ecoTrain Question Of The Week Launch post: Is the Death penalty the epitome of hypocrisy? Does an 'eye for an eye' have a place in the modern age, and what kind of message does this send to society? — Steemit

ecoTrain Question Of The Week Launch post: Is the Death penalty the epitome of hypocrisy? Does an 'eye for an eye' have a place in the modern age, and what kind of message does this send to society?

in ecotrain •  last month

Welcome to this Question Of The Week! This weeks question is about more than justice or hypocrisy, it is also about equality and us all living by the same rules. It is fair to say that our world has one rule for us and another rule for them, with them being the rich and powerful as well as our lawmakers and enforcers. Our Police are allowed to drive through red lights and carry and use lethal weapons, whereas we generally are not. Our penalty system punishes us with legal kidnappning and imprisonment and even Death. These same acts are considered to be abhorrent and unacceptable for the rest of us. What kind of message does this send and how does it effect our culture and our world.

Please feel free to talk about any aspect of this weeks question, and share what comes up for you when you think about these ideas. You could just focus on the death penalty, or look at the issue of inequality and the State's use of power. You could discuss whether an eye for an eye is a good way to live.


Q: Is the Death penalty the epitome of hypocrisy? Does an 'eye for an eye' have a place in the modern age, and what kind of message does this send to society??

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I cant wait to read your posts on this one!



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I think the question of whether the death penalty is moral or an acceptable form of punishment is beside the point. In America at least, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and they are only proven guilty if their is sufficient evidence of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but what evidence is sufficient to take a life? You can argue all day about the morality of ending the life a heinous criminal, but Is it worth the risk of murdering an innocent life if your calculations are incorrect?

Oh boy.

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In its Christian context, "Eye for an eye; tooth for a tooth" was the example of what not to do. In its Jewish context, the phrase is an example of how Torah isn't always meant to be taken literally, and the Talmud points out that this always meant monetary compensation to the victim, not corporeal retaliation.

In Western common law, therefore, virtually all cases of injury, up to, and often including the death of the victim, are treated as monetary matters, with prison being sentenced for crimes where society and the law feel money doesn't adequately address the nature of the crime.

Therefore, in virtually all Western countries, or those adopting a Western-based legal system, only a tiny fraction of all crimes committed fall under the death penalty. Additionally, such a large number of safeguards are in place to prevent a miscarriage of justice, that the number of people actually executed approaches zero in most jurisdictions. In some, it's been years or even decades since someone has been executed.

Thus, people living in Western-based legal systems continue to believe, if only by their actions, that "Eye for an eye; tooth for a tooth" is a valid principle only in terms of monetary compensation for the victim of the crime/accident.

Rather than being hypocrisy, it is simply an attempt at compensating suffering.

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great comment!! thanks for this wrashi

Great question, and one I've wrestled with for much of my life, including many years of great and passionate debates with my late sister Carol.

Count me in.

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happy to hear!! look forward to reading your post!

Damn. I did a 6 month philosophy study unit with the famous ethicist, Peter Singer, way back when. Probably this is a good one for me to respond to! :)


So the idea of an eye for an eye leads us to some pretty startling conclusions if we apply it rigourously.
Let's say one person murders another in cold blood, it seems straight forwards. What if its an accident though, a car crash for example, ok perhaps it's one person's fault, but it wasn't intentional, right?
So what about if someone parks their car in the entrance to the hospital emergency wing, and ambulances can't get in and several people die due to the delay. The selfish person who parked there should have conceived that that harm might occur, but they did it anyway, should they give their life?
Just how far do we go, do two deaths create a balance, or does it just cause pain to more innocent people? That second part is what it's all about, what if someone I love causes that death, and is killed by the state, what am I supposed to do with that grief? I'm suffering, what for? What if later the was a miscarriage of justice; can I have the judge, jury or lawyers executed?

The death penalty does nothing to deter true murderers (or there would be none) and causes undue suffering to innocents.

Well, this is my first ride on the ecoTrain :)

When it comes to Death penalty, I don't think, its an epitome of hypocrisy, because it's mostly declared only for heinous crimes, and people who dare to perform such an act should be punished to discourage the act and leave a message to the society that no one should do similar act. Now, if the penalty is given by unfair means, then there is a problem in the system of justice ( judiciary) and that's a bigger problem.

Now when it comes to 'eye for an eye', I don't think, that is a solution and has any place in this modern age. In reality also, it is never done. If someone does any wrong doing to others, then they definitely don't do the same thing. Instead we rely on the judiciary to take the right course of action.

wow another big one with lots of layers, xxx


Yup! I really done know my opinion 200%

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An interesting question with so much to say about it, here is my response, I hope it does not shock you too much :D

My entry to the QOTW:

In this "modern age" the death penalty is neither a deterrent nor provides any justice. ("modern age" is quite dubious)