The Instigator
Objectivity
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points
The Contender
wipefeetnmat
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Resolved: The Death Penalty is a Morally Tenable Punishment

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Objectivity
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/8/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 538 times Debate No: 84735
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)

 

Objectivity

Con

This round is just for acceptance, I will be using an LD style format for my constructive speech, my opponent may use whatever he chooses. This is for Rosalie's Beginner Tournament
wipefeetnmat

Pro

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Objectivity

Con

Good luck to my opponent and I look forward to an interesting debate.

Noted political theorist and philosopher Charles de Montesquieu once said that There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice. It is because I agree with him that I negate the Resolved: The Death Penalty is a Morally Tenable Punishment. For today's debate I will be offering the value of Government Legitimacy, which is defined as a people believe that their government's actions are appropriate uses of power carried out by a legally constituted government. Government Legitimacy has to be the paramount value for this debate because the government is the sole actor in the resolution. Government Legitimacy will be upheld by a Value Criterion of Deontological Justice, which is a moral system in which we give people their due by treating each individual with inherent value, never using them as a means to an end.

Contention One: Deterrence Treats Individuals as a means to an end

Deterrence is one of the chief justifications for the death penalty, whether it actually deters crime or not is up for dispute, but what is indisputable is that using this as a justification for the death penalty deprives individuals of their worth and humanity by using them as a means to achieving the end of deterring further crimes. This creates a state of affairs that sets a precedent for the government being able to justly use individuals as a means to an end to achieve policy goals, creating an unjust state of affairs where people are stripped of their humanity.

Contention Two: The Death Penalty runs counter to the very definition of Justice

Where the definition of justice is giving each their due, the death penalty does nothing to further giving any party in the Criminal Justice System their due. Let's take a moment to show the distinction between giving each what they deserve and giving each what they are entitled to and why, since the government is the actor in this resolution, the two are completely distinct. First of all, there is no way to objectively determine what one deserves, which is why there is such a great distinction in how justice is administered nation to nation. In the US, where we administer justice based on upholding the rights and entitlements of other, we deliver punishments that protect said rights. In nations like Saudi Arabia where Sharia Law is administered, punishments are administered based on what one deserves. This creates a morally untenable state of affairs where, since in Saudi Arabia people subjectively believe that homosexuality, infidelity, and apostasy ought to warrant severe beating/whipping or death, the government wills it so. I think that the merits of the US justice system v. the Saudi Arabian system stand on their own. That being said, the death penalty does not further the rights or entitlements of either the victim, the perpetrator, or any other party (like society). Since we have already established that deterrence violates our rights by treating people as means to an end and therefore stripping them of their humanity, that cannot be a reason forwarded. Secondly, life in prison without parole would have the same affect at face value of protecting the liberties of our citizenry, in the event where there is no chance for the criminal to be rehabilitated, taking them off the streets for the remainder of their life would be the same as killing them, the difference being one truly administers justice. Third, the victims of families of victims are not due retribution since if we assumed retribution was due by the state for one act it would be due for all, creating another morally untenable state of affairs where things like circumstance aren't taken in to account. Finally, it costs more after all the appeals processes to implement the death penalty than life in prison, where according to deathpenaltyinfo.org the death penalty costs significantly more than life in prison.

For these reasons I negate the resolution and look forward to my opponents rebuttal.

Sources:

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
wipefeetnmat

Pro

I would like to thank Rosalie for hosting this tournament as well as my opponent, Objectivity, for coming up with the topic and challenging me.

My Round 2 will be a rebuttal of Con’s Round 2 contentions.


Rebuttal 1: Deterrence Treats Individuals as a means to an end.

Con states that the government using capital punishment as a means of deterrence strips off the humanity of the convicted by using them as a means to an end.

The government's use of the death penalty does not intentionally use the condemned as a means to an end. Deterrence is merely a byproduct of justice. When a person sees justice being served out to a wrongdoer, he is less inclined to commit the same offense and potentially have to face the same punishment.


Rebuttal 2: The Death Penalty runs counter to the very definition of Justice.

Con states that the definition of justice is giving each their due. I would rather give the Merriam-Webster definition of justice: “The maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments” [1]. So justice is giving each person a reward or punishment based on what is just, not what they are due.

Con shows us the difference between what a person deserves and what they are due. This is a wrongly worded comparison. The real comparison should be between what is just and what is due.

What a person is due is what they have a right to, or as my opponent states it; what they are entitled to. The Declaration of Independence boldly entitles every man to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” [2]. These are the basic dues of a human being.

What is just is what is “Consistent with what is morally right.” [3] This requires us to determine what is morally right, something that varies by its basis. If the government were to base its morals off of Sharia Law, the death penalty would be considered just for a large range of offenses. If the government were to base its morals off of the Bible, the death penalty would be considered just in cases of murder [4]. If the government were to base its morals off of popular opinion, the death penalty would again be just in cases of murder [5]. These three common bases of morality all agree that the death penalty is just.


Since I have shown the difference between what is just and what is due, I will now show how they relate to capital punishment.

A person is due “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”. I believe the most important of these to be life since without life neither of the others matter. If a person takes the life of another person they are disregarding what that person was due and therefore forfeit their own right to life by making it disregardable. It does not matter that the death penalty does not further their rights since they, in effect, forfeited them.

The just punishment for taking a life (according to the three major bases of morality listed above) is death. It is our government's duty to execute this punishment.


Rebuttal 3: Life in prison without parole would have the same affect at face value of protecting the liberties of our citizenry.

You talk about how using criminals for deterrence strips them of their humanity, yet you openly suggest confining them for their entire life? Cages are used for animals. Prison is essentially a large cage. You are suggesting that we treat criminals like animals. How is that any more an administration of justice than capital punishment?


Rebuttal 4: The families of victims are not due retribution.

This point does not directly relate to the resolution, however, I will give my thoughts.

The victim’s family is not due retribution but I certainly believe that the death penalty will give them some sort of closure which they deserve.


Rebuttal 5: It costs more after all the appeals processes to implement the death penalty than life in prison.

I would concede this point to my opponent if I thought it had any correlation to the resolution. Cost has nothing to do with morals.


I apologize for the poor formatting, my computer has been unreliable so I was not able to finish this as early as I hoped and I am nearly falling asleep while trying to format this from Google into DDO.

I look forward to your Round 3.



Sources:

[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com...



[2] http://www.archives.gov...



[3] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...



[4] Genesis 9:6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed”.



[5] http://www.pewresearch.org...






Debate Round No. 2
Objectivity

Con

First an observation:

Since my opponent has offered no constructive arguments affirming the resolution, it's already game over for him in terms of the burden of proof. The BOP unless specified otherwise is shared, and even if not one of my arguments stands (I'll explain why they do momentarily), having 0 constructive arguments on the affirmative of any debate, and especially this resolution means that my opponent hasn't proven why the death penalty is a morally tenable punishment. Simply disproving my arguments as to why it is morally untenable doesn't mean it IS in fact tenable.

According to the debate.org wikipedia "Bilateral burden of proof' or 'shared burden of proof' is a case in which both debaters have to fufill a burden of proof (BoP). Technically, "shared BoP" indicates that the two debators are arguing in favor of two opposing resolutions.

For example, an instigator may wish to debate that "Apples are better than Oranges" and for her opponent to debate that "Oranges are better than apples". In this case, a shared BoP would be perfect, because each debater would be equally obligated to defend their own claim and rebut their opponents' claim.

Whereas a debate with a unilateral BoP is concerned with the evidence for or against a single claim, a debate with a Bilateral BoP focuses on both claims. In these debates, the winning party is the one who successfully convinces the judge that their position is more likely than their opponent's position, using both rebuttals and constructive arguments. Unlike unilateral BoP, if there all constructive arguments are negated or equally balanced, then it is possible to have a tie"

Based on this analysis the best my opponent could hope to achieve in this debate is a tie, and that is assuming he can effectively refute ALL of my constructive arguments. Moving to my side of the flow:

Rebuttal 1 Response: Deterrence is offered as one of the primary justifications for the death penalty, and my opponent basically dodges this by forwarding the same argument critiqued in a different light. If my opponent concedes that he does not support the death penalty at all because of deterrence then the issue flows to neither side, if he says he supports the death penalty even in part because of deterrence, this has to flow to neg because he is supporting the death penalty in part because of deterrence, meaning he is still using individuals as a means to achieving the end of deterrence.

Rebuttal 2:

That might be the linguistic definition of justice, prefer "to each what he is due" because it is the most commonly agreed upon philosophical definition of justice that originated from Socrates himself and has been the crux of most philosophical debates on the actions of the government. Administering justice then becomes about protecting the rights of others and delivering punishment in such a way that it achieves said end, not about giving someone what they "deserve". My opponent attempts to frame justice in a way favorable to him and in a way that is circular, he essentially says that justice is giving someone a punishment based on what is just, I advise voters to think about that for a moment. Since my opponent's definition of justice is both circular and merely linguistic whether than philosophical prefer my definition.

My opponent then defines what is just as "what is morally" right and subscribes to complete moral subjectivism with no warrant, if my opponent wants to do this he has to drop the idea of governments in the first place since a government has to be comprised of people who all agree on certain moral values as being objectively true for a working social contract, and if my opponent doesn't believe in moral objectivity he can't believe in governments in the first place. My opponent has yet to warrant his affirmative position and makes a self defeating claim by erasing the actor in this resolution since if I decide to adopt absolute anarchy my opponent can't coherently say why that is immoral, and without a government there is no actor to impose the death penalty meaning there is no solvency on the affirmative, this will be a huge voting issue.

My opponent further states that without life all other rights don't matter, but don't buy this argument since there is no objective consensus on this, I allude to founding father Patrick Henry who said "Give me liberty or give me death", some people would rather die free than live in slavery, and affirming begins to lead us down this path by stripping us of our humanity, as earlier shown.

Therefore, Point #2 still stands since if we follow my opponent's logic he automatically loses this debate.

Rebuttal #3

Opponent draws a false equivalency between death penalty and life imprisonment. I never specified how I would treat prisoners either and I don't think I'm obliged to present a plan to negate so I won't be, all I will say is that we can treat prisoners humanely in the negative world and my opponent just assumes I want to "lock them in a cage" with no warrant.

Rebuttal #4

Fair enough

Rebuttal #5

Fair enough, both 4 and 5 can flow to neither side since aff agrees to both.

Back to you aff

http://ddo.wikia.com...
wipefeetnmat

Pro

My opponent believes that I have not met my BOP and I really do not feel like arguing the point.

I concede.
Debate Round No. 3
Objectivity

Con

Arguments extended
wipefeetnmat

Pro

I concede.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Objectivity 1 year ago
Objectivity
Because logic.. like literally that is all i can tell you, look at my source. If you make an affirmative claim you have at least a shared BOP to prove it. By affirming you are saying you believe the death penalty is a morally tenable punishment, that is an affirmative claim..
Posted by wipefeetnmat 1 year ago
wipefeetnmat
Not all debates require that one offer constructive arguments.

Why should I have to put forth arguments claiming that the death penalty is morally tenable? It would make more sense for me to prove that it is morally tenable (able to be maintained or defended against attack or objection) by defending it against your attacks.
Posted by Objectivity 1 year ago
Objectivity
.. Like any debate you have to offer both your own constructive arguments and deconstruct my arguments.. I didn't think that had to be clarified.
Posted by wipefeetnmat 1 year ago
wipefeetnmat
I was supposed to forward an argument affirming the resolution which states that I am to be defending against attacks? I would not have even accepted if I had known that lol.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Cobalt 1 year ago
Cobalt
ObjectivitywipefeetnmatTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 1 year ago
dsjpk5
ObjectivitywipefeetnmatTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.