The Instigator
The_Silent_Consensus
Pro (for)
Winning
27 Points
The Contender
potus23
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points

Our rights exist in every individual and come at no one else's expense

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/15/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,422 times Debate No: 504
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (11)

 

The_Silent_Consensus

Pro

Our rights are inalienable. Inalienable means cannot be transferred nor surrendered except by the person who possesses them. These rights exist in each individual and impose no obligation on others. Life, liberty, property, and pursuit of happiness

Recently, I've been seeing and hearing things that constitute as a total travesty in interpretation.

For example, I've been seeing signs saying, "Housing is a Right" in the same breadth as "Save Rent Control." Housing is a right? Not in that context it isn't. They will argue that the right to life includes the right to things necessary to survive: food, clothing, and housing, for example.

Now, the argument "Housing is a Right" per se isn't so off, but the way they apply it is. Let me explain: The right to life means all individuals have a right to sustain their life through their own efforts, and no one is allowed to stop anyone else from doing that. In other words, I have the right to earn my food, clothes, and house myself, and no one can forcibly stop me or take those things from me.

But here's where their interpretation is way off: They interpret the right to life to mean that my neighbors have to feed, clothe, and house me. If that were the case, then our inalienable right to liberty and property wouldn't exist. If my desire for something imposed a legal obligation on other people, they would have no choice in their lives, and would have no liberty and no right to their property. They would be my slaves
potus23

Con

Ok well lets start out with the word inalienable, and what it means to have inalienable rights. You say that "Inalienable means cannot be transferred nor surrendered except by the person who possesses them." The problem with that is inalienable rights can't even be surrendered by the person who posses them. I don't even have to argue that one, just look up the word inalienable in the dictionary. Or you can just read below where I kindly copied it for you:
Inalienable: unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor
Thats from Merriam Webster.
Your gonna say that has nothing to do with your point, and maybe it doesn't, but I think we should start out with true things and then work from there.

Now comes the question as to whether or not housing is right. If you say that housing isnt a right, I think it brings all sorts of other things into question which we havent considered.

I want to give you an example. Lets say there is a racist who happens to own apartment buildings somewhere. I am a black man who wants to live in those apartments buildings, and the landlord doesn't want to house me because I am black. Apparently, you would have no problem with the landlord saying no, you cant live here, or at least according to your definition of liberty.

"If my desire for something imposed a legal obligation on other people, they would have no choice in their lives, and would have no liberty and no right to their property."

The black man has a desire for the apartment. The Landlord doesnt want to give it to him because he is black. In the real world there is a legal obligation imposed on the Landlord to house the tenant. But of course that leaves him with no choice, and the Landlord now has no liberty and no property.

So much for that definition of liberty. And even if you try to argue that obviously the landlord doesn't deserve to have the right to not house a black tennant, who is supposed to decide that? And if thats the case, who is supposed to decide which people have rights and which people don't?

But now on to the real issue of housing. Your saying that if housing was a right, and I saw a homeless person, I would have some legal obligation to put him up in my house. A forced quartering of homeless people, so to speak. I think thats taking this issue and just coming up with some random far-fetched system that would never happen in the real world.

You say: "I have the right to earn my food, clothes, and house myself, and no one can forcibly stop me or take those things from me."
Thats great. And you have obviously done that, as you have purchased a computer, and have some sort of internet access, obviously have had some good education, and have housed yourself so you'd have a place to put that computer.
But what about the people who can't do that? What happens to them? What happens to the 2,660 children who are born into poverty everyday (http://heartsandminds.org...)? Do we say to them "Oh tough luck on being born into poverty. Have fun trying to find food clothes and a house."?
I'd like to think that we live in a society where we believe that no one should be hungry and no one should have no clothes and no one should be homeless. Thats what a right to housing is all about. Its a social right. It s a right that we hope can be provided to everyone. We hope all these rights can eventually be provided to everyone. That hope is why people go down and volunteer at a shelter, or go out through the many great organizations that feed the homeless, or donate their old clothing to the goodwill or the salvation army. We hope as a society that these problems can be fixed.
So what would be wrong with providing housing for everyone? What is your problem with caring for the underprivileged in our society? I know that you have the right to earn your money to buy food clothes and housing, but some people for various reasons cant do that. You have done well for yourself, but some people haven't. Are we supposed to just leave them out there alone by themselves?
God I hope not.

I have an aunt who has bipolar disorder type 1. Because of that, her ability to hold down a steady job has been greatly affected, to the point where she's had about 12 jobs in 4 or so years. Right now she is on disability pay from the government, which helps her pay for food clothes and housing. I find that really comforting. I know my parents send her money every month, and so do my grandparents, and I have started too. But its nice to know that people who don't have family can at least rely on something to help them out. The government helps provide for her housing, cause in the end shouldn't she have housing even if she is disabled?
If your answer to that question is yes, then you believe there is some kind of right to housing.
Debate Round No. 1
The_Silent_Consensus

Pro

You make some good points. I will respond in CAPITALS

Ok well lets start out with the word inalienable, and what it means to have inalienable rights. You say that "Inalienable means cannot be transferred nor surrendered except by the person who possesses them." The problem with that is inalienable rights can't even be surrendered by the person who posses them. I don't even have to argue that one, just look up the word inalienable in the dictionary. Or you can just read below where I kindly copied it for you:
Inalienable: unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor
Thats from Merriam Webster.

THEY CAN BE TRANSFERRED/SURRENDERED IF THE PERSON WISHES. IF I GIVE SOME OF MY PROPERTY TO CHARITY, THEN I HAVE WILLFULLY SURRENDERED IT

Your gonna say that has nothing to do with your point, and maybe it doesn't, but I think we should start out with true things and then work from there.

Now comes the question as to whether or not housing is right. If you say that housing isnt a right, I think it brings all sorts of other things into question which we havent considered.

I want to give you an example. Lets say there is a racist who happens to own apartment buildings somewhere. I am a black man who wants to live in those apartments buildings, and the landlord doesn't want to house me because I am black. Apparently, you would have no problem with the landlord saying no, you cant live here, or at least according to your definition of liberty.

I HAVEN'T EVEN GOTTEN INTO RACE, ETC... THAT IS AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT BALLGAME THAN IF ONE HAS A RIGHT TO LIVE IN ANOTHER'S PROPERTY AT THE OWNER'S EXPENSE WITH RENT CONTROLS. APPLES AND ORANGES

"If my desire for something imposed a legal obligation on other people, they would have no choice in their lives, and would have no liberty and no right to their property."

The black man has a desire for the apartment. The Landlord doesnt want to give it to him because he is black. In the real world there is a legal obligation imposed on the Landlord to house the tenant. But of course that leaves him with no choice, and the Landlord now has no liberty and no property.

NO, I'VE NEVER HEARD OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR APARTMENTS. IN THE REAL WORLD, THE LANDLORD JUST WOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO DISCRIMINATE, BUT HE WOULDN'T BE REQUIRED TO GO WITH THAT PERSON IF ANOTHER PERSON APPLIED.

So much for that definition of liberty. And even if you try to argue that obviously the landlord doesn't deserve to have the right to not house a black tennant, who is supposed to decide that? And if thats the case, who is supposed to decide which people have rights and which people don't?

I DON'T KNOW WHERE I STAND ON ALLOWING PRIVATE PERSONS/ENTITIES TO DISCRIMINATE (IF THEY WOULD DISCRIMINATE AGAINST YOU IF THEY COULD, WOULD YOU WANT TO WORK FOR THEM ANYWAY?), BUT REGARDLESS, NO INCONSISTENCY IN WHAT I HAVE SAID AND SUPPORTING ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAWS

But now on to the real issue of housing. Your saying that if housing was a right, and I saw a homeless person, I would have some legal obligation to put him up in my house. A forced quartering of homeless people, so to speak. I think thats taking this issue and just coming up with some random far-fetched system that would never happen in the real world.

BUT IF HOUSING WAS A RIGHT IN THE CONTEXT THAT THE "SAVE RENT CONTROL" PEOPLE SAY, THAT SYSTEM OR SOMETHING SIMILAR WOULD EXIST

You say: "I have the right to earn my food, clothes, and house myself, and no one can forcibly stop me or take those things from me."
Thats great. And you have obviously done that, as you have purchased a computer, and have some sort of internet access, obviously have had some good education, and have housed yourself so you'd have a place to put that computer.
But what about the people who can't do that? What happens to them? What happens to the 2,660 children who are born into poverty everyday (http://heartsandminds.org......)? Do we say to them "Oh tough luck on being born into poverty. Have fun trying to find food clothes and a house."?

NO. I'M NOT SAYING WE SHOULDN'T HAVE ANY SOCIAL PROGRAMS. I JUST STOP SHORT AT CALLING THEM A RIGHT. WITH SOCIAL PROGRAMS THOUGH, GIVEN THAT EVERYONE PAYS TAXES, EVERYONE PAYS FOR IT. RENT CONTROLS, ON THE OTHER HAND, ARE FORCING ONE GROUP OF PEOPLE (PROPERTY OWNERS) TO PAY TO FIX A SOCIETAL PROBLEM THEY DIDN'T CREATE. NEITHER ARE RIGHTS, BUT STILL A BIG DIFFERENCE

I'd like to think that we live in a society where we believe that no one should be hungry and no one should have no clothes and no one should be homeless. Thats what a right to housing is all about. Its a social right. It s a right that we hope can be provided to everyone. We hope all these rights can eventually be provided to everyone. That hope is why people go down and volunteer at a shelter, or go out through the many great organizations that feed the homeless, or donate their old clothing to the goodwill or the salvation army. We hope as a society that these problems can be fixed.
So what would be wrong with providing housing for everyone? What is your problem with caring for the underprivileged in our society? I know that you have the right to earn your money to buy food clothes and housing, but some people for various reasons cant do that. You have done well for yourself, but some people haven't. Are we supposed to just leave them out there alone by themselves?

NO, READ ABOVE.

God I hope not.

I have an aunt who has bipolar disorder type 1. Because of that, her ability to hold down a steady job has been greatly affected, to the point where she's had about 12 jobs in 4 or so years. Right now she is on disability pay from the government, which helps her pay for food clothes and housing. I find that really comforting. I know my parents send her money every month, and so do my grandparents, and I have started too. But its nice to know that people who don't have family can at least rely on something to help them out. The government helps provide for her housing, cause in the end shouldn't she have housing even if she is disabled?

I FEEL FOR YOUR AUNT. AND AS I SAID, I DON'T OBJECT TO SOCIAL PROGRAMS NECESSARILY, BUT WHETHER WE SHOULD HAVE THEM OR NOT IS SEPARATE FROM WHETHER THEY ARE A RIGHT

If your answer to that question is yes, then you believe there is some kind of right to housing.

THE ONLY "RIGHT" TO HOUSING THAT EXISTS IS THE RIGHT OF PEOPLE TO EARN IT THEMSELVES WITHOUT ANYONE FORCIBLY STOPPING THEM. NOT TO SAY WE SHOULDN'T HAVE SOCIAL PROGRAMS, BUT THEY'RE NOT A RIGHT
potus23

Con

Ok well again lets start out with the word inalienable. Maybe I didn't really make it clear last time. Inalienable rights are rights that you CANNOT give up. The phrase comes from the Declaration of Independence--"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." The life, liberty and property your referring to comes from Thomas Paine, who doesn't call them inalienable.
And unfortunately we don't have the inalienable right to property in this country. As you just established, you can give up your right to property making it by definition not inalienable (which again is defined as "unable to be taken away from or GIVEN AWAY by the possessor" by Merriam Webster). Also it can be taken away from you if its in the public interest to do so. A little thing called eminent domain. (but thats not the purpose of this debate)
I hope we've cleared that up.

Now lets move on to the example I said about discrimination. I really didn't need to set the example up as a housing situation. It wasn't really in reference to the housing part of this argument. I was referring to the statement in your original argument:

"If my desire for something imposed a legal obligation on other people, they would have no choice in their lives, and would have no liberty and no right to their property."

I am just looking at that sentence. You responded with:

NO, I'VE NEVER HEARD OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR APARTMENTS. IN THE REAL WORLD, THE LANDLORD JUST WOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO DISCRIMINATE, BUT HE WOULDN'T BE REQUIRED TO GO WITH THAT PERSON IF ANOTHER PERSON APPLIED.

I wouldn't really call it affirmative action for apartments. And why is he not allowed to discriminate, assuming we use your definition of liberty as stated above? Wouldn't saying he's not allowed to discriminate be a "legal obligation" and he "would have no choice in [his] life"? I really just don't think you have thought through that logic.

And then you went with this:

I DON'T KNOW WHERE I STAND ON ALLOWING PRIVATE PERSONS/ENTITIES TO DISCRIMINATE (IF THEY WOULD DISCRIMINATE AGAINST YOU IF THEY COULD, WOULD YOU WANT TO WORK FOR THEM ANYWAY?), BUT REGARDLESS, NO INCONSISTENCY IN WHAT I HAVE SAID AND SUPPORTING ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAWS

First of all, private persons or business can't discriminate. If I am a restaurant owner, and I say oh no you can't eat here if your black, that is illegal.
And yes there is a serious inconsistency in what you have said and anti-discrimination laws. You said that, and I'm just gonna copy it again down here, that "If my desire for something imposed a legal obligation on other people, they would have no choice in their lives, and would have no liberty and no right to their property." Anti-discrimination laws are by their very nature IMPOSING A LEGAL OBLIGATION not to discriminate, and essentially those people would HAVE NO LIBERTY to discriminate as they wish. Basically your very wrong in saying that what you have said doesn't go against anti-discrimination laws.

But now for the real debate about housing.

A rent-control program is a social program designed to allow lower-income families to live in certain parts of cities, the most prominent example being New York City. Rent Control in New York probably has gone away from its original purpose, and thats why there are constantly new regulations about it being imposed on the people living in rent control apartments. For example, in a rent control apartment you can't make any major improvements to it yourself(i.e. w/o landlord permission) without forfeiting rent control status. You can see how that is designed to weed out the undeserving people from the program---the real low income families wont have enough money to make major improvements to their apartments. Also, you must reside in the apartment some amount of days per year in order to qualify for rent control--again weeding out the people taking advantage of the program who might use their rent control apartment as a second home or something of that nature.
Rent Control is a good program, it has just gone awry. But that is being fixed.

And I don't think you can say social programs are not a right and still you know have a conscience. The one failure of our free-market capital system is that for the number of winners there are, there are also a significant number of losers. In the end, the gains to the winners outweigh the losses to the losers, but there are still losers.
If you say social programs are not a right, then if my aunt didn't have help from my family you'd be sending her on to the streets. She didn't control the fact that she has bipolar disorder. She can't work because of it. And your saying she doesn't have the right to be helped out? I mean come on. What did she ever do to you?
Debate Round No. 2
The_Silent_Consensus

Pro

If inalienable is what you say it is, then we don't have an inalienable right to life either, because people can end their own life (euthanasia).

"I wouldn't really call it affirmative action for apartments. And why is he not allowed to discriminate, assuming we use your definition of liberty as stated above? Wouldn't saying he's not allowed to discriminate be a "legal obligation" and he 'would have no choice in [his] life'? I really just don't think you have thought through that logic."

That is one way to look at it. Here's another way: For anyone to make a decision about who can rent their apartment, or work for them, based on anything other than merit, is a threat to capitalism and an infringement on other people's right to sustain their life through their own efforts.

"Anti-discrimination laws are by their very nature IMPOSING A LEGAL OBLIGATION not to discriminate, and essentially those people would HAVE NO LIBERTY to discriminate as they wish."

So are anti-murder laws by their very nature imposing a legal obligation not to murder? And essentially those people have no liberty to murder as they wish? I find discrimination and murder both infringe on other people, and no one has liberty to do that.

Let's use a coffee example. You pay me $5 for a latte. In that, you are saying that the latte is more valuable to you than the $5, and I'm saying that the $5 is more valuable to me than the latte. We both benefit from a free transaction, and no government intervention. I had the right to sell it for what I wanted, and you had the right to buy or not to buy it. Your race makes no difference as to whether I'm better off, so for me to discriminate on that basis is, as I said, an infringement on other people's right to sustain their life through their own efforts (well, people don't need coffee to survive, but same idea).

Or put another way, I'm all fine with enabling people to start at the same start line, have the same distance to run, and the same difficulty of obstacles in the race. But I am not fine with the idea that those who end up behind then have a right to slow someone up in front of them while giving themselves a boost in speed.

On rent control, again, I find it a total affront to liberty to force one group of individuals to pay to fix a societal problem that they didn't create.

Social programs aren't a right, but that's a different ballgame from whether we should have them or not. So yes, I can say they're not a right but still have a conscience, and no, I would not be tossing your aunt out in the streets.
potus23

Con

potus23 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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Posted by Leonitus_Trujillo 9 years ago
Leonitus_Trujillo
I was but someone beat me to it.
Posted by cghslaxforce 9 years ago
cghslaxforce
honestly, who is going to argue against that?
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Chob
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