The Instigator
crodgers
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Bull_Diesel
Con (against)
Winning
5 Points

Secession is a valid option for a state in these United States

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Bull_Diesel
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/2/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,668 times Debate No: 28833
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (37)
Votes (1)

 

crodgers

Pro

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

The authors of the Declaration of Independence recognized that a government can become so oppressive as to compel its citizens to rebel. A recognition that led to the American Revolution and freedom from the tyrannical King George. Do these principles still apply in the modern world?

I argue that they do. If a government is 'for the people and by the people,' then a government that isn't upholding its responsibilities to the people is no longer a valid one (included in these responsibilities is following the rules laid out for behavior).

The Constitution that binds the states together is a contract that was voluntarily entered into by individual states. This contract detailed the sovereign powers that each state would cede to the federal government (coining money, national defense, negotiating powers with foreign nations, etc...). It also laid out the procedures involved in enacting and enforcing legislation. Much like a business in the private sector can sue for release from a contract if the other party is not upholding its end of the bargain, if the citizens of a state feel that the federal government is no longer appropriately using the powers ceded to it, that state has the right to dissolve its union with the United States and reclaim those powers for the citizens.

Would anyone argue that it is moral for a government to force people to remain citizens? If we allow for expatriation (the process by which one renounces citizenship), why would we not allow secession?
Bull_Diesel

Con

My thanks to crodgers for the opportunity to take this debate.

My Burden of Proof in this debate will be to show that secession is not a valid option for a state in these United States.

I will fulfill my Burden of Proof by showing that A State of the United States of America cannot currently, in good conscience and as a rational body acting rationally, hope to secede from the federal government/union of States if it also hopes to remain culturally and economically viable and sufficient or if it hopes to afford its remaining citizens the standard or quality of life to which they have been accustomed over the past 50+ years.

It is important to note in this debate that I personally support (to some extent) the idea of secession from the union. I fully believe in States’ Rights and am opposed to any government that is as large as our currently federal government because you will inevitably see abuses of power such as the ones currently holding our nation back from achieving the greatness it deserves.

I do not, however, hold that secession is currently a viable option for A State.

Let’s get into this quickly, I’d like to keep this debate quick and clean, I won’t have the time to get bogged down in a drawn out debate.

val·id
: having legal efficacy or force; especially : executed with the proper legal authority and formalities
well-grounded or justifiable : being at once relevant and meaningful <a valid theory>

: logically correct [1]

While it is possible that a state might secede, I argue that it cannot be done under economically or socially responsible terms.

Firstly, secession cannot be a valid option for any state because, by definition, validity is legality, justifiability, and logically correct.

Consider the following, from an article written by Adam Cohen, the author of Nothing to Fear, who teaches at Yale Law School

The Constitution, which provides processes for new states to enter the union and for current states to divide or reconfigure, does not have a provision for states to leave the union. A state would have to leave by force …since there is no legal basis it could point to for breaking away….Justice Antonin Scalia — who would probably rank No. 1 or 2 in a parlor-game bet over which Justice is most likely to sign a secession petition — has said… “ [The] answer is clear. If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede.”

The conservative Republican governors of Alabama and Texas have come out publicly against secession, and the governor of Louisiana — whose state’s signature total was second only to Texas’ on Nov. 14 — called the idea “silly.” [2]



Ok, so I’ve shown that
A: Secession by A State is not a valid option because it isn’t legal, therefore not valid.
B: Secession by A State is not a valid option because it isn’t supported by even the people who support the idea of secession (myself, Governor Perry, Justice Scalia included)

Now let’s address economic viability of secession. If it is not logically justifiable to secede from an economic standpoint, secession cannot be considered a valid option.

States and their citizens have become used to the comforts and niceties provided by federal funding.

Is it legal or a provided power of the U.S. Federal government to police drugs and alcohol? Can the federal government tell states what the legal drinking age has to be? Not legally, but if those states want their roads paved, odds are they’re going to suck it up and send kids to war that can’t drink, because the federal government (which again, I am not a fan of at its current size) won’t fund them if they don’t play nicely.


State officials have become addicted to federal subsidies because they allow them to spend money taken from taxpayers across the country instead of having to ask their voters to pony up the funds. As the following charts shows, total state spending continued to increase during the economic downturn because the federal government picked up the slack. Note that the federal share of total state spending went from 25.7 percent in 2001 to 34.1 percent in 2011.
[3]


Please Click on the below link for chart... I can't get my jpg to upload to this site for some reason...
http://www.downsizinggovernment.org...

The federal government spends about $500 billion annually on aid to the states, making it the third largest item in the budget after Social Security and national defense. The number of different aid programs has soared from 463 in 1990 to 814 by 2006 [4]

Why then do states not reform under a confederacy or a republic or as individual nations of their own? If it were economically and practically viable, it would have been done already.

I eagerly await my opponent’s response.
Thanks again to crodgers for this debate.


[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com...

[2] http://ideas.time.com...

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

[4] http://www.downsizinggovernment.org...

Debate Round No. 1
crodgers

Pro

Thank you Bull_Diesel for accepting the challenge. This is my first debate, so if my style is a bit rough please let me know (constructively) in the comments.

I will not contest the definition of valid.

Legality:

"Firstly, secession cannot be a valid option for any state because, by definition, validity is legality, justifiability, and logically correct."

In the Declaration of Independence, a document that is included in the US canon of law before the Constitution, the Founders declare:

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them"

Clearly, the writers of the Declaration considered the right to secede a valid one. If they did not, there would have been no American Revolution.

"...all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government..."

According to the law of the land, when the burden of government becomes too onerous, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish that government and construct a new one.

With all due respect to Prof. Cohen and Justice Scalia, their opinion of secession is obviously flawed, as is shown by the very first document in the United States legal code. The authors of the Constitution made themselves very clear in regards to secession.

I"ve shown that
A: secession is a legal option (as shown by the US legal code), therefore valid

Economic viability:

The argument that loss of funding from the federal government invalidates the option of secession is patently flawed. First off, it ignores the fact that in order to give a state money, the federal government must first take money from that state, as the federal government has no resources of it"s own. In effect, the federal government is giving the states back their own money.

In addition, if the citizens of a state fear a steeper decline in their standard of living because of the federal government, it becomes economically viable to secede. With the debt approaching $17 trillion dollars[1], unfunded liabilities to the tune of $86.8 trillion (or 550% the annual GDP of the US)[2], rampant inflation[3], and a budget that has included yearly deficits for the better part of a century[4], it is far more economically viable for a state to distance itself from the likely economic collapse and create a fiscally responsible government.

Inflationary collapse (using 2011 figures, the latest full dataset on file) [5]
Peter Schiff (who predicted both the tech bubble burst in the late 90s and the more recent housing bubble burst )[6]

I have shown that my opponent"s federal funding argument is fallacious.

I have shown that secession is far more economically viable than remaining attached to a Union which is in economic decline.

When we examine these conclusions, it becomes obvious that secession is a valid option.

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

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

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

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

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

[6] http://www.google.com...
Bull_Diesel

Con

Thanks again to crodgers,

Let’s dive in.

In this round, I will address my opponent’s arguments while simultaneously defending the merit of my own.


‘Clearly, the writers of the Declaration considered the right to secede a valid one. If they did not, there would have been no American Revolution.’
‘That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government’ {Pro}

It is important that readers recall the prompt/subject of this debate, Pro and I are debating whether or not Secession is a valid option for a state in these United States. I do not argue the philosophical grounds upon which our great Nation was founded; neither do I argue that the concept or theories of secession of States from the Union are inherently flawed. I have stated previously that I personally support secession if it is practical and justifiable. I maintain that those are not currently the case, and that Secession is not currently a valid option for a state in these United States.

Simply because the framers of our Constitution and Declaration of Independence recognize the implicit and inherent human right to cultural, religious, and political freedom does not make secession a valid option for a state at this time.
Readers should consider that Right to Secede theories and Validity of Secession are not mutually exclusive, but they are most certainly not the same. Jefferson, who is largely responsible for the composition of the Declaration of Independence, was influenced by European Philosophers and social thinkers, chief among them, Locke and Rousseau. Consider that even Locke’s thinking does not support careless secession over efforts to remedy injustice, and even then secession should be considered only as a remedial action. The following excerpts are taken from one of many well respected and read essays/books by Dr. Allen Buchanan, James B. Duke Professor of History and Philosophy at Duke University and has taught at several other major Universities, as well as having served on the President's Commision on Medical Ethics and the Advisory Council for the National Human Genome Research Institute. If Justice Scalia's and Professor Cohen's credentials and opinions don't seem worthy of consideration to Pro, maybe Dr. Buchanan's will be more appropriate.

"Remedial Right Only Theories assert that a group has a general right to secede if and only if it has suffered certain injustices, for which secession is the appropriate remedy of last resort " [1]

"[T]he (general) right to secede is in important respects similar to the right to revolution, as the latter is understood in what may be called the mainstream of normative theories of revolution. The latter are typified by John Locke's theory, according to which the people have the right to overthrow the government if and only if their fundamental rights are violated, and more peaceful means have been to no avail. " [1]

I think the above will make clear to the readers that the Founding Fathers’ intentions as well as those of the Locke school of Secession/Revolution did not then nor do they now condone unjustified secession as anything but a last resort.

I again will tie my argument into economic viability, let’s start first by addressing another of Pro’s R2 comments. {Below}


‘it ignores the fact that in order to give a state money, the federal government must first take money from that state,
In effect, the federal government is giving the states back their own money.’ {Pro}

Here, Pro attempts to represent my argument of economic practicality or viability as flawed. He posits that the Federal Government must first take in money in order to spend money. Rather than my arguing the point myself, I’ll allow Pro to defeat his own argument with his very next argument. Suffice to say that the Federal Government doesn’t even come close to operating under this very simple ‘don’t spend it if you don’t have it’ principle. See Pro’s own argument below, which cites several figures relating to our atrociously high National Debt.

“With the debt approaching $17 trillion dollars[1], unfunded liabilities to the tune of $86.8 trillion (or 550% the annual GDP of the US)[2], rampant inflation[3], and a budget that has included yearly deficits for the better part of a century[4], it is far more economically viable for a state to distance itself from the likely economic collapse and create a fiscally responsible government.” {Pro}

The Federal Government’s rampant spending absent of any appreciably comparable revenues is not something that happened overnight. I dismiss the thought that the answer to such outrageous injustices is to sever ties with the Nation that effectively leads the Free-World instead of taking concerted efforts to educate the populous. Consider that much of the economic justification for secession to Pro’s thinking is the abominable state of the spending/budget deficit. Who elected the groups of politicians that approve, condone, and champion such warrantless spending? The States did, by way of their citizenry. Why then could or would any one State, chosen at random, be believed to achieve any better outcome, when it is fairly likely that that State in effect supports the actions of President Obama and the Legislature?

I say that a State cannot be expected to support itself and in hiding from the failures of our Federal Government, shows that it is not responsible enough to be trusted as a Nation of its own. A State that would rather secede than take active steps to remedy the injustices that plague our Nation as a whole has proven that they cannot handle the stresses of independence from the Union and cannot therefore be trusted to react any differently when it finds itself in similar circumstances

I think the readers will agree that while the Right to Secede may seem legitimate, the Validity of Secession as means to correct injustice is unquestionably not legitimate.


[1 ]http://philosophyfaculty.ucsd.edu...

Debate Round No. 2
crodgers

Pro

Thanks again to Bull_Diesel. My first debate has been enjoyable.

Legal viability:

"A: Secession by A State is not a valid option because it isn"t legal, therefore not valid.
B: Secession by A State is not a valid option because it isn"t supported by even the people who support the idea of secession (myself, Governor Perry, Justice Scalia included)"

Con drops these arguments in his second response and instead argues that secession is not valid because it is an option of last resort. So, we must conclude that Con sees secession as legally viable.

"Remedial Right Only Theories assert that a group has a general right to secede if and only if it has suffered certain injustices, for which secession is the appropriate remedy of last resort "

This quote summarizes the argument Con uses to replace his previous legal argument. The issue to be taken with the new argument is the subjectivity of the phrase 'last resort.' What Con considers a last resort can not be held as the standard for all people.

Consider:

The people of Wyoming are currently seeking to nullify any federal gun laws with HB104, which states "...any federal law which attempts to ban a semi-automatic firearm or to limit the size of a magazine of a firearm or other limitation on firearms in this state shall be unenforceable in Wyoming..."[1] It is not incredible to think that attempted federal enforcement of firearm laws would be considered a violation of fundamental rights and cause for secession. As Con quoted:

"The latter are typified by John Locke's theory, according to which the people have the right to overthrow the government if and only if their fundamental rights are violated, and more peaceful means have been to no avail..."

Wyoming is attempting to nullify. In the case that the federal government ignores this attempt, Wyoming has reached it's 'last resort.' In the example, Wyoming has tried more peaceful means and been rebuffed. Secession now becomes valid based on Wyoming's understanding of 'last resort' and the federal attempt to restrict a fundamental right.

Economic viability:

Con now hinges his economic argument on the fact that we (US citizens) are all responsible for the current economic woes and therefore would be unable to function individually if we are not able to function as a whole. A baseless argument.

Let's start with the fact that what a politician says and what they do are very different. Millions of Americans voted for fiscal responsibility and gave the GOP control of the House of Representatives on several occasions based on the promise of less spending. Is it the voter's fault that the politician misled them? Or that 'politics as usual' derailed the efforts of fiscally responsible Congressmen?

Con then argues that these same mistakes would be made within each state, making secession from the debt monster pointless. This argument ignores the idea of local scrutiny. Most of the states in the Union have no where near the debt accumulated by the federal government (either in proportion or in total). If Con's argument were to hold up, every state would have a debt ratio as high, if not higher, than the current federal debt. After all "Who elected the groups of politicians that approve, condone, and champion such warrantless spending? The States did, by way of their citizenry." {Con} This is demonstrably not true. Nebraska (my home state) for instance, had the lowest per capita debt in the nation at $15 per citizen [2] in 2010. These are the same people that voted in the national elections. Why is their debt not like California's? or Illinois'? (both states are on the verge of bankruptcy).

Con ignores the fact that many states (like Nebraska) have relatively few electoral votes and are regularly overpowered by states like California. So the (relative) fiscal responsibility of Nebraska has trouble making its way to D.C. as states like California and New York use their electoral clout to sway candidates.

Con will now state that without the federal government handing out money, the states that are economically viable would not be as viable. But, again, he ignores that secession means less money taken from the state in the first place. True, there may be less state revenue in the case of secession, but the long term economic effects would be far healthier.

(I apologize if I got a little sloppy. My work load exploded this week :) )

[1] http://www.opposingviews.com...
[2] http://money.cnn.com...
Bull_Diesel

Con

I extend all of my previous arguments. I add the following.


1) There was no provision or qualifier given at any time that dropped points or counter-points were to be considered conceded.

2) Pro is making good arguments, he's just not making good arguments that Secession is a Currently Valid option for a state in these United States.
3) Pro brings up electoral votes and that some States didn't vote for the current administration and legislators that continue to pass Pyhrric and parasitic laws. I agree with him, he's mostly correct. I've said all along that I agree with the IDEA of secession as a last resort. We are not yet at the point of last resort.

4) Pro has not effectively countered my points on Economic Viability. I have not yet been shown actual evidence of A single State's ability to support itself economically after secession from the United States of America. I even suggested to Pro in the comments section before this debate that Texas, having by itself the World's 17th largest GDP, would be the only State that could even remotely hope to secede successfully. Pro evidently decided not to run with this gift I handed him, as that is, in my opinion, the only opportunity he had to find actual evidence of viability of secession.

5) This has been a good debate, but I urge readers not to get bogged down in Pro's arguments, he is often arguing valid points, but points that do not directly correlate to the Validity of Secession of a State.

6) Thanks again to crodgers for a great debate.

7) Vote Con.

-Bull_Diesel out!
Debate Round No. 3
37 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Locke33 4 years ago
Locke33
Heck yes I love this, especially if its the Republic of Texas.
Posted by crodgers 4 years ago
crodgers
Haha. I love the expression 'white girl wasted.'
Posted by Bull_Diesel 4 years ago
Bull_Diesel
Too white girl wasted to try to post tonight, I'll try to get on tomorrow and throw something together.
Posted by Bull_Diesel 4 years ago
Bull_Diesel
I don't care dude, let's just roll with it. I'm easy
Posted by crodgers 4 years ago
crodgers
Well, I read your history on your profile. If you don't like it. Stop responding.
Posted by YYW 4 years ago
YYW
That's disappointing, crodgers. We have exchanged less than 1000 words and you have already orchestrated a characterization of me, formed a judgement and now you're going to "stand your ground." Celebrate the fact that you are a common man, and I am a liberal-elite snob; it is of no consequence to me. But how unfortunate it is that you seem so prone to instigate conflict in the first hours of DDO membership.
Posted by crodgers 4 years ago
crodgers
Bull_Diesel: Ah, would you like me to amend the debate? I would be more than happy to. Or let me research a little and see how it's done. Then I can amend it in a way that is acceptable.
Posted by crodgers 4 years ago
crodgers
Don't worry YYW. I know your type. Short on content, long on wind. Pardon granted.
Posted by Bull_Diesel 4 years ago
Bull_Diesel
Such as: First Round is for acceptance and/or initial Argument, no rebuttals
Second Round: Rebuttals and Additional arguments or no additional arguments extensions only
Third round, final rebuttal and conclusion.

Dropped arguments Are/aren't conceded points.

etc.
Posted by crodgers 4 years ago
crodgers
I'll remember that Bull_diesel. Thanks for the feedback.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TheElderScroll 4 years ago
TheElderScroll
crodgersBull_DieselTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: My vote goes to Con. The debate is centered on the validity of secession. Con defined valid as ?legality, justifiability, and logically correct.? While Con successfully showed that no legal ground can be found for secession (authority), Pro attempted to refute Con?s contention on the basis of the Declaration of Independence. However, as Con argued, ?Pro and I are debating whether or not Secession is a valid option for a state in these United States. I do not argue the PHILOSOPHICAL grounds upon which our great Nation was founded.? Pro, in my option, did not successfully argue that the Declaration of Independence could sufficiently serve the legal basis for secession. My vote goes to Con. The debate is centered on the validity of secession. Con defined valid as ?legality, justifiability, and logically correct.? While Con successfully showed that no legal ground can be found for secession (authority), Pro attempted to refute Con?s contention on the basis of the Declaration of Indep