Well, this is certainly a very un-PC article. I’m not sure what I think about this, especially from a Christian perspective, but it does make me think about things in an entirely new way.
If there’s one thing that unites wealthy Leftists, it’s the need to pretend they are compassionate.
And there are few better ways of doing this than campaigning against the death penalty.
Increasingly, Leftists take advantage of modern technology to do this: Activist groups like the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty have created a virtual cottage industry geared toward virtue-signalling on the death penalty. They use their websites to direct the bleeding hearts to the next execution site, so they can launch a protest rally.
Cutting-edge research, however, reveals just how fantastically ironic this is. It seems that without the death penalty there’d be no internet, no television; in fact, very little civilization.
The first scholars to develop this king of all Left-triggering ideas were Canadian anthropologist Peter Frost and the late University of Utah anthropologist Henry Harpending. They published their landmark research in 2015 under the title Western Europe, State Formation, and Genetic Pacification in the journal Evolutionary Psychology.[PDF]
It was a truly ingenious argument.
When Europe became Christian, the death penalty was abolished. Right up until the beginning of the Middle Ages, people were left to settle their own disputes by fighting each other or demanding, from the state, that the murderer pay a fine for killing their relative. But, as Frost and Harpending put it, the Church gradually came to accept that, the “wicked” should be executed “so that the good can live in peace.”
With biblical justification, more and more crimes became subject to the death penalty. By the High Middle Ages, every single felony (any crime serious enough to have traditionally warranted the confiscation of property) was met with the hangman’s noose.
Those sent to the gallows were almost always high-testosterone young men prone to violent crime. In fact, Frost and Harpending calculated that one percent of the male population were executed every generation throughout the Middle Ages. And another one percent were killed at the scene of the crime or died in fetid prisons awaiting trial or execution. So two percent of young men were eliminated every generation.
And because they tended to be young, this process meant that they had fewer children than if they hadn’t been executed. Thus, they would have passed on fewer of their genes.
It’s here that Frost and Harpending perceptively draw their conclusion. Capital punishment must have changed the nature of European personality—by, in effect, culling out the psychopaths.