The Instigator
leet4A1
Pro (for)
Winning
25 Points
The Contender
resolutionsmasher
Con (against)
Losing
16 Points

Personal suicide should be legal.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/21/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,504 times Debate No: 7930
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (14)
Votes (6)

 

leet4A1

Pro

Thanks to whoever accepts this debate.

There are still places on Earth where the act of committing suicide is illegal. I am advocating the position that personal suicide should be legal. I will make a few arguments:

1. It is a completely impractical law to uphold. Indeed, it is the only law I can think of where the 'criminal' can only be punished if they FAIL in their attempt, as you can't imprison a dead person (though I'm sure men have tried).

2. One major reason (possibly the main reason) for instilling laws in the first place is to prevent crime. There is no way somebody who is about to commit suicide will be persuaded not to do so upon hearing there is a law against it.

3. Attempting to prevent suicide is, in itself, cruel and unusual treatment of a human. Many people believe suicide to be an inherently selfish act, but I believe quite the opposite. Forcing someone to endure with a life they've long tired of, merely because you have a personal attachment to them, is the very definition of selfish.

I'll leave it here for this round, thanks again to my opponent for accepting.
resolutionsmasher

Con

I will first respond to my opponent's case.

1. It's not like we actually punish failed suicide atemptees. We rehabilitate them. That way they can continue as a normal member of society. The reason it is also a crime to successfully commit suicide is because that symbolizes the wrongness of it. The majority of people define right and wrong as what they see in the law books. Giving suicide legal repercussions is the best way to discourage it. It's not the punishment that does the discouraging (because there isn't really a punishment), it's the simple fact that it is law.

2. It is also correct to have suicide as an illegal action because it is wrong. Our government is based off of social contract. Social contract states that all humans have the natural and inalienable right to life. An inalienable right is one that can only be taken away by the one who gives it. In the case of life that is either God, Nature, or Chance. Thus the only entities justified in taking human life is either God, Nature, or Chance. Thus one person cannot rightfully take their own life. Because of this it is perfectly logical that suicide is illegal in a society based on social contract.

3. Suicide is more than selfish. It is a manifestation of one's ignorance. All people go through serious hardship at some point in their life. The only difference between a suicidal person and a regular person is how they deal with these troubles and trials. Those who commit suicide are selfish because they deny the right of every non-suicidal person to say their life is also hard, when in fact everybody has a difficult life. A suicidal person thinks themselves above the rest of the population. You cannot expect the affected family to accept that person's suicide with dignity. They were just severed from a very close relationship and it leaves that person with a gap in their soul. It is like expecting a person to part from their perfectly good limbs without objection.

I've proved how it is practical, ideal, and logical to make suicide in any way illegal. Including personal suicide (whatever that is).

Thus the only practical, ideal, and logical choice in this debate is the negative. Thank You.
Debate Round No. 1
leet4A1

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting the debate and his quick rebuttal. My opponent appears to be dumbfounded over my use of the words 'personal suicide', so I should clarify. I used those words specifically to eliminate the chance of so-called 'assisted suicide' or euthanasia or any other such variance on the word 'suicide' entering the debate. I hope this clarifies.

1.
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"It's not like we actually punish failed suicide atemptees. We rehabilitate them. That way they can continue as a normal member of society."

First, if you think that's the Government's business, then that's fine. We can rehabilitate without ridiculous laws.
Second, suicide is not always an act that needs rehabilitation. If I am tired of living, why should the Government have a say in whether or not I should live or die? It has nothing to do with them.

"The reason it is also a crime to successfully commit suicide is because that symbolizes the wrongness of it. The majority of people define right and wrong as what they see in the law books. Giving suicide legal repercussions is the best way to discourage it. It's not the punishment that does the discouraging (because there isn't really a punishment), it's the simple fact that it is law."

This is basically saying that suicide is inherently wrong, so we make a law against it to show everyone how 'wrong' it is. Aside from the obvious circularity of this argument, the problem here is that suicide is not inherently wrong, for the reasons I gave in my first round and for many other reasons. My opponent must show why suicide is inherently wrong before we start concluding that a law should be instilled to prevent it.
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2.
"Our government is based off of social contract. Social contract states that all humans have the natural and inalienable right to life. An inalienable right is one that can only be taken away by the one who gives it. In the case of life that is either God, Nature, or Chance. Thus the only entities justified in taking human life is either God, Nature, or Chance. Thus one person cannot rightfully take their own life. Because of this it is perfectly logical that suicide is illegal in a society based on social contract."

Well, I certainly don't know where my opponent got his definition for 'inalienable right to life', but I assure you it has nothing to do with God, Nature or Chance. The phrase 'Right to Life' is from the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and I quote:
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"Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life." [1]
===
My opponent has clearly confused the 'right' to do something with the 'obligation' to do something. When a police officer tells you that you've got the 'right to remain silent', this doesn't mean 'shut up!'. It means IF YOU CHOOSE to remain silent, you may. What it also says is that NOBODY has the right to make you talk if you don't wish.
We can draw a simple parallel between this case and the case of the 'right to live'. We have the right to live IF WE CHOOSE to continue doing so. NOBODY has the right to make us live if we don't wish to. This is basic human rights we are talking here.
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3.
"Suicide is more than selfish. It is a manifestation of one's ignorance."

Be that as it may indeed, this is not a reason to make it against the law. In this day and age, with all we know, I find it a massive manifestation of a person's ignorance to believe the Earth is 6000 years old. Would you condone making that train of thought illegal? I certainly wouldn't.

"Those who commit suicide are selfish because they deny the right of every non-suicidal person to say their life is also hard, when in fact everybody has a difficult life. A suicidal person thinks themselves above the rest of the population."

What the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks are you talking about man!?! Every 'non-suicidal' person can say whatever they want about their life.

"You cannot expect the affected family to accept that person's suicide with dignity. They were just severed from a very close relationship and it leaves that person with a gap in their soul. It is like expecting a person to part from their perfectly good limbs without objection."

You are saying that somebody should endure with a life they've tired of because you have a personal attachment to them. Again, this is the very definition of 'selfish'.
Because it has the potential to hurt people is not a good reason to forbid the action. Indeed, forbidding suicide is an attempt to inflict pain, to continue somebody's suffering. Once again, we have the RIGHT to live, but not the OBLIGATION. Nobody has the right to force death OR life upon us.

I thank my opponent and await his rebuttal.

[1] - http://en.wikipedia.org...
resolutionsmasher

Con

"My opponent appears to be dumbfounded over my use of the words 'personal suicide', so I should clarify."

I am not "dumbfounded". I am simply cynical of your choice to only pursue this level of suicide since all are equally wrong for the same reasons. But enough of this. On to the debate. By the way I thank my opponent for posting this debate. It is a usefull way to clarify the issue and the truth about it as I am about to reveal to you all.

"First, if you think that's the Government's business, then that's fine. We can rehabilitate without ridiculous laws."

The government requires a law in order to enforce rehab.

"Second, suicide is not always an act that needs rehabilitation. If I am tired of living, why should the Government have a say in whether or not I should live or die? It has nothing to do with them."

Suicide is always an act that requires rehab. 90% of suicide cases happen while the victim is either impared through alchohol and/or sleep deprivation. Going seventeen hours without sleep is equivilent to the legal alchohol blood limit. The user named Seeker esplains it best."When someone considers suicide, he usually is in a state of severe stress or depression, possibly due to chemical changes or unnatural reasons. In other words he does not have clear judgement to make such a permanent and devastating decision. If everyone who had once contemplated suicide had decided to go through with it then there would be a much smaller population on Earth. The idea that suicide involves only one individual is completely false; someone may touch thousands of others from the extremely personal relationship from father to son to to the impersonal but widespread effect of a popular idol to his fans. In this respect suicide can effect millions of people and negatively impact their lives. The decision to give up shouldn't be their decision because not only will so many others disagree with the thought of killing yourself, but yourself in another state of mind would also disagree with that decision. If suicide wasn't illegal then the state would be encouraging people to end their lives. Misguided individuals would kill themselves to get the insurance money for their families instead of taking the responsible action of providing for them." http://www.debate.org...

"This is basically saying that suicide is inherently wrong, so we make a law against it to show everyone how 'wrong' it is. Aside from the obvious circularity of this argument, the problem here is that suicide is not inherently wrong, for the reasons I gave in my first round and for many other reasons. My opponent must show why suicide is inherently wrong before we start concluding that a law should be instilled to prevent it."

First of all, you didn't actually say anything to the inherent rightness of suicide in your first round. You just talked about legality problems. Get it right. I did show why it is inherently wrong in my second point when I brought up social contract. I'll come back to social contract.

"Well, I certainly don't know where my opponent got his definition for 'inalienable right to life', but I assure you it has nothing to do with God, Nature or Chance. The phrase 'Right to Life' is from the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

I got it from Jean-Jacques Rousseau's book "Du Contrat Social" which outlines the definition of inalienable rights. My opponent's definition from the UN is invalid because the law in question is an American law. Thus we must look to American Government foundations. Our government was founded on social contract not the UN charter. "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—-That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed."
http://en.wikisource.org...

"My opponent has clearly confused the 'right' to do something with the 'obligation' to do something. When a police officer tells you that you've got the 'right to remain silent', this doesn't mean 'shut up!'. It means IF YOU CHOOSE to remain silent, you may. What it also says is that NOBODY has the right to make you talk if you don't wish.
We can draw a simple parallel between this case and the case of the 'right to live'. We have the right to live IF WE CHOOSE to continue doing so. NOBODY has the right to make us live if we don't wish to. This is basic human rights we are talking here."

The right to remain silent is not inalienable and thus doesn't apply. In the event of inalienable rights we do have both a right and an obligation to preserve them. You seem to mistake the capability of killing one's self with the justification for doing so. You can't kill yourself just because you can. Nobody has the ABILITY to keep you from killing yourself, but they ALWAYS have the RESPONSIBILITY to at least try to prevent such a stupid desision.

"Be that as it may indeed, this is not a reason to make it against the law. In this day and age, with all we know, I find it a massive manifestation of a person's ignorance to believe the Earth is 6000 years old. Would you condone making that train of thought illegal? I certainly wouldn't."

Hey!! That's a matter of opinion. There is physical evidence that points to creation also, but since this is not that debate and I'm running out of room then I'll refrain. Just keep your opinions to yourself.

"What the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks are you talking about man!?! Every 'non-suicidal' person can say whatever they want about their life."

They can say what they want but a surprising amout of people have contemplated suicide. But why don't the majority follow through with it? Answer: They are more reasonable, logical, resoponsible, unselfish, and intelligent than those who do follow through with it.

"You are saying that somebody should endure with a life they've tired of because you have a personal attachment to them. Again, this is the very definition of 'selfish'."

You cannot expect them to not be attatched. It is a natural inclination for a person to become attatched and thus you cannot condem them for an unconsentual attatchment. As I've said before. If you commit suicide it's like forcibly cutting off the emotional limbs of the person who is emotionally attatched to you.

"Because it has the potential to hurt people is not a good reason to forbid the action. Indeed, forbidding suicide is an attempt to inflict pain, to continue somebody's suffering. Once again, we have the RIGHT to live, but not the OBLIGATION. Nobody has the right to force death OR life upon us."

Yes it is a good reason. We don't allow assault in America because it has the potential of hurting someone. Suicide is the same. You are depriving those people who are emotianally attatched to you of their INALIENABLE RIGHT to the pursuit of happiness. I again refer you to Social Contract and the Declaration of Independence. I will again correct your statement. Nobody has the ABILITY to force life on us. Just the responsibility.

See for statistics and ideas:
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...

I have unrefutably proven the inherent wrongfulness of suicide and the only logical choice in this case is the negative.

Thanks again to my opponent for posting this debate. This is a serious issue in our society that needs be resolved as quick as possible. I believe that I have given sufficient evidence and superior logic in the defence of the the negative and that I am thus the victor in this debate. As a final remider to the voters. My opponent is advocating the hurt of people as justified. This is wrong.

Vote CON
Debate Round No. 2
leet4A1

Pro

"The government requires a law in order to enforce rehab."

Why? Counceling is available for alcoholics, but alcohol consumption is perfectly legal.

"90% of suicide cases happen while the victim is either impared through alchohol and/or sleep deprivation. Going seventeen hours without sleep is equivilent to the legal alchohol blood limit."

Even if this is true (note lack of sources), it has nothing to do with the legality of suicide. Making it illegal is not going to stop a drunk, depressed guy from killing himself. Nor will he be able to be punished for his 'crime'. Hence, law fail.

I will ignore the majority of your argument which was copy/pasted from another debate. This is not a primary source, and if you wish to steal Seeker's ideas for this debate, at least reword them.

"I got it from Jean-Jacques Rousseau's book "Du Contrat Social" which outlines the definition of inalienable rights. My opponent's definition from the UN is invalid because the law in question is an American law. Thus we must look to American Government foundations. Our government was founded on social contract not the UN charter. "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´┐Ż€"-That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.""

The law in question isn't American law at all. I'm talking about every single person on this planet, and their right to end their life when they see fit. In fact, it is not even illegal in America any more. [1] This completely quashes your argument regarding American foundations.
Even if we were arguing for suicide to be made illegal again in America, the quote you provided gives us the rights to 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness'. We have the RIGHT to life, but not the obligation. We should have the LIBERTY to end our life when we please. We may take 'happiness' as 'lack of sadness or pain', showing that people who commit suicide are indeed on the pursuit of happiness. Suicide is entirely constitutional.

"In the event of inalienable rights we do have both a right and an obligation to preserve them."

No we don't, that's garbage. Nobody is obliged to do anything they don't want to do, so long as harm is not inflicted upon another human being. You may say that people are hurt, emotionally, when somebody commits suicide, but that's not the law's jurisdiction. Somebody would be emotionally hurt if their father left them forever, never to return, but this isn't against the law. Someone would be emotionally hurt if someone dear to them died of lung cancer, but smoking cigarettes isn't against the law. We are talking about 'second-hand' damage, and the law rarely weighs in on such matters. Suicide is no different.

"You cannot expect them to not be attatched. It is a natural inclination for a person to become attatched and thus you cannot condem them for an unconsentual attatchment. As I've said before. If you commit suicide it's like forcibly cutting off the emotional limbs of the person who is emotionally attatched to you."

Of course they're attached but that's far beside the point. If you have a wife and 3 kids who love you dearly, and you walk out the door tomorrow never to return, that's basically the same as committing suicide, as far as your family is concerned. But why are leaving home and committing suicide both completely legal in most parts of the world? Because it is our life and we can live it however we please as far as the law is concerned, so long as our sole intent is not to harm another human being. I admit it is selfish to begin a family and then leave them, but not nearly as selfish as expecting somebody to continue a life of torture because you love them. That's as selfish as it gets.

"Yes it is a good reason. We don't allow assault in America because it has the potential of hurting someone. Suicide is the same. You are depriving those people who are emotianally attatched to you of their INALIENABLE RIGHT to the pursuit of happiness. I again refer you to Social Contract and the Declaration of Independence. I will again correct your statement. Nobody has the ABILITY to force life on us. Just the responsibility."

Once again, if the pursuit of happiness is an inalienable right, then you have nothing to say against people who commit suicide, who are merely pursuing happiness (if happiness can be taken to mean 'lack of pain'). I refer you again to the Decleration of Independence, as it says nothing even remotely against suicide. Nor does it say anything about our responsibility for other peoples' lives. You said it yourself, 'nobody has the ability to force life on us.' Enough said.

"My opponent is advocating the hurt of people as justified. This is wrong."

My opponent is misrepresenting my position, and THIS is wrong. I'm not advocating suicide or people who commit suicide. I am advocating getting rid of the archaic law against suicide in the backwards countries who still outlaw it. As I've explained, it is an ineffective, impractical law, and really none of the government's business. I am all in favor of counceling (if it can be shown effective), but it is the LAW I am against. My opponent has done nothing to show the merits of a law against suicide. Vote PRO.

[1] - http://en.wikipedia.org...
resolutionsmasher

Con

resolutionsmasher forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by leet4A1 7 years ago
leet4A1
"Leet4a1, i understand your points, but have you thought about how people will feel if the newscasters on tv say "SUICIDE IS NOW LEGAL!" ?"

Depends which people you are talking about.

If you're talking about people who don't understand the concept of personal liberty, or the fact that the law against suicide has never or could never stop anybody from doing it, then I'd say they'd be pretty annoyed.

If you're talking about people who DO understand those things, I'd say they'd be happy to see a rare display of common sense from the Government.
Posted by devinni01841 7 years ago
devinni01841
Leet4a1, i understand your points, but have you thought about how people will feel if the newscasters on tv say "SUICIDE IS NOW LEGAL!" ?
Posted by leet4A1 7 years ago
leet4A1
Thanks Charlie! This one's been a tie for ages haha.
Posted by Charlie_Danger 7 years ago
Charlie_Danger
Looks like I'm the deciding vote.
I love this debate, both of you guys said almost verbatum what I would have said. I affirm because the affirmative makes stronger and overall unrefuted points, although I want to give both of you lots of kudos.
Posted by Charlie_Danger 7 years ago
Charlie_Danger
"...as you can't imprison a dead person (though I'm sure men have tried)."
Texas.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
Needs more votes.
Posted by resolutionsmasher 7 years ago
resolutionsmasher
Ok but that vote isn't mine.
Posted by leet4A1 7 years ago
leet4A1
resolutionsmasher, seeing as I can't vote for myself and you forfeited a round, any chance you could refrain from voting for yourself please, to keep it fair.
Posted by resolutionsmasher 7 years ago
resolutionsmasher
Rephrase

A suicidal person acts as though they are above the rest of the population.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
"A suicidal person thinks themselves above the rest of the population. "

The hell? How can you even put yourself in the shoes of those who have contemplated or have gone through with suicide? You do not share the same circumstances nor the same emotional paradigm as they do.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by snelld7 7 years ago
snelld7
leet4A1resolutionsmasherTied
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Vote Placed by Charlie_Danger 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by resolutionsmasher 7 years ago
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