Does any man's death really diminish us as individuals?

Makes sense if you’re a Buddhist.

Yeah, like Civil Rights legislation. Remember how we all thought that was such a big deal? But, like stone washed jeans and the Macarena, we now see it as another ridiculous fad that everyone got caught up in for a while before we came to our collective senses. Hard to believe we were ever this upset over something so trivial, isn’t it?

Moreover, a Supreme Court justice has a lifetime position. You can’t “vote the scoundrel out.”

If a person wields a lifetime position whereby they can affect the personal lives of an entire nation with impunity, then public sentiment upon his or her death is a special case.

Absolutely no more or no less than every single birth grows us as individuals. He made his mark, now it’s someone else’s turn.

It’s especially silly to see all of this outpouring of ‘every man’s life is great’ for a person who spent great effort trying to see to it that a provably innocent man was executed for someone else’s crime. I don’t see how people can seriously wring their hands over how how terrible the happiness of people he worked hard to deny rights is in the wake of his death when he was a big advocate of actively killing someone who didn’t do anything wrong.

That’s just sanctimonious nonsense Christians say when they want to act holier-than-thou. There are a lot of Christians in favor of putting people in prison or executing them for minor crimes. The KKK was full of god-fearing Christians who lynched black men rather than forgiving them for being black. There are ‘good’ christian men who stand outside of abortion clinics and ‘bravely’ shout ‘whore’ at any scared teenager walking in.

It sounds all nice in theory, but what it means in real life is ‘God can forgive them, since I ain’t gonna, now let me get back to shout ‘whore’ at the kid who doesn’t want to bear her rapist’s baby’.

Every human being is a completely unique collection of thoughts, emotions, and experiences. And when they die, that collection is gone forever.

That is a tragedy, no matter how awful the things the person may have done, or who they may have harmed, or how much they deserved to die for the things they’d done.

I am happy that Scalia’s misguided jurisprudence can no longer harm this country, but I’m not happy that he’s dead.



Smapti, he’s the one who said “Mere factual innocence is no reason not to carry out a death sentence properly reached.” “This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is “actually” innocent. Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged “actual innocence” is constitutionally cognizable.” is the older one where he concurred with the majority in a disgusting ruling that factual innocence is not a bar to execution on cruel and unusual punishement grounds.
A more recent

Two convicted murderers that he gleefuly used as an example of people who got off easy by getting lethal injection instead of a more dramatic method of execution in the past turned out to be factually innocent on review

The shit I took this morning was unique, but I was still glad to flush it.

You might as well argue that curing Polio was bad because it diminished unique experiences humanity can have.

Just as no man is an island, the highlighted line doesn’t stand alone. The full thought is - “any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind.” Donne isn’t speaking of how a death affects any of us on a personal, individual, level. Donne is referring to the great fabric of humanity. Everyone of us is required to make the fabric. If you pull a thread - even a frayed, scratchy, with ugly dye - it leaves a hole and has the potential to unravel other threads around it.

It’s true that, today, it’s harder to see the loss of one stone as weakening a monument of 7 billion blocks but the principal remains the same. It doesn’t matter if, as another poet says - “Full many a flower is born to blush unseen”. That flower is still a source of sweetness, even if the sweetness is “wasted in the desert air”. Every “neglected spot” is still populated with “…some heart once pregnant with celestial fire …”.

Scalia, of course, is no “village Hampdon” or “mute, inglorious Milton”. And, while I’m glad he’s dead, I won’t deny that the stress his death will place on our country and our foundational principals is going to be profound. The election was already a source of hatred and confusion. This internal strife weakens our country, which depends on the collective efforts of men of goodwill, working together for our common good. We have to continue to defeat the forces that would hold back progress, but we have to be careful not to make enemies of each other.

I’m afraid that it’s already too late to prevent that. And I’m guilty of making the situation worse.

A part of me feels a loss when any person dies.

That’s entirely separate from the fact that quite a few people are net value subtractors with regards to the human endeavor. I doubt whether there are many who contribute absolutely nothing, but I suspect that quite a few do more harm than good. That does not change my feeling of loss. So yeah, I’ll endorse the quote referenced in the OP’s title in casual conversation. I’m diminished a little at least.

As for John Donne, I’ve never understood poetry though I studied it as a freshman for about half of a semester. I’m glad I did. But I still can’t wrap my head around the idea that a work can make an argument that doesn’t bear close scrutiny yet still be considered good writing, without qualification or asterisk. Donne’s poem is emotive and he has a point. But is a point really sufficient? I lean towards no, but again I don’t understand poetry.

“When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground.”

  • African proverb

But thanks to the internet, no one needs books anymore. So it’s all good.

No, we are not diminished by Scalia’s death. I strongly doubt that we can be dimiished by any death save that of a close loved one. We can, however, diminish ourselves by gloating in a cretinously joyous fashion over the death of an old man whose political beliefs we disliked. You can spin it any way you like, but that is ll it comes down to.

I think the salient part of Donne’s sermon was “send not to know for whom the bell tolls.” When a church bell tolled for a funeral, wealthy people would send a servant to the church to find out who had died, and whether this might be a funeral worth their time to attend. It was a very class conscious society, and people wanted to attend the “right” funerals. Funerals are not supposed to be social-climbing opportunities, nor chances to show off your new hat. Donne is saying that a Christian funeral is a Christian funeral, period, and he’s theologically correct, from my cursory reading of the epistles.

Then, there’s some stuff in there about mourning as many people as you have the opportunity to mourn, because mourning is a good state for a Christian to be in, or something. I don’t quite understand this part, theologically, but it sounds like a lot of Reformation era rhetoric.

I don’t see Donne saying anywhere that all lives are equally charitable, or that it’s wrong to speak ill of the dead, just that all funerals are equal-- yours included.

If you can manage to think Scalia was an asshole, and still somehow mourn him in a way that gets you the brownie points with G-d, good for you; if not, that’s between you and G-d, but what Donne is saying applies only to Christians in the first place, and I think, Protestants in the second place.

Borrowing misery may have been a virtue in Donne’s time, but I don’t think anyone, including even most Protestant ministers, consider it so anymore. I would say we are free not to mourn Scalia, and that that would be true even if he had been a nice guy we just happened not to have known personally.

Even humorously, do not mess with the quote tags. Find a different way to prank quotes.

[ /Moderating ]

If it is your assertion that it has done so, then please cite the case.

You will note that in that decision, the Court was not actually asked to determine whether the subject was actually innocent; they were merely adjudicating the question of whether his claim to be innocent entitled him to federal relief.

(For the record, he wasn’t actually innocent; he was guilty of the crime for which he was executed.)

Again, the Supreme Court was not asked to decide the guilt of those men; it was merely asked to decide whether the death sentence for the crime they had been convicted of was lawful.

And that diminishes us also. Every man’s loss to civilization diminishes us.

Yes, every man’s death diminishes us. Unlimited potential for good, denied us forever.

Only a monster rejoices at death, even of an evil person. The sorrow is that evil persons exist at all.

Could you define what you mean when you say it diminishes us?

No, other than O’conner in her dissent, they were abjudicating the question of whether factual innocence is a bad to execution under the 8th and 14th amendments.

He was found guilty by a court, but was actually innocent. Decent people understand that there can be a significant difference between what a court finds and what happened, and that executing someone who is factually innocent is a pretty atrocious thing. You and Scalia apparently feel differently.

Beyond that, I gave up online semantics debates years ago. If you want to think that I’m wrong because of a particular interpretation of the definition of ‘guilty’ and ‘innocent’, I’m not going to cite dictionaries.

But he gleefully said that they got off easy because they got lethal injection instead of a more painful or gruesome death… even though they were factually innocent. Hiding behind the specifics of the original case doesn’t change what he said. But I will grant that the cite only Scalia ghoulishly cheering on the death of two innocent men, and that it’s only relevant to the thread topic about how people should respect the dead, and not your specific question.

I am a monster, then. I know there are plenty of circumstances where I’d find pleasure in someone’s demise. The person who kidnaps me and tortures me for more than a decade? Hell yeah I’ll let out a little laugh when that asshole is executed! I’d also be pretty happy to learn that the person who killed my entire family has also died, especially if he dies in the same brutal fashion.

And it wouldn’t bother me none if a person on the internet thought I was a monster for committing the “crime” of these rather natural emotional reactions.

The word “monster” should mean something. If it can describe both the evil doer and the person simply reacting to the evil doer, what is the freakin’ point?