The Instigator
idkmybffbill
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
masterzanzibar
Con (against)
Losing
10 Points

Resolved: Vigilantism is justified when the government has failed to enforce the law.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/17/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,469 times Debate No: 7881
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (4)

 

idkmybffbill

Pro

I would like to debate in LD format. Thanks!

"Since the governments are in the pockets of businesses, who's going to control this most powerful institution? Business is more powerful than politics, and it's more powerful than religion. So it's going to have to be the vigilante consumer." It is because I agree with Anita Roddick that I affirm the resolved, vigilantism is justified when the government has failed to enforce the law.
For clarity I offer the following definitions:
Vigilantism: one who takes or advocates the taking of law enforcement into one's own hands
Justified: to prove or show to be what is just by the maintenance or administration of what is just based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, fairness, and equity
Government: the offices of a nation/political unit being responsible for direction/supervision of public affairs
Failed: a state of inability to perform a normal function
Enforcement: to give force or effect to (a law, etc.); to compel obedience to
The Law: the body of rules and principles governing the affairs of a community and enforced by a political authority; a legal system: international law.
I offer the following observations for further clarity:
1) The resolution states that the government is not upholding the law, meaning the vigilante is upholding and enforcing the law in a justified way.
2) My second observation concerns the definition of ‘vigilantism.'
Classic vigilantes, according to the American University Law Review:
1. Are members of an organized committee
2. Are established members of a community
3. Proceed with definite goals, not with the intension of random violence
4. Act as a last resort because of a failure of the established law system
3) The resolution uses the word when as opposed to if. This indicates that these failures to enforce the law by the government are already taking place.
My value for the round shall be that of justice. Justice can be defined as the maintenance or administration of what is just based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, fairness, and equity. Affirming achieves the value of justice because of the word justified in the resolution as this word is a derivative of just or justice so this value is explicit in the resolution and any other value would be irrelevant to answering the question of the resolution as no other value would ensure people are receiving their due. In order to achieve justice in the resolution, it is only just that vigilantism is acceptable in the case that the government fails to enforce the law. Justice is a key feature of a well-based society because justice concerns the proper ordering of people and things in a society.
The value criterion for the debate is upholding autonomy. Autonomy is the right to self- government. Upholding individual autonomy--including the ability to exercise judgment in going after criminals--is a necessary route to justice when the government has failed to enforce the law. Autonomy leads any sort of societal or law-and-order consideration, because it is the foundation of human rights and societal order.
My first contention is Socrates' quote, "Nothing is to be preferred before justice." This shows that justice is more important than law. The law is only a way of attaining justice, and nothing more. When the law is failed to be enforced, justice must still be attained. We attain justice by upholding autonomy through vigilantism. 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.
My second contention is the history of vigilantism. I would like to bring up an example of vigilantism and explain why it was beneficial in a just way. The Big Sword Society was a group of farmers that originated in southwestern Shandong after the second Sino-Japanese War, when the country side was in anarchy and widespread with robberies. These vigilantes protected lives and property. They defended villages from roaming bandits, warlords, tax collectors, and later communists and the Japanese. This group of vigilantes saved lives and properties when the government failed to. They punished the criminals to attain justice for the village. This clearly shows us that vigilantism is justified when the government has failed to enforce the law.
My third contention is the Social Contract. The government is a contract between a country's government and its citizens. Citizens sacrifice some liberty so the government can maintain societal order and protect the citizens. The contract upon which all governments are based states that if the government properly enforces the law, citizens will abide by the laws. But, when the law is not enforced, as in the resolved, it is illegitimate and the citizens then have the authority to do what they think is just. When the government has failed to enforce the law citizens can exercise their autonomy to attain justice. So, according to the Social Contract vigilantism is justified when the government has failed to enforce the law.
I now stand open for cross examination.
masterzanzibar

Con

Okay so I guess I will just cross examine and then NC--> AC sorry if I'm a bit rusty on the formalities of LD.

so according to your definition of The Law, law is only legitimate when enforced by a political authority, thus, if there is no political authority enforcing the law does that mean that law itself is illegitimate and subjective?

On your second observation of vigilantes, you state that vigilantes are established members of a community, how is this stipulated by your definition?

you state that vigilantes don't use random violent methods to achieve their goals, how is this ensured when the actor is an imperfect human being?
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NC
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DEFINITIONS
1. Vigilantism
Black's (8th ed.) defines it as "The act of a citizen who takes the law into his or her own hands by apprehending and punishing suspected criminals."

I accept my opponents value of Justice

my value criterion for this debate is a vigilante's skewed concept of justice. this should be the preferred criterion insofar as vigilantes are humans and are fallible, they have no universal or collective conception of what is truly just for the people when trying to decide how to punish and apprehend different criminals. thus justice cannot be achieved.

Contention 1- vigilante's inability to ensure justice.
Subpoint A- Vigilantes are humans, humans are fallible.
because vigilantes are humans they are inherently biased when making decisions of punishment and prosecution of crimes. a vigilante merely does whatever it is in his or her power to ensure their own conception of what they believe to be just. in the majority of legal court systems there are several arbitrators who have a thorough concept of the law and have the means to make the most accurate decision possible to ensure justice. Vigilantes do not have the luxury to do such things. they let emotions, and bias contribute to the punishment and apprehension of the crime depriving the subject of their due process and ultimate justice.

Subpoint B- Vigilantes lack the means to ensure justice
Unlike court systems vigilantes do not have the means to provide the accused their due process, which is fundamental in ensuring justice. What the vigilante perceives to be the correct punishment for the accused, could be inherently flawed for they lack resources such as witnesses and time to ensure an accurate verdict of the crime.

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AC-
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prefer my definition because its from blacks law and blacks pwns souls.
The affirmative gives an observation of vigilantes from the American University Law Review, however, i contend several aspects of the critera that she gives vigilantism
the first of which, is that no where in her or my definition does it stipulate that vigilantes have to be "established" members of a community, nor does it stipulate that vigilantes cannot act in a random and violent matter to pursure their goals, just simply that they pursure their goals and enforce the law by whatever means. notice that vigilantes are not BOUND by the law they are just simply enforcing it.

reject autonomy or the right to self government for it cannot achieve ultimate justice when the actor is fallable. this creates an opposition to justice for instead of the actor working on behalf of rules determined to be "just" by a society. he/she works on their own, imperfect and ever-changing conception of justice leading to a lack of due process, human rights violations, and so forth.

CONTENTION1-
I agree with the quote from socrates, however, vigilantes take matters into their own hands and administer what they view as just. this, combines with biased perceptions of the people they are apprehending can lead to major injustices like hate crimes and so forth. especially when there is no concept of rule of law binding the vigilantes to stay true to the law.

CONTENTION 2-first, one example of vigilantism being a good thing does in no way prove the resolution to be inherrently true. that would be similar to me killing a man because he was loitering in front of my house, coming later to find that he was going to kill my family. just because it prevented harm from happening once, does not mean that it was just, or that killing every person that hung out around my house would be a good idea. furthermore, who's to say that those bandits were apprehended and punished in a just manner. what if those bandits were killing people for stealing loafs of bread from them. this ultimatley ties into the NC of a skewed concept of justice for these individuals cannot remove their biases or feelings of irrationality when prosecuting crimes and so forth.

CONTENTION3- so how does people taking the law into their own hands pursue justice? how is one man punishing another man his own skewed interpretation just? reject autonomy, reject the third contention, and reject the AC.
THank you
I now stand open for CX
Debate Round No. 1
idkmybffbill

Pro

Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions, so the political authority could be a group of vigilantes enforcing the Law. Therefore the vigilantes would be enforcing the law and the law itself would NOT be illegitimate and subjective.

An established member of a community can be one who takes or advocates the taking of law enforcement into their own hands.

Vigilantes are not necessarily violent. Constant vigilance and preparedness are critical to the safety of society. Attorney General John Ashcroft made vigilance a policy when he urged citizens to report suspicious activity through "a National Neighborhood Watch Program," spurring the formation of dozens of new local watch groups. The Department of Homeland Security has made repeated pleas to citizens to help fight terrorism, pushing the pendulum back toward the era of citizen involvement. Secretary Tom Ridge created a Citizen Corps Program, which will convene local councils to inform citizens about their role in homeland security and crime prevention. "It is essential to communities across the country to involve all citizens at the state and local level in our national preparedness and prevention efforts," he said.

I reject my opponent's value criterion. Government powers are just as likely to be abused as vigilante ones. This argument assumes, of course, that government law enforcement officers do not abuse their powers. The fact that hundreds of prisoners are released each year because of wrongful convictions puts the lie to that argument. This past year, the State of Illinois released 13 prisoners from death row after DNA testing confirmed their innocence. In other words, the State of Illinois was prepared to kill 13 innocent men and would have done so had not modern science. My value criterion better upholds our value of justice because the only way you can achieve justice is by taking the initiative to protect it yourself. My opponent's value criterion doesn't even tie in to his value or the resolved.

I reject my opponent's Contention 1. What ensures that the government is not biased? What makes the government just?

My definition of vigilantism and my observation are not two different descriptions of vigilantes, but one total description. The definition and observation describe different aspects of a vigilante.

Government powers are just as likely to be abused as vigilante ones. This argument assumes, of course, that government law enforcement officers do not abuse their powers. The fact that hundreds of prisoners are released each year because of wrongful convictions puts the lie to that argument. This past year, the State of Illinois released 13 prisoners from death row after DNA testing confirmed their innocence. In other words, the State of Illinois was prepared to kill 13 innocent men and would have done so had not modern science

There is nothing to guarantee that the law is just; the government can also be biased. Vigilantism does not lead to hate crimes. Vigilantism is distinct from mob justice because it is solely concerned with the maintenance of the law
When individuals or groups identifying with the established order defend that order by resorting to means that violate these formal boundaries, they can be usefully classified as vigilantes.

Your example couldn't even be used in this resolved because it has nothing to do with the government failing to enforce the law. Is the Big Sword Society unjust? An example of beneficial vigilantism is enough to prove the resolved. The fact is that those bandits were not killing people for stealing loaves of bread. The vigilantes were protecting their villages from cold-hearted criminals. There was no bias in prosecuting the criminals; they were protecting themselves.

Your attack on my third contention has nothing to do with the Social Contract. As for your questions:

1. Upholding autonomy pursues justice because when the government fails to enforce the law, who's going to enforce the law? You are. If people don't take the initiative to protect themselves, the will never attain justice.
2. If you were to say that vigilantes punish criminals based on a skewed interpretation than you may as well say that the government is too. As I said earlier, the government is just as likely to be biased as a vigilante.

Vote affirmative because my case better upholds the resolved than my opponent.
masterzanzibar

Con

AFF STATES:" Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions, so the political authority could be a group of vigilantes enforcing the Law.
okay great whatever a group of vigilantes could get together and enforce the law? how does this make it any less subjective? they still are not bound to the law, they are in no way ridden of their personal biases and imperfections, and furthermore they are not under any concept of rule of law. this is why vigilantism is inherently flawed because the vigilantes do not have the means to ensure things like "Due process" and civil rights, which are key to justice, are upheld. they work with what they have to enforce the law, and do not have the same means as the government. furthermore, a group of vigilantes would only exacerbate the slight possibility of true justice to occur as we run into things such as mob mentalities and so forth.

"Therefore the vigilantes would be enforcing the law and the law itself would NOT be illegitimate and subjective."

vigilantes do not make the laws, they enforce them, that is the definition agreed upon by both teams within this round. furthermore, I am not talking about the laws being unjust, I am talking about the means of which the vigilantes enforce the law.

"Vigilantes are not necessarily violent."

I do not advocate that they always are, however vigilantes are much more likely to be violent than those who are in the government and are enforcing the law, for they have much less of the leisure to act in a manner that is not violent towards perpetrators. for example, if someone came and stole one hundred dollars from you, and you had proof of who stole it, you would likely turn them into the police and get your money back after a long process of small claims court and or pleas/negotiations. however, if there is no formal body to enforce this law, the criminal is a lot less likely to comply. nevertheless, the vigilante must use violence or other malicious means to get that money back. it is almost certain that vigilantes who them selves are the victims of the crime are going to be more violent as they may have extreme vindictive biases against those who have wronged them.

"Attorney General John Ashcroft made vigilance a policy when he urged citizens to report suspicious activity through "a National Neighborhood Watch Program," spurring the formation of dozens of new local watch groups. The Department of Homeland Security has made repeated pleas to citizens to help fight terrorism, pushing the pendulum back toward the era of citizen involvement."

at this point we must understand the fine line between vigilantism, and what the AFF advocates is a vigilante in this paragraph. The Neighborhood watch program is not designed for vigilantes to go out to enforce the law. it is set up for people to keep an eye on their neighborhood and report any suspicious activities to the local authorities. they are in no way enforcing the law as they do not apprehend or punish the criminal. this can be cross applied to the terrorism argument as the gov doesn't encourage it's citizens to go out and shoot terrorists, but rather to report suspicious activities to the local authorities.

"Government powers are just as likely to be abused as vigilante ones."

FALSE. whereas in the government there are checks and balances on the authority and power that these entities have to do their job such as the constitution, rule of law, and so forth; vigilantes do not have such checks. vigilantes are not bound by the law, nor by a constitution as they are the ultimate enforcing body when the government has failed to enforce the law.
cross apply this argument to the arguments made against my first contention.
"The fact that hundreds of prisoners are released each year because of wrongful convictions puts the lie to that argument."

my guess is that with no justice system, courts, trials and so forth, there would be thousands upon thousands more who are wrongly convicted. however, instead of being released from prison (which vigilantes do not have the means of maintaining) they risk the chance of being killed, persecuted, any many other over-extreme measures of punishment. leading to severe human rights abuses...ect.

"In other words, the State of Illinois was prepared to kill 13 innocent men and would have done so had not modern science"

DNA testing, a resource that the vast majority of vigilantes do not have.

"My opponent's value criterion doesn't even tie in to his value or the resolved."

my criterion ties into the value debate and resolved
VALUE DEBATE: JUSTICE- justice cannot be achieved because of the vigilante's subjective and fallible perception of what is just, thus justice is not upheld by affirming.
the criterion ties into the value and the value to the resolved.

"My definition of vigilantism and my observation are not two different descriptions of vigilantes, but one total description. The definition and observation describe different aspects of a vigilante"

okay great I understand that entirely, but WHY are these traits idiosyncratic to vigilantes? what warrants this? just because someone is enforcing the law does not mean that they will be established members of the community or any of the other things that your observation says.

"There is nothing to guarantee that the law is just; the government can also be biased"

I am in no way arguing that the law is just or unjust, that is not what we are here to debate. the police officers, judiciary branches, ect. enforce the law, as well as vigilantes. because vigilantes are those who enforce the laws, they would be enforcing the same laws that the government would be. HOWEVER governmental branches which enforce the laws have checks on them provided by constitutions, other branches and other laws...ect. they are bound to the law whereas vigilantes are under no such influence. They see, and they execute, nothing more; and that execution is left up to the biases and subjectivity of the person who feels is as the obligation to make things "just".

"Your example couldn't even be used in this resolved because it has nothing to do with the government failing to enforce the law. "

this was not an example of vigilantism, this was an analogy to show how fallacious it is when the AFF claims that presenting one example of where vigilantism was good undeniably affirms.
one example of vigilantism is not enough to affirm when there are countless examples of where vigilantism has gone wrong.

"There was no bias in prosecuting the criminals; they were protecting themselves."

How can you even claim that there was no such bias in prosecuting the criminals! these people, as you stated, were murdering people stealing their belongings, and terrorizing these poor civilians. once they finally apprehended the criminals, do you not think that they were at least a little bit biased against their favor?
How can the AFF claim that these men who were prosecuted by the Big Sword Society, when they were not given due process, a fair trial.... ect? all things necessary when evaluating if a punishment for a crime is just or not.

"Your attack on my third contention has nothing to do with the Social Contract"
this attack was more focused upon why autonomy is unjust in relation to people choosing what is, and what is not just for other people.
Debate Round No. 2
idkmybffbill

Pro

You're first attack was that vigilantes are not a political authority and I responded and you seem to agree.
You continuously state that vigilantism is unjust, biased. What makes the government unbiased? How do you know that their checks and due process are just? I have already addresses mob mentalities in the argument before this.

If it was not clear I meant that the vigilante was enforcing the law and that would not be illegitimate or subjective.

What is your proof that vigilantes are violent? You repetitively say that the only way that vigilantes can attain justice is through violence, but you have no proof. You say that because there are no checks to make sure the vigilantes are liable, but how do you know that these checks are just?

Punishing the criminal is not the only way to enforce the law. Just reporting a criminal is vigilantism, because they
1. Are members of an organized committee
2. Are established members of a community
3. Proceed with definite goals, not with the intension of random violence
4. Act as a last resort because of a failure of the established law system.

Again, what makes the law, the constitution, due process all just?

If they are wrongly convicted then released, why would the vigilante try to punish them?

A vigilante group cannot be faulted because they do not have all the resources, but it's not like the government has all the resources in the world.

I see what you mean about how your value and criterion tie in, but I don't agree with it. What proof do you have that all vigilantes' perception of justice is subjective and fallible? What is the difference between what the government see as just and what the vigilantes see as just?

LD debate is philosophy debate, and this is what I believe to be the traits of a vigilante. Vigilantes are citizens that try to enforce the law, and anything else by observation states.

Whether or not the law is just or unjust is an aspect of this debate, and the fact that you don't want to debate whether or not it is shows that you do think that the government can be unjust. There is no proof that your checks and laws are just.

You can't include something in the debate if it has nothing to do with the resolved. Again, yes one example of just vigilantism is enough to affirm since you haven't been able to bring up one example of unjust vigilantism.

If you're saying that those vigilantes were biased then you're saying that the government is biased too. The government is made up of citizens and they just may as well be biased against one of the criminals because they stole something from them. You never know.

The fact that you admit that your attack on my third contention had nothing to do with the Social Contract shows that you agree with it. This attack should have been placed in a different area. I responded to your attack in my prior argument.

Vote affirmative because I haven't agreed with any of my opponent's arguments, I have responded to all of my opponent's attacks, I've attacked my opponent's case, and my case better upholds the resolution.
masterzanzibar

Con

You're first attack was that vigilantes are not a political authority and I responded and you seem to agree.
You continuously state that vigilantism is unjust, biased. What makes the government unbiased? How do you know that their checks and due process are just? ."

My first attack was not that vigilantes are not a political authority. it was that you do not warrant how vigilantes simply ARE the things which you claim within the parameters of your definition, like "established members of communities. no definition that you have given really stipulates or implies that, nor do you warrant why that is. the government is bound to a constitution, they have different branches that provide checks and balances . constitutions, such as the U.S. constitution ensure that there are fundamental rights that are being preserved regardless of the circumstances. governmental entities must respect those rights by law. vigilantes are not bound to such laws as they become the ultimate governing authority in the land.

" I have already addresses mob mentalities in the argument before this"

you stated that vigilantes are only to provide maintenance for the law. so if a group of vigilantes is going to out "take suspected criminals and punishes them" because that is what they do, how does this somehow stray away from mob mentalities. lets say a riot breaks loose in an urban city. if we affirm, we literally have a group of vigilantes fighting a group of other angry individuals, with no rules, no boundaries, just flat out war. This ties in with the same argument I've been making this whole round, vigilantes are not tied to the law or to any other facility that might have a check on them, thus they do whatever that is in their means to stop the crime in progress, or punish those who may have already committed the crime. they simply do not have the means, or checks and balances on them to give justice. furthermore, if a group of vigilantes were to get together and form an alliance or a union of some sort, they are the ultimate authority over the people, thus the law is further eroded to what the vigilantes feel is more beneficial for them rather than the people, and enforce those laws. the government cannot enforce the law anymore, so they cannot place a check on the power of the vigilantes.

"Punishing the criminal is not the only way to enforce the law. Just reporting a criminal is vigilantism, because they
1. Are members of an organized committee
2. Are established members of a community
3. Proceed with definite goals, not with the intention of random violence
4. Act as a last resort because of a failure of the established law system."

For the third time, what warrants such things? furthermore how would that example be relevant to this debate when there is no effective law enforcement branch to enforce those laws?

"Again, what makes the law, the constitution, due process all just? "
if your theory is that the law is unjust, then we MUST negate, as the vigilante is defined as someone who is enforcing THE LAW. enforcing an unjust law on citizens would be an act of complete INJUSTICE, meaning that the resolution would be therefore negated. the constitution would be astronomically more just than the arbitrary decisions made by vigilantes because:
A.) it is consistent
B.) it was made by those who represent their constituents, and even the constituents themselves, meaning that it is what the society that is governed by it feels is just.
C.)The lone purpose of a constitution is to assign what rights are protected and what power goes where, thus reserving rights and placing checks on law enforcement.

"If they are wrongly convicted then released, why would the vigilante try to punish them?"

The vigilante does not have the means of investigation, the convince or time of getting accurate witness statements, or the resources to have a trial. therefore, being released would probably not happen in the first place. I believe you misconstrued the argument I was making. furthermore the vigilante does probably not have the means, let alone the will to contain such a person.

"A vigilante group cannot be faulted because they do not have all the resources, but it's not like the government has all the resources in the world."

they have entire subdivisions of government dedicated to law enforcement, the resources found within the government are going to exponentially more than that of the average citizen's.

"What proof do you have that all vigilantes' perception of justice is subjective and fallible?"

because a vigilante is a human being.

"What is the difference between what the government see as just and what the vigilantes see as just?"

government is bounded by laws and checks.

"LD debate is philosophy debate, and this is what I believe to be the traits of a vigilante. Vigilantes are citizens that try to enforce the law, and anything else by observation states."

Why does your personal opinion of a vigilante matter in this debate round? or warrant that observation?

"Whether or not the law is just or unjust is an aspect of this debate, and the fact that you don't want to debate whether or not it is shows that you do think that the government can be unjust. "

Unless you prefer to concede the debate right now, we must assume that the laws being enforce are just, as vigilantes are those who enforce the law, as I have stated previously.

"You can't include something in the debate if it has nothing to do with the resolved. Again, yes one example of just vigilantism is enough to affirm since you haven't been able to bring up one example of unjust vigilantism."

It has everything to do with the debate if you understand the concept of an analogy. I'm trying to show you how showing one time where vigilantism worked does not warrant a ballot, and is entirely fallacious. we are debating on whether the resolved is absolutely True or False. Here's an example of how vigilantism has failed http://www.msnbc.msn.com... the story is that two men wanted to scare this child pornographer away from their neighborhood to get back at him for all of those horrible things he had done to children. they set fire to his house. however, the accused man escaped inside, leaving his innocent wife inside alone to die.
this is an example of exactly what I've been advocating this whole round, vigilantes skewed concept of justice, the lack of means of which they have to justly prosecute the accused.

"If you're saying that those vigilantes were biased then you're saying that the government is biased too. The government is made up of citizens and they just may as well be biased against one of the criminals because they stole something from them. You never know."

what a society decides is collective of that society. what a vigilante decides is not. in the rare, rare chance that a police officer or government official is to be the one who apprehends that sort of a suspect, there are still several other processes of which the accused goes through before a decision of his/her punishment is made.

"The fact that you admit that your attack on my third contention had nothing to do with the Social Contract shows that you agree with it. This attack should have been placed in a different area"

the social contract argument is flawed, insofar as its basically like repeating the resolution and asking for the win. in this argument your saying that the government has failed to enforce the law, thus vigilantes must. that is what we are here to debate, whether that is justified or not. that contention really holds no offense once-so-ever for the affirmative.
because vigilantes cannot and do not ensure the means for adequate justice, have a skewed concept of justice, and because the AFF can in no way justify their arguments or criterion. vote neg. thanks.
Debate Round No. 3
idkmybffbill

Pro

To be a vigilante you must meet the requirements stated in my observation. If you do not meet one of the requirements, then you are not a vigilante. For example, the vigilantes in the Neighborhood Watch Program are members of an organized committee, they are established members of the community, they proceed with definite goals, and not with the intension of random violence, and they act as a last resort because of failure of the established law system. I found this information at the American University Law Review, which is the oldest/largest student-run publication at American University, Washington College of Law. It has many submissions from professors, judges, practicing lawyers, and renowned thinkers. Many lawyers even use this resource; it is definitely warranted. Again, you have repeated that the government is bound to the Constitution, they have checks and balances, they have due process, and there main goal is to provide citizens with their fundamental rights, but you are still failing to answer my question: What makes these systems just? What ensures you that these rights that they are trying to provide us with are just. Even if the vigilantes don't go through all these systems it doesn't make them any less just then the government. How is the government more just than vigilantism if they try to provide unjustified rights?

Vigilantism is distinct from mob justice because it is solely concerned with the maintenance of the law. Also, I've stated before the governmental powers are just as likely to be abused as the vigilantes. A corrupt group of government official could also be in this imaginary situation and be considered to be a mob. Also, vigilantes are not necessarily violent. Vigilantism is not cowboy justice. It is very unlikely for things to get so out of hand as this imaginary situation you have come up with. Vigilantes don't try to create trouble, they try to enforce the law and punish criminals. And again, with the argument that I've been making throughout the round, what makes these things that the government has that vigilantes do not justified? And yet another time, the vigilantes would not try to gain ultimate authority over the people they are trying to help the society, not hurt it.

And again, I found this information at the American University Law Review, which is the oldest/largest student-run publication at American University, Washington College of Law. It has many submissions from professors, judges, practicing lawyers, and renowned thinkers. Many lawyers even use this resource; it is definitely warranted. Your question makes no sense at all. The example would definitely have relevance with the resolution because the government has failed to enforce a law, so the criminal is still free. The vigilante is helping to enforce the law, by reporting the criminal.

I am not saying that the government is unjust, I am simply saying that the government is not enforcing the law with any more justice than a classic vigilante. You repeat over and over again that the government has a Constitution to help them enforce the laws justly, but WHAT MAKES THE CONSTITUTION JUST? When the country was founded, British Common Law applied to Jury Trial and the jury had the power to "nullify" a law it felt unjust or unjustly applied by refusing to convict. So if this was possible, you can know that the Constitution is not always justified, since the jury could legally nullify unjust laws. (Also, FYI neither side could win if either of us believed that the law was unjust, because both sides are enforcing the LAW.) In response to you reasons why the Constitution would be more just:
A.) What makes consistence just?
B.) What makes the constituents just?
C.) How did the creators of the Constitution know what rights to protect and where to put the power?

If an innocent is released from prison, it will be widely known. The vigilantism isn't trying to punish someone that is innocent. The vigilante does not need the means of investigation, the time of getting accurate witness statements, or the resources to have a trial if they know that the person is innocent. And because they were innocent, they would be released from prison. I'm not sure that you understand what I was trying to say earlier in the round. When innocent people are put in prison, and then released the vigilante won't try to punish them.

So, if the government has all these resources, then why can't they punish all the criminals in the world? Vigilantes are not the primary source that is punishing the criminals. They are enforcing the law when the government has failed to. When the government has failed to enforce the law with "all of these resources" the vigilantes can then try to enforce the law with the limited resources that they have. Also, some of the more developed vigilance committees have many resources just as the government do, so they can use their resources as well.

The people that make up the government are also human beings, and the creators of the Constitution were also human beings.

Again, these laws and checks aren't always just. I'm still waiting for you to answer my question about the justification for all the things that you say make the government's way of enforcing the law just.

In philosophy debate, opinion matters the most. Also, I found this information at the American University Law Review, which is the oldest/largest student-run publication at American University, Washington College of Law. It has many submissions from professors, judges, practicing lawyers, and renowned thinkers. Many lawyers even use this resource; it is definitely warranted.

"...we must assume that the laws being enforce are just, as vigilantes are those who enforce the law, as I have stated previously." The fact that you have just said the laws being enforced are just, and the vigilantes are those that enforce these just laws proved my point exactly. Vigilantism is justified when the government fails to enforce the law. So, if they are enforcing just laws, they are just.

Yes, I do understand the concept of an analogy, but your example still does not work in this debate. This example of vigilantism was justified; the man was being punished for his bad deeds. He lost the person he loved most, because of all of the people he hurt. He deserved to be punished, and punishment is not always through making the criminal pay by fines, imprisonment, or even the death penalty, but sometimes it's through punishing the people that the criminal love most. These vigilantes have definitely saved many more children, that the man would continue to do horrible things to.

It is not a society's choice for the government to be biased. Why is it so easily set aside the government being biased, but not a vigilante? What's the difference? How can you say that when so many people have been charged when they were innocent? Many people have faced the death penalty for a crime they didn't do. Is that just, being punished for something you didn't do?

In response to this new attack of yours, my third contention works perfectly, since I'm saying that according to the contract that the government is based on vigilantism is just, therefore vigilantism is justified when the government fails to enforce the law.

Vote affirmative because vigilantism is justified when the government fails to enforce the law. My case better upholds the resolution, I haven't agreed with my opponent at all, and I have defended my case and my criterion better than my opponent. I have also justified ALL of my arguments and my criterion. My opponent has agreed with me several times, and they haven't been able to uphold and protect their case as well as I have. These are all reasons that you should vote affirmative. Thanks! :)
masterzanzibar

Con

AFF SAYS: "To be a vigilante you must meet the requirements stated in my observation. If you do not meet one of the requirements, then you are not a vigilante. For example, the vigilantes in the Neighborhood Watch Program are members of an organized committee, they are established members of the community, they proceed with definite goals, and not with the intention of random violence, and they act as a last resort because of failure of the established law system I found this information at the American University Law Review, which is the oldest/largest student-run publication at American University, Washington College of Law."

okay great, the PRO source has merit, but for the fourth time, where is the WARRANT? just because American University Law Review says that I'm going to birth 300 pound elephant out of my anus, does not mean that I am going to. this observation has no analytical warrants given by my opponents, and when those criteria given by that observation are not stipulated by the resolution, these traits are completely unfounded. When asked why vigilantes have to have these traits my opponent responds with something to the extent of, "they just do". my opponent can in no way justify this observation thus it fails.

"Again, you have repeated that the government is bound to the Constitution, they have checks and balances, they have due process, and there main goal is to provide citizens with their fundamental rights, but you are still failing to answer my question: What makes these systems just?"

At the point where I have answered this multiple times, and warranted the argument within the first time I brought it up, I think I have answered this in more than just an adequate manner. I quote the several times from last round that I answered this question:
1. THE LAW:
-"if your theory is that the law is unjust, then we MUST negate, as the vigilante is defined as someone who is enforcing THE LAW. enforcing an unjust law on citizens would be an act of complete INJUSTICE, meaning that the resolution would be therefore negated."
2.) THE CONSTITUTION:
-"the constitution would be astronomically more just than the arbitrary decisions made by vigilantes because:
A.) it is consistent
B.) it was made by those who represent their constituents, and even the constituents themselves, meaning that it is what the society that is governed by it feels is just.
C.)The lone purpose of a constitution is to assign what rights are protected and what power goes where, thus reserving rights and placing checks on law enforcement."

3.) The Government
-"they have entire subdivisions of government dedicated to law enforcement, the resources found within the government are going to exponentially more than that of the average citizen's."
-"what a society decides is collective of that society. what a vigilante decides is not. in the rare, rare chance that a police officer or government official is to be the one who apprehends that sort of a suspect, there are still several other processes of which the accused goes through before a decision of his/her punishment is made."

just because my opponent has failed to conceive these are explanations, does not mean that I haven't answered her question multiple times throughout the round.

"What ensures you that these rights that they are trying to provide us with are just."

At this point I have no idea what the neg is even talking about. how could the preservation of fundamental, inalienable rights like due process or freedom of speech or right to a speedy trial be corrupt or unjust? the mere fact that vigilantes do not have to preserve these rights warrant's a negative ballot. Furthermore vigilantes are people who enforce THE LAW that means that whatever the laws are that have been pre-determined the vigilantes are to enforce THAT LAW. so if we are in a world where the law is unjust, this means that the vigilantes are enforcing an unjust law which is always unjust and always warrants a negative ballot.

"Vigilantism is distinct from mob justice because it is solely concerned with the maintenance of the law."

This is contradicted by what the AFF says later in this same paragraph, conceding that: "A corrupt group of government officials could also be in this imaginary situation and be considered to be a mob. Also, vigilantes are not necessarily violent." This is a concession that something like this could happen with vigilantes. however, a group of police officers would be different, insofar as they have higher authorities and branches that place checks on them to refrain from that happening. so if they did happen they would have to answer to higher authorities. vigilantes respond to no higher authority and are thus the ultimate authority in the land, making them more inclined to abuse that power.

"It is very unlikely for things to get so out of hand as this imaginary situation you have come up with."

it's not unlikely at all, mob mentalities are very legitimate and psychologically proven to be legitimate.

"Vigilantes don't try to create trouble, they try to enforce the law and punish criminals."

Whether it be directly or indirectly, they create trouble through punishing those criminals with inadequate resources, and a arbitrary view of the justice system.

"And yet another time, the vigilantes would not try to gain ultimate authority over the people they are trying to help the society, not hurt it."

These are human beings we are talking about, they are corruptible, and have absolute authority in the land. and not to be too clich´┐Ż, but "absolute power, corrupts absolutely".

The example would definitely have relevance with the resolution because the government has failed to enforce a law, so the criminal is still free. The vigilante is helping to enforce the law, by reporting the criminal.

its not "a law" its "the law" its literally a world where the government has failed to enforce "the Law". meaning that vigilantes are not helping to enforce the law they are the body that is enforcing the law, thus that example has no place within the context of this debate.

"but WHAT MAKES THE CONSTITUTION JUST?"

already discussed this several times, basically the constitution is written by the people or those who represent the people so it is literally what the people think is JUST.
furthermore,your example of Britain doesn't exactly work, because your not talking about the constitution. the U.K literally has an unwritten constitution. however, your example is a great for the negative, as the supreme court is nullifying a law and making sure that the laws are just, something that vigilantes do not have.

" FYI neither side could win if either of us believed that the law was unjust, because both sides are enforcing the LAW"

False. I don't have the burden of proof I have the burden of clash. you have to prove that vigilantism is justified. I have to show how it isn't.
"A.) What makes consistence just?"

that it isn't subjective, skewed, and arbitrary.

"B.) What makes the constituents just?"

that they are the people who the laws and the constitution affect.

"C.) How did the creators of the Constitution know what rights to protect and where to put the power?"
because they had been in oppressive governments beforehand and new that there should be checks and balances.

On the neg arguments against the innocent man scenario, it is once again a misconception of what I', trying to say. once again I wasn't saying they would punish a person released from prison, I was saying they don't have the means of finding out if that person was innocent, in comparison to the gov.

On their argument against the child porn man example, my opponent has a completely flawed conception of justice, as well as a misconception of what the example actually was arguing. vigilantes tried to punish this man, and instead killed his wife. lack of means. vote NEG.
Debate Round No. 4
idkmybffbill

Pro

That is my warrant. LD debate is philosophy debate, meaning that I am debating based on my opinion. The American University Law Review is a trustworthy source, and I form a lot of my opinions from its information. Also, you're comment about birthing a 300 pound elephant out of your anus is very offensive, and that is bad conduct. I never stated that vigilantes "just do" have the characteristics I described in my observation. I have been able to justify this definition, so it still stands.

My opponent has failed to attack my first observation, where I clearly state that in the resolution, the government is not upholding the law, meaning the vigilante is upholding and enforcing the law in a justified way. My opponent's failure to attack shows that he completely agrees with this observation meaning that he has agreed with the affirmative. My opponent has automatically lost the round, because he has agreed with the affirmative side.

I have asked my opponent about what makes the government's way of enforcing the law just. He are my responses to his answers:
1. Again, I state that the law is not unjust, but the way the government enforces the law is unjust.
2. I understand all of your reasons that prove the Constitution is just. Well, what proof do you have that a certain vigilante group doesn't have a similar document to help to make sure everything is just? If the government is just because of their document that provides justice, then so is the vigilante committee. And before you say that even if one group did have such a document, not all groups do, I will point out that the resolved does not state that all vigilantism is justified when the government fails to enforce the law, so you can assume that some vigilantism can be justified and win the debate. And to this you may state that this can work the other way around, but I haven't proved a single example of vigilantism to be unjustified.
3. If the government has so many subdivisions to enforce the law, then why aren't all laws enforced? Why are some criminals free? To your next response, if there are so many processes that make sure the accused is guilty before punishing them, then why are so many innocents charged and punished for a crime they didn't do?

"At this point I have no idea what the neg is even talking about." The fact that you don't understand your own case makes me urge an affirmative ballot even more. At times these rights can be unjust. For example, when the government enforces the law they have the Right to Speedy Trial. This rush in convicting the criminal can cause a mistake and someone innocent can go to jail. It's not just for an innocent to go to prison in place of a guilty criminal. Vigilantes do not preserve this right; they spend as much time as they need to make sure they know who the criminal is. "Furthermore vigilantes are people who enforce THE LAW that means that whatever the laws are that have been pre-determined the vigilantes are to enforce THAT LAW." This is not necessary. I never said that laws are unjust, I said the government's way of enforcing laws is unjust.

I was saying that even in your imaginary situation that would never happen, the vigilante would not be violent unless it was necessary. Again, to your excuse that checks would keep the government officials from doing something unjust: Many people have had something unjust done to them by government officials who haven't faced consequences. For example, George G. Bush started a war in Iraq because he suspected Iraqis to be terrorists. Millions of people have died, billions of dollars have been wasted, and for what? Nothing has come out of the war, but George W. Bush is not in jail. He has not faced any consequences. Vigilantes would not try to abuse their power. Again, they are trying to better the society, not hurt it.

Legitimate is defined as accordant with law or with established legal forms and requirements. How is a mob mentality legitimate?

You never even responded to my attack about how vigilantes so not have the proper resources they need, meaning you agree with me. You can not use that argument if you agree with me. What ensures you that vigilantes have an arbitrary view of the justice system?

Governments are also made up of human beings, so they are also corruptible.

"The law" is made up of many separate laws and when the vigilante tries to enforce a single law they are helping to enforce "the law".

How do you know that these people do not have a skewed view of justice? Also, when I said "When the country was founded, British Common Law applied to Jury Trial and the jury had the power to "nullify" a law it felt unjust or unjustly applied by refusing to convict." the country that was founded was the United States of America.

I'm not even going to waste time in this argument, since it doesn't matter. I believe the law is just, but I don't believe the way the government enforces the law is just.

Vigilantes are going to investigate first to make sure they are punishing the right person.

I do NOT have a flawed conception of justice, the man was punished through the death of his wife. He probably won't ever commit a crime again, because he has learned from his mistake.

So, from this debate we have learned that vigilantism is justified when the government fails to enforce the law. As an overview of the cases: My opponent and I have the same value. My value criterion, upholding autonomy better upholds justice that my opponent's value criterion, vigilante's skewed concept of justice. When the government fails to enforce the law it is a citizen's duty to then protect their own rights by exercising their autonomy. My contentions are superior to my opponent's contentions because they better uphold the value criterion, value, and resolution.

I urge an affirmative ballot because:
- The negative dropped many arguments.
- He failed to attack all aspects of my case.
- He didn't respond to many of my attacks.
- The affirmative responded to all of the negative's arguments.
- She attacked all aspects of her opponent's case.
- She responded to all of her opponent's attacks.
- The affirmative had better conduct, better spelling and grammar, made more convincing arguments, and had more reliable sources.
masterzanzibar

Con

That is my warrant. LD debate is philosophy debate, meaning that I am debating based on my opinion."

that is not a warrant. a warrant justifies why the claim being made exists within the realm of logic;basically explaining that something is a certain way, and giving a basis of explanation as to why it is that way. the affirmative makes claims that something is a certain way, but never actually gives an explanation as to why they are that way.

"you're comment about birthing a 300 pound elephant out of your anus is very offensive"

I apologize if it offended you, I had been reiterating that point for the fourth time with really no response other than "my source says so." so I was trying to make my point a little more conceivable. However, I apparently failed in that respect.

"I never stated that vigilantes "just do" have the characteristics I described in my observation. I have been able to justify this definition, so it still stands."

The Affirmative never justifies this definition because for the fifth time they give no warrant as to why this definition makes sense. although the affirmative didn't literally say that vigilantes "just do" have these traits, the two words could have sufficed for the lack of warrant and absent justification. thus the definition debate here goes to the negative.

"My opponent has failed to attack my first observation, where I clearly state that in the resolution, the government is not upholding the law, meaning the vigilante is upholding and enforcing the law in a justified way. My opponent has automatically lost the round, because he has agreed with the affirmative side."

My friend, I believe that my whole stance of this debate has a refutation against that observation, insofar as my criterion is literally a vigilantes skewed concept and perception of justice, I feel no need to line by line that, especially when you don't extend it till now.

"1. Again, I state that the law is not unjust, but the way the government enforces the law is unjust."
this argument goes attacked in the past three rounds, all of my arguments against this has been dropped like checks and balances, rule of law, and so forth. when the AFF simply repeats it without refuting my arguments I feel no need to attack it again.

"2. I understand all of your reasons that prove the Constitution is just."
Concession

"Well, what proof do you have that a certain vigilante group doesn't have a similar document to help to make sure everything is just?"

first, brand new arguments in the last speech are inherently abusive, but I'll bite. what incentive would it be to these people to keep this document when the are the supreme authority? and furthermore, if it is a formal document where everyone is abiding by the same rules, coming together and making decisions, and having things such as checks and balances, we aren't dealing with a group of vigilantes; We now have our own subdivision of government.

"I will point out that the resolved does not state that all vigilantism is justified when the government fails to enforce the law, so you can assume that some vigilantism can be justified and win the debate."

Not true in anyway, the affirmatives job is to prove the resolution which is a statement to be true. the resolution states "Resolved: Vigilantism is justified when the government has failed to enforce the law." thus when the government has failed to enforce the law, for the AFF to win, they must show that vigilantism would be 100% justified in that instance. I have already given examples of how vigilantism can be unjustified, like the article that I posted in R3 about the child pornographer case. However, examples are not what the judge should be voting on, but rather if vigilantism is inherently just in this instance, or inherently unjust. t

"At this point I have no idea what the neg is even talking about."

I Apologize for my blunder, I meant to say Affirmative.

The AFF claims that rights can sometimes be negative, such as a speedy trial, for there can be a "mistake and someone innocent can go to jail." this is a misconception of the notion of a just and speedy trial. This doesn't justify Prosecutions to go as fast as they can to get the verdict. It is simply an important safeguard to prevent undue and oppressive incarceration prior to trial, to minimize anxiety and concern accompanying public accusation and to limit the possibility that long delay will impair the ability of an accused to defend himself. It is reasonable to believe that Vigilantes do not have the luxuries or resources to find out who the criminal is to the extent that would provide the most accurate verdict.

The affirmative's personal opinion about the war in Iraq holds no weight in this debate round. George Bush entered the war because of intelligence data indicating that Iraq had WMD's. I contend your viewpoint very intensely, but that is another debate for another day.

"Vigilantes would not try to abuse their power. Again, they are trying to better the society, not hurt it."

The affirmative's personal opinions about what they think Vigilantes will do, or their intentions, again holds no weight in this debate round. vigilantes are humans and as such are fallible.

"How is a mob mentality legitimate"
because legitimate denotes something that is real in nature. The mob mentality theory has been substantiated by numerous psychologists.

"You never even responded to my attack about how vigilantes so not have the proper resources they need"

I believe I did, with the notion that there are entire subdivisions of arguments appropriated for law enforcement.
How do you know that these people do not have a skewed view of justice?

"Also, when I said "When the country was founded, British Common Law applied to Jury Trial and the jury had the power to "nullify" a law it felt unjust or unjustly applied by refusing to convict." the country that was founded was the United States of America"

I misconstrued what you said, I apologize. however, the supreme court example still applies.

"I do NOT have a flawed conception of justice, the man was punished through the death of his wife. He probably won't ever commit a crime again, because he has learned from his mistake."

that statement proves that the affirmative has a flawed concept of justice. this is cowboy justice at it's extreme, and is similar to the scenario that we would have in a world where we Affirm. Funny that this scenario is concerning a group of vigilantes trying to establish their own conception of justice. My opponent defines justice as "to prove or show to be what is just by the maintenance or administration of what is just based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, fairness, and equity" how is it ethical, rational, fair, or equal that a man who had problems ten years before this incident has his wife murdered right in front of him. Vigilantes burnt down his house, they killed his wife, because of something they saw on a tracking website. this is not justice for him, but furthermore, it's not justice to his wife, or his children, or anyone who knew that woman.

VOTERS:
1. The Criterion debate is won by the NEG, my attacks against autonomy get grievously dropped by my opponent, and autonomy was never really extended throughout the debate. my Criterion of a vigilante's skewed concept of justice prevails as it negates autonomy, and holds to be true as my opponent and I both agree that vigilantes are humans and work by their own conception of justice.
2.All AFF offense at this point is either untopical or void.
3. The Affirmative is unresponsive to the majority of the arguments made on case.
4. The Affirmative substantiates the notion in the last speech that their concept of justice is severely fallacious and is not found within the parameters of their very own justice definition.

With all said and done you must negate.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by masterzanzibar 7 years ago
masterzanzibar
sorry i ran out of characters in the end, that's why it ended so abruptly.
Posted by masterzanzibar 7 years ago
masterzanzibar
I dont mean to be a d-bag, and not that it really matters, but i would prefer it if critiques on argumentation were held till after the round.
Posted by PhreedomPhan 7 years ago
PhreedomPhan
Two points I'd like to make countering contentions of the debaters. One is to a point that I think was brought up by the Pro.

I believe reference was made to an effort by Tom Ridge to organize citizens in a quasi-vigilante group for "homeland security." This has nothing to do with vigilantism, rather it is an effort to create an Orwellian spy network that nobody can escape. Harrison Salisbury in a book on China almost boasts of the condition existing there where none can venture outside their district without being reported by a citizen spy. When I first heard of SNAP my thought was "Snoopy Neighbors Are Peeping. This Ridge idea is just a way to control resistance to Big Brother.

The con argues that vigilantes are not bound by the Constitution or "rule of law." Neither is the government. The Constitution has been made a mockery. It's hard to find a clause that hasn't been violated by the government. A new concept has entered Constitutional theory. It is the concept of a "Living Constitution" and the argument goes that time has changed and therefore new interpretations must be made to bring the Constitution up to date. But the Constitution was not meant to govern "times." It was meant to government men and men have not changed. The living Constitution leaves interpretation up to those who have the power to do so for their own ends. Usually, this is incompatible with the interests of the people.

Rule of law only applies when there is a strong constitution that cannot be changed easily. It is the fundamental law to which both the government and the people are bound. Admit arbitrary interpretation and you revert to rule of man by man, or, as I see the current situation in America, rule of man by outlaws.

Here's something I'll bet most here don't know. When the country was founded, British Common Law applied to Jury Trial and the jury had the power to "nullify" a law it felt unjust or unjustly applied by refusing to convict.
Posted by masterzanzibar 7 years ago
masterzanzibar
LD topic for several state tournaments and NFL national qualifiers
Posted by Lazy 7 years ago
Lazy
I seen this debate a lot and I don't know why.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by tmhustler 7 years ago
tmhustler
idkmybffbillmasterzanzibarTied
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Vote Placed by idkmybffbill 7 years ago
idkmybffbill
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Vote Placed by Lazy 7 years ago
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idkmybffbillmasterzanzibarTied
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Vote Placed by masterzanzibar 7 years ago
masterzanzibar
idkmybffbillmasterzanzibarTied
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