Lindsay Beyerstein (“analytical philosophy and liberal politics”) reminds me why one of my college philosophy professors used to approve of people changing majors out of his department: we need philosophically trained people thinking about more than just metaphysics.

All she does is ask exactly why not even the most heinous white-collar crimes rate the death penalty .

“I don’t support the death penalty, but if I did, Kenny Boy would have been first in line,” she writes. “Ken Lay did far more harm than the average murderer, or even the average terrorist. He left thousands of people destitute, including workers whose pensions evaporated and students whose college savings disappeared. How many people will die in poverty because of Lay? How many students lost the opportunity to go to college because of the Enron swindle? How many lives were shortened because the innocent employees of Enron and Arthur Andersen lost their jobs and health benefits?

“On the larger scale, Lay’s crimes also undermined trust in the stock market. His influence peddling damaged the integrity of American government. Enron money helped the Republicans take the White House. It’s not for nothing that Kenny Boy got to sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom.

“Let’s not forget that Enron inflicted deliberate power outages in order to extort money from the energy consumers of California. Did anyone die as a result? If you kill someone in the process of holding up a liquor store in a death-penalty state, you’re liable to be executed for your crime, even if you didn’t intend to kill the victim.”

Any death-penalty supporters out there? How would you argue against this?

Careful–if you say, well, we used to execute people for theft but now we realize that’s cruel and unusual punishment, then you’re saying exactly what death-penalty opponents say about the death penalty in general. If you’re just puzzled, some of the comments at Beyerstein’s site are intelligent.