The Instigator
Con (against)
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The Contender
Pro (for)
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Developed Nations have a Moral Obligation to accept Refugees

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/12/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 899 times Debate No: 82437
Debate Rounds (3)
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Round I- Con provides definitions and opening arguments. Pro provides opening arguments and refutes cons assertions
Round 2- Con refutes arguments of pro and introduces new assertions. Pro refutes new con arguments and brings up new points.
Round 3- The debators weigh the debate + final refutations. NO new arguments.

We do what we must and what we can. But to ask for more food than room on the plate is not only foolish but counter-productive. Darwinian theory has proved that only the strong survive, a sad but indisputable law of nature. We must provide enough for ourselves before we lend aid to others; to do otherwise will only result in mutual catastrophe for all parties involved.

Hello, my name is Forever23 , I am the first speaker of the opposition team and I am here upon this platform to bring forth my premise which is that Developed countries should not have moral obligations to accept refugees.

My ensuing roadmap will include first defining this debate, abrogating my opponents points and then stating 3 of our own points.

Developed countries have post-industrial economies, meaning the service sector provides more wealth than the industrial sector.
Moral Obligations - duty one owes based on the moral grounds...
Refugee - a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. Al terms are from Webster Dictionary.

My first assertion
Morally good, but not morally obligated.There is a difference between a moral good and a moral must. Is it good for a developed country to accept refugees? Assuming they're capable of supporting the refugees yes it is morally good. Is it a moral must? No it's not. Not under any circumstances is a country required to let in refugees. The country ought to do good for the people in its own borders. People who don't live in the country are not part of the country's responsibility. Therefore, it is morally good but not morally obligatory. Many countries open their doors for refugees not based on obligation. According to Sweden joins Germany for example in demonstrating a high standard of responsibility in the refugee crisis. In the 1990s, Sweden accepted 84,000 refugees from the Balkans."We accept that every person has a right to seek asylum," Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister Margot Wallstrom said. "This also puts the European solidarity to a test. I think it's important that we signal being a community that rests on common values of democracy and defense of human rights." on another hand Denmark's anti-immigrant tactics have been target The Danish government spent 30,000 euros on an advertising campaign in major Lebanese newspapers discouraging migration to Denmark. The ads touch upon all of the difficulties of assimilating in Denmark: Newcomers must learn the language, those granted permanent residency cannot bring their families over for one year, and welfare benefits for refugees have been slashed by 50 percent. All countries should do what they can to help, but they are not morally obligated in any way. Obligations may negatively affect not only own citizens but refugees themselves. As long as the world is divided into countries, the only obligation the governments should have is to their own citizens. This is why countries were formed in the first place, it was to protect and to care for the people living inside the borders. By opening national borders to millions of refugees, we are undermining the world order as it has existed for thousands of years.

Our second assertion
Has has a high potential end up in causing harm to nation citizens.A single refugee family could be absorbed very easily. The entire population of Syria could not be absorbed easily at all. The number of refugees we are talking about lies somewhere between these two extremes. So the question is whether or not these refugees would place an undue strain on the infrastructure and logistical systems that keep Europe fed and functioning. There should be a formula, based on a number of factors such as population, resources, culture and such in order to make sure each country takes in a proportional share, as some countries which neighbor war zones are overwhelmed. Margot Wallstr"m, Sweden"s Social Democratic foreign minister, declared this week that the refugee flow in her country, with its current population of 9.8 million, was enormous: "We cannot maintain a system where perhaps 190,000 people will arrive every year " in the long run, our system will collapse. And that welcome is not going to receive popular support."There was a wide a wide discussion on CNBC about "lifeboat ethics" it argues that wealthy nations, just like lifeboats, have limited capacity and that welcoming additional people would sink the boat.

Our third assertion
Is that it takes away from available resources from poor and disadvantaged families."Poverty" defined as an economic condition of lacking both money and basic necessities needed to successfully live, such as food, water, education, healthcare, and shelter. Developed countries unfortunately does not mean that they do not have people who live under poverty line. According to Central Intelligence Agency over 12,5 millions people live below poverty line in Germany, 46,5 millions in USA. Denmark for example hold 2-nd place by the lowest number of people living under poverty line, and it still has 6%. The developed countries budgets are not something that can be used without limits. The developed countries first responsibility is to its own citizens who are living in poverty. By caring for the refugees first before their own citizens in need, the developed countries" governments risk bringing social unrest and even rioting to their own societies, making their very own countries unsafe to live in.

WE are not saying that Developed countries should not take refugees, they should if they can, but they definitely should not be morally obligated to do that.

Please vote for the opposition side.


Thank you, Con, for presenting this debate and for supplying the definitions and your opening arguments.

I argue that developed nations (even all nations) have the moral obligation to accept refugees.

Argument 1: Small Scale Moral Obligation

I would like to start my argument on the small scale, with a simple analogy:

Imagine a person claims ownership of a tiny island. They live in seclusion, and have enough material and supplies for food and shelter for themselves. At some point, a nearby ship is destroyed, leaving all dead on board except for one. This one person has the capacity to swim to the nearby island. If this person did so, it would require the “owner” of the island to diminish his/her own supplies, albeit for a short while, to provide for the other until they can find the means to return back to their homeland.

Does the “owner” of the island have a moral obligation to help the victim? If the victim is not helped, he/she will die.

I would argue that the likelihood of death of the victim is more important than the minimization of supplies for the current inhabitant of the island.

Argument 2: Ownership of Land

My opponent starts her argument with the assumption that people have the right to the ownership of land. I would argue that this is morally unjustified. Of course, people have created communities together, crafted subjective laws and forms of government over themselves, and most of humanity operates under the specific subjective laws of a particular society. However, the claims that each society makes, and the laws that they force upon each other, are not morally permissible.

The idea that people can create boundaries over arbitrary points of land is both barbaric and superstitious. Every person born on the earth has no more or less right to ownership to any particular land than any other. If my opponent wants to assert that land ownership is justified, they must show how so.


Argument 1: Morality

My opponent has made a distinction between moral good and moral obligation, without defining how this distinction is made, nor which moral theory is used as a foundation for their ethics.

My moral theory is one based on Theism.

Everything that beings to exist is dependent on some prior cause.

There must be some prime mover that caused all other things to exist.

This prime mover must be beyond space, time, matter, and limitations.

As this prime mover is necessarily eternal, and will always continue to exist, the teleology of nature must also act in concordance with this principle. Morality is based on continued existence. The principle of continued existence leads also to order in nature.

In this understanding of morality, there is no difference between moral good and moral obligation. Acts are either those that are fulfilling moral obligations, or not fulfilling moral obligations. Anything that is less than good (obligation), is a form of evil (not meeting obligation.)

If people inhabiting a specific land are preventing others from sharing that land, then they are committing an evil act, as they are forcing others against their free choice (order), and allowing them to suffer without adequate nourishment (continued existence).

Argument 2: Overpopulation

One consequence of destroying the concept of borders allows the possibility of free travel to any land. One complicated result could be the overpopulation of people in a land. The resources may not be enough to provide for all of the people. This issue would lead to debate about who has the right to maintain that land and who ought to search elsewhere for resources.

While the above is agreeably a possible scenario, one with multiple resolutions, it is not one that is realistic given the current situation. Most developed nations are ones with superfluous resources, where the only reason for people without food or shelter is one based on a poor distribution of said resources. In societies where there is a high division of labor, the most important jobs are the ones are put near the bottom of a social hierarchy. This is silly, as the basic necessities of life are food and shelter. Why have a nation where some of the wealthiest people are the ones who add barely any benefit to society? The root cause for this is the superstition of statism and social hierarchies.

However, even given nations that are steeped in religion and superstition, adding refugees could add positive benefits. If the refugees become part of the work force, where they add actual value by farming or building homes, they would then be very beneficial to a society.

A politician may make unjustified claims in saying that refugees would be detrimental to the society, and that there wouldn't be enough resource for them, but what are those accusations based on? What would happen if a societies' birth rates grew; would a government then create a law to diminish the number of children? How barbaric would that be?

Argument 3: Poverty and Looking After One's Own

This argument seems to be more of a continuation of the last argument, namely that if refugees entered into a certain society, they would only become and increase the poverty level.

First, just because a society may have a subjective definition of poverty, this does not mean that basic needs aren't being met. A poor family in a developed nation is better off than most families in less developed nations.

Second, even if the refugees would come into a society to be at the bottom of the hierarchical level, this is still better than the situation in which they were in before, which is why they were in search for safety.

Third, as mentioned before, developed nations are not without enough resources to provide enough for all the inhabitants. If my opponent wants to argue that a nation needs to look after their own, then why do nations not do this? Why create a wealth gap? If you argue that nations have the moral obligation to look after every citizen, are you then not arguing for communism? If so, then refugees should definitely not be a problem, as an equal amount of resources will be provided for them, thus solving all problems. If not, then your argument is inconsistent.


My opponent has made an initial assumption in regards to morality. They need to explain their moral theory, their classification system between moral good and moral obligation, and their belief in statism and boundaries.

I would also like to ask my opponent to clarify their position on what the best system of government is, and what that government ought to provide for it's citizens.

Debate Round No. 1


Hello ladies, gentlemen. This is Forever23 and I am here to bring forth the premise which is that developed nations do not have a moral obligation to accept refugees.

My ensuing roadmap will include first, abrogating my opponents point, then restating my own points and finally, divulging a new assertion into the debate.

The props first assertion was that it is a small scale moral obligation. He stated that it is best to use up some of our own resources to help others. He gave a great analogy about how you own an island and a ship sinks and there is one survivo rand then how the owner of an island needs to save that one survivor. However, Im sure that Lupricona failed to see that if we share our resources with the refugees, we will bring doom upon ourselves. That would be because many countries are not able to support the burden of refugees. Now, not only the refugees are in trouble, but so are the people in these nations. So as to say, not only will the survivor of the ship accident die, but so will the island owner due to lack of materials needed to survive.

Their second point was that people should share their land with others because we are all people and need to aid each other. That is true, but only if the aiding does not harm us. In fact, according to CNN, ISIS and other terrorist groups hid 10000 of their men among refugees. These people could then hurt the citizens of a country and the nation itself. Therefore, the country should help other but only when it knows that this will not end up in potential harm.

Now to summarize our points:
1. Morally good not moral must
2. Has a high potential end up in causing harm to nation citizens.
3. Is that it takes away from available resources from poor and disadvantaged families

My fourth assertion is that it many refugees can be terrorists. Many of these people have come from a war zone. They have probably been very stressed. Since they can possibly be very depressed, they many hurt the developed nations that have offered them asylum. Other than that, many terrorists can hide their people among refugees. According to CNN, 10000 ISIS men were hidden among the refugees. According to, Violent video games can alter the brain in just one week and make players more aggressive, according to researchers. Scientists at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis took a group of 22 men aged 18-29 and performed MRI scans on them.They then divided the group in half, and while one group was asked to play violent video games for at least 10 hours a week while the second group played none. According to the Sunday Times, the researchers found that the effects on the brain were discovered in the left inferior frontal lobe and the anterior cingulate cortex.An abstract of the report which will be published at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America later this week said subjects experienced alterations to their brain. This may seem irrelevant, however it is relevant. This is what happens to the brain when people play war games. Imagine what happens to the brain when a man or woman experiences actual war. This is very significant because with this damage, refugees can cause a potential harm to the people of a nation. I'm sure that we don't want to do a philanthropic act if the end scenario will be- disaster.

Thank you, please vote for the opposition side.


Thank you, Con, for supplying rebuttals and new arguments for round 2.

Small Scale Moral Obligation:

My opponent rebuts this by arguing that developed nations do not have sufficient resources for the current inhabitants and possible refugees. I already addressed this possible objection in the first round, that my opponent would have to show that there isn't a sufficient amount of resources. Current developed nations have inhabitants that have abundant amounts of food and shelter, so because there are superfluous amounts of resources, accepting refugees is not an issue. I argued that a society is morally obligated to accept refugees to the point that there is sufficient resources for people to live on. My opponent would need to prove that developed nations have insufficient resources.

Land Ownership:

My opponent rebuts this by arguing that people have a right to defend themselves. While people ought to be able to defend themselves from a group of people that have bad intentions, this does not cover the debate topic. We are debating on whether a developed nation should accept refugees. A refugee and a terrorist are two separate types of people, and so this argument is insufficient in refuting my point.

New Argument- Refusing Refugees Grants Terrorists Moral Victory

If nations are provoked to the point where they allow fear to dictate decisions which lead refugees completely abandoned, then the terrorists can claim moral victories. Not only where the terrorists successful in directly killing others, now even more people will die, only this time as a result of the developed nations. The terrorists will become encouraged over this, and will see it as their enemies also killing innocents. This will only increase the bloodshed, something which ought to be prevented.

Opponent's arguments.

My opponent did not respond to my request of arguing for a moral theory and classifying their moral good vs. moral obligation classification. Their entire argument depends on explaining and maintaining consistency with their moral theory. Without addressing this foundational issue, my opponent's arguments are entirely subjective and inherently meaningless.

Terrorists Can Hide Among Refugees:

My opponent argued that because there may be some terrorists hiding among the refugees, that means that we then have to right to reject all of the refugees because of the minority.

This is consistent with utilitarianism, which is a moral theory that I argue is incorrect. This theory does not treat people as ends in themselves, rather, it argues that the ends justify the means. People can be used in order for others to feel safe. This is selfish and wrong. This results in a nation creating an “us vs. them” mentality, and dehumanizes others as undeserving of their culture.


My opponent does not have any good arguments to justify their belief that nations are not morally obligated to accept refugees.

Debate Round No. 2


Hello, this Forever 23 and I am here in my final speech to prove that countries don't have moral obligations to take in refugees.

So my roadmap will include doing the final refutations, repeating my points and finally weighing this debate.

Their First Assertion:
Small Scale Moral Obligation. However, as I have mentioned previously, even developed countries have trouble maintaining the wellbeing of their won citizens.
According to the worldbank, even in Denmark which has the lowest poverty rates, 6% of the population is living in poverty. In the USA it is 15% or 40 million people.
Once these nations are able to take good care of their own citizens, that's when we will be able to talk about excepting refugees.

Their second assertion:
People really cant each own separate land.
However, humans will never just come together and hold hands and live in a "happy and peaceful community" as the proposition is assuming.
That's why we each have our own property. If your neighbor just came to live in your house, you would not let him stay.
It has always been and always stay the same that we put ourselves first before others. The same is with nations and their people.

Their third assertion:
Refusing Refugees Grants Terrorists Moral victory.
However taking in refugees grants terrorists PHYSICAL victory.
As I mentioned before. according to CNN, ISIS hid 10000 of their people among refugees.
Once these terrorists who are camouflaging enter the country, they will cause death of thousands.

Now onto quickly restating my own assertions
1. Morally good not morally obligated.

There is a difference between moral must and moral good. Taking refugees could not possibly be considered a moral obligation.

2. Has a high potential end up in causing harm to nation citizens.

The countries have no resources to support refugees as stated in my first speech/

3. Causes harm to disadvantaged families.

Many families in developed nations are barely getting along. With the refugees, it will be even harder.

4. Refugees can be terrorists

Refugees coming from these countries can be I) emotionally scarred or b) have terrorists hidden among them.

Dear judges, if you are looking for a good, safe world, please vote opposition.


Thank you, Con, for providing your final round in this debate.

My first argument: Small scale moral obligation.

My opponent's rebuttal was that developed nations do not do well to take care of their own citizens. However, I had previously argued that if the government is failing in that area, there are then other methods in which to equally distribute resources so that all residents can have their basic needs met. My opponent never responded to this.

My second argument: Land ownership.

My opponent argued that because people will never be happy and peaceful (an argument from pragmatics) that this is not a good response. However, just because something might not be practical, does not make it moral. And, as our debate is focused on the morality of the issue, not the practicality, this rebuttal is refuted.

My third argument: Moral victory of Terrorists by refusing refugees.

My opponent's rebuttal argued that we should prevent a physical victory by not accepting any refugees. This is an argument from a utilitarian moral theory, that the ends justify the means. However, I have previously argued against this incorrect philosophy, and my opponent did not prove its truth value.

My opponent's arguments:

Moral Good vs Moral Obligation

My opponent simply stated that there is a difference between the two, but never explained what the difference was. Recall that I argued that anything that is morally good is a moral obligation, thus proving my resolution for the debate.

Harm to Nation Citizens

My opponent did not show that developed nations have insufficient resources for all citizens, rather, that the government fails in means to distribute all goods equally. A communistic government would solve that problem, if one concedes statism.

Causes Harm to Disadvantaged Families

This is essentially a restatement of the prior argument, which again, would be getting rid of a failing government system, and replacing it with something more practical.

Refugees Can be Terrorists

As in relation to one of my arguments, it is morally wrong to allow the rest of the refugees suffer because of a minority group.

If you are looking for a morally good world, which would eventually lead to a safe world, please vote Pro.

Thank you for reading this debate, and thanks again to Con for providing a great challenge.

Debate Round No. 3
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