The Abolition of the Death Penalty
According to Utilitarianism, sacrificing life for the greater good is justified. However, what it fails to quantify into the statement is what form of sacrifice is justified. If the answer is “all kinds” then a father sacrificing his own son in belief that he will be a tyrant ruler is justified as well.
Unfortunately, the world is filled with dual standards. It believes in sacrificing for the greater good. However, it would not move a finger to do what it needs to take to make the world a better place. It calls a person, that goes out of his way to kill murderers, rapists and killers, a killer as well since he took human life. No body thinks, for even a second, that these are the sort that if left to their own devices, would leave havoc all around them. If the world operated on means to an end, under the utilitarian principle, such an individual would be applauded for being a hero, which is not the case.
With regard to the death penalty, using the utilitarian principle is flawed, since it does not address the issue completely. Here, Kant’s moral theory would be better applied, since it keeps human being and their humanity as the ultimate endgame.
One may argue that abolishing the death penalty would mean that many innocent people would suffer as a result. However, what they fail to recognize is the fact that those being given the death penalty are human too. All human life, no matter how formidable, deserves to be saved. Besides, the killing of the innocent that could follow is just conjecture until it actually happens.
Furthermore, there may be a risk of losing human life regardless, since we will be endangering the society by letting a killer live in their midst. However, this risk can be minimized. Through proper reformation procedures, this can be prevented by rehabilitating the individual away from society. This way, the root cause of their affliction can be studied, and they could be returned to society as a fully functioning part of it. This is the only moral solution to save a life through reformation and save innocent lives from being needlessly subjected to death.
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