This paper seeks to prescribe forgiveness as an alternative to capital punishment. People should be concerned that capital punishment has its wrong consequences. By looking at another alternative, there is hope that people would be enlightened.
Capital punishment is plain vengeance. Call it vindication or any another name but capital punishment is still a vengeance. Vengeance is like a fire, which never ends in its efforts keeps on spreading, engulfing the entire life of the person, destroying his own world and at the same time devastating others’ lives. Violence and vengeance are two sides of the same coin, with one always procreating the other. Since violence, distresses people and it also discourages them from socializing liberally. The resentment from the lack of the contentment of reciprocated trust and mutual harmony as a result of violence or vengeance will frustrate even the most meaningful person from continuing to be submissive citizens. Based on this, there is a strong reason to abolish the capital punishment or its implementation in whatever means under any circumstances.
But one might ask: if no capital punishment, what is the alternative? Forgiveness is a good alternative. To forgive is not to be diverted, from mending one’s own shortcomings by complacency. Exculpation may be beyond the ability of many, who suffer from others’ iniquity but it is an option. The Chief Executive under the US Constitution can pardon criminals so the victim or victims can do so as well. Under Article 2 of the Constitution, provides “The President… shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Case of Impeachment.”1 Extending forgiveness therefore to the convict does not violate the law and to do so is perfectly valid. The convict may be placed as person suffering already psychologically and will need help. Thus it is normal for criminals to be conscience stricken and they can get peace of mind if they know that they are forgiven. Forgiveness cannot be done without compassion or love which is an emotion that comes from the heart. This kind of emotion may be best appreciated in the case of Jesus Christ in the bible who had forgiven even those who harmed him. Christ’s message of love was to replace the old law of a balance of terror. It might be argued that people are not like Christ with heavenly powers to do. Yes, people or victims are human beings but they are gifted with the capacity to forgive.
Is forgiveness as way to address the issue of crime consistent with democracy?
Democracy is about tolerating a society to control its dealings by accepted approval by majority. It is not about ventilating chauvinism in judging or whether one deserves to exist or perish. These popular judicial murders, formally termed as death sentences, are the depiction of man’s bigotry, malice and viciousness, which by no means help the historic standing of democracy. The death punishment can slay an enemy besides perhaps creating several others but forgiveness can disentangle oneself from thoughts haunted by antagonism, and it could be the lone hope for peace of mind. Holding therefore a referendum on death penalty or capital punishment as an abuse of democratic right is a good challenge from a constitutional standpoint.
It may be pointed out that the concept related to the aspects of zero tolerance from which capital punishment got its basis, was developed under a classical utilitarianism theory where the sole moral obligation to maximize utility or happiness. According to the theory people should “pursue the action that conforms to a set of moral rules whose general observance would maximize utility.”2 It was viewed under the theory that that anything less than a capital punishment would not be able to serve the purpose of the judicial system. Circumstances then became so severe at times that the capital punishments included minors. However, it can be also stated that better equipped police force and improved resourcefulness is a better way prevent crime. Moreover, to put the person six feet under the ground would be contrary to the foundation of the theory.
The practice of capital punishment has with it the practice of making known the same extent of punishment to people about the consequences of their criminal actions. They have therefore the aim to put fright in the hearts and minds of criminals, to make them know that they will be executed too when they kill. Nevertheless the innocent have also reasons to dread this brutal system in which often due lo lack of proper evidences mistakes are made and could still be made. Worse still, this system is also unlawfully misused in repressing the truth to those who have money, power and influence as against those who have less in life.
It can be concluded that there is nothing more tragic than the possibility of killing the innocent when the lawyer or judges err in concluding that a person will have to be executed under the law. It will be a kind murder committed by the state. The problem is: who will kill those who committed wrong in making the convict to die by capital punishment?
Writing a three-page argument compared to one-page argument caused me to have more space to more space to explain my arguments. In one-page paper, one is forced to put in the paper only what are the most important ones but explanation could not be expounded. The different approaches include making comparison, analysis and synthesis to successfully complete the paper. I need to choose the same so make the presentation more logical and with order as well as to make it more mentally engaging to readers.
The decisions I made as a writer in revising and expanding the essay include having the need to get the gist of extensive readings that I made and putting them into the paper in support or in contrast to position taken. But as I reread the draft I found instances to edit and revise in order to make the paper as logical and persuasive to the reader. I did consider my self as reader so that if I cannot understand the paper that I am making; there is no reason to expect the same understanding or comprehension from anyone who would have to read the paper.
I believe that I am doing well in making an analysis and in trying to write down my thoughts as I make writing. I found out that writing is wonderful experience as it challenges one to document how reasoning is strengthened by the connection of the sentences that will have to flow with the purpose and objective of the paper. Writing requires the power to convince and I believe I have done well on this. What I have to improve on is on removing the unnecessary arguments and sentences after the first draft of the paper. I believe that I can improve on the same by increasing my power to summarize.
- “Constitutional Topic: Presidential Pardons”. US.constitution.net. Online. 2008. Web.
- Bunnin, N. and Yu J.. The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy. The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy, Blackwell Publishing, 2004, p. 718
- Part 2 — Research essay – Democracy and Development
Is economic development or economic growth necessarily related to democracy? This paper seeks to explain if is there is indeed a relationship between democracy and development. If the answer the question will be proven true, then there is good reason for non-democratic countries to adopt democracy as a form of government if these countries want economic development or economic growth. This paper takes the position that economic development is not directly related to having democracy as a form of government. Instead it is the political order that will cause people to behave more collectively to attain economic growth or economic development.
Analysis and Discussion
Democracy and development are they separate or causative of one another?
Democracy may be defined as form of governance which is characterized by the presence of election, checks and balances of power among the different branches of government, the presence of private ownership and including having capitalism as economic structure and all its necessary characteristics. Development or growth in the economy should connote an economic condition that would approximate an economic and social well-being of the citizens of a country and is characterized by sufficient amount of economic growths which are enough to sustain the economic needs of the people.
It is interesting to ask at this point to whether democracy or development should cause each other. Must a country having democracy lead to economic development? This paper calls it democracy-first-and-development-latter view. Or will economic development necessary results to democracy? This paper calls it development-first-and-democracy-latter view. It is also possible that economic growth or development has no relation to democracy and that there could be another factor that is causing it development. It is latest view which will be defended position in this paper.
Which came first, democracy or development? Is there a third view?
By empirical research, this could be determined. The experiences of countries which have experienced economic growth or economic development can be used as proof on which view is more believable.
Under this view development first, democracy later, the works of scholars could be cited. First is the work of Lipset3 under the modernizationists’ view. A closely related view is made by Huntington by explaining that the upshot of economic development would show the way to political decay but eventually an unstable political system would move toward democracy through as a result of institutionalization.4
To uphold the first view is to assert that all developed nations or nations must have experienced economic growth or development under a democratic regime. An investigation in the case of what happened to Russia and China, which had attained growth not necessarily by democratic framework, may reveal a contradiction of this first view.
Under the second view of “democracy first and development later” which explains what happened with China, the development-first-democracy-later is contradicted. Under the first view, democracy is to be taken as precondition to promoting economic development. Thus democracy according to supporters of the view should be promoted to attain prosperity, development, security and peace of a nation.5 Freedom of the people is needed to develop economically appears to be the basic idea.
Siegle, Weinstein, and Halperin asserted found democratic countries to have outperformed non-democratic countries in economic development. They asserted that process of elections with the involvement of institutions is believed to be the key to better perform better in the economy.6 The collective wisdom of people to better govern in managing the economy is given as a premise which is better than the non-democratic type where only few are making the major decisions for the economy. In addition, the presence of accountability, checks and balances, low corruption, openness and competition as to flow of information may be reasons for the growth in the economy. 7
Since there are both pieces of evidences supporting the first and the second view, a contradiction indeed is evident. An alternative view is still possible, that is not attributing any relationship between the two. Scholars Adam Przeworski and Fernando Limongi argue that that politics may have a part in influencing economic performance of countries. However they also found no significant relationships between the type regime or government and economic growth.8
This third view therefore attempts to reconcile the conflicts of the claims of the first and second views presented so far. Huntington asserted that instability after the early adoption of democracy is possible but this would eventually lead to stable political liberalization.9 A political order that would identify democracy as form of government does contribute to the development of a country. In case the non-democratic type of framework as that of China, it was discipline caused by system that may have moved people to work for economic development of their country.
It can be concluded that not every country that has attained economic growth has was under democracy. The US and many other developed nations from Europe have proved that democracy was a precondition to their economic growths or economic development. However, the experiences of other countries like China and Russia speak in attaining economic growths do not show that democracy is a requirement. Finding no conclusive evidence on the relationship of democracy with development, it is more plausible to attribute the presence of political order which may be found in both democracies and non-democracies that provided the way for countries to have economic growth or development.
I think I have developed an argument that reader should be persuaded by because of the use of logic and emotions to appeal to the reader. There is a basis to know whether democracy is related to development as it is every countries dream to have its citizens economically prosperous and knowing the relationship could at least guide policy makers.
As to I how chose to employ my research, I made some readings that support or contradict the position that I am taking and use these pieces of evidence to support or contradict my assertions but eventually coming up to the defense of my thesis statement. This would make my work more authoritative and would not be just mere opinions or conjectures. The works of previous researchers or scholars are empirical in nature and that they could have a strong persuasive effect because of the application of scientific method in arriving at their conclusions.
The decisions I made in integrating this research into my ideas including making balance of whether I will put too much of what support or not putting anything that will contradict the position that I have taken. What I made is to what will make my presentation convincing and persuasive to the reader.
The process of my thinking about this subject which I went through as I worked on this essay is indeed a challenging one since it involves analysis and synthesis of things that I am asserting and what I was reading in my research to explain the position that I have taken. I have to apply analysis by comparison in pointing out the contrast of the views and eventually came up with synthesis of finding a way how to reconcile conflicting views and the result was made consistent with my position taken in the paper.
- Halperin, Siegle and Weinstein. The Democracy Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and Peace. New York: Routledge Publishers, 2005
- Huntington “Political Order in Changing Societies”, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968
- Lipset. “Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy” The American Political Science Review 53 (1), (1959) 70-106
- Przeworski, Alvarez, Cheibub, and Limongi. “Democracy and Development: Political Institutions and Well-being in the World 1950-1990”. New York, Cambridge University Press, 2000
- Przeworski, and Limongi.“Political Regimes and Economic Growth”, The Journal of Economic Perspective 7(1): (1993) 50-70
- Siegle, Weinstein, and Halperin. ‘Why Democracies Excel’. Foreign Affairs 83 (5); pp. (2004) 56-72.
- “Constitutional Topic: Presidential Pardons”. US.constitution.net. Online.
- Bunnin, N. and Yu J.. The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy. The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy, Blackwell Publishing, 2004, p. 718
- Lipset “Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy” The American Political Science Review 53 (1), (1959) p. 70-106
- Huntington (1968), “Political Order in Changing Societies”, New Haven: Yale University Press
- Halperin, Siegle and Weinstein, The Democracy Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and Peace. New York: Routledge Publishers, 2005
- Huntington, “Political Order in Changing Societies”, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968
- Przeworski, Alvarez, Cheibub, and Limongi. “Democracy and Development: Political Institutions and Well-being in the World, (2000) 1950-1990”. New York, Cambridge University Press; Przeworski, and Limongi. “Political Regimes and Economic Growth”, The Journal of Economic Perspective 7(1): (193) 50-70
- Huntington, 1968, see above