The Instigator
ronnyyip
Con (against)
Losing
15 Points
The Contender
babyface
Pro (for)
Winning
18 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: 3/27/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,497 times Debate No: 3409
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (11)

 

ronnyyip

Con

I negate the resolution, resolved: A just society ought not use the death penalty as a form of punishment. I offer the following definitions:
A just society is a group of individuals living in a community that are guided by truth, reason, justice, and fairness. The death penalty is a death sentence used as punishment. A punishment is defined as an unpleasant action in return for a wronged action. The resolution asks whether or not this punishment ought to be used by a just society, we can conclude that a just society would not do unjust actions, thus, I value justice, defined as fairness or giving each their due (American Heritage Dictionary). My value criterion is consent. For example, stabbing is unjust because there is no consent of the involved, while surgery is considered ajust, meaning it lacks qualities of both justice and injustice. While both actions are the same, the consent is the only difference between these two scenarios; therefore, consent is an important determining factor in whether or not an action is just. The affirmative burden is to prove that the death penalty is unjust, and as long as I can prove that the death penalty is consented to, it would no longer be unjust, therefore, we negate.
Contention One: people agree to the death penalty because they live in a just society. A just society creates certain laws and punishments for its people for the sole purpose of maintaining justice and order, for example, the death penalty. A citizen in a just society would know the rules and consequences of a wrong action. By living in this society, individuals are consenting to its rules. If one does not consent to these limits, they have the right to leave the community at anytime, since the just society would not force anyone to stay. So, by staying in the society, individuals are tacitly agreeing to the death penalty.
Contention Two: people consent to the death penalty because by committing the criminal action, they are giving inexplicit consent. First, a just society would not sentence the death penalty to any crime other than first degree murder, since no other crime is proportionate to the punishment of death. Just societies would not sentence the death penalty on an unproportional action, because the actor is not due the unnecessary harm. So, because the criminal commits first degree murder, we can conclude that this individual was capable of mental comprehension, or the ability to understand their immoral action. This is true because mental comprehension is a determining factor in deciding whether or not the individual was able to understand its fault, further on, deciding their consequences. For example, we would not assign the death penalty to a mentally ill person incapable of rationality. Because of this, the criminal must have had full awareness of both their actions and consequences, if they continue the unjust behavior, they have inexplicitly agreed to their punishment, as in this case, the death penalty.
Contention Three: people consent to the death penalty because they prefer a quick death rather than spending the rest of their lives in prison. Phillips explains:
Robert Anthony Phillips, Volunteering for death: the fast track to the death house, Crime magazine-an encyclopedia of crime, July 2001.
There are dozens of death row inmates in the United States who have or who are doing the same thing: 'volunteering' for death. In the last year, volunteers have been executed in Nevada, Florida, Indiana, Arkansas, Virginia, California and Oklahoma. These volunteers get on the fast track to the death house by pleading guilty and asking for a death sentence at their trials or, most often, dropping their appeals after they are convicted. Since 1995, 409 convicted killers have been executed in the United States, with at least 61 of those volunteering for death, the rights groups says.Why are so many admitted or convicted killers volunteering to be executed? Criminal defense lawyers, psychiatrists and death-row inmates themselves offer a variety of reasons. Some volunteers are crazy. Some find God and are convinced that heaven awaits them if they pay for their crimes with their lives. Some use murder as a means of committing suicide. Some just can't live with themselves for what they did. Others like the idea of controlling a system they really have no control over. But, the most prevalent reason cited is that life on death row is not really life.Twelve states have no death penalty, but of the 38 that do most isolate condemned prisoners [are locked] in high-security cellblocks within maximum security prisons away from the general prison population, keeping them locked in their cells up to 23 hours a day. Studies have shown that prisoners who are isolated become severely depressed and delusional, possibly making them want to end their lives and give up their appeals. Even if the death row inmates are not insane, the isolation and restrictions imposed lead some to want to end their lives, rather than living in such conditions.
"Humans are creatures who naturally avert themselves from pain. They seek to eliminate us much pain as possible. Therefore, when faced with a choice between life in prison and the death penalty, they would choose the death penalty, because it eliminates all pain, whereas life in prison merely extends all pain for the rest of their lives." (Rohit) The people of a just society agree to the death penalty, because: One, they give tacit consent by living within the just society, Two, they inexplicitly agree to this punishment when they committed the crime, and Three, convicted individuals would rather die a quick death than to live their lives in prison. Because the death penalty is consented to, it is no longer an unjust action. Thus, we negate.
babyface

Pro

I'm new at this, here goes:

I affirm the resolution, resolved: A just society ought not use the death penalty as a form of punishment. Affirming, in this case, quite literally creates a just society.

My opponent defines a just society as a group of individuals living in a community that are guided by truth, reason, justice, and fairness. Assuming a just society is as my opponent describes it, approving of the death penalty is completely contrary to the definition. A just society should be guided by reason and justice. This means that a person who committed a punishable crime should not receive excessive punishment, but enough so that justice, fairness, and reason exists within the resolution. This means that a society gives a person what they deserve and not necessarily re-iterate what they did, especially in unmeasurable circumstances. The "eye for an eye" mentality is barbaric and should not be applied in serving a JUST society. Additionally, a just society would carefully examine the criminal and be positive that no injustice (such as excessive punishment) be served. In order for a just society to be possible, a society must give what each person deserves. Without this, it wouldn't be just, would it?

My contention is that the death penalty should not be an acceptable form of punishment as it does not give a person what he/she deserves. Therefore, the death penalty should not be used in a just society. The reason being that the act and the punishment can not be measured in terms of proportionality. Let's take a more simplified example. If I were to steal one hundred dollars from you, I would have committed a crime. You deserve one hundred dollars, correct? Wrong. Although in concrete terms this is perfectly justified, life isn't concrete, and neither is a just society. The 100 dollars, in your perspective, may have been the one extra $100 you needed to pay the late rent. In this circumstance, it can cause many detrimental events. You can have 30 days notice to leave the apartment. Your spouse may leave you. Quite possibly, your life can spiral into nothingness by something that can be defined in concrete terms. When deciding on a punishment, the proportionality can not be measured. Let me remind you that this society is just and gives a person what they DESERVES- not too much, not too little. If the victim was awarded one-hundred dollars, I would have been let go easily. Even-stevens, right? However, the unmeasurable circumstances may add on any number of 0s to that 100. This unmeasurable number may still be too little, but quite often it will be too much. This completely contradicts a just society and I would not get what I deserved. I would, in both cases, have too much or too little to pay up for. Following this idea of getting what you deserve, you need to look at the precursors and causes of the crimes in the beginning. A just society can not foresee or measure any conditions that would create an environment where a murder is possible. Factoring this into the punishment, a just society has an obligation to consider the responsibility it has on society and the way it functions and the reasoning behind the creation of a murderer. A baby is innocent, society makes him guilty. Because a criminal's causes and a victim's impact are unmeasurable, a criminal committing the crime should be exempt from the death penalty.

For this reason, I vote affirmative on the resolution.

Looking at my opponent's case, there are contradictory arguments and flaws that clearly support my contention. My opponent, in his second contention, states no other crime other than murder to the 1st degree is proportionate to the punishment of death. Again, the crime and punishment are clearly unmeasurable and can be void. Just because the extent of harm is concretely identical, there are many things to consider about justice. He also says just societies would not sentence the death penalty on an unproportional action, because the actor is not due the unnecessary harm. Again, the definition of a just society states nothing about the ability to measure fairness, but to enforce it. Therefore they CANNOT propose DP as it contradicts a just society. Something as un-concrete as death and murder are NOT measurable. My opponent states "because the criminal commits first degree murder, we can conclude that this individual was capable of mental comprehension, or the ability to understand their immoral action." Just because a person stabs someone to death does not mean he/she understands the morality behind his/her actions. When you were a child, your parents told you not to touch the stove. If you were unaware of the consequences (namely, fire), it means YOU are not able to comprehend the consequences of your actions. Furthermore, my contention states that many precursors and causes could lead to the act of murder. Even if society was the LEAST bit responsible, death for death is COMPLETELY unjust. My opponent is clearly assuming that the person committing the crime is of complete awareness when, in reality, any person knowingly capable of murder is being irrational to a certain degree. This irrationality is brought upon by society and mental illness. In the latter case, my opponent supports my argument by saying "we would not assign the death penalty to a mentally ill person incapable of rationality." If the plague of society, instead of genes, is the catalyst, how is the DP justified? In fact, the society has an increased sense of responsibility behind the criminal's action. They should be thinking "hey, we are manufacturing murderers." instead of "we should kill murderers."

My opponent's third contention is clearly based on what the criminal believes and not what justice really is. I remind you, a just society relies on justice and fairness. Criminal's who volunteer for DP are obviously looking for a quick way out. Again, unmeasurable. This is relying on what the criminal wants, not what he/she deserves. My opponent's facts state that the motives behind it are insanity. If they were insane in the first place, would DP be justifiable or should consideration be placed in each and every case?

All of my opponents contentions are faulty and his last argument is fighting for what the criminal wants, not what he deserves. In conclusion, my opponent's argument is flawed and the reasons I vote affirmative are justifiable and abolishing DP is the only way to achieve a just society.
Debate Round No. 1
ronnyyip

Con

Ok first of all I would like to address a few issues. Just because my opponent is new to this debate don't favor a certain side due to the fact he's new.
I would first like to provide a brief road map before we start, I will be first going over my opponent's case then on to defending my case.

The first argument he brings up in his case is that the death penalty should not be an acceptable form of punishment as it does not give a person what he/she deserves. Even though his argument might be written nicely in a such a format, don't let that fool your judgment as I'm about to show you why this argument is flawed. First, he provides you with a clarification that a just society would not give a punishment that is excessive or non excessive since we are debating hypothetically with a just society. From that point, you can already vote for me because he is completely contradicting himself by bringing up this argument. Under his own logic he said the way the just society's system is setup won't give out punishments to criminals that are not rendering each their due. So from this point you can already vote for me and drop his argument, but even if you don't buy this point let's also see a second point why is argument doesn't stand.
Second, he gives you these fancy analogies that seem to be true, but let's actually look at the validity of these analogies. Are they even topical to today's resolution. If we put ourselves inside my opponent's shoe, then under his own logic we can never punish anyone since we cannot measure out a proportionate punishment without violating the criminal's right. So from that point, does it mean we should never punish a criminal since we might violate their right? Obviously, not since as I have stated in my case that they forfeited their right and conceded to these punishments because they can rationalize.

Now, let's move on to the arguments my opponent makes toward my case
My opponent makes a ton of fancy arguments against my case, but do not let him get away with this as I have provided you the most crucial piece of analysis in today's round. I clearly specified in my case that Consent is an important factor in determining whether something is just or not as I have brought up with my surgery analogy. This was completely dropped and left silent, which means my opponent doesn't know how to answer to this argument since it is a true argument. So don't let him get up in his next speech and make new arguments toward this as he would be completely contradictory.

Then, he drops my first and second contention which supports the value criterion of consent. I clearly stated that the reason it is ok to use the death penalty on these criminals since they have consent to these rules by living in the society. Even if you don't buy that, if you don't think this is true, I mean if you don't like the rules of a society, you have the right to leave. Even then, we can rationalize which differentiates us from inanimate objects so we do understand the consequences for committing a crime such as killing.

Now, my opponent makes his only and final piece of offense on my case which is we can never measure out the proportionality of a punishment. He gives you this very good example of a baby touching a stove yet not knowing the consequences. This might be true, but he fails to realize what the resolution and I am to present is that the people who commits the crime are at a level with the ability to rationalize. I doubt a baby of a age of 5 would have the capability of killing someone intentionally and even if they do, we have specialized juvenile trials for criminals under the age of 18. Later, he tries to also turn one of my argument against me when I say I wouldn't assign the death penalty to someone who is mentally ill, this is completely not contradictory as the a mentally ill person who committed crime has no control or whatsoever over his own actions. Which then shows you my case totally achieves justice since we won't be punishing innocents with the death penalty. My opponent completely misunderstands my whole case so don't let his fancy writing confused your judgment in today's debate. Lastly, theres no reason why his offense will stand because he is the one who is being contradictory since he started his own case off with a piece of analysis how a just society would do something that is just such as giving proportionate punishments or else they wouldn't be a just society. Since my opponent agrees to that , there is no sufficient reason that his argument should stand at all. Even if you don't buy that he still has his last piece of argument left on my case which is that my third contention is not true since we can never know what the criminal thinks. Based off this evidence he gives you which is soley his own opinion, but in the contrary I give you three piece of EVIDENCE from well known novels, magazines and professor analysis at well known university to support my third contention. Who would you believe then a person who is just sits and play computer all day or where as a professor in a well known university doing stastical research. Base on that, you can already buy my arguments.

As a result, my 3 arguments in my whole case still stands as 2 were left unanswered and I also showed you that my opponent only piece of analysis fails since he contradicts himself with the clarification on a just society. Therefore, you must vote for me!
babyface

Pro

Lets get straight to the point.
This is a hypothetical situation. My opponent is using this hypothetical situation and trying to apply it to our world, which is arguably an unjust society. A society soley based on reasoning, fairness, and justice is impossible as it is clearly a utopia.
In my counter-arguments, I DID argue within the context of his argument. Although I did not state his contentions, I pointed out many flaws within his arguments that followed. Do I really need to point out word for word? My opponent is treating you as simpletons, when I believe that you can understand the arguments I am making and how his contradict the ideals of a just society. Lets recap. Under my logic, my only argument is that the extent of the punishment is unmeasurable. However, my opponent is arguing in a REAL society, which doesn't apply to a just, hypothetical situation. It is better to leave a person with less punishment rather than more punishment. More punishment would be completely avoided, if possible, because the responsibility of enforcing what the criminal deserves is placed upon society. As the saying goes, it is better for a guilty man to be set free than an innocent man lay dead. Under this logic, alternative methods such as indefinite incarceration and rehabilitation are MUCH better methods than the death penalty in a real society, the society that my opponent is arguing about. That aside, we are arguing about a just society, one that is not possible. My opponent is taking my one contention, rewording it, and trying to point out the flaws and how the same argument can contradict each other. However, this hypothetical situation still has its limits. A just society is one that is honest, fair, reasonable. It isn't one that knows all the facts. It isn't one that can measure the punishment in proportion to the act. It is one, however, that is responsible for the acts it imposes upon the criminal. Even in this just society, excessive punishment would be worse than under punishment, re-iterating the saying above. Because a just society still has its incapabilities, the wrong amount of punishment is unavoidable. However, weight it out for yourself. Imagine you are loyal and honest to the just society. Say you go into a supermarket, ethics still intact. When being charged one dollar per pound, the scale only reads it by the pound with no rounding up or down. You either have 0, 1, or 2 pounds. Would it be more honest, loyal, and fair to take 1.99 lbs and be charged for 1, or taking 0.99 lbs and accepting the fact that you have lost 0.01 lbs? Sure, the supermarket, or the criminal, saves 0.01 lbs, but would it be more just to steal 0.99 lbs and have the market suffer more than necessary? Of course, this applies to a real society as well. Refining my argument, underpunishment (rehab, life in prison) are much more reasonable than excessive punishments (death).
Let's assume the rules are in place. My opponent says follow the rules. Rules. Rules. Rules. If you live in the US, you abide by its rules.
US Law is based on fundamental principles in religion- most notably the Ten Commandments. The 5th Commandment says "Thou Shall not Kill". How is killing someone for killing someone else justifiable. Is it just? Is it right? No, its cruel, is barbaric. In fact, I would say it is vengeance, not justice. And justice is what we are striving for, not vengeance.
My opponent argues about consent to the rules. We are arguing about the validity of the rules and punishments. We are arguing about the Death Penalty, part of the rules, RIGHT? My opponents circular logic towards the act and the rules behind it are flawed. Rules that are unjust can be defied. Isn't that what we strive for in a real society? Is that not why the American Revolution was started? Britain, with heavy taxes, was placing EXCESSIVE rules that were unfair. That is what we are arguing about today. Don't change the subject.
The validity of my statements are perfectly justifiable. You can reason for yourself. What piece of evidence is flawed. Is killing someone for killing someone else justice? Or vengeance? Would you prefer a guilty man free or an innocent man dead? I don't have journals or quotes, I have plain and simple logic. I don't tell you what is right, I let you think about what is right.
I have refined my argument and have justified my vote on aff on the resolution. Circular logic and blind sightedness do not contradict my argument and my argument is well-maintained. My opponent, however, has not defended his position, but has only attacked mine.
Debate Round No. 2
ronnyyip

Con

This will be my final speech so I would like to clarify several mis confusions in today's round. First, If we analyze my opponents previous speech, his only focus now is on the just society definitions and how it contradicts my case. Aside, from that he completely drops and agrees to all the arguments I made on my previous speech, solely from this you can vote for me already. Even if you don't buy that let's see what he actually says in his previous speech. Once again, don't let his fancy analogies and writing confuse your judgment in today's round.
The first argument he tries to make is I am trying to bring up hypothetical examples to apply it to real world situation. First, Where in my case or my speech am I trying to link my case to real world situations, None. Second, Obviously I am focusing on a hypothetical society that was defined by both of us since it's a just society. Lastly, there is no restriction on why we can't debate on a just society since this is a debate and the point of a debating this topic is to learn and motivate our critical thinking skills. This just society might not exist, but we create one to set it as a criterion or example for us to follow or achieve it in the best of our abilities. Since these are true, you can disregard all the arguments he makes up a real world society since I never focused at all in my speech on real world situations or arguments, so don't let him twist my speech around to win today's debate. Now he then talks about how a just society can still be flawed as he brings up an analogy such as purchasing groceries at a supermarket. This analogy is totally irrelevant as we can see the magnitude of justice and purchasing grocery is completely different since once involves a person's life while purchasing grocery places value on an item. Clearly, we can't place a value on human since we are all equal. Which then brings me to my next question is that he still never answered to my main key argument that he is being completely contradictory about how a just society will commit excessive or non-excessive punishments when he states himself a just society won't do so. Obviously, the reason it won't do so is because it is a just society, the people who lives in this society might be bad and commit crimes, but the way the just society is structured and setup will at last render and punish these criminals. Lastly, he tries to persuade you with these fancy arguments about the United States Constitution. You can't buy this at all as the resolution clearly states a "Just Society", my opponent is automatically making the assumption that the United States is a just society. If you buy his case then your saying the United States can be portrayed as a just society, which is completely false. No way United States is a just society when we commmit so many unjust actions such as invading Iraq for oil, imperializing many other nations under the name of creating a democracy and many more actions. So you can't buy his last finishing argument, it might sound nice, but if you think about it. His argument is completely irrelevant as he misunderstands the whole concept of this resolution.

In Conclusion, you can already vote for me now, there shouldn't be any reason for you to read his next speech as he first drops my consent argument so we can then agree that he does not know how to reply to this since it is true. Then he does not answer my key part argument on his case that if his logic is true then "should we not punish every single criminal that commits a crime since we run a chance of violating their right with excessive punishments?" Lastly, I refuted every single key points of his case and show you that just because you can write nicely doesn't mean you can win due to the fact his arguments are unwarranted. From these reasons, you must vote for me, Thank you!
babyface

Pro

Ah. Closing argument.

My opponent is exploiting the smallest, trivial flaws within my argument and blowing it way out of proportion. My opponent has been constantly creating hypothetical situations and, in a real world situation, has been posing questions on the justification of the punishments. My definition of a just society is not proved by the analogy, but applied to the analogy of the grocery store. We need to backtrack on the definition department. Again, A just society is a group of individuals living in a community that are guided by truth, reason, justice, and fairness. It does not necessarily mean it serves it perfectly. It is guided by it. Hypothetically, it can't make a pinpoint decision because IT CAN'T MEASURE. And through reason, and not the barbaric "eye for and eye", it can be concluded that less punishment, not excessive means, is more reasonable. My analogies were to prove this point, and the point of the analogy is to describe the impact, consideration, and consequences of a smaller act in comparison to one that is even more unmeasurable. Creating an analogy that is directly proportional or even exponentially greater in proportions is highly unreasonable and mundane. In his counter argument, he is again using another hypothetical situation- in this case an utopia. Of course a just society still has laws, it is one that serves justice, not one that doesn't need to serve justice. My analogy to the United States was not to prove the United States, but to prove the situation and how it applies to this subject. The US was created in response to unfair treatment. My opponent is trying to counter my argument by relating the subject of my analogy to the ongoing events the nation is involved in. He is straying from the topic at hand.

My argument is far from narrow, and my opponent failed to rebuttal the justification of the death penalty. He pointed out my weaknesses, and did not attack my strong points. Hard-hitting morality is what he missed. My point on vengeance is unaddressed and instead he decides to make attack after attack on my use of analogies and its application to the resolution.

My argument in this debate is completely relevant. Capability and guidance are two different things. In a just society, there is a guide, but no answer. Death and murder are unmeasurable, it is incalculable. Less is better than more, in this case. All these arguments are justifiable, but my opponent points out any small flaw. No ideology has a perfect basis. Still, he failed to attack the motive behind DP- vengeance. Because of this major gap, he failed to make a finished feel on his argument.

In conclusion, the lack of consideration, the enormous availability for unmeasured circumstances, and many alternatives are just few of many solutions to this topic. My opponent did NOT refute every single point, but only touched the surface of my argument- analogies. I have justified every one of my arguments and most have stayed strong throughout the argument. Because of these reasons, I vote affirmative on the resolution. You should do the same.
Debate Round No. 3
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Posted by Persuasion 8 years ago
Persuasion
Babyface clearly one this, and I will vote for him, although I am against his position. It's sad that people on this site just vote with just prejudice. very unproductive.

Good job Babyface, I'm surprised that you're new!
Posted by ronnyyip 8 years ago
ronnyyip
What are you smoking tho, bruh
Posted by babyface 8 years ago
babyface
Hi ronny!

Don't completely own me
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