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There are clearly many reasons why the death penalty is inconsistent with conservative and libertarian thinking, but let’s pretend for a moment that the death penalty was actually effective and it did deter crime, that it didn’t unnecessarily waste billions of tax dollars, that it only killed the bad guys and that it always brought solace to the families of the slain, even though it doesn’t. Even then, believers in limited government should object to capital punishment.

The fact that the death penalty forces Americans to entrust the government with the greatest power possible — the power to kill its citizens — should be reason enough to fight for the elimination of the practice.

Drew Johnson is an editorial writer at The Washington Times.