The global decline in the popularity of liberalism in its various forms has led to a renewed debate on the restoration and expansion of the death penalty in countries where it has been abolished or severely restricted.
The growing epidemic of child rape in India has led authorities to consider giving a mandatory death sentence to child rapists. But while India retains the death penalty and looks to expand its scope, countries that have previously abolished capital punishment are seriously considering its re-introduction.
Over the last year, Turkey’s President Erdogan has suggested bringing back the death penalty which was abolished in 2004 at a time when many were seriously thinking that Ankara’s future was with the liberal anti-capital punishment European Union.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has also advocated for the re-introduction of the death penalty. Duterte stated the following in regards to turning the tables on violent, murderous criminals,
“In the Philippines, it is really an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. You took life, you must pay it with life. That is the only way to even. You cannot place a premium on the human mind that he will go straight. That’s the advantage of criminals and rebels and terrorists because they think that you are afraid to die”.
The Philippine House of Representatives voted to re-instate capital punishment for serious offences including those related to narcotics, although the bill has yet to become law.
In South Africa, many parties on totally opposite sides of the political spectrum also favour re-introducing the death penalty, not least because it no longer carries the racial stigma it did during the Apartheid years. The Marxist black liberation party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are staunch supporters of capital punishment while the Afrikaner National Conservative Party also are in favour of restoring the death penalty.
When it comes to the world’s wealthiest nations the trend of supporting capital punishment also remains strong. China recently executed corrupt officials in a clear sign that any form of wrongdoing will not be tolerated within Chinese government, while Donald Trump has stated that he is strongly in favour of executing drug dealers.
At the end of the Cold War, when many countries felt that liberal nations had “defeated” those with both leftist and right-wing ideologies, it seemed that the global trend was for the death penalty to become a thing of the past. The 21st century however has exposed the economic, social and diplomatic flaws of liberalism and has led to a revival of leftist parties, right-wing parties and hybrid parties seeking a broadly anti-liberal ‘third way’, at the expense of western style liberal groups.
Because of this, advocating for the restoration of the death penalty is no longer taboo in most parts of the world, including in the United States. While the EU, the region from which liberalism sprung still clings on to its opposition to capital punishment, the rest of the world seems to be moving on.
Whether one supports or opposes the death penalty, this trend cannot be ignored. It is the new (old) reality.