Negating the Use of the Death Penalty

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Negating the Use of the Death Penalty America has been deluded into believing that the death penalty is an effective deterrent for homicide. It is a hot issue, a favorite amongst politicians. But what these political pundits fail to mention is that conclusive evidence proves that not only is the death penalty an ineffective crime deterrent, it is also an expensive, unjust and undignified policy for any government to enact. The dignity preserved by any government that lawfully practices execution is highly contested, as the death penalty is an inhumane and archaic method of punishment. Perhaps in this instance we can supplement "human dignity" with the word "justice," because preserving human dignity is certainly a matter of what is and is not just. Dr. Ernest van den Haag, a fierce proponent of the death penalty, states that "I must confess that I have never understood the assorted arguments claiming that the death penalty is inconsistent with human dignity [justice] or that, somehow, society has no right to impose it" ("For the Death Penalty" 207). The death penalty is not consistent with human dignity. There must be a standard set that will state what is and is not permissible. The value of a human life is an obvious one. "How does killing people who kill teach us not to kill" is a popular slogan used by abolitionists that sums up the irony of the death penalty. It is a mouthful, granted, but it makes a strong point. The government, by enacting the policy of death, lowers itself to the level of those whom they are punishing. There is no doubt that the world around us considers the death penalty to be morally flawed and lacking in human dignity. The UN Commission on Human Rights, an international body that se... ... middle of paper ... ...t that has not withstood the test of effectiveness. Even our law enforcement officials, when polled, put the death penalty at the bottom of the list of effective methods for deterring crime. To paraphrase Professor Conrad's statistics, the actual percentage of murders in our population is so low that it is statistically ridiculous to claim that the reason that you or I haven't murdered is because we fear the hangman's noose (202). Most of the population abstain from murder because they believe that it is morally wrong, and therefore have no real intention of committing homicide. Retentionists' arguments have fallen one by one in the light of conclusive evidence that many choose to ignore or deem invalid. The death penalty has proven to be an outdated method of punishment. It belongs in the past; buried with other shameful things our country has engaged in.
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