Regarding Senator Bellaron's Proposal

(Auriga Menkalinan) #15

I am going to avoid the debate over the ethics of capital punishment. While that is important, it is the political implications of the Senator’s proposal that I have been struggling with since its announcement and the commentary so far seems to address these more in passing than as the main issue.

I am genuinely conflicted about the expansion of federal law in this area.

On one hand, the proposal could strengthen the case for challenging the treatment of the Intaki 5,000 and their descendants. This was, in part, a mass execution by federal forces, as the ruins of the old colonies still testify.

On the other hand, it could also be the thin end of a constitutional wedge being driven into the autonomy of member states. Given their diversity, this risks enflaming latent antagonisms and divisions which any student of our collective history would surely prefer to avoid.

On balance, I welcome the ban applying to federal authorities and urge the Senator, with considerable reserve, to clarify the details of his proposed ‘guidelines’ applicable to members.

(James Syagrius) #16

I watched it. I think I understood the why of it.

It was an uncharacteristic action from President Fioritan, but then he understood unsatiated rage is dangerous and ‘we’ were angry.

Senator Bellaron’s Proposal where it touches the rights of the ‘Constituent Domains’ within our Federal Union will run afoul of the Federal Charter. At which point his education will begin.

(Jason Galente) #17

Any state will always, in extreme circumstances, have power of life and death, whether it aligns with our personal sensibility and idealism, or not. No other model is sustainable in the long term. If you will not fight, you will be conquered, at the very least, and leading an army to fight, kill, and die is indeed the stripping of a right to life from other people. Such is life, we make compromises with government, we do our best to make it sane and humane.

The only thing we can do is limit in which circumstances this power is exercised, but every state will kill, so long as men fight wars, if nothing else.

(Jason Galente) #18

That’s pretty absurdly reductionist, don’t you think?

Details do matter.

(MantelGlobalIndustries) #27

Despite the peculiar nature of this fellow’s messages and the lack of sufficient moderation from our CONCORD chums, please do not derail this thread from it’s original purpose and take it to off topic or something.

The Intaki 5,000 had amongst their number terrorists and criminals as well as simple dissidents that spoke out against the then-U-NAT regime. Their exile was heavy-handed, but it could have easily resulted in an actual mass-execution at the barrels of U-NAT gangsters had Duvailer chosen to. That said, it could be something on the table, although the Syndicate would have to show serious signs of reform for it to be possible.

Federal law supersedes that of the member states, from my understanding of it. No doubt the bill will be debated in the districts of the Federation and polls held by the senators and other authorised representatives of the people to fully gauge what the people of the Federation desire. Additionally, the Charter states that all member states must abide by the Constitution and respect its principles outlined. No doubt there will be member states that will try and exercise their right to opt-out of Federal law, but that doesn’t mean attempts shouldn’t be tried to reform the system in the eyes of those representatives that are expressing the will of their constituents.

I would agree that unsated rage is quite dangerous, and can lead to unforeseen consequences for any nation, not just the Federation. However, I will quote one individual, Irine Patrone, that expressed grave concern for the anger in which the Federation had at the time: “My great-grandfather served against the Caldari in the war… …He said there were times when he was so angry after Nouvelle Rouvenor he was frightened by himself. I had the same feeling when I saw the execution.”

In our rage and anger, no matter how justified or righteous it can seem, we can forget who we truly are and the goals and aspirations of our societies we strive towards. To slake the thirst of the mob for retribution in exchange for sacrificing the basic tenets of one’s society that one holds sacred and inviolate is not a trade worth making.

I would be interested in hearing how it violates the Federal Charter in your eyes, nonetheless.

(Auriga Menkalinan) #28

I was referring to the destruction of the colonies in Poitot at the same time as the 5,000 were exiled. That was an actual mass execution. Further, the way in which those who were not killed that day were cut off by the destruction of the stargate to Intaki with very limited means of life support was effectively a death sentence for many.

Regardless, your point about reform is a good one. Syndicate has its fair share of troublemakers but many inhabitants are simply interested in making a living. I would encourage IGS readers to reach out with proposals for legitimate collaboration, as Catherine De’Lane did recently, whether with other capsuleers or the local authorities. I, for one, would welcome support in the Poitot pipe.

The second issue is about striking the right balance between federal and local policies. The Charter and the Constitution have an inherent tension because they seek to protect values that sometimes clash; in this case between the rights to dignity and justice of criminals and the rights to self-determination of member states. Capital punishment probably is an area appropriate for regulation. My point is simply that I hope Villore will do this carefully and not overreach.

Off-Topic Thread
(Bataav) #29

Like Mr Menkalinan I am also conflicted.

At least to a point.

It will come as no surprise to some that I hold Federal imposition on member state’s own governance to be anethema, particularly in Placid. However in this case, I find myself in support of Senator Bellaron’s intentions.

And, like Mr Menkalinan, I also see the parallels in the use of punitive exile on Lirsautton VI, and that of the Intaki at the end of the Gallente-Caldari War.

If the Senate is to recognise that such a regressive justice policy in Lirsautton has gone too far, then Federal policy towards the people of the Syndicate must be held to the same standard!

I agree completely with the argument that in both cases, the policy of exile is little more than an extended death sentence by intention. Senator Bellaron is also right to draw attention to the fact that many of those rescued from Lirsautton VI were children, innocent of the crimes of their parents.

So the same can be said for those who still live under punitive exile in the Syndicate.

I think it was more that Duvalier had learned the lesson of Caldari Prime, and had little need of Intaki martyrs alongside those of the Caldari, rather than him suddenly developing a sense of moderation. I wonder how those who survived the Razing of Poitot felt.

And while the days of Duvalier and his U-NATs are long gone, two hundred years later, and still the Federation enforces its sanction on planetary settlement.

Perhaps if the Senator’s proposal is successful it’ll be evidence of reform in the Federation.

(Valerie Valate) #31

Tell me:

What is the functional difference, between the judicial arm of the state executing a traitor to the state by public spectacle, and the judicial branch of the Church sacrificing the unrighteous on the altar in a public spectacle ?

Were a Sani sabik member state to be established in the Federation, the laws on capital punishment would allow the unrighteous to be sacrificed upon the holy altar, for the glorification of the Red God, would they not ?

(Veikitamo Gesakaarin) #33

The only detail worth mentioning is that the execution of Eturrer was an appalling act; but it was an appalling act which set the precedent that if one Federal citizen can have their personal dignity revoked to be burned as a public effigy then any citizen can be burned alive for treason.

Off-Topic Thread
(Hans Nardieu) #34

Making a living through despicable crime. As I’ve noted before, the ancestors of those exiles took the poor hand dealt to them by previous administrations and turned to a life of crime, corrupting the young of Placid with drugs and filth. Others took a rougher hand and came out righteous. Those people who were exiled were clearly of the sort it were better that the Federation should do without.

(Ioannis Sepphiros) #35

If anything those who are pushed into committing crimes to make a living, are nothing but living statements of how the governments failed them.

Capital punishment or no capital punishment will not solve that.

(Valerie Valate) #37

I would like an answer to my questions.

What is the difference between the state making a public spectacle of executing someone for treason, and the church sacrificing someone on an altar for heresy ?

(Constantin Baracca) #38

The most important that I can think of offhand is that treason is a much less far-reaching thing to violate than, say, the Scriptures. To violate the Scriptures to the point of heresy could touch on any number of things (as you would well know) and might only threaten the Empire in a cultural way.

Treason is a very serious and specific charge, and definitively describes someone directly threatening the well-being of the government itself. Someone committing a murder might be flouting the rules of Gallente society, surely, but it isn’t often directly attempting to destabilize the government. Therefore, it might well be reasonable to think that even heinous crimes don’t warrant capital punishment, yet treason (which directly assails the very means by which those crimes are recognized, investigated, and punished) does.

(Arrendis) #39

If the church is the state, as in the Amarr Empire, there is no difference.
If the church is not the state, then the church has no legal authority to kill anyone, and is committing murder.

(Valerie Valate) #40

Federation member states are allowed to use capital punishment though. Senator Bellaron is only proposing to ban it at Federal level, and ban it being made unto a public spectacle.

So, with the laws as they stand, is there anything that prevents a Sani Sabik member state of the Federation, from conducting sacrificial ceremonies?

(Arrendis) #41

Probably not.

People imbue the actions of large umbrella organizations like ‘the church’ and ‘the state’ with all of these strange capabilities and inherent moralities, as if just having people follow you means that you’re going to be making the right decisions, or have gained even a shred of decency. Ain’t so. Power, as they say, corrupts. The more authority someone has, the more temptation there will be to use that authority in ways that make things easier for yourself, or for the people you like, or make things harder for the people you don’t.

It doesn’t start big, either. It starts small, and subtle, in ways that nobody would get upset about. Things that seem perfectly reasonable and forgivable on a personal scale. And if they were being done by a normal citizen or subject… they would be. But because they’re being done by those in power, they represent a violation of the trust that the masses place in their leaders.

That trust, and the responsibility for upholding it, is part of the job. It’s not even a small part of the job. It is, in fact, the primary responsibility of leadership that they must be worthy of the job. A leader who cuts corners, who abandons principle and ethos in order to ‘get things done’… they have to go. The really good ones recognize this. They might do that horrible thing because it needs doing… but that will be followed by their own departure from their position, so that the masses can be served by someone who will remain worthy of their loyalty.

Killing people in the name of the state or the faith… in a war, that’s necessary. In peace, it’s just killing. With all of the resources at the disposal of modern cosmopolitical entities, there really is no excuse for failing to find some way the offender can justify their existence through continued contribution to society.

In the case of sacrifice, consent comes into play. If the person being sacrificed has consented to it… then that brings up all of a society’s potential dealings with suicide and self-annihilation. If they haven’t… it’s murder, no matter how you pretty it up. And no-one should trust leaders who murder people who are helpless in their care: if they can do it to someone, after all, they can do it to anyone. All they need to do is come up with a justification. And really, justifying lashing out at people who annoy us… it’s not a difficult thing. Most of us learned to do it before we learned to walk.

(Valerie Valate) #42

Even an offender like Nauplius ?

(Lunarisse Aspenstar) #43

Don’t let outliers drive policy.

(Arrendis) #44

Mulch contributes.

(Rinai Vero) #45

There are numerous laws that could potentially prevent such a thing from happening with legal sanction from a Federation member state. Thankfully, such hypothetical scenarios are only ever likely to be considered in the context of particularly fanciful exams given to Gallente constitutional law students, and not in actual reality.

Senator Bellaron’s proposal, however, is very real and would have far reaching impacts within the Federation. I’m sympathetic to many of the points made already about how the brutal public spectacle of Admiral Eturrer’s execution was unbecoming of a civilized nation. For me, though, it is a reminder of the deep conflict between shining idealism and dark cynicism that is so central to the Gallente identity.

As an idealist, I can can be sickened by the grisly barbarism of the unrestrained mob. But as a cynic, I must ask “what do our enemies expect when they attack us?”

I may hope that even during our darkest times we will hold true to our highest ideals. I do hope that. But I have very little patience for moralizing from the very enemies who launched the attack that benefitted from Eturrer’s treason. Of course I mourn to see my people seized by their darkest impulses, and my leaders whipping those emotions into a frenzy. But then I think back to the death and devastation that had so recently been wrought upon my former home on Caldari Prime by Tibus Heth. I think about my father, dead amongst the rubble as he tried to rescue his Caldari and Gallente neighbors alike. When I think of those things, the part of me that enjoyed watching Eturrer burn is vindicated.

Our enemies can lecture us about being more civilized from the comfort of hindsight all they want. Fine. Perhaps they’re even right. But they should remember that we did not travel to that dark place alone, and never forget the wrath they risk if they attack us again. I hope that my people will be better than what we did to Eturrer for his treason. Don’t forget, he was one of our own. Imagine the horror we are capable of inflicting on our enemies if pushed far enough.