No axe fell

In Singapore we are so convinced, on a level that is very much more emotive and even affectionate than it is logical, that brutality is all that stands between us and chaotic lawlessness. Both state brutality, and brutality of other kinds, like brutality toward one another and toward children. A lot of LKY’s pronouncements reflected his fundamental conviction that some vengeful law of human nature punishes people, punishes societies, for kindness, for ‘softness’; and in an authoritarian state dominated by him, this conviction has seeped into all our minds. My own journey away from this orientation involved many steps, but a key one was simply living for some time in a place which was matter-of-factly kinder and gentler in many ways. And no axe fell. The result of kindness was just kindness. Imagine that.

The Guardian: Fifty years after the last hanging, the UK has fallen out of love with the death penalty

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