Can we abolish the Death Penalty yet? - Illinois Legislature Bans Death Penalty

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by farraday, Aug 27, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    As you well know, in prison, life does not cease, you have simply forfeited your liberty for X amount of time.

    That's because the state has a right to take your liberty, as it grants your liberty, enshrines it in law and protects it by the various checks, balances, ways and means of the state.

    It doesn't grant you life, so it has no right to take it.

    Therefore on a philosophical level there is a massive and material difference between life and capital sentences.

    The state cannot take what it does not have jurisdiction over.

    ES
  2. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Except the state does not grant you your liberty. If that were the case, it would be impossible to have liberty without the state, which is outright false. It might protect your liberty, but it does not grant it, any more than it grants your life.

    The state merely refrains from infringing your liberty instead of granting it. How is that different from the state refraining from infringing your life?

    Kimball Kinnison
  3. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    I'm not going to touch the arrogant and fallacious, American assumption that rights are natural states. Liberty means squat with nothing to exercise it with, so yes, the state does grant liberty in liberal societies and denies it in illiberal ones. Just because some trumped up, pompous vindgat philosopher in the US thinks it's so, doesn't make it such.

    Otherwise please list 8 things liberty does for you on a desert island.

    ES
  4. CucumberBoy Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2007
    star 3
    Thank you. Exactly what my rebuttal was going to be, but more articulate.

    What the majority thinks is irrelevant, not only because most people suck, but also because their morals is largely based on what the morals of their culture are. We do have free will, but it's only marginal in dictatorships, such as China where people aren't encouraged to think for themselves. So people are more likely to agree with whatever their parents, and ultimately their culture, tells them. This is even true to a lesser extent in democracies. If you took a poll on subject X in Finland and the same poll in Japan the results would probably, depending on the nature of the poll, vary a great deal because the people asked are very much a produce of their society, be it democratic or not.
  5. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Even then, what makes you such a greater authority than someone else? What makes Europe so much better than the rest of the world that it should get a disproportionately larger say in matters?

    If the US were to break up into its component states (each one an independent nation), would that suddenly make its views worth 50 times their current weight?

    It's easy to say "What the majority thinks is irrelevant, not only because most people suck, but also because their morals is largely based on what the morals of their culture are", but how can you show that your morals (which by your argument are largely based on your culture) are any better than theirs? The very nature of morality makes it impossible to provide a definitive answer, because it is such a subjective and variable field. You can dismiss the majority, but what is your objective basis for supporting the minority over the majority?

    Saying "They suck" isn't a logical argument. It's nothing more than ad hominem.

    Kimball Kinnison
  6. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Well spoken. The whole concept of liberty, justice, and society are only worthwhile if everyone else doesn't agree to work with the system... the system only came about because of a group of people who agreed to work together.

    Any argument made about morals and rights is fundamentally flawed. As long as we Americans want to assume that everyone has inalienable rights, that may be so. But if there comes a point when we no longer care about such things... the rights of suspected terrorists come to mind... then our values and morals won't mean much anymore.
  7. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    You really have to ask yourself what you are comparing before you can decide on how to compare and what variables and factors should go into the comparison.

    As I understand it, we're discussin capital punishment and it's potential efficiency or lack of the same. It seems to me that the appropriate units to compare would be states, i.e. the public administrations/government agencies. These are the actors that implement capital punishment as well as all the other punishments that are part of the justice system. In other words, we are NOT comparing populations, but rather organizations and the outcome of organizational action. The size of the population that is subject to this organizational behaviour is completely irrelevant.

    To exclude dictatorships from the comparison is also prudent, because they are not democratically elected, and, perhaps more importanlty, their commitment to the rule of law is strongly questionable. In other words, the comparison is probably most fruitful if it is done between justice systems that are relatively similar, since those systems are based on similar principles for how the law should operate.

    For this particular one, I would only compare entrenched democracies, because that's the only set of comparative countries available to us. One could argue that the state level of the US would be a fruitful approach, since not all states have capital punishment and since their systems of justice differ somewhat from each other, but if you do that, you'll have to treat other federations the same way. I.e. you can't compare the state of Texas with the country of Canada, but would rather have to compare the state of Texas with, say, the province of Alberta, and so on for all federations out there (Switzerland, Australia, India, Spain (to some extent) all the German states and so on). And then, the US as a whole would still stand out as an extreme outlayer...

    Edit: And as for capital punishment as a reflection/expression of the will of the people, you would REALLY have to limit the study to only include entrenched democracies, because that is the closest thing we have to a system of government that can be said to actually be representative of the will of the people in some way. In other systems, we really don't know what the majority of the citizenry thinks about the matter, because we cannot be sure that they would be honest in opinion polls, they have never had a chance to express their opinons through an anonymous vote and there is often a great deal of corruption going on where votes can even be bought. Which is why you can't say that the legal system of the People's Republic of China in any way, shape or form reflects the will of the Chinese population. It might reflect the will of the members of the Communist party, but even that is doubtful since the party is ruled from the top, without any internal democracy to speak of.
  8. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    Except I'm not arguing that what the majority thinks is irrelevant. Nor am I arguing that democracy is irrelevant.
  9. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    The reason we are comparing ourselves to other nations is because they have achieved much lower crime rates than we have and we want to know why that is so. The death penalty may or may not have an impact on why Japan's crime rates are lower than in the US. What we are doing in evaluating the justice systems of these other nations in order to figure out what we can do for ourselves.

    I think that the EU has more weight than their population is because they have proven themselves to be the most stable set of nations in the world to date. Since WWII, they have gone from fighting amongst one another to cooperating better than any other power in the world. The EU, The US, Japan, and Australia represent less than a quarter of the population of the world, but they are the countries of the Global North. These are the developed nations of the world, whereas the others are still developing their economies.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_north

    Read some more about it.
  10. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Even then, what makes you such a greater authority than someone else? What makes Europe so much better than the rest of the world that it should get a disproportionately larger say in matters?

    I know people have already commented on this, but anyway, here's my 2 cents --

    Well look: if you're addressing any particular person who believed or suggested that it's true that Europe is inherently 'better' than the rest of the world by virtue of thier culture, I say you're right. They're not. If that's the question you're concerned with by my estimation you win that bout with whoever you're having it with.

    But at the end of the day that's a different argument than the one on capital punishment. That's another tangent and if you wish to continue arguing it you're free to do so but the more you do the further we get away from the issue.

    And that issue is that the United States -- whether you're looking at the country as a whole or you want to concentrate only on the areas that have such a disproportion that this becomes true -- does not behave in the same manner not only as Europe does, but most other major Democracies be they European or not. For those countries that have not banned the death penalty outright, it is used so rarely (or not at all) that the difference between a country like Brazil and Europe on the question of the death penalty is effectively acedemic. Brazil has just not bothered to outlaw it.

    And this is true to various degrees as can be seen in India. Although thier rate of execution might be higher than Brazil's or Europe in recent history, the number is still extremely low versus the United States despite the fact they have more people (and overall, more crime).

    At this point we're looknig at who has either banned the Death Penalty or who effectively doesn't use it vesus those who do. The US and Japan do. Is the argument now to say "what makes Europe... and Brazil... and Autralia... and Canada... and Argentina.... and India... and Chile... and Mexico... and New Zealand... etc. so much a greater authority than everyone else?"

    By only changing the comparison the slightest of bits, we're getting to the point of asking the world what makes them the great moral authority on... ah, the world. Well unless you want your standard of comparison to be China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, etc., where democracy is essentially not entrneched. But if you can only make your argument be setting the bar so low, isn't it time to think about the argument itself?
  11. CucumberBoy Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2007
    star 3
    It doesn't make me a greater athutority, but it makes it unecessary to bring up China as an example. You're arguing that it's unfair to say that the politics of Europe are relevant because we're so few people in 50 different countries. I can agree to some extent, but what you're saying is that the huge population of China makes chinese politics weigh more heavily in the matter. I have to disagree because after all China has only one government and so to say that the politics of that one nation would have greater value than 50 others is not fair at all.

    The point I was trying to get across, and apperantly pretty poorly so, about Finland and Japan is that because they're two completely different cultures they will come to very different conclusions on certain issues, which is why there is a point to give even smaller countries a role in this. I think the problem is that too many people think that the countries of Europe have very similar background and history. That's not true at all. The nations are all very different, with different cultures and different ways of thinking - yet all countries have decided to abolish the death penalty.

    "They suck" was not my argument. If it was I would have written more extensively on it. So there's no reason to call me a bad debater and bring up rhetoric terms.

    Here's the thing though. We should be debating this issue with other arguments than "this is what other people think". I've been defending that view becuase there is some, if little, point in that. There is limited value in the argument: "Well 9 out of 10 agree, then they're probably right." We're arguing because we think the majority is wrong. They're not stupid. They're not unable to reason for themselves. But we who are on the side against death penalty think they're wrong. I have a history of being persuaded and changing sides, but this time the majority still doesn't know what they're talking about.

    I didn't mean to imply that democracy is irrelevant. I was trying to do the opposite, but I'm not a native speaker so I probably made a mistake somewhere in my post. I sound like a fascist I realise now, but that's not the case at all. If I didn't like democracy, I'd move. If I thought Sweden was too free, I'd move.

    The reason why the people shouldn't decide on this matter is because we're blood-thirsty and grim. The majority of Swedes wanted to see witches burn in the 16th century. They were still wrong for doing it. And I wish someone told Jesse Washington that the people is always right.
  12. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    Aha, now I think I understand. You are opposing democracy without individual rights, because in such a system 51 % can decide to kill the other 49 % and the decision could still be considered democratic. I think such systems should rather be called mob rule, precisely because individual rights are void.

    And in that, I heartily agree.
  13. Black-Tiger Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 25, 2008
    star 3
    Another VERY good case for the death sentence here in England.
  14. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    ?? How so?
  15. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    I must say that I'm anxious to see how you came to this conclusion. Please elaborate.
  16. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    Well, updates to the Willingham case.

    Gov Perry of Texas gutted the Forensic Science Commission about to review the Willingham case.

    Cite

    Perry included the idea that even without evidence of Arson, Willingham was still clearly guilty of murder. Readers are reminded this is the same case where the Prosecuter
    (now a sitting judge) said that because Willingham listened to death metal he was probably a satanist and his children were killed as part of a satanic ritual.


    Your Justice system at work
  17. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    It's not *my* justice system if I'm not a Texan. If Texas does the death penalty wrong, it doesn't really cast shame on Virginia or Oklahoma or any of the other death penalty states.
  18. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    The Willingham case was appealed to Federal courts as well. As you not a citizen of the US as well as not being Texan?

    Sure, innocent people were killed by the state, but not by my state, so it's all copasetic?
  19. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    It's not an ideal situation, but the death penalty being misapplied in Texas doesn't mean it's misapplied elsewhere.
  20. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    So any American citizen who travels through Texas should argue they can only be subject to the legal system of their own state since the Texas one is, by your admission,flawed beyond their own?

    I think you're kind of misstating the point when you call it "not an ideal situation".

    As a citizen of the United States(not of Virignia, not of Texas, not of Oklohoma) "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State."

    So, how are you feeling about your full faith and credit in the judicial proceedings of Texas?
  21. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    All judicial systems are flawed, and all are flawed to different degrees. That doesn't give people a right to weasel out of them when traveling. The law is the law.

    The United States accepted Texas into the union as a state; if the other states weren't comfortable with Texan practices and norms, than they could've easily decided not to.
  22. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    Wow, that's a ********* argument and I'm surprised you managed to post it before your keyboard spontaneously burst into flames from the heat of the friction as the very air itself tried to prevent you from disseminating it.

    If 170 odd years ago Texas joined the Union, anything they do now is cool despite egregiously vioalting standards of due process and law? No go on, I'm thrilled to hear the Constitutional law theories of someone who can't see how idiotic that is. Texan practices and norms are, after all, the exact same as they were in 1840s. It's amazing to meet someone who doesn't just disbelieve in the concept of a living Constitution, but actively argues that the customs and practices of Texas 5 Constitutions ago mean it is above reproach now.

    In case I'm being too obtuse, I think your argument is stupid.
  23. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    Obviously, you're quite free to criticize the Texas justice system and state governance, but I am likewise free to remain ambivalent about how they handle their affairs. Unless the federal government gets involved, it really isn't up to non-residents like us.
  24. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    The federal courts are involved. They are involved in almost every single death penalty case.

    Do you have any more lies to tell, or are you out now?

    Here, repeat after me "I'm okay with innocent people being executed as long as I can pretend to have no responsibility" great now you're telling the truth, for once.
  25. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    Did the federal courts do anything besides granting him a temporary appeal in 1997 and denying his writ in 2002?

    I was wrong to imply (but not state) that they weren't involved in the case, but they weren't the ones prosecuting this case or driving this entire process. The nature of an appeals court is to review an already passed jury verdict and determine whether the right legal judgments were made. They are not in charge of hearing evidence or determining the facts of the case. The charge, conviction, and execution are entirely Texas-driven. My point still stands that the execution was not driven by anyone who represents me.

    If I were a Texan, this case might motivate me to vote for Kay Bailey Hutchinson, who has criticized Perry's handling of this. It would likely motivate me to support re-examination of the system. It would not change my philosophical positions regarding the death penalty.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.