The Instigator
000ike
Con (against)
Winning
15 Points
The Contender
socialpinko
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Secession is justified (morally)

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
000ike
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/10/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,255 times Debate No: 18266
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (4)

 

000ike

Con

The debate will concern soley the rights of secession of the states in the union of America, and not the legality of the subject.

No semantics.

Round 1: acceptance only

Round 4: rebuttals only

socialpinko

Pro

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
000ike

Con

Thank you for accepting this debate.

Pro has the burden of proof regarding why or how secession is morally justified. I will present arguments in the negation of the aforementioned resolution. Should pro only refute my points without upholding his own, that would be insufficient argumentation, as it does not fulfill his burden. Having said that, I will begin my argument.

Clarafication

The implication of a (pro) secession justification argument is that the parties seceding should be allowed to secede in peace and without military intervention...for if the body in which the secession occurs is to be moral, it must not interfere with the supposed rights of the seceding entity. Since rights are unconditional, the argument cannot be that secession is justified when ..... Con however, not believing in a right to secession, can indeed make the arguement that secession is permissible when.....

If my opponent refers to the U.S Revolution, he should be prepared for this clarification to take effect.



Secession and Anarchy

Lincoln stated in 1861 during his inaugural address:

" Plainly the central idea of secession is the essence of anarchy. A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or to despotism. Unanimity is impossible. The rule of a minority, as a permanent arrangement, is wholly inadmissible; so that, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy or despotism in some form is all that is left." (1)

As Lincoln explain, secession is rule by the minority. One small faction of a larger sovereign cannot individually decide to claim all sovereignty over itself. My proof exists on observance, for if such a claim were true, what would prevent mere households from becoming nations?

What is secession? In essence, secession is a mere disempowerment of authority. If a right existed to remove something from the rule of an authority at will, then the authority has no authority! Entities would simply declare their independence whenever decisions were not to their liking.

If South Carolina can declare independence from the U.S, then a county can declare its independence from South Carolina,...and then a city can declare its independence, and then individuals can declare independence. What then happens to authority? It has no power. There is no rule, no government, and what is left is the essence of anarchy, anyone can rule themselves at a moments notice.

As an article published in the New York Times (1860) stated:

"The ties that bind the States together will first be severed, and respect for law and order correspondingly weakened. Obligations to municipal laws will next be repudiated by a refusal on the part of the people to obey them. Next will follow the obligations between individuals, till neither persons nor property are longer respected, and forms of government become a mockery, because they can neither command respect nor enforce obedience." (2)



Perpetual Unity

If we liken the Constitution to somewhat of an interminable contract, a few points arise.

Under the following syllogism, we can prove that there is no right to secession.

1. The Constitution was a document of perpetual unity.

2. The states ratified the Constitution.

3. The states ratified perpetual unity.

THE LOGIC HERE BEING: ....if a state ratified perpetual unity and submission of sovereignty to both the Constitution and federal government, then it cannot claim such rights later. One who has signed a contract cannot then go against that contract, not in the legal sense, but in the moral sense. It would be unfair to default on that which you agreed to.


The Constitution was a document of perpetual Unity

TAKE NOTE: The plans and concepts of the Articles of Confederation were not relinquished, but rather fixed and expanded in the Constitution "TO FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION"(3) ....Therefore, the concepts of a weak federal government were the only things to be revised by the Constitution, every other concept carried over into the Constitution under " to form a MORE perfect union" ("more" being additive, not reductive).

The full name of the Articles of Confederation is The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union (4). Thus, the Articles called for perpetual unity. If the Constitution was to perfect the perpetual union already set forth by those Articles, then how could it allow or condone secession? It couldn't.

I believe that chief justice Salmon Chase (1869) explains this point far better than I.

"By these, the Union was solemnly declared to "be perpetual." And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained "to form a more perfect Union." It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?"(5)

Furthermore, It is explicitly stated in Article 1 Section 10 of the United States Constitution that:

"No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation..." (6)

Why would the Constitution explicitly prohibit the aforementioned actions? ...because they are all acts of complete sovereignty and individualism. They all submit jurisdiction and sovereignty to powers other than the United States. Secession is the submission of jurisdiction and sovereignty of a state unto itself, which is still a power other than the United States!

Upon the intentional vagueness of the Constitution, the drafters made it a point to specifically outline the prohibition of this concept. Why would submission of sovereignty to a force other than the United States suddenly be made acceptable in the case of secession?

All the 13 original states ratified the Articles of Confederation, from which the declaration of perpetual unity was made obvious,...and they all ratified the Constitution, from which perpetual unity was more nuanced, but present none the less. The States clearly conceded to the idea.

In conclusion, perpetual unity is indeed a part of the Constitution, albeit it is nuanced...(and remember that vagueness, nuance and interpretation was the PURPOSE of the Constitution) Therefore, the Constitution was a document of perpetual unity in nuance and intention, and it was not so discrete that a state could claim ignorance.


The States Ratified the Constitution

There is not a large necessity for elaboration on this particular premise, as it is a statement of fact. (7)

Applying to those states that were admitted into the union: Upon terroritoral aquisition of the land to which the state resides, acceptance to the Constitution was made immediately and automatically,...as "the Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. (7) ...and those territories are a part of the United States of America.


Conclusion

Having proved the first two premises of my syllogism, we have arrived at the conclusion that the states ultimately ratified perpetual unity. Referring back to the meaning of this conclusion, even from a moral eye, one cannot default on that which he agreed to. Furthermore, I reiterate on the point that secession is the essence of anarchy, for it removes the power of authority. I rest my argument on this two points for the time being, and await my opponent's response.

Sources

1. http://www.bartleby.com...
2. http://www.nytimes.com...
3. http://www.u-s-history.com...
4. http://www.ushistory.org...
5. http://en.wikipedia.org...
6. http://archives.gov...;
7. http://en.wikipedia.org...
socialpinko

Pro

socialpinko forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
000ike

Con

I shall extend my arguments and wait, so that my opponent may post his response.
socialpinko

Pro

Note: As my case was to concern the alleged moral binding of U.S. authority over secessionists, I have incorporated my case into my response to my opponent's argument from perpetual unity.

Secession and Anarchy

(A) Rule of the minority

My opponent's first claim is that secession would be the rule of the minority over the majority. The alleged justification for this point is that if claims of individual sovereignty were actually true, there would be nothing to stop a single household from becoming a nation unto itself. But how is this minority rule? Any state who wishes to secede is not claiming rule over the athority from which it seceded, but wishing to control themselves.

Take as an analogy, me wanting to quit the film club at my school. The act of quitting is the strict excercise of individual sovereignty over myself and not any excercise of authority over the other members of the debate club. I am not telling anyone else to quit or saying that they should all submit to my own authority, only that I refuse to be ruled over by them.

This point by my opponent is a false dichotomy. It is not an either/or situation, the rule of the majority or the minority. What about co-existence? Surely my opponent does not believe that Great Britain is actively ruling over th United States because they choose to retain their sovereignty over themselves?


(B) Destruction of authority

In this point, my opponnt takes his entire argument out of a misrepresentation of what authority actually is. He substitutes authority for tyrrany. For isn't that what one is excercising when they do not permit free choice? Rousseau in The Social Contract argued that authority could only justifiably overcome individual sovereignty through conscious contract, that is, through voluntary association. When an authority attempts to overrride individual sovereignty, it is unjustified and wrong. Secession is an excercise of individua sovereignty over the control of an authority, and so is justified if authority was ever originally justified.

Perpetual Unity

The Constitution was a document of perpetual unity


My opponent's point here is that whe all the original colonies signed into law the Constitution, which called for perpetual unity, or everlasting submission to the United States Federal Goverment. My opponent claims that this is not a legal argument, but a moral argument. This argment is clearly of a legal nature. My opponent brings justification of the contention from a Chief Justice, the Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and basic contractual law. He claims that secession is a violation of a contract, not that one does not have a moral right to do so. However I will choose to respond to it to show that it does little to nothing to help my opponent's case.

Since my response to this point in particular also serves as my own case, I will follow my opponent in outlining a syllogism for my case.

P1: In order for contracts to be legally and morally binding, explicit consent must be rendered by those of which it directly concerns.

P2: The U.S. Constitution did not obtain such consent from those of which the contract directly affected.

C1: Secession was not a violation of any morally or legally binding contract.

Counterpoint: Contracts and property rights

The claim that a contract is binding over an entire geographical area, can only be valid if it respects the property rights of those affected by the contract. This is supported by the very concept of contract and property. I cannot form a contract with Bob to take possesssion of your house. The owner of the house must consent for this transaction to occur. So, it follows that drafting a document, for it to be binding, must have the consent of those it seeks to govern.

The Constitution was drafted by Respresentatives from the then thirteen colonies. If the contract(Constitution) they signed is to be valid over an entire geographical area, then it must be agreed upon by those it seeks to govern. However right away we see this was not the case. No African Americans, were asked to consent to the contract that would govern over them. They were not given the right to vote until 1870, almost one hundred years after the contract was signed. Women as well had no say in the contract to legally bind them to the power of the USFG. They could not vote until 1920. How is it that such a contract could possible be valid, if it seeks to control those who had no say in it's ratification? Surely, my opponent does not advocate the contracting of others into servility without their explicit consent? Why is the situation different here?

Conclusion

I have both shown that not only is my opponent's argument for the binding of the Constitution unsound, but that secessionists had no moral obligation to stay within the authority of the United States Constitution. In doing so I have refuted his own case while advancing my own. Also, my opponent's dual points of authority and minority rule have been thus refuted and so I urge a Pro vote.
Debate Round No. 3
000ike

Con

Final Rebuttals

Rule by the minority

"Any state who wishes to secede is not claiming rule over the athority from which it seceded, but wishing to control themselves. "

What my opponent conveniently ignores throughout his entire argument is the sheer fact that the state does not have complete sovereignty over itself. I spent 8,000 characters proving the point (which my opponent glossed over) that the ratification of the constitution was an instant deconstruction of all individual sovereignty to merge into one larger sovereign. If the United States were a mere association of 50 sovereigns, then my opponent's case would hold. However, the United States is a singular sovereign divided into political subgovernments. Secession in this regard would not be a reclamation of individual sovereignty, as such ceased to exist upon the ratification and formation of a singular country, but rather it would be a THEFT OF SOVEREIGNTY from the body which claims it.

"By ratifying the Constitution, the people transferred certainlimited sovereign powers to the federal government from their states" (1)

Only decisions made by the majority can affect the whole entity. Secession is a decision made by a minority that affects the entire entity, therefore it CANNOT be allowed. A state that leaves the union would have the following effects on the country as a whole:

1. Revenue depletion (tax source cut off)

2. Army capability reduction (citizens cut off in spontaneous mass exodus induced by a government under term "secession")

3. Natural homeland resource reduction (land cut off from U.S jurisdiction)

4. Geographical claims of jurisdiction deduction (power, authority and size cut off)

To name a few. Secession is a decision that can only be made by the MAJORITY of the entire entity. The minority cannot hold power to make decisions affecting the entirety. THIS is why secession is rule by the minority. Again, the states ratified the Constitution, and that terminated their individual sovereignty. When a state secedes, it is not reclaiming some lost soveriegnty, because the sovereignty was consensually destroyed. It is, rather imposing and reducing the sovereignty of the larger state to which it belongs. This is what my opponent purports to be moral.


" This point by my opponent is a false dichotomy. It is not an either/or situation, the rule of the majority or the minority. What about co-existence? Surely my opponent does not believe that Great Britain is actively ruling over th United States because they choose to retain their sovereignty over themselves?"

It is indeed rule of the majority or the minority because the states form a whole, not the appearance of a whole. A decision affecting the entirety cannot be made by the minority.


Destruction of Authority


"In this point, my opponnt takes his entire argument out of a misrepresentation of what authority actually is. He substitutes authority for tyrrany. For isn't that what one is excercising when they do not permit free choice?"

Authority: "The power to enforce laws, exact obedience, command, determine, or judge" (2)

Tyranny: "A government in which a single ruler is vested with absolute power" (3)

My opponent accuses me of mistaking the two terms when it is he who has them confused. Abolition of secession is not an act of absolute power, so how can it be tyranny? Abolition of secession maintains the authority of the federal government, whereas states cannot simply "RUN AWAY" when they dislike the decisions of the federal government, much like they attempted prior to the Civil War. How can an authority exact command or obedience if the entities receiving such always have the power to disregard and annul it? Again, the authority has no authority.

The question which went cold dropped was the central idea of secession equating to anarchy. I extend that ignored contention. If states can secede, then counties can secede, then towns can secede, then homes can secede and whenever they do not like the decision of authority, they have the ability to throw it away. Anyone can rule themselves at a moment's notice.


Perpetual Unity


"My opponent claims that this is not a legal argument, but a moral argument. This argment is clearly of a legal nature."

This assertion either originates from a misunderstanding of my argument, or a deliberate distortion thereof. The fact that I refer to legal documents does not instantaneously render the argument a legal one. The point in my doing so was to PROVE a consensus on submission of individual sovereignty. Whereas, if the state submitted and destroyed its individual sovereignty to form A LARGER SOVEREIGN, then it cannot claim it back.

If 50 people got together with 50 small pieces of their own personal cloth, and then sewed it all together to form a blanket for a homeless person, one of them cannot just decide to rip out his piece and be on his merry way. He gave up that piece, it no longer belonged to him, it was a part of the completed blanket, and he relinquished ownership of it. Liken each piece of cloth to sovereignty. THAT is just merely one of the numerous logical methods that renders secession unjustified.


" P1: In order for contracts to be legally and morally binding, explicit consent must be rendered by those of which it directly concerns.

P2: The U.S. Constitution did not obtain such consent from those of which the contract directly affected.

C1: Secession was not a violation of any morally or legally binding contract."

The ratification of the Constitution in and of itself was the explicit consent because the Constitution was a document in expanse of the perpetual union already set forth by the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. I already explained and elaborated on this. This syllogism contains a primary premise to which has alrewady been addressed, it is therefore not a supported or legitimate negation.

"By ratifying the Constitution, the people transferred certainlimited sovereign powers to the federal government from their states" (1)

"The claim that a contract is binding over an entire geographical area, can only be valid if it respects the property rights of those affected by the contract. This is supported by the very concept of contract and property. I cannot form a contract with Bob to take possesssion of your house. The owner of the house must consent for this transaction to occur. So, it follows that drafting a document, for it to be binding, must have the consent of those it seeks to govern."

PROPERTY =/= SOVEREIGNTY

My opponent claims that a contract over an entire geographical area can only be valid if it respects property rights. However, this is nothing more than a red herring, as property rights are not in question, SOVEREIGNTY is. An area can be privately owned, but still under the jurisdiction of an authority, FOR THE AUTHORITY MUST HAVE AUTHORITY TO RECOGNIZE THE PROPERTY AS PRIVATE IN THE FIRST PLACE.


Conclusion


Regrettably, Pro's rebuttals came mostly from a misunderstanding of my argument, and he insufficiently addressed my secession - anarchy contention. Furthermore, he does not provide any reason to his stance, but rather inaccurately attempts to disprove my own. This does not meet his burden of proof. Keep in mind that secession is rule by the minority, gateway to anarchy, and an attempt to take back that which is no longer yours. Neither one of these traits in view with the rights of people.

Therefore, VOTE CON. Thank you.


Sources

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
3. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
socialpinko

Pro

As I will not be able to get to a computer in time, I forfeit this round.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by socialpinko 6 years ago
socialpinko
Calm down. Still haven't been to a computer.
Posted by 000ike 6 years ago
000ike
Dude, what the hell. What a waste.
Posted by 000ike 6 years ago
000ike
Do plan on waiting to the very last minute to post your argument?
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Mestari 6 years ago
Mestari
000ikesocialpinkoTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.
Vote Placed by randolph7 6 years ago
randolph7
000ikesocialpinkoTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited two rounds.
Vote Placed by thett3 6 years ago
thett3
000ikesocialpinkoTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Too bad, it had the potential to be a good debate
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 6 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
000ikesocialpinkoTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited two of three rounds of actual debate. What's left? One round. Con also rebutted Pro's arguments which Pro didn't have a chance to address.