Reflections on the Guillotine

beaucoup de ces honnêtes gens sont des criminels qui s’ignorent.

En tant qu'écrivain, j'ai toujours eu horreur de certaines complaisances ; en tant qu'homme, je crois que les aspects repoussants de notre condition, s'ils sont inévitables, doivent être seulement affrontés en silence. Mais lorsque le silence, ou les ruses du langage, contribuent à Maintenir un abus qui doit être réformé ou un malheur qui peut être soulagé, il n'y a pas d'autre solution que de parler clair et de montrer l'obscénité qui se cache sous le manteau des mots.

La vie de l'homme cesse d'être sacrée lorsque on croit utile de le tuer.

Les lois sanglantes ensanglantent les mœurs .

l'immense majorité des meurtriers ne savaient pas, en se rasant le matin, qu'ils allaient tuer le soir.

Quand l'imagination dort, les mots se vident de leur sens.

To decide that a man must be definitively punished is to deny him any further opportunity whatsoever to make reparation for his acts... This right to live that coincides with the opportunity for reparation is the natural right of every man, even the worst. The most wretched criminal and the worthiest judge here find themselves side by side, equally miserable and jointly responsible. Without this right, the moral life is strictly impossible. None among us is entitled to despair of a single man, unless it be after his death, which transforms his life into destiny and admits of a final judgment. But to pronounce this final judgment before death, to decree the closing of accounts when the creditor is still alive, is the privilege of no man. On these grounds, at least, he who judges absolutely condemns himself absolutely. ...It is because man is not fundamentally good that no one among us can set himself up as an absolute judge, for no one among us can pretend to absolute innocence. The verdict of capital punishment destroys the only indisputable human community there is, the community in the face of death, and such a judgment can only be legitimated by a truth or a principle that takes its place above all men, beyond the human condition.

toute société a les criminels qu'elle désire .