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By Omer KassamThesis One In principle a case can be made on moral grounds both supportingand opposing capital punishmentThesis two Concretely and in practice compelling arguments against capitalpunishment can be made on the basis of its actual administration in our societyTwo different cases can be made One is based on justice and the nature ofa moral community This leads to a defense of capital punishment The secondis based on love and the nature of an ideal spiritual community This leadsto a rejection of capital punishmentJUSTICE AND THE NATURE OF MORAL COMMUNITYA central principle of a just society is that every person has an equal rightto life liberty and the pursuit of happiness Within that frameworkan argument for capital punishment can be formulated along the followinglines some acts are so vile and so destructive of community that they invalidatethe right of the perpetrator to membership and even to life A communityfounded on moral principles has certain requirements The right to belongto a community is not unconditional The privilege of living and pursuingthe good life in society is not absolute It may be negated by behavior thatundermines the nature of a moral community The essential basis on whichcommunity is built requires each citizen to honor the rightful claims ofothers The utter and deliberate denial of life and opportunity to othersforfeits ones own claim to continued membership in the community whose standardshave been so flagrantly violated The preservation of moral community demandsthat the shattering of the foundation of its existence must be taken withutmost seriousness The preciousness of life in a moral community must beso highly honored that those who do not honor the life of others make nulland void their own right to membership Those who violate the personhoodof others especially if this is done persistently as a habit must pay theultimate penalty This punishment must be inflicted for the sake of maintainingthe community whose foundation has been violated We can debate whether somenon-lethal alternative is a
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