The Instigator
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The Contender
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7 Points

It is moral to remove the rights of one individual to protect the rights of an entire society.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/26/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,106 times Debate No: 21518
Debate Rounds (4)
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Votes (1)




The first round will be only for accepting, the second is a constructive, the third a rebuttal, and the fourth is closing statements and summaries. I thank any one who considers being my opponent.


I accept. I am a new member and this is actually my first debate on here! I hope this is a good, fun, educational debate.
Debate Round No. 1


I welcome and thank my opponent.

In order to go about debating this resolution I will provide an analyse of the resolution.

1) The resolution does not stipulate the agency which is removing the rights of the individual, and therefore we see that it is either a government or another individual/group. To win this debate my opponent and I must recognize both, and prove both they are moral. The reason for this being that if we fail to describe both we would have to look at the resolution on a case to case passes and determine what is and what isn't moral.

2) The resolution also lacks to define rights, and since this is extremely vague I offer that we define the rights according to John Locke's social contract, each individual has the right to life, liberty, and possessions. This definition working the best since it provides universal rights not given by a government, but by natural law, therefore to everyone person at birth.

3) Lastly, there is a lack in how big a society can be, I offer (a still vague, but less vague definition) that it is any group of people living under the same laws.

4) The resolution advocates for utilitarianism.

Contention 1: Vigilantism, well become completely moral, as long as the vigilant believed what he is doing will create utilitarianism. As mentioned above the resolution does not stipulate whether the agency that is removing ones right is a government or individual. When this happens we allow every individual to do what they think is moral, as long as they believe it prompts utilitarianism. This generates a complete anarchic state, and removes any point of having an individual. This creates two paradoxes that remove morality, and the social contract.

Sub-point A: When morality is removed we fall in to a complete anarchist state since there is a lack of put forward by any society. Stanford Encylopida defines morality as descriptively to refer to some codes of conduct put forward by a society. When looking at this definition we see that the resolution completely removes this from any person by encouraging vigilantism. This removal allows people kill people regardless of weather or not they think it is creating utilitarianism.

Sub-point B: The social contract, according to Hobbes, is removed, for the people are no longer protected by their government. In civilized countries a justice system is required in order to send someone to jail. In this resolution, there is no need for that justice system, the government can remove the justice system and kill the person if they believe it will create utilitarianism. It also allows individuals to do the same.

Contention 2: A government based on utilitarianism will surely fail, as John Paul II says, "Utilitarianism is a civilization of production and of use, a civilization of things and not of persons, a civilization in which persons are used in the same way as things are used". This creates a government that doesn't care for it's people.



The resolution is as follows; It is moral to remove the rights of one individual to protect the rights of an entire society.

Contention 1: A society of many individuals takes priority over a single individual. My opponent suggests we use the rights included in John Locke's social contract (life, liberty, and possessions). To back up this contention, I will use the right of life. Let's say a US citizen went crazy and strapped a bomb to their chest. They then proceeded to enter a crowded building in New York City and threaten to blow up the bomb. Regardless if the government or just another individual takes action and kills the threat, it was done to protect the lives of every single individual in that building. Yes, that person with the bomb strapped to their chest was killed and their right of life was taken away from them. However, that right was taken away from that single individual in order to ensure that everyone in the building kept their right of life, therefore making the action moral. It is moral to remove the rights of one individual to protect the rights of an entire society simply because more people will benefit and have their rights protected through the taking of the rights of a single individual. If the rights of a whole society can be saved through the taking of rights from a single individual, then that decision has to be made. It would not be moral to allow an entire society to lose their rights just to allow one person to keep their rights.

Contention 2: Society cannot function without necessary evils. If the world took the rights of every single individual and placed them at a higher importance than the rights of the society as a whole, the world would not be able to function properly. The world has to operate on the idea of the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. Without the greatest good in mind, decisions would be made by governments and individuals alike that would have an overall negative effect on society. Would it be moral to stand by and let society as a whole crumble to the ground? No it would not. While one person loses their rights, society is allowed to keep their rights, and that is the greatest good for the greatest amount of people.

Taking the rights away from any individual is immoral most of the time. However, when the rights of an individual are taken away to allow society to keep their rights, then that makes the decision moral. The taking of rights is not being done with bad intentions; it is being done with good intentions, the protection of the rights of an entire society. That decision, to save the rights of an entire society, is moral.
Debate Round No. 2


milktea forfeited this round.


....Ok.... Opponent did not post rebuttal, so I'll just take that as a confirmation that he totally and completely agrees with ME!! MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! (evil laugh) I'll attack his case anyway, for kicks and giggles.

Attack on Contention 1!

My opponent basically states that vigilantism will become completely moral, as long as the vigilante believes they are upholding utilitarianism. I disagree with my opponent when he says that vigilantism will be moral as long as the individual BELIEVES they are upholding utilitarianism. Vigilantism will be moral as long as the individual is ACTUALLY UPHOLDING utilitarianism. My opponent has a flawed view on this point in his case. He's basically saying that a cuckoo serial killer that kills innocent people because he believes he's doing the right thing is being moral..... That is definitely not moral.

Subpoint A: Here my opponent states that "when morality is removed we fall into a complete anarchist state". He says that encouraging vigilantism will cause this. Let me ask one question; is there a universal morality? No. Everyone has different morals, and they all differ from each other. If my opponent is suggesting that negating the resolution will result in a universal morality being upheld for everyone, that is impossible. That is why the voters should agree with my side. Taking the rights of a person is in most circumstances immoral. When it is done to protect the rights of society, however, that makes the taking of the rights of an individual moral.

Subpoint B: My opponent claims that the social contract according to Hobbes is removed, for people are no longer protected by their government. Before I attack this, I would like to point out that my opponent is using Hobbes' social contract when we SUPPOSEDLY agreed on using John Locke's social contract.... just saying. So my opponent is saying that people will no longer be protected by their government and that the social contract is removed. However, MY side upholds the social contract for society as a whole, and only removes the social contract of one individual. By agreeing with the affirmative side of this debate, the governments are protecting their people. They are protecting SOCIETY. This is why it is moral to remove the rights of one individual to protect the rights of an entire society.

Attack on Contention 2!

My opponent briefly states here that a government based on utilitarianism will surely fail, then all he uses to back up his contention is a quote from John Paul II. Firstly, governments are ALREADY BASED ON UTILITARIANISM. That is why governments implement things such as targeted killing! Are these governments failing today? NOPE! So we're supposed to believe that a government based on utilitarianism will surely fail just because John Paul II said so? John Paul II doesn't know everything. My opponent can't just stick in only a quote to basically back up his whole contention. That contention falls, along with everything else I have effectively attacked.
Debate Round No. 3


milktea forfeited this round.


Opponent forfeited 2 rounds = Vote PRO!
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by joshuaXlawyer 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Cause this guy is gay.