Atlas Forum

General Politics => Political Debate => Topic started by: Yelnoc on April 07, 2012, 05:18:25 pm



Title: Can a person forfeit his or her right to life?
Post by: Yelnoc on April 07, 2012, 05:18:25 pm
If a person commits acts heinous enough (or enough of them), do they forfeit their right to life?  I say yes, and that rationale underlies my support for capital punishment.  What say you?


Title: Re: Can a person forfeit his or her right to life?
Post by: Franzl on April 07, 2012, 05:28:36 pm
Either you have an undeniable right to life or you don't. While the morality of capital punishment (compared to other legal penalties like prison) isn't an entirely clear issue in my mind, I would be very reluctant to refer to someone as "forfeiting" his right to life.

And, of course, whether or not you think a murderer deserves it, capital punishment is a terribly broken system in the United States and needs to be abolished. There's no legitimate argument that can be made in favor of the status quo.


Title: Re: Can a person forfeit his or her right to life?
Post by: Beet on April 07, 2012, 05:28:59 pm
Well, apparently in Florida you can forfeit your right to life if you "lunge" at someone, and that person happens to be carrying a handgun and claims that he thought you were going to kill him. All I ask is that in this situation you at least receive some sort of formal post-mortem procedure before the state implicitly takes away your entitlement to justice, but apparently it's too much for the ALEC/NRA/GOP types.


Title: Re: Can a person forfeit his or her right to life?
Post by: John Dibble on April 07, 2012, 06:55:51 pm
In principle I think so, however our justice system is flawed and innocent people end up getting executed too much so I don't view the death penalty as viable. Just lock the really heinous up for life to protect society.


Title: Re: Can a person forfeit his or her right to life?
Post by: Redalgo on April 07, 2012, 07:41:44 pm
I reject the notion of natural rights but my stance is no person ought to be killed unless they are presenting an imminent and serious, if not deadly threat of inflicting bodily harm on another, and no non-lethal steps can reasonably be taken to avert said threat. I'm strongly opposed to capital punishment. Prisoners in custody are unarmed civilians states arenít obliged to abuse or execute.

If some individuals are too dangerous to be set loose in society at large then isolate and secure them - reducing their personal autonomy to the extent necessary to prevent them from inflicting further harm onto others. I think there are good reasons to limit individual freedom, yet few (and even then only under specific sets of circumstances) for taking the life of a person without their consent. To answer the OP's question though... a person technically can forfeit their right to live.


Title: Re: Can a person forfeit his or her right to life?
Post by: GM R2D2 on April 07, 2012, 08:01:59 pm
The only way a person can forfeit their right to life is by committing suicide.


Title: Re: Can a person forfeit his or her right to life?
Post by: minionofmidas - supplemental forum account on April 08, 2012, 01:00:17 pm
Isn't it traditional, in claiming someone has forfeited a right, to also claim it was never a right in the first place but a 'privilege'?


Title: Re: Can a person forfeit his or her right to life?
Post by: shua on April 08, 2012, 06:01:46 pm
No, it is inalienable.   The only justification for killing has to do with whose right to life takes priority in case of conflict.


Title: Re: Can a person forfeit his or her right to life?
Post by: Franzl on April 08, 2012, 06:23:36 pm
Isn't it traditional, in claiming someone has forfeited a right, to also claim it was never a right in the first place but a 'privilege'?

Yes, that's my problem with the way this is worded. Either a right exists or it doesn't exist - much like voting. (Which doesn't seem to be a right either in the U.S.)


Title: Re: Can a person forfeit his or her right to life?
Post by: Trounce-'em Theresa on April 09, 2012, 08:54:10 pm
The only way a person can forfeit their right to life is by committing suicide.

This. (Distinguished from being martyred, of course.)


Title: Re: Can a person forfeit his or her right to life?
Post by: tpfkaw on April 09, 2012, 08:58:38 pm
Not permanently, but one temporarily chooses to forfeit one's rights if one deliberately infringes on the rights of others, and the right to life is no different.


Title: Re: Can a person forfeit his or her right to life?
Post by: Vice President PiT on April 09, 2012, 10:31:15 pm
The only way a person can forfeit their right to life is by committing suicide.

     That was my thought when reading the topic title. Given that each person owns his or her own self, that person also reserves the prerogative to dispose of his or her own self.


Title: Re: Can a person forfeit his or her right to life?
Post by: Lief 🐋 on April 09, 2012, 11:07:54 pm
No one has an inherent "right to life." The state grants it and can take it away, like with all "rights."


Title: Re: Can a person forfeit his or her right to life?
Post by: muon2 on April 10, 2012, 05:36:54 pm
I see two issues convoluted in the posts here. One is the basic philosophical question about the right to life. The second is whether the limitations of human justice prevent a nation from considering forfeiture of the right to life as a punishment.

If I start with the unalienable rights of the Declaration of Independence I see a natural hierarchy that is reflected in criminal justice. For the least of crimes that are penalized, a person is fined, so that they lose their right to pursuit of happiness as reflected in that loss of wealth. For more severe crimes comes a loss of liberty as a person is penalized by incarceration. The natural extension is for the most severe crimes to be penalized by loss of life.

Note that all three rights are listed as unalienable, and no one is arguing that one cannot lose the right to liberty or pursuit of happiness as punishment for a crime. One could make a case that these punishments are also sometimes delivered without fairness in our system, yet that does not mean those rights cannot be forfeited. By the same token the right to life must be viewed as one that can be forfeited in appropriate circumstances. How to make the imposition of such a penalty fair remains important, but in my mind is different from the question at hand.


Title: Re: Can a person forfeit his or her right to life?
Post by: © tweed on April 10, 2012, 06:00:23 pm
be careful when arguing a 'no' along these lines or you'll unintentionally carve out a human rights criticism of wage labor.


Title: Re: Can a person forfeit his or her right to life?
Post by: Yelnoc on April 10, 2012, 09:13:35 pm
No one has an inherent "right to life." The state grants it and can take it away, like with all "rights."
Ah ha.  I chose the title intentionally to see if anyone would challenge me on that assertion.  I agree that what we usually think of when discussing "rights" are merely privileges enforced by the state.  But let's discuss rights on a more philosophical or fundamental level.  If there is no concept of a right to life, can one not rationalize murder?  If a person has no right to live, why shouldn't they die?


Title: Re: Can a person forfeit his or her right to life?
Post by: Redalgo on April 11, 2012, 12:48:08 am
No one has an inherent "right to life." The state grants it and can take it away, like with all "rights."
Ah ha.  I chose the title intentionally to see if anyone would challenge me on that assertion.  I agree that what we usually think of when discussing "rights" are merely privileges enforced by the state.  But let's discuss rights on a more philosophical or fundamental level.  If there is no concept of a right to life, can one not rationalize murder?  If a person has no right to live, why shouldn't they die?

The way I see it, all killing can be rationalized. It is neither innately good nor bad for one to live or die. All rights are privileges... but we have many of them nonetheless since establishing and then enforcing a social contract of sorts among people is conducive to the advancement of most of their respective, rational pursuits of self-interest.

It is as if everyone plays a game and "rights" are the most basic guidelines everyone is expected to abide by ito enhance the overall quality of experience for those who participate. The goals underlying the rules and their exact stipulations vary from one culture to the next, but the point is people fabricate rights for themselves and use them as tools for improving the overall qualities of their lives. They are useful adaptations in the evolution of society. Deeming rights inalienable or absolute is merely an outmoded way to shore up the legitimacy of rules when, in fact, there is no such thing as good or evil outside the mind. We've to decide upon, claim, and defend those rights we wish to enjoy unless we are willing to let everyone do anything they want however they want.

Or at least those are my initial thoughts while considering the matter. What do you think, Yelnoc?


Title: Re: Can a person forfeit his or her right to life?
Post by: oreomilkshake on April 11, 2012, 01:36:16 am
No one has an inherent "right to life." The state grants it and can take it away, like with all "rights."
Ah ha.  I chose the title intentionally to see if anyone would challenge me on that assertion.  I agree that what we usually think of when discussing "rights" are merely privileges enforced by the state.  But let's discuss rights on a more philosophical or fundamental level.  If there is no concept of a right to life, can one not rationalize murder?  If a person has no right to live, why shouldn't they die?

That's simple, just because someone doesn't believe in a right to life doesn't mean that they can't believe people have an ethical duty to preserve innocent life. Not that I necessarily believe there is no right to life, just saying.