The Instigator
meganlg43
Pro (for)
Winning
34 Points
The Contender
wingnut2280
Con (against)
Losing
18 Points

In a democracy: Civil disobedience is an appropriate weapon in the fight for justice.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/28/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,019 times Debate No: 2251
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (16)

 

meganlg43

Pro

When the government allows a law to pass that is wrong and against our morals and what we believe in are we suppose to just let this slide... or do something about it? We all aware that there were laws against women in the past, such as women not being allowed to vote. This law was unfair against women. Same with the laws that allowed slavery, and segregation. They were all against some one or certain group of people, and all together morally wrong. Civil Disobedience corrected these unjust laws and brought justice to our country. When other methods don't work, Civil Disobedience is definitely appropriate.

This is why I must support the resolution
Resolved: In a democracy, Civil Disobedience is an appropriate weapon in the fight for justice.

Civil disobedience is a deliberate but NON-violent act of law-breaking designed to call attention to a particular law of set of laws of questionable legitimacy or morality. Civil disobedience is ... morally justifiable violation of the law, and thus an act of obedience to natural law. Civil disobedience is conduct that is distinguishable from ordinary disobedience and from crime itself. That is why it is called "civil." Civil disobedience, like social protest, serves the law's need for growth and reform.

My first point is that Civil Disobedience is public, non violent, & conscientious.
Rawls has defined civil disobedience as "a public, nonviolent, conscientious yet political act contrary to law usually done with the aim of bringing about a change in the law or policies of the government." As such, it presupposes a just society (and is thus distinguishable from revolution, which seeks to overthrow an unjust society), and it respects the nature of law itself. There are three criteria for civil disobedience: openness, nonviolence, and submission. The open, public nature of action is central to the efficacy and moral authority of civil disobedience, as its primary intention is not to get away with violating the law but to bring about reform of the law.
Civil disobedience isn't about having an excuse to get away with the law. It's a way of saying that a law unfair and needs to be changed. It doesn't have to be the first choice, the resolution is only about weather or not it works.

My second argument is that Civil disobedience has shaped our nation and Civil disobedience has bettered the nation many times
We must recognized that civil disobedience in various forms used without violent acts against others, is engrained in our society and the moral correctness of political protestors' view has on occasion served to change and better our society. Civil disobedience has been prevalent throughout this nation's history extending from the Boston Tea Party and the signing of the Declaration of Independence, to the freeing of the slaves by operation of the Underground Railroad in the mid-1880's. More recently, disobedience of "Jim Crow" laws served, among other things, as a catalyst to end segregation by law in this country, and violation of selective service laws contributed to our eventual withdrawal from the Vietnam war.
Civil Disobedience has made our nation the way it is today, for the better. How can we not allow our country to continue to grow?

My third argument is that Civil Disobedience corrects injustice
Although advocates of civil disobedience dispute the contours of the doctrine and argue over the particulars of the elements, they agree that civil disobedience is valuable for society and has played an important role in United States history. It is not just a concept that indulges protesters, it is a device that stabilizes government, promotes order rather than chaos, and productively ameliorates the tensions of pluralism. Most directly, civil disobedience constitutes a stabilizing of corrective device, allowing a democratic system to rectify its mistakes.
Civil disobedience is not used by the majority, it's used by the minority. If you had the majority, they would be able to pass the vote. It's used by the people who feel the system is against them, who feel they can't change the system. Its used against things such as to protest torture, pollution, abortion, and to preserve freedom of the press.

Bad and immoral laws should not be obeyed. Civil Disobedience strikes a balance between order and dissent.
Free choice is essential in a democracy because democracy is by, of, and for the people.

Civil disobedience is always non violent that's why it's called civil disobedience. If it's not civil then it's not civil disobedience. Civil disobedients accept their punishment. They're not planning on getting away free. All they are doing is trying to change and unfair and unmoral law. What's so wrong with that? In fact. How in a democracy can it not be supported? Judge you need to support this resolution in the fight for justice. It's made our nation better in the past, which I have shown, and will continue to better our country in the future.
wingnut2280

Con

While CD has greatly shaped our nation, it is no longer necessary and therefore, no longer appropriate.

Everyone has the right to vote currently. This means everyone has equal opportunity to shape our country through voting. Disregard for laws that someone deems personally immoral is unecessary in our current democratic state.

Further, who decides what is moral and immoral? Is there some kind of universal definition or moral prescription that we can all look to? Certainly not. So, whats the next best thing? A collaboration of these individual and distinct moralities which form a code that everyone abides by. In other words, laws.

Everyone over the age of 18, with some exceptions which I won't get into, has the right to vote and thereby, submit their personal morality and judgement into the legal system. So, if you think a law is immoral, you have every right to vote against it or its representatives. But, disregarding the law is to go against the very moral fabric you attempt to defend. Each different individual contributes to our legal system. To claim that a law is against your moral code and then disregard it is to place yourself above your fellow citizens. How is it an individuals place to disregard societal mandates as a functioning member of that society? Does your morality hold more weight somehow than everyone elses?

I'll answer your points as they apply to my argument.

First, you claim that CD is non-violent. Thats all well and good. But, you are fundamentally disregarding the morality of everyone else in the process.

Second, you claim that CD has bettered our nation. Bettered in what sense? Are you claiming that every peacable action against the law was a righteous one? Who is to say that the nation is better? Sure, by your standards great things have happened, but who are you to posture your opinion as the absolute one?

Third, you claim that CD corrects injustice. This point is no longer relevant. The law currently holds that no one is barred from voting (mostly). So, who can't go out and voice their opinion? There isn't any injustice to be overcome that can't be overcome through the vote. Everyone can be heard, so if the collaborative society agrees that is an injustice, it will be solved through democracy anyway.

There is a distinction that I need to point out at the bottom of your arg. Protest and CD are distinct. Protest is not against the law. CD is admittedly the peacable disregard for it. I wanted to clear this up so as not to have you lump them.

In short, our opinions are heard through the vote, making CD unnecessary. The laws reflect the collaborative opinion of our society. Therefore, there will always be compromise. To place yourself above the law and posture your own morality above the collective opinion of the society you seek to defend is illigetimate. We don't have the kind of universal morality to determine which laws are immoral and which are not. To say that yours is best assumes that you somehow have more weight than the rest of the nation. CD goes against the very fabric of democracy for that reason.
Debate Round No. 1
meganlg43

Pro

Against your first statement i would like to point out that the there is not a time line on the resolution. If it was referring to presently the resolution would have stated so.
There for i believe i can disregard your arguments about everyone presently being able to vote, because in the past they could not.

Also, more presently, we all do elect Representatives, senators etc to represent us, this meaning we won't vote on all the laws that are passed.
The people we elect will vote on laws that don't really directly apply to them at times, but may drastically apply to someone else, there for civil disobedience may be necessary.

I don't believe it's putting yourself above the system if something truly matters to you that wouldn't really effect someone else.

Can you give an instance that by committing CD we'd be disregarding the mortality of others?

I claim that CD has bettered our nation in the sence that it has given women rights, also blacks, and i gave examples of ways it needs to be used today and i can elaborate on my examples if you would really like, my examples being to protest torture, pollution, abortion, and to preserve freedom of the press, also used for anti terrorism.

I don't think you can find any sane American would would love to have a terrorist attack them, there for when someone is commiting CD to try to stop this why is that bad??

There are other ways to oppose a law, and by all means use them, in fact, use them first, that's not the point of the resolution.
The resolution only about weather or not it should be considered, the order does not matter.

And the fact that CD has been used in the past and Proven effective means that it can work, and if it can work why shouldn't it be considered an option?
wingnut2280

Con

The 'resolution' is built with an inherent timeline. The word is denotes the present or current state. Sorry, can't dismiss difficult points.

Since we can all vote now, we don't need CD. Everyone has an equal input in our legal system and therefore CD places the dissenting individual above everyone else. This goes against the very spirit of democracy and refutes the societal structure you attempt to procure.

True, we don't vote directly on the laws themselves, but representatives are just that. They represent their constituents and their interests. If you don't like the way they vote, vote for a candidate who votes differently. CD is not necessary because we can induce change through the system. Your an Obama supporter, you should know that.

The truth is, despite your personal opinion, dissenting the law is effectively placing your morality over the collaborative opinion of society. To disregard a law is to effectively say that your own morality is somehow more knowledged or more right than everyone elses. The law is a reflection of everyone's collaborative opinion. Going against it is to go against everyone else combined morality construct. Thereby, placing yourself above everyone else. Every instance of CD is an instance of defying societal morality. Every law is a reflection of society's opinion on the issue. You saying otherwise is to disregard that opinion.

I would agree, there have been instances where CD has worked in the past. The examples you list occurred so that everyone's voice could be heard. Now that everyone can voice their opinion we have a reflection of all of society in our laws. CD is no longer necessary.

The examples you give today are ones of protest. There is a distinction between protest and CD, as I pointed out in my last round.

How does CD stop terrorism? That doesn't make any sense. I agree, I don't want to be attacked by a terrorist. Good thing terrorism is against the law.

"There are other ways to oppose a law, and by all means use them, in fact, use them first, that's not the point of the resolution.
The resolution only about weather or not it should be considered, the order does not matter."

So, we should use alternative methods first (like voting), but the order doesn't matter. Kind of contradicting yourself here. Your 'meaning behind the resolution' argument doesn't function. We should use other methods (as I pointed out) first, but the order of functionality doesn't matter. I don't see how these arguments don't work against each other.

I agree, we should use alternatives first, like voting. Now that our voting populus can be an accurate reflection of the entire spectrum, there is no longer a need for CD. Since you agree that we should use other things before disregarding the law, I don't see how we need to or should commit CD anymore.

CD shouldn't be considered an option because it is no longer necessary as I just pointed out, you admit that we should use other methods first, and CD is a blatant disregard for the society you aim to defend.
Debate Round No. 2
meganlg43

Pro

First the resolution does not have a time line, the word "is" can be defined as 'to continue or remain as before' this takes into consideration the past and the present as a whole, which means we still need to take into consideration when it was necessary in the past.

And yes i have to agree that everyone over the age of 18 has a right to vote, but that doesn't mean the law is moral.
Think about it, in the past the laws that allowed slavery and segregation were probably thought of as moral because they were what everyone was used to. They saw blacks as inferior, so it seemed right.
Today we know, because of the CD that they are not inferior, with out civil disobedience no one can really predict how long, if ever, it would have taken for people to realize these laws were immoral and wrong.

Voting for a person who has the same morals as you will not always solve the problem though, being as he would need the majority vote, not just the person alone.

Also i would like to note that who i am a supporter of and what seems apparent i should know holds no value in this debate.

You stated in your argument
"I would agree, there have been instances where CD has worked in the past... Now that everyone can voice their opinion we have a reflection of all of society in our laws. CD is no longer necessary."

You have agreed that CD has worked, which means that it can work when other means fail, which is all the resolution is asking. Also when you stated that "CD is no longer necessary." i take that to mean that you have stated it once was necessary. And there being no time line on the resolution this statement has agreed with the pro side.

If you'll notice i stated anti terrorism, meaning CD is used to minimize terrorism.

I can actually give you evidence about that argument.
It comes from Jeffrey R. Young, The chronicle of higher education, november 21, 2003, pNA, Online, INFOTRAC Expanded Academic ASAP.
"When Nathaniel Heatwole smuggled box cutters, matches, molding clay, and a small bottle of bleach onto two commercial airliners this fall, he called it an act of civil disobedience, and told authorities that he meant to expose weaknesses in airport security. The FBI called it carrying concealed and dangerous weapons onto an aircraft, and promptly arrested him."
He told the authorities about it--meaning he wasn't planning on getting away with it which coincides with CD. He sent them an email that explained that he had committed "and act of civil disobedience with the aim of improving public safety for the air-traveling public"

If he would have just gone to the authorities and courts you can bet that they would have just dismissed him and not have paid attention, but since he proved to them that there was flaws they put him in jail, because what he did was illegal, but you can also bet they fixed the problems.
He saw some of the laws that were wrong, and committed CD to fix them because no other ways would have worked.

I didn't contradict my self, if that came across confusing i apologize, what i meant was that i don't believe CD should be used first, because the resolution is only about weather it should be an option, and since, as you agreed, it can work, it definitely should be, an option.

Thanks for debating me! This is my first debate and was fun :D
wingnut2280

Con

OK, lets have a grammar debate. Your definition is actually of the word be, which may be defined as you describe. However, IS exists as the 3rd person, singular, PRESENT TENSE, form of the word be, which you defined. (http://dictionary.reference.com...). This limits the debate to the present as you used a PRESENT TENSE verb to describe CD.

Sure, CD worked miracles. IRRELEVANT. In today's world, which I just proved we are debating in. No one suffers from the injustices you describe. Everyone has the right to voice his/her own opinion. Voting for a person with your morals doesn't mean your morals will be shown in the law, I agree. But, this isn't what I argue. Your morality plays a small part in the whole of societal morality. Part of functioning amongst several different moralities is the necessity for compromise. Democracy functions on the premise of majority. If you aren't in the majority, your morality doesn't fit into society's on that issue. To deny this is to deny the democracy you defend.

So, we've attempted to debate this shape-shifting chameleon of a 'resolution' through the rounds here. "Resolved: In a democracy, Civil Disobedience is an appropriate weapon in the fight for justice." How do you get that CD is an alternative when other means fail and all of your other claims about the resolution from that. The fact is CD is outdated and no longer appropriate. You can't interpret your own resolution in a different light every round. I debated the fact that is no longer appropriate. You didn't answer that. Instead, you claim that it should be used when nothing else works. I have argued voting works, you don't respond. Therefore, voting works and CD isn't appropriate, which is the literal interpretation of the 'resolution'.

Your terrorism example is irrelevant as it isn't about correcting unjust laws, simply violating the law to point out a weakness. Are you arguing that bringing materials like that on to the plane should be legal? Because, then it would be an act of CD.

"what i meant was that i don't believe CD should be used first, because the resolution is only about weather it should be an option" How the hell did you pull that out of the resolution. Again, I have argued the literal translation, not one convenient to my argument.

The fact is, now that everyone has the right to vote, all of our moralities can be heard. As a democratic society, we must function in a constant state of compromise. Saying that a law is immoral is to deny that collective democratic opinion and place your morality above those of your fellow citizens. CD is no longer appropriate because we can vote and voting reflects our collective morality, which holds more weight than the morality of a single person. CD shouldn't be an option because it is no longer necessary. Disregard for the law shouldn't be a viable option in a world where it isn't necessary. The grammar debate at the top and common sense proves that we are debating about the present and the fact that CD corrected injustices in the past is irrelevant. Even if we granted those works, it would simply prove that CD has served its purpose and is no longer necessary, since everyone can vote.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Randomknowledge 8 years ago
Randomknowledge
Are all of you guys from the same school? area? wherever it is, thats cool. We have something similar with kenicks, me and massvideogamer. Its alot of fun!
Posted by Tiya 8 years ago
Tiya
I've been reading a lot of the debates on this topic because I am sending a few of my debate teams to competition. I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything. Thanks for a great debate. I just wanted to point out that a lot of the arguments presented for this debate could be argued with historical examples. For example it is arguable that it was civil disobedience that freed the slaves ...it is also arguable that it was civil disobedience that gave women the right to vote. Susan B. Anthony certainly broke the law by voting illegally and refusing to pay ...however was that the direct cause of change? ..or was it the actions that did not break the law? For example she wrote a lot and met with elected officials, she gave speeches. After all, the laws for women did not change until 14 years AFTER her death. The same can be held true for any historical example. People like to use MLK as an example of civil disobedience but I think he can be used more for the argument against civil disobedience. He very rarely broke the law and for the most part he tried to uphold it. I think the key to this debate is to weigh both sides of the coin when it comes to historical examples and see if the result would have came about without breaking the law. Thanks again for a great debate.
Posted by meganlg43 8 years ago
meganlg43
poor penny :(
but yes, i think it should be gone! lol
hmmm...but i'm not sure where i stand the political parties one.
Posted by Johnicle 8 years ago
Johnicle
idk... um... well how about if we should abolish the penny or maybe even political parties, i think we should abolish both... how 'bout u?
Posted by meganlg43 8 years ago
meganlg43
haha yes, especially with his untucked in shirt, jeans, and tie that i made him grab just before we went in for awards :P
lol we should debate luke! i might lose horribly...but oh well :)
but then there's the matter of the what topic to debate....what do we debate luke!?!
Posted by Johnicle 8 years ago
Johnicle
ya... vanzee was such a stud on stage when you received it. congrats on that megan... when r we going to debate on here, name the debate and ill choose the side....... DEAL!
Posted by meganlg43 8 years ago
meganlg43
haha thanks!!
hehe trophy tis small...it was just 4th, but still made me happy :D
Posted by solo 8 years ago
solo
CONGRATS! (must be 25 long)
Posted by meganlg43 8 years ago
meganlg43
for public forum last weekend :D
Posted by solo 8 years ago
solo
Hey Megan... How did you earn your trophy?
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