Film & Human rights

Film & Human rights

Question I

Jean Calas born in 1698 was a French merchant in Toulouse, where he had lived for not less than forty year. He was sadly convicted in an inclined murder trial involving his son due to his defiance on Catholicism. He was accused of murdering his own son, Marc-Antoine, in an attempt to stop him from converting into a catholic, allegations he firmly denied up to his demise. He was sentence to death on the wheel in 1762, where he was publicly broken, strangled to death and later burned into ashes. His son was then buried honorably by the catholic faithfuls as a martyr. This left many people questioning the verdict, which seemingly had been influenced by an anti-Huguenot prejudice from the judges. This case attracted the world’s attention and latter turned to be a new way to attack the Catholic Church that was widely held in contempt. Voltaire, a powerful and very influential philosopher bravely took on the case and mobilized a campaign all over Europe to promote religious tolerance. It was surprisingly not in vain, as a 50-judge panel was then allotted to evaluate the case as it had raised a lot of tension. As a result, the Calas’s family was compensated by the government after the judges reversed his conviction three years later. Voltaire’s efforts in resolving the Calas’s case highly influenced reforms in laws of the land including the issue of religious tolerance.

Question II

Jeremy Bentham objected to the idea of natural law its innateness and discoverable by reason in every person, and rejected the entire natural law tradition and with it its natural rights. He argued that principle of utility is achieving the greatest happiness for the greatest number, an idea based on consequentialism. This contemplation suggests that the decent significance of a particular action is based on the consequences abound in it. He argued that served as the best measure of right and wrong, only calculations based on fact rather than judgments based on reason could provide the basis for the law. This was therefore his basis on which he rejected the French declaration of the rights of man and citizen. He asserts that universal human rights will still be present even in the absence of a government Utilitarianism conflicts with the principles of universal human rights in that the greater good is sometimes just good for a few while the universal human rights are for all the people. To determine whether or not to pledge adherence to a certain rule, its consequences if constantly followed has to be considered. If the rule in question brings more happiness than otherwise then it qualifies the adherence test. However, the rule utilitarianism has come under critism over the years for seemingly backing rules that lessen happiness if followed.

Question III

The nature of punishment administered to offenders of the law depicts the very nature of a policy made. I agree with hunt that crimes are experienced in every part in this world but the magnitude of its effect is shown by how the society punishes the perpetrators. Hunt notes that policy are the systems which the people governs its country and how it works towards an end to punish its offenders. That is why the system of justice is shown not to be effective in countries were torture is still a part of judicial system. The death penalty for instance demonstrates lack of reverence for human life. Murder is an abhorrent act and its approval by the government is dissolute. Opposing the death sentences is not a sign as to sympathize with perpetrators but a fight against disrespecting human life. The solution to intricate social problems should be talked in reason rather than inhuman and brutal means. This way, a chance is created for a convicted murderer to enjoy the benefits of evidence that could vindicate him or her lest a reversion of the conviction is warranted. Capital sentence being irrevocable denies victims the appropriate course of the law hence discriminatory in regards to human rights. Death penalty is not the best crime control mechanism as it is uncivilized, unethical, and unfair in respect to human life. It is arguably a waste of time and resources and should not be considered in a civilized world.




Donald, A.J. 2011. Natural Law and Natural Rights. Retrieved from:

The Catholic Encyclopedia.2011. The Calas Case. Retrieved from:




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