We draw a lot of argumentative showcases on death penalty, but the most basic argument lies between morality and the social norms. Is death penalty, in any way justifiable, moral or “good” in a sense? These would entail miles and miles of discussions and perennial arguments. But let us mark our stand on the point of view of the society and the point view of each individual.
In the most basic position, in every individual, life is the most vital foundation of all social as well as moral norms. For without life most of these are indiscernible. Right to life is most asserted in any humanitarian convention. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted on December 10, 1948, expounded a lot on the inherent dignity of human life – considering also its sacrosanctity and divine root. Thus, every individual has the inherent right to life.
However, in the same fashion of argument, the society, as a collective model of human life, has also the right to the same element – the right to “life.”
Every form of killing in whatever token, is intrinsically evil. That’s why we say, the “legality doesn’t follow morality” - and that the law that impose death penalty is just a form of legalized killing. Simply saying that no counts of legal exposé can ever subvert the intrinsic entity of a thing or action; right is right and wrong is wrong in its right perspective. As Socrates said, no matter who you are, young or old, rich or poor, servant or king, there are only two things you are to consider in life – either you are doing right or wrong, evil or good.
Some philosophers say that if the good of the individual is important, then how much more the society which is the composition of individuals with considerable range of value than an individual alone.
If an individual by self-defense, killed somebody and is justified? Then cannot a society do as much? Can we let the society rot by a single or minority or few who are getting worse? But as society with a deep rooted respect for the value and dignity of life even in its divine origin, we find the principle of totality here as inappropriate – that is, the whole is greater than the part.
In the Philippine context of death penalty, who are those individuals in the array of death sentences? It seems that there is a sort of statistical bias or white and wealthy immunity.
Haven’t you been baffled by the fact that since the conception of death penalty, no rich and famous have been grilled to death penalty despite many of them deserves the sentence. Is there a renowned (or even corrupt) politician, wealthy individuals, or a man with considerable socio-political quo that is being plunge is such penalty?
None after all!
What are mostly at stake are those who cannot afford to pay even an over-the-counter defense lawyer. Most of them are sacrificial lambs to the fangs of their fellow with wolf-like character.
Corollary to this is the considerable frail of the judicial function. I guess the operation of the court is at the expense also of the rhetorical acumen of the lawyer and of monetary language. The wealthier you are the more chance of being at the 'safe' side of the grilling arena. Now your attorney keeps talking with blithe of money sign in front of his face!
Evil is evil even if you dress it up with so many legal, judicial, moral or spiritual of whatever kind. If a law killed because it is in the law that states so and so, it is no more than an icing on the cake of the matter – the real thing is hidden below it.
Either you’re pro death penalty or not – defend your cause!