Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Morbid Auction

Theodore Kaczynski -- the Unabomber -- is certainly depraved and may be insane. Still, I think he has a point here.

The U.S. is seeking to auction off censored pieces of Kaczynski's writing in order to pay restitution to his victims; Kaczynski argues that this is a breach of his First Amendment rights. The Son of Sam laws were clearly set up to stop criminals from profiting from their crimes. They certainly don't give government the right to censor or destroy the writings of someone who has been criminally convicted. Ideally, these writings would neither be suppressed nor paid much attention to.

I have more sympathy for Theodore's brother, David Kaczynski. David was the one who turned Theodore in, possibly saving many lives. He acted in a morally exemplary way, at great personal cost. In return, the government misled him and even sought the death penalty for Theodore, contrary to what they had previously intimated. Now they prepare to sell off family correspondence as what David calls "murderibilia." The whole spectacle is indeed lacking in decorum. Why not also sell Unabomber trading cards?

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