The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
4 Points

Is national security more important than civil liberties?

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/17/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 638 times Debate No: 71862
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




National security is more important than civil liberties because if America wasn't protected then we would be attacked more by other countries. Lets say you are at an airport and you are searched by a guard under the suspicion that you have a weapon on you and they think they saw the handle of a knife. If they didn't check for that kind of thing, several peoples lives could be put at risk. Lives of people are more important than civil rights. That is my argument for why national security is more important than civil liberties.


Civil liberties are more important than national security. Civil liberty is the means by which a country ensures that it is working in the favor of its constituents. If we begin to sacrifice civil liberties then we are putting the needs and desires of the state officials above those of the citizens. An honest, law abiding citizen does not deserve to have their property searched and/or seized because to do so is to treat them as a criminal. It is unjustifiable to treat people so cynically and it also serves to take democratic power away from citizens.

Objection to the argument presented by pro:
The argument presented by pro is a slippery slope. Of course less security means more vulnerability, but that does not necessitate that the US would be attacked more frequently, or even at all. The argument that the presence of a knife could put the lives of people in danger illustrates my objection. It is an argument from possibility, rather than an argument from facticity and does not logically follow. The presence of a weapon could also potentially make the lives of other passengers more secure.

Additionally, to address the second to last sentence directly: what is the value of a life as a slave?
Debate Round No. 1


If you think about it, which is better. Not being searched at the air port or, several people dying on that plane when someone on that plane kills innocent people. Look at the incident that occurred on September 11, 2001. Around 3,000 people died that day. With 50-60 passengers and 5-10 flight attendants on each plane along with the pilots add up to around 270 people on the planes alone. There are other examples of why national security is more important than civil rights or liberties but this is the best I could think of. If There was more security then, the chances of that happening would have been lower. After the attacks, pilots can now carry firearms (with a permit) and more air marshals are being put on planes. Cockpit doors are now reinforced and some have cameras to monitor cabin activity.


From what I can tell, your argument boils down to you saying that since national security protects life it is therefore more important. Here is why I believe you are wrong in saying that security is inherently more valuable than rights (freedom).

Life is only valuable when there is freedom. A life of slavery is not a life that any mentally stable person wishes to live. Life is thus valueless to a human being without freedom. Since freedom makes life worth valuing it makes sense that freedom is more valuable than life.

It can be argued with utilitarianism that the freedom of one person is less valuable than the lives of many others, but what you are suggesting is that the freedom of almost 320 million Americans is worth less than the lives of 3000 people. Those numbers simply don’t add up. The rest of your argument is pure speculation. Moreover, if a measure of security violates the rights it aims to protect then it is self-defeating.

Debate Round No. 2


SwedishLinx forfeited this round.


Pro did not present any solid arguments. The two strategies used were an appeal to intuition and speculation.

Just because something might happen does not mean that it will and, likewise, just because something is intuitive does not make it correct either.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Tminusfour20 1 year ago
Who will keep your privacy if the nation is not secure ?
Posted by CyberConor 1 year ago
ARE YOU KIDDING! CIVIL LIBERTIES! We want privacy, and just because security is a problem, doesn't mean you can record everything we say!
Posted by Tminusfour20 1 year ago
Would civil liberties even exist had national security practices not been in place?
Posted by Benaiah 1 year ago
This is very interesting... I am tempted to accept regardless of how I stand personally.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture