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The Penalty of Death

  • Date Submitted: 07/05/2010 05:49 AM
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06-29-2010
H. L. Mencken’s
“The Penalty of Death”

Essay
By
Angelo Bolden
References
A Mencken Cornucopia by Gibbons Burke
Death Penalty – Internet Articles (Google)
Capital Punishment – Internet Articles (Google)
Sociology 100 - Wayne County Community College Text

H. L. Mencken is an author and critic who write about societies need for katharsis.   First, Mencken uses logical symbolism to justify the validity of capital punishment. Secondly, Mencken presents social policy in a manner that advocates contrary to the constitution and religious beliefs.   Finally, Mencken uses his false sense of our governments and judicial systems inadequacies to support his form of efficient justice.
First, Mencken asserts every member of society has a particular function, regardless of how unpleasant his or her jobs may be; the job needs to be completed.   Mencken writes, “It may be quite necessary to society for all that (2)”.   Mencken is saying that various types of employment are uncongenial.   Nonetheless, they are necessary for a given society to function effectively and efficiently.   Mencken compares the unwelcomed job function of a hangman to that of a plumber, priest, soldier, and garbage-man.   Mencken asserts that all of these types of employment are disagreeable; yet, no one wants to abolish them; referring to the hangman.   Mencken uses the word “abolishing” to reference the efforts to end the death penalty.   Mencken’s conviction is that killing a person for a heinous crime such as murder is unavoidable for society.   Mencken writes, “Moreover, what evidence is there that any actual hangman complains of his work? (2).   Mencken may think he is telling the truth, but this statement is a lie.   Mencken is arguing that if an individual does not complain about their work, then the unlovely tasks that it entails and no matter how much people rebel; it really does not matter as long as it serves a purpose.  
Mencken says, “Their fundamental error consists in...

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