The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

A Just society would never deliberately initiate war

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/26/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,763 times Debate No: 37037
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)





1st round: acceptance and definitions ONLY
2nd round: Arguments/contentions/points/assertions ONLY
3rd round:Arguments/contentions/points/assertions AND Rebuttal
4th round: rebuttal ONLY

Definitions can also be clarified or given at any time.

No foul language or personal attacks.

Pro will try to prove the topic, while con will try to disprove it.

Now that I have cleared the rules let's get down to the definitions.

Initiate- to begin, set going, or originate
Deliberately- purposely


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank con for his quick acceptance and I encourage a fair and healthy debate with no forfeits. Also, I am declaring that I don't have any personal feelings on the topic and everything I say is in the spirit of the debate.

Assertion 1: - War wrecks and kills
According to in an article titled “Civilian Casualties of World War 2,” 30,497,000 civilians total were killed as well as 24,517,000 troops in World War 2, making a grand total of 55,014,000 deaths. This, as well as $1500 billion lost (The Penguin Atlas of World History), is what WW2 left behind, and THIS is what our opponents are supporting. Do we really want death? Violence? Destruction? A just society would never start this sort of massacre willingly. My opponents say yes to this unnecessary death and destruction, but we say NO! No matter what the cause a just society should never start manslaughter and destruction.
Assertion 2: - War is bad for nature
War can burn down entire forests and fields, its chemicals can kill plants and animals, it can destroy habitats, and it can drive species extinct. Do we want all these living things and their necessities do be destroyed in our own selfish pursuit? Why should we destroy fertile land and kill living things that have nothing to do with our “little” argument? Though the opposing team supports this, we don’t. A just society would never do this to the world. My evidence is an article on titled “War is Bad for the Environment.”
Assertion 3: - The aftermath of wars can still destroy
Landmines in past war zones can still destroy and blow stuff up. Chemicals in the air from chemical warfare can kill by breathing in or by polluting a water supply. A just society should never start wars if the consequences are so dangerous and long lasting. Though the opposition supports this long-lasting death, we DON’T. War is not only a wound, but it’s a wound that could possibly never heal. My evidence is an article on titled “War is Bad for the Environment.”
Assertion 5: - War causes poverty
During war, you think only the lives of the young men and women who are fighting the war are lost, but have you ever thought of the people who have lost their lives, their family, their dreams, their necessities, and their money because of war? By people, I mean people who are innocent and cannot do anything but see there family perish, there dreams forever gone and maybe even die. War is linked to poverty because the economy level goes down and than there wouldn't be enough money for providing infrastructure, for example the government will spend more money on weapons than on making roads or keeping the country together. Here is a quote to support my point, Dwight E. Eisenhower states that “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket, signifies that in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, who are cold and not clothed.” Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn't happen. This is information from and

I have proven my point in a simple and efficient manner.

Vote con!
I look forward to the opposition's response.


As this is my opening statement, I am not going to address my opponents points, as we have agreed to this earlier. Firstly I will simply clarify the proposition and a few definitions so hopefully we will not lock into a semantics style debate in which no ground can be made.

A just society would never deliberately initiate war.

My first point is that a just society must be clarified to an acceptable level if we shall progress the argument either way. Now in this debate there must be a moral statement to which this society can either meet or fail to meet. Now if the just society is by its own merits independently just, then we have a standard of ethical living which a society should emulate. This society should follow accordingly to independent moral codes or actions which can be deemed 'good' or 'just and fair'. I would reject and I feel my opponent would agree if the 'just' state began committing actions of terrible and horrible levels of suffering, the definition of 'just' or moral 'good' would not be redefined to suit the new actions of the 'just' state, instead the state would be unjust/tyrannical/attempting to inflict maximum pain on its people. What I am trying to layout is an objective standard by which the just society lives by.

The plausible argument.

My opponent realises that this debate is not a debate on historicity of war and if there has been a just war. No this argument is 'if' a just society can ever initiate a war. So plausible hypothesis is accepted are just as valid as if I defended for example the war in Iraq as being a case of a just society initiating a war. It logically follows that the war in itself must be 'just' in its aims or the just state would fail to meet its standard of good, which I have outlined. My argument is from a viewpoint of naturalism. Meaning I do not believe in the just war theories of religion, or God inspired wars, these to me are not convincing examples of a just war initiated by a just state.
The deliberate imitating of war by our just state, must in my mind be an act of total willingness and sacrifice to defend and protect innocent lives. There must be accurate and convincing evidence for the war to be initiated. I do not accept that if a single innocent life is lost the war becomes void of being 'just' or the state loses its title of 'just'. We are dealing with physical events among apes, the concept of just must for any sake of argument be achievable and not a concept of perfection which is lost, even if the actions were done in the spirit of aid and helping the oppressed. This would be a concept which is unworkable, and since the concept is a working one in the proposition I believe my statement is fair and works exactly within the parameters of our discussion.

Sketching a plausible situation for initiating a just war.

If we consider the earth in present form, with our 'just' state located in the northern hemisphere. This just state is dedicated to equality, freedom of speech and expression and freedom of thought. It emulates the works of men and women who strived to provide equality among its inhabitants. It is the epitome of a secular state. It is not alone, there are plenty of these states. Now our state as we both agree is 'just'. It is just for the reasons I related in my first paragraph.
Let us assume the evil state, is a recession hit theocracy. A theocracy based on an ideology preaching open hatred and violence towards certain specific minorities. This state cannot start a war with our just state unless it directly attacks our state. This state is run by an unelected party. This state contains 20 million people. For our argument the ideology of our state is ' X ' In our evil state we have:

7 million Jews.
3 million black people.
1.5 million handicapped and mentally disabled.
6 million followers of X.
2.5 million other.

6 weeks after negotiations break down, the militarily backed government reveals two aims.

1. Massacre of all handicapped/Jewish and black people, it claims that the purity of all of the adherents of X must be kept. It details its plans but keeps them a secret from the entire world.

2. It then claims that once the purity of X is achieved then all must be preserved for future generations, with that it attempts to build nuclear weapons, for the express purpose of use and not strategic placement.

Our just state is aware of two factors .

- A man-made famine has been introduced for purely ideological reasons in slums across our evil state.

-All democratic/peacekeeping and charity work is strictly forbidden and crossing over or transporting or attempting to smuggle out any citizens is strictly forbidden by the government.

Four months after news leaks of the apparent plans by our Evil state. Our just state in co-operation with numerous other states, begins infiltration missions to secure Intel on our evil state. It wants to be completely clear on what is being claimed and if these claims are true. After 3 weeks of Intel and information gathering, our just state along with neighbouring states produces clear evidence of these facts.

.Concentration camps, including labour camps and murder yards have been constructed.

.Files and documents detailing the governments involvement and with the help of the military the execution of at least 11.5 million people. Deliberate attempts to massacre innocent people.

.Two nuclear facilities with over 6 nuclear and biological weapons which have the ability to wipe out over 75% of the earth's current population. Evidence of biological weapons being used on small towns and slums is recorded.

.Small death squads/skirmish troops and artillery have been bombing a diplomatic city with no relation to our 'just' state. This is not an official war as the diplomatic city has not announced or asked for help.

So our 'just' state is a predicament. It could either refuse to initiate the war at all costs, and state that it would not be morally justified to remove this dictatorship and try prevent the massacre of men, women and children. This would lead to the death of 11.5 million people in the space of 2 months. Followed by nuclear bombings of neighbouring countries surrounding the country, and to some extent itself, as the ideology believes itself to be a win-win situation. Our 'just' state could instead, initiate the war meaning in the loss of many men and women on the frontline but in doing so, it would fight for the liberation and self determination of a small country terrorised by genocidial maniacs. Not to mention preserving the safety of the entire human population. In my hypothesis the most reasoned and morally justified action would be intervention and removal of this state, preserving the states right to exist, claim to natural resources and most importantly protecting the lives of innocent people.
Debate Round No. 2


First of all excuse me for my 2 technical errors (vote con instead of vote pro; assertion 5 instead of assertion 4) in round 2.

I will first give my remaining assertions then I will refute:

Assertion 5: - Nuclear warfare
There are several bad effects of nuclear warfare. Nuclear warfare is something that a normal war can escalate to. Nuclear war is very dangerous and has very destructive consequences. A recent scientific study entitled “The environmental consequences of nuclear war” by Owen Toon, Alan Robock, and Richard Turco has “found out that a war fought with the deployed U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals would leave Earth virtually uninhabitable. In fact, NASA computer models have shown that even a "successful" first strike by Washington or Moscow would inflict catastrophic environmental damage that would make agriculture impossible and cause mass starvation. Similarly, in the January Scientific American, Alan Robock and Brian Toon, the foremost experts on the climatic impact of nuclear war, warn that the environmental consequences of a "regional" nuclear war would cause a global famine that could kill one billion people. Their article, "Local Nuclear War: Global Suffering," predicts that the detonation of 100 15-kiloton nuclear weapons in Indian and Pakistani megacities would create urban firestorms that would loft 5 million tons of thick, black smoke above cloud level. (This smoke would engulf the entire planet within 10 days.) Because the smoke couldn't be rained out, it would remain in the stratosphere for at least a decade and have profoundly disruptive effects. Specifically, the smoke layer would block sunlight, heat the upper atmosphere, and cause massive destruction of protective stratospheric ozone. A 2008 study calculated ozone losses (after the described conflict) of 25-45 percent above mid-latitudes and 50-70 percent above northern high latitudes persisting for five years, with substantial losses continuing for another five years. Such severe ozone depletion would allow intense levels of harmful ultraviolet light to reach Earth's surface--even with the stratospheric smoke layer in place.” My evidence is an article on titled “The Climatic Consequences of Nuclear warfare.” A JUST society would never do this to humanity and the earth.

Assertion 6- War is Pointless
There is only one reason for initiating war and that is for one’s gain. Sure, societies can engage war for self-defense but initiating war causes much destruction. “… there is absolutely no point to war itself. War only exists because of the devastation it could effect, and the expectation of economic loss such a threat entails provided you are attacked. Armies exist solely for strategic reasons, in order to raise the cost of starting a war; as a strategic entry deterrent to the market of military action. Tactics never enter the picture: while the goal may be humane and sheer tactical reasoning might suggest something should be spared in the time of war, the overall picture is still perfectly merciless. Were war to come, it should come in all its brutality, and that brutality should be known to
everybody well in advance…When we talk about national defense people usually assume that we’re aiming at being prepared to keep an enemy away, win the war and go about our businessafterwards. But this is not the real implication. In this game, we only win if we don’t end up playing at all. We only win if nobody actually attacks. The game is won solely by raising the credible anticipated cost of an attack. In this, casualties, rules of war, international conventions, collateral damage, what have you, are all completely irrelevantz90;”


My refutation to my opponent's story is that (a) it has to have happened in history or else con could just make us assume that society A is just and make society X do inhumane things that are beyond evil and (b) genocide is like a declaration of war against a particular group(s).

I have proven my point in a simple and efficient manner.

Vote Pro!
I look forward to the opposition's response.


This is quite ridiculous to decide in the refutation of my point that 'it must happen in history'. The proposition is 'A just society would never initiate war'.

That statement has no bearing on history, it doesn't attempt even a historical context. If the proposition was ' A just society HAS never initiated a war, then the setting would be historical. That is not the proposition though. The proposition completely complies with hypothetical which are not contradictory with reality. When I say reality I mean a hypothesis that does not say 'no one died because magic formulas were invented'. No it gives a plausible hypothesis with events taken from a historical perspective.

I even made it clear that I could defend the Iraq war but since this was not a historical debate, I didn't need to do that and opted for an easier and far more agreeable hypothesis. No I do not accept that rules are made up halfway through a debate and for that reason my point stands firm and is not refuted by this objection.

Now pro's first points were regarding environmental disasters. I agree war causes environmental disasters but in light on my hypothesis, a nuclear attack which can wipe out 75% of the human population would cause far more irreversible damage to almost the entire planet, killing humans,plants and animals on a whole scale. Leaving entire continents void and uninhabitable. Now in my situation there is no option for peace. Peace will lead to wholesale destruction. With limited options trust upon our just state, the action of least suffering and promise of hope for the survival of innocent people is a pre-emptive war.

Assertion 5 simply highlights this again, and like I stated above with limited choices war is the most humane.

I agree with assertion 1, war kills innocent people. For our just state this would not be an action they would ever attempt. The whole scale killing of people. In my hypothetical I stated pre-emptive war would lower the suffering. My hypothetical leaves two options, allow the 'Evil' nation to massacre and destroy the earth or engage in war and end the suffering and at least attempt to preserve secular ideologies of peace and freedom. The second option is so necessary that I would argue it merely highlights the importance of freedom and safety that the just state wants to preserve, even extending it to the many innocent people of our 'evil' nation which it wants to liberate and help.

For pros third point regarding poverty. Whole scale poverty of a nation under rule of a government willing to massacre and enslave its population is far worse than temporary war. If this nation is allowed to continue poverty of a whole scale will continue. Economic issues are not morally justified approaches to whether wars should be started. This pre-emptive war will allow the infrastructure of our 'evil nation' is grow, with no burden or fear of government style robbery and extortion of profit to fund military items.

Pro's last point was 'genocide is like a declaration of war'. Well being 'like' something is not actually being something. You can't officially declare a war against a people like countries can, these are two separate things.

I think I have detailed my refutations to reflect on my hypothesis and all options including the objections against war that con has made do not make a strong case against war in this particular circumstance.
Debate Round No. 3


Refutations ONLY round:

His story is wrong for a couple of reasons:
(A) Genocide is a declaration of war on a particular race(s).
(B) Nation X attacked neighboring countries (initiation of war).

His refutation to my assertion one- three was just my assertion 5. This helps me.

"Economic issues are not morally justified approaches to whether wars should be started."

My opponent is saying that we shouldn't care if thousands are left homeless and in poverty. This argument is inhumane.

"Assertion 5 simply highlights this again, and like I stated above with limited choices war is the most humane."
My opponent is saying that nuclear war is HUMANE. Under no circumstances should we WIPE OUT THE PLANET (refer to Assertion 5).

My opponent didn't mention anything about assertion 6 therfore assertion 6 still stands.

I have refuted my opponent's one and only point and defended some of my arguments therefore I win.

Note: This round is a refutations only round, if con tries to make any changes to his story or make any new points it will count as a forfeit.

I have proven my point in a simple and efficient manner.

Vote Pro!
I look forward to the opposition's response.


(A) Genocide is a declaration of war against a particular race(s).

My opponent offers no sources or legislation to back up his claim, he simply asserts a weak point in order to provide an already official war, before a pre-emotive one can begin. This is unfortunate because historically speaking genocide is not an act of war and does not directly lead to war every time. My opponent is on a weak defence if he believes this is an official act of war, let alone an act of war against a far away country with no involvement.

(B) Nation X attacked neighbouring countries.

I stated small skirmish squads we attacking border areas, and artillery was shelling land of another country. I stated that the country had no relation to our 'just' nation. Not to mention if an official war has not begun you cannot assume that a war has started if neither states have claimed a war has begun.

'My opponent is saying that we shouldn't care if thousands are left homeless and in poverty. This argument is inhumane.'

I stated temporary economical setbacks are more favourable than allowing an entire nation be subjected to poverty and famine, my opponent ignored that point and chose to use a straw-man argument.

My opponent is saying that nuclear war is HUMANE. Under no circumstances should we WIPE OUT THE PLANET (refer to Assertion 5).

Like I said earlier if a war is not enacted then 75% of the world is destroyed due to nuclear weapons. A pre-emptive war including pre-emptive strikes can destroy a large majority of facilities and weapons. I never said our 'just' state had nuclear weapons. The 'evil' state has 6 nuclear weapons, and two nuclear facilities. A pre-emptive strike would be the best course of action.

My hypothetical proves that a just state can initiate a war and with just reasons for doing so. I have met my burden of proof and refuted all arguments against my position.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by dannyc 5 years ago
I would have probably not taken this debate if it was in a historical perspective, since it was not, I felt I would win.
Posted by ayala16 5 years ago
I think that before you can come to a conclusion on this debate you must first come to a level ground on what you believe a "just" society is.once you've agreed on that then you can clear up any misunderstanding.
Posted by dannyc 5 years ago
So you are arguing that a just country would never start a war against another country. What is your clarifications on the other country starting a war against you.

Example being, if another country attacked you directly, then they would be starting the war and therefore you would just be defending your nation. Is the only scenario of another country starting a war against you is if they directly attacked you? Meaning they can do horrible actions to other countries or to themselves and that would not be grounds for you initiating war? The only way they can officially start a war against you is if they directly attack you? If that is your position then I'll accept the challenge.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by bsh1 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's interpretation of the burdens of the round is decisive. There is a plausible case in which war could be permitted, forcing a Con ballot, even though I do believe in 99% of cases a just society shouldn't initiate war. 1% is enough to negate the resolution because it disproves "never."
Vote Placed by funwiththoughts 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to Con since Pro made up a rule in the middle, and while Pro's arguments are compelling, his rebuttals were very weak.