The Instigator
The_Harlequin
Pro (for)
Winning
1 Points
The Contender
joshuaXlawyer
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The Death Penalty

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/30/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,262 times Debate No: 14606
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (10)
Votes (1)

 

The_Harlequin

Pro

Looking for a serious intellectual debate on this topic here. I had a long and very interesting conversation with a friend about this and would like to see how my arguments stand up here.

R1) Introduction of argument
R2) Main body of argument
R3) Cross examination of opponent's argument
R4) Defence of own argument
R5) Conclusion of argument

I will first define the debate as a whole. I, as the Proposition, take it upon myself to prove that the Death Penalty (that is to say the state-sponsored execution of a convicted criminal) is a morally acceptable punishment to the very worst crimes where the perpetrator is likely to reoffend. I am going to argue this on 3 main points:

1. Establishing whether there can be circumstances in which the death penalty is justifiable and if so what are they?

2. The death penalty as a preventative measure against repeat offenders rather than as a punishment

I will lay these out in this first round and from there expand on and defend my position in future rounds. I'd like to thank any challenger in advance for accepting.

My burden of proof is only to show that certain crimes should warrant the death penalty, and I will be examining why in later rounds. I'll look at concepts like the human rights of the convict and why human rights aren't inalienable. I want this to be a competently argued debate that focusses on the philosophical side of the issue. Thanks in advance.
joshuaXlawyer

Con

First i will show you the outline of my case as to say that it is to prove in the hands of the government the death penalty can and has been used wrongly.

1. Establish that the death penalty has been used to convict innocent people and prove how it is given to people who have lesser offenses than murder.

2. That the there is not possible way to prevent a repeating offender till they actually repeat the offence.

my burden of proof is to show the death penalty is used not only for the offences my opponent claims is justifiable and to show innocents can and has been convicted with the death penalty as well as prove that the death penalty is hypocritical to the laws of the state.
Debate Round No. 1
The_Harlequin

Pro

I'd like to thank my opponent and hope for an interesting debate. The Con seems to be approaching this debate from a more real-world perspective than the somewhat philosophical take I have on the debate, but we'll see how this goes.

As previously stated, my argument is on two main points:

1. Establishing whether there can be circumstances in which the death penalty is justifiable and if so what are they?

2. The death penalty as a preventative measure against repeat offenders rather than as a punishment

In my attempt to prove that certain crimes can deserve death, I will focus mainly on how the death penalty is a logical extension of the concept of human rights and how it is the state's duty to enforce it:

1. On my first point, I will start by examining why we have rights in a legal context.

In human society, we operate on the principle that everyone has a certain set of inalienable human rights and are to be treated equally. However, why should these rights be inalienable? Why are human rights distinct from animal rights? We are not equal as humans, some are faster, some stronger than others. Yet in the eyes of the law we are treated as such. This is because we all share the faculty to distinguish between right and wrong. We accept responsibilities. The entire concept of human and legal rights is that one's rights are equal to the responsibilities one accepts. If one rejects responsibility, by that logic, one forfeits rights.

A prime example of this is in the mentally handicapped. Those who are mentally ill and pose a threat to themselves and others have greatly diminished rights, but equally diminished responsibilities. A mentally ill person does not for example, have the right to vote, but they also have less responsibility in the eyes of the law, because of their handicap.

We operate on the understanding that one must abide by the same rules as all, or else suffer equal or greater punishment to their transgression. This is why we use imprisonment as a deterrent. Prisoners, of course, also lose the right to vote among others because of their rejection of their responsibilities.

Think of a dog. We do not afford a dog the same rights we do a human, and so we do not hold a dog to the same responsibilities. If a dog mauls a child to death, they are put down. However if a human murders a child, they are not. Why not, though? Assuming that person to be perfectly mentally healthy, they have the same faculty for moral reasoning as any other human and can be held to the same responsibilities as any other human. They have abdicated their responsibility to respect life, and should have forfeited their right to life.

If a human being does not behave as a human should, they should not be treated as human. Human rights are deserved because of our ability to understand and respect them, not simple biological similarities. It is the duty of the state to punish the abdication of responsibility with the removal of equal rights.

Imprisoning a murderer for 20 years, for example, is much like fining a man €5,000 for stealing €10,000. Punishment must always fit the crime. Certain acts when performed by a mentally capable human being amount to a deficient moral compass. Fundamentally rejecting human morality, and therefore rejecting the rights afforded to all humans.

What are we to define these acts as? What acts are fundamental violations of human morality? Murder, rape, and any permutations of the aforementioned, are good examples. Any crime in which the perpetrator is likely to reoffend and society will be better off without. I only propose a model wherein the elimination of the perpetrator benefits society. I will go on to define how the elimination of these people is a good thing for society as a whole.

On my first point I have sought to prove that:

a) Certain acts can indeed negate one's right to life


I intend to expand upon this in later rounds.

2. The death penalty as a preventative measure against reoffence.

As previously discussed, I am going to attempt to prove that society can benefit from the elimination of certain criminals.

Why, though? Surely it is better to rehabilitate? Indeed, there is some weight to this, but certain severe crimes have high rates of reoffence. This is a symptom of having no moral compass whatsoever. Society is better off without those who have not the faculty to distinguish between right and wrong. Ultimately, one without morality is as good as an animal. These criminals are dangerous in prison, and imprisonment is not a sufficient deterrent to them as these criminals are most likely to thrive in a prison environment. I refer to murderers, rapists, drug dealers, (specifically of hard drugs) gangland crime, etc. Such people are very difficult to punish correctly. In prison, they establish a dominance, and if they are ever to be released will at once return to crime.

Rehabilitation is not a likelihood with such criminals and as such, it is not worth the state's while affording them the same rights as others. These people are a burden on society, and their elimination is not a bad thing. We negate the possibility of future crimes by them.

In this point I have attempted to prove that:

b) It benefits society to eliminate individuals who have been proven beyond reasonable doubt to have committed these offences and it is therefore a duty of the state to do so.

Those two statements a and b are the foundation of my argument. I am seeking to prove that the death penalty should be implemented, not that it functions as it is in America, as I feel I made quite clear with my definition.

I eagerly await Con's reply, thank you.
joshuaXlawyer

Con

joshuaXlawyer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
The_Harlequin

Pro

Does Con resign?
joshuaXlawyer

Con

I will state the points my opponent makes in his case under number one........(Damn you write a lot).
His points are If rights are violated then they should have a punishment and so fourth, As well as he speaks of morality.
Morality is a very shifty thing for one morality is different from person to person , to society to society, to nation to nation.
Where these so called moral actions are held differently or not at all from what my opponent thinks is morally acceptable.
Stating as well that my opponent never stated this was in the U.S so the scope is wide from the U.S to China etc.
As well it seems my opponent is viewing this in a Deontological stand point which is that all wrong actions can never be justified in simpler terms the ends will never justifiy the means. My opponent also believes everyone has rights, but not in all societies. My opponent clearly leaves out other countries where people have no rights and assumes all societies believe in these rights or have them. The simple fact is they don't morality is subjective, in other countries murder is completely acceptable these facts are simply set here . I like would like to lean of the side of consequentalism which is the ends do justify the means. Example i kill one person to save 1000 people which would be justifiable . But the way my opponent see it is as i have violated a persons rights i deserve to die even if i saved 1000 people in the process.
Also that the death penalty is a hypocritical facade, killing a murderer is no different than the murderer himself.
As no one is moral to an extent, and no ones 100% innocent , But the question i really wanna ask is what moral standing are you upholding? christianity? what? morality is just that subjective i can determine what kind of morality but not which moral standerd which he bases whats wrong or right. I know its not the law but rights which again isn't accepted in other countries.

Ok now points which i wanna point out...
"A prime example of this is in the mentally handicapped. Those who are mentally ill and pose a threat to themselves and others have greatly diminished rights, but equally diminished responsibilities. A mentally ill person does not for example, have the right to vote, but they also have less responsibility in the eyes of the law, because of their handicap."

Objection wouldn't he be the same as the dog!!! Dogs are animals and you said you would kill the dog for murder but not the mentally handy caped when the most likely have the same mental understanding!!! thats a contradiction the dog most likely did not mean to kill the person!!! Unless something agitated it animals are different from humans they have instinctive actions they don't comprehend murder..... Nor would the mentally handy caped person..!!!

"If a human being does not behave as a human should, they should not be treated as human. Human rights are deserved because of our ability to understand and respect them, not simple biological similarities. It is the duty of the state to punish the abdication of responsibility with the removal of equal rights"

HOLD IT!!! what determines how a human should act?
And why are they deserved because of the ability to understand and respect them?

"Imprisoning a murderer for 20 years, for example, is much like fining a man €5,000 for stealing €10,000. Punishment must always fit the crime. Certain acts when performed by a mentally capable human being amount to a deficient moral compass. Fundamentally rejecting human morality, and therefore rejecting the rights afforded to all humans."

OBJECTION!!!!!!!!!! That example is horrible and incorrect 20 year in jail is quiet the long time and would suck being stuck in a cell with nothing much to do time kills money out of your pocket only hurts financally and is wrong. for that is a cheap price for a big price i say murder and prison for life is worse .

"What are we to define these acts as? What acts are fundamental violations of human morality? Murder, rape, and any permutations of the aforementioned, are good examples. Any crime in which the perpetrator is likely to reoffend and society will be better off without. I only propose a model wherein the elimination of the perpetrator benefits society. I will go on to define how the elimination of these people is a good thing for society as a whole."

Objection!!!! Again what morality is subjective so whats fundamental morality?
and Objection!!!! No one can determine if a person will repeat offense's thats an assumption you cannot prove a criminal will not repeat his or her ways.

"Why, though? Surely it is better to rehabilitate? Indeed, there is some weight to this, but certain severe crimes have high rates of reoffence. This is a symptom of having no moral compass whatsoever. Society is better off without those who have not the faculty to distinguish between right and wrong. Ultimately, one without morality is as good as an animal. These criminals are dangerous in prison, and imprisonment is not a sufficient deterrent to them as these criminals are most likely to thrive in a prison environment. I refer to murderers, rapists, drug dealers, (specifically of hard drugs) gangland crime, etc. Such people are very difficult to punish correctly. In prison, they establish a dominance, and if they are ever to be released will at once return to crime."

Objection!!!!!!!!!!!! Wheres your proof that they will repeat their crime? or are you still assuming? You have no proof no sources you are assuming they will. And secondly your not even willing to give them a chance, What if they just made the wrong decision a mistake and emotions just took control. You assume they are evil but clearly what you are saying is truely evil that people shouldn't be allowed a second chance.The truth of the matter is that DP is just revenge and not a punishment a punishment is to teach the they did wrong DP does not do this. In my eyes what you are saying IS TRULY EVIL!!!!!

"Rehabilitation is not a likelihood with such criminals and as such, it is not worth the state's while affording them the same rights as others. These people are a burden on society, and their elimination is not a bad thing. We negate the possibility of future crimes by them."

Objection!!!!!! Again baseless conjecture you have no proof for all you know these people my become reformed.
I just love how you say in here as well as these people arn't worth the effort to reform when they most likely could!
If you don't give them a chance you will never know!
Debate Round No. 3
The_Harlequin

Pro

I regret to say that I have been unable to find the time to write up a reply to this debate as I have had a lot going on. I was in the final of a somewhat high profile school debating competition and had focussed my efforts on that. I apologize for that and thank Con for his dedication to the debate and intend to make up for this in round 5.
joshuaXlawyer

Con

Its ok i been doing NFL stuff too i got congress and LD to write....... Since i dropped a round lets just call it even no loss of conduct on either side kk
Debate Round No. 4
The_Harlequin

Pro

Apologies for all the delays.

I'm going to spend this round simply defending and refuting, nothing new.

Now my opponent is trying to nail this debate to real life. This debate was never about the death penalty in practice. This is not about how the death penalty IS working. It's about whether or not it should be in place. Look at my definition, "that the Death penalty is a morally acceptable punishment to the very worst crimes", I made it clear that this was at a philosophical level. Now, my opponent has given the hypothetical example of a man who kills one person to save a thousand. For that we have legal provisions such as justifiable homicide. That is not an offence. It is a bizarre tragedy but not a murder by any conventional definition. Morality has evolved over the years. There is a general human understanding of right and wrong. We call this the legal system. Those offences which are considered particularly abhorrent by this moral system and are universally condemned are, by this resolution, to be punished by death. Not all legal codes are the same, of course, but in broad terms, they all have the same guiding sense of right and wrong. Murder is always punished harshly. Rape is always punished harshly. Dealing hard drugs is always punished harshly. There may be exceptions to these but they are negligible.

With regards to those with mental inhibitions, my analogy is imperfect. Of course they are not to be treated the same way as a dog, but in many respects, they are afforded the same rights and roughly equal responsibilities. We make sentimental allowances because of course, they are human.

What determines how humans should act is the legal system.

Imprisonment is not equal to the penalty of death. In prison, one gets 3 meals a day, is exercised regularly, and has visitors. Certain individuals even thrive in prison. Death is equal to death. Nothing more and nothing less than the offence.

Again, I would point my opponent to the legal system. Over the years humanity has developed a working moral code that we all more or less share. Legal systems the world over share many qualities and these are the fundamental ones.

I am not assuming every criminal will reoffend, but certain crimes happen to have a high rate of reoffence. Rape, for example, is notorious for this. Certain crimes fall into this bracket. There are people who commit murder as a crime of passion. However, I am of the view that anyone who is such a slave to their emotions can be done without in a civilized society. That is your opinion, but in cases where we have someone who has gone off the handle and, due to emotional instability has, for example, taken a life, there is no justification to keep them alive. Furthermore, in organized crime, perpetrators have often chosen crime as a career path. They will return to it once let free.

There are plenty of statistics I could quote at you if you demand them, but I think common sense is more effective. If someone has been a gangland criminal all their life, made all of their wealth by unlawful means and has lived outside the law for years, then jailing is not a deterrent, it is an occupational hazard. That is why time and time again we see gun-runners, drug-smugglers and the rest of that ilk reoffend. We know it happens, we see it in society. Your conjecture is more unlikely, that we can take these people and force them into epiphany. It hinges on the idea that people are basically morally responsible, and you have no model for how we should rehabilitate a career criminal. You simply say we should. What it comes down to is that it's better to be safe than sorry. We can keep these people and then loose them on society again, and they might do nothing, but then again, they are more likely to go back to crime.

I thank the Con for his patience and time with his arguments and urge you, the readers, to vote for the Pro.
joshuaXlawyer

Con

joshuaXlawyer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by joshuaXlawyer 5 years ago
joshuaXlawyer
...... i was busy T.T with LD
Posted by dinokiller 5 years ago
dinokiller
TUF, you're actually helping a debater, which is unfair towards the opponent.
Show some respect in debates.
Posted by TUF 5 years ago
TUF
Well If I didn't point out the faulty arguments, you just might have gone on thinking that faulty logic was accurate. And we can't have that can we? But at least now you know. ;-)
Posted by joshuaXlawyer 5 years ago
joshuaXlawyer
hey TUF i believe he is debating me not you so how about you dont post paragraphs of crap on here
Posted by TUF 5 years ago
TUF
By the way... Is this a debate or a court case? Objection???
Posted by TUF 5 years ago
TUF
"Objection!!!! Again what morality is subjective so whats fundamental morality?"

Yes, morality is subjective to a society, however, in our confined society in the United states, we all basically fall under the same moral standards. So basically anything worthy of being sent to prison of, goes against not only federal laws, but the majority of america's subjective morals. If this was an international statement, of course you'd be right, but I believe this debate is pertaining to the United States.

"and Objection!!!! No one can determine if a person will repeat offense's thats an assumption you cannot prove a criminal will not repeat his or her ways."

Actually, that is not true. With rates of recidivism being as high as they are, chances of repeat crimes, should not be taken so likely.

"Within three years of their release, 67% of former prisoners are rearrested and 52% are re-incarcerated, a recidivism rate that calls into question the effectiveness of America's corrections system, which costs taxpayers $60 billion a year."

http://www.infoplease.com...
Posted by The_Harlequin 5 years ago
The_Harlequin
Ok, ok, just get back whenever. :)
Posted by joshuaXlawyer 5 years ago
joshuaXlawyer
No i dont i got busy lol sorry i will post soon
Posted by dinokiller 5 years ago
dinokiller
indeed, i was just finished arguing about this with you, Phoenix.
Posted by joshuaXlawyer 5 years ago
joshuaXlawyer
its would seem this is the only thing i have been arguing lately
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 1dustpelt 4 years ago
1dustpelt
The_HarlequinjoshuaXlawyerTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: ff