Resolved: The use of legal punishment is justified.
Debate Rounds (3)
"Authorized reprobative retributive intentional harm" (as per David Boonin in his work, The Problem of Punishment)
Authorized means it moves through governmental actors.
Reprobative implies that the punishment looks down upon the criminal as being intrinsically wrong or unjust.
Retributive means that it as a RE-active mechanism, and is a response to some violation of law.
Intentional means that the purpose of punishment is TO inflict harm, not that harm is a byproduct of punishment.
Harm implies some imposition of rights or a (normally) undesirable outcome.
We will debate the other standards in round (as you do in LD). You may run whatever you like, and I encourage all challengers (even those who don't want to debate LD, then I will just run my arguments without any value structure)
I will begin by making Observations, values, and my opening arguement.
Observation 1: Legal punishment is always done because of a crime committed. This crime is determined by the suspects breaking of the local, state, or federal law.
Observation 2: The realms of the debate are expanded to a worldly sense.
Observation 3: It does not have to be justified by everyone, so long as it is justifed to one person, then it is justfied.
VALUE CRITERION: Justice
In order for there to be a punishment of any kind, especially legal, the suspect has to have broken a law. Since laws are established by a governmental entity, it is always justfied that the entity in which the law was disobeyed, exact their justice. It is not up to the people, who are unqualified in legal decisions to make informed decisions and punishments of a suspected criminal.
If there is no legal punishment, then I must assume that there is no legal law. I will inferr that anarchy reigns, which operates off of a common moral code/thread. In anarchy, there is no offical law, so there is no offical justice. Resuliting in unqualified people to carry out justice possibily to an extremity. It is in these conditions that moral codes rapidly decline.
*I'm really more of a clash person. I'll try to Cross-X in the Comments, but I may forget...
Thank you, for what I am sure is going to be a well fought and interesting debate.
The value criterion is utility, or the maximization of happiness. While there may be intrinsic flaws with utilitarianism, it is the necessary criterion because it links into the purpose punishment was created for. Jeremy Bentham explains:
"General prevention ought to be the chief end of punishment, as it is its real justification. If we could consider an offence which has been committed as an isolated fact, the like of which would never recur, punishment would be useless. It would be only adding one evil to another. With respect to any particular delinquent, we have seen that punishment has three objects, incapacitation, reformation, and intimidation."
Thus, I will structure my case around whether punishment meets its desired utilitarian purpose, and thus if it is just.
i.Incapacitation is irrelevant and only a temporary solution, as a criminal is only incarcerated for a short time. At the point where rehabilitation is infinitely more preferable to incapacitation as it removes the criminal altogether, unless you give life sentences for traffic violations and the like, incapacitation is never a sound reason to punish.
1. EMPIRICALLY, THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM DOES NOT REHABILITATE OFFENDERS. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates:
"67.5% of released prisoners were rearrested less than 3 years after their release (almost exclusively on a felony or serious misdemeanour charge.)"
2. PUNISHMENT IS INSTEAD COUNTER PRODUCTIVE; IT DOES NOT REHABILITATE, INSTEAD IT MAKES THE CRIMINAL STRONGER. Nietzsche writes:
"Punishment is supposed to be valuable in waking the feeling of guilt in the guilty party. Real pangs of conscience are something extremely rare, especially among criminals and prisoners. In general, punishment makes people hard and cold. It concentrates. It sharpens the feeling of estrangement; it strengthens powers of resistance. Let us not underestimate just how much the criminal is prevented by the very sight of judicial and executive procedures themselves from sensing that his act, the nature of his action, is something inherently reprehensible, for he sees exactly the same kind of actions committed in the service of justice, then applauded and practised in good conscience, like espionage, lying, bribery, entrapment, as it manifests itself in the various kinds of punishment—the robbery, oppression, abuse, all done, as a matter of principle, without even any emotional involvement as an excuse— all these actions are in no way rejected or condemned in themselves by his judges, but only in particular respects when used for certain purposes. those instigating evil who incurred punishment have felt, so far as their "crime" is concerned, "Something has unexpectedly gone awry here," not "I should not have done that." without question we must seek the essential effect of punishment above all in an increase of prudence, in an extension of memory, in a will to go to work from now on more carefully, more secretly, in a kind of improved ability to judge ourselves. In general, what can be achieved through punishment, in human beings and animals, is an increase in fear, a honing of prudence, and control over desires. Thus man is tamed by punishment but by no means improved; rather the opposite."
3. THE REASON REHABILITATION FAILS THROUGH PUNISHMENT IS BECAUSE CRIME ITSELF IS NOT BASED ON MORAL INADEQUACIES BUT RATHER SOCIAL INEQUITIES WHICH FORCE THE CRIMINAL TO DEFAULTING TO CRIMINAL ACTS. Sociologist David Bordua explains:
"Culture makes morally mandatory the seeking of success goals but differentially distributes the morally acceptable means to these success goals. This gap between culturally universalized goals and structurally limited means creates strain among lower class youths who aspire to economic advancement. Such strain and alienation leads to the formation of delinquent subcultures, normative and belief systems that specifically support and legitimize delinquency, among those boys who blame the system rather than themselves for their impending or actual failure."
4: THUS, BY REJECTING PUNISHMENT AS A MEANS TO REHABILITATION, WE ALLOW THE CRIMINAL TO BE REHABILITATED THROUGH SOCIAL HARMONY. THIS OFFERS FULL OR ALMOST ENTIRELY COMPLETE SOLVENCY OF CRIME, INVALIDATING THE AFFIRMATIVE'S POSITION ENTIRELY. Criminologist Dennis Sullivan writes:
"Resolutions of conflict in the context of mutual aid do not end in hatred, for the foundations of that hatred are explored and given vent and changed, perhaps by people doing more agreeable work-a revolutionary idea for this culture! These kinds of resolutions can only evolve into a deeper commitment on the part of people to each other. Done through face-to-face negotiation, instead of through and impersonal, stigmatizing system, such resolutions bring each person to trust more in others. They are no longer seen as elements that are destructive to sanity or religion but as a positive foundation for both."
1. CRIMINAL DETERRENCE THEORY DOES NOT ATTACK THE ROOT OF CRIME AS EXPLAINED BY BORDUA. THUS, HARSH CRIMINAL PENALTIES HAVE NO GENERAL DETERRENCE EFFECT. UNLESS THEY OFFER THE MOST EGREGIOUS VIOLATIONS OF RIGHTS. Deryck Beyleveld, in an empirical study, concluded:
"There exists no scientific basis for expecting that a general deterrence policy, which does not involve an unacceptable interference with human rights, will do anything to control the crime rate. The sort of information needed to base a morally acceptable general policy is lacking."
2. Even if the affirmative does prove that some degree of general deterrence exists, you would still negate as long as rehabilitation stands. At the point where the affirmative world and negative world be contrasts of each other: each solving the problem of crime, one through rights violations and one through social harmony you would always prefer the negative.
Now, we'll address his case briefly:
Agree to O1 / O2.
I don't understand the intent of this; if he's saying that punishment only needs to be justified when enacted through one agent then I agree, because legal punishment stipulates the government is the actor in question. But this doesn't mean that punishment being justified in one circumstance would be enough to affirm; instead it has to be justified in most circumstances than not. (Which means that taxes being legally required or some other circumstance is insufficient to affirm.)
a few problems:
1: He doesn't establish if it's a legitimate government, it could be an authoritarian government that brutalizes its citizens, so there's no intrinsic benefit here.
2: His entire case is predicated on the notion that a government needs laws to exist; but governments have other functions (declaring war, regulating the economy, etc.), moreover, I'm not advocating laws are unjustified, just punishment as a consequence is.
- he doesn't give you a way to achieve justice, so we can assume it's through utility.
His first paragraph is an appeal to power, just because the government establishes laws doesn't mean it's legit in enforcing them; it was illegal to interracially marry at one point, does that mean it's just for the government to punish those who did? Obviously not, so you can ignore that.
His second paragraph is makes several assumptions:
1: without legal punishment the government would cease to exist.
You can cross apply my analysis under his value to this.
2: The people would have to execute judicial action.
You can ignore this argument, because if you look to the sullivan card it tells you that w/o legal punishment you can develop a framework to eliminate crime, instead of strengthen it as Nietzsche talks about.
James.ticknor forfeited this round.
KritiKal forfeited this round.
James.ticknor forfeited this round.
No votes have been placed for this debate.
You are not eligible to vote on this debate
This debate has been configured to only allow voters who meet the requirements set by the debaters. This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges.