Capital Punishment: Part Two

PART 2: NATHANSON VS. KANT

Nathanson begins with contemplating Kant’s Equal Punishment Principle. Kant’s fundamental core to his theory is that people ought to be treated as they treat others in society, this is also known as categorical imperative number one. For Kant, committing a horrendous act like murder gives that perpetrator a loss of his rights and therefore, that gives the government the right to seek revenge and murder that said killer. Kant is very serious when it comes to government and law. The government must hold high standard within the moral community in order to properly “guide” them to a good life. The law is there to punish and deter crime and if one commits an absolute heinous crime, then in Kant’s moral perspective they deserve death and even further it becomes the moral communities’ duty to execute a murderer. Kant believes in universality and maxims which means that for the murderer, the action can be placed upon anyone. If one steals a pencil and gets away with it, then everyone can. If one person murders another person, then that person believes that anyone can commit a murder therefore, by killing that person we are only upholding the very same moral treatment the murderer once gave. Egalitarianism, the thought that the punishment and the wrongdoing is equivalent was a moral theory of the past. One of the biggest flaws that comes immediately out of Kant’s theory is that, a rape ought to equivalent another rape.  This leads to many issues such as… How can one measure emotion or punishment? Obviously committing heinous acts against someone is immoral and forcing one to give up part of their personhood, so how could one give equivalent punishment to execute a murder or rape legally or without an ethicist questioning it?

When it comes to Kant makes irrefutable flaws in his theory and is the backbone of much ignorance today. His theory suggests that moral agents of society ought to be paid to commit wrong-doings to people who committed wrong-doings. All this does is lead to vengeance and more violence. No one ever taught a dog not to bite by biting his leg. Any statistical fact towards capital punishment aims against it and usually disproves the effectiveness. It costs more to kill someone and it does not deter crime. Additionally, most murders are crimes of passion (instant fits of insanity) or drunk drivers and those are not the twisted murders that people believe capital punishment deters.  The questions lead to, “what do we do?” Additionally, forcing a person to commit an act to punish an act would cause greater mass suffering and instability within society, cause absolutely no benefit. The second issue occurs with the inconsistencies that come with utilization of the death penalty. Although Kant wants capital punishment to be equally distributed and prescribed, racial and poverty levels significantly change executions. Most importantly, to a rational being the inconsistency of it all makes the concept of killing another irrational. This makes the process unstable and unfair on a multitude of levels.