer.

Congress shall make no law …

As a Sirius stockholder I’m a huge fan of Senator Frist’s latest craptacular foray into public policy. As an American, though, I’m disgusted:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) is trying to push through a bill that would increase indecency fines on broadcasters and threaten to take away their licenses after three violations.

Frist is championing the bill after conservative groups, a key voting bloc if he runs for president, expressed frustration at the lack of congressional action to curb broadcast indecency.

His stand also puts opponents of the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005 in the position of appearing to cast a vote in an election year against decency.

I can’t begin to express the shame I feel that the First Amendment has been reduced to a bygone principle, where attacking it is an accepted political ploy designed to shore up the conservative base for 2008. I don’t give a fuck about decency when the real issue is that Sen. Frist and his fellow small government defenders meddling, prudish comrades in Congress will trade my liberty for a few votes.

Liberty is the ability to give offense without governmental repercussions, not the freedom to do only what’s acceptable in polite society. They’re all devoid of principles. Otherwise, they’d accept that the Constitution is our foundation, not a religious text. May they rot in defeat in November.