The Instigator
m_tostitos
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
TheLibertyChristian
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Resolved: A just government ought to prioritize civil liberties over national security.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/6/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 871 times Debate No: 102435
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)

 

m_tostitos

Con

"The Bill of Rights should not be made into a suicide pact." Because I agree with this quote by Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, I negate the resolution.

Resolved: A just government ought to prioritize civil liberties over national security.

I define the important terms as follows:
Civil Liberties: as defined by About News, are the rights guaranteed to citizens or residents of a country or territory as a matter of fundamental law.
National Security: as defined by Dr. Diane A. Desierto of Yale University, entails the psychological and physical safety to prevent both direct and indirect threats and risks primarily from abroad.
Ought: as defined in Oxford Dictionary, implies moral obligation.

It is very possible for civil liberties and national security to coexist, they are both important. It is not a zero sum game. This debate is talking about when these civil liberties and national security come into conflict with one another. As the negative, I do not have to prove that national security should be prioritized over civil liberties 100% of the time, just when there is a significant threat to national security.

I will be valuing:
Utilitarianism: defined in Merriam Webster"s dictionary as, the greatest happiness of the greatest number. Because we need to define what this happiness is"
My value criterion is:
Protecting the safety of citizens.

We should prefer my framework because the first priority of a just government is to protect the right to life of their citizens.
Today, the negative will show that when there is a significant threat to national security a just government has an obligation to defend itself from these threats, and ought to do everything in its power to defend itself from this threat even if that means it temporarily restricts certain civil liberties.

Contention One: The first priority of a just government is to protect the lives of its citizens.
According to John Locke, the author of the social contract, the first duty of the government is to "preserve the members of the commonwealth in peace from injury and violence." Locke goes on to explain that this is the point of the social contract, that citizens will surrender some of their rights, or civil liberties, for protection by the government. The reason we have a government is to protect its citizens" lives. That"s not to say that liberties are not important, they are, but there can be no liberties with no life. The first priority of a just government is to protect the safety of its citizens. Therefore, taking steps to achieve this goal would maximize greater utility and thus, is what a just government ought to do.

Contention Two: There is no such thing as an unlimited right.
There are conditions under which rights can justifiably be limited. You can"t scream bomb on an airplane. You can"t shout fire in a crowded movie theater. While you certainly have a right to free speech, that right can justifiably be limited if and when it poses a threat to the safety of others. It is just to hinder an individual"s rights to protect the wellbeing of others. John Stuart Mill elaborates on this point saying, "The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others." Limiting the civil liberties of certain individuals is just when it is protecting the safety of others. I remind the judge that we are only talking about when there is a significant threat to national security. In those circumstances, because the first priority of a just government is to protect the safety of its citizens, a just government would prioritize national security.
TheLibertyChristian

Pro

I firstly would like to thank my opponent for creating this debate, and giving me the chance to represent Liberty on this public forum.



So far as arguments are concerned, my arguments will be conceived to answer these two questions:



a) Is the government meant to protect me or my rights?

b) Is the government surveying me fulfilling that duty?




I would now like to address those arguments.


Argument A: Government Dependence & Right to Bear Arms.

The Second Amendment reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”[1] The Second Amendment had a very particular purpose: to grant the greater people the right to resist a government tyranny. If the government provides man his security, the government will be able to take it away. The Declaration of Independence and the Forefathers mentioned very frequently the notion of the Creator [2]: an infallible artist who crafted the universe with very deliberate methodology. They believed furthermore, as I do, that God had the intent to create man with inalienable rights. As he would not take them away like men of hubris would. If we allow 'national security' to supersede these rights, the U.S government will be next in line for tyrannical governments (and many would already argue they are there as we speak).

If the government is becoming tyrannical, and it is a matter of civil liberties or national security, I personally pick the former. I accept that the government has some role in society (as such I am not an Anarchist), however I also acknowledge that a well-armed populace can handle itself (as they did in the American Revolution) and that government overreach is not a necessary nor viable solution.



Argument B: The Success of Government in Security.

As far as the success of the U.S government in the security department is concerned, the measures taken by federal agencies to locate and arrest ‘terrorists’ is baffling. Whether the “No Fly” list or the “Terror Watch” list, the government has sputtered incompetent results from its policies regarding ‘national security’.

I am reminded by a man in American politics who I greatly admire, and who I had the pleasure of meeting, Dr. Ron Paul. Paul states on his website[3], “It is likely that some Americans are on the list solely because of their political views and activities.” Further damning is the point Dr. Paul makes later on in the very same article, “Sadly, many who understand that new gun control laws will leave us less free and less safe support expanding the surveillance state. Like those promoting gun control, people calling for expanded surveillance do not let facts deter their efforts to take more of our liberties. There is no evidence that mass surveillance has prevented even one terrorist attack.”

Dr. Paul is astonishingly right. It turns out that expanded “national security” measures by the federal government have not reportedly halted any attacks on U.S soil. Rather, they have resulted in tens of thousands of innocent Americans (and even non-Americans) being placed on lists[4], and for the government to continue legislating bigger data collection authorizations for the NSA. For instance, just before former President Obama left the White House, he allotted more powers to the federal government’s surveillance programs[5]. If we flounder in our civil duties as citizens to uphold a Constitutional government and own up to our civil liberties for a temporary sense of security, we will lose both liberty and security. If we depend too much on the government for our ‘security’, when these programs really just help the government collect Intel on us en masse, there will be no room left for civil liberties.

They are testing the waters, as historically tyrannical governments. The more comfortable we are with it, the more they will usurp our freedoms. Consequently, they will also be doing this in collaboration with anti-gun measures to ensure we are a disarmed populace and incapable of revolting as our predecessors had. We should not trust the government as much as we do, the Forefathers would surely be disappointed.



Round 1 Conclusion

I thank my opponent for reading my arguments and look forward to their rebuttal. God bless!

SOURCES CITED

[1]https://www.law.cornell.edu...

[2]https://nccs.net...

[3]http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org...

[4]http://www.washingtontimes.com...

[5]https://www.eff.org...

Debate Round No. 1
m_tostitos

Con

I first want to thank my opponent for accepting my debate, and I look forward to debating them in these next two rounds.

I will start by responding to the two questions my opponent brought up. The first question they raised was whether the government is meant to protect them or their rights. The most simplistic response to this question is that the government can"t protect your rights if it doesn"t protect you first. It is by this philosophy that the first priority of a just government ought to be national security.

To tie this into your two arguments, we are not taking away the second amendment right to bear arms, we are prioritizing national security first. This means that a just government would make it harder to obtain a gun in an attempt to stop potential terrorists from getting their hands on weapons. For the average American, none of their rights are being infringed upon. In the con world, a just government is taking necessary precautions to better protect its citizens. For example,the NSA isn"t infringing upon the average American"s rights by collecting and storing their data. A human being only goes through your data if it is flagged for possible threats. This could happen if you send a text to somebody saying "we should kill President Trump."

To now address my opponent's second question, on whether the government is fulfilling their duty, I would argue that it is to the best of its abilities in the status quo. A report by researchers at George Washington University found that 71 ISIS followers have been arrested since March 2014. The also found that "this new phase requires a whole new approach to counterterrorism and homeland security beyond the traditional responses." They go on to suggest that this number would be higher if it were not for the public outrage due to the documents leaked by Snowden. They argue that if allowed to access even public social media accounts, they could find more suspected terrorists.

This is why I negate the resolution. A just government would allow for its employees to do their job to the best of their abilities and with the resources that they need to do their job. This violation of privacy is beneficial to all as it helps to protect them and their loved ones. Also, going back to my first arguments, we can only allow this violation of privacy only when there is a significant threat to national security.
TheLibertyChristian

Pro

I thank my opponent for their continued arguments, and am excited to delve into round two of this debate.



I will now take this time to rebut my opponent's points.



Rebuttal: The Dissolution of Civil Liberties



My opponent seems to take issue with the notion I have provided that granting government the power to survey as a method of attaining ‘national security’ will ultimately lead to the government revoking other rights. I would now like to address these concerns going down the line of things my opponent has said.



Exhibit A

“To tie this into your two arguments, we are not taking away the second amendment right to bear arms, we are prioritizing national security first. This means that a just government would make it harder to obtain a gun in an attempt to stop potential terrorists from getting their hands on weapons.”

My opponent seems to have ignored a major element of my previous argument: the government does not actually stop domestic terrorism by implementing additional surveillance and gun restriction measures. They seem to be diverting more into the ‘does the gun control work?’ question, but I will briefly entertain it for the sake of argument.

Statistically, states and cities with more stringent gun laws are more prone to gun crime[1], increased gun ownership leads to less gun crimes[2], and ‘gun-free zones’ comprise nearly all mass shooting locations[3].

With this out of the way, let us continue onto the greater point behind this: the more disarmed the greater people are, the more vulnerable to external threats they are. However, the harder it becomes for law-abiding citizens to own a firearm, the more easy it would be for their own government to overpower them.

My opponent claims that regular Americans are unaffected by the federal government’s laws and restrictions (in the field of ‘national security’), but they are simply wrong.A writer from the Washington Times described their appall with the notion of the ‘watchlist’ system, and they have used statistics to support that hundreds of thousands (and even millions) of innocent Americans are miraculously disqualified from gun ownership because they are arbitrarily placed on a government watchlist[4]. Furthermore, many holders of political office are also on the watchlists that bar them from firearm ownership[5]. If even the Washington bureaucrats are getting caught in this buffer of our civil liberties, and thousands upon thousands of Americans are, there is no logical reason to believe these measures do not encroach on the rights of the common man.



Exhibit B

In the second rebuttal my opponent makes, they cite a statistic without providing a link to their source. I suspect that this is because they cannot provide it. I ask that all potential voters take this into consideration as they grade each of the belligerents.

I do not think my opponent understands their own statistic, either. They mentioned the arrest of “71 ISIS followers since March 2014”. I took some liberties to research this fact, and I found that ISIS made allegations that they had 71 trained participants on U.S soil[6]. Nowhere did I find any data on 71 ISIS participants being incarcerated.

My opponent makes further assertions, but I would advise they be annulled by spectators for the simple fact that they are not supported by any source cited.


Round 2 Argument: Surveillance & Foreign Policy


Government surveillance by the U.S has been strongly tied to foreign policy, as well. President Obama tapped the phone of Angela Merkel of Germany[7] and bugged calls from the former Brazilian President (and the U.S has a history of this)[8]. These things ultimately lead to a distaste with the U.S, and the loss of trust between nations. The government will use these espionage methods to spy on its allies, putting them under heavier scrutiny, and in the meantime potentially provoking a war.

If the U.S wishes to stop having so many needless wars and conflicts with other countries, it must withdraw from doing these things. Provoking other world powers will not help citizens back at home. As it will be our sons, daughters, husbands, wives, and even friends who are shipped overseas for these conflicts. It will ultimately be the common man who is shafted by these practices.


Round 2 Conclusion

My opponent has made baseless claims and fantasized that the government is a monolithic, infallible institution capable of defending its citizens and ascertaining more power without the threat of tyrannical overreach.


SOURCES CITED

[1]http://www.washingtontimes.com...

[2]http://www.cnsnews.com...

https://www.forbes.com...

[3]http://www.breitbart.com...

http://www.theblaze.com...

[4]https://www.washingtonpost.com...

[5]http://www.dailywire.com...

[6]http://joemiller.us...

[7]http://dailycaller.com...

Debate Round No. 2
m_tostitos

Con

I would like to start by thanking my opponent for continuing this debate and I look forward to their final arguments.
Also, here is the link to the article I used during Round 2:
https://www.luminpdf.com...

Now, I would like to begin my referring back to my initial argument"s from Round 1. My opponent has yet to respond to my two main arguments from this Round, nor has he responded to any arguments I made during this round. Due to the fact that this is the last time I get to respond, I urge all potential voters to discount anything my opponent brings up regarding these contentions in their last round. With that being said, because my opponent has failed to address these arguments, he is conceding to them for the purpose of today"s debate. I will now show why the extension of these two arguments should alone win me the round.

My first contention, is that the first priority of a just government is to protect the lives of its citizens. During this contention I use the example of John Locke who, "goes on to explain that this is the point of the social contract, that citizens will surrender some of their rights, or civil liberties, for protection by the government." This shows that by nature of the social contract, citizens surrender some of their civil liberties for protection by the government. Because, my opponent has failed to address this, we have to evaluate the debate based on this view for how society ought to work.

My second contention, is that there is no such thing as an unlimited right. I brought up the example of free speech to demonstrate what this means, "while you certainly have a right to free speech, that right can justifiably be limited if and when it poses a threat to the safety of others." I then continued onto relate this example to the resolution stating that, "limiting the civil liberties of certain individuals is just when it is protecting the safety of others." Again, my not responding to this, my opponent is agreeing that limiting civil liberties in the name of national security is just. This alone is reason enough to vote con.

To conclude the arguments on my side of the debate, my opponent agreed that 1) the government can morally violate its citizens in the name of national security due to the social contract as described by John Locke, and 2) that it is just to limit civil liberties when it is to protect the safety of others. I point out to all potential voters, that these two concessions alone, are grounds to vote con. Now, I will talk about my opponent"s side of the debate.

On my opponent"s side of the debate, their arguments and rebuttals can be summed up by the argument that by prioritizing national security over civil liberties, the government is becoming tyrannical. "If we allow 'national security' to supersede these rights, the U.S government will be next in line for tyrannical governments."

Their first argument is in regards to the second amendment. However, by their concessions to my case, it is clear that gun-control in the name of national security is just, not tyrannical, and can be morally done due to the social contract. This leads me to my opponent"s next point, being that gun-control doesn"t even work. I will address this using a report by JAMA Internal Medicine (1), which states that, "stricter firearm laws are associated with fewer firearm homicides, and the implementation of Florida"s stand-your-ground law was associated with increased firearm homicides." This is just one example that shows that gun-control can be effective. The argument my opponent provides for this point is two-fold: 1) gun-control is an inherent violation of civil liberties and can lead to a tyrannical government, and 2) that gun-control doesn"t even work. However, both of these arguments fall at the end of this debate. Their first point, is refuted by the extensions to my case as I mentioned early (see above). Their second point, is refuted by the fact that gun-control can work, and will logically be more effective if we allow for it to happen in the name of national security, which is a government"s to priority according to John Locke, as I mentioned in my case.

Their second argument is that the government isn"t successful in protecting its citizens" safety. Again, I bring up the example above, showing that gun-control can work. I would also like to again, bring up the fact that 71 ISIS followers have been arrested since March 2014. (see link in beginning) While that number may not seem high, it is still 71 potential terrorists in about 2 years. So while we can certainly improve the success our government has, it is still significant. It is also logical that with access to public information such as social media, or even texts, emails, and calls, that the government can have even more success in the con world.

My opponent"s last argument that they brought up in Round 2 is that wiretapping of foreign officials can lead to war. I respond to this by saying that this is not what I am advocating for. I am advocating for the prioritization of national security over the civil liberties of that government"s own citizens, not foreign officials. This response is therefore, untopical as it does not fit under the resolution at hand.

In conclusion, I urge all potential voters to vote con because:
My case has been extended throughout this debate due to the fact that this is my last chance to refute any arguments and my opponent has failed to make any about my case thus far.
It is clear that a just government can morally and justifiably violate certain civil liberties in the name of national security. As explained throughout my extended case.
I have refuted all of my opponent's arguments and they stand in my favor.
Lastly, using the Utilitarianism value that I set forth for this round (and also has gone unrefuted by my opponent) I should win today"s round. The con side clearly better protects the safety of its citizens, which is how I proposed we determine the utilitarian course of action.

For these reasons, I strongly urge all potential voters to vote con. I thank you as well as I thank my opponent for taking the time to have this debate with me.

Source:
1) http://www.popsci.com...
TheLibertyChristian

Pro

I thank my opponent once again for this debate. I thank them for being so fortuitous, and principled. I am not purposefully contentious in this debate, and I wish to clear this air here and now, that I have never intended to discard my opponent's arguments. I feel I have rebutted them appropriately, and I will clarify how.

Argument A: Reprise

As I said in round one, many of the politicians in D.C whose responsibility it is to legislate according the Constitution, both support NSA surveillance and the gradual revocation of Americans' guns. I believe that these two ideas go hand in hand, a disarmed populace is easier for the government to control, and to survey. The less we are armed, the more vulnerable we are to government overreach.

In round two, I acknowledged my opponent's idea that by surrendering our liberties to the government we are even being ensured a stronger 'national security'. They claimed that the U.S stopped some 71 odd terrorists and arrested them through the use of surveillance. What they meant was that 71 terrorists have been sent into our country by ISIS according to their own claims (for that source, see: round two, exhibit b). My opponent has made little effort to prove the correlation and causation between increased surveillance and increased domestic tranquility. I ask for voters to consider this as the judge the debate's contestants.



Argument B: Reprise


My second argument was government failure to actually provide effective results in the field of 'national security'. I do not have tremendous confidence in the NSA's ability to keep us safe. Rather, I only seem them as a source of government neglecting us of our liberties. The more power it is given, the more it will ascertain of our private lives. The government has put hundreds of thousands of innocent Americans on lists that bar them from the ownership of a gun and from boarding planes, but yet we are still just as vulnerable - if not more so - to terrorism. The Orlando shooting of 'Pulse' occurred in spite of the fact that the offender legally purchased their firearm and was previously under the eye of the FBI[1]. Our government is not competent enough to handle our 'national security' concerns, and that is why we as Americans must own up to our Second Amendment rights to bear arms.



We have additionally hurt our own diplomacy by spying on our neighboring, allied countries. Brazil and Germany were not particularly pleased to find out that the U.S was listening in on their leader's private lives (for sources on this, see: round two argument: surveillance and foreign policy). If we continue to give the government incentives to spy on our own citizens, and on leaders abroad, we will growingly become distrusted and Americans' lives will be endangered. We must learn that privacy is a right under the Constitution under the Fourth Amendment, and that we must own our civil liberties. The government does not produce effective results, and our liberties are encroached on as they expand the NSA programs.



Debate Conclusion


In conclusion, the United States government's job is not to protect our 'security' at the cost of our liberties. Any society which surrenders their liberties, to any degree, for temporary security deserves neither liberty or security. Our country will be in danger when we set this precedence that government is a monolithic and infallible institution to whom we owe our rights and trust. My opponent has not adequately accepted their burden of proof, and proven that the government is effective at protecting our nation's security when surveillance is expanded.




I thank my opponent, thank any viewers and/or voters, and God bless you.





Sources Cited
[1]http://www.latimes.com...



Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Mharman 8 months ago
Mharman
Nice debate.
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