Should the Olympics be moved out of Russia? (Open version)
Debate Rounds (5)
The rules are as follows:
First round is acceptance only.
Fifth round is for closing statements only - no new arguments or refutes.
The BoP (burden of proof) is shared if my opponent wants to propose his/her own arguments. if s/he only wants to refute my contentions - the BoP is on me only.
Only logic can be used.
No religious arguments.
I believe that's all. Good luck to whomever accepts, and allez!
(Any questions please feel free to post a comment.)
Contention 1: The Olympics is an honour that Russia should not have.
The Olympics is, by all accounts, an honour. To host one of the biggest sporting championships in the world, played by only the best of the best, televised worldwide, and to have that to a nation's name; this is an honour. However, it is also an honour that Russia doesn't deserve.
Russia has introduced an "anti-gay propaganda" law that is taking a heavy crackdown on LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) humans. The reasoning is based on the fact that it undermines "traditional family values". These laws are generally accepted outside of Russian politics as a cover up. Instead, these laws are regarded as an effort to subdue Russian pro-gay movements. The activities taken against violence towards the gay community by the Russian police is close to nothing, too. Despite the Russian President Putin's statements that this is not discriminating against gays, there can be no doubt that LGBTs are being discriminated against. For example, a Russian television anchor was immediately fired after announcing that he was gay. Or a freelance journalist who was forced to quit his job after people found out he was gay.
This discrimination is considered a violation of human rights, and, thus, no country that sits back and does almost nothing as its people have their human rights broken should have an honour as high as the Winter Olympics bestowed upon them.
Contention 2: The athletes' safety cannot be assured.
Russia and the IOC (international Olympic committee) have both announced that the safety of the athletes are paramount - however recent videos, pictures, and news pieces about the (often violent) discrimination against LGBTs have thousands concerned about the effectiveness of these laws. These concerns come in from two main reasons:
a) Russian authorities have been shown to not intervene with violence against LGBTs and thus cannot be trusted at Sochi and
b) the Winter Olympics will, naturally, bring thousands together, but with 35% of Russia believing that "homosexuality is a disease", it is possible that a big enough force could assemble and pose a serious risk to known LGBT athletes and visitors. This is only potential, but with safety in numbers coming into play at such a people gathering event; many could "lose it".
Contention 3: The law itself is too open ended.
In this new "anti-gay propaganda" law, the word "propaganda" isn't defined; this allows anything as simple as holding hands becoming a criminal prosecution. While in itself this might seem to be "just another law we need to respect"; upon scrutiny one can easily see the potential implications of this. Something as simple as holding hand [with your partner] will be a common practice for gay people with partners, and, despite the laws and media, it may well be forgotten; particularly with the heat and stress of the games. Thus, athletes may be at risk for, subconsciously uncontrollable [at times] acts. A law as open ended as this cannot be allowed to be enforced in times of immense focus, distraction [from foreign laws], competitiveness, and (at times) stress such as during the Olympic games. However, this is exactly what Russia is doing.
I conclude that, for the sake of the athletes' humility, status, and safety, we should move the 2014 Olympic games out of Russia. I await my opponent's response.
It seems that the Olympics is an honor that few countries receive. The majority of countries on Earth have not hosted an Olympic game, yet many of the countries that have hosted an Olympic game, have done so multiple times (1). One could posit that the country that is hosting the games does not necessarily have to be honorable in order to host them. Hitler's Germany can be an example (1936 Berlin).
Due to the Russian "anti-gay propaganda" law, which my opponent states is discriminatory and a violation of human rights, the Olympics should be removed from Russia. This argument does not hold under scrutiny. Many countries in the past have had problems with human rights violations and this continues to the present day (2)(3). This is not a problem exclusive to Russia or the LGBT community. During previous Olympic games there has been political trouble (4). This seems to be a characteristic of the games regardless of the rules that the IOC tries to impose on them ("No kind of demonstration or political, religious, or racial propaganda is permitted in the Olympic areas." Chapter 5 of the Olympic Charter). Due to the international nature of the games, politics is hard to separate from them. Within recent memory, the Olympic games in Beijing were protested due to the human rights violations being committed in China (5). The games were still held in China.
My opponent suggests in his second contention that due to police inaction, violent discrimination, and a high percentage of Russians being opposed to gays, that the Olympian athletes of LGBT sexual orientation are at risk of being exposed to violence. This however, does not support his first sentence where he states that the safety of the athletes is of the utmost concern to Russia and IOC. I would like to point out this is an example of false attribution. In the article, it does not claim anything about the safety concerns that Russia has for the Athletes, but only the concerns the U.S. has for American athletes.
This is not to say that the Russians aren't concerned for athletes safety. The safety of the athletes has never been more paramount. With previous targeting of the Olympics by terrorists, an example being the capture of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists in the 1972 Munich games(4), there is no doubt security is on the minds of the Russians. With events like this in mind, it brings to note that the Olympics can be used as a target for terrorist organizations, or standalone criminals. This is why the security is likely to be top notch, instead of lax, as the games are a big target for these organizations (6).
In regards to my opponents third contention, the laws wording itself is not included in the source that has been posted. This would be an excellent source for the audience, and I will look for it myself(I have yet to set my eyes on it), but if my opposition can find it, that would be excellent as well(I will keep looking). Considering the implications of a new law such as this, we can not accurately assess the future outcome of its implications without moving into the world of supposition.
This event, in correspondence with the law, can actually be used as a stand for the LGBT community to fight for their rights without having to remove the Olympics from Sochi. Many Athletes have trained very hard for this opportunity to participate in the games. They should not be punished for their efforts, when the culprits of these laws are the legislators and president Putin. (8)
Overall, these are the reasons for there not being enough reason to remove the Olympic games from Russia.
Contention 1(a): Honour.
My opponent states that a country doesn't have to be honourable in order to host the games. He cites the 1936 German Olympics as an example (at the time, Hitler was in power). However, it is to be pointed out that a city is decided to host an Olympic Game six years in advance, but Hitler came to power in 1933 and the Berlin Games were held in 1936. So, at the time the Berlin games were decided (1930), Hitler wasn't in power and no one was to know. Now, if we look at the 2014 Olympics, they would have been decided in 2008. Putin (unlike Hitler) was in power when the games were decided.
So in 1930, no one could have known what laws Hitler would pass, what he would approve ect... because he wasn't in power. But Putin was in power in 2008 - and people were/are more aware. On these grounds, we have seen in advance the honour of the country (maybe it would be more specific to say its leader, but my point stands either way) diminish many years in advance; so we can say more conclusively that the honour shouldn't be bestowed upon Russia; unlike the 1936 games. My opponent's example offered had different conditions and doesn't hold with these games as a comparison.
Contention 1(b): Human rights.
My opponent states that many cases have been seen where there has been concern over the human rights conditions in the city/country where the games were being held and these weren't moved. He doesn't make a solid "therefore...x,y,z" conclusion from this fact; so I am interpreting what he could mean. I would ask my opponent to clarify on why these facts are refutes. However:
i: It appears to be an ad populum argument. Majority have gone ahead, therefore, this one should go ahead. Appeal to majority is a logical fallacy, so this refute doesn't hold.
In my opponent's regards to political trouble; it does seem hard to separate politics altogether; this I'd agree with. But human rights are human rights - and they're being violated, so I fail to see how political differences come into play. We should not allow our athletes into a country which is violating human rights.
Contention 2: Safety.
I apologise for making my point unclear in round two; please allow me to refine it. My original sentence was:
"Russia and the IOC (international Olympic committee) have both announced that the safety of the athletes are paramount - however recent videos, pictures, and news pieces about the (often violent) discrimination against LGBTs have thousands concerned about the effectiveness of these laws." I will now edit it.
Russia and the IOC (international Olympic committee) have both announced that the safety of the athletes are paramount - however recent videos, pictures, and news pieces about the (often violent) discrimination against LGBTs show evidence to the contrary (in the case of Russia) and have thousands concerned about the effectiveness of these laws.
I will admit that I did (albeit unknowingly) commit a false attribution fallacy, but, as my opponent says, the concern level by Russia would be expected to be high. Note the word "expected", because the evidence of videos, pictures, news reports, stories, examples etc... all contradict this expectation.
Contention 3: The law is too open ended.
I apologise for not linking the law's specific phrasing and I, too, cannot find the full law. Although some of the wording is "[banning the spreading of] propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors". This was what I was trying to phrase. "Propaganda" isn't defined - making my point remain valid. As for assessing the future outcomes, I would counter that all of these future outcomes of the loose phrasing of this law are in the present, as demonstrated by many news pieces, photos, videos etc...
Opponent's Contention 1: Removing the Olympics from Russia would punish the athletes more than Putin, when Putin and his officials should be punished.
This, at face value, does appear to be a strong argument. However, the Olympics could be moved to another city (out of Russia) which already has Winter Olympic facilities, for example, Vancouver. This way, the Olympics are kept and Putin is "punished".
Once again, I thank my opponent for his argument and refutes; and I thank the voters. I'll await your response!
There are very similar conditions between the 1936 Berlin games and 2014 Sochi games. When I was referring to the Berlin games in relation to the upcoming Sochi games, I should have been much more specific. During the Berlin games, there was a great deal of anti-Semitic propaganda. Hitler originally did not want Black people or Jews to participate, but due to a boycott of the games, they were allowed. There were many Jews that were excluded from playing for the Germans and only one Jew, Helene Mayer, was allowed to participate for Germany (1). There is a parallel that can be drawn here to that of homosexuals and the upcoming Sochi games. My example does not have the same conditions, but similar conditions exist and as an example, it stands.
Just as you have said that we couldn't have known what laws Hitler would pass, we could not have known the laws that Putin would pass, considering the many laws that Putin has put into effect since the 2014 Olympic games were chosen in 2008 (2).
Once again you have used the term honor to describe a countries standing. Please provide evidence for the statement, "But Putin was in power in 2008 - and people were/are more aware. On these grounds, we have seen in advance the honor of the country (maybe it would be more specific to say its leader, but my point stands either way) diminish many years in advance." There is no evidence for this claim in your statement, and I do not think we can be conclusive about the honor of an entire country without some evidence. You say the honor of Russia has diminished many years in advance, but what has diminished it?
In rebuttal to the argument my opponent has posted on human rights, the intentions of my arguments was not to show that human rights violations are common where the games are being held, but common everywhere. It is a fight that we often find in multiple countries around the world, with no regard to where the games are being held. The point of my statement was to show that it is difficult to withhold people from violating the human rights of others even when the laws uphold human rights, as people still hold within themselves the ability to violate human rights, regardless of the letter of law. You say, "We should not allow our athletes into a country which is violating human rights," when many times the countries they come from may not be upholding human rights. This is what my statement, "Many countries in the past have had problems with human rights violations and this continues to the present day," was supposed to illustrate, and what the links provide.
In regards to the political differences in play, these have everything to do with human rights, as rights themselves are connected deeply with politics. Human rights are defined by politics.
In rephrasing your argument from your contention on safety, you forget to note that the article posted only mentions the US worried about the athletes safety. Let me reinforce that Russia has the same concerns, but about much more important issues, such as terrorist attacks (3).
You say, "as my opponent says, the concern level by Russia would be expected to be high. Note the word "expected", because the evidence of videos, pictures, news reports, stories, examples etc... all contradict this expectation."
In terms of the concern level, I was talking about for the athletes in the games and nothing more, which they have a great concern for, and can be seen in their efforts to prevent more serious threats from becoming problems in the games (3).
As you could not find the exact wording of the law, I found it with Google (4). This specific wording applies only to St. Petersburg, as I could not find a copy of the federal version, it still applies to our situation. They specifically say, "As public actions aimed at propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism, transgenderism amongst minors in this article should be
understood activities on purposeful and uncontrolled dissemination of information in a publicly accessible way that can be harmful to the health, moral and spiritual development of minors, including forming in their mind a distorted perception of social equality of traditional and nontraditional marital relationships." This is where they actually define what they mean by propaganda, "understood activities on purposeful and uncontrolled dissemination of information in a publicly accessible way that can be harmful to the health, moral and spiritual development of minors." You say that propaganda isn't defined, but the law states otherwise.
As for the my opponents refute to my statements about the athletes being punished and moving the games to Vancouver, I would like to point out that many of the facilities have been re-purposed and possibly not suitable for hosting another Olympic games. This is actually the case for many old Olympic venues, but we shouldn't forget those that go abandoned (5). It would be a lot of work for a country to do in half a year to prepare an entire venue, when the Russians have already had five and a half to work on their own. This is another possibility as to why the athletes would be punished, as the facilities many not be glorious enough for their abilities.
I appreciate the audience and my adversary in this debate and I await the rebuttal.
Contention 1(a): Honour.
Allow me to consent my argument. My opponent's counter was strong and I will consent it. However, I would still like to make one point about honour.
I could make a case about the rather unique* conditions of the 1936 Olympics which we overlooked, but cannot afford to do so again.
*unique until Sochi
Contention 1(b): Human rights.
I apologise to my opponent for misinterpreting his argument. I will re-work my counter. Human rights violations may be a common problem, but more so in Russia when you compare the statistics to the USA, U.K., and other first world countries. This is to such an extent that we should seriously consider removing our athletes from the games. They are widespread, uncontrolled , ignored (in some cases), or otherwise. This is on a large scale and my opponent appears to compare this to other, one off cases, that occasionally are accused of a country. They are very different situations - and one should not conclude that because some of these one off cases are reported, Russia ranks with all the others. It doesn't.
Contention 2: Safety.
Ah, I did indeed. I apologise. On concern, I will consent that Russia has strong concerns for athletes, however, the article you linked only involved external threats, as it were. Terrorists, thieves etc... That (as far as I can tell) are attempting to break and enter, or blow something up. I was attempting to demonstrate someone who has nothing on them - no threat to security or the stadiums themselves. People and safety in numbers could trigger a riot, a protest (from either side), or something else.
These situations could appear to be rare or unlikely, but many, many people "hate" homosexuality. This makes the odds, much higher. I'm not saying that it's guaranteed; that would be both argument from majority and argument from probability, but likely. Very likely.
Contention 4: The law's phrasing.
I disagree with my opponent's refute in such a way that my point stands; but I will consent that "propaganda" is defined. Allow me to elaborate.
While, as you stated, propaganda is defined as:
"understood activities on purposeful and uncontrolled dissemination of information in a publicly accessible way that can be harmful to the health, moral and spiritual development of minors." But this definition isn't defined. For example, what is "understood activities"? Two gay people holding hands? One could argue yes. This, clearly, opens the world of extreme bias towards individuals by police officers, public members. I believe both our points stand!
Yes, propaganda is defined and
yes, the law is too open ended.
Opponent's Contention 1: Fairness towards athletes.
I will consent my opponent's point about the condition of previous Winter Olympic hosts' stadiums, but allow me to refine it. I fail to see a situation where we cannot allow another year for the Olympics - delay it. Why not? As made in round three, Olympic venues are decided six years in advance, so construction/modification of the 2018 Winter Olympics should be underway. There is no reason why we couldn't delay the Winter Olympics for another year and move it. To, it would go:
A slight modification to
a)Give the athletes their "glorious" stadium(s).
c)Allow the athletes their chance.
That concludes my arguments and refutes; I await my opponent's response!
In response to the evidence my opponent has presented on the Human Rights and Russia and after reviewing the evidence myself, I concede to the argument on human rights in Russia.
In reply to my opponents second contention, I agree that people with nothing on them pose little harm. However, you contradict this when referring to these same people triggering a riot or a protest, as that would then likely cause harm. What you propose is a hypothetical argument that cannot be determined with the evidence that we have. Even though many people dislike homosexuality in Russia, this does not mean that what you propose determines the safety of the athletes.
In the section on the law, you disagree with my refutation, and I apologize once again for not providing all of the information from the link. I should add to it that understood activities are defined. I will this time quote the whole note:
"As public actions aimed at propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism, transgenderism amongst minors in this article should be understood activities on purposeful and uncontrolled dissemination of information in a publicly accessible way that can be harmful to the health, moral and spiritual development of minors, including forming in their mind a distorted perception of social equality of traditional and nontraditional marital relationships."
It specifically states that it concerns that which is harmful to the health, moral and spiritual development of minors in concern with sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism, transgendersim. Note, sodomy includes oral and anal sex (1)(2)(3), thus the law is not reserved to simply LGBTs, but can include people of all sexual orientations.
Concerning the enforcement of the law, the police have the choice whether or not to enforce this law, as they are not required to do so.
In consideration of my opponents refinements to the delaying of the games, this has never happened before. That doesn't mean it can't, but as for the actual happening of this, Russia has invested $36.7 billion on 70% of the facilities, and is projected for $50 billion(this is not even the final estimate) (4). The reason that Olympic games are decided 6 years in ahead is because of the construction that they entail. If we moved it to a year from now, who's to say that another facility would be prepared in time? We could delay it another year, but we can't predict the future and we don't know what will happen from now.
In conclusion, Russia should still maintain its acquired right to host the Olympic games.
As per the rules of this debate, I am not allowed to counter anything new or introduce any new contentions. as such, I will run down all the contentions and respond appropriately.
Contention 1(a): Honour.
I consented to my opponent.
Contention 1(b): Human rights.
My opponent consented to me.
Contention 2: Safety.
While I'm not allowed to counter, I will clarify that by "little harm" - I meant physically, as an individual. They pose little harm to the stadium, to their fellow members as an individual. I was saying that they could pose a threat when safety in numbers comes into play.
Contention 3: Phrasing. (I can refute here as this is still on the definitions refute).
Again, I would argue that these definitions are too vague. Propaganda of lesbianism, for example. Propaganda means:
"understood activities on purposeful and uncontrolled dissemination of information in a publicly accessible way that can be harmful to the health, moral and spiritual development of minors."
But Activities isn't defined enough! The activities are "sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism, transgenderism". Are two women holding hands a lesbian activity? Again, too much room for bias, even you stated that: "the police have the choice whether or not to enforce this law", which all but confirms my statement. Too vague.
Opponent's Contention 1: Athletes' reward for their efforts. (Here however, I cannot as this goes into cost - which is new).
I would make a counter, but alas, I cannot as per the rules.
I would like to thank my opponent, junior_dominator, for this interesting, and eye-opening (for both sides, I would hope!) debate. Please note, that wasn't a concession. I thank the voters and the audience that don't want to or cannot vote, too. An amazing debate! Until next time!
My competitor conceded to me that honor was not a proper way to determine whether or not the Olympics should be moved out of Russia. He claimed that the Olympics were an honor that Russia did not deserve. I countered by pointing out that other countries who could be considered dishonorable have hosted the Olympics, and that it is not a condition by which the Olympics were held.
In relation to the issue of Human Rights in Russia, I conceded that this was a concern for which we should be aware. It is important to take note of for the circumstances involved here and it shouldn't be ignored.
Concerning the safety of the athletes, they are not likely to face any serious threats as long as they maintain that they are at the Olympics to compete. My opponent argued many times about how the populace of Russia has the possibility of posing a harm to the athletes. In this I have continuously disagreed, as the athletes security is ensured, to the best ability of the government, by the government. Considering the amount of time, expenses and work the Russian government has put into this operation, it is unlikely the Olympics will be delayed, moved, or insecure. The athletes haven't much to worry about in their security.
In the actual letter of the law, my opponent decided to continue his argument into the closing statements. In terms of the definitions of this law, my opponent continues to pick away at the words and definitions of the law. At some point the law is open to interpretation and no matter how rigorously you define each word, there will be people who mistake it for something else.
In regards to Athletes being reward for their efforts, they should be rewarded for the work they have been doing to train for these games. The delays would cost them and Russia time. This does not mean that they couldn't postpone these games, but more that they shouldn't have to.
In conclusion, the Olympics games should not be moved. They should not be delayed. They can stay where they are and the athletes can be defended. Perhaps something good will come out them staying there and being there while this law is in effect. Russia would prefer to be good sports and not offend other nations.
I'll once again thank my opponent, MysticEgg, and the onlookers for their involvement in this debate. This is certainly a debate where we can all learn something and I hope everyone has.
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