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The subject of the death penalty remains one of the controversial issues in the world today. In essence, it entails the government authorization for an individual to face death as a form of punishment for the crime committed. It is also called capital punishment. The person who undergoes execution is often found guilty of the capital offense. Currently, there are an estimated thirty-six nations that have emphasized death penalty. On the other hand, 103 countries have abolished it. Some nations still exercise death penalty. They include the United States, China, and India among others.
The death sentence occurs through gun blowing, slashing, hanging and boiling just to mention but a few. The execution of Saddam Hussein remains one of the recent historical examples of death penalty globally. The contemporary issues emanate from the diverse ethical views that various societies hold. Capital punishment is a subject of debate because of the diversity of political ideologies and cultures. Philosophical approaches such as Utilitarianism, care based, Kantianism’s among others are vital in exploring and critiquing the controversy surrounding the justification of death penalty. Despite the varied views, capital punishment remains an inconsiderate and ruthless means of administering justice that should not be permitted in the current times.
Various approaches seek to evaluate the essence of the death penalty. According to the Utilitarian ethics, an action is considered moral as long as it brings the greatest benefit to the highest number of people. In other words, in the context of the death penalty, it is acceptable if the execution is beneficial to the greater context of the society. An action, therefore, should not consider a single entity but rather the good of all and sundry. Consequently, the execution of an individual is justified because it relieves the rest of the members of the society from the consequences of the offenses of the person. However, the virtues ethics presents a different approach to the issue. According to the philosophical view, the subject matter regards the need to uphold moral values rather than fulfilling a mandate. In other words, when executing a person, we must consider the need to uphold fundamental character rather than the good consequences that execution brings. One acts as a virtue person could act in the particular instance. Consequently, in the context of capital punishment, justice is a virtue that is fundamental. The choice to pass death sentence to a capital crime offender is, therefore, justified.
Some traditional philosophical approaches are fundamental in critiquing the controversial issue of death penalty. The divine command theory is an example of the ethical view that proposes the need for every action to consider God’s dominion. The model perpetuates the view that an action is moral as long as it respects the will and commands of God. However, when an individual does what does not concur with his statutes he becomes immoral. For example, the subject of capital punishment would consider the Ten Commandments. Particularly, the sixth commandment emphasizes that no one has the authority to kill. It calls for the respect of human life. Consequently, the death penalty disobeys the command. The theory is thus embedded in the sovereignty God’s will to establish morality. The other model is the ethical relativism. It perpetuates the opinion that morality is defined by one’s cultural norms. In other words, the degree of morality of n individual’s behavior is dependent on the societal practices. It, therefore, provide room for diversity of opinion. For example, an action may be right in one place but wrong in other regions. The theory is evident in defining the distinction between moral practices of different nations. It accounts for the nations that accept death sentences.
There are also contemporary ethical views that can facilitate an argument concerning the death penalty. The postmodernism ethics disregards religious views that people regard as essential. In essence, it advocates for moral liberty. Every society is in constant change. Consequently, there are no absolute values that should define the public perception. Moreover, there are no absolute truths. It is critical to note that the philosophical views promotes values but weakens religion. In a postmodern world, universal ethical laws do not exists. Consequently, everything that surrounds us is shaped cultural context of a particular context and time. According to the view, the death penalty is neither right nor wrong depending on the factors mentioned. If a nation has evolved to the place where they do not consider murder as an issue, then it is not wrong if they execute a person. The second contemporary approach is the Care ethics. In essence, it goes against universal standards and impartiality. In essence, it emphasizes the importance of response. An individual is understood have an extent of interdependency. One must also consider the extent of vulnerability to a situation. Consequently, before deciding to execute murder, it is vital that one thinks about the response of the person and the defining factors.
From the discussion, I tend to narrow down to some two theories that I would use to draw my reasoning. The first one is the theory of divine command. In essence, it calls for the respect of the divine will of God in all issues. It is vital to consider the supremacy of the higher force in all matters. Human being exists because of the power of an eternal force. There is no one that created himself. Consequently, when the divine being commands that we should not kill, it is critical to observe the law. It is because of the possible impact. Nations that executes its criminals send a cruel message to the public. They propagate the view that death is a normal occurrence that can take place even by the arm of the government. It fails to respect the sanctity of human life that is imperative. The argument propagated by care ethics is also fundamental. It is vital to consider the response of an individual to an action. Death penalty is such a painful occurrence. In fact, the thought of it is a torture to one’s psychology
There are, therefore, practical solutions to the subject of death penalty. First and foremost, the society must develop an attitude that disregards death as an option for a capital offender. It is because execution makes the public view death as a norm. They fail to respect the sanctity of human life. For example, there has been an increase in gun deaths in the United States. It is, therefore, vital that the US amends their laws. Life imprisonment is an approach that can replace death sentence. The limited liberty itself is enough to make one reform his character.
However, despite the mentioned practical solutions, it is apparent that the issue will continue to be embraced by nations in the future. It is because, as post modernism takes its toll, many people let go of their values and belief. In fact, they tend to embrace a type of freedom that is destructive. There is a high probability that even nations that do not consider death penalty will soon creates its provisions as part of their laws. Civilizations remain one of the detrimental effects in the negation of death penalty. Nevertheless, capital punishment remains a cruel and ruthless means of administering justice.