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Unformatted text preview: ly it is worth noting that there remain several important gaps in the authors' arguendo acceptance of deontological morality, and corresponding weaknesses in their claim to have disabled deontological objections. Consider whether deontologists should be satisfied with- the argument's claim that state action and inaction are morally indistinguishable. To establish that, even on a deontological account, a government is responsible for both its acts and omissions does not entail that the two are the same in all other respects necessary to justify life-life tradeoffs. Specifically, it does not demonstrate that a citizens positive right to state assistance is as strong as her negative right against state violation. the argument's treatment of state executions and individual murders as equivalent wrongs. As noted, the stipulation that state killings are entirely commensurable with private murders seems to support the authors' life-life tradeoff calculation while also accommodating, at least arguendo, the deontological abolitionist's objection that capital punishment is simply one kind of murder. But there are two problems with the concession, if it is designed to establish common ground with deontologists. First, it does not allow that state killings may be worse than private murders, not merely equivalent, as I shall argue shortly. If they are worse, a life-life tradeoff policy may perpetrate great injustice absent from the authors' calculations. The second problem is the extreme positions this stipulation generates for the authors. Even a state policy to deliberately execute innocent people for its positive deterrent value--killing the parents of otherwise-undeterrable suicide bombers, for example--would seem justified on their theory, which obligates the state to minimize the number of murders even if the only way it can do so is by inflicting some itself. the argument's conception of persons as fungible instruments of the collective interest. Even if Sunstein and Vermeule could show that "the taking of life is the only morally relevant action in the picture," this does...
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This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.
- Fall '13