Ignorance has many forms, and all of them are dangerous. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries our chief effort has been to free ourselves from tradition and superstition in large questions, and from the error in small ones upon which they rest, by redefining the fields of knowledge and evolving in each the distinctive method appropriate for its cultivation. (Peters, 1985) What is torture? From the Roman jurists of the second and third centuries to the historians and lawyers of the present, those who have taken the most trouble to consider the question have come up with remarkably similar answers. In the thirteenth century, the Roman lawyer Azo gave this definition: Torture is the inquiry after truth by means of torment. In the twentieth century legal historian John Heath wrote: By torture I mean the infliction of Physically founded suffering or the threat immedialty to inflict it, where such infliction or threat is intended to elicit, or such infliction is incidental to means adopted to elicit, matter of intelligence or forensic proof and the motive is one of military, civil, or ecclesiastical interest. (Peters, 1985) The reason I had to say a little about torture is that it is a form of punishment that for many ce
There are other and more attractive battles to fight. When imposing the death penality upon the murderer, society, in the form of government, is doing only what it must do to preserve the peace and fulfill the contract. "After hearing this about the death penalty you have to look at the reasons to be for the death penalty. (Wekesser, 1991)The first principle of any society, and especially our own, is the absolute sovereignty of a person over his or her body. (Charley Reese, Conservative Chronicle, February 15, 1989)When I think about the death penalty I really dont know how i feel about it. (Haag, 1983)The sense that killing people is wrong will rise in the mind of a decent man, no matter what the condemned man has done to merit his execution. Two, the recidivism rate for executed murderers is zero. Three, electricity (or ropeor bullets or drugs) is cheaper than room and board. To struggle in behalf of the vicious and wicked requires more tolerance than most people can muster. To allege that capital punishment, if imposed consistently and without undue delay, would not be a deterrent to crime is, in essence, to say that people are not afraid of dying. It is probably the fact that capital punishment is accepted as necessary, and yet instinctively felt to be wrong, that gives so many descriptions of executions their tragic atmosphere. I cannot believe that for many centuries it was acceptable to torture someone to try to get the truth about a crime. Reading through several books I had to ask myself isn't the death penalty a form of torture Ernest Van Den Haag writes: "I have heard moral philosophers express the view that although capital punishment could not be approved, its abolition is an impossible political goal.
Some topics in this essay:
George Orwell, Den Haag, John Heath, , Journal July, Chronicle February, capital punishment, death penalty, haag 1983, peters 1985,
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