The Instigator
dfhdavid
Pro (for)
Winning
24 Points
The Contender
godman1
Con (against)
Losing
13 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: 1/6/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,719 times Debate No: 1455
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (9)
Votes (11)

 

dfhdavid

Pro

DEFINITIONS
Civil Disobedience: A public, non-violent, and conscientious breach of law undertaken with the aim of bringing about a change in laws or government policies (Rawls)

An Appropriate Weapon: Just and effective

Democracy: Government by the people in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

POINTS
1.) Civil Disobedience is just. According to John Locke, if an unjust law is in place, it goes beyond the social contract. This is called "tacit consent." According to Martin Luther King, one has a legal and moral responsibility to obey just laws and disobey unjust ones.

2.) Civil Disobedience is effective. According to Bertrand Russell, Civil Disobedience leads to a widespread dissemination of a position, including a discussion of the facts. Rawls also agrees that the communicative nature of it is a stabilizing and corrective force within a democracy.

3.) Civil Disobedience works within a democracy. Rawls again calls it, "the special case of a nearly just society, one that is well-ordered for the most part." Generally works b/c Disobedients don't challenge the legitimacy of the government, but rather a single unjust law. They are willing to accept the consequences of their actions for the sake of justice.

I'd just like to finally point out that the Pro side of this argument has the support of several different leaders and philosophers (MLK, Locke, Rawls, Bertrand Russell,Gandhi etc.), many of which were instrumental in the development of the US and human society in general.
godman1

Con

I am okay with his definitions, but in order to truly conceptualize the debate we need some definition of justice, it makes the most sense to use obeying the law as what justice is because it is the only thing that is concrete and the same for all people, and because the government is a democracy under his definition the laws are created by the people, and it is the most predictable definition because it is the first to be put forth.

Now that justice has been defined we can look at the other aspects of the debate. First, he says that an appropriate weapon is both just and effective, placing the burden on himself that he needs to win his entire case. Furthermore, under his definition of civil disobedience, a "conscientious breach of law", it is no longer just because civil disobedience is braking the law and the definition of just is obeying the law.

on to his points

1.) Civil Disobedience is just
first, it is clearly unjust because you need to brake the law and the definition of just is obeying the law.
second, tacit consent is the idea that people agree with the social contract if they do not rebel against it.
third, there are no reasons why any of what is being said here is true, this "argument" is a simple assertion.
2.)Civil Disobedience is effective
all this argument is really saying is that civil disobedience allows people to talk about the unjust law, not that it removes the unjust law, because the argument only proves discussion of the law it is not effective.
further there are no reasons why what he is saying is true
3.)Civil Disobedience works within a democracy.
by challenging a single unjust law it challenges the entire government and undermines democracy
first it challenges the entire government because it says that the idea of this one person is superior to the idea of the majority of the people
second it undermines democracy because it allows people to brake the law for their own personal benefit and use their unruliness to attempt to lead themselves to a better place, not society as a whole.

To sum the round up really fast everyone should vote con because first, under the only conception of justice for the round you have to obey the law and civil disobedience brakes the law, second, he has to win his whole case since he defines appropriate as both just and effective, and he is not doing that since it is completely warrant free, third, civil disobedience undermines democracy.
Debate Round No. 1
dfhdavid

Pro

First, I'd like to address the most important aspect of this debate: the definition of justice. His definition (obeying the law) cannot rationally be accepted, simply because, in a democracy, unjust laws can be put in place. Just to give an example, African Americans lived under the system of Jim Crow laws for about a century, even under a democratic system.
Instead, I will define justice by whether or not an individual may perform this, within the social contract

back to my points:

1.) Civil Disobedience is just.
Most importantly, civil disobedience is justified under the social contract. Under Locke's contract, the individual consents to be governed, and therefore, follow the nation's laws. But if a nation enacts unjust laws (as I proved can happen), the nation has breached its side of the contract. Therefore, the consent to be governed does not extend to unjust laws.
No, I'm not breaching any definition of justice, and my assertions are backed by the philosophies of John Locke, whose contract is the basis of law.

2.) Civil Disobedience is effective
He's right in saying that it doesn't actually remove the law. However, it does work in the fact that it creates a political effect that is greater than voting, writing to a congressman, etc. Once again, this position is warranted because I've already quoted Bertrand Russell and John Rawls, both of which he has no evidence to refute.

3.) Civil Disobedience works within a democracy
Just to restate, individuals only break a single unjust law, and accept the consequences of it (not "unruliness" as the con suggests). Also, there is nothing to suggest that they are breaking the law for their own personal benefit, but to end an injustice in the law (by definition). Therefore, this is not denying the rights and priveleges of the majority.

To conclude this, the con is essentially suggesting that my case is warrentless, but, as I 've already said, my case is already supported by experts like John Locke and John Rawls. In overview, you should vote Pro because I've proved that it's just and effective, as well as not being in violation of any definition of justice itself.
godman1

Con

The pro has made a massive mistake, he has dropped the argument from my first "speech" "an appropriate weapon is both just and effective, placing the burden on himself that he needs to win his entire case." so all I have to do to win is show that it is either not effective or not just, I do not have to do both, at this point look at his second point

2.) Civil Disobedience is effective, in his last "speech" he concedes that "He's right in saying that it doesn't actually remove the law." since it does not get rid of the law it is not effective in fighting for justice because it does not get to the justice, it only brings about discussion about what would be just. Further it does not have a political effect greater then voting because only through voting can the issue actually be changed. At this point evaluating anything else is just a waste of time, but if you are not comfortable voting con simply on the fact that it is ineffective you can also vote oh how it is unjust

In his response to my definition of justice he says that a democracy can put unjust laws in place, but the example he uses comes from something that does not fit with his definition of democracy because it says " under a free electoral system" and in the place and time he uses as an example the system was not a free electoral one, meaning it was not done with a democracy therefore his response falls, furthermore you still prefer my conception of justice because he conceded the other two justifications for it because the government is a democracy under his definition the laws are created by the people, and it is the most predictable definition because it is the first to be put forth. Furthermore my conception of justice is preferable to his because the social contract was created by one man, whereas the laws are created by all the citizens of the democracy giving it the most credence to rule their actions. Now preferring my conception of justice extend from the top of my speech that civil disobedience brakes the law and that is unjust.

In summary I am winning that civil disobedience is not effective because he concedes that it doesn't remove the law so the injustice would still be occurring, and 2 because i am winning that it is unjust because he under-covered the analysis on justice.
Debate Round No. 2
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by dfhdavid 8 years ago
dfhdavid
Thank you, Godman1, for this debate. It has definitely helped me in fixing my case.
Posted by dfhdavid 8 years ago
dfhdavid
I can't believe that this is a PF topic. Everyone seems to treat it as LD.
Posted by chesleya 8 years ago
chesleya
It was this debate that inspired me to start one on the new LD topic.
Posted by dfhdavid 8 years ago
dfhdavid
Well, I'm actually with Public Forum. This is just an outline of a case I will use.

And, John Rawls never exactly wrote about CD, but he did define it, as well as provide enough info for this case.
Posted by cody30228 8 years ago
cody30228
i do LD, StuCo, and PF!!!
Posted by TheLibertarian 8 years ago
TheLibertarian
You should talk to Eradicatorer. He does Public Forum to in my district, and apparently he is pretty good. I do Student Congress by the way.

P.S. Korezaan, I used to do LD, and the deadly force thing was the WORST TOPIC EVER! Either side, you felt like scum. You were either for domestic abuse, or for murder. Ugghhh
Posted by cody30228 8 years ago
cody30228
and besides, where does John Rawls ever define Civil Disobedience. His most notable work, a "A Theory of Justice" does not mention what someone should do when in an unjust govt, just how to institute a just society. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
Posted by Korezaan 8 years ago
Korezaan
LDer right?

Want to debate the Deadly Force topic? :D

Or the Corporations one? I love those two.
Posted by cody30228 8 years ago
cody30228
you should quote the real
"Civil Disobedience" by Thoreau
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