The Instigator
lincoln-douglasdebater91
Pro (for)
Losing
12 Points
The Contender
clsmooth
Con (against)
Winning
46 Points

A just society ought NOT use the death penalty as a form of punishment.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/12/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,367 times Debate No: 291
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (18)

 

lincoln-douglasdebater91

Pro

When you hear the words "capital punishment" or "the death penalty", what thoughts come to your mind? Well, in the eyes of Thomas Eddlem, an American Civil Liberties Union representative, "Capital punishment, the ultimate denial of civil liberties, is a costly, irreversible and barbaric practice, the epitome of cruel and unusual punishment." It is because I agree with Thomas Eddlem and I support morality and human life, that I stand in strong affirmation of the resolution stated:

Resolved: A just society ought NOT use the death penalty as a form of punishment.

For clarification of the resolution, I offer the following definitions: "Just" means honorable and fair in one's dealings and actions, consistent with what is morally right. "Society" is the totality of social relationships among humans. "Ought" is used to express duty or moral obligation. The "death penalty" is putting a condemned person to death. To "punish" is to subject to pain, loss, confinement, death, etc., as a penalty for some offense, transgression, or fault. With these definitions in mind, it is evident that the resolution states that the death penalty cannot exist within our global society if it wishes to be recognized as righteous and ethical.

To uphold my side in today's debate, consider my value of morality, defined as "concern with the distinction between good and evil or right and wrong." To achieve morality, please consider my value criterion as the ultimate preservation of human life. As our world's society is so diverse, it is very difficult to create moral standards that are universal. However, Jeremy Bentham developed a moral code called "the principle of utility that either approves or disapproves of every action whatsoever, based on the actions tendency to create or destroy happiness." I will apply the principle of utility to the preservation of human life. Thus whichever side can promote morality while preserving the greatest number of human lives should win this round. In today's round, I will present analysis showing that the death penalty is NEVER morally justified and does not respect human life in the least.

Contention I: The death penalty is universally immoral and unjust.
Sub-point A: No society can ensure moral rightness with the use of the death penalty. Let's compare a few societies in today's world and their use of the death penalty. Currently, China uses the death penalty for offenses of embezzlement, rape of children, fraud, bombing, people trafficking, piracy, theft, corruption, arson, murder, "endangering national security", and terrorism. Yet countries like Jamaica will use the death penalty as a punishment only for murder. How, then, do we determine what societies are just in using the death penalty? You see, judge, obviously the views of morality are different all over the world, which could ultimately lead to mass murder such as the Holocaust if power fell into the wrong hands. Thus, we must refer back to the principle of utility, and look at all instances of the death penalty as unjust as immoral, as they do not consistently uphold human life and morality.
Sub-point B: The death penalty does not respect human life as it is irreversible and kills the innocent. You see, the death penalty is different from any other punishment in that it is the only punishment that takes the life of another human being. The conviction of the innocent becomes a much bigger issue with capital punishment because it is irreversible. This even applies to today's world. If our justice system makes a mistake and executes an innocent, then we have done a terrible disgrace to the name of human life and morality. The only way to satisfy COMPLETE morality and NO loss of life, is to completely abolish the concept of capital punishment altogether. By voting for the negative side, you are endangering the lives of many people and potentially encouraging genocide.

Contention II: The death penalty offers no unique benefits to those of life imprisonment. Let's take a look at a different use of the death penalty, like today in the United States.
Sub-point A: Deterrence. A prime example: The state of Texas has performed more executions than any other state, yet still has the second highest murder rate of any state. If these statistics say anything about deterrence, we can safely say that the death penalty is failing miserably.
Sub-point B: Expense. As for expense, a typical death penalty case in Texas costs $2.3 million dollars, three times the cost of imprisoning someone in a single cell at a maximum-security prison for forty years. John Bessler, professor of Law at the University of Minnesota, said, "We mustn't forget that it costs more money to pay judges and lawyers bent on killing people than it does to pay for prison guards. A recent study done in the state of California has shown that taxpayers would save $90 MILLION DOLLARS a year by abolishing the death penalty. Judges, this is morally unjust to YOU. That is money that should be staying in YOUR pockets, and not being used to destroy human life and morality.
Sub-point C: The death penalty is not a just punishment for capital crimes. My opponent may try to argue that life imprisonment is not a just punishment for capital crimes. I tell you now that morality is achieved on a much higher scale with life imprisonment than with the death penalty. Let's say for example, Billy Bob Joe killed fifteen people, and receives the death penalty. Did we really achieve morality? We didn't bring back the fifteen lives he destroyed, so that made sacrificing one life for fifteen completely pointless. We didn't preserve human life. There goes a few million dollars down the drain, and the crime rates have not changed for the better. And as his life was taken, his suffering was over in mere seconds. Now, let's say we put Billy Bob Joe in a maximum-security prison for the rest of his life. This is morally just, because he is truly given a lifetime to suffer for his actions and YOU save millions of dollars in taxes. And we showed that we clearly respect human life, thus achieving morality.

As you can clearly see from the points I have presented, the death penalty is completely immoral and offers no benefits to those of life imprisonment. If you also wish to support morality and human life as I do, then take a stand with me, and submit an Affirmative ballot.

I am now open for an argument from the Negative side. Thank you!
clsmooth

Con

The thesis of your position is at the end of paragraph 4, "the death penalty is NEVER morally justified." This is the point that I will argue against.

First, you say "the death penalty is universally immoral and unjust." For one, this is not true. Many cultures accept the death penalty as moral and just. There is simply no truth to your claim of universal immorality. In fact, more cultures encompassing more people of the world view the death penalty as moral and just than cultures and people who do not. This does not make the death penalty moral or just, but it does discredit your claim of universality.

Your sub-point A is akin to Cultural Imperialism. We, as individuals, may believe the values of a given culture to be moral and just, or immoral and unjust. But that only proves our individuality. We all have different and unique values. Again, this does not prove which values are right and which are wrong. Furthermore, just because some legal systems impose the death penalty for what most Americans would consider minor offenses does not in any way support your thesis that the death penalty is NEVER justified.

"The death penalty is irreversible and kills the innocent." This is a fact, for sure. But it does nothing to prove your contention that the death penalty is NEVER morally justifiable.

You say the death penalty confers "no benefits over life imprisonment." Here are two:

1) No potential for recidivism. If a killer is put to death, then he cannot kill again. A prisoner in prison for life may escape, or he may kill other inmates or guards.

2) Is there not benefit in the mental satisfaction of the victim's families? If the victim's family would gain satisfaction from the execution, this does NOT make it right -- but it does imply a benefit. Similarly, other victims' families may derive a benefit from life imprisonment, but your point is that capital punishment is NEVER morally justified, because it NEVER confers benefit over life imprisonment, and this is just not true.

Again, the problem of your argument lies in its absolutist nature. It is leading you to make several irrational and false claims. I will leave you with this:

What if a man has raped and murdered dozens of children. He admits to the crime. DNA evidence proves beyond any doubt that he is the killer. In fact, he even filmed the crimes and posted them on YouTube. The victims' families universally want him to be put to death. And because he is so sickened by himself, the perpetrator wants to be put to death too. You say that capital punishment is NEVER justified. What about in this case?
Debate Round No. 1
lincoln-douglasdebater91

Pro

lincoln-douglasdebater91 forfeited this round.
clsmooth

Con

Unfortunately, my opponent has not shown up for Round 2.

If you check my profile, you will see I am against the death penalty. However, just because I am against its actual use, does not mean that I think it could NEVER be morally justified. This is the point I am arguing. Not whether the death penalty should be done away with in the U.S., but under any circumstances could a single use of the death penalty be morally justified? I have argued that yes, it could be.

"What if a man has raped and murdered dozens of children. He admits to the crime. DNA evidence proves beyond any doubt that he is the killer. In fact, he even filmed the crimes and posted them on YouTube. The victims' families universally want him to be put to death. And because he is so sickened by himself, the perpetrator wants to be put to death too. You say that capital punishment is NEVER justified. What about in this case?"
Debate Round No. 2
lincoln-douglasdebater91

Pro

lincoln-douglasdebater91 forfeited this round.
clsmooth

Con

The death penalty MAY be wrong in 99.999% of uses. This MAY be reason to abolish it. But it is NOT reason to say it is ALWAYS, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, unjustified.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by shalominthehome 9 years ago
shalominthehome
honestly...i debated the same resolution
i also agree with preacherfred. i defenitlyey think that this would've been a intresting debate to see unfold.
just wondering lincoln-douglasdebater91- why do use subpoints? does that help?
Posted by asian_invasion 9 years ago
asian_invasion
Pro posted LD case, he probably debated this for 2 months.

Unfair advantage, but I still feel that clsmooth won.
Posted by PreacherFred 9 years ago
PreacherFred
"The death penalty MAY be wrong in 99.999% of uses." Seems silly to keep the death penalty for .001%! But, in this context it was good rebuttal to "never." Too bad the debate wasn't finished. I had potential to be a great one.
Posted by italia4356 9 years ago
italia4356
Sentencing a person to death is 100% wrong, every single time. clsmooth your heart has hate inside of it, and a heart filled with hate will eventually comsume it self. Hate has no place in this world, hate has no benifits. More killing is not the answer, more killing will only cause more pain. Not to mention that killing a murderer does nothing to solve the problem. The real question is why did this person kill? If you want to attack something attack the reasons why a murderor has killed.
Posted by NeenahLibertarian 9 years ago
NeenahLibertarian
All the pro did was post a case from the sept-oct Lincoln-Douglas high school debate topic...how original
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