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It's time to bring back the cat o' nine tails

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/22/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,486 times Debate No: 13197
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (13)
Votes (4)




Flogging offenders with a cat o' nine tails [1] is the fairest, most egalitarian way to punish petty crimes.

Let's say, for example, that someone parks their car illegally and gets a ticket.

It may be a low-paid single father who illegally parked his beaten-up old Vauxhall Cavalier outside the corner shop for a few minutes while he nipped in to get some nappies and baby food - or it could be a parasitic aristocrat who illegally parked his brand new Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe outside Le Restaurant de la Posh for two hours while he gorged himself on oysters, fois gras, white truffles and caviar – but no matter, they would still have to pay exactly the same �120 fine regardless of how much or little the penalty would effect their personal finances.

That's not fair is it? The over-privileged aristocrat may have paid more than the cost of the fine for his first course, whereas �120 might represent a week's wages for a single father who only has menial part-time work because of childcare issues.

However, a couple of lashes of the cat o' nine tails [1] would hurt both offenders equally and would also mean that the single father's baby wouldn't be deprived of food and nappies because his dad had to pay a parking fine instead.

Of course, as the nature of the crime becomes more serious so should the number of lashes of the cat o' nine tails and, obviously, it would be inappropriate to whip women so female offenders should be paraded around the streets wearing a scolds bridle [2] instead – the more serious her crime the longer she would spend wearing iron contraption.

In conclusion, by bringing back the cat o' nine tails (and the scolds bridle), the wealthy would be punished to the same extent as the poor and thus the rich would no longer commit petty crimes in the knowledge that the fines imposed would have little or no impact on their finances.

Thank you.



I thank my opponent for the interesting debate.

From Pro's argument he seems to think the Rich feel free to commit petty crimes petty crimes because they know they can pay the fines without a second thought. When they get the parking ticket they don't even flinch with the dread middle class does at having to take care of another bill.
this is simply not the case though. The reason the rich are rich is they have an all-together different mindset than the poor.
the truth of the matter if you happen to get the chance to see a rich person get his petty fine and see his reaction, his lack of annoyance is coming from some arrogant attitude that he can park wherever he wants cause he has the cash to pay illegal parking fines; it comes from the sense of finance peace that he knows he has prepared an emergency fund to take care of unexpected payments like this (see baby step one in next link). A rich person knows that often life throws unexpected payments their way, like fixing a car someone else totaled to much for insurance to cover, medical emergencies, ect... so to keep himself rich he saved 1,000 dollar emergency fund for those occasions, perhaps an even larger emergency fund.
Financial Guru Dave Ramsey is often heard saying on is talk show 'when rich people start doing poor people stuff they become poor people'
And if a Rich person really did park knowing there would be a fine, that's a poor people thing to do, giving himself an unnecessarily payment on purpose, like spending half you paycheck on lottery tickets. This rich person will pay by being on the road to loosing his money makes choices like that. A poor person has the same available ways of saving and developing a wise mindset, he could take Dave Ramsey's baby steps and save up a emergency fund to handle little mishaps like this and even this poor man can have financial peace over this petty fine problem.

Their is no warrant for calling the situation unfair just because one man had prepared to handle a situation like this with financial peace while the other man did not.

On to some new points of my own.

I have little doubt that flogging by nine-tails being done in public will bring back imagery to peoples minds of the event in the video. For those who believe in God consider this perspective about the nine-tails; God found it extreme enough a punishment to satisfies Christ taking the punishment of mankind's sins away from them.
Whatever you as an individual believe about that though, it cannot be denied the imagery of that particular whipping coming to mind when people see the act. and because of that it comes off as inherently barbaric. We cannot have our Kids growing up with a disrespect of the police. right now the officer is just a man in a uniform doing his job when your dad has to pay a fine; but oh what psychological impression it will leave on the kids mind of the police when instead he thinks of them as the man that broke daddies spirit before he came home today. Its one thing to know the officer's actions made dads wallet bleed (the kid feels that's no big deal enough to contribute to making it bleed as well) but its quite anther to know that he made him literally bleed. even if the whipping doesn't manage to pierce the skin same principal of what kind of perception the next generation that grows up with police like that are left with of our good citizens in uniform.
With this imagery being associated with them you will see an increase in crime rates. ideally you would want all your law enforcement to be able to enforce the law with the same level of respect 'the sheriff without a gun' has on the Andy Griffith show. Now respect for the police is no-where near the point where they could safely stop carrying sidearms yet, but reverting to the cat o' nine tails is moving in the opposite direction from such a ideal society.
How could we successfully teach our kids to respect law enforcement agents who beat up their dad after he made a (in most cases with petty crimes) absent-minded mistake?

And how could we think the rich need a different set of punishment for the same absent minded mistakes? I would hope for any citizen to be able to pursue the dream of financial peace regardless of the size of his weekly paycheck, I don't think one should be condemned to live a lifestyle that has the person live just on paycheck to paycheck. If a person wisely manages to rise above that lifestyle and has attained financial peace, joyously shouted on the radio 'I'M DEBT FREE!', its clear the proper reward for that is that when they commit a petty crime they still leave with a peace of mind about their finances after paying the fine.

The asymmetrical relationship between the rich man and the poor man who commit the petty crime in how much each one suffers when paying the fine is a wanted and deserved reward for the one with the smaller suffering.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent, Marauder, for accepting this challenge and also for his comprehensive response.

First of all, I should like to address the You Tube clip my opponent embedded which depicted a flogging scene from the olden days. Now, we don't know who the prisoner was or what his crime was, but you can bet it was more than illegally parking his chariot – more likely criminal damage in a temple or even inciting civil unrest, and we shouldn't have any sympathy with the sort of lowlife scum that commits those sorts of crimes – plus this historical hippy didn't even have the self-respect to get a shave and a haircut once in a while – in fact, he probably deserved the lashing he got and a lot more besides.

Moving on, my opponent seems to claim that poor people are poor, not because they have economically deprived backgrounds and their educational opportunities were, therefore, limited but rather that they squander what little money they have on frivolities such as lottery tickets. He further claims that the wealthy are rich, not because they were born with silver spoons in their mouths and had all the educational advantages money can buy, but rather that they put money aside to cover such contingencies as parking tickets.

Oh that it were the case: if it were then 70% of the land in England wouldn't be owned by the aristocracy who constitute a mere 0.6% of the population. [1]

The fact is, the rich get richer by simply investing their spare cash. Even at today's historically low interest rates of 5% a braying toff could invest his �50 million (US$78 million) inheritance in an offshore savings account and cream off �2� million (US$4 million) a year – tax free.

Meanwhile, the average employee toils like a coolie to earn �25,000 (US$40,000) per annum [2] – in other words it would take an ordinary worker a thousand years to earn what an indolent country landowner gets paid in interest in just one year – plus the workers' income is taxed – there are no offshore banking scams that people on low and middle incomes can take advantage of.

Think of it this way, if an average citizen dropped a penny on the floor he might reasonably think that it is not worth bending down to pick it up since you need at least 330 pennies to buy a beer in a pub. On the other hand, with an income a thousand times greater, a member of the landed gentry would think the same way about dropping a ten pound note – enough money to buy three beers down the pub!

So, if you fine a hoighty-toighty, toffee-nosed, chinless wonder �120 (US$188) it is the same as a 12p (12 cents) fine to an ordinary person. Not much of a punishment, is it?

That's why the police should drag these moneyed miscreants out of their gold plated, diamond-encrusted mega-cars; rip off their tailor-made, bespoke-designer silk shirts; bundle them to the ground and thrash them mercilessly with a cat o' nine tails.

Now, my opponent describes this practice as "barbaric" but is whipping somebody really a more cruel and unusual punishment than electrocuting or shooting them? After all, the police in countries like the United States of America carry both Tasers (which have resulted in the deaths of 150 people [2}) and guns (which have killed countless thousands of people) but very few people would describe American policemen "barbarians" (at least not to their faces).

Next, I would like to refer you to my You Tube clip. It shows a toff writing off his �250,000 (US$400,000) Rolls-Royce Phantom (money can buy you posh cars but it can't buy you driving skills). He had just passed a police car which no doubt attended the scene of the accident and fined the upper-class driver for reckless driving. We don't know what the fine was but it was probably around �100 (US$155) – about what it costs to fill the Roller's tank up with fuel. Of course, the snobby, over-privileged driver of the wrecked Rolls wouldn't have given a hoot about such a trifling sum of money - but it probably would have meant a great deal to the family in the little red Fiat that the runaway Roller nearly wiped out.*

Finally, my opponent suggested that the rich should be fined the same as the poor as an incentive for poor people to become rich – partly so that they could get away with petty crimes relatively lightly. I think this sends the wrong message – it suggests that there is one law for the rich and another for the poor – that if you become wealthy you will able to block the traffic or cause criminal damage in religious buildings or incite civil unrest and get away with it just by handing over a tiny fraction of your income as a penance.

No, it is wrong that ordinary people should be punished less than the rich – we should all be equal in the eyes of the law – and that's why it's time to bring back the cat o' nine tails.

Thank you.


* In case you wondered, the Rolls-Royce and the camera car were both British (notice the the steering wheels on the right-hand side) but the footage was filmed in Poland (where they still drive on the right, just like in America and in some other countries that, for some bizarre reason, still insist on driving on the wrong side of the road).


It seems my opponent felt there was warrant for giving a paragraph of jokes on the man being whipped in my video but did not find there was warrant actually address the argument I gave with it. Had my point been 'look how unjust that was' then maybe it would be relevant to argue the hippy should get no sympathy from us. But my case was one about the presence of that iconic imagery in many of societies minds, including or youth. And when they grow up viewing the police as men who did something like that to their dads for a little accident, beat him senseless for a accident that anyone could do, they will grow up with contempt for our boys in blue. that will increases the petty crime rates.

The closest Pro came to addressing that was saying the 'lashings' are no more barbaric than tasers and guns based on the logic that 'tasers have killed 150' (odd that this # is a even round #) and that guns killed countless people.
First off, most of the gun related deaths is from wars, not police. Second off the fact that it kills is not the factor that makes something barbaric in the mind of the viewer seeing it. If people though tasers were barbaric you would not see them used in shows like America's funniest home videos. Third off, the perception of the public of how barbaric a weapon is changes with the age, even now tasers and guns are starting to look more barbaric so they are in fact switching to these witch have no power to kill. the Dazer

The majority of my opponents case though was spent on arguing against how one becomes a wealthy person. much of it is based on statistics from England, witch I must point out was not specified as a location of interest in the resolution or the round one definitions. when there is no country specified we can only conclude that we are talking about countries that matter like America and oil spilling countries like England that no one cares about.
If your statistics for who owns land in England has any similarity to America than you should know that who owns the land is not who lives on it. people who have a gift for figureing out how to buy and sell land do tend to become part of the Rich population. Nothing wrong with making a investment like that. Its wise and fair because anyone has a right to try and can succeed at it. And there's nothing wrong with putting your money in a savings account. offshore or not its a very good way to build wealth. the fact that your taxed in it is no excuse for failing to make money by saving some in your account. poor people have done it quite often and ended up rich people. The secret to making it work is just to pay attention to how much money you have and form a budget. Nothing complicated and no secret that only the rich can use.

My opponent points to a video of a Roles Royce owner as evidence that rich people break the law cause there rich and can afford it. First off this assumes that the car is not the only thing of value the man has. Many poor people have boats more expensive than there house in the front yard, and are in debt up to there eyeballs for it. Second off, the careless actions of the driver are not in anyway unique to rich people. Poor people drive faster than the speed limit just to make the cop chase them also. the number one reason given by most white trash that shoplifts is 'they wanted to feel alive' or 'have a pulse'. the Roles Royce owner is likely having midlife crisis trying to capture his younger days when he do dumb stuff like that for the same reasons. or he is still that young. either way breaking the law on his part has nothing to do with his income.

speaking of this though, we should note that is just another thing that could happen to anyone of us, break down one day and want to feel alive and do stupid crazy stuff. It would be wise of us to include cash for that too in our emergency fund.

I would not ever label it 'incentive' as to why we should not change how one is punished for a petty crime. Its simply a fact that needs to remain true. Poor, or Rich I should have a right to be prepared for any of my future mistakes. I know I am going to make them. Only a fool would think he has made his last one already. Its an act of wisdom to make sure the next time something bad happens that the damage wont be so sever. A hurricane devastate your region? Before the next one comes prepare the flood control to stuff to handle what it failed to the last time. Did your brush fire get out of control enough to call the fire department? Next time don't start on so close any trees, and soak everything around the fire that don't want it to expand into. Absentminded enough to forget to fill your tank and when you reached the nearest station you didn't actually have cash that day on hand to pay for the gas? Keep at least 5 bucks in the car just for emergencies like this from now on. Did your car get rear ended? Put a tailgate hitch on your car, it will save a lot of damage from happening to your car if you get rear ended again. Did your kid just spill there McDonald's drink all over their shirt even though it had a lid? Use your Swiss knife to cut the straws shorter from now on for your kids drinks (decreases the angle the hold their drink while drinking it, trust me this works).

This in no way suggest there are 2 laws, one for the rich and one for the poor. All it suggest is there are two kinds of consequences for when trouble comes your way. There's the kind of consequence that comes for the prepared and the kind for he was asleep all the time before the disaster struck. One is easier to suffer through, but that is because the natural consequence of being prepared is that consequences of the things your prepared for are less severe. That is a fact that simply must remain true. Why hinder our basic human right to handle bad situations better in the future? It is by this preparation that civilization advances to where it is today and will progress in the future.

I thank my opponent for this debate, it t'was fun.

Vote Con!
Debate Round No. 2
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Joel_A 6 years ago
At McDonald's stores, monopoly is now accessible. The 2010 McDonald's Monopoly kicked off October 5. The web plays heavily within this year McDonald's Monopoly game.The promotion has been offered in the United States, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Portugal, the Netherlands, Australia, Singapore, and Switzerland since 1987.
Posted by Atheism 6 years ago
Tbh, I found that both arguments were weak.
Posted by brian_eggleston 6 years ago
Legislators in Texas are notoriously harsh, lovelife, that's what I meant, but I know, in reality, you are quite soft-hearted (except when it comes to teenage boys who follow you around of course!)
Posted by lovelife 6 years ago
"LMFAO lovelife!"

I know I try :)

"So you get nicked for parking your car illegally and your friendly neighbourhood cops says:"

Okay with you so far.

"Okay sir, you've committed an offence and you need to be punished."

I'm not a sir :p

" However, I'm going to give you a choice of punishments."

With you so far.

"Either I can shoot you dead,"


"or I could lock you up in jail and throw away the key"

Not so much, I was thinking more about 2-3 days jail time.

, "or I could flog you to within an inch of your life"

Nah, just 5, not hard enough to leave scars.

, "or I publicly humiliate you by parading you around the streets in a "cage thingy""


. "So what'll be?"

I choose either jail time or flogging, depending on if my time is worth something at that point in time or not. Or I may choose death if I feel like it at the time. I wouldn't like the cage thingy tho, it brings on too much paranoia for me.

"My goodness, lovelife,"


"that's draconian but, nevertheless, I can see an illustrious career waiting for you as a legislator in Texas!"

Posted by brian_eggleston 6 years ago
LMFAO lovelife!

So you get nicked for parking your car illegally and your friendly neighbourhood cops says:

"Okay sir, you've committed an offence and you need to be punished. However, I'm going to give you a choice of punishments. Either I can shoot you dead, or I could lock you up in jail and throw away the key, or I could flog you to within an inch of your life, or I publicly humiliate you by parading you around the streets in a "cage thingy". So what'll be?"

My goodness, lovelife, that's draconian but, nevertheless, I can see an illustrious career waiting for you as a legislator in Texas!
Posted by lovelife 6 years ago
Nah, if you do the crime you face the same punishment, I see no reason why a system with it, not much harsher than that that parents use, would be "too harsh" for females. Maybe the sick, elderly, small, or weak, but generally speaking thats not always female. Maybe give the reciever a choice
1) Death
2) Prison
3) Flog
4) your cage thingy

If a man/woman, rich/poor <whatever else> choose the same things, it still affects them equally.
Posted by brian_eggleston 6 years ago
@ lovelife

Generally speaking, women are delicate creatures (remember the story of the princess and the pea?) whereas men are more robust - so a lashing would be a disproportionately harsh punishment for them.
Posted by lovelife 6 years ago
Exactly. I don't think it should be hard enough to leave scars, except with pedo rapists, but they should also be sent to prison.
Posted by InsertNameHere 6 years ago
Besides, cruel and unusual punishment could deter other people from committing the same crimes.
Posted by lovelife 6 years ago
Devin we don't give a sh*t about "cruel or unusual punishments" we care about efficiancy, which requires everyone being punished the same, rich, poor, man, woman, gay, straight, religious, non-religious...
Its about efficiancy in punishing everyone equally.
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Reasons for voting decision: i think it would be a terrible idea
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