The Instigator
Pro (for)
13 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
2 Points

Police and government are inherently hostile towards activists

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/1/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,564 times Debate No: 31980
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (3)




The pen is mightier than the sword. While the inventor of the phrase is often
debated, whoever first spoke those words had no idea what kind of shockwave they had just unleashed on the universe. A skilled writer is a deadly weapon. Entire empires have been burned to the ground by disgruntled philosophers and poets. Not directly of course, but through the actions of their followers. Through their readers, writers like Thomas Paine and Karl Marx have torn down nations, and founded new ones.

Through the ages, smart leaders have recognized the power of ideas and have
responded differently. Some have embraced the free flow of knowledge; recognizing the need to allow change, others have actively fought any idea which contradicted their ideals, burning books and imprisoning authors to silence any opposition. In America, the 1st amendment to the constitution of the United States states that "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or of abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and petition the government for a redress of grievances". In theory, this allows for the free flow of information. In practice however, administrations have built loopholes that allow the government to censor, or in some cases ban, controversial information.

Things like NDAA and the Patriot Act are enacted in the guise of safety, but the reality is that they only serve to erode the rights of the American citizenry. Government had no need for these laws before, when our nation faced even bigger threat from foes like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, why do thy need them now? The truth is that the government is just plain sick of playing by the rules, it has been since 1776. It's nothing personal, all governments inherently serve to consolidate power to some degree or another, thats why the people need to keep a firm hand on government to make sure it doesn't get out of control, but just like anyone else, government doesn't like being told what to do.

One way we influence government in the United States is through activism and protests. When African-Americans protested for inclusion in the electoral process by simply peacefully walking en masse from place to place during the Selma to Montegomery marches, they were met with fire hoses, attack dogs, tear gas, and batons. Dozens died at the hands of "public servants". Nearly 6,000 soldiers from the National Guard and Army had to be called out to stop police from murdering these activists. This is just one example of an ongoing issue, a symptom of a much larger problem.

The government says it protects the right to free speech, but they only carry this duty out selectively at best.


The US Government Has Shown indecent Force, but not recently

Thanks for starting the debate, this is my first :)

Throughout U.S. history we have seen many political, religious, and social protest. The first widely known protest following the founding of our country was known as Shay's rebellion and lasted from 1784-1787. Shays' Rebellion was a farmers' uprising named for its leader Daniel Shays, the climax happened when Shays led 1100 men in an attempt to seize the arsenal in Springfield, Mass. The State militia com"manded by Gen. William Shepherd was deployed and re-routed the insurgents. The uprising had been caused by the harsh economic conditions faced by Massachusetts farm"ers, who sought reforms and the issuance of paper money. The insurrection was begun in and of the 1784 depression that crippled the seminal U.S. Economy until 1788. Now this may seem like a good reason to protest, and it was, but the threat of violence at this point seemed overwhelming, and needed to be dealt with. That is one great example of a need for police and government intervention to protect citizens.

Now, there was another instance where I do believe the government did not overstep their boundaries. One would be the "Kent State Massacre", where four protesting students were killed. Now I don't know the full extent of the occurrence, but there had been arson and other crimes being committed by the protesters, and they had been acting violent towards the police. I don't really know if there there was an actual attack on police or not, but in tense moments like that someone may get nervous and fire. I do believe they're may have been a reason why the police did end up shooting these protesters. I have trust in our law enforcement officers.

The ones I do agree on with violence by government and police taking it too far is with the people like MLK and the protests he led. If a group is being peaceful, and not causing harm, or committing any crimes, hen they should be allowed to protest. As long as it does not infringe upon another persons safety or their constitutional rights, then it's ok to protest. So yes, the civil rights movement for the most part was a great, legal way of protest, and it really has seemed to pay off. Also, I think they took the Waco,TX massacre too far as well.

Now, if you're talking about modern day protests, most of them carry along fine, and little violence occurs. Sometimes, there will be a bad seed and they get arrested NOT SHOT or BEATEN. If you think about the Tea Party, they are a great example of how a modern protest should look. They're courteous with picking up after themselves, they obey the the laws, and simply show their signs, hand out pamphlets, and go about their own business. Where as you have a group like OWS (Occupy Wall Street) who's calling cops pigs, and throwing barrels of crap into banks, breaking store windows, have rapes, and theft occurring inside their camps, and several other nefarious acts. They have extra watch on them, because they have talks of revolution, and government overthrow, which honestly should make any level headed American consider the dangers, and the seriousness of a group like this. It's not your everyday PEDA group, or Tea Party rally. Then they start shoving the officer walls, and throw things at them, and so for their own safety the police fire rubber pellets, and tear gas (Occupy Oakland was the most violent of the Occupy movement). It wont kill anyone, and it deters the protesters from attacking them. Finally, I'm sure you're also talking about men like Chris Doerner, who actually was shooting people, and killing innocent officers. All because he felt he had been discriminated against. Now, don;t get me wrong discrimination is bad. But, to go, and start a killing spree is beyond common sense, and the police did what they needed too. They had to kill this man for the protection of fellow police men, and citizens.

So, I rest my case, and leave it too you. You need to understand that every government makes mistakes, but our government and police force is far from being corrupt, and oppressive of free speech. If anything people are to whiny about "HATEFUL" rhetoric. If you compare the US too any other country you'll see that ours has treated it citizens the best, unlike countries like FRANCE, and GERMANY. Yes, these two countries have mad great strides. But we have never had a Hitler, or a Napolian. You can thank our Republic society(WE ARE NOT A DEMOCRACY), and the constitution. Then you have countries like North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, and the former USSR. So corrupt, and they have killed many of their own citizens!!!! WE HAVE NOT. (Although Obama may with his new drone program that he can use on US citizens in our own country without warrant) but still so far nothing like the aforementioned countries. So, if you look at history you should be thankful for the system we have, and be proud of the freedoms we are allowed to express. And you should thank the police for sticking to the law and allowing us too show our thoughts. And lastly.....Karl Marx? Really? The man who brought us STATE RUN COMMUNISM in which the government controls speech and political opponents would be killed? The man who stated that about 10% of a population would need to be killed in order to have a successful revolution. Dude that is not a good example to use in your defense. Gotta read your communist mainfesto a little closer lol.

Once again, THANK YOU for this debate, and I look forward to your rebutle

Debate Round No. 1


While I admit that at times there is a fine line between what separates a protest and a riot, I don't have to get remotely close to it to demonstrate my point. When I said the government was "hostile" towards activists, I didn't just mean by acts of violence. The three main injuries that the government inflicts upon law abiding activists are:

1) Intelligence gathering: The gathering of information to ascertain the motivations, contacts, or threat level of an activist or group of activists.
2) Investigations: The harassment of activists through searches of their home or person, court summons, confiscation of property, and IRS audits.
3) Physical retaliation: The unnecessary, intentional physical injury or intimidation of an activist.

Note: I'm not talking about armed militias or groups espousing the violent overthrow of the government. I'm talking about groups like the Tea Party, COPBLOCK, OCW, or even Ron Paul supporters. While those groups are certainly angry about recent government actions, they have made it clear that they want change at the polls with a ballot, not in the streets with blood. All of this of course comes in the wake of 9/11, where if the government manages to associate you with the word terrorism even in the slightest way possible, they will make every effort to erase you from the face of the earth, or at the very least make you feel unwelcome in your own country.

Video 1: Palestinian rights activist visited by FBI

Video 2: Anti-war activists raided in early morning by FBI

Video 3: Peaceful occupy protesters maced

Even when the government has been caught red handed, there's nothing to be done. At worst, a fall guy is selected and fired or a small settlement is doled out, but the actions continue. There is little to no civilian oversight into the actions of most law enforcement agencies in the United States. The FBI, DHS, NSA, etc, are all shielded from public eyes by federal laws. People brought before these agencies are bound by gag orders issued by secret courts. And at the state and local levels, most prosecutors wont charge LE personnel for fear of setting cops on edge and making them over cautious. Police have literally gotten away with murder, while being filmed, with no consequences. The belief that prosecuting cops who commit horrible crimes could somehow make other police too cautious to carry out their duties is, I believe, patently false. If Law Enforcement are acting outside the scope of the law, they need to be reigned in, and if necessary the worst should be made examples.

Video 4: BART execution of handcuffed man

Some of these instances are just the residue of how police agencies work, which is still no excuse, but many have unjustified political agendas behind them. As long as LE agencies are given blank checks to "do what they need to do"; suspects will continue to be burned to death in their dwellings, peace activists will continue to have their doors kicked down at five in the morning and be placed on no-fly lists, civil rights activists will continue to be strong-armed by civil servants. I wholeheartedly agree that the United States still puts other nations to shame when it comes to personal freedom and public corruption, but the ongoing trend for the last 80 years has been to shoot first and ask questions later. Ever since the bonus army protests of the great depression, protesters have been met with batons instead of public discussion. Our founding fathers thought that the right to demonstrate was so important, they made the issue #1 in the bill of rights, second to none. Rather than embrace that ideology, the only thing the government has been able to will itself to do in recent memory is find ways to work around those freedoms!

By creating and passing laws like the National Defense Authorization Act, which renders Posse Comitatus dead and allows the military to be used against American citizens affiliated with "terrorist forces" (a term which isn't clearly defined), and the Patriot Act, which allows the government to wiretap anyone for anything, the government has created enough loopholes to detain anyone they want to indefinitely, inside secret prisons, without even being charged with a crime. The British used nearly identical laws to arrest and disappear American patriots, in fact it was one of the main grievances listed in the declaration of independence! This isn't in the land of theory any more, it's happening right now:

In closing I would like to reference the 5th and last video I've posted. Until things like that stop happening, America will never be safe from tyranny.



BLAZETV12 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


To wrap things up, I would just like to clarify that my comments should not be construed as anti-government in any way. I'm just merely stating that this government was founded on the idea of political inclusion. A good government is a reflection of it's people, a collective mind and voice. When government seeks to accumulate power for it's own sake, and not for the people's, then it acts against the ideals of democracy. Government is confusing, bound by statutes forged by people who died long ago which are nearly impossible to interpret without debate, and written in the legalese of two centuries past. It's easy for people to feel distant from government, and it's even easier for government to forget WHY it does what it does. They shouldn't act in their own interests like a monarch would, but instead work for the benefit of society AND in the manner that society wishes it too.

When the government sends the law enforcement and intelligence community to identify, regulate, and disperse activists, it silences a portion of the American people, the portion that speak up. You can't call yourself free and walk around the streets wearing blindfolds and gags. Whenever a group in the United States has held an opinion that dissented from mainstream society, and brought those views to the streets with demonstrations, the government has reacted negatively. People think that just because police don't outright attack protesters in the streets anymore (or as much), that things have gotten better. They haven't, the times have changed and the government has changed the ways they retaliate to match those times.

The act of spying on law abiding American activists is on par with the Watergate scandal, and the acts perpetrated against those activists with the aid of that information are no better than the actions of police during the civil rights movement. Both of those incidents served the same purpose; to identify the opposition and weaken it. This is the free world, where opposing views are supposed to be cherished and exchanged with others, not labeled as irrelevant and thrown out the window. Which is why the United States justice system has to take a step back and look at itself, determine what their basic functions were meant to be and highlight any deviations from that base.

In closing, a government can only have the respect of it's citizenry if it bestows the same upon them. And a government that has no need for the respect of it's people also has no right to rule over them.


BLAZETV12 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by William.Burnham 4 years ago

I believe the people have more of a right to choose how they are governed than the government does, in theory the government is supposed to be "of the people, by the people".
Posted by Nimbus328 4 years ago
(activism) a policy of taking direct and militant action to achieve a political or social goal.

"militant action" should be stopped by the government. I don't see what the argument is.
Posted by MilesandMilesofMiles 4 years ago
It's unclear what your debating. In the topic its a relatively open question about government and the police who are part of the government themselves but in your argument you directly attack the US and specifically since the passing of the Patriot act and the Bush administration. I would argue against your argument that "Police and government are inherently hostile towards activists" however I do agree that legislature such as the Patriot act have limited our civil liberties and privacy EVEN THOUGHT THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ACTIVISTS.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by DetectableNinja 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit, giving all points to Pro. Conduct to Con for Pro's advertising.
Vote Placed by Pennington 4 years ago
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Vote Placed by imabench 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit, but conduct to con since pro advertised his debate