There are jurists and even theologians who advocate capital punishment as the last resort of justice. Others reject it as immoral. Both sides have good reasons. Both call upon statistics, which, as usual, can be exploited every which way. Numbers should be kept aloof.
This controversy passes the anarch by. For him, the linking of death and punishment is absurd. In this respect, he is closer to the wrongdoer than to the judge, for the high-ranking culprit who is condemned to death is not prepared to acknowledge his sentence as atonement; rather, he sees his guilt in his own inadequacy. Thus, he recognizes himself not as a moral but as a tragic person.
. . .
With the spread of atheism, death grows more horrible, since annihilation is total and irrevocable. Death is overrated, both by the person suffering it and by the person inflicting it. Repentance, too, is secularized. It no longer relates to the evildoer’s salvation before he passes away into the cosmic order; now it signifies his obeisance to society and its legislation.
. . .
The anarch knows the fundamental law. He also knows its falsifications. He realizes that atonement is his due for misdeeds against it. The state has tricked him out of the right to pass this judgment; it is obligated to carry it out on his behalf.
Instead, one sees eunuchs convening in order to disempower the populace in whose name they presume to speak. This is logical, since the eunuch’s most heartfelt goal is to castrate the free man. The results are laws demanding that “you should run to the district attorney while your mother is being raped.”
They cheat a man out of the blood that expiates murder, just as they rob him of the gold attesting to his share of the sun, and spoil the salt that, as the spirit of the earth, unites all free men.