The Instigator
knick-knack
Pro (for)
Winning
24 Points
The Contender
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Civil disobedience is an appropriate weapon in the fight for justice

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
knick-knack
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/6/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 18,435 times Debate No: 5669
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (4)

 

knick-knack

Pro

This is a debate on CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE don't make into a debate about something else alright?

I believe this for the following three reasons:

1.Bring stability to a society
2.Democratic governments accommodate civil disobedience
3.Civil disobedience brings immediate attention to an unjust law

For my first point is that civil disobedience is a beneficial behavior in bringing about stability to a society. I would like to point out a few examples such as the Women's Suffrage movement from 1848 to 1920; it acquired the women's right to vote. In Germany 1982-1986, there was a non-violent protest against deployment of Pershing II and Cruise Missiles, 3000 people sat in front of Mutlangen a military base. These people blocked military traffic that goes in and out of the base. After the four year protest the INF Treaty was signed it regulated all land base intermediate range nuclear forces, it marked the end of the Cold War and led to the demise of the Warsaw Pact. Governments have been improved by acts of civil disobedience like the examples I have just stated, this is important because if there is an unjust law or policy or an act that is in a government that the people feel need changing then a citizen can fight for what they believe in. And in democratic governments groups and individuals have utilized civil disobedience as a weapon in the fight for justice that has gained rights, created countries, changed social norms, and improved or saved millions lives.

My second point that democratic governments provide for and accommodate acts of civil disobedience I would like to use an example in the late 1960s. Two students John and Mary Beth Tinker in Des Moines Iowa were protesting against the Vietnam War by wearing black armbands. This was against the policies and rules of the public school; this is an act of civil disobedience. They were suspended until they returned to school without the armbands. The parents of the students filed a lawsuit; the case was a tied vote at the district court and was appealed to the Supreme Court. In 1969 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of John and Mary Beth Tinker and validation their civil disobedience by a 7-2 decision. This example shows that America, the greatest example of a democracy allows for and accommodates acts of involving civil disobedience. Democracies allow levels of dispute in a society, such as protesting or assemblies or conventions and civil disobedience. Governments allow this because it corrects problems and mistakes in laws that have been made, and makes their society better.

To my third and final point that civil disobedience brings immediate attention to an unjust law. If a person writes a letter or sends an E-mail to a senator it has to go through secretaries, then maybe to the senator then maybe bring attention to the problem then maybe the problem will be addressed then maybe to a bill then maybe a law. This method of trying to bring justice is not effective, nor efficient. However civil disobedience brings immediate attention to a problem or unjust law. It gets media coverage it gets people excited and care about the issue. That then puts pressure on representatives to quickly address the issue, to look at the problem and rethink what is the correct way. This will correct the unjust law quicker and make society that much better for its citizens.

In conclusion the people who are being civilly disobedient are not just fighting for a petty cause or just being rebellious they are fighting for Justice, for what is just, fair, and equitable in that society and that is why you should vote in affirmation of this topic.
Thank You
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Con

My case is simple: Failure to comply with the law is immoral.

Justification: When I become a citizen of a country, I enter into a social contract. The government promises to protect my safety, and in return, I promise to obey the laws of the government. Of course, at some point, the government will break its side of the deal. For example, the fact that the even after the abolition of slavery, racism was allowed in government policies. This however does not justify one in breaking their part of the contract. Two wrongs do not make a right. You have two options. The first is to fight the law peacefully, and legally. You do not violate your contract, and you point out the government is violating theirs. The other option is to leave the country, and end the contract, and enter into a contract with a better government.

Rebuttals:
"For my first point is that civil disobedience is a beneficial behavior in bringing about stability to a society. I would like to point out a few examples such as the Women's Suffrage movement from 1848 to 1920; it acquired the women's right to vote."

This is not civil disobedience, as they are not breaking laws. This is off topic.

"In Germany 1982-1986, there was a non-violent protest against deployment of Pershing II and Cruise Missiles, 3000 people sat in front of Mutlangen a military base. These people blocked military traffic that goes in and out of the base. After the four year protest the INF Treaty was signed it regulated all land base intermediate range nuclear forces, it marked the end of the Cold War and led to the demise of the Warsaw Pact."

These people are violating their contract by breaking the law, and furthermore they disrupt order. Also, they are ignorant. The government, which has access to secret data can recognize the need to have cruise missiles. Disrupting this could easily lead to a national security crisis.

"Governments have been improved by acts of civil disobedience like the examples I have just stated, this is important because if there is an unjust law or policy or an act that is in a government that the people feel need changing then a citizen can fight for what they believe in. And in democratic governments groups and individuals have utilized civil disobedience as a weapon in the fight for justice that has gained rights, created countries, changed social norms, and improved or saved millions lives."

I can do millions of legal things to deal with this. For example, the government is like a business, it wants my money, so it can do what it wants. If I organize a group that leaves the country, and thereby eliminates a source of income, I will bring about change. For example, the Pilgrims, Puritans, Catholics, and Quakers of England helped promote religious tolerance in that nation when they up and left to avoid persecution. Also, a peaceful protest, is totally legal and very effective, think the march on Washington, Million Mom March, et cetera.

"My second point that democratic governments provide for and accommodate acts of civil disobedience I would like to use an example in the late 1960s. Two students John and Mary Beth Tinker in Des Moines Iowa were protesting against the Vietnam War by wearing black armbands. This was against the policies and rules of the public school; this is an act of civil disobedience. They were suspended until they returned to school without the armbands. The parents of the students filed a lawsuit; the case was a tied vote at the district court and was appealed to the Supreme Court. In 1969 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of John and Mary Beth Tinker and validation their civil disobedience by a 7-2 decision."

This action was not civil disobedience. They were not breaking any legitimate law. The rules against the armbands had no authority, and therefore, breaking them is not civil disobedience.

"To my third and final point that civil disobedience brings immediate attention to an unjust law. If a person writes a letter or sends an E-mail to a senator it has to go through secretaries, then maybe to the senator then maybe bring attention to the problem then maybe the problem will be addressed then maybe to a bill then maybe a law. This method of trying to bring justice is not effective, nor efficient. However civil disobedience brings immediate attention to a problem or unjust law. It gets media coverage it gets people excited and care about the issue. That then puts pressure on representatives to quickly address the issue, to look at the problem and rethink what is the correct way. This will correct the unjust law quicker and make society that much better for its citizens."

A simple march is legal, and just as effective. Also, studies have shown that civil disobedience can alienate more moderate sympathizers with a cause who will view such actions as extremist.

In conclusion, even when the government is unjust and immoral, we cannot act in an immoral manner ourselves. Two wrongs do not make a right. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 1
knick-knack

Pro

"Must the citizen ever for a moment or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. I t is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right… Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well disposed are daily made the agents of injustice."

Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

"The government promises to protect my safety, and in return, I promise to obey the laws of the government. Of course, at some point, the government will break its side of the deal. For example, the fact that the even after the abolition of slavery, racism was allowed in government policies. This however does not justify one in breaking their part of the contract. Two wrongs do not make a right."

This is true that the government promises certain things to its citizens, and in return the citizens obey the just laws that are being provided. But it is absurd to think that when a government breaks its side of the contract that the citizen has to keep its side.
For example, you make a contract with your landlord that he will mow your lawn and in return you will pay him 35 dollars a month. At the end of the month your lawn has not been mowed then do you still have to pay your landlord 35 dollars? No, that would be crazy.

In regard to Women's Suffrage Movement.-"This is not civil disobedience, as they are not breaking laws. This is off topic."

Yes it was civil disobedience. An example occurred in 1872 when Susan B. Anthony and fourteen other women registered and voted in Rochester, New York. They were accused and charged with a crime "of voting without the lawful right to vote." Disobeying a law in a non-violent manner= civil disobedience.

"These people are violating their contract by breaking the law, and furthermore they disrupt order. Also, they are ignorant. The government, which has access to secret data, can recognize the need to have cruise missiles. Disrupting this could easily lead to a national security crisis."

It led to the demise of the Warsaw Pact and marked the end of the cold war when the INF treaty was signed. Don't we all agree that this was a good thing?

In regard to Mary Beth and John Tinker- "This action was not civil disobedience. They were not breaking any legitimate law. The rules against the armbands had no authority, and therefore, breaking them is not civil disobedience."

Yes they were breaking a policy set by the school and were suspended for that action of wearing the armbands. This then brought attention to the issue and then made the school policy change by a ruling of the Supreme Court, civil disobedience.

"Also, studies have shown that civil disobedience can alienate more moderate sympathizers with a cause who will view such actions as extremist."

I would like to see these studies.

I will use another example of civil disobedience that has changed the course of a country. Mohandas Gandhi used civil disobedience to gain Indian independence through the Salt March and other acts of disregard for unjust laws.

Now to my opponent

Thank you
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Con

"This is true that the government promises certain things to its citizens, and in return the citizens obey the just laws that are being provided. But it is absurd to think that when a government breaks its side of the contract that the citizen has to keep its side.
For example, you make a contract with your landlord that he will mow your lawn and in return you will pay him 35 dollars a month. At the end of the month your lawn has not been mowed then do you still have to pay your landlord 35 dollars? No, that would be crazy."

Your analogy is misplaced. Imagine it like this. I am renting a house. The contract that I have with my landlord is basically that I will pay rent, and he will let me live in the house unmolested. Well one day, he tells me that I cannot have my favorite bush in the front yard. He also raises the rent significantly. I can't just not pay rent, that is stealing the money that is due to him. It's the same with a government, when they maltreat me, I can't just stop upholding my end of the deal. Two wrongs don't make a right.

"Yes it was civil disobedience. An example occurred in 1872 when Susan B. Anthony and fourteen other women registered and voted in Rochester, New York. They were accused and charged with a crime 'of voting without the lawful right to vote.' Disobeying a law in a non-violent manner= civil disobedience."

Okay, I concede that is true, but nonetheless, I cannot see how this is truly important.

"It led to the demise of the Warsaw Pact and marked the end of the cold war when the INF treaty was signed. Don't we all agree that this was a good thing?"

In that instance. There is no reason to believe that that will always hold true.

"Yes they were breaking a policy set by the school and were suspended for that action of wearing the armbands. This then brought attention to the issue and then made the school policy change by a ruling of the Supreme Court, civil disobedience."

It was not a legitimate law. Continuing with the house rental analogy, if my landlord decides that I am guaranteed to ability have a red car, but my neighbor says I cannot have a red car, I should obey the supreme law of the land, so I can have a red car if I want.

"I would like to see these studies."

"LeGrande in 1967,
J.L. LeGrande. [Assistant Professor, School of Police Administration and Public Safety, Michigan State University].
"Nonviolent Civil Disobedience and Police Enforcement Policy." The Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology and Police
Science. 58(3). September 1967. pp. 399‐400. JSTOR. Accessed December 8, 2007."

That's one source.

"I will use another example of civil disobedience that has changed the course of a country. Mohandas Gandhi used civil disobedience to gain Indian independence through the Salt March and other acts of disregard for unjust laws."

My response:
"There is confusion between civil disobedience and non‐violent action; and between both of these and rebellion. Many
think, for example, that the non‐violent activities of Gandhi were acts of civil disobedience; but Gandhi refused to accept
British law in India, and therefore his activity was a non‐violent rebellion, not civil disobedience. Often mentioned in the
same breath with Mahatma Gandhi's movement is another non‐violent movement, the civil rights movement in the
United States, led by Martin Luther King. This movement, unlike Ghandi's, perpetrated clear acts of civil disobedience. Its
activity, partly illegal, was successful and brought an end to the discrimination of the blacks. Moreover, the movement
helped create a modern technique for illegal protest aimed at bringing about a change in the law."
-Chemi bin Noon. [International Institute for Counter‐Terrorism Research Fellow]. "Civil Disobedience, Rebellion, and
Conscientious Objection. February 26, 2002. http://www.ict.org.il.... Accessed December 11, 2007.

To end, I provide this quote:
"Democracy is still upon its trial. The civic genius of our people is its only bulwark and…neither battleships nor
public libraries nor great newspapers nor booming stocks: neither mechanical invention nor political adroitness,
nor churches nor universities nor civil service examinations can save us from degeneration if the inner mystery be
lost."
-William James
Debate Round No. 2
knick-knack

Pro

Rebuttal:

"Okay, I concede that is true, but nonetheless, I cannot see how this is truly important."

It gained women in the US the right to vote and to fair treatment. That is a good thing that civil disobedience has brought about change in a society for justice. And it is appropriate that civil disobedience be used in the fight for justice.

"It was not a legitimate law. Continuing with the house rental analogy, if my landlord decides that I am guaranteed to ability have a red car, but my neighbor says I cannot have a red car, I should obey the supreme law of the land, so I can have a red car if I want."

In the case of Mary Beth Tinker it was legitimate because it was a policy that was unjust and through an act of civil disobedience the policy was then changed.

Thank you for the studies

If there is a question of whether or not Mohandas Gandhi was an act of civil disobedience then I will use of example brought by my opponent

"the civil rights movement in the
United States, led by Martin Luther King. This movement, unlike Ghandi's, perpetrated clear acts of civil disobedience. Its activity, partly illegal, was successful and brought an end to the discrimination of the blacks. Moreover, the movement helped create a modern technique for illegal protest aimed at bringing about a change in the law."

SUCCESSFUL as stated by my opponent that it brought an end to discrimination that was unjust. Through an act of civil disobedience, yet again, there is another example of civil disobedience being appropriate in the fight for justice.

I urge you to vote in a PRO ballot because I have given legitimate examples and circumstances where civil disobedience was used to free people from the unjust of government and of society.

My opponent has not stated why he is right in the CON position but just why I am supposedly wrong in the PRO position. No case has been constructed against me.

Thank you to my opponent for this debate.
Vote PRO.
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Con

"It gained women in the US the right to vote and to fair treatment. That is a good thing that civil disobedience has brought about change in a society for justice. And it is appropriate that civil disobedience be used in the fight for justice."

Yes, but my argument is that regardless of the effectiveness of CD, it shouldn't be done.

"In the case of Mary Beth Tinker it was legitimate because it was a policy that was unjust and through an act of civil disobedience the policy was then changed."

No, the policy was not changed. The Supreme Court said the policy was an illegal policy, so the policy was void.

"SUCCESSFUL as stated by my opponent that it brought an end to discrimination that was unjust. Through an act of civil disobedience, yet again, there is another example of civil disobedience being appropriate in the fight for justice."

That doesn't make it appropriate.

"I urge you to vote in a PRO ballot because I have given legitimate examples and circumstances where civil disobedience was used to free people from the unjust of government and of society."

Civil Disobedience is often effective, yes, but it is not appropriate. It violates the Social Contract.

"My opponent has not stated why he is right in the CON position but just why I am supposedly wrong in the PRO position. No case has been constructed against me."

This was my case "When I become a citizen of a country, I enter into a social contract. The government promises to protect my safety, and in return, I promise to obey the laws of the government. Of course, at some point, the government will break its side of the deal. For example, the fact that the even after the abolition of slavery, racism was allowed in government policies. This however does not justify one in breaking their part of the contract. Two wrongs do not make a right. You have two options. The first is to fight the law peacefully, and legally. You do not violate your contract, and you point out the government is violating theirs. The other option is to leave the country, and end the contract, and enter into a contract with a better government."
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Blackwater 8 years ago
Blackwater
hey, this was an nflonline.org topic
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
Uh, weasle... maybe the authorities broke the laws? :D

Granted, doing such repeatedly without consequence typically means the laws have changed... but one occurrence without knowledge yet of the consequence does not :D.
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Yeah, I just got back from a 12 hour debate tournament, so I won't get to this until tomorrow.
Posted by Littleweasle 8 years ago
Littleweasle
I want to know how they didn't break any laws if they were thrown into jail and arrested? If a human is being arrested they did something that was not 'lawful.'
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
I'm saying it won't. I was saying it would have been cool to be able to do that again, but the resolution is phrased differently. I have a pertinent case that I might run if I accept.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
democracies suck, but the disobedience thereof has a place :D
Posted by knick-knack 8 years ago
knick-knack
Yah, I kinda didn't want a debate on democracies.
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Might take this. Too bad it's not phrased exactly like the public forum resolution. I ran an amazing semantics case on it, all about the definition of a democracy, and then I made another contention, and every time, they dropped the second contention, and only went after the first one.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Littleweasle 8 years ago
Littleweasle
knick-knackLR4N6FTW4EVATied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by Wayne 8 years ago
Wayne
knick-knackLR4N6FTW4EVATied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by knick-knack 8 years ago
knick-knack
knick-knackLR4N6FTW4EVATied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by DisneyFTW 8 years ago
DisneyFTW
knick-knackLR4N6FTW4EVATied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30