The Instigator
AustinMcNett25
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Fluer
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Resolved: Vigilantism is justified when the Government has failed to Enforce Laws.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/17/2012 Category: News
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 913 times Debate No: 20452
Debate Rounds (5)
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AustinMcNett25

Pro

Definitions
Vigilantism: any person who takes the law into his or her own hands, as by avenging a crime.
Justified: to show (an act, claim, statement, etc.) to be just or right
Government: the form or system of rule by which a state, community, etc., is governed
Failed: to fall short of success or achievement in something expected, attempted, desired, or approved
Enforce: to put or keep in force; compel obedience to
Laws: the principles and regulations established in a community by some authority and applicable to its people, whether in the form of legislation or of custom and policies recognized and enforced by judicial decision.
Autonomy: the power or right of self-government.
Justice: The equilibrium between the full freedoms of the individual and the restrictions necessary for the safety of society
Affirmative
The government ultimately is able to enforce the law by the courts. So if the government has failed to enforce the law, then the courts are therefore ineffective. The purpose of a court system, or any other method to enforce the law, is to achieve justice. Therefore, my value is justice for the safety of society. When a government fails to enforce the law, there is no other means to attain justice except through the citizens of that society. Hence my value criterion is preserving autonomy.
Contentions
1.My first contention is the government failing to uphold the law justifies the actions of the vigilante, because he is exercising his autonomic power in the society that he lives in to achieve justice.

•Subpoint A: Under a governmental system the government is the highest power, because it has the ability to enforce laws and punish those who break them. However, in a case such as one advocated by the resolution, the government has failed to uphold the law. As the government is the basis of the law this essentially means that the government is illegitimate and without any de facto power. If the government, the highest power that asserts its power on the citizens according to its singular ideals of structure, has failed, the vigilante is justified in enforcing the law by exercising his autonomy over the society that he lives in. This struggle against his surroundings is justified as the government has essentially relinquished power over the people by failing to enforce the law.

•Subpoint B: Gloria Steinem, founder of Choice USA, has stated, "Law and justice are not always the same. When they aren't, destroying the law may be the first step toward changing it." This indicates that even if the actions of the vigilante break the law, his actions are justified nevertheless, because the ultimate goal of the vigilante is to achieve justice in the society. With a government that has failed to enforce the law, there is no means to attain justice, and the vigilante is filling in this gap.
Therefore it is seen that vigilantism is justified when the government has failed to enforce the law.

2. My second contention is that there are many countries in which the current government has failed to enforce the law, and has led to an excess of crimes, and thus a lack of justice. In Brazil, for example, as few as one percent of all robberies are successfully investigated by the police (Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, American Academy of Arts and Sciences). Furthermore, Jose Gregori, the secretary of state for human rights stated: "[Brazil] is a chronically violent country. The police are not efficient, it does not fight crime, and it is violent. The justice system is very slow." From this we can conclude that the only hope of justice in Brazil comes from vigilantism, seeing as the government actually furthers crime, and brings the inhabitants away from attaining justice. Justice is, as I previously stated, the equilibrium between the freedoms of a citizen and the restrictions of a society. In Brazil and many other countries, these freedoms are too extreme. Again, it is the responsibility of the citizens to exercise their right of autonomy to maintain justice.

3. My third contention is that Socrates the famous Greek philosopher has stated, "Nothing is to be preferred before justice." This indicates that justice must come before the law. Thus, it can be said that law is a means of attaining justice. When the government has failed to enforce the law, then the law fails. But even when the law fails, justice must still be upheld nevertheless. Therefore a different means of attaining justice must be followed. Vigilantism ultimately leads to justice through the preservation of autonomy. This is seen in our own development of America. When the British were overtaxing the colonists, the colonists decided to revolt. This action stemmed from the colonists' sense of autonomy within them and their goal of justice. The revolt can be classified as a form of vigilantism because it fulfills all four of the requirements of vigilantes. Thus, it is seen that vigilantism ultimately leads to justice in any society, and so vigilantism is justified when the government has failed to enforce the law.
Fluer

Con

Rebuttal

First Point
Subpoint A - " the government is illegitimate and without any de facto power" - No. Just because in one case your vigilante believes justice wasn't served this doesn't mean that government is illegitimate. I can say this because I disagree with your definition of Justice and would like to suggest my own.
Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics. (http://en.wikipedia.org...)
Since the concept of justice is based upon morality it is a personal and subjective concept. Meaning that one persons version of justice is different to the next. Therefore a vigilante can never ever fulfill justice because he is acting in his own moral compass he is acting for himself not for the society he apparently wants to protect.

Subpoint B - "Law and justice are not always the same. When they aren't, destroying the law may be the first step toward changing it." The social contract works in that the people give power to the government so that they can provide protection for their people. This arrangement is indeed subjective. However it is only subjective when it is the collective belief of the people that the laws should be changed. Not the act of a lone man seeking to fulfill his own justice based on his own moral compass. We also don't need to break the laws in order for them to change we just need to speak as the people and speak loud enough to be heard and long enough to be listened to.

Second point - "From this we can conclude that the only hope of justice in Brazil comes from vigilantism" If you disagree with the structure of the government to the extent that vigilante takes over then all we are left with is anarchy in which no law and no justice can ever take place. The only hope society has of maintaining a strong justice system is by having a strong government. It may be a slower solution but it is a better one and leads to far less crime than vigilante can ever hope to achieve.

Third point - "But even when the law fails, justice must still be upheld nevertheless" Outside of the law justice becomes even more subjective because it falls into the hands of the morals of those who label themselves vigilantes. A vigilante as I have said can only ever fulfill his own view of justice not societies justice.
"When the British were overtaxing the colonists, the colonists decided to revolt. This action stemmed from the colonists' sense of autonomy within them and their goal of justice." This is not a vigilante act because it is a society acting to rearrange their governing body in line with the social contract. They disagreed with the ruling and moved against that ruling as a society. A vigilante is lone actor seeking to fulfill his own justice not acting in line with the social contract. This makes your last statement, "Thus, it is seen that vigilantism ultimately leads to justice in any society, and so vigilantism is justified when the government has failed to enforce the law.", false.

Substantive

Point one - There is a women called Mags Haney who is a heroine dealer along with most of her family and she started a vigilante streak by naming and shaming people she thought were pedophiles. What she actually done was name a lot of innocent people and ruin their lives. She claimed she done this because she loved her children so much. Vigilantism is not the only route to justice and it is not the best route therefore not vigilante is ever justified in his/her actions.

I'll stop here for the moment as I am running out of time.
Debate Round No. 1
AustinMcNett25

Pro

AustinMcNett25 forfeited this round.
Fluer

Con

Vote con.
Debate Round No. 2
AustinMcNett25

Pro

AustinMcNett25 forfeited this round.
Fluer

Con

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
AustinMcNett25

Pro

AustinMcNett25 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
AustinMcNett25

Pro

After being tied up with a funeral, I apologize to my opponent and my judges.

I have no reason to finish this debate because I have not been able to keep up since I had to go to a funeral.

I will now give my voters:

1. I had a very good case.

2. I had to go to a funeral.

3. I apologized to everyone.

Vote Pro!!!!
Fluer

Con

Very sorry to hear the sad news. Perhaps we will be able to re-do this debate at some point.

Just a note then to voters don't give me conduct on the basis of a FF.

I rebutted all my opponents points and also made a strong case

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 5
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