The Instigator
Con (against)
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The Contender
Pro (for)
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Is recruiting spies and whistle blowers ethical for the most part?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/14/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 627 times Debate No: 73478
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
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Encouraging someone to provide information that could see them imprisoned, tortured and killed while the person or organization that sought the information remains pretty safe {in another country} seems a little unethical. So my argument is that yes the information may be important for people to know and the person leaking it may be in the right. It may not however be ethical for the most part to recruit or encourage people to give that information. Unless you have the world's best source protection system and can basically break the person out of jail if caught.


I would like to accept this debate and argue that it is ethical to recruit spies and whistle blowers.
Con feels that encouraging something that can get these people into serious danger, is wrong. However, I feel that if they are any major whistle blowers, or spies that want to reveal information, they will understand the risk. Either from getting fired from their company to the death penalty, the ultimate decisions is theirs. They will choose to share because it's the morally correct thing to do. We aren't by any means torturing and forcing them to do so. We simply are giving those on the fence a little extra encouragement to bring to light these corruptions and the dark issues. If they're deathly scared of the punishments, then no matter what the government does they won't be affected.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks for accepting the debate.
The Pro argument is that they know the risk and we are not forcing them to do it.
We are playing a role though in making them do it because we are actively recruiting them. Encouraging them to come forward. Do I bear no responsibility for encouraging someone to say climb a ladder that I know is very dangerous? The person climbing it also knows but decides to anyway. I would say just because they are willing to do something dangerous does not mean it was right for me to encourage them in the first place.


What Pro fails to understand is that in the case of whistleblowers and spies, even if they do end up dead, they are helping large groups of people who have no knowledge of what's going on. While the government didn't encourage Snowden, except maybe with insane violation of privacy, he managed to reveal that the U.S. has been spying on its own citizens. In the event he dies, he still managed to help the millions to realize what the U.S. government is doing. If the person is climbing the ladder just because you wanted them, to climb the ladder, than that argument is a complete non sequitur, whereas if they were climbing up the ladder to help save a bunch of kids stuck up a tree, than it would be well worth it.
Debate Round No. 2


One would have to prove that utilitarianism was a valid position and is an ethical position. Sacrificing the few for the many is not universally accepted. I would also argue that you would have to prove it was for the greater good in say the case of Snowden. Ending up dead because he told us something many already knew which was that the government spies on people does not seem to be a clear case of the greater good justifying someone ending up dead.

We were given specifics but the consequences could merely be that millions of people hear the stories and move on with their lives. Espionage goes back to normal and the media moves on to cover other stories. I am not necessarily saying this is the case. Just arguing that one would have to prove utilitarianism is valid and ethical. That the good consequences outweighs all of the bad consequences and not just Snowden ending up dead. The suffering of his friends and family as the result of such news and other whistle blowers maybe not coming forward with more important information because they want to live.


My opponent's problem now is whether utilitarianism is a valid argument and if what the whistle blowers did were of any use. Con seems to have agreed with me about the government encouraging people, and we are now debating the true benefits of whistle blowing.

My opponent's first argument is that people are apathetic about the whole situation. However, DuckDuckGo, a anti-Google search engine, who doubled their search amount from 2 million to 4 million because of the Snowden incident. There's your "millions" that do indeed care about this issue, and this change in habit shows how this deeply affected many people.

A traditional example of why whistle blowing and utilitarianism works would be Nellie Bly. Although she is generally categorized more as an investigative journalist, qualifies enough to be a whistle blower/spy. In the late 19th century, she decided to act crazy and get herself locked up in an insane asylum. Over the time she was there, she went through all the different all the punishment, from bondage to being abused by the nurses. After her ordeal, she manged to publish a series of articles that helped improve the living conditions of those who didn't have their own voice. The sacrifice of her was well worth it since it helped more than her alone. This clearly proves utilitarianism. Her taking those beating for 10 days, manged to help hundreds and thousands that came after her to live a safer life.

How about Deep Throat, who helped expose the Watergate scandal? He helped restore a certain amount of fairness and stopped some corruption. However, he also did so since in the end he would have been targeted by the scandal. Interestingly, the "smoking gun" tape showed that Nixon planned on using the FBI along in his plans. What my opponent doesn't acknowledge, is that there will be a point where the whistle blower themselves are in danger and speaking now, instead of waiting is better.

This is a direct refutation to the whole "The suffering of his friends and family as the result of such news and other whistle blowers maybe not coming forward with more important information because they want to live."

Ultimately, what Con is trying to say is that, these spies and whistle blowers are doing a necessary duty for their society and fear and danger is second to the lives they help.
Vote Con!

Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Elord 3 years ago
How so? Like quality of life goes up for the people?
Util was what I was trying to get at. @Spencerjoyage14
Posted by SPENCERJOYAGE14 3 years ago
Someone should make a quality of life point or bring up utilitarianism.
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