The Instigator
HghDnsty
Pro (for)
Winning
26 Points
The Contender
LB628
Con (against)
Losing
14 Points

Driving on public roads is a right not a privilege.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 9 votes the winner is...
HghDnsty
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/14/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,140 times Debate No: 9490
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (52)
Votes (9)

 

HghDnsty

Pro

State and local governments often quote driving as a privilege. However, this is in error. In fact, driving is a right for all law abiding taxpayers. Dictionary.com defines a right as "the interest or ownership a person, group, or business has in property...". U.S. citizens pay taxes that fund roads, construction and maintenance. As a U.S. citizen that pays taxes we thus have the right to drive on the roads we purchase. In addition, in purchasing our vehicles, we have the right to drive said vehicle. Furthermore, in paying registration fees, taxes and licensing fees we've further demonstrated that a fee has been paid by taxpayers (as a group) which have an interest in driving utilities (roads, vehicles, police patrol, etc.)

As an example, suppose you hire a contractor to build your house (which you'll pay a mortgage on for 30 years). At the end of the construction, you've paid $200k for your house but the contractor (legislator) states that although you've paid for said house they are granting you the privilege to live in the house you've paid to have built. Under the definition of a right, you've paid for the house and have legal title and rights to the house. In comparison, the same concept applies to the utilities you purchase to make driving possible and the definition of rights has been fulfilled.

Lastly, Dictionary.com defines "privilege" as a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most: the privileges of the very rich. Since public roads are open to "most" citizens that follow the laws (and the laws are not under dispute) it cannot be a privilege as defined.

For these reasons, I encourage you to vote "Pro/For" the concept of considering driving a right rather than a privilege.

Thank you.
LB628

Con

First, I would like to thank my opponent for starting this interesting debate.

My argument is based simply on the difference between the right to have something, and the right to do something. Now, my opponents primary argument is based on the flawed assumption that, if we own or have paid for something, we have a right to use it as we wish.

This is quite clearly flawed, as one can see from a simple examination of the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Now the traditional interpretation of that amendment is that American citizens are legally allowed to purchase and retain firearms. However, this has not prevented laws from restricting the use of those firearms, when that use is dangerous.

I, as an American citizens, am therefore allowed to own a gun, but not to shoot a person with that gun, when not in self-defense. There is thus a clear legal distinction between ownership and use, which comes into play when the use of an object could be dangerous to other citizens.

Therefore, at the point where a particular person driving would be a danger to all of those around them, they do not have the right or privilege to drive on public roads, because to do so would be a public danger.

Driving on public roads is therefore a privilege, because it is contingent on the exercise of that privilege not being dangerous. The moment it is deemed to be dangerous, that privilege is revoked. Such a thing could not occur if driving was a right.

I await your response.
Debate Round No. 1
HghDnsty

Pro

I appreciate the insight given by my opponent but he/she has failed to address the issue at hand. Instead, my opponent has confirmed my argument by referencing the Second Amendment to the Constitution, stating that "American citizens are legally allowed to purchase and retain firearms. However, this has not prevented laws from restricting the use of those firearms, when that use is dangerous."

From this point, we can take that my opponent agrees that American citizens have rights associated with ownership and the Bill of Rights. My opponent goes on to state the point that when people violate the laws (or create dangerous situations) those rights somehow become privileges. In fact, this isn't true either, those RIGHTS are taken away or limited to those offenders. This debate, as stated in the first round, doesn't contest the laws associated with driving. As with any laws, the RIGHTS of citizens can be revoked or limited if individuals break the law.

If a driver breaks the law his/her RIGHTS should be revoked or limited and as such, this debate doesn't change how laws are enforced but rather, the fact that they are indeed rights vs. privileges. My opponent has not provide sufficient evidence to contest that the definitions of a right and a privilege set forth above. In the absence of refuting these facts he's instead lead the reader down an avenue that is outside the scope of this debate in an attempt to solidify a fact that is irrelevant.

As such, I encourage you to again vote "Pro/For" the concept of considering driving a right rather than a privilege.

Thank you.
LB628

Con

In his last argument, my opponent made the claim that rights can be revoked if a person has broken a law.

However, I would like to point out two things. First, that under his own definition of privilege, as well as mine, a privilege is defined essentially as anything which is not universal, and indeed, can be revoked. A right however, if it is distinct from a privilege, must therefore be considered universal, and therefore, irrevocable. If my opponent wishes to argue that rights can be revoked, then he is clearly not discussing rights at all, but merely widespread privileges.

Second, driving ability can be revoked even without law breaking. A person who has driving accidents on their record can have their license revoked, even if the incident for which it was ostensibly revoked was minor. It is therefore not the incident itself which caused the revocation, but public danger that the history represents. And so because my opponent never actually responded to this, this provides yet another explanation of why driving on public roads is a privilege: it can be revoked for simply being a safety hazard, rather than for any specific incident which would cause revocation.

To paraphrase, driving is a privilege because the ability to drive can be revoked if driving is deemed a safety hazard, and because anything which can be revoked is by his own definition a privilege, not a right, I urge a Con Vote.

I would then like to take the time to thank HghDnsty for this debate, being both intellectually vigorous, and quick.
Debate Round No. 2
52 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by HghDnsty 7 years ago
HghDnsty
Kleptin,

No, you are grasping I believe. I've addressed how the entire definition, that you've provided supports my point. You last post is merely debating semantics, you've failed in your last two posts to address the real issue of your definition supporting the fact that a right is being provided for an individual, class or caste. Yet again, reconfirming that your definition is supporting my position.

You added the definition to the debate, stick with it.

Cheerio,
HghDnsty
Posted by Kleptin 7 years ago
Kleptin
I think you're grasping at straws. Very, very desperately.

There are several "ors" in contention and only the first one is relevant.

My reading:

SECTION ONE: A special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit
SECTION TWO: granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste.

Your reading:

SECTION ONE: A special advantage, immunity, permission, right,
SECTION TWO: or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste.

In my intepretation, Section two is a property added to section one in order to fulfill the definition.
In your interpretation, section one and section two are two separate definitions.

If they really were two separate definitions, they would not be included on the same line, as dictionaries distinguish between separate definitions using bullet points or outline format.

Furthermore, if the one writing the entry wanted to say what you incorrectly interpreted, he would have phrased it thusly:

A special advantage, immunity, permission, or right; or a benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste.

"Or" is used to end a list. If he were really separating the two statements, he would have to add an "or" before "right", indicating that he has ended a list and is forming a new thought.
Posted by HghDnsty 7 years ago
HghDnsty
Kleptin,

I respectfully disagree with your analogy. See one of your definitions as follows:
"1. A special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste".

This definition applies and OR not an AND test. It can be a special advantage, immunity, permission, right OR benefit granted to OR enjoyed by an individual, class or caste. Your definition cites that a privilege is a RIGHT granted OR enjoyed by an individual, class or caste.

To summarize:
A RIGHT has been identified in this definition pertaining to an INDIVIDUAL (you or I) or a CLASS (taxpayers and/or the driving public). Thus, the point still stands that your own definition supports the fact that driving is a right.

Thank you.
Posted by Rezzealaux 7 years ago
Rezzealaux
lol Kleptin for maybe five seconds I was looking at "Horse + Horn" and thinking "How the hell does a horse play a horn??????"
Posted by Kleptin 7 years ago
Kleptin
"To play on your own definitions, the term "Right" is used in three of the 5 definitions of the term "privilege". If we go with your definitions (vs. Dictionary.com), a privilege is in fact a RIGHT and thus my only point that driving on roads is a right vs. a privilege is again proven accurate. I still see them as independent and seperate terms but we can use your definitions to prove my point if you'd like."

All of the definitions you refer to indicate that a privilege is a right + something else. A right that is given to some and not to others.

Privilege = Right + X
Unicorn = Horse + Horn
3 = 2 + 1

Your resolution is
"Driving on public roads is a right not a privilege"

Driving on public roads = right
Driving on public roads =/= privilege

Driving on public roads = Horse
Driving on public roads =/= Unicorn

These are conjoined statements, meaning that you must show that both statements are true, as per the phrasing of your own resolution.

Meaning, you want to show that driving on public roads has the attributes of a right, but exclude that which makes a right a privilege.

So no, using these definitions would not prove your point, as you cannot account for the inherent difference between a privilege and a right that exists within the definitions.
Posted by HghDnsty 7 years ago
HghDnsty
Yeah, I think so. I don't know that we'll disagree a whole lot on this bonus topic but I like the conversation and the idea of being challenged to support the views. I rather enjoy having the debate and seeing different perspectives from different cultures, age groups, and backgrounds.
Posted by Rezzealaux 7 years ago
Rezzealaux
Yeah I haven't been considering this as part of the debate; my style and from the way I see it most of the people's style around here are that the comments section does not affect the debate section, except for times maybe when a person didn't get to post their round's argument in time due to some malfunction in the timer (they do happen) and it gets posted in the comments.

I'm more interested in the actual arguments and points.

Would you like to start a thread on the forums for this?
Posted by HghDnsty 7 years ago
HghDnsty
Ragner...the point of this debate is roads, not the value of the dollar based on our foreign deficit. I'd love to debate this issue in a seperate thread continuing my comment below.
Posted by HghDnsty 7 years ago
HghDnsty
I'll answer but I don't want this considered part of the debate, as it's an altogether different and complex area. If we inflate our currency (print more money) we devalue our spending power and put ourselves in crucial economic turmoil in the global economy. The current global stand is the U.S. dollar and if it becomes hyperinflationary, compared to foreign currency, like the Euro, the foreign powers that be could decide to conduct business in a different currency. This would lead to us Americans having to pay more money for foreign imports. Since Americans consume 80% (and I'm pulling this statistic from memory so could be off) of foreign imports this would devastate the U.S. economy. Manufacturers would have more costs of doing business, which, in turn, would result in more layoffs, creating less jobs, having to shift jobs overseas, and put us into an economic black hole. It's all theoretical of course but the end result wouldn't be good for the U.S.

Luckily, the foreign governments know this as well. They also depend on the U.S. to buy the 80% of goods that they manufacturer. This is why China, for example, needs the U.S. to survive, they suffer when we suffer and they also want our dollar to be strong so that when we buy from them they can use those dollars to support their own economy. A weaker U.S. dollar (global currency) hurts EVERYBODY.

The worldwide economy depends on the U.S. I could go on for many hours on this topic but we'll save it for another day.

Cheerio,
HghDnsty
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 7 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"I wholly own a business with 3 other partners"
That's like saying the three of you all ate a whole pie-- the same whole pie. Obviously, this doesn't work out. You jointly own-- but each of your ownership interests add up to only a part of the business.

"If we default on our debt with foreign governments they aren't going to come in an take our roads. Instead, the value of our dollar may deflate on the open market and our economy could suffer but the roads would still be ours."
Rezz has good reasons for thinking there to be something wrong with this. What a "deflating dollar" means, in effect, is that the writ of your government's guns has less and less power, since a dollar has no utility as a good in it's own right, it can only purchase things due to someone being threatened by the entity that issues it. When that happens, you no longer run things. They won't "take the roads," to be sure, but they can effectively make the state a vassal if not conquer it outright.
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