The Instigator
Con (against)
11 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
12 Points

Government Foreign Aid

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/24/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,695 times Debate No: 17592
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (16)
Votes (5)




RESOLUTION: Foreign Aid provided from a government, while well-intentioned, has more negative consequences than it does produce positive ones.


Because I am taking the CON position, I am declaring myself to be against government foreign aid in a general and broad sense -- that is, I am against my government giving foreign aid to any other nation, regardless if they are an ally or considered a friendly nation. Foreign aid is inclusive to money, supplies, subsistence, arms and weaponry, etc.

Or has Thomas Jefferson elucidated, "... peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none."

That is not to say that I have any objections towards private entities who, of their own accord, feel compelled to give charitable donations to those they deem worthy of the assistance. Private entities can do what they wish with their money.

I am against government giving aid and will list all my reasons in the coming rounds.

The title of the debate is left intentionally vague so that all reasons in favor or against government foreign aid can be utilized, be it from a moral perspective, a pragmatic perspective, or any variation to support why it is or isn't in a nations best interest to give foreign aid.

I look forward to debating whomever opts to take up my challenge.

P1. The Moral Argument

In an essay entitled "Famine, Affluence, and Morality," writer Peter Singer argued that we, being in an affluent society, are morally obligated to give humanitarian aid. From a purely moral perspective, perhaps he is right. The only valid and applicable questions then, are, to whom are the proposed funds allocated and from whom are they extracted? Singer believes that it is the moral responsibility of the citizens of the United States, collectively, to give to those less fortunate via taxes.

"If it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, then we ought, morally, to do it." [1]

If, however, we pay for those services through a compulsory tax, what have we as individuals done morally? All we have done is paid our taxes in accordance with the tax code. What great virtue has thereby been satisfied in doing something we are legally obligated to do? In a nation which values individual choice, another moral imperative is jeopardized in the process of alleviating the other – namely, forced giving. Instead it would be more prudent, equitable, and in keeping with the spirit of giving, to allow individuals to give of their own volition.

Is the method of "charity" through taxes actually indicative of giving, or is it simply taking and redistributing wealth? If indeed it is taking, it is merely substituting one moral [giving] at the expense of another moral [taking]. Because one moral is being substituted for the sake of the other, Singer's own thesis serves to be the very noose he hangs himself with.

Statistically, one also needs to question whether or not this method is counterproductive; is this loose form of "charity" actually at the cost of another?

P2. Argument in defense of private charity

FACT: The private, charitable donations of United States citizens attribute the largest amount of foreign aid in the world, surpassing even the U.S. government. Of the $122.8 billion dollars spent on foreign aid, $95.5 billion was given by private donation, accounting for 79% of the total charity. [2]

However, if many citizens assume the U.S. government will help those in need, how many others simply do not bother giving private donations at all, or in a reduced amount, because they are [falsely] relying on the government to do their charity for them? If the average American feels sanctimonious because they paid their taxes (which they are legally obligated to do), versus actually donating their time and money, I would seriously question the calibration of their moral compass.

What then are some arguments in favor of private charity? Private charity involves more interpersonal contact, where the aid is directly given to those in need, allowing funds to be spent more economically and more effectively. When governments act as middlemen, getting in between the giver and the receiver, there is almost always an inherent waste and mismanagement of funds. Waste and fraud is doubled when those funds are taken from citizens represented by the United States government and given to foreign governments for distribution to the needy.

"The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities." -- George Washington [3]

=== SOURCES ===




I accept, what I anticipate will be, a very productive debate.

Con is arguing that governments, namely the United States, should not give foreign aid to other countries.
I, being Pro, will be arguing that governments SHOULD give foreign aid.


Foreign aid (1): Is, but is not limited to "economic, technical, or military assitance given by one nation to another" Note that this can be given independent of alliances, so the quotes by the founding fathers addressed towards U.S involvment in alliances is irrelevant.

Should (2): " Used to express obligation or duty"

Since that is the base of the argument, con's first reasoning for his position was that there are more negative than positive consequences for providing foreign aid. However, con agreed that it would be the moral thing to do.

In life, we are often faced with the question of "what should we do?" However, this question is answered through refering to a heirachy of justifications. Is this action legally correct? Is it morally correct? Is it more beneficial?.... As we think through these many questions trying to find what we SHOULD do, the highest and most important is, "is it morally correct?"

Christine Korsgaard (3):

"[W]e must value our moral nature as what I call a form of practical identity, a description under which we value ourselves and find our lives worth living. I claimed that our moral identity, which I took to be equivalent to our human identity, is the ultimate source of reasons, because the moral law is the ultimate source of justification - a consideration must be capable of being embodied in a universalizable maxim if it is to count as a reason at all. So if we are to have any reasons, or to see anything as being valuable, we must value and identify with our nature as moral beings."

Hence, all that is necessary to prove that governments SHOULD give foreign aid, is the question of whether or not it is the moral and ethical course of action. Whether or not the action benefits or even puts the giving nation at a disadvantage is of lesser importance, as morality is the ultimate source of justification.
If I can prove that foreign aid is the moral course of action, then that means that governments SHOULD provide it, hence meaning that I have won the debate.


1. My opponent argues that there really is no spirit of giving in the method of forced taxes. Hence, the U.S foreign aid does not stem from a desire of the citizens to give, and a higher moral purpose.
* I refute that taxes are not collected with the singular intention of providing foreign aid. Taxes, rather, are USED as a method of fuding foreign aid when necessary. Hence, while it is true that the citizens aren't really giving, we must acknowlede that the government IS. Furthermore, with account for my earlier conclusion on how this debate can be won, this argument is irrelevant. Basically, con states that this aid is "charity" ( safe to assume is moral), but is costing the citizens as a result. The fact that the action is moral and charity is enough justification for why it should be done.

Unless this moral action is done through severe injustice on the citizens of the country, it SHOULD be done. We all know that there is no severe injustice created on the citizens by foreign aid, ergo, foreign aid SHOULD be provided

2. The private charity defense.

* Private charity is excellent, but that does not mean that the government should not give charity, and only leave it to the private groups. There are certain matters such as natural disasters (Take what happened to Japan in April) that need the military, resources, aid, and simply human care of external nations. Private groups can only provide so much. So if your implication with that private charity argument was that private charities can take care of foreign aid, the government doesn't need to, then that is factually incorrect.

Proof of my Position

1. My Opponent concedes that government foreign aid is moral.
"...we, being in an affluent society, are morally obligated to give humanitarian aid. From a purely moral perspective, perhaps he is right"

2. Morality is the unltimate justification, and all that is needed to prove that an action SHOULD be done (with the exception of the moral action creating injustice in the process. However, that is not the case here)

3. Hence, by transitive logic, my opponent concedes that governments SHOULD give foreign aid.

Back to you Paradigm!

(3)Valuing our Humanity. Christine M. Korsgaard. Professor of Philosophy, Harvard University

Debate Round No. 1


I'd like to take the opportunity of thanking my opponent for accepting the debate. Judging by the quality of PRO's writing abilities, I trust this will make for an excellent debate.


PRO begins the rebuttal with a few clarifications and a quote by Christine Korsgaard. She was quoted as stating,

"the moral law is the ultimate source of justification... Hence, all that is necessary to prove that governments SHOULD give foreign aid, is the question of whether or not it is the moral and ethical course of action. Whether or not the action benefits or even puts the giving nation at a disadvantage is of lesser importance, as morality is the ultimate source of justification."

I respectfully beg to differ with Korsgaard. Though it is often viewed, both domestically and internationally, as an endless pool of revenue and resources, the United States is not a pit of money. Its government cannot economically support the weight of the world without bankrupting itself. If the rescuer needs rescuing then everyone is lost.

Consider the following analogy: If the United States Coast Guard sent a rescue boat to help imperiled Haitians floundering off the Straits of Florida, but the rescuers ship was already filled to capacity, should they continue to pile survivors onto the deck, endangering the lives of everyone? If the vessel capsizes because the rescuers failed to recognize the current state of their ship, does it not nullify the rescue attempt? If the rescuers end up in need of help, then not only will those originally in need drown, but those in need have increased because the rescuer too need rescuing, thus invalidating the moral itself. In this way, the United States government cannot be burdened by a moral principle that will invariably violate other moral principles in the process. Pragmatic reasons aside, the moral of endangering oneself for the good of none could be considered itself a moral tragedy of the highest order.

PRO then argues that "while it is true that the citizens aren't really giving, we must acknowlede that the government IS."

I suspect that the government is not providing charity at all, rather it has become the status quo for affluent nations to do so as a gesture of solidarity. Why suspect it? Please note how selective the U.S. when it comes to it's "charities." Nations that are the poorest often receive the least amount of aid, whereas other nations that are quite well off often receive more. If it were merely a matter of have's and have not's under the pretense that it's purely philanthropic, then reasonably PRO should expect the poorest of the poor to receive the most in aid. As you can see, they do not. [1]

I submit that the U.S. generally acts in a manner to uphold an image under the misguided pretense of morality and/or is tantamount to special favors and bribes as a strategic investment, i.e. "I do for you / you do for me." Case in point: Darfur is one of the poorest, war torn places on earth. Yet the US involvement in Darfur, either militarily or philanthropically, is negligible in comparison to the aid given to nations who do not need assistance like, for instance, Pakistan -- a nation that receives the 2nd largest amount of foreign aid and one who has been wishy-washy, at best, with being forthcoming. If what PRO alleges is true, then (s)he must be able to logically explain away such a discrepancy if it's purely done for moral reasons. [2]

PRO then mischaracterizes my position by stating that I conceded that government Foreign Aid is moral. I have done no such thing. At most, I conceded the issue that it's designed to APPEAR to be done under moral pretenses, but that they sacrifice other morals in the process, thus invalidating it. If I said that I pushed one kid off of a cliff in order to save one, one could argue that I did so under moral pretenses. But have I not sacrificed one moral for another in the process?

In short, PRO is either being disingenuous by playing a game of semantics or (s)he is simply confused. Either way, PRO's accusations are totally unfounded and I trust the reader will come to the same conclusion.


Recently there have been a number of allegations and scandals between the US and countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq for misappropriation of funds. [3] Rather than the funds actually going to those in-need, often the money goes unaccounted for. Meanwhile, foreign palaces curiously remain opulent, and their heads-of-state well fed. Not only does this invalidate the premise of state-sponsored aid, but it also serves to undermine Americans as well. Here at home, we continue to watch critical infrastructure become aged and dilapidated. The economic implosion of Detroit, once the 4th largest city in America (now the 11th due to a mass exodus), lends credence, if nothing else, to a misguided principle of giving to others when our own are in need.

The CATO Institute, a prominent Washington-based think tank, argues that government-run foreign aid produces far less than what is gained by it, regardless of how well-intentioned the effort might be. They allege that this disservice is tantamount to economic imperialism which fosters foreign dependency, and it's difficult not to come to the same conclusion. The nation of Tanzania is cited as a prime example. Since 1970, Tanzania has received more foreign aid than any other nation on earth, yet it is still the 3rd poorest nation according to the Human Development Index. [4] In other words, not only has it not benefited the masses, but it has actually hindered their abilities by expecting aid... and the U.S. are the enablers.

"By providing a seemingly endless credit line to governments regardless of their policies, AID effectively discourages governments from learning from and correcting their mistakes. Giving some Third World governments perpetual assistance is about as humanitarian as giving an alcoholic the key to a brewery. Good intentions are no excuse for helping to underwrite an individual's--or a country's-- self-destruction." -- James Bovard

Monetary subsistence does not encapsulate the bulk of U.S. foreign involvement. Military aid, in the form of training and various weaponry, has proven itself disastrous time and again. The Central Intelligence Agency has coined a phrase to summarize the unintended consequences of funding proxy wars -- "Blowback". [5] The term blowback originally referred to a shooter being hurt by his own weapon; when the term is used by the CIA it denotes the violent consequences of covert operations; when an indigenous population turns on the country once supporting them. Iran, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, the Sandinistas in the Nicaraguan Civil War, are all examples of the U.S. supporting, training, and arming a future enemy.


As we can see, government foreign aid has dire consequences, irrespective of how well-intentioned it might be. The United States taxpayer simply cannot afford to pay for all the people of the world, let alone all impoverished people, especially when the U.S. government cannot even balance its own checkbook. The U.S. government is playing a dangerous game with the safety and security of its own people, and it is high time they cease and desist before the nation is completely insolvent.

I thank you for your time and attention.

=== SOURCES ===



Con makes a good argument. He refers to the misuse of foreign aid by foreign governments and refers to the hidden agenda possibly behind the offer of foreign aid. HOWEVER, he does so under a limited scope. He does not account for foreign aid in the event of an emergency.


1. Take the Haitian earthquake of January 2010 for example. Haiti is a nation torn in poverty, among the poorest on Earth. An earthquake of that destructive magnitude will be catastrophic. The country has no money to pull itself to its feet, and frankly its government is extremely corrupt. The influx of casual foreign aid, I imagine, is misused by the government, but are those the grounds to cut it off all together? The earthquake in Haiti was an example of an emergency. Guess who was the first responce? The U.S coast guard. It took hours before private charities and the entire world was aware of this dire situation. How many people would have died had the U.S not helped?

It is not my intention to paint the United States as a hero of pure conscience, but it is a fact that without this aid, people will suffer. Without this aid, there would be one more family, homeless, starving, and dieing, wondering if the world even cares. Private charities cannot provide the same band of human beings to march down and help people like a nation can, in the same amount of time.

So, while I do acknowledge the prevalent misuse of government foreign aid, I stress that we must not cut off foreign aid as a result. When an emergency strikes and that foreign aid becomes of dire life and death importance to another human being, will we turn our back on him simply because of a change in policy?

We must find a solution for the misuse of tax payer money by foreign governments, but the complete removal of foreign aid, is NOT the answer.

2. There is a shade of exaggeration in CON's analogy.
" If I said that I pushed one kid off of a cliff in order to save one, one could argue that I did so under moral pretenses. But have I not sacrificed one moral for another in the process?"

The source of some of America's problems does not stem from the single act of providing foreign aid. There is little evidence that removing foreign aid would even effectively solve its largest issues. So to assert that foreign aid is pushing America off the cliff is a bit of a strech, to put it lightly.

I stand by morality, as it is the highest justification for our actions.

CON stands by practicality, but it is not the highest justification for our actions.

It is PRACTICAL to cut off foreign aid, it will benefit the U.S a little, but it is not MORAL.


It is within human nature to do what is universally recognized as ethical and morally sound. It is for this reason that there are those who will sacrifice their own lives to save another, whereas it would be more practical to live. We cannot go through with a course of action that is practical yet immoral, if we are to maintain our integrity as moral beings. Foreign aid in the event of an emergency becomes that question of morality vs practicality.

Once more, I truely understand CON's concerns about the misuse of foreign aid, but we must attack that issue from a different angle, the cost of removing foreign aid is far greater and far more ghastly than the cost of having it. The U.S in particular plays a big hand in these emergency situations, if it removes that hand, things will get much worse for much more people.
Debate Round No. 2



PRO ends the debate in the same vein he began it, as the entirety of his side of the debate was an emotive argument. In PRO's mind the United States ought to give aid, especially in emergencies, simply on the notion that certain nations cannot help themselves. He cites the Haiti earthquake as an example, but neglects to give any compelling reasons why the U.S. "ought" to involve themselves beyond some misplaced sense of civic duty.

He goes on to involve my use of the Coast Guard as why it is important. What PRO may not know, however, is that I was at ground zero because I was in the Coast Guard during that time. In fact, my cutter, the CGC Tahoma, was the second military unit to arrive on scene.

I do not at all discount that Haiti is poor. I do not discount that those people were in need. I don't discount that the Haitian government is extremely corrupt. What I do discount is that the United States government has an obligation to help those in need. But allow me to summarize, again, my reasons for why it is not in the best interest of the government to engage in humanitarian missions:

* The U.S. government is nearly insolvent. It cannot afford to use tax dollars to help other nations.

* Private donations far exceed that which the government has ever supplied. By lowering taxes, people are better able to use their own funds (actual charity) to give to those in need.

* Private donations allow for more interpersonal contact, where funds can be directly given to those in need, versus combating fraud, waste, and abuse. It cuts the middleman out.

* Entangling alliances creates an atmosphere of favoritism among nations -- a very dangerous precedent to set.

* As macabre as it might sound, natural disasters, famine, pestilence, warfare, etc keep numbers down. This is simply a fact of life, not a moral question. While it is sad that people die, it doesn't change that fact. Death is absolutely necessary for life to continue.

* Taxation of this kind supports theft and redistribution of wealth, wealth that is not theirs to begin with.

PRO then asserts "There is little evidence that removing foreign aid would even effectively solve its largest issues. So to assert that foreign aid is pushing America off the cliff is a bit of a strech, to put it lightly."

PRO, however, misunderstands my analogy. My analogy is in reference to how one satisfies one moral without realizing it has to break another one in the process. Suppose someone is falling off of a cliff. I feel the obligatory response is to save them. I achieve this moral victory by pushing someone else off of the cliff to break the other individuals fall. I have now sacrificed one life in defense of another. I have thereby broken one moral in order to satisfy the other, thus invalidating the original moral.

This applies to the burgeoning crisis in America. We have homeless, we have imperiled people, we have a broken system. Until we can get our own house in order, we are in no position to help others unless by the freewill of the private citizen. The point is that they have the choice to do what they want with their money. The government's money is really the People's. And what do they do with money the People's money?

The United States funded the Muhajideen, which are today elements of both the Taliban and Al Qaeda, supporting their fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan. The expulsion of the Soviets out of Afghanistan worked, from a strategic point of view, however, today we see the unintended consequence of just such a strategic maneuver, as we ourselves fight the same warriors we supported two decades ago.

Similarly, the U.S. government supported Iraq in their bloody 10-year war against Iran. Though we treated Iraq as an ally (the enemy of my enemy is my friend), we have now fought two wars against them. We are still diplomatically in dire straits with Iran, and have been mired down on two separate fronts, facing enemies we once funded militarily. We now have more enemies than ever before because those we befriended objected to our foreign national policy. In essence the United States has manufactured its own enemies, and inflamed anti-west propaganda.

Unquestionably it is more righteous to live at peace, but peace is reciprocal. Therefore the applicable moral question is whether or not we should involve ourselves in the affairs of other countries as deeply as we do, if at all. For instance, juxtaposing the United States and a nation like Switzerland highlights some very poignant disparities. Switzerland has not fought any wars since 1815, a timeline of peace unheard of by today's standards. A little known fact is that Nazi-Germany drafted war plans for the invasion of Switzerland, but could not allocate enough resources to accomplish their objective before their dissolution, as they were fighting on two fronts – England and America in the West and Russia in the East.

In contrast with Swiss foreign policy, the United States has adopted a policy of preemptive attack. Perception is often more important than reality, because if your intentions are not well understood, then what difference does it make if the inevitable solution is one in the same? Many in favor of the preemptive position claim that America is not an occupier, but rather a liberator. Or is this a non-sequitur or a straw man used bolster support for an otherwise unpopular occupation in the interest of "spreading democracy?" Or have we forgotten that democracy is not supposed to be a force, it is supposed to be a choice, lest it contradict itself?

And what of U.S. imperialism? The strategy behind permanent bases are for the expressed purposes of refueling, re-supplying forward deployed units, and extending the military reach, power, and influence of the United States. Fiscal irresponsibility, however, has allowed the United States to indebt itself past $12 trillion dollars. [1]

Coupling these facts with the recent unpopularity of bank, auto makers, and corporate bail-outs, makes even less sense when it is done overseas. Despite our economic travails, we have an astonishing 144 bases abroad, manned by over 200,000 troops. Some military strategists view these bases abroad as being indispensably vital to international stability, but with the dissolution of the Cold War, virtually every nation, except the United States, is reducing their numbers. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates that global military expenditures have dropped by one third: from $1.1 trillion in the late 1980s to $740 billion in 1997. [2]

Some of the 200,000 military personnel in 144 nations do perform legitimate missions, such as protecting U.S. embassies and collecting intelligence, but the vast majority do not fall into this category as none of the 144 bases are embassies – they are military posts. Of these, some have an extraordinarily high number of bases and troops. There are already 27 bases in Iraq, 21 in Japan, 18 in Germany, and 32 in South Korea. What incentive does, say, the South Korean military have to fight its own wars when the United States has embedded its troops inside South Korean borders? What kind of message is this sending to the world, all the while the US is claiming this is not about occupying but liberating?


PRO did not even attempt to engage the bulk of my arguments. His failure to challenge my arguments is very disheartening. I have given countless, well-sourced examples for why it is not in the best interest for the United States, or governments in general, to engage in any kind of foreign aid projects.

I thank my opponent and the voters for the opportunity to speak about such an important topic.

=== SOURCES ===



CON did not address nor refute my distinction on practicality versus morality, and continued his argument based on a purely practical basis. Each of his supposed "well-sourced reasons" are the same as they were in round 2.

1. From round 1, I established that human beings are moral beings, and morality is the highest justification for our actions. CON's only refutation to this resolution was that he "does not agree with Korsgaard." So, in effect, the resolution stood, as he did not concretely refute the statement.

2. CON, for each round regurgitated a plethura of facts and technicalities while trying to undermine and ignore the moral aspect of the debate.

3. Therefore, my argument is unchanged as well. Morality is above practicality.

4. FACT: It is the moral course of action to give foreign aid.

5. FACT: It is the practical course of action to NOT give foreign aid.

6. The point of morality being superior in justification to practicality went unaddressed.

7. Therefore, the U.S SHOULD give foreign aid, because it is the moral action, and the point of morality above practicality stands unchallenged.

I see no need for further explanation.
Debate Round No. 3
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
Ike shouldn't have won this...
Posted by Mestari 5 years ago
@innomen: Korsgaard holds significant weight because she is not only the most respected philosophers of deontology since Kant, but she also provided a metaethical bases for this view on morality. In philosophical debate, deontology is the most sound moral theory because of her works in the field. Utilitarianism is a far more intuitive theory, but cannot be argued to have a solid basis in truth due to her writings.

Also, suggesting that morality requires prudence in a practical sense is to misrepresent morality as a whole. Also, the argument wasn't made that foreign policy is pragmatic in nature. Even if it was, that doesn't change the fact that the debate came down to whether or not an action should be morally taken. Just because we have a moral obligation doesn't mean we have to fulfill it. That is to say that just because we ought give foreign aid does not mean it is what our foreign policy objectives are designed to do.
Posted by Mestari 5 years ago
And finally, the RFD.

Conduct: Conduct is largely related to how you handle arguments in round, and the strategy you choose. I get irritated when people make countless strawmen throughout their entire case, and find that a poor way to debate. Paradigm does this for almost every argument he makes, thus conduct goes to ike.
Spelling and Grammar: I didn't notice anything horrid, so I voted for a tie here.
Arguments: Paradigm doesn't properly address Korsgaard, therefore whoever wins on morality wins the debate. This was a really easy decision because 000ike was the only person to make offensive arguments on this level of this debate. Paradigm's defense is mitigatory at best, and far from terminal. This means that there is a greater than 0% chance that 000ike is right, and since thus a greater than 0% risk of offense from the pro on the highest level of the debate. Paradigm has 0% offense on morality, and thus exactly 0% risk of offense. A greater than 0% risk of offense is obviously larger than a 0% risk of offense. 000ike wins on morality.
Sources: I largely evaluated this on the quality of sources and the representation of them. Paradigm cited Singer only to create a strawman of his argument, which is highly unethical. 000ike however, cited Korsgaard, the most influential philosopher on deontology since Kant himself.
Posted by Mestari 5 years ago
000ike, if you are going to run Korsgaard, make sure that you understand deontology. Had you even a basic grasp of what Kantian ethics entail then this debate would have been much clearer and easier, as you could have shown why your opponent was non-responsive in his moral arguments. You could also avoid making me want to be a skeptic with misinterpretations of what proper morality entails. I'm actually a bit bothered that you chose to run deontology when foreign aid clearly has numerous deontic violations. Utilitarianism would have been a better moral theory for you to use in this debate, deont is Con ground. Sadly enough he didn't make appropriate responses in the debate... Yeah, the fact that both of you argued under the wrong moral paradigm for your side of the debate contributed massively to the poor quality of argument interaction. Skepticism...
Posted by Mestari 5 years ago
It's debates like this that make me sometimes believe that skepticism makes more sense than morality. Both of you mishandled the morality debate. Con, you could have won this debate in round 2 easily. You could have conceded Korsgaard, that moral law is the highest source of justification, which you end up doing anyway by not actually responding to it. You could have then realized that Korsgaard follows Deontology and justified the act-omission distinction in round 2. The act-omission distinction is an essential component of deontology that states an omission is always morally permissible, because when faced with multiple moral prohibitions, it would be impossible to justify taking any action. If you do this then you can simply claim that it is always morally permissible not to give foreign aid as you would simply be omitting to take an action. You could then extend any pragmatic argument and win because there would be no risk of offense coming off of the Pro for any level of the debate other than morality, which would have been a wash anyway. However, that did not happen in this debate.

Before I move on to the arguments actually made in the round, and my RFD, I also want to touch on Singer. Con completely created a strawman with his argument. Singer argues that you had ought to give until unable to without comparable moral consequences. Just because we can't support the entire world does not mean we ought not support who we can.

Moving on to the responses to morality that you did make. They were all utilitarian in nature, and did not actually apply to 000ike's case because you never argued why utilitarianism would metaethically precede deontology.
Posted by 000ike 5 years ago
and I'm sure just because you say so, that makes it so.
Posted by PARADIGM_L0ST 5 years ago
"Con agreed that it was more practical to not give foreign aid, but more moral to give it."

I said no such thing, let alone implied such a sentiment. Quote me verbatim. As I pointed out in the debate, morality was just one issue to look at in the debate. Of the moral issue, I gave counter-examples of how preferring one moral inherently negates the other. The entirety of Pro's argument focused on why starving people are bad and somehow that means that the United States government, specifically, has to feed all the hungry people of the world. There was nothing from his side on how to even practically accomplish the moral, let alone a well-articulated reason why it is was moral to do so.

The entire argument, from start to finish, was a string of emotive pleas where all of my arguments went unchallenged. Failing to address or refute legitimate points in a debate and harping on one solitary (and subjective) subject is, alone, grounds for forfeiture.
Posted by innomen 5 years ago
I don't understand why a professor of Philosophy should carry any special weight in the argument. Even if she is from Harvard. There is an element of prudence that exists within morality, and practicality addresses the prudent nature that our foreign policy must adhere. Paradigm should have pointed out that resting an entire argument on that source is weak at best.

Where Paradigm opened the debate it is your responsibility to counter his arguments to the resolution. Personally i get annoyed when Pro isn't opening up, but that's just me.
Posted by 000ike 5 years ago
I will also, as a method of persuasion, note, that the two previous voters both acknowledged that con did not address my argument. Maybe you should read it again.
Posted by 000ike 5 years ago
@innomen: Not to challenge your decision disrespectfully, but I don't believe that is a fair assessment of this debate. Con agreed that it was more practical to not give foreign aid, but more moral to give it. I opened the debate with a quote from Koorsgard regarding why morality is a higher justification than practicality. In order for my opponent to have won, he would have had to prove that practicality was a higher justification than morality. He did not do that. He didn't even touch the subject. He continued arguing with facts proving why it is practical to stop giving foreign aid, which didn't make sense because we both agreed on that.

You say I ignored con's point for point position, but if you look again, you will see that it is actually him who ignored mine. All his points proved only 1 thing, that it is practical to cut off foreign aid. My points proved 2 things, that it is moral to give foreign aid, and morality is higher than practicality. By that, he could have conjured up all the facts in the world, but if he did not prove that practicality was higher, then how could he have won?

About the font: well, that's subjective, I certainly hope that did not influence your decision.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Mestari 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in the comments.
Vote Placed by Rockylightning 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con had more coherent argumentation and a higher ammount of reliable sources than pro.
Vote Placed by innomen 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro neglected argumentation, and largely engaged in rhetoric ignoring pro's point for point position. Changing your font size doesn't increase the weight of your argument. Actually, it's a little annoying to read.
Vote Placed by wierdman 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: con did not attack pro's argument. he also failed to argue on his point.
Vote Placed by CGBSpender 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's arguments were massive in scope and sometimes very fallacious. The Giving-taking argument required proof that "taking" was in fact wrong. An obvious rebuttal that was missed by pro was law of diminishing returns (ie. $10 from a rich person will cause less dissatisfaction than the pleasure $10 brings to a poor person). The resolution was highly confused, it started being about the consequences, but was affirmed by pro as being the moral character, but wasn't effectively refuted by con.