Arguments against the death penalty in h l menckens essay

Writing He references that in the old days, you were sentenced and it was immediately carried out by hanging or beheading. Did you experience a new understanding of the topic? Did you change your perspective after completing the essay? I changed my perspective on this article after writing in the forum for week three.

Arguments against the death penalty in h l menckens essay

Tuesday, January 26, Mencken: Mencken Of the arguments against capital punishment that issue from uplifters, two are commonly heard most often, to wit: That hanging a man or frying him or gassing him is a dreadful business, degrading to those who have to do it and revolting to those who have to witness it.

That it is useless, for it does not deter others from the same crime. The first of these arguments, it seems to me, is plainly too weak to need serious refutation3.

All it says, in brief, is that the work of the hangman is unpleasant. But suppose it is? It may be quite necessary to society for all that. There are, indeed, many other jobs that are unpleasant, and yet no one thinks of abolishing them--that of the plumber, that of the soldier, that of the garbage-man, that of the priest hearing confessions, that of the sand-hog, and so on.

Moreover, what evidence is there that any actual hangman complains of his work? I have heard none. On the contrary, I have known many who delighted in their ancient art, and practiced it proudly. In the second argument of the abolitionists there is rather more force, but even here, I believe, the ground under them is shaky.

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Their fundamental error consists in assuming that the whole aim of punishing criminals is to deter other potential criminals--that we hang or electrocute A simply in order to so alarm B that he will not kill C.

This, I believe, is an assumption which confuses a part with the whole. Deterrence, obviously, is one of the aims of punishment, but it is surely not the only one.

On the contrary, there are at least half a dozen, and some are probably quite as important. At least one of them, practically considered, is more important. Commonly, it is described as revenge, but revenge is really not the word for it. I borrow a better term from the late Aristotle: Katharsis, so used, means a salubrious discharge of emotions, a healthy letting off of steam.

A school-boy, disliking his teacher, deposits a tack upon the pedagogical chair; the teacher jumps and the boy laughs. What I contend is that one of the prime objects of all judicial punishments is to afford the same grateful relief a to the immediate victims of the criminal punished, and b to the general body of moral and timorous men.

These persons, and particularly the first group, are concerned only indirectly with deterring other criminals. The thing they crave primarily is the satisfaction of seeing the criminal actually before them suffer as he made them suffer.

What they want is the peace of mind that goes with the feeling that accounts are squared. Until they get that satisfaction they are in a state of emotional tension, and hence unhappy. The instant they get it they are comfortable. I do not argue that this yearning is noble; I simply argue that it is almost universal among human beings.

In the face of injuries that are unimportant and can be borne without damage it may yield to higher impulses; that is to say, it may yield to what is called Christian charity.

But when the injury is serious Christianity is adjourned, and even saints reach for their sidearms.

Arguments against the death penalty in h l menckens essay

It is plainly asking too much of human nature to expect it to conquer so natural an impulse. A keeps a store and has a bookkeeper, B. What is A to do? If he does so he will be unable to sleep at night. The sense of injury, of injustice, of frustration will haunt him like pruritus.

So he turns B over to the police, and they hustle B to prison. Thereafter A can sleep. More, he has pleasant dreams. He pictures B chained to the wall of a dungeon a hundred feet underground, devoured by rats and scorpions.

He has got his katharsis. Every law-abiding citizen feels menaced and frustrated until the criminals have been struck down--until the communal capacity to get even with them, and more than even, has been dramatically demonstrated.

Here, manifestly, the business of deterring others is no more than an afterthought. The main thing is to destroy the concrete scoundrels whose act has alarmed everyone, and thus made everyone unhappy.-The Penalty of Death -Written by H.L. Mencken, [2]-Thesis -The thesis of the essay is on page , and is the last sentence of paragraph 3.

-Main Arguments/Points -To start the essay off, the author attacks two of the main arguments used by people who are against capital punishment. These points are clearly illustrated on page in 1/5(1).

H.L. Mencken’s essay “The Penalty of Death” advocates in favor of the death penalty. Mencken thinks that capital punishment is a very beneficial component of any justice system. Mencken thinks that death penalty should be given to those who take the lives of other people challenging all civilized order.

Descriptive Essays term papers (paper ) on The Death Penalty The Penalty of Death In this essay, H.L. Mencken has two arguments that stand out in . Mencken/ The Penalty of Death Mencken is against the death penalty at least the way it is done in America.

Arguments against the death penalty in h l menckens essay

He points it out in his sarcastic way on page paragraph 6. The Penalty of Death Critical Evaluation Essay In H. L. Mencken’s The Penalty of Death, the author argues the various reasons of why people are against the death penalty.

His argument to them is that it is unjust to keep an inmate on death row for years. The Penalty of Death () by H.L. Mencken Of the arguments against capital punishment that issue from uplifters, two are commonly heard most often, to wit: 1. That hanging a man (or frying him or gassing him) is a dreadful business, degrading to those who have to do it %(1).

English /HR2 Honors Spring Mencken: "The Penalty of Death"