Thesis One: In principle a case can be made on moral grounds both supporting and
opposing capital punishment.
Thesis two: Concretely and in practice, compelling arguments against capital
punishment can be made on the basis of its actual administration in our society. ... This leads to a defense of capital punishment. ... This leads to a
rejection of capital punishment. ... " Within that framework, an
argument for capital punishment can be formulated along the following lines:
some acts are so vile and so destructive of community that they invalidate the
right of the perpetrator to membership and even to life. ... This punishment must
be inflicted for the sake of maintaining the community whose foundation has been
violated. ... But the standard of judgment is whether the
punishment fits the crime and sufficiently honors the nature of moral community. ... But the purpose of confinement would not be vengeance or
Such, in brief, is the argument for and against capital punishment, one founded
on justice and the nature of moral community, the other resting on love and the
nature of an ideal spiritual community. ... Capital punishment is opposed since the crime has already been
committed, and isolation can protect society against future violence. ...
Within this framework a strong but debatable case can be made for capital
punishment. ... The most compelling arguments against capital
punishment can be made on the basis of its actual administration in our society. ... Capital punishment is inflicted disproportionately on
the poor and minorities. ... The claim that the threat of
capital punishment reduces violent crime is inconclusive, certainly not proven,
extremely difficult to disprove, and morally suspect if any case. ... One of the strongest arguments right now against
capital punishment is that we are too incompetent to carry it out. ...
The conclusion of the matter is that the...