A. Retribution works in favor capital punishment. Capital punishment is justified in a way that it simply just fits the crime. This means that people who are guilty have to serve a crime that is proportionate to the pain that has been inflicted. This is defined as the proportionality principle. (Proportionality principle: the punishment of the crime must equal the severity of the crime) Depending on the severity of the crime, capital punishment may be found reasonable and appropriate to the circumstances in which the crime occurred. In many cases of murder/aggravating circumstances, capital punishment is justified in the fact that it is proportional to the pain/suffering it has caused. Retribution with capital punishment allows the victim or society to receive some compensation for the overall harm caused by the murderer/one found guilty. People may confuse retribution with some form of revenge, but really retribution is rational in the sense that the criminal deserves the punishment that is as equal as the crime committed. This statement sums up the whole idea of capital punishment being favored retributively; for the most cruel or heinous crimes that are so disturbing that it disrupts the balance of justice within a society… the only way for that balance of justice to be restored is for the criminal to be punished in the same kind of way that it affected society/the victim. Criminals need to know that their heinous actions have an equal consequence. This provides closure to the crime and closure for society, and fully ensures no more crimes will be committed by the criminal anymore.
B. Deterrence works in favor for capital punishment. The death penalty/capital punishment acts as a deterrent on prospective murderers/committers of crime. Although there is no significant evidence proving that capital punishment is a one hundred percent a deterrent (considering that people are still committing these crimes), there has to be an amount of deterrence to a certain extent. Think about it in an opposite way, if there was absolutely no form of punishment for murder, then people will see this as a reason to perform the act of it. So, this means that future murderers/committers of crime know what they are getting into if they do go through with the crime and should not be surprised if/when they receive capital punishment. In order to deter future/would-be criminals, our society has always used form of punishment in order to do that. The reason why many studies regarding deterrence have been inconclusive for the past years is because death penalty is not performed often. But, the reason why there has to be deterrence to a certain extent is that if there were absolutely no capital punishment, murders occurring would be more and more prevalent. It is a fact that people are scared to die themselves and they know that capital punishment will ensure that is their absolute fate.
C. Bedau and Van Den Haag both agree on the fact that capital punishment is harsh because it is irreversible. But, the difference between them is that Van Den Haag is in support of capital punishment and Bedau is not. Their opinions also differ when it comes to the topic of the execution of innocent people. Both Bedau and Van Den Haag have written articles supporting/arguing their views on capital punishment. Van Den Haag argues that the execution of innocent people believed to be guilty is a miscarriage of the justice system and should be stopped BUT it does not mean ending the capital punishment system overall. He believes that justice outweighs anything else. When talking about the innocent, van den Haag knows that yes innocent people will end up dying. But, he compares innocent people dying during capital punishment to innocent bystanders getting killed by trucking and construction. Bedau talks about the risk of executing innocent people just like Van Den Haag did. But, he has different aspects of it to elaborate on and looks at the topic of it in terms of costs to society. When talking about the cost, Van Den Haag doesn't put too much emphasis on the price of it all, but mores cares about getting the justice that is deserved. Bedau talks about the economic costs that the death penalty brings and says that a cost benefit analysis is needed when considering is the death penalty is the choice. He says that the cost of the trial and appeals process is way higher for death penalty cases. Also, Bedau believes that capital punishment is degrading towards people and can not be justified. He states that all of society takes a part in the killing during capital punishment and that it is inhumane for everyone. But, van den Haag believes that that degradation of the criminal is something that they caused themselves. The murderer is the one who dehumanized and degraded himself through his horrible actions. The recognition of this degradation that this criminal caused for himself makes capital punishment what it is. Bedau has better arguments than van den Haag simply because they make more sense. For example, Bedau has strong opinions about innocent people being wrongfully put onto death row. Yet van den Haag dismisses this idea and makes up excuses about the fact that innocent people are dying anywhere wrongfully. Bedau's argument is better in this case because being killing wrongfully on death row as an innocent people is way different than being killed innocently during construction or trucking. Also, Bedau's arguments are better because they take in more considerations such as the overall cost of death penalty (unlike van den Haag who dismisses cost (and the fact that it could effect the economy). Bedau's arguments are better because they are more fact-based and backed up than Van Den Haag's arguements.
A. Szasz states that the drug addiction is more an ethical definition rather than a descriptive one. Rather than drug addiction being defined as something according to certain facts, it is defined by the application of a norm of what makes up ethical behavior. He believes that addiction is a moral concept rather than a scientific one. This sets the tone of what Szasz's three main arguments are for the legalization of drugs. Szasz's three main arguments for the legalization of drugs is that some permitted substances are just as dangerous as the ones prohibited, that addiction is not a medical problem and it is a moral one, and that there is a right to self-medication. First, permitted substances are just as dangerous as the ones prohibited. For example, there are many medications (whether they are prescription medications or not) out there that are not safe in excess. Whether it be a prescription medication or aspirin, if it is taken in excess then someone can overdose. Any permitted substance taken in excess makes it just as dangerous as the one that is prohibited. This idea that Szasz has shows that any illegal drug just as dangerous as any other over the counter medicine. Every human has the potential to kill or injure him/herself with legal AND illegal drugs and that should be seen as more of an ethical problem rather than a legal one. Second, Szasz argues that addiction is not a medical problem, but a moral problem. Social tradition and scientific judgement go hand-in-hand with formulating these policies nowadays. So, a practice will become acceptable if people have been engaging in it for generation after generation (even if it is harmful). This justifications relies on purely precedence and not evidence. Szasz' powerfully states that “A plea of legitimizing old and accepted practices, and for illegitimizing novel and unaccepted ones.” A perfect example of this is the fact that nicotine is clearly more harmful to health than marijuana is… yet smoking cigarettes is legal while smoking marijuana is not in many states. Smoking cigarettes “should be legal” because of the fact that this has been socially accepted by many generations while smoking marijuana has not been. Third, Szasz argues for the right of self-medication. Just as people regard the freedom of speech, the freedom of self-medication should be seen as a fundamental right as well. Rights of self-medication should only be applied to adults, as most rights are. The right for people to use whatever drugs they want to should be protected just as strongly as any other right out there. For example, this relates to cases with alcohol. The possession/consumption of alcohol is a right that adults over 21 years of age have. No one can be offended at someone's right to be intoxicated as long as that person is doing it in privacy, in an appropriate setting, and if the alcohol is not causing a disturbance. Public intoxication has is a legal offense to it, as well. Szasz believes that this idea should go hand-in-hand with self-medication.
B. Wilson is against legalization of drugs and believes that it will bring a lot of harm. He argues that putting drugs into the regular market for anyone to buy without major restriction will more so increase drug usage by decreasing disincentives to use them. By marketing heroin and cocaine the same as marketing something less harmful will warp people's minds into believing that there is nothing bad about using those extremely harmful drugs. People will become so committed to these hard drugs and they will ignore any moral responsibilities towards their families/society (like neglecting their children and harming their fetuses). For example, Wilson pointed out what happened with the heavy use of heroin by the British in the sixties. People became extremely compulsive and irritable, as well as their moods were swinging dramatically and this would cause crime/violence to occur at times. Another argument is that these drug addicts do not succeed in holding their moral responsibilities. Of course, you cannot force people to believe in the perfect standard on how to act… BUT there has to be at least a small level of responsibility and care that people hold and it shouldn't be an issue for these standards to be met by society already. The difference between tobacco and hard drugs like cocaine and heroin is that hard drugs destroy a person's humanity. So, legalizing cocaine and heroin will make it more likely that humanity will become corrupted in a way. Another thing that Wilson argued is the fact that “war on drugs” made drugs less available and more expensive to people. Although there are a few good things about legalization such as decreasing crime, there are many more bad things like the amount of addicts would increase. This outweighs any other benefit out there. Supporters of legalization are not focusing on the right things when they give their reasoning. Although legalizing drugs would bring more drug education and awareness, how effective would that drug education be if it were legal? Keeping drugs illegal now prevents more people from using it rather than drugs becoming legal and trying to educate on something that was once illegal. One more thing that Wilson argues for is what he calls the “alcohol problem.” There is a question asked is “What are the reasons to treat cocaine/heroin differently than we treat alcohol?”. You see, Wilson says that alcohol (along with cocaine/heroin) is also a drug that alters the mind and mood and has a ton of harmful consequences. If heroin/crack were considered legal while alcohol was considered illegal (in the 60's and 70's), then it would be more likely that it would remain like that today. But the important thing to consider is the idea that the harmful consequences of drugs would be the same that are caused by alcohol now like car crashes, thefts, assault, and etc.
(I don't believe that drug laws are immoral, but my group in class argued for this in the class discussion and I know more reasoning)
C. Drug laws are immoral. First, drug laws take away the autonomy of a man. Man should be allowed to put whatever drug they want to their bodies and laws should not be created that forbid a person from having the freedom of that. Mill's harm principle states that it is morally required for government to restrict the freedom that someone has to behave a certain way, unless that certain behavior harms others while doing so. A man has the right to free speech, so why does the government have to control what drugs a man is putting into his body? The freedom that people have to do drugs just like the freedom of one to have their own thoughts. Second, if our government simply just regulated the flow of drugs coming into the country, then there would not be any deadly concoctions coming into our country and drugs would arrive in their purest form. A lot of deaths from drug overdoses are due to them being laced with fentanyl. Third, going along with Szasz's argument, a lot of permitted substances are just as dangerous as the ones are illegal. Anything in excess is harmful to a person. For example, a handful of an over the counter drug like aspirin can be taken in excess to kill while heroin can do the same thing. Obviously, it is easier to kill yourself with heroin, BUT the “safe” drug taken in excess (aspirin) will do the same exact thing. These facts and reasoning all explain why drug laws are immoral.
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