The Instigator
ChuckTheDuck
Con (against)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
WillRiley
Pro (for)
Winning
20 Points

Is it justifiable to disobey laws?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
WillRiley
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/8/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 809 times Debate No: 66611
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (5)

 

ChuckTheDuck

Con

Breaking laws and being able to justify it does not necessarily equate with being in the right. Civil disobedience is usually paired with men such as Martin Luther King Jr. or Gandhi. What is usually left out is the people who were less than successful with their movements. A well-known German once stated in his book Mein Kampf, to "forgive your personal enemies, but not those enemies of god". This German later took to power under the name Adolf Hitler. The proverb "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" applies greatly in this situation. The word justified is also very subjective, so simply because a single individual believes they are doing right doesn"t necessarily mean they actually are. Hitler, for instance, justified his actions, yet his vision is seen as one of the worst genocides in history.
WillRiley

Pro

I trust you will agree with the following definitions.
Law-
the whole system or set of rules made by the government of a town, state, country, etc.
a particular kind of law
a rule made by the government of a town, state, country, etc. [1]

Justify-
to provide or be a good reason for (something) : to prove or show (something) to be just, right, or reasonable

It is interesting that you would bring up Nazi Germany. The following link is to a Listverse page on 10 people who saved Jews during the Holocaust. This, of course, was breaking the law of Nazi Germany. They are, technically, criminals.
http://listverse.com...


Your question is "Is it justifiable to disobey laws?", and I for one would say certainly, especially since you have left yourself open to the laws of all countries. Due to the nature of your argument, you even leave yourself open to hypothetical laws.

Hypothetical Scenario A

Lets say the government of say, Uzbekistan, decides to make small children illegal. Now, a kindly old woman who is currently running a home for small disabled children tries to get her children across the border to say, Kazakhstan. The children get ahead of her, but just as the children get across the border, the woman is seized by the police. She is arrested for breaking the law (Aiding and Abetting Small Children) and is put to death, as this is the mandatory sentence.


Now, I ask you, is it just that this woman broke the law in order to save the children?
Sad thing is, this actually has happened (Not exactly, of course) during the holocaust.
Response
According to the definition of justify, your argument does not make sense. You say-


"Breaking laws and being able to justify it does not necessarily equate with being in the right."

However, that is exactly what it means.


"Hitler, for instance, justified his actions, yet his vision is seen as one of the worst genocides in history."

This sentence, in and of itself, is simply disturbing. Anyways, I am fairly sure that most people would not say that Hitler adequately justified his actions. Hitler also was not breaking any laws during the Holocaust, rendering your point irrelevant. Hitler was the leader of Germany, and therefore, he was not breaking the law, but making, and enforcing the law.

In order for your argument to make sense, you have to assume two things-

a) That all laws are just. This, of course, would be based on the definition listed earlier.
b) That there are no exceptions to the law. As in, there is no justifiable reason that anyone should ever break any law.


Obviously, this is not the case. Here is another example-
Hypothetical Scenario B
John and Bill are out hunting one day, and John is bit several times by an extremely venomous snake. The nearest hospital is ten miles away. They must get to the hospital in time for John to live, but if they follow the speed limit, he will die. So, what is the better choice? To follow the speed limit and let John die, or to speed, and save him?
This is the question I leave you with Con.

Back to you.
Debate Round No. 1
ChuckTheDuck

Con

1.people are given opportunities to choose their leaders so they should listen to what they say to do. The leaders outwardly show their thoughts and plans on topics before elections, and since the majority chose them, the majority of the country agrees with the candidate's views and therefore the people should abide by the set laws. If a view of the candidate is strongly opposed by a majority of the people, people can vote against the law, form petitions, etc.

2. government needs to have the ability to make unpopular decisions when necessary because the main goal of the government is to protect the people.

3.people need to listen to rules that they may not like because the government needs support during extenuating circumstances such as war.

My thesis is that civil disobedience is a threat to the unity of the democracy.

Contention 1
Civil disobedience can lead to rioting with the state. Civil disobedience can quickly turn into a Mob and fighting can occur because of racial, money, or social tension. further clashes with law enforcement would harm the relationship between the government and the people which would cause the people to not trust the government. Therefore, the state will begin to fall apart since people do not trust it.

Contention 2
Civil disobedience can hurt the government during wartime. Civil disobedience during this time distracts the government and can lower loyalty towards the government during wartime, where the troops need full support from their country. Further, people will more susceptible to harm since the government would be able to act if it is distracted fighting people at home. This also would discourage soldiers from fighting since they do not have the support of the people they are fighting for. Therefore, Morale may be lowered, and government may be destabilized.

Contention 3
People need to obey all laws that the government pass, even if they don't feel that the laws are fair. The government's primary goal is to keep their people safe. Ex: people didn't like the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, but it was either the torturing or another 9/11 attack that couldn't be foreseen. By maximizing the ability of the government to act through the full support of the people then the people will be safer since the government can protect them from more harms. the loyalty of the people gives the government the right to act as it sees best to protect the highest number of people.
WillRiley

Pro

Response
"My thesis is that civil disobedience is a threat to the unity of the democracy."

Who says that this is a democracy? This debate topic is "Is it justifiable to disobey laws?" and that is for all types of government including dictatorships, monarchies, oligarchies, ect.

First of all, you have assumed that all laws are made under a democracy. This, obviously, is not true. This debate isn't neccicarily over civil disobedience. However, I will humor you.

"Civil disobedience can lead to rioting with the state. Civil disobedience can quickly turn into a Mob and fighting can occur because of racial, money, or social tension. further clashes with law enforcement would harm the relationship between the government and the people which would cause the people to not trust the government. Therefore, the state will begin to fall apart since people do not trust it."

If the State is bad, and is causing the people to rebel against it, then it should lose its power. Think about this.
England had control of the 13 colonies that became the United States. If the colonists would not have broken English law by rebelling, there never would have been a democracy in the first place.

"People need to obey all laws that the government pass, even if they don't feel that the laws are fair. The government's primary goal is to keep their people safe."

That is a horrifying thing to say. What you are saying is that people must obey ANY law passed by the government, regardless of whether it is morally right. The government could literally pass a law saying that everyone over 50 is a burden to society and must kill themselves, and you would have them do it.
Also, as I am sure everyone knows, the government's #1 goal is not always to protect the people.


I would also like to point out that Con essentially ignored my entire argument from last round. I hope that Con will respond to my argument this round.
Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
ChuckTheDuck

Con

Alright, you've torn me down brick-for-brick, and I've got exams tomorrow.

You have absolutely won this debate, as well as my respect.
WillRiley

Pro

Thank you for the compliments and gracious concession.
Voters, I extend my arguments and ask you to please vote Pro. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by SonicGhost 2 years ago
SonicGhost
ChuckTheDuckWillRileyTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Arguments extended for Pro side.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
ChuckTheDuckWillRileyTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by inaudita 2 years ago
inaudita
ChuckTheDuckWillRileyTied
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Reasons for voting decision: concession
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
ChuckTheDuckWillRileyTied
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Reasons for voting decision: CONcession!!
Vote Placed by gomergcc 2 years ago
gomergcc
ChuckTheDuckWillRileyTied
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Total points awarded:14 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro clearly won even con admitted it. Con did use "," incorrectly one more time than Con forgot to capitalize.