The Instigator
kasmic
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Sarra
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Governments ought to protect citizens from themselves.

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 9/10/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,227 times Debate No: 78804
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (65)
Votes (1)

 

kasmic

Pro

4 rounds/72hrs/6000 characters/Select Voting

Round 1: acceptance
Round 2: Opening arguements
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: Closing statements (No New Arguements)

No Kritiks

(Just in case Zaradi happened upon this debate.)

Government: “the form or system of rule by which a state, community, etc., is governed:” (1)

Ought: “used to express justice, moral rightness, or the like:” (2)

Protect: “to defend or guard from attack, invasion, loss, annoyance, insult, etc.; cover or shield from injury or danger.” (3)

Citizens: “an inhabitant of a city or town, especially one entitled to its privileges or franchises.” (4)

By "themselves" I mean the citizens, not the Government.


Please comment if interested.

(1) http://dictionary.reference.com...
(2) http://dictionary.reference.com...
(3) http://dictionary.reference.com...
(4) http://dictionary.reference.com...
Sarra

Con

I accept :)
Debate Round No. 1
kasmic

Pro

Resolved: Governments Ought to Protect Citizens from Themselves

Thank you Sarra for accepting this debate, I anticipate an interesting and thoughtful exchange.

Observation:

This debate is about what a government ought to do as in “if” it should, or “if” it should not protect citizens from themselves. This debate is not about how the government ought to go about accomplishing that, that is to say the question of this debate is not “how.” Such a debate over “how” would be important to have after concluding “if.” Consequently, any and all arguments and contentions involving “how” are not on point and should be dismissed.

My case here is remarkably simple (P = Premise, C = Conclusion)


P1: Government’s ought to protect citizens from harm.
P2: Citizens can and do harm themselves
C: Governments ought to protect citizens from themselves

As you can see, if I can affirm P1 and P2 the conclusion follows logically. Thus to fill my burden, in this debate, I must affirm P1 and P2. Con’s burden is to demonstrate one or both of these premises untrue. With that, I will now proceed to fill my burden and defend both premises.

P1: The U.S. Government ought to protect citizens from harm

To understand what the government ought to do it is important to understand the role of government. The question of what role a government is to fill in society has been argued and debated over centuries. Perhaps, the most well-known and accessible description of the proper role of Government is found in the supreme Law of the United States, the Constitution. Here is a sample of those values and goals included by the authors as to that purpose; “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare….” (http://www.archives.gov...) It is reasonable to assume these goals and purposes ought to be the goals and purposes of all governments.

Such governments could only accomplish these goals and realize their purpose if citizens are protected from harm. Moreover, there can be no justice, tranquility, general welfare etc. if citizens are subject to harm that the government could reasonably prevent. That is to say Governments ought to protect their citizens from harm.

P2: Citizens can and do harm themselves.

This premise is basically a truism.

Examples of citizens harming themselves include; smoking, drinking, driving without seatbelts, suicide, etc.

C: Government's ought to protect citizens from themselves

To negate con must demonstrate either premise 1 or 2 false. Furthermore, as P1 and P2 are affirmed that Governments ought to protect citizens from harm and, that citizens can and do harm themselves, it follows logically that Governments ought to protect citizens from themselves.

Restated another way;

It is evident that people are subject to harm, including self-induced. The purpose of Governments includes protecting citizens from harm. As the Governments protect citizens from themselves, Governments prevent harm. By doing so Governments are able to “establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare” etc. As the impact shown here is the function and purpose of government, it can consequently be concluded that Governments ought to protect citizens from themselves.

Sarra

Con

First off, I was a philosophy and communication double major in college and have no background in debate. I apologize if I totally butcher the normal debate structure. My intention is to not offend you.

Definitions according to http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...:
Fallacy (n): A failure in reasoning that renders an argument invalid.

A1. Structure of Premise 1
Pro makes three mistakes in the first Premise of the argument.

A1 Sub 1. One of these three mistakes occurs when Pro writes:

"Here is a sample of those values and goals included by the authors as to that purpose; "to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare"." (http://www.archives.gov......)
(b -> c)

Such governments could only accomplish these goals and realize their purpose if citizens are protected from harm.
(b <- a)

Moreover, there can be no justice, tranquility, general welfare etc. if citizens are subject to harm that the government could reasonably prevent."
(~c <- ~a)
In Logic Notation, these sentences become:
b -> c
b <- a
c <- a (principle of equivalence)
~c <- ~a

This is an example of Denying the Antecedent Fallacy. This fallacy makes Premise 1 invalid.

With Premise 1 invalid (aka false), the conclusion is also false.

The second and third mistakes will reference the goals intended by Pro: "to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare"."

A1 Sub 2. The second mistake that Pro makes is: "It is reasonable to assume these goals and purposes ought to be the goals and purposes of all governments

Assuming that the goals and purposes specified above ought be the goals and purposes of all governments is not reasonable. No two governments are the same. The culture and heritage of a nationality have (at least) slightly altered goals when compared with the culture and heritage of another nationality. Please correct me if I am wrong, Pro, are you arguing for the concept of "Spreading Democracy" across the world?

A1 Sub 3. The third mistake that Pro makes with regards to the first Premise is specifying that
"Such governments could only accomplish these goals and realize their purpose if citizens are protected from harm."

All I need to do is point out one case in which the only way to accomplish these goal is through the protection of citizens from harm is not the case. Because these goals are specific to America, I feel the need to point out a moment in America's history which a double standard was created.

Executive Order 9066 was issued slightly after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. FDR and other high ranking government officials believed that Americans with Japanese ancestry would either spy or fight for the Japanese against America. Because of this fear, the government rounded up 100,000 Americans with Japanese ancestry and placed them in concentration camps. While this action restored domestic tranquility to the citizens of America not in concentration camps, it also achieved its goals and purposes for those who were forced to stay in these concentration camps at gunpoint. In that situation, intimidation was just as effective as protection. Executive Order 9066 was deemed legal by the Supreme Court. [1]

My Case
I believe there are both situations in which governments should not protect their citizens from their citizens and methods with which governments should not use to protect their citizens from their citizens.

C1. US Drones have killed 4 Americans without due process. "The US government has acknowledged the killing of four American citizens," only one of which was intentional. The attorney general has defended the killing of American citizens, even when done on accident." Afterwards, the government decided its' actions were legal and justified [2].

C2. The United States government had several secret projects during WWII. One of the secret projects involved placing military service personnel in enclosed containers and exposing them to mustard gas. These military service personnel were then sworn to secrecy with threats of dishonorable discharges and having to serve time in military prisons. Their exposure to mustard gas was classified for decades, which prevented the personnel from receiving proper medical treatment [3].

C3. The American Military has sprayed large cities with chemical weapons to see how large cities would react. Several families sued the government after their family members died. One of the lawsuits involved the death of Mr. Nevis. The dissenting opinion of Judge Norris reads in part "I cannot agree that General McAuliffe's decision to use a particular strain of bacterium in conducting a simulated biological attack on the City of San Francisco"the decision to conduct a simulated attack on San Francisco was a planning decision"" The attack was considered "simulated" because it was not some enemy state actively attacking the City of San Francisco [4].

Sources:
[1]: http://www.ushistory.org... and http://www.pbs.org... and https://en.wikipedia.org...
[2]: http://www.csmonitor.com...
[3]: http://www.npr.org... and
https://archive.org...
[4] http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com... and
http://openjurist.org...
Debate Round No. 2
kasmic

Pro

Thanks Sarra for your round.

Clarification: I did notice that there is a typo in my first round. The above is premise one as indicated in my argument summation in round 2. Under the section though, I accidently put the “U.S. Government.” I am arguing government in general not just the U.S. Government.

The Fallacist’s Fallacy : Con argues that my first premise is based on a fallacy and is thus invalid. From this assertion she concludes With Premise 1 invalid (aka false), the conclusion is also false.This is a textbook example of the fallacist’s fallacy. This is because “Fallacious arguments can arrive at true conclusions.” (1) This is “a special case of denying the antecedent”(1) Ironically, con has committed the fallacy that she is accusing me of committing. For pro to negate premise, one more is required than claiming it fallacious.

Defense of Premise 1: “
Governments ought to protect citizens from harm.”

I argued that a main role of government is to protect citizens from harm. To demonstrate support for this premise I quoted the U.S. constitution. This demonstrates goals of a specific government. I argued that the goals listed would be unattainable if Governments did not protect citizens from harm. Con contends that “No two governments are the same. The culture and heritage of a nationality have (at least) slightly altered goals when compared with the culture and heritage of another nationality.” Sure, there may be “at least” slight variation in the specifics of the goals present, but the argument stands that the ideal goals of government (in general) cannot be met if governments do not protect citizens from harm. From what I see here, con does not contend this point, and thus I extend it.

Con asks “
are you arguing for the concept of "Spreading Democracy" across the world?” Certainly I am not arguing that in this debate. Not sure where that assumption arises from. But…. No.

The example con gives of FDR and other government officials imprisoning those of Japanese descent in camps violates the observation I made. Remember, the scope of this debate is not to argue specific examples or “how” a government might accomplish what it ought. Rather we are arguing “if” governments ought to protect citizens from harm. Only after we have established “if” as this debate is designed to do, could we reasonably argue the question of “how.”

Defense of Premise 2:
“Citizens can and do harm themselves.”

Con does not contend this premise, so I extend it.

As I have extended both premises, the conclusion stands that “Governments ought to protect citizens from themselves.”

Rebuttals:

Con presents three contentions.

Unfortunately they are all attacks on methods, not ideals. Though it seems redundant, here is what I stated in my opening argument.
This debate is about what a government ought to do as in “if” it should, or “if” it should not protect citizens from themselves. This debate is not about how the government ought to go about accomplishing that, that is to say the question of this debate is not “how.” Such a debate over “how” would be important to have after concluding “if.” Consequently, any and all arguments and contentions involving “how” are not on point and should be dismissed.

By this standard all three of Con’s contentions can be thrown out as they argue against methods used to accomplish the resolution…. but don’t address the resolution itself.

Overview:

Cons arguments are not on topic and easily dismissed as they don’t address the question of the resolution. P1 and P2 are affirmed and thus the conclusion logically follows.
Governments Ought to Protect Citizens from Themselves.

Vote Pro!


Sources:
(1) https://en.wikipedia.org...

Sarra

Con

Hello Karmic :D

Definition:
"Qualified Immunity": it protects government officials from lawsuits alleging that they violated plaintiffs" rights. [1]

*If Pro made the mistake about including the US Government, then why did Pro not also exclude the excerpt from the US Constitution? Notice how Pro did not say that including this excerpt was a mistake. Thus, while Pro states in Round 2 that he does not want to talk about the US Government, he implicitly states that he in fact does want to talk about the US Government by means of the ideals set forth in the US Constitution.

Pro hand waved his three mistakes with a simple "The Fallacist"s Fallacy" excuse. He is claiming his conclusion is always correct. His Conclusion is not "always correct".

Ideals are great and all, except when the government exempts itself from having to follow those ideals. In the Supreme Court Case Town of Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, the Supreme Court finds that federal agents have "qualified immunity". In Castle Rock v. Gonzales, the Supreme Court extends this protection to police officers. The Patriot Act was arguably one of the worst offenders against the Constitution"s ideals [2]. The DOJ released "White Papers" which illustrate how constitutional ideals mean nothing when there is a potential threat to national-security [3]. This is to say that ideals are only relevant to government so long as government abides by the ideals.

Round 2 was supposed to be opening arguments which is exactly what I presented: cases in which government harm citizens. Governments should not protect citizens from citizens when governments are the ones doing greater harm to citizens than citizens are doing to citizens. The Supreme Court agrees with this position: "An agent acting - albeit unconstitutionally - in the name of the United States possesses a far greater capacity for harm than an individual trespasser exercising no authority other than his own." [4]

Citizens do not spray each other with mustard gas. Citizens do not spread biological weapons through towns for the sole purpose of seeing how people will react. Citizens do not run over other Citizens with tanks (Tiananmen Square). These are some evils governments have done when given power to protect their citizens from their citizens. This is why I believe Pro"s conclusion is not "always correct".

Sources:
[1] https://www.law.cornell.edu...
[Patriot Act] http://www.gpo.gov...
[2] http://www.scn.org...
[3] http://msnbcmedia.msn.com...
[4] http://caselaw.findlaw.com...
Debate Round No. 3
kasmic

Pro

Con asks “If Pro made the mistake about including the US Government, then why did Pro not also exclude the excerpt from the US Constitution?”

I am not sure if con is intentionally trying to cause confusion or is simply confused. This debate is about governments in general. This is clear via, the resolution, definition, and my arguments. I do cite the Constitution of the U.S. as an example outlining the proper role of government and do so because it is as I stated “
Perhaps, the most well-known and accessible description of the proper role of Government.” It is also clear that this was intended as an example of and not the subject of the debate as I then conclude,It is reasonable to assume these goals and purposes ought to be the goals and purposes of all governments.

Con did respond that
No two governments are the same. The culture and heritage of a nationality have (at least) slightly altered goals when compared with the culture and heritage of another nationality.” Sure, there may be “at least” slight variation in the specifics of the goals present, but the argument stands that the ideal goals of government (in general) cannot be met if governments do not protect citizens from harm. I was only able to demonstrate this by presenting an example of the ideal goals governments have.

Essentially I get from Con’s arguments that governments can harm citizens. Sure this is true. This does not impact my arguments whatsoever.

Final overview:

Con seems to have misunderstood my initial observation. This resolution is based around “if” a government should, not “how” it should. Thus all contentions that she offered demonstrating issues with “how” miss the mark and are dismissed. This throws out every contention she has made.

I mentioned early in the debate that my conclusion follows logically from P1 and P2.

P1: Governments ought to protect citizens from harm.

Con does not contend the meat of this argument and I extended it. It still stands. The ideal goals of government (in general) cannot be met if governments do not protect citizens from harm.

P2: Citizens can and do harm themselves

No contention was presented. This premise stands.


We can thus conclude that

C: Governments ought to protect citizens from themselves


This debate is a clear win for pro.

Thanks for reading and voting.
Sarra

Con

Pro has not followed the debate structure (opening statements, rebuttal, closing statements " no new arguments). Pro has not refuted most of my positions (sometimes Pro says my positions are wrong and should be ignored because they are wrong; this logic is not meaningful). Pro has BOP. Pro is and has been claiming that "government ought to protect citizens from citizens" is always correct. My job as Con is and has been to point out how "governments ought protect citizens from citizens" is not always correct. I feel that I have successfully proved this statement is not always correct over the last two rounds.

(Round 3) When Pro evoked the Fallacist"s Fallacy, he stated:
"From this assertion she concludes "With Premise 1 invalid (aka false), the conclusion is also false. "This is a textbook example of the fallacist"s fallacy. This is because "Fallacious arguments can arrive at true conclusions." "

He conceded that my statement [With Premise 1 invalid (aka false)] is a fallacious argument and [the conclusion is also false] is a true conclusion. I accept his concession that "the conclusion is ... false" to be a true conclusion.

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4
65 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by donald.keller 1 year ago
donald.keller
You two need to redo this debate (copy/paste arguments) so it can get a fair chance at receiving votes. Don't let such a good debate go unvoted (a tie hardly counts).
Posted by kasmic 1 year ago
kasmic
Thank you Mister Mittens for voting and providing a thorough rfd.

@Sarra, thanks for debating me.
Posted by Sarra 1 year ago
Sarra
I was totally expecting you to win this one.
Posted by kasmic 1 year ago
kasmic
Reason for decision
Posted by Sarra 1 year ago
Sarra
Okay. This might be a total noob question, but what does RFD mean?
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
I'm not saying it's your burden to prove anything. I'm saying it's part of your duty as a voter to show that you read the argument, understood it, and then either accepted or dismissed it with good reason. The word "ideal" never even came up in your RFD, apart from a brief summary of Pro's overall point. It's unclear from your RFD that you even addressed that point. But I don't know why you're still arguing this if you're unwilling to re-post your RFD at all.
Posted by Benshapiro 1 year ago
Benshapiro
I said in my RFD that the ideal, the "ought", has no *impact* on the end it's trying to pursue (government protecting citizens from harm) and then concluded that that was why it doesn't uphold the resolution. It's *his* BoP to show why the ideal merits acceptance, not my BoP to prove why it doesn't. Absent of any impact that the ideal has, I saw no reason to accept the claim.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
There are subjective aspects to moderation, I won't contend that. The absence of a response to an important argument, however, is not a subjective issue, especially when that's the sole basis for your vote. If you really want to just make yourself out to be some kind of martyr by not taking the 2 minutes required to improve and re-post your vote, that's your choice.
Posted by Benshapiro 1 year ago
Benshapiro
I'd rather be an example of excessive moderation in order to improve to the quality of the site. Your usage of terms such as "appears" is an admission of subjective moderation bias. It's better to err on the side of innocent until proven guilty than it is guilty until proven innocent.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
...So you're so upset by this that you're not willing to literally copy/paste your reasoning into a new vote containing two more sentences you've practically already written here in the comments?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by MisterMittens 1 year ago
MisterMittens
kasmicSarra
Who won the debate:--
Reasons for voting decision: Reason for voting: http://www.debate.org/forums/miscellaneous/topic/74479/