The Instigator
Cg09
Con (against)
Losing
23 Points
The Contender
Tatarize
Pro (for)
Winning
41 Points

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

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/1/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,555 times Debate No: 4560
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (16)

 

Cg09

Con

If I can prove to you that use of the death penalty is just then you must vote negative. So justice is the superior value we are trying to achieve in this debate. In order to achieve justice, a society must have an efficient justice system. It must give each their due and nothing else. If a criminal who killed a number of individuals is not given the death penalty, but rather some other failed form of punishment, society then fails to practice justice because it failed to give that criminal what he was rightfully due.
Tatarize

Pro

Killing people is wrong. It is wrong if I do it. It is wrong if you do it. It is wrong if doctors in a prison do it. It is wrong in all and every case. Killing a person as a punishment for a crime is not justice it is barbarism.

Don't get me wrong. There are a number of arguments against the death penalty worth noting.

First, it costs more than locking a person up for the rest of their lives. The appeals and sub cases, delays and hearings, court and associated costs all add up to a cost significantly more. Further, it bogs down this needed "efficient justice system" you waxed poetic about.

Secondly, it doesn't prevent additional murders. Murder is committed for reasons of passion, greed, and insanity. Passion isn't well thought out and crimes of passion do not have the foresight to look at consequences. Greed killers don't think they are going to get caught. Insane people are a lost cause. You aren't going to stop people from killing people through what boils down to a rational argument. Murders aren't known for being rational.

Thirdly, many people have been released from death row because they are innocent. People a few appeals from death who did not commit the crime they were accused of committing. Murdering innocent people or attempting to for a number of years (stopped only by endless appeals) is not a sign of a just society.

It costs more, it doesn't aide society, it isn't justice and the system might just end up killing innocent people. These are all great arguments. However the only argument I really need is that we should not murder people. We do not have the right to take the life of other human beings. I do not approve. Government is founded upon the consent of the governed to be governed. When it comes to my life... I do not consent to allow the government to deprive me of it. This is all I have and it is more precious than any government. I cannot hold the right of the government to deprive other people of their rights to life.

I don't really need all the statistics and arguments and counterarguments and emotional appeals. Killing people is wrong. Period.

Killing people is wrong.
Debate Round No. 1
Cg09

Con

A just society is one in which the very basic principle of justice is upheld and promoted within a society, that principle is of giving each their due. Every society believes they are just, I do not support the Nazis regime but I will use them as an example: their leader and their followers all believed they were just, others obviously may not have viewed them as so, but justice is subjective. The so called communists believed democracy was oppressive likewise the democratic countries believed the communists were oppressive. However every theory of justice links back to its basic principle. So a general sense of justice is upheld within each society. We can debate over what a just society is, but each individual has their own interpretation, so instead we will be debating whether or not the death penalty is just. Correct? OK. Rather this is a severe punishment that will be used on criminals that of which wish to destroy society i.e. murderers, who purposefully harm the innocent. Thus put society at a danger of becoming then unjust and the only way to reinstate that justice in society is reciprocal justice to those murderers. Those who take the lives of others then give up their right to live. The affirmative will state that the death penalty has no respect for human life and that we must respect their born right to live….why would a society whose main priority is to remain just respect the lives of murderers who in turn have no respect for human life or the society? That would be injustice to the just citizens of the society and further putting them at risk.
Tatarize

Pro

>>A just society is one in which the very basic principle of justice is upheld and promoted within a society, that principle is of giving each their due.

To be clear, your claims of due and "just" and "justice" seem to be nothing more than thinly veiled claims of retribution of the eye for an eye variety (and failing that "unjustice" and "unjust"). "You kill somebody and we'll murder you!" -- I understand the sentiment, if somebody killed a loved-one of mine I'd want to murder them myself. However having the state kill them or doing so myself is unjust and unacceptable. Why? Because, killing people is wrong.

Certainly societies can believe themselves just while not being just. The death penalty is simply the tip of the iceberg on that topic. Segregation, racism, slavery and every war in history can attest to this fact. However, if we are to suggest that the death penalty is somehow therefore just as a form of punishment, what are you condemning Nazism for? Imposing the death penalty for being Jewish, atheist, gay, or communist seems a tad harsh but judging from your argument, not having the death penalty at their disposal would have been a greater injustice.

As a side note, you wrongly judge communism and democracy as mutually exclusive. It's quite possible to have a communist democracy or a capitalistic dictatorship. On this subject I hang my hat with Mr. Churchill who said that "No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those others that have been tried from time to time."

A system of justice is certainly a requirement for a civil society. However, the United States is the only westernized country with the death penalty. In fact, countries without the death penalty are exceedingly civil and quite just (thus undermining your oft repeated claim). In fact, considering the parallels you are suggesting that, if you aren't giving people their due (murdering them) then you aren't being just. You are implying that the justice systems of most of Europe are unjust because they don't adhere to the belief that two wrongs don't make a right.

You argue that justice is a matter of interpretation. To this end you brought up Nazism to show that they believed themselves to be just. Honestly? This is your argument? "The death penalty is to be available in a just society because, although we need a good working justice system... it's all a crock and everybody makes up their own justice and maybe the Nazis were just?" -- Read my lips: killing people is wrong.

You don't need to be told the death penalty is barbaric, ineffective, horribly executed, expensive, unneeded, or cruel; it is wrong to kill people. There is no wishy-washy justice or ethics on this point. Two wrongs do not make a right. It is wrong for one man to kill another just as it is wrong for the state to murder the killer of that man. It isn't subject to interpretation. It isn't something everybody gets to choose for themselves. I do not consent to be killed by anyone or any government or any society. Likewise, I must agree that nobody must consent to the taking of their own life even as a punishment.

Regardless of the opinions of individuals or the general consensus of society; killing people is wrong. The death penalty is barbarism posing as civilized murder.

You argue that the death penalty is a severe punishment to be used on people who "wish to destroy society i.e. murderers, who purposefully harm the innocent". None of this is true. Murders do not wish to destroy society (most of them at least) they wish to destroy the person they destroyed. They need not harm the innocent (you could murder the guilty if you so chose). You seem to imply that this is a kill or be killed proposition for all of society. Assemble a lynch mob or the government's going to fall!

Why does society danger to become unjust if they don't murder people? If you murder people you're unjust, but if a society refuses to murder people it might be unjust? So what of the rest of the westernized world? Are they in danger of being unjust by simply locking their murderers away. Your argument, in this regard is a non-starter.

Further, I certainly hold that murderers are in the wrong when they kill. But, how do you figure they surrender their right to life when they murder? Do they wave their right to council and a fair and speedy trial too?

You ask why a society whose main priority is to be a fair and just society should not choose to murder people. Do I really have to spell it out: killing people is wrong and unjust.

----

At this point I would like to comment on the state of the debate. My opponent has done nothing up to this point to argue that a just society needs to have the death penalty. He has repeatedly, in several different forms, stated his premise.

Why should a just society murder? Can a just society murder for child rape? Can a just society murder for theft? Can a just society murder for jaywalking? Can a just society murder for being Jewish? Can a just society murder for picking up sticks on the Sabbath? Can a just society murder for murder? -- In all of these cases I argue, that an overriding principle applies: Killing People is Wrong. It is not the hallmark of a just society that they murder people. It does not make a society unjust to not murder people. Failing to murder people does not endanger a society towards injustice. A just society does not kill.

My opponent has not made an argument as to why it is just for a society to kill people. He has attempted to define it into existence. "If one does not kill murders, you are unjust." "So a society must murder or else it will become unjust." "Unjust is the society that doesn't kill people!" -- To this argument, I need only counter with the claim that it is unjust for a society to murder. Therefore, a society cannot be just and use the death penalty. Done. That is the sum total of the argument thus far.

Further, I have made a number of philosophical, practical, economic, logical and emotional arguments against the death penalty. These are to show that this barbarism of the past is not a part of a modern just society. I have argued my case in a number of different ways. My opponent has attempted to repeatedly define his case into existence.

----

Let me give credit where credit is due. The following does include in it an argument to suggest that the death penalty is just.

"That would be injustice to the just citizens of the society and further putting them at risk."

The claim that not killing a murderer is "putting [citizens] at risk." -- When a person is locked up behind bars and concrete for the rest of their lives, they don't pose a threat to society. Some far fetched fantasy of men behind stone and iron harming people does not come close to overruling the notion that killing people is wrong.
Debate Round No. 2
Cg09

Con

self-preservation. These people who form these societies due so to better preserve themselves. Within extreme circumstances (murder), the death penalty is a way of self-preservation that allows those citizens to further better their lives, Putting these murderers to death is preserving the lives of not only these parental citizens but children as well. Who will stand up and state that even though this injustice could have been prevented with this form of punishment this criminal was released on parole and destroyed yet another family? No the affirmative will state that the death penalty is not moral and it may not be considered however that view of morality is under stooped in that it is for the good of the society as a whole.

Contention 1: Tyrannical leaders must be put to death
First of all this contention links back to my criterion of self-preservation due to that it is for the good of society and to prevent further harm to come of the innocent citizens in that society these rulers must be put to death. If these leaders who act murderously are not put to death then we are undermining justice which is the very thing we are trying to uphold and is my value for this round, I will give you an example, Saddam Hussein, who is viewed as one of the most tyrannical rulers in history, was hanged for his crimes against the citizens of his country. These citizens in themselves were not unjust but their imposing ruler who was destroying justice was. Therefore the only way for the society to remain just was putting to death that of their leader.

Contention 2: The Death Penalty prevents lifetime imprisonments
Lifetime imprisonments fill our prisons with murderers and mass murderers who can harm those who have committed lesser crimes than that of murder. Further the cost of life imprisonment for society is unnecessary due to the fact that they remain alive, and they still pose a threat to society i.e. breakouts. However they are uncommon they do happen and these murderers instead of have receiving what they were due they are now able to plague society yet again. Life imprisonments do not uphold justice due to the fact that they, as I just stated, do not give what these murderers are due and further put society at risk which goes against the value of justice that we are striving to maintain and my criterion of self-preservation. Due to the proceeding arguments and evidence I have provided you with you must now negate because I have shown that the only way for a society to remain just is by use of the death penalty as a form of punishment. Also I have shown you that the affirmative is not upholding justice which I will state again is the primary objective we are trying to maintain,
Tatarize

Pro

So after two rounds of nonsense, my opponents saves his conclusion to introduce what look like arguments. These are really really bad arguments and I'm not sure if they even warrant addressing... but here goes.

The first argument is thusly: "people form societies to preserve themselves and the death penalty preserves them from murder. Not only does it protect the lives of citizens it saves the children as well. They might get paroled and destroy another family!"

If murdering somebody would prevent another murder that is self-defense. If somebody comes at me and tries to stab me, it's only right that I can defend myself with whatever force I need to protect myself. Nobody would argue with this. If killing somebody is a protective action then there are a plethora of arguments to use. However, we're talking about people who have been on death row for a decade. They aren't about to kill somebody and there is no change between locking them away from society forever and murdering them. Paroles don't accidentally occur. We can lock them away forever. We aren't taking that off the table.

People in prison are harmless to me. Murdering people is wrong.

---

Secondly, my opponent finally argues that tyrants must be killed. He oddly uses the example of the only society that comes to mind as being better off when a tyrannical bloody tyrant was in charge. If Saddam were not killed but rather sent to the Hague to stand trial and be imprisoned... Iraq would not be less unjust. It wouldn't matter one jot as far as Iraq is concerned. Saddam's hanging was poorly executed, cruel, unneeded, the result of an extremely questionable court system, and still murder.

---

Thirdly my opponent argues that the Death Penalty prevents lifetime imprisonments. Murderers fill our stressed out prison system. They might escape. Sometimes they are released. Lifetime imprisonments fail to give people their "due".

Death Row and murderers are a small fraction of the population. The majority of prisoners are non-violent drug offenders. If you let out the potheads and sent the tweakers for treatment, you'd easily free up room. It is cheaper to house a person for their entire life than to go through the court battle which ensues trying to have them put to death. They don't escape. Name a murderer who escaped prison. Go ahead. Name anybody who has? I mean here and there a long long time ago... but we're really good at the locking them away bit... especially the murderers who get no leeway. As for the claim that they are released, I'm not concerning myself with that. What if a person, in passion or greed did kill somebody and we were sure he wouldn't do it again? Should we honestly lock a person up forever who won't commit another crime? There are some people on death row in jail for murdering their husbands who came to beat them again... is such a person actually a risk to society? Is murdering that person a just end for a just society? Is a needle in their arm their due?

------

For the readers of this debate, I'm sorry. I thought it would be better too. My opponent seems to have just wasted time some claiming repeatedly that just societies must murder people before finally coming up with some really bad arguments in his conclusion. It's cruel, barbaric, unneeded, expensive, ineffective, and wrong. Killing people is wrong. Innocent people get rounded up in the system from time to time and taking their lives, just as taking anybody lives, is a travesty. We lock them away and throw away the key. They are not a danger to society. Further, a lot of his argument stung of eye for an eye mentality. That a just society is one that gets revenge. If you hurt somebody we'll get you! You kill somebody and you get a torture chamber. We'll make sure you get your comeuppance, we'll give you your due. My opponent's view of a just society is a barbaric society.

I suppose if we get rid of the death penalty we'll be among the ranks of the unjust societies of the rest of the westernized world... and if we maintain killing people as a punishment, we can count ourselves among the just societies of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Cuba, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Lebanon, Mongolia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sudan, Syria, Uganda, Vietnam, and Yemen. Our justice will be the envy of every hangman and execution, and rights abusing country in the Axis of Evil. -- What the hell kind of nonsense arguments were these anyway?

There might be better arguments in favor of the death penalty, but we saw none of those here. I oppose the death penalty because I am always against killing people, in all cases at all times... the fact that the death penalty is an unmitigated disaster, cruel, unneeded, expensive, poorly executed, shunned by just nations and embraced by the worst of human rights abusers is secondary to my opposition.

Killing people is wrong.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Im_always_right 8 years ago
Im_always_right
Life in prison without chance for parole, would be the worst punishment.
Posted by Im_always_right 8 years ago
Im_always_right
I agree with the comment way down, if I had the chose to get a shot and die/the chair or be locked in a box for the rest of my life.... I choose the quick death.

That's just me though, don't get all snotty with society mmadderom.
Posted by mmadderom 8 years ago
mmadderom
"Now i understand that we have some outrageous and devastating criminals in our world today that may seem like they don't deserve to live because they might have murdered someone to be in his type of predicament but..... who's decision is it for them to live or die."

Uh, societies. You know, the people who actually live here legally. The death penalty is an OPTION for juries to consider.

And, again, the VAST majority of people sentenced to death NEVER die in that manner.

Thank God for appeals, eh?
Posted by Natedizzle 8 years ago
Natedizzle
You are 150% correct on that one bro, I mean who gave man the right to choose whether someone lives or die certainly not {GOD} the death penalty shouldn't even be in effect. Now i understand that we have some outrageous and devastating criminals in our world today that may seem like they don't deserve to live because they might have murdered someone to be in his type of predicament but..... who's decision is it for them to live or die. I feel as though we should just leave it up to the creature.
Posted by mmadderom 8 years ago
mmadderom
A VERY small percentage of death row inmates are ever actually executed. But let's look at what happens when you do away with the death penalty.

Helter Skelter. Yeah, the Manson family. All were sentenced to death, but when the supreme court briefly ruled the death penalty unconstitutional they were all changed to life in prison. That means nearly every year one or another of them comes up for parole. You want to unleash Charles Manson and his minions back on society today? It could, and eventually will, happen.

Assigning someone the death penalty assures they WILL NOT get out on parole. Depending on the state and the crime, they are unlikely to ever receive that ultimate punishment, anyhow.

I understand the "innocent people have been put to death" argument. But think about that for a second. If I'm truly innocent, and the other option is being locked in a cage for the rest of my life, I'd rather get the chair, anyhow.
Posted by Maya9 8 years ago
Maya9
"Killing people is just wrong."

Talk about your moral assumptions. Such absolutism is pure foolishness.
Posted by sadolite 8 years ago
sadolite
I think we should use public humiliation in the court house square and caning for more serious offenses and reserve the prison cells for murderers, rapists and child molesters where no one ever leaves alive.
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