The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Losing
34 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)
Winning
40 Points

Nobody should be above the law

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/22/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,572 times Debate No: 8380
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (14)

 

brian_eggleston

Pro

Isn't that already the case? Well, in America (where I know most Debate.Org members live) that may well be the current situation but here in England the Queen can do whatever she likes with absolute impunity.

For example, say the Queen goes into a charity shop and slyly conceals a secondhand Mills and Boon novel under her crown and walks out, but the security guards surround her as she leaves and they wrestle her to the ground, she can turn round to them and say:

"Unhand me this instance you filthy little oiks. Do you know who I am? Do you know who I f@cking am? Well, I'll tell you. I'm the f@cking Queen and that means I can do what I f@cking like".

And she'd be right and they'd have to let her go.

Now that's not right, is it?
Danielle

Con

We meet again...

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The Queen doesn't ALWAYS get to do what she likes, Brian. But suppose she had accidentally misplaced a novel under her crown and was not arrested for it... so what? Arresting and charging the Queen would be more trouble than it's worth. She's old, she's testy, she's rich, she's feeble, etc. Holding her accountable for her "crime" would only be expensive, dramatic, upsetting , embarrassing and probably result in more outrage and crime than necessary. Making an example out of her is not worth the trouble because of all that it would entail. It's much more sensible to recognize it as a simple misunderstanding , especially because the law in question was a terribly minor offense.

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And because I can't resist...

Your resolution is flawed because it encompasses ALL laws and ALL individuals in ALL countries, regardless of the "crime's" nature. I think we can all agree that some laws are bogus and should be able to be indulged upon, on occasion. For instance, if a 20 year old soldier is returning home from Iraq, goes to the neighborhood pub and gives the bartender some self-pitying (though honest) sob story about losing his friends (literally), his girlfriend (to his brother) and a wallet with his ID card, but the bartender sees the shrapnel wounds and is almost certain that the solider is telling the truth (so subsequently appeases him with a beer despite not being able to verify his age), keep in mind that the bartender would be breaking two laws here in the States: Serving alcoholic beverages to a minor, and serving alcohol to someone without ID. Now, suppose you were an off-duty cop sitting on the bar stool next to this sorry young man and witnessed this encounter. Would you feel compelled to draw attention to this scenario and hold the bartender (and soldier) accountable for their dishonesty and perhaps misconduct? Or would you let it go?

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But back to the Queen...

I'm pretty sure that smoking marijuana is just as illegal in the U.K. as it is in the States. Suppose Her Majesty, after a long hard day (oh, you know... doing charity work, knighting a few people, acting as the head of the State, holding a few State functions, dealing with paperwork, representing Britain, chatting it up with the Prime Minister, etc, all at age 83 after more than 50 years of service with no official retirement...) wanted to smoke a joint. Not a huge, fat blunt or anything , but just a small little joint that will surely burn quickly and probably only provide about 4 decent hits to get this mama blazed. Do you really think that she should not be allowed to engage in this type of illegal obscenity? Because remember, Brian, that you're arguing that nobody should be above the law, despite what those laws might be.

Furthermore, even more ridiculous (and less controversial) laws exist. In my home state of NJ, for example (I'm here for school) doing these things are all against the law: pumping your own gas, frowning at a police officer, for a man to knit during fishing season, slurp your soup, etc. [1] Now suppose myself or some other far more impressive individual broke one or more of these laws. I dunno, say I knocked someone's teeth out and they were forced to slurp their soup. Do you think they should be punished in accordance with the law? Surely the resolution entails some type of punishment, as was indicated by your R1 argument.

On that note, we should take into account the TYPES of punishment one may receive from breaking a certain law. If the Queen had misplaced that book under her crown in an Islamic nation, mayhaps she would have had her hands chopped off! In addition to that being a ridiculous and unnecessary punishment regardless of who's done it, it would cause far more controversy and have a plethora of negative global repercussions if someone like the Queen had been accused and charged.

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Now suppose someone broken the law(s) out of NECESSITY, and not just sympathy (i.e. the empathetic bartender). For instance, it's illegal to speed on the highway, but should someone be in danger (say a medical emergency) and sped someone to the hospital in order to save their life, surely their heroism would not warrant a hefty $500 ticket let alone an arrest.

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Finally, take into account a nation state where the laws weren't democratically voted upon or agreed to. In a dictatorship, the leader makes the laws. Therefore, he or she could easily manipulate the law in accordance with a particular scenario. This would not necessarily be wrong or immoral, as detailed by the Ad Hominem Tu Quoque (hypocrisy fallacy).

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Source:

[1] http://www.dumblaws.com...
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

With many thanks to theLwerd for taking this debate I would like to respond as follows:

My opponent wrote;

"But suppose she had accidentally misplaced a novel under her crown..."

"Misplaced"? Yeah, that's what they all say isn't it? No, as a society we should adopt a zero tolerance policy with regard to shoplifting and no exceptions should be made for miscreant monarchs, even if their arrest and subsequent trial it does cause a bit of a hullaballoo.

Then my opponent wrote:

"Your resolution is flawed..."

My resolution is not flawed. With the exception of the Queen and one or two other unelected tyrants, everybody DOES have to obey ALL laws, in ALL countries.

I must say, I was moved by my opponent's story of the young war hero returning home fresh from the heat of battle and heading straight for the nearest pub in order to get off his face. Readers may feel that the lad deserves a few pints - after all, if he is old enough to fight and die for his country he should be old enough to buy a beer. But laws are there for good reasons, even though they may not be immediately apparent. Say, for example, a British bloke was in that pub in America and he was chatting up some gorgeous philosophy student and she was really impressed with his stories about all the Manchester United fans he beat up last season when our gallant soldier walked in, ordered his drink, got served with a nod and a wink and started mouthing off about how he put his life on the line to escort a pregnant woman to hospital while coming under heavy fire. All of the sudden, the Englishman's yarn about how he kicked a bloke's head in for wearing a replica Cristiano Ronaldo top would seem less impressive than the G.I.'s tale and perhaps the stunning philosophy student's head would be turned. That's why the law in the US says don't sell booze to under-21's - so older blokes get a chance to pull birds without having to worry about cocky young squaddies coming in and muscling in on the girls.

Now about the Queen's personal taste in mind-altering substances - we know that she drinks Carslberg Lager (1), which is also much favoured by tramps because it is cheap and strong, so there is no reason not to suppose that she doesn't smoke cannabis as well. In fact, she probably deals it. I mean if the police saw a black man wearing bespoke designer gear, dripping in bling, driving around in a stretched Bentley with no licence plates (2) they'd stop him, drag him out of the car and search him for drugs. But because she's the Queen, she can drive around London distributing contraband substances without any worry of getting a tug from the rozzers. Now, that's not fair, is it?

TheLWerd suggested that the Queen would get her hands chopped off if she was caught nicking secondhand paperback romances from Honest Ali's Thrift Shop on Jumeirah Road in Dubai and quite right too. She may be above the law in the United Kingdom, but not in the United Arab Emirates.

Then my opponent wrote: "...(if) someone (sped) to the hospital in order to save (a) life, surely their heroism would not warrant a hefty ticket..."

The thing about this analogy is that we cannot allow individuals, not even the Queen, to break the law just because they believe it is "necessary". What if that medical emergency that the driver thought was a heart attack turned out to be no more than a case of indigestion but in speeding to the hospital he caused a bus full of orphans to swerve into the path of a truck carrying puppies, kittens and cute little bunny rabbits and the ensuing collision resulted in absolute carnage?

My opponent quoted the NJ laws, below, and said they were "ridiculous". She might think so but those laws are there for good reasons, as I will explain:

"pumping your own gas" – if motorists did this then thousands of filling station attendants would be put out of their jobs;

"frowning at a police officer" – all of us (including the Queen) should show our respect and affection for law enforcement officials by smiling at them at all times;

"for a man to knit during fishing season" – quite right too, knitting is women's work;

"slurp your soup" – it is most desirable that table manners should come under the jurisdiction of the law. Why should a respectable diner have to sit next to some slob who guzzles down their soup like some sort of savage?

Finally, my opponent states that absolute rulers such as ruthless dictators, evil tyrants and the Queen breaking the law with impunity "would not necessarily be wrong or immoral" suggests a somewhat lenient approach attitude towards crime and punishment in general that voters may or may not agree with.

Thank you.

1 -http://www.royalwarrant.org...

2 - http://www.classics.com...
Danielle

Con

Danielle forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
brian_eggleston

Pro

Arguments extended, nobody (including the Queen) should be above the law!
Danielle

Con

I apologize for missing the last round, Brian -- I have been entertaining a beautiful woman these past few days -- I hope you don't mind. Also, I am writing my final argument under the impairment of a severe hang-over. This is brutal, but I would very much like to debate this with you, so here goes...

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"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither liberty or security."

This infamous quote from Benjamin Franklin applies; I am arguing that although the laws, for the most part, provide security and order, they are not always worth following and can inhibit personal liberties and freedoms which should be rights for all humankind. Of course this does not apply to Brian's example of the Queen stealing unnecessarily, but as I've mentioned in R1, this resolution expands to apply to all laws across the board.

Many laws are subjective and/or interpretive, and are therefore unjust or applied in negative/wrong ways. During R1, I argued that unjust (or pointless) laws are harmful in the sense that they threaten personal liberties. Pro refuted by explaining why some laws that I cited as being ridiculous (such as it being against the law to slurp your soup in NJ) may be beneficial in some way, albeit incredibly insignificant. The fact of the matter is that absolutely asinine laws are restrictive and unnecessary. Perhaps another example of a law that should be broken, or that wouldn't be harmful or threatening to break can be seen here:

"A veteran of the armed services who fought for his country, was captured, tortured and wounded in the service of his country decides he wants to show his patriotism and devotion to his fellow soldiers by flying the American flag and the MIA/POW flag from a flag pole in his yard. However, the community he lives in only allows the flying of the American flag. As a result they threatened to fine him for flying the MIA/POW flag. They fine him not because his flying the flag detracts from the community order, or because it causes a hardship to anyone in the community. It does not damage anyone's property or lower the property value of his neighbor's homes in the community. It is not an eyesore or a burden on anyone. It is simply in violation of pointless bylaws"

Willingly surrendering our liberty to the community order or to the law itself is the first step to empowering others to oppress us. Community order is important, but it should not come at the price of personal liberty. Laws should be obeyed but they should also be questioned and revisited over time to measure their relevancy. More often than not laws are the result of knee jerk reactions to current issues and often become obsolete or unjust as time passes and they are demonstrated to be unnecessary. Just as laws can be created, they can easily be repealed and have been when deemed necessary. The one constant in all of these is our personal liberty; it should never be jeopardized or threatened [1].

In terms of Pro's example using the Queen of England, He has said, "as a society we should adopt a zero tolerance policy ... and no exceptions should be made for miscreant monarchs, even if their arrest and subsequent trial it does cause a bit of a hullaballoo." Noting that it would just be a 'hullaballoo' is a bit of an understatement. Plus, unfortunately Pro did not provide an argument of why this is so. I gave reasons as to why exposing this misdemeanor may be negative and even harmful; Pro simply disagreed but did not give any type of basis whatsoever for his claims. Therefore I have won this point automatically.

Moreover, Pro ignored my point regarding dictators who can manipulate the laws according to their own preferences, wants and needs in fascist countries. Of course this can be done anywhere; however, it is a bit more difficult to do in a democracy (and I use that word loosely...) like the United States.

In conclusion, I have demonstrated that not all laws are meant to be followed at all times. There are unethical laws; after all, they are written and enacted by flawed beings. Some of them are flawed too. While it is not always moral or responsible to break laws, and for the most part laws should typically be upheld for the good and safety/protection of society, there are certain times where breaking the law is actually the responsible and moral thing to do. Laws are meant to be challenged and ammended if necessary. To follow them blindly and mindlessly regarding of their negative repercussions or blatantly unfairness is the real crime and punishment to society.

Source:

[1] http://www.helium.com...
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Logical-Master 7 years ago
Logical-Master
CONDUCT: PRO, since CON forfeited

SPELLING AND GRAMMAR: I don't feel like checking, thus a tie. :D

CONVINCING ARGUMENTS: CON. The moment PRO agreed with COn in saying
"My resolution is not flawed. With the exception of the Queen and one or two other unelected tyrants, everybody DOES have to obey ALL laws, in ALL countries", this became an uphill battle for him.

Arguing that there are times at which the law should be disregardd is very persuasive. Indeed, the law isn't omnipotent and was not created to encomposses every situation and there are in fact many unethical laws which have been oppossed throughout history for the greater good.
RELIABLE SOUCES: CON. Both sides had good sources, but CON's sources proved stronger in term of persuading me to vote for him (i.e. citing examples of dumb laws which individuals should not be inclined to follow).
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
This could have been a very fun authority vs liberty debate, but it seems that PRO wishes to focus it on the Queen.
14 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Udel 9 months ago
Udel
brian_egglestonDanielleTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro says the queen is above the law. Con says the queen is above the law with good reason sometimes like too much hassle of prosecution. Con says the resolution is too broad and doesn't apply to just the queen. Con says there are sometimes good reasons for ignoring the law. Pro did not respond to Con's point about avoiding the unnecessary hassle. Pro said none of the laws Con cites are ridiculous so they should all be followed. Con explained some laws are subjective, and people manipulte them, and they can be drastic so they should not all be followed. Pro did not respond to Con's point on unethical laws or when it's moral to break the law. Con used sources to back up her real arguments. Pro's sources were just hilarious but not real lol.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Vote was a mistake
Vote Placed by Kleptin 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Logical-Master 7 years ago
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