Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


An A.C.L.U Demon, Hugo Adam Bedau, died on this date, August 13, 2012. Although he was a staunch opponent of the death penalty, there were several things he did say that were in favor of capital punishment. We will post one of his quotes here.

Hugo Adam Bedau
QUOTE: “The execution of the innocent believed guilty is a miscarriage of justice that must be opposed whenever detected. But such miscarriage of justice do not warrant abolition at the death penalty. Unless the moral drawbacks of an activity practice, which include the possible death of innocent lives that might be saved by it, the activity is warranted. Most human activities like medicine, manufacturing, automobile, and air traffic, sports, not to mention wars and revolutions, cause death of innocent bystanders. Nevertheless, advantages outweigh the disadvantages, human activities including the penal system with all its punishments are morally justified.” – written in 1982

AUTHOR: Hugo Adam Bedau (September 23, 1926 – August 13, 2012) was the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, at Tufts University, and is best known for his work on capital punishment. He has been called a "leading anti-death-penalty scholar" by Stuart Taylor Jr., who has quoted Bedau as saying "I'll let the criminal justice system execute all the McVeighs they can capture, provided they'd sentence to prison all the people who are not like McVeigh."
Bedau gained his PhD from Harvard University in 1961 and subsequently taught at Dartmouth College, Princeton University and Reed College before joining Tufts in 1966. He retired in 1999. Bedau was a founder of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and served many years on its board of directors, including several as chairman. He was a member of the American Civil Liberties Union, for whom he has written on the death penalty.
He is author of The Death Penalty in America (1st edition, 1964; 4th edition, 1997), The Courts, the Constitution, and Capital Punishment (1977), Death is Different (1987), and Killing as Punishment (2004), and co-author of In Spite of Innocence (1992). On the occasion of Bedau's retirement, Norman Daniels said of The Death Penalty in America: "It is the premier example in this century of the systematic application of academic philosophical skills to a practical issue, and the flood of work in practical ethics that has followed can rightfully cite Hugo's work as its starting point."
Bedau also published important work on the theory of civil disobedience.

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