The Instigator
Emmo
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Chaox
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

People can never be regarded as equals

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/25/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,392 times Debate No: 34178
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)

 

Emmo

Pro

People cannot under the law be regarded as equals, or treated as equals, in the sense that every single law and policy must apply to everyone in the same manner.
You must prove that people should be treated as equals in a legal sense, in a political sense and in a social sense and should.

No emotional pandering, this is an argument of pure reason, and wit

I have tried to make the topic as broad as possible to give you(the competitor) as much creative leeway as possible, as such i expect that you use MOSTLY YOUR OWN WORDS AND ARGUMENTS,

You are allowed to use external sources, but the bulk of the work must be your own.

Round 1 is acceptance only, no argument shall be submitted in round 1

For the purposes of this argument i assume that the competitor is aware of the definition of the term equality in the context it has been presented, if not please indicate in the comment section and further details will be provided

I eagerly await an opponent and hope that he/she has very good arguments which are interesting to consider.

Good luck and may the best arguer win!
Chaox

Con

I accept this debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Emmo

Pro

First of all welcome and i look forward to good arguments on both sides. That being said let me get on to business

Pro asserts that people in society can never be regarded as equals, as doing so would essentially negate the purpose of such a policy. The purpose of such a principle is evident in the term equality. We want to treat everyone equally because we believe that uniformity would create a better society where everyone us respected equally as a human being and has equal opportunities.

The flaw in such a reasoning is that this principle can only apply in an ideal world. In reality treating people as equals would be maintaining the status-quo, which is not built on the principles of equality. In the early 17th century, slavery began to rear its ugly head in North America and up until about 1964 after e advent of the Civil Right's Act, black people where technically considered second class citizens. We cannot address the inequalities created by the segregation, emasculation and economic deprivation which arose during the 400 or so years of slavery and segregation without helping those who were previously disadvantaged more than we would those who were advantaged (which is were affirmative action comes into play) This "unequal" treatment of people actually helps society function better

A better example and one i am more familiar with as it is closer to home, well my home atleast, is the situation in South Africa prior to independence and post independence. As a result of apartheid (just to be fair i'll add a link, just in case you don't know what i'm on about- http://www-cs-students.stanford.edu...)
Non Europeans where essentially disadvantaged economically, in terms of education, politically and socially. As such the government enacted a policy to address these issues. This policy essentially permits companies to employ Non-Europeans who were previously disadvantaged before considering an equally qualified individual who was advantaged prior to independence (similar to the U.S.A's affirmative action policy). When you look at it this is unequal treatment of people. However it serves to put these two hypothetical people on the same level of the playing field

If equality was applied universally, the non-European in South Africa would continue to be in a subordinate socioeconomic position because of the basis of his/her disadvantaged background (he/she would not be afforded the same opportunities)

Shifting away from race lets look at wealthy people and poor people. Regarding these two as equals in all sense would mean that they should be taxed equally. Let's assume person A earns 15000 a month and person B earns 1000 a month, if the tax system recognizes them as equals it would only fair if they were taxed equally. There are 2 choices in such a scenario, either we tax them of a certain amount (let's say 200 a month) or we tax them of 20% of their earning.

200 to person A wouldn't really affect his overall pay, whereas with person B that is a huge chunk of his salary and he may not be able to cope with such a huge loss. 20% to person A would be 3000 which again would still leave him with more than enough money to survive whereas the 20% (200) taxation on person B would not be such a minor scratch.

Of course you could argue that tax brackets address that argument by taxing people in proportion to their earnings, but that is not equal treatment it amounts to adjusting the tax system in accordance to one's pay. If people should truly be regarded as equals why shouldn't they be taxed the exact same amount

Now I look at the social aspect of it all. Should we treat those weaker as equals to those who are stronger. If we are to treat a disabled man as an equal we should not build ramps for them because what we would be doing is paying extra for their needs, which doesn't sound like equality to me

Should we also treat prisoner's as equals to those who are free, if so shouldn't they be allowed to fully exercise their right to equal treatment, people in the outside world have the right to movement. If you are not in prison, you have the choice to go anywhere (within financial and physical limitations) you please. Whereas a prisoner who should supposedly be treated as an equal cannot, does that not then infringe on his dignity? By disallowing an "equal" person his/her right to movement, we are not respecting him/her as a person.

Pro argues that in certain instances we need not treat people as equals, in certain instances we must limit one's right to equality in order for the betterment of society or for the protection of society (we must not treat prisoner's as equals because doing so would negate the whole purpose of punishing someone for committing a wrong. If we cannot punish someone for committing a wrong then our legal system would fall apart and society would follow)
Chaox

Con

Yes, thank you for the debate as well.

"The flaw in such a reasoning is that this principle can only apply in an ideal world. In reality treating people as equals would be maintaining the status-quo, which is not built on the principles of equality. In the early 17th century, slavery began to rear its ugly head in North America and up until about 1964 after e advent..."

In Sentence 2, forgive me if I mistake you, but treating people as equals means that there is no discrimination from person to person. In the current status-quo, we do not have much discrimination for segregation. This can be seen from Barack Obama, even though he is African-American, he ran for presidency in 2008 and won because he convinced America, that he could lead the country so we trusted him and voted for him. If there was segregation or sexism in the US today, I truly doubt Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would have made it to the top two presidential candidates of 2008. Yes, although back in the 1900s, slavery indeed was a major issue, but not today. People like Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out and helped America end the segregation. Today, we do not see "white only restrooms" or "white only restaurants", the children live in an equal society. You also stated that if we had black slaves, our society would have functioned better, but I would like to disagree. African American people work hard today as well in order to make a living. They help innovate society, technology, the economy, as well as participate in sports for people's entertainment. Famous black people such as John Hopkins and Barack Obama have saved millions of lives with their contributions to society, because they are no different from us. If we give them the correct tools to succeed, many will.

"A better example and one I am more familiar with as it is closer to home, well my home atleast, is the situation in South Africa prior to independence and post independence. As a result of apartheid (just to be fair i'll add a link, just in case you don't know what i'm on about- http://www-cs-students.stanford.edu......) Non Europeans where essentially disadvantaged economically, in terms of..."

These Non-Europeans were disadvantaged at one time, but that will transgress through future generations if we don't do anything about it. I came from a poor Chinese family which has been poor for many generations. It is hard to pay for a good education when the main focus is survival. My family constituted of bottle collectors, farmers, construction workers, etc. As a child, it was necessary for me to help out my parents do work to earn money. During my time period, I was lucky enough to have a public school open up in my region. I walked for roughly two hours every day just to come to class. I, however focused hard on both my studies and making a living at a young age. Most of the time I would stay up very late studying for tests. In China, we have something called the "Gao Cao", which is a large test that will determine your future. It is the results of the test that colleges look at, depending on them, you can get a full scholarship and be able to get into a good college and support your family with a good job, or you can fail and live the life of working as a farmer. I studied hard and passed the exam and ended up attending Qing Hua University, the best in China during the time. My kids today do not have to go through the struggles I went through since I can afford to provide them with a good education using my money. The point I'm trying to get across is, there needs to be a BREAK IN THE CYCLE, or else for many generations to pass, your family will be poor. This is similar to the Non Europeans and African Americans, most of them came from a poor family due to the government, but the government now wants to correct its mistake as much as possible and temporarily, give these people more benefits than regular citizens. In the future however, their generations will all have equal opportunity to regular citizens.

"If equality was applied universally, the non-European in South Africa would continue to be in a subordinate socioeconomic position because of the basis of his/her disadvantaged background (he/she would not be afforded the same opportunities)"

See my above argument. ^^

"Shifting away from race let's look at wealthy people and poor people. Regarding these two as equals in all sense would mean that they should be taxed equally. Let's assume person A earns 15000 a month and person B earns 1000 a month, if the tax system recognizes them as equals it would only fair if they were taxed..."

It's not about the money, it's about how much they are affected by it. Using a percentage tax would make everyone feel equally affected from the tax. Say we have Bill Gates and Mr. Hobo. Bill Gates earns approximately 3.5 Billion Dollars a year. Mr. Hobo earns 30,000 Dollars a year. If we use a set tax, say 50,000 Dollars a year, Bill Gates won't even feel anything while Mr. Hobo gets wiped 5/3 of his money. Mr. Hobo will now start the next year with a 20,000 Dollar debt and it will continue snowballing until he declares bankruptcy. Considering in today's government, the top 10% actually pay 70% of federal tax. If they all pay the same set amount, those rich won't hurt as much while the middle and lower class will be harshly affected. This is actually advantageous to richer people because taxes won't affect them as much while poor people, suffer a hard blow to their money. That is not fair treatment of people. If we have proportional tax however, rich people will be treated equally to poor people because they will be affected equally by the tax.

"Now I look at the social aspect of it all. Should we treat those weaker as equals to those who are stronger. If we are to treat a disabled man as an equal we should not build ramps for them because what we would be doing is paying extra for their needs, which doesn't sound like equality to me"

If ramps are not built, the disabled man would be at a disadvantage compared to the regular pedestrian. They will be unequal in their society to regular, able-to-walk people due to their lack of public access. It is necessary to remember, these disabled people are paying taxes within our current society as well. They help pay for staircases that they can't use. As staircase : people and ramps : disabled people, ramps are just as much of a important means of transportation as staircases are to regular pedestrian. If only staircases are built however, that would be an unequal treatment to these disabled people.

"Should we also treat prisoner's as equals to those who are free, if so shouldn't they be allowed to fully exercise their right to equal treatment, people in the outside world have the right to movement. If you are not in prison, you have the choice to go anywhere (within financial and physical limitations) you please. Whereas a prisoner..."

All prisoners originally had equal rights that were the same as those of common society. Everyone is treated equally, so if the people do not break laws, they will not get sent to prison. We are disallowing certain rights to prisoners within a prison such as the right to movement, but it is their punishment for breaking the laws and in exchange, we are protecting the safety of the people for the common good. These prisoners are still respected as human beings though, for they have not had their unalienable rights, the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, taken away.

Con argues that people should be treated equally for a betterment in living and society. If we do not treat others equally, we are missing a great deal on their possible potential and contribution to society. Education is needed for all people in order to progress and innovate our society, economy and technology to new levels and better the lifestyles of us human beings.
Vote
CON!
Debate Round No. 2
Emmo

Pro

"but treating people as equals means that there is no discrimination from person to person. In the current status-quo, we do not have much discrimination for segregation"

Pro partially agrees with Con's statement, however that statement is not entirely true, yes segregation has ended, however society and the mindsets of society are still geared towards segregation in the social, economic and political context. The fact that a black president won the presidential elections in 2008 does not change the fact that racism is still rampant in society, 10.1% of African Americans remain unemployed as opposed to only 4.7% of white americans. . "It has been institutionalized and maintained through educational, economic, political, religious, social, and cultural policies and activities. It is observable in the prejudiced attitudes, values, myths, beliefs, and practices expressed by many people, including those in positions of power".
http://www.socialworkers.org...

"If there was segregation or sexism in the US today, I truly doubt Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would have made it to the top two presidential candidates of 2008"

Not too long ago, infact early this month, the first black female minister in Italy Cecile Kyenge was insulted both on the basis of her race and her gender by a European parliament member Mario Borghezio (referring to the Italian government as a bonga bonga government).

The point is the status quo would be maintaining this racially divided society. Therefore inequal treatment is required to empower those who disadvantaged by the racial bias that currently and has existed for many years.

" You also stated that if we had black slaves, our society would have functioned better"
Please refer to the part where I say that. What I said was We cannot address the inequalities created by the segregation, emasculation and economic deprivation which arose during the 400 or so years of slavery and segregation without helping those who were previously disadvantaged more than we would those who were advantaged (which is were affirmative action comes into play) This "unequal" treatment of people (which is a reference to affirmative action) actually helps society function better. At what point do I insinuate what you have suggested?

"The point I'm trying to get across is, there needs to be a BREAK IN THE CYCLE, or else for many generations to pass, your family will be poor. This is similar to the Non Europeans and African Americans, most of them came from a poor family due to the government, but the government now wants to correct its mistake as much as possible and temporarily"

I'm not sure how that helps your argument, because what i'm saying is that affirmative action, or broad based black economic empowerment as it is called in South Africa, cannot by its very definition be regarded as treating people as equals, from a literal perspective it amounts to empowering a certain group of people, you say in the long run the generations will have equal opportunities, but the fact remains that people empowered by these provisions are not literally regarded as equals to those not empowered by these provisions. They are afforded with more opportunities in essence it is reverse apartheid/segregation.

"It's not about the money, it's about how much they are affected by it"
Have to pay credit where it's due, that is a nice counter argument. However I would like to point a flaw in your statement "how much they are affected by it". The wealthy are not treated as equals, by the tax system, instead they are regarded in higher esteem.

Firstly you need to note that not all income is taxable; municipal bonds offer tax free income, tax from foreign income is exempt from tax to a certain degree and income from long term capital gains amongst a few. These are tax breaks readily available to the wealthy to use and to abuse.
http://www.foxbusiness.com...

The Fed is aware of this, yet continues to literally hand these tax breaks over to the wealthy, is that not a sign of unequal treatment. A good example arises in the case of Warren Buffett who is afforded by the tax system a lower tax rate than his secretary. Infact in 2010 he was taxed of only 17.4% of his taxable income
http://www.forbes.com...

tell me is that equal treatment

"It is necessary to remember, these disabled people are paying taxes within our current society as well"

On top of the ramps that are to be built by "their tax money" disability grants are also afforded to the disabled. They help pay for staircases, we help pay for ramps and their grants. That is not equality

"These prisoners are still respected as human beings though, for they have not had their unalienable rights, the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, taken away"

Liberty is defined in the oxford dictionary as : 1) the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one"s behaviour or political views

Prisoners are not free from oppressive restrictions, the very fact that their movement is limited and confined at certain times to a cell, infringes on the right to liberty. Furthermore the statement "we are protecting the safety of the people...FOR THE COMMON GOOD" is not entirely true. When prisoners get out of jail they have incredible difficulties finding a job because society already labels them as villains (again another example of unequal treatment) to the point that some return to crime as a way of feeding their families. How is that helping the greater good?

Certain researchers have suggested that sexual victimization in prison may be as high as 41%, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
according to your assertion this is for the greater good.
Chaox

Con

"10.1% of African Americans remain unemployed as opposed to only 4.7% of white americans."

In the above argument, you mentioned the word "remain", however according to your source, this information was from 1995. "In February 1995 the unemployment rate for African Americans was 10.1 percent as compared to 4.7 percent for white Americans (Berry, 1995). "
http://www.socialworkers.org...

"Not too long ago, infact early this month, the first black female minister in Italy Cecile Kyenge was insulted both on the basis of her race and her gender by a European parliament member Mario Borghezio (referring to the Italian government as a bonga bonga government)."

This is not because of her race or gender, but more because of Mario Borghezio personality. "Borghezio, who has a long history of controversial comments, including verbal attacks on immigrants, has been condemned by some members of his own party." Even if Cecile Kyenge wasn't black, Borghezio would probably found some way or another to verbally attack this immigrant.
http://www.ibtimes.com...

"Please refer to the part where I say that. What I said was We cannot address the inequalities created by the segregation, emasculation and economic deprivation which arose during the 400 or so years of slavery and segregation without helping those who were previously disadvantaged more than we would those who were advantaged (which is were affirmative action comes into play) This "unequal" treatment of people (which is a reference to affirmative action) actually helps society function better. At what point do I insinuate what you have suggested?
I'm not sure how that helps your argument, because what i'm saying is that affirmative action, or broad based black economic empowerment as it is called in South Africa, cannot by its very definition be regarded as treating people as equals, from a literal perspective it amounts to empowering a certain group of people, you say in the long run the generations will have equal opportunities, but the fact remains that people empowered by these provisions are not literally regarded as equals to those not empowered by these provisions. They are afforded with more opportunities in essence it is reverse apartheid/segregation."

Forgive me, I have misread your text. What I want to point out now is that our topic of the debate is meant to be revolved around "People Can Never Be Regarded as Equals". So like you said, even if we empower a certain group of people in today's society (African Americans), future generations will have equal opportunity. That means it is possible for these people to have equal opportunity with the rest of society in the future.

"Have to pay credit where it's due, that is a nice counter argument. However I would like to point a flaw in your statement "how much they are affected by it". The wealthy are not treated as equals, by the tax system, instead they are regarded in higher esteem.

Firstly you need to note that not all income is taxable; municipal bonds offer tax free income, tax from foreign income is exempt from tax to a certain degree and income from long term capital gains amongst a few. These are tax breaks readily available to the wealthy to use and to abuse.
http://www.foxbusiness.com......

The Fed is aware of this, yet continues to literally hand these tax breaks over to the wealthy, is that not a sign of unequal treatment. A good example arises in the case of Warren Buffett who is afforded by the tax system a lower tax rate than his secretary. Infact in 2010 he was taxed of only 17.4% of his taxable income
http://www.forbes.com......

tell me is that equal treatment"

First of all, let me clarify this a bit. Middle class and lower class can participate in reducing their federal tax as well. These options aren't available only to the rich is what I am saying, they are available to everybody. But still, the Federal Government is fully aware of the situation with super rich people like Warren Buffet paying lesser tax than his secretary. In 2011, the Buffet Rule was proposed by Obama so that Americans making over 2 million dollars annually would need to pay at least 30% tax. This would start making the rich not be able to cheat on their taxes. Although the bill was close to passing, the bill ended with 51-45 (requires 60 to pass). Even so that this bill didn't pass, Obama is currently trying to fix this situation along with most of Senate. They are aware that this is unequal treatment and will put a stop to it as soon as possible.
http://www.forbes.com...
http://consumerist.com...

"On top of the ramps that are to be built by "their tax money" disability grants are also afforded to the disabled. They help pay for staircases, we help pay for ramps and their grants. That is not equality"

The difference is, these disabled people are different from us regular people. They are at slight disadvantages to regular pedestrians. Many people are born disabled or have been injured in accidents. This is an unfair and unequal treatment to them if we just leave them alone. This can be seen as an analogy of poor people : disabled people, rich people : non disabled people. We want to help these disabled people so they can live well in our current society as well as help innovate it. In order for a good working society where all people should have easy accessibility to the same things, it is necessary to help fund them through both government and NPO means.

"Liberty is defined in the oxford dictionary as : 1) the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one"s behaviour or political views"

Oppressive is defined in the oxford dictionary as : 1) unjustly inflicting hardship and constraint, especially on a minority or other subordinate group
^^ Key word is "unjustly". So basically liberty is the state of being free within society from unfair restrictions imposed by authority on one's behaviour or political views.

"Prisoners are not free from oppressive restrictions, the very fact that their movement is limited and confined at certain times to a cell, infringes on the right to liberty. Furthermore the statement "we are protecting the safety of the people...FOR THE COMMON GOOD" is not entirely true. When prisoners get out of jail they have incredible difficulties finding a job because society already labels them as villains (again another example of unequal treatment) to the point that some return to crime as a way of feeding their families. How is that helping the greater good?
Certain researchers have suggested that sexual victimization in prison may be as high as 41%..."

First of all, the greater number of people are not past time criminals, but innocent citizens. If we let criminals continuously roam our streets and don't do anything, we will end up with much violence and murder. These innocent citizens have not committed any acts of crime that should infringe upon their unalienable rights. When I mention the term "common good", I am referring to the greater number of innocent citizens of the whole of our society.
Society labeling a previous criminal as a "villain" is not an example of unequal treatment however. These past-time criminals are the ones at fault, for committing a crime in the first place, when they should fully understand the consequences of doing so. Job opportunities may be limited for them, but that doesn't mean finding a job is impossible. Many of these past-time criminals either end up starting their own business, participating in medical tests, or doing online freelance work. These jobs do not require background checks which means their criminal record doesn't matter.
http://www.articledashboard.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Emmo

Pro

"this information was from 1995"

True, my apologies, the rate is in fact 14.4% whereas white unemployment is 7.4%
http://money.cnn.com...

"This is not because of her race or gender, but more because of Mario Borghezio personality"
Mario Borghezio has a history of RACIST insults, implying that he is racist atleast to some degree. We can draw this implication on constant racial remarks.
http://www.alde.eu...

We can infer from this that he does not treat other races as equals, he demeans them. Therefore he could never regard people as equals. Given the authority he yields we can infer that he can influence people to follow his racial stance.

To further elaborate on this point Pro draws attention to the racial divide present in Italy, evident in the media's portrayal of society in Italy
http://edition.cnn.com... (here is an example of an international soccer player being subjected to racial e and not being regarded/treated as the normal/average soccer player, therefore not being treated equally)
http://www.reuters.com... (here we have an example of a website an anti-discrimination website in which Kyenge is called a "Congolese monkey")

"even if we empower a certain group of people in today's society (African Americans), future generations will have equal opportunity. That means it is possible for these people to have equal opportunity with the rest of society in the future"

Empowering a certain group which is presumably disadvantaged is just reverse racism, giving more opportunities to a particular group, at what point do we stop giving these advantaged say everyone is equal? At that point another group will claim to have been disadvantaged by the unfair policies that placed another group on a pedestal, then we will have address their needs too. Do you get what i'm trying to argue? its an endless cycle and could potentially lead to a flood gate of other claims of being disadvantaged (infact it has, homosexuals want to be regarded as equals in the sense that they want their unions to be regarded as marriage. Feminism movements, Religious movements, all religions want to be afforded the same rights including small religions) Point is there will never be equality across the board, because we as humans will always prejudge certain behaviors, cultures and people and this prohibits the possibility of equality every occurring

"Middle class and lower class can participate in reducing their federal tax as well"

Much like Apple the rich can avoid paying taxes by sending their money to tax havens, they can afford to send large chunks of money, where as someone in the middle class would probably need that money to furnish his/her debts, so in theory the middle class have that option available to them, but practically that is incredibly hard to do. Therefore in theory they are treated as equals, but in practice they are not equals

"They are aware that this is unequal treatment and will put a stop to it as soon as possible"
You just conceded that there is unequal treatment. With regards to putting a stop from it, that is all hypothetical especially considering that the source, Obama, is the same man who promised to shut down Guantanamo Bay, but didn't (false promises)
http://abcnews.go.com...

"The difference is, these disabled people are different from us regular people"
Is Pro asserting that they are different from "us regular" people and should as such be treated differently? Does this not go against Pro's argument that people should be treated equally. The use of the word "regular" in your statement, draws a distinction between "them" and "us" if we were truly to be treated as equals would you not then have phrased your statement differently?

Should we also treat left handed people in the same manner as we would disabled people. About 15% of people in the world are left handed
http://dailyinfographic.com...

If we afford such special treatment to disabled people to try and make them feel like equals should we not then afford the same rights and "special" treatment to left handed people

"If we let criminals continuously roam our streets and don't do anything, we will end up with much violence and murder"
What do you base this assumption on?, criminals where once "innocent citizens" too.

"These past-time criminals are the ones at fault, for committing a crime in the first place, when they should fully understand the consequences of doing so"
In an instance where one is forced by his circumstances to sell drugs or steal, should we also label his as a "villain" especially considering the fact that chances are he/she would have already been labelled as a victim given the circumstances surrounding his life (for example if he was born in a crime-ridden neighborhood, abandoned by his father and his mother has not job, generally people will think that he is a criminal just on the basis of his appearance, because we profile people based on their appearance. Furthermore we make judgements on people based on the first few minutes/seconds we see them

"Many of these past-time criminals either end up starting their own business, participating in medical tests, or doing online freelance work"
I disagree with the use of the word many, because it implies that a vast majority of them start businesses, or are online free lancers which is far from the truth, a vast majority of them do not get jobs, nor do they have societal backing to be able to start a business venture
http://money.cnn.com...
Chaox

Con

Chaox forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by TUF 3 years ago
TUF
Congratulations, you just found a ninja!
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