Still reeling from the revelation that four Supreme Court Justices have withdrawn their support for the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, I am pulling myself together to bring you this week’s blog roundup. Or actually two weeks’ worth of blog roundup, since I skipped last week’s due to travel.
We also made a brief foray into quantum game theory.
I commended Peter Leeson’s recent paper defending (to a degree) the practice of trial by ordeal, though I went on (the following day) to criticize Leeson’s assumption that priests cared about getting the right verdicts. I should have added that Leeson does not ignore this issue; he observes that the priests were at least partly constrained by private owners who benefited from the maintenance of law and order in their territories. This doesn’t completely solve the problem, but it helps.
Moving from ancient to modern justice, we discussed the trade-off between acquitting the guilty and convicting the innocent. I argued that we should be leery of letting the state execute too many innocents, essentially because power corrupts. A number of commenters also stressed that a state-sponsored execution is somehow “worse” than a random murder, but I couldn’t figure out whether they were agreeing with me or whether they perceived some additional key difference.
I’ll be back on Monday.