The Instigator
TheCategorical
Pro (for)
Losing
21 Points
The Contender
alto2osu
Con (against)
Winning
37 Points

Military Conscription is unjust

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/12/2009 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,165 times Debate No: 8603
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (8)
Votes (9)

 

TheCategorical

Pro

Hello, this is The Categorical here to pose a challenge. Since this debate will only have two rounds the first round will be me giving my case and my opponent attacking it. The second round will be my defense and my opponents final attack. The negative has to pose no format but please be someone with a lot of LD experience. I made it to nationals and am hoping to win (post scriptum: I have terrible spelling)

Resolved: military conscription is unjust

Military Conscription: compulsory or involuntary service directed to aid during times of conflict predominantly in the military.

Compulsory: Mandatory and coercive or enforced order.

Justice: A moral duty.

V: Justice
VC: Maximization of possible freedoms
Since the resolution is based upon involuntary military service whether it be active or stationary it should be deemed important to note that the negation of this resolution invariably robs one out of options. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for military service but forcing individuals to risk life and limb to help their country is no longer justice. Under my criterion of maximization of possible freedoms compulsory military action is condemned not because military action is bad, but because it is compulsory.

Contention one: Compulsory Justice is no longer justice.
As I stated earlier I am all for military service, only if it is voluntary. The problem with a draft is that it robs us of an option to negate. Even if we save the country, the world, the universe, it is no longer justice. It is an action out of fear for retribution and as it can clearly be seen, fear does not constitute justice. Again, allowing the people to do whatever they want is not a constituent of justice either. This is why the affirmative position is based upon practicality. We must still enforce the law even if we know compulsory enforcement is wrong. The affirmative does not advocate a military draft but as fate may see it for practicality it is necessary HOWEVER IT IS NOT JUST.
a: Fear doesn't constitute justice
As the European philosopher Kant stated, Good Will is that which is intrinsically good. Therefore it must be derived from duty and a sense of justice than inclination and fear. So, to commit to be just one must want to do justice because it is the right thing to do not because one is forced to. A military draft is followed because of fear from retribution from the government. The government may fine you or put you in jail. Whatever the case military service is compulsory and thus enforced. Any citizen fearful of retribution will enact the draft. Operating out of fear is not justice. Justice is made up of good will a sense of duty but not fear.
alto2osu

Con

I thank my opponent for the personalized challenge, and wish him the best of luck. Just got out of school yesterday, so I'm fresh for the fight :D

Proper definitions:

Military conscription: compulsory enrollment of persons especially for military service: draft (Merriam-Webster)

Unjust: failing to provide a citizen with his or her due (as adapted from Aristotle's philosophical definition)

You will prefer my definitions for two reasons:

1. My definitions are sourced appropriately;
2. My definitions are neutral, while the affirmative's subtlely seek to provide abusive affirmative ground.

a. The use of the word "coercive" in the definition of compulsory is unwarranted; conscription is only coercive if the state makes it so. The concept in and of itself only applies involuntary, which is not the same.

b. Justice, while it can be defined in terms of morality, should not be. Morality does not take into account relativistic issues of cultural mores and ideologies. What is morally acceptable in the US is not always acceptable in France, or Zimbabwe, or China. Hence, the affirmative cannot universally affirm for the concept of conscription if we are seeking to achieve a single moral standard.
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Neg Advocacy

V: Justice: as defined above, justice is giving each citizen of a nation his or her due. Within the framework of international politics and law, a legitimate government provides its citizens with dues such as human rights and their protection, economic and social stability, etc. Therefore, justice becomes an amalgam of many different pieces of the quality of life.

C: Fulfillment of the Social Contract: according to most prominent government or political philosophers, an unwritten social contract exists between citizens and the government that seeks to provide protection to those citizens. It is only when this balance of obligations is successful that a nation can remain safe and progressive. Part of this obligation is the proper protection of the state. Hence, in times of great threat or violent conflict, citizens of a state must be compelled, if necessary, in order to preserve any justice that the state can provide.

Overview: It must be said, first and foremost, that the negative's burden is not to prove that conscription is categorically just. As the affirmative's definitions point out (though unfairly), coercion may be used by illegitimate states to warp the concept of conscription into something that clearly violates human rights. As this seems to be a primarily philosophical debate, the negative's burden is simply to prove that conscription can, in fact, be a just action when applied as it should be within the philosophical realm.

1: Citizens have a clear obligation and interest in protecting the state.

Within a legitimate government, the people are protected by the state which they themselves elected and legitimized. They are protected via regulation, via legislation, via domestic enforcement, etc. At times, they must also be protected from outside invaders who threaten the very core of their freedoms, and who seek to enslave or murder them. When faced with outside invasion, the state is acting in the best interests of the people by enforcing enrollment in the armed forces. If outside invaders do succeed because of a lack of standing militia, then the people's freedoms will be non-existent.

Not only that, but citizens have a reciprocal role in protecting their nation. A government cannot function without the support of the people because the government is of the people. If citizens shirk this clear responsibility, then they have failed to hold up their end of the bargain.

2: Voluntary service leads to far more social injustice than military conscription.

Consider the US system of voluntary service. The military, in order to attract recruits, offers monetary incentives, as well as opportunities to participate in higher education and extensive travel and vocational training. These are opportunities already afforded to the affluent of the nation, but not to the poorest and most underserved members of society. Hence, we see that, in a voluntary service nation, the state is only protected by the poor and minority groups of the state, and not by all citizens equally. Because the socially underserved have such extremely prejudiced and limited options for escaping their particular circle of poverty, voluntary service is coercive. Military conscription, on the other hand, is far more equitable.
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Response to Aff Advocacy:

On the value:

1. I achieve more justice within the resolution, as "due" implied equity, or fairness. Apply my analysis on voluntary service being inherently coercive toward the lower classes of a given state. This is a key turn to the affirmative advocacy.
2. I also maximize human rights at the point where I protect an entire nation from invasion, eradication, and/or enslavement. The affirmative can only ensure "possible" freedoms, while I ensure real ones.

On the VC:

The compulsory nature of something does not categorically make it bad. First of all, with the proper training and outfitting, especially in the age of modern warfare, you are far less likely to die in combat. Simply consider the empirics of deaths in WWI vs. deaths in Iraq.

But, far more importantly, consider the limitations of options and freedoms presented in the alternative, which is a voluntary service state. Please cross-apply my 2nd contention, and turn this criterion, as I equally distribute the obligation of protecting the state, while my opponent forces the disadvantaged to shoulder the burden of the state's safety.

On my opponent's 1:

Tag:

1. Again, the compulsory nature of something does not categorically make it unjust. There is no warrant for this claim. In fact, if the state is legitimate, as discussed in my case, then no form of conscription is 100% mandatory. In the US, for example, when the draft was in effect, there were multiple exemptions, including religious exemptions, political exemptions, and joining the National Guard.
2. While necessity does not necessarily justify an action, the negative advocacy doesn't claim necessity. So, look to my case for the justness of the act.
3. Since when can a legitimate state enforce laws that it knows to be unjust? Justice is necessity in a legitimate state, and the affirmative attempting to link somehow to practicality is confusing and unnecessary.

On my opponent's A:

1. This is largely unwarranted, and I'd like you to cross-apply my social contract analysis and the fact that citizens have an obligation to protect the state that in turn protects their rights. Certainly an illegitimate state might use fear to force military service on its citizens, but we are looking at the concept, and not necessarily its application. While it is important to examine the empirical nature of an abstract theory, I can bring just as many examples to the table of legitimate conscription as the affirmative can of illegitimate conscription. Hence, the empirical nature of its application is a wash at best.
2. Turn this argument: again, there is more coercion present in a voluntary service model than in a conscription model. Poor and minority populations fear the prospect of remaining socially and economically stationary so much that they are willing to join the military in order to escape such a miserable existence. The affluent escape their obligations entirely, and are able to prosper further because of the protection provided by a standing military.

I thank you all for reading, and encourage you to vote Con. I await my opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 1
TheCategorical

Pro

alto 2 osu if you can, could you help me build a better case if you find any links.Thank you to alto 2 osu for accepting this challenge.
Roadmap: The negative advocacy (I am short on space so I will pack it all up as tightly as possible)
1: Value and criterion impact
2: Contentions and applications in the real world versus hypothetical situations.
Definitions: a. The use of the word "coercive" in the definition of compulsory is unwarranted; conscription is only coercive if the state makes it so. The concept in and of itself only applies involuntary, which is not the same.
This is not true whatsoever. The definition states "coercive or enforced" which denotes that either one is applicable. Coercive refers to physical retribution and enforced refers to legal matters. This is a simple misunderstanding, all I am trying to say is that the resolution implies a retributive action when one does not follow this specific law. This is completely logical that a law be enforced. My definition of compulsory is from Merriam Webster, I just put it into sentence form, so I didn't write the source
I will accept my opponents definitions because I see no point in debating definitions that pose no relevance in the round.
V: Justice Note the word "each" in her definition. This provides that justice is an absolute and absolutely no rights will be violated or there will be retribution for violators. Each denotes an individual person. Even without a draft the negative advocacy cannot guarantee an absolute. To show this I will provide an example:
Imagine you are robbed (each denotes an individual level) but your robber escapes and is never seen again ( each citizen was not given his/her due because the robber was due punishment).
C: Fulfillment of the social contract
The social contract is completely theoretical and flawed
Note: "...unwritten social contract exists between..." this is essential to the AFF advocacy because the social contract is completely nonexistent other than being in thought. The problem with this is that a citizens is signed into this contract from birth, way beyond years of comprehension of it and is automatically bound by it. The problem that arises is that again, this contract is compulsory. We are forced into this contract and if we violate it we could even be executed. For man to be just the action has to be of good will not enforcement of the social contract. Actions from inclinations are not just because fear cannot constitute justice. For this to be proven wrong justice would have to be fear laden.
My opponent claims that there is an existence of justice in military conscription in the theoretical LD vacuum. I will agree to this conditionally. There can be a just action when applied to anything in the philosophical realm. The burden of the negative is to show that military conscription IS just or neutral not "can be" or "may be" just/neutral.

1: Citizens have a clear obligation and interest in protecting the state: This is a true statement but there are some flaws. 1) If citizens did follow this obligation or not is truly their choice. Again, comes the central struggle of this debate compulsory versus compellment. Any compulsory action is created out of fear and fear does not constitute justice. 2) Apply this to the real world...Each and every state does not guarantee everthing listed in cont. 1. Many states barely include domestic enforcement. This is also a relatively new concept. Legislation doesn't protect every just citizen in many societies. In truth roughly half people around the world are in poverty, are robbed and abused, and are send to do involuntary work just to survive. To reinforce the point I will show how in some instances protecting the state is for the worse. Alexander the great of Macedonia revolutionized the known world by spreading his utopian(hellenistic) view of the world to other socities by conquering. This implied destroying the old societal structure and applying his own. In that instance protecting the old state was bad. Many warriors dies in the bloody skirmishes between the massive Empire and nearby states. Once the new state was established it would be peaceful until the disbanding of the empire. It brought on many advancements in technology, culture, and politics. This shows that the obligation is not always present in illegitimate (real world)states and in turn protecting the state is not always the wisest or most just action.
2: Voluntary service leads to far more social injustice than military conscription: I fail to see how this point pertains to the resolution. My opponent is just saying that voluntary service is worse but is this not direct to the resolution. I can agree that it is worse without it affecting my case. The affirmative advocacy is not based on practicality. I understand that a draft may be unjust but it is necessary. The affirmative is not advocating the disbandment of the social contract or the elimination of a draft. It is a necessity but IT IS NOT JUST.
Impact: By eliminating my opponents first and second cont. my opponents values and vc basically have no hold on the resolution. I agreed to both but said that in truth the statements are both compulsory and as is a central theme justice is not composed of fear and retribution. My opponents v and vc are also eliminated so vote aff.
Onto my advocacy: rebiulding and remaking
Value Justice: 1)My opponent does not acheive more justice because I do not deny a draft or voluntary service, I just say that neither is just. By affirming the resolution you don't not use a draft or protect the state you just prove them as unjust. 2) Again the same thing I just say that they are unjust not that we should stop protecting the state. 3)"possible freedoms, while I ensure real ones." This argument is completely illogical for real freedoms have to be possible, right?
VC: Maximization of possible freedoms: The compulsory anture of something does make it morally bad because it is not morally right. Many different philosophers have told of good will being the only true and just action. It has to come from a sense of duty not from coercion or inclination. (Kantian good will) It has to be unjust because fear does not constitue justice. A compulsory action does not constitute good will.
C1: 1)a This has already been disproven b The state is not necessarily legitimate but we are arguing a hypothetical draft that has to be 100% mandatory for those needed by the state. Even if this argument was dropped the premise would still stand that those who are drafted will be hurt by that injustice. 2) This is for the affirmative position not pertaining to the negative. 3) I understand how this may be confusing or weird. All the affirmative says is that affirming the resolution includes enacting a draft if necessary but it is unjust.
a: I apologize because it is unwarranted but this is LD debate and requires only thoughts not evidence (one of the reasons why LD rulz). The concept of military conscription by your definition " compulsory enrollment of persons" implies that the application is indeed in question. NOTE: COMPULSORY. This means the application is not in question but whether application exists or not. Fear is the only method of application for compulsory nature makes this action unjust and fear is used to provide a real world link. In other words, since the word compulsory is in the definition application exists and the only method of application other than voluntary is coercive or fear so it is unjust by application. There are no other ways to "compulsively" apply a draft. 2) Again, ignore this refutation because the affirmative doesn't deny a draft it just says it is unjust.
The character limit doesn't allow me to continue the post. Look to the comments for the rest of my rebuttal. :0 :) :8 HA!! Thanks to all of the judges and my opponend Alto 2 osu. This has sure been one of the most interesting debates on this website
alto2osu

Con

I'll use the order my opponent did, with some clean up:

Definitions:

While I disagree that "coercive" vs. "compulsive" are highly different words with highly different connotations, if my opponent is willing to accept my redefinition, I see no point in pursuing the matter further.

Neg Advocacy

Neg V:
The argument about "each" is irrelevant to the round. "Each" simply implies that justice is provided equitably, and "each" can include the state, as well. The purpose of the case is to prove that all citizens have the reciprocal obligation to protect the state. "Due" implies both rights and duties. Each citizen is due their rights by the government, and is due protection, according to social contract theory. The state is due support from the citizens which formed it, if those citizens expect the state to remain intact.

Neg VC:
1. Social contract theory is just as real as any other philosophical theory. In fact, this one is moreso because it is the basis for all modern democratic governments. The social contract exists to protect people, not to compulsorily bind them to the state. Moreover, citizens make the terms of said contract by every law that they sanction through representation and elections. This contract is merely a way to linguistically express a relationship between a government and its people. Take, for example, John Stuart Mills' tyranny of the majority. That theory expresses a relationship between majority and minority populations that has been observed over time. Just because we've named it doesn't mean it didn't exist prior to its name.

2. From what I'm reading, we agree on the burden of the round. All I'm saying is that we default to the philosophical, because the empirical world is a wash. This leaves plenty of ground for both sides.

Neg Contention 1:

His response 1:
Compulsion does not equate to instilled by fear. We are compelled by laws to not commit murder. We are compelled to pay taxes in support of the state. Should we not pay taxes or refrain from murdering people because we are compelled to do so by the state? Compulsion out of obligation is legitimate. If we pay taxes, the government uses those taxes to improve our quality of life and protect its citizens. If we serve equally in the military, same story.

His response 2:
I have no clue what "cont." means, so I don't really have a good way to address this response. However, since it mentions the real world and empirics, I remind you that my opponent has conceded this to be a philosophical debate, and that empirics are a wash. Each and every state isn't completely dictatorial, either.

His response 3 (on domestic enforcement being bad):
Besides being relatively incoherent, my opponent is giving an isolated example that doesn't actually prove anything unjust about conscription. He says that domestic protection of the state is bad because history shows us that innovation out of Alexander the Great's societal structure was spread across his burgeoning empire.

However, who is to say that the same technologies and revolutionary concepts could not have come out of those "old" societies that my opponent refers to? My opponent assumes that these conquered societies needed to be conquered. Though the conquest happened and progress resulted, that doesn't diminish the right of the state, in general, to protect itself from outside invasion. Legitimate states, as recognized by the UN, have the right to independence and sovereignty. The affirmative advocates destroying that sovereignty. This is an incredibly dangerous advocacy, since it essentially justifies 3rd world colonization if we are to believe that some societies inherently outweigh others, and that to violently conquer them all is the best route to "progress."

Neg Contention 2:

His Response 1:
The affirmative misses the point of the turn, here. I am proving military conscription just via attacking his ideological preference, which is voluntary service. He states this in his own advocacy. Military conscription is inherently more equitable than its only alternative, which makes it just. I didn't stop my analysis at "voluntary service is unjust." He didn't actually address the analysis on military conscription at all.

His Response 2:
In a society that respects both democratic mechanisms of government and the social contract, what is necessary and what is lawful is what is just to that society. I say this in my RD 1 posting and affirmative clean drops it. Please extend.

His Impact Analysis: well, since he didn't actually take out anything in the negative advocacy, disregard.

Aff Advocacy

Aff V:

1. My opponent doesn't claim voluntary service to be unjust, so don't let him shift advocacy to attempt a win, here. He claims specifically in his RD 1 posting that he is in favor of voluntary service. Also, he can't conditionally affirm by trying to wipe out my ground by saying that "oh, we'll still have the draft, but it's unjust." That nullifies the point of debating in the first place. That, and I give plenty of philosophical warrants linking positive obligation to justice.

2. I do prove military conscription just, since protecting the state is obligatory, hence just. Clearly, my opponent isn't understanding the link between "due" and "obligation." Please re-read my RD 1 posting.

3. My opponent misses the point entirely of "possible" vs. "real." Bottom line: I ensure more exercised rights because I actually protect the state.

Aff VC:
Please cross-apply my analysis from above on why compulsion does not require fear. Retribution in a certain sense, sure, but not fear. For example, if I murder someone, the law of the land says I answer to the state for my crime. But, no one would call a law against murder coercive.

Aff Contention 1:

His Response 1a:
He didn't disprove anything. Please extend arguments regarding compulsion vs. fear.

His Response 1b:
My opponent concedes, then, that military conscription is equalizing, since it requires 100% enrollment in the military. This is just because it is equitable, and it distributes the burden of defending the state equally amongst the citizenry that comprise it. My opponent seems to be under the impression that the state and its citizenry are two competing entities. In fact, this is false. They are one in the same.

His Response 2:
Extend the turn, as it was dropped entirely. Military conscription is just because of its equalizing power with regards to obligation of the citizenry.

His Response 3:
This is still conditionally affirming, which is a no-no. The whole point of debating the merits of an action are to eventually come to a conclusion about that action. If we decide, for example, that genocide is unjust, but "necessary at times," then what conclusion have we actually come to? I ask you to require the affirmative to actually *defend* his position.

His Response 3a:
My opponent has a serious misunderstanding of LD debate if he believes that no evidence is required of him. All debates require some sort of evidence, whether it be logical warrants or actual cards. Though my case reflects no cards due to time constraints, it includes sound accounts of philosophical theories, as well as sound logical warrants for all claims I make.

I repeat, the direct link from compulsion to fear is not made adequately by my opponent. There's no logical warrant for why all compulsion must be rooted in fear, especially in a government which is maximizing the social contract. As I point out, military conscription is born directly of obligation or duty, which is why it isn't based in fear. Not only that, but I reiterate that laws in a legitimate state, which compel people to act in certain ways, are not considered coercive.

Since my opponent hasn't posted any comments, I will assume that this concludes our argumentation. I encourage a strong vote for the con. Thanks for reading!
Debate Round No. 2
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by alto2osu 7 years ago
alto2osu
The purpose of the conditional affirmation arguments were to point out that you have to actually defend your position. If I'm making philosophical arguments for conscription, you can't just answer them by saying conscription would still be around, but would remain unjust. As pointed out in case, legitimate governments would not seek to continue an unjust policy, so declaring it unjust will have repercussions beyond the debate (in a hypothetical/theoretical world). The reason for debating in the first place, at least in the competitive context, is to think of the topic beyond the realm of the round.

Besides the fact that still having conscription around to protect the state doesn't actually answer any positive obligation arguments made on the negation, trying to get around the negative advocacy won't win you the debate.

I hope that clarifies somewhat. There are far better arguments to make than that one.
Posted by TheCategorical 7 years ago
TheCategorical
Onwards to nationals! NJFL FTW!!!!!
Posted by TheCategorical 7 years ago
TheCategorical
Im am really confused about conditionally affirmation and negation. Were my arguments about a draft being necessary but unjust legitimate? I am really confused.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
The debate came down to (1) conscription is not a valid part of the socail contract (2) Yes, it is. Since Pro had the burden of proof, arguments go to Con. It would have helped to argue by analogy to other accepted parts of the social contract. The state requires quite a few actions for the common good, like vaccinations to attend school. Perhaps the bounds of social contract could be defined in terms of what is accepted. Historical practice or practices in other countries might be referenced as well, arguing the traditional bounds of social contract.
Posted by TheCategorical 7 years ago
TheCategorical
Thank you for judging and debating. I liked all the advice and appreciate the time taken in making it.
Posted by MTGandP 7 years ago
MTGandP
Conduct: TIE.
S&G: Both sides had good spelling, but Pro's case was hard to read. CON.
Arguments: CON. Although to be frank, I did not read all of Pro's arguments, since they got very hard to read for the latter part of round 2.
Sources: TIE.
Posted by alto2osu 7 years ago
alto2osu
As for the case itself, you absolutely need to lengthen and card it :) A nationals case won't fly 2 rounds without cards. It isn't that LD doesn't require evidence. It just doesn't have to be entirely based in the empirical world. However, even that must be carefully considered, because sometimes, empirics are a necessity. Take the plea bargaining resolution, for example. If a card can prove that eliminating plea bargaining is an absolute and utter impossibility, then that's a strong tool.

You also need to rethink definitions. Don't make them sound loaded. You can win the debate without defining compulsion as coercion in the definitions. You need to make that link in case, since not all compulsion is inherently coercion. You can make that link, but use sound cards to do it.

Just work on elaboration and articulation, mostly. I think the case should pretty much be re-written after significant philosophical research.
Posted by alto2osu 7 years ago
alto2osu
When writing a full LDV case, I tend not to use websites for carding, because they aren't very hard to find, so everyone ends up with those cards or knowledge of those cards. I also don't favor camp briefs for the same reason.

I do my own journal-based research using databases like EBSCO (available through most public school libraries, including universities) or Lexis.
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