Monday, May 3, 2010

Capital Punishment

Capital punishment works. The fear of death is the most powerful tool that the state has, and giving it up is equivalent to giving up order. It is the only way of keeping peace in the world. People contemplating murder would give up the idea if they knew that they were very likely to die. Yet, many people distance themselves from this type of punishment because of their so-called ethics. This post will explain why capital punishment is necessary regardless of ethics, and it will offer an alternative that is very similar to capital punishment but more ethical.

Think first on why people regard capital punishment as unethical. Many believe that we, as human beings, are not supposed to mess around with life. We are not allowed to take God’s place. Yet, there is not a fine line between what God’s job is and what our job is. For instance, we teach children to think a certain way. Peace, we teach, is the thing that all people should strive for. This is why we teach about MLK and not Malcolm X. Yet, God in the Bible has shown to be quite violent. Sure, the Bible justifies his actions. However, he still kills people. How can we say that one way is better than the other, when we don’t even know what God really believes? Here is another example: many Christians argue that genetic engineering and cloning is against God’s will. Only God has the right to create life. Yet, we create life as well and not just through sexual reproduction. Farmers and planters make changes in nature and create life for their own benefit. They decide what must be created. They decide what deserves to live and what deserves to die. They mix strains of different plants. They pull out weeds, even though weeds have life as well. There is no possible way for people to know what God’s role is and what our role is. Even attempting to define his role and our role might be encroaching on his right.

Since ethics are a very vague way to judge punishments, we should judge them on their effectiveness. Capital punishment has always been the most effective because it plays on the fears of the common people. Even in ancient times, rulers like King Babylon realized that harsher punishments would allow stability to flourish. His eye for an eye law made sure that no one lost their eyes.

There are some of you who still believe that we should never take other people’s lives. If that is the case, there is one more alternative that would fill the role of capital punishment: lying to people. The state would still take up people and announce that they would be killed. However, instead of actually killing them, they would relocate them, perhaps on a deserted island. I do not know the details of how this could work or whether or not it is even feasible. It is just food for thought. I do know that although lying to the people would still be considered unethical, many would think that killing is worse than lying.


  1. NICK. Fabulous blog you just wrote there; I must admit I really enjoyed reading it. I totally agree with Nick's idea about how capital punishment works off the fear tactic. It scares people, end of story. Many people are against the death penalty simply because of their ethics, which Nick goes on to disprove. I think the second paragraph is almost brilliant. He makes a very prominent point and creates a solid argument. Nick proves that we take lives, God's work, all the time; a simple example is farming. We simply kill plants we don't want and produce the ones we do want. I the last sentence in the second paragraph really captures the essence of what the ethics argument is all about. How do people know what is God's right and what is ours? "Even attempting to define his role and our role might be encroaching on his right," this could easily disprove almost an moral/ethical argument about capital punishment. I do believe that harsh punishments are a good way to preserve stability and tranquility within the human society. Finally, I think that Nick proposes a radical idea that is a little sketchy, yet I think that it could actually work, but the fact that getting supplies and clothes, etc. to a deserted island would cost a lot of money for the US to have to pay for.

  2. Brittany Liebenow

    3 May 2010

    Capital Punishment Comment

    I agree wholeheartedly with Nick's ideas about capital punishment. Capital punishment is very effective, and it decreases the amount of capital crimes actually committed. Humans are, as Nick points out, always messing around with life. Similar to Nick's example of deciding which plants will live through agriculture, I have always found it odd that America is taking steps forward to start legalizing drugs that could very well kill us but that many Americans are against the death penalty. This brand of hypocrisy is highlighted in Nick's analysis of Christians and their interpretations of The Bible. Nick skillfully points out that many people declare killing unethical while their own books of ethics display justified killing.

    I also agree with Nick's idea that judging whether something is ethical or not is a broad, subjective power. By going on to reiterate that capital punishment is effective, Nick implies that capital punishment may very well be effective because of its fair ethical values, such as those implemented by King Babylon. I completely agree with those ideas and their implications.

    I do not, however, agree with lying to people. As someone burned many times in the past by deceit, I would personally rather be executed by the state than told that I was going to be killed only to find myself merely relocated. Part of what makes capital punishment so harsh is its truth. After all, there is nothing more true than death.