It is your righteousness that is killing you.
You insist on labeling all errors of functionality matters of moral decay. This creates judgment, and judgment creates justification. By your judgments about whether a person or nation has behaved morally, you justify your response.
You call this response your "moral obligation." You claim that you are morally compelled to act in a certain way.
Your death penalty is a perfect example.
You claim the moral code (or God's Law) of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is justification for this punishment. It is not even about rendering society safe because life imprisonment would accomplish that. No, it is a simple matter of evening the score, plain and clear.
Yes. We try to soften this edge by calling it justice, but there is a saying, "If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck." In this case it"s a duck named Revenge.
But what if morals—which are moveable feasts in any event—were not part of the equation?
Neale: Statistics clearly show that the states and nations using the death penalty the most have no lower crime rates than those using it the least. What is that about? If the death penalty deters violent crime, why don’t the rates go down and stay down?
If you are seeking to experience a world of peace and harmony and cooperation, then "what works" and "what does not work" would be measured against that. Currently, you are not using this measurement, or you would never do the things you are doing in your world.
Could it be that a society that practices violence in order to end violence has something a bit backward?
That is the problem with many "moral" justifications. They can breed insane behaviors.
Neale: I still wonder whether a world of "what works" and "what does not work" could produce anything but chaos.
As opposed to the peace and tranquility produced by your current "right" and "wrong" world?
Okay, but at least we know when somebody has done something wrong, and we can do something about it.
Such as punishing them and demonstrating that two "wrongs" make a "right"?
Neale: It is not "wrong" to punish someone!
That is accurate. It is not "wrong" to punish someone.
A thing is only "right" or "wrong" depending upon whether it works or does not work in producing an outcome you wish to produce.
So we get to ask again, what is it you wish to produce by punishing someone?
An experience of "payback"? Of revenge? Of safety, by removing a threat?