The Instigator
lddebater540
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
marcuscato
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

Property Rights Ought Not Exist in the United States

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
marcuscato
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/4/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,353 times Debate No: 17766
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (10)
Votes (3)

 

lddebater540

Pro

First round is acceptance only.
marcuscato

Con

I accept the debate. I submit from wikipedia:
A property right is the exclusive authority to determine how a resource is used, whether that resource is owned by government or by individuals.[1] All economic goods have a property rights attribute. This attribute has four broad components[2]:
the right to use the good
the right to earn income from the good
the right to transfer the good to others
the right to enforcement of property rights.

I thank you for this opportunity and hope we have a good debate.
Debate Round No. 1
lddebater540

Pro

I accept my opponent's definition with a single caveat: all four of the components of property rights must exist in order for property rights to exist. For example, if one does not have the right to use a good, then one cannot claim ownership over the good because one does not have a property right to the good. Prefer this interpretation because it stems directly from the definition that he provided for us in today's debate.

The affirmative position is that property rights in the United States ought not exist/be recognized.

As my opponent himself clarified, property rights depend upon "the right to use the good." Thus, the crux of my case will be that the people of the United States have no right to use the goods that the claim as their own.

First, humans have no inherent right to claim ownership over objects on the Earth. A key feature of property rights theory is that an individual can claim ownership over an object if he or she has created it/ has spent time working on its creation. The problem with this analysis, however, is that proponents of property rights conveniently forget the fact that the raw materials on the Earth were neither created by humans nor conjured by any being for human consumption. Trees, for example, which are harvested for their wood to make furniture and homes, are independent organisms that possess lives of their own and self-interests of their own that are independent of human desires. This means that that humans have no right to claim ownership over terrestrial objects and thus have "no right to use the goods." If this is true, then property rights should not exist in the United States because nobody has the right to claim any of the Earth's resources as their own.

Second, even if we assume that humans have some inherent right to claim ownership over terrestrial goods, this right still does not justify property rights because it implies communal, rather than individual, use. A key feature of property rights theory is the notion that distinct individuals ought to have the ability to seize control of specific resources and use them as they please; however, even if we pretend that humans have the right to use terrestrial resources for some undetermined reason, this right was given to humanity as a whole, and not to a particular individual. This would mean that this communal right would entitle humans to share the Earth's resources equally with all other humans because the Earth would be used for the betterment of all. This, in turn, indicates that an individual should have the right to seize control of specific resources or land areas and claim ownership over them to the exclusivity of other groups or individuals. Since the right to seize control cannot exist, the rights to use the good exclusively/use the good to earn income/transfer the good to others cannot exist, so property rights ought not exist in the United States.

Third, even if we concede the first two points and claim that humans somehow have obtained the ability to individually divide land-based resources amongst themselves, in the United States specifically, the right to use these resources does not exist because the goods were wrested from the control of others. A key notion of property rights theory is that an individual does not gain the right to use a good through theft or force. To clarify, one can gain control of an object or possess an object through those means, but that does not mean that one has the right to use or own that object. For example, the United States government routinely punishes bank robbers who obtain the goods of others through force because it recognizes the fact that just because one has come to possess an object through force does not mean that one has the right to own that object. The United States government, however, has failed to account for the fact that it controls territory and lands that belonged to Native Americans and was either stolen from them, wrested from them through force (violence and biological targeting), or taken from them through trickery. Since property rights theory itself mandates that goods gained in such a fashion are truly not the goods of the possessors, almost every individual in the United States has no right to own the homes, houses, land plots, etc. that have sprung from the use of stolen goods. This means that even if we ignore the previous two contentions, property rights should still not exist in the United States because the U.S. government and U.S. citizens do not have the right to use the land and resources that they are using.

Note that the age of a crime does not render the crime defunct; for example, the U.S. just seized gold coins that were stolen from a mint almost a century ago by a private collector because it claimed that even if the crime was old, the stolen property still does not belong to any member of the public and thus must be returned to its proper owners. This means that my opponent cannot attempt to squeeze his way out of this last contention by claiming that the crime is "old."

Finally, note that economic impacts have no import in today's round because the "right to earn income from the good" first depends on the "right to use the good", meaning that before we can even take economic and business impacts in consideration in today's debate, we must first establish that the individuals benefiting from U.S. property have the right to own and use that property.

Thus, I strongly urge an affirmation of today's resolution.

Thank you.
marcuscato

Con

I provide some more definitions:

Ownership: legal right of possession

http://dictionary.reference.com...

Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

My opponent’s contention 1: Property rights should not exist in the United States because nobody has the right to claim any of the Earth's resources as their own.

Rebut:

A person is said to own an item when he is in possession of the item and his government permits him to possess the item. The people of United States have given themselves a constitution and through it (directly/indirectly) have given themselves certain rights. Among these rights is the right to own certain goods. When a group of people give themselves property rights, It essentially means that they will allow each other to possess certain items and the use/transfer of these items will follow certain rules. There are provisions to deal with cases when these rules regarding use/ transfer. These rights arise because of a mutual desire to prevent undesirable interference in each other’s lives in a manner which would be to the detriment of their quality of life and to their ability to survive. These rights are only limited by the ability of the group to enforce them. These rights only become meaningful when are enforced. It is meaningless to say that-“humans have no inherent right to claim ownership over objects on the Earth” because rights are associated with a philosophical theory as opposed to being an intrinsic quality of humans.

The people of the United States benefit from these rights. It is therefore beneficial for them to give to themselves these rights and safeguard them.
__________________________________________________________________________

My opponents contention2: If we assume that humans have some inherent right to claim ownership over terrestrial goods, this right still does not justify property rights because it implies communal, rather than individual, use…….even if we pretend that humans have the right to use terrestrial resources for some undetermined reason, this right was given to humanity as a whole, and not to a particular individual.

Rebut:

Again, rights are associated with some legal system based on some theory. The legal system of the United States (given by the people to themselves) does give property rights to individuals .

Your statement: “the rights to use the good exclusively/use the good to earn income/transfer the good to others cannot exist.”

The rights to use the good exclusively/use the good to earn income/transfer the good to others can exist because these rights do exist.
_____________________________________________________________________

My opponent’s contention3: The United States government has obtained lands from the Native Americans through trickery and force; hence there should be no property rights.
Rebut:

This simply implies that the Native Americans have a better claim/right to certain land in the United States. Furthermore this claim gains meaning only when property rights do exist, i.e. if property rights did not exist then the United States could not have stolen their (Native Americans) land because it did not(or rather could not) belong to them in the first place.

It is thus in the interest of the Native Americans to establish property rights so that they can claim their land.

Furthermore the Native Americans did not occupy the entirety of present day (If there is proof to the contrary I suggest u produce it and I will concede this point) U.S .While they may have a claim on certain area, it does not mean property rights should not exist throughout the United States.

VOTE FOR ME!

Thank you.

Debate Round No. 2
lddebater540

Pro

My opponent's response to my case was interesting, yet flawed.

I will start with his definitions. He defines ownership as "legal right of possession." I propose the alternate definition of the " possession with the right to transfer possession to others" from Princeton WordNet 3.1 . ( http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...= )

Prefer my definition over his for two reasons. First, mine is more credible than his because it was a definition crafted by lexicographers from one of the top universities in the United States, while his definition is from a random website. Second, my definition links more directly to justice, which is an objective standard for weighing the round. "Legal right of possession" cannot adequately account for property rights because it could justify any sort of theft as long as the law provides for it; for example, it would justify British theft of American properties as long as British law mandated that British citizens have the right to seize American properties. My definition precludes this because it has a philosophical, rather than a legal, basis.

The crux of his case is that because the United States legal system grants individuals the right to property, U.S. citizens should have it. The main problem with this notion is that it fails to respond to my analysis that the United States government DOES NOT HAVE THE RIGHT to grant U.S. citizens property rights. In my first contention, I explained that humans have no inherent right to claim ownership over terrestrial objects because they did not create those objects and because the objects themselves, like trees, often have their own interests that are independent of human consumption. Notice that his response does not even adequately address this because it does not contradict it in any form. Moreover, my contention preempts his rebuttal of "the U.S. government gives these rights" because if humans do not have the right to use terrestrial objects for their personal gain, then individuals do not have the right to divide and allocate these resources. The government is a collective of humans and it thus has the same restrictions and limitations that humans do.

Moreover, he argues that "rights are associated with a philosophical theory rather than an intrinsic quality of humans." Note that almost all philosophical theories contend that rights stem from intrinsic human qualities, so this argument is meaningless.

His other major response was that people can give themselves property rights. The flaw with this idea is that property rights theory itself is against this notion. If people could give themselves property rights, then they could easily appropriate any objects, including those that belong to others, as their own. However, this would be theft because the rights to use and possess the object in question do not actually belong to that individual. What my opponent proposes is the moral equivalent of theft; he claims that people can choose to appropriate property and goods that do not belong to them simply because it is beneficial to them. Given that this violates property rights, humans cannot choose when to grant themselves property rights.

Additionally, just because something benefits an individual does not mean that he has the right to carry out that action. A rapist might derive pleasure from assaulting an innocent child, for example, but that does not mean that he should be permitted to use the child as he pleases. Similarly, it might be beneficial for humans to claim ownership over terrestrial objects, but that does not mean that they should be able to just because they want to. Humans did not create those objects and the objects preexist humans, so they have no claim over those objects.

In my second contention, I explained that even if humans do have some inherent right to claim ownership over terrestrial objects, this right belongs to the species as a whole and not to particular humans, meaning that individual conceptions of property rights cannot be implemented. He again responds with "the U.S. government allows it." Again, just because the government allows it does not mean that it is just or correct. The government allowed slavery in the 1800s, for example, but that does not mean that slavery is just. Moreover, since the government is just a collective body of humans, it has the same limitations as humans do, so if humans do not have the right to individually seize goods as their own, then the government also cannot be allowed to permit humans to do so.

His other "response" was merely asserting that the rights that I claim do not exist actually do. This is not a response to my argument, so you can extend my second contention.

In contention 3, I explained that EVEN IF YOU IGNORE MY FIRST TWO CONTENTIONS, I will win because Native Americans were the original "owners" of the U.S. property. He responds by claiming that this justifies property rights. REMEMBER, THIS CONTENTION ONLY APPLIES IF THE FIRST TWO FALL. IF THEY DO NOT, THEN THIS CONTENTION IS MEANINGLESS.

He then claims that Native Americans did not occupy the entirety of present day United States. Here is a map that proves that they did:

http://home.comcast.net...

This means that they do, in fact, have a claim on the entire United States, so the U.S. does not have the right to grant its citizens property rights IF HUMANS, DO, in fact possess the right to claim individual ownership over terrestrial objects.

Thus, because the affirmative case was virtually unchallenged, you should vote affirmative.

Thank you.
marcuscato

Con

My opponent has sought to do away with my definition of ownership by providing another definition. While his definition is differently worded, it is still the same in spirit. According to the definition which he has recently proposed, Ownership is possession with the right to transfer possession to others.
I repost from the my previous argument,
Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory.
As we can see, both definitions are saying the same thing. Having the right to transfer possession is associated with some legal system i.e. a legal right of possession.
I had posted this particular wording of the definition of ownership because it incorporates the fact that rights are associated with some legal theory.

He then makes a baseless statement,” my definition links more directly to justice.”

He then brings up the topic of theft even though he believes that humans have no inherent right to claim ownership over objects on the Earth. The concept of theft is only meaningful if property rights exist.

My opponent made a statement: the United States government DOES NOT HAVE THE RIGHT to grant U.S. citizens property rights. This is his opinion. The theory on which the U.S. system is based, does allow them to grant themselves rights. It would be best if my opponent added the prefix –according to my (lddebater540) theory- when he speaks of rights. I was not adding a similar prefix because when I spoke of rights, I spoke in context of the most relevant theory to this debate i.e. the one which is currently used in the U.S.
My opponent’s case can be divided into the following points:
1. Property rights do not exist because the concept is meaningless(his first contention)
Definitions have already explained the valid concept of property rights.
2. Arguing about theft. This contention is pointless because theft is only meaningful when property rights exist, and if they exist – I win.
3. People cannot grant themselves property rights because property rights are against this notion.
At this juncture it becomes necessary to state the theory associated with the rights.
I explain with the help of an example.
There are two people –person A and person B
There is a piece of land currently in possession of person B.
According to theory of person A, person A can seize possession of the land currently in possession of person B. Person A seizes possession of the land possessed by person B.
Then according to the theory of person A, it is not theft (by definition), thus there is no contradiction in the concept of property rights with respect to theory of person A. This is true even if the theory of person B stipulates that person A has committed a theft. Similarly, there is no reason for any contradiction in the theory of person B.

Clearly, people can grant themselves property rights because property rights are not against this notion.
Ultimately, justice depends on definitions of right and wrong. These definitions depend on your ethical theory. Since it depends on definitions, it is pointless to argue injustice without specifying a theory.
Lastly, when I said produce proof, I was not talking about a map of America shaded in different colours. That’s like showing a picture of the moon, colouring it pink and saying Neil Armstrong occupied the entire moon.

Since I have used my source to make valid arguements,
VOTE FOR CON!
Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
lddebater540

Pro

Let's start with the definition debate.

He claims that the rights are only bound by legal principles, but the definition that HE provides stipulates that they can also be derived from "ethical theory." This is important because it DIRECTLY LINKS IN to the justification as to why you should support my definitions over his, namely that they are from A MORE CREDIBLE SOURCE: THE SECOND BEST UNIVERSITY IN THE NATION, while his are from some random website AND that philosophical definitions of rights are more credible than legal definitions because laws can be unjust (extend the Great Britain example here.) For example, the United States once deemed slavery to be a right of prosperous Caucasian southerners, but according to most philosophical theories, this was unjust.

His only response to this is that my argument is "baseless", meaning that he had no valid rebuttal. This means that you can extend all of my analysis, including the part that claims that MY THEORY PRECLUDES HIS BECAUSE philosophy is more just than law and is the basis for all law.

My opponent has also made an invalid assumption about my case; he seems to believe that I think that property rights are meaningless. THIS IS NOT TRUE. I am simply showing you that, ACCORDING TO PROPERTY RIGHTS THEORY, which U.S. citizens hold dear, THE U.S. GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT BE ABLE TO GRANT PROPERTY RIGHTS, meaning that they should not exist in the UNITED STATES. That takes care of his claim that I have contradicted myself.

In addition, note that he is not even reading the logical structure of my case properly. Each of my contentions stands if the previous ones falls; this is indicated by the modifier "EVEN IF." That also takes care of "contradictions" because it indicates that those contentions ONLY MATTER IF THE PREVIOUS ONES FALL.

His response to my first contention, that humans do not have the right to claim ownership of terrestrial resources because they did not create them and were not granted the right to use them has been reduced to "Definitions have already explained the valid concept of property rights." THIS ATTACK IS NON-RESPONSIVE. My argument is that ACCORDING TO PROPERTY RIGHTS THEORY, one can only claim ownership of an object if one created the object or was granted access to the object, either through gift or through sale, by the creator. Since none of these has happened for humans, according to property rights theory, humans should not be able to claim ownership over terrestrial objects. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT PROPERTY RIGHTS DO NOT EXIST-IT ONLY MEANS THAT HUMANS SHOULD NOT HAVE PROPERTY RIGHTS.

My second contention was that EVEN IF property rights are granted to humans, they are granted to the species as a whole and not to individuals, so the species should be sharing all resources equally; not dividing it into "plots" for individual use. His only response was "This contention is pointless because theft is only meaningful if property rights exist, and if they exist, I win." Again, this "rebuttal" is completely non-responsive; my argument is not that property rights do not exist, only that either humans should not have them or that property should be shared as a species. That means that individually, property rights should not exist in the United States.

He then gives you some faulty analysis that proclaims that as long as someone believes they have a right to take the property of another person, then theft has not occurred. THIS CONTRADICTS THE NOTION OF PROPERTY RIGHTS, which stipulates that according to an objective standard, individuals ought to have a right to their own possessions. According to HIS ARGUMENT, PROPERTY RIGHTS ARE VOID BECAUSE ANYBODY could just claim that all of the property in the world is theirs, and there would be nobody to stop them since they would be correct. THIS MEANS THAT ACCORDING TO HIS OWN ANALYSIS THAT I BELIEVE THAT PROPERTY RIGHTS ARE VOID, I SHOULD WIN THE ROUND. THIS ALSO CONTRADICTS all of HIS THEFT ANALYSIS.

His only response to the third contention, which states that EVEN IF property rights do exist on an individual level, they SHOULD NOT EXIST IN THE U.S. because all of the land belongs to Native Americans. When I provided a map that proved that Native Americans spanned across the entirety of North America, he claimed that my proof was nonsensical. First, as the map shows, the colors are divided into different areas that belonged to different tribes WHICH ARE NAMED ON THE MAP. Second, this page also documents the verity of my contention. http://en.wikipedia.org...

So, you should vote affirmative because I have proven that PROPERTY RIGHTS SHOULD NOT EXIST IN THE U.S., while my opponent has not given you a meaningful response to my case.
marcuscato

Con


My opponent’s arguments though well written, tend to be self contradictory.


It seems that he is under the impression that his definition either contradicts the definition provided by me simply because it comes from a different source. As I have already stated, both definitions are equivalent and his posting of a differently worded definition is redundant.


It is obvious that legal systems are based on ethical and philosophical theories and hence it is pointless for him to state that -rights can also be derived from ethical theory.


My opponent also makes a false statement-He claims that the rights are only bound by legal principles.I would like to point out that my post of rights does not make any such claim.


I have already pointed out that the U.S. can grant themselves property rights without contradicting themselves.


It would be to my advantage to make the obvious moral arguments in favour of property rights(with regard to stability of society and prevention of unnecessary chaos) but I have refrained from doing so because justice, ultimately boils down to definitions of right and wrong, one may state them but there is no real way to argue over them.


His Native American point is irrelevant to this debate because it comes into force only when property rights exist; at that point my opponent has already lost his case. Needless to say, his arguments do not point out any self contradiction of the American property rights theory. In the words of Oliver Goldsmith-


In arguing too, the person own'd his skill,


For e'en though vanquish'd he could argue still;


He believes that property rights only allow for claim of ownership via sale or as a gift. Property rights theories do allow for ownership through other means including pedis possession.


http://en.wikipedia.org...


Further explanation:


http://www.invispress.com...


As we can see from the geomet case, the case went in favour of the new occupant because of better utilization of land.


Furthermore in my analysis of theft (case of person A vs. person B), I clearly pointed out that theft has not occurred according to theory of person A but it may have occurred according to theory of person B.


I place importance in talking with context to a theory ,something which my opponent has sought to avoid.


His last argument in favour of his multi couloured map is that it has names on it. Again, this is not proof. He needed to prove that Native Americans occupied the entirety of US beyond all reasonable doubt.


I have read through his link on Wikipedia, and while it does raise points of mistreatment of native Americans (according to certain theories) it does not prove that native Americans occupied the entirety of U.S. You may read through it too.


At any rate, this entire point is irrelevant to the entire debate because it comes into force only into existence of property rights. I have already pointed out that both Native Americans and the citizens of U.S.(which may include native Americans) in general would find property rights desirable. This gains special relevance because they have a major say in this matter.


Lastly I leave with a post from the link which my opponent has provided:


General Ely S. Parker, a member of the Seneca tribe, created the articles of surrender which General Robert E. Lee signed at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. Gen. Parker, who served as Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's military secretary and was a trained attorney, was once rejected for Union military service because of his race. At Appomattox, Lee is said to have remarked to Parker, "I am glad to see one real American here," to which Parker replied, "We are all Americans."



In conclusion, you should vote con.


I hope you have found my arguments to be coherent and well written. Suggestions are welcome. I hope you have found this debate interesting.


I thank IDDEBATER540 for a good debate and hope that we have more.


Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by marcuscato 5 years ago
marcuscato
arguments*
Posted by marcuscato 5 years ago
marcuscato
Your argument were good too. I think you could have won if you were a little more careful. I think you should have tried a different wording for the title.
Posted by lddebater540 5 years ago
lddebater540
I guess that is is obvious that I am technically losing the debate, but I disagree with the decision. It appears that the voters did not evaluate my argument objectively. However, I cannot counter this, so I hope that the next time I debate this topic, people will forgo their biases and objectively evaluate the debate.

My sincerest congratulations to marcuscato. Your arguments were definitely solid and you are an excellent debater.
Posted by marcuscato 5 years ago
marcuscato
Ill post my reply soon, had some work to do, sorry for the delay.
Posted by randolph7 5 years ago
randolph7
With two wizards debating this should be quite the debate. However, I must caution participants from turning the other into a toad, as this will cost them conduct points.
Posted by lddebater540 5 years ago
lddebater540
Yes, but I would like to focus on property rights in general.
Posted by randolph7 5 years ago
randolph7
So you're considering intellectual property as well?
Posted by lddebater540 5 years ago
lddebater540
Exist should be obvious.
Posted by lddebater540 5 years ago
lddebater540
Property Right: The right to claim ownership over an object or concept.
Posted by randolph7 5 years ago
randolph7
Can you give defintions to clarify your resolution?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by CD-Host 5 years ago
CD-Host
lddebater540marcuscatoTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Pros case was fun. I'm giving him better conduct not because Con did anything bad but a humor bonus. In terms of more convincing, Pro asserted without proof while Con argued from a consistent framework. Both sides made and similar use of sources.
Vote Placed by DetectableNinja 5 years ago
DetectableNinja
lddebater540marcuscatoTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: I gave conduct to Con because Pro's R4 sounded very desperate, and not professional, including a debate about Con's source which, although initially valid, was effectively refuted by Con, making it honestly petty. S/G tied. For sources and arguments, I found that Con provided a more well-founded case based upon more reliable sources, while Pro provide nearly no sources to back up his claims.
Vote Placed by freedomsquared 5 years ago
freedomsquared
lddebater540marcuscatoTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: A very good debate. It was a tie almost all over, except I think PRO did not do as well at refuting his opponent's arguments. CON was able to adequately refute (in my mind) the majority of PRO's contentions.