The Instigator
labarum
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Hematite12
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

Socialism is immoral

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Hematite12
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/23/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 708 times Debate No: 49761
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)

 

labarum

Pro

This will not become a ' capitalism vs socialism' debate. We will simply be debating on weather or not socialism is moral or immoral. Before we get started, please answer the following: are the rights of man be summed up in life, liberty, and property?
Hematite12

Con

I accept.

As for the question, I assume you are trying to get me into some sort of trap, where I assent that those are the only inherent rights of man, and thus social welfare measures and the such cannot be unjustified.

As far as my answer, I say there are no inherent rights of man, because there is nothing that can never be taken from a man given the circumstances. When people speak of "rights", unless they are followers of unreasonably strict deontology, they really just mean something which is inherently valuable and should generally be given to people unless they do something to remove it.

If we take rights in this sense, then happiness and opportunity should be added to the rights you listed, since these fit the definition of rights I described. Happiness and opportunity to pursue whatever the person wants (which falls under liberty, but I label it separately for emphasis on this kind of liberty), are both inherently valuable and should be given to people by an authority that has the power to do so, assuming this authority does not trangsgress on a greater "quantity" of rights in the process.
Debate Round No. 1
labarum

Pro

First off, you did not answer my question. By accepting this debate you have accepted the conditions and the guide lines that I have set out for this debate. I will not expect you to answer the questions above in your next turn but be aware that this will take points off of your final score. Also, yes; it was a trap, but a rather reasonable trap.

In your second paragraph, you said quote " I say there are no inherent rights of man, because there is nothing that can never be taken from a man given the circumstances" First off, we are not discussing weather or not the rights man exist. Generally, most people accept that the rights of man exist, so lets try and keep away from discussing the subject of what constitutes a right or if they exist at all. Secondly, you said that " there is nothing that can never be taken from a man given the circumstances." This was either a typo or just poorly worded, please rewrite this correctly in your argument below ( what circumstances are you talking about?)

First, lets get a general definition of socialism from our good ole friends at Wikipedia " Socialism is a social and economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy, as well as a political theory and movement that aims at the establishment of such a system."

Lets start off with the social ownership of the means of production and management. For this to take into effect, things like factories and farms must be provided by the state to the people to manage as a collective. But, as is common knowledge, the government cannot provide you anything that it did not already take from someone else ( unless the government completely starts off from scratch and has to build everything from the ground up) Meaning, that if say a farmer who owns say 50 acres were to live in a socialist government, those fifty acres would no longer belong to him rather, they would be redistributed to the people. So even thought that the farmer was the one who worked those fields on his own, harvested those fields on his own, and sold the product of his fields on his own, he may no longer own his fields due to government redistribution. Now, the farmer must share his 50 acres with 50 other farmers. This process is called the abolition of private property and the redistribution of land; two core principles of socialism. As you can see here, the farmer was legally robbed of his lands.

You may ask your self, what does he mean by legally robbed? Well, first lets just clarify just what robbing is. " the act of taking a possession from a person or group without consent and without compensation." When people hear the word robbery, most think about 'illegal' robbery. An example of this would be a mugger brandishing a knife at you and demanding your money. Then there is 'legal' robbery. An example of this would be a police or civil force coming on to your property, seizing farm equipment, seed, and livestock; then handing you documents for your forced resignation of your land to the state. The difference between 'illegal' robbery, and 'legal' robbery, is that 'legal' robbery is approved by the state ( usually by legislature) and 'illegal' robbery is not approved by the state.

Ah, but once the state controls the means of production then doesn't it then provide the people with the land that it stole? Yes it does, kind of like a perverted version of Robin Hood. The difference between socialists and Robin Hood however, is that Robin Hood stole from tyrants, socialists steal from everybody who has and gives it to those who have not. Stealing from one person to give to another is theft plain and simple. Even if you are giving what you stole to another does that still justify the heinous act that you committed in order to obtain it? No! If you were mugged in the streets buy some thug, but then that thug gave the money he stole from you to a beggar on the street, does that make up for the crime he committed?This false sense of philanthropy is often over looked by socialists and those whom advocate it.

I would have quite a bit more to write but I have business to attend to. I am not sure weather or not you are arguing for full blown socialism, like the one I have described above, or democratic socialism. Please tell me in your next argument so that I may be prepared to answer you back.
Hematite12

Con

First off, you did not answer my question. By accepting this debate you have accepted the conditions and the guide lines that I have set out for this debate. I will not expect you to answer the questions above in your next turn but be aware that this will take points off of your final score. Also, yes; it was a trap, but a rather reasonable trap.

I did answer it. What didn't I answer? You even quote my answer in the rest of your argument :/

In your second paragraph, you said quote " I say there are no inherent rights of man, because there is nothing that can never be taken from a man given the circumstances" First off, we are not discussing weather or not the rights man exist. Generally, most people accept that the rights of man exist, so lets try and keep away from discussing the subject of what constitutes a right or if they exist at all. Secondly, you said that " there is nothing that can never be taken from a man given the circumstances." This was either a typo or just poorly worded, please rewrite this correctly in your argument below ( what circumstances are you talking about?)

I was answering your questions. Are you getting your debates confused or something? You asked: "Before we get started, please answer the following: are the rights of man be summed up in life, liberty, and property". So I answered. Before we got started. Like you said. If you want to "keep away from the subject", why in the world would you ask the question? What do you want from me?

I meant circumstances generally, I really think you are confused about something. Circumstances generally, because Hitler can be deprived of his "right" to life, criminals can be deprived of their "rights" to liberty and property, for example. So, as I said, there is nothing that can NEVER be taken away. So, it wasn't a typo or poorly worded. Are you not familiar with what circumstances mean?...

First, lets get a general definition of socialism from our good ole friends at Wikipedia " Socialism is a social and economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy, as well as a political theory and movement that aims at the establishment of such a system."

Lets start off with the social ownership of the means of production and management. For this to take into effect, things like factories and farms must be provided by the state to the people to manage as a collective. But, as is common knowledge, the government cannot provide you anything that it did not already take from someone else ( unless the government completely starts off from scratch and has to build everything from the ground up) Meaning, that if say a farmer who owns say 50 acres were to live in a socialist government, those fifty acres would no longer belong to him rather, they would be redistributed to the people. So even thought that the farmer was the one who worked those fields on his own, harvested those fields on his own, and sold the product of his fields on his own, he may no longer own his fields due to government redistribution. Now, the farmer must share his 50 acres with 50 other farmers. This process is called the abolition of private property and the redistribution of land; two core principles of socialism. As you can see here, the farmer was legally robbed of his lands.

Actually, it's basic social contract theory. If the people of a society decide by whatever legal system has been established by their legistlative, whether it be democratic or monarchical, since the people assent, the government can do whatever it wants, assuming it doesn't eliminate people's rights to leave the society. The collective decision to deprive the farmer of his property would only be immoral if the government didn't provide for safe and effective transport of the farmer and his goods to a society that he prefers to live in. Otherwise, the farmer's existence in the society and use of government benefits is implied consent to the social contract, and is thus bound unless he wants to leave the contract. If the farmer has a problem with it, he can either try to keep his property by social/governmental/legislative channels or leave the society.

You may ask your self, what does he mean by legally robbed? Well, first lets just clarify just what robbing is. " the act of taking a possession from a person or group without consent and without compensation." When people hear the word robbery, most think about 'illegal' robbery. An example of this would be a mugger brandishing a knife at you and demanding your money. Then there is 'legal' robbery. An example of this would be a police or civil force coming on to your property, seizing farm equipment, seed, and livestock; then handing you documents for your forced resignation of your land to the state. The difference between 'illegal' robbery, and 'legal' robbery, is that 'legal' robbery is approved by the state ( usually by legislature) and 'illegal' robbery is not approved by the state.

Well, the situation you described is only robbery if two conditions are met. 1) The confiscation of the farmer's property was not fairly established by whatever legislative channels the farmer has assented to by means of social contract and 2) The farmer was not given any opportunity by the government to have himself and his property completely and safely transported to a society he preferred to live in.

Ah, but once the state controls the means of production then doesn't it then provide the people with the land that it stole? Yes it does, kind of like a perverted version of Robin Hood. The difference between socialists and Robin Hood however, is that Robin Hood stole from tyrants, socialists steal from everybody who has and gives it to those who have not. Stealing from one person to give to another is theft plain and simple. Even if you are giving what you stole to another does that still justify the heinous act that you committed in order to obtain it? No! If you were mugged in the streets buy some thug, but then that thug gave the money he stole from you to a beggar on the street, does that make up for the crime he committed?This false sense of philanthropy is often over looked by socialists and those whom advocate it.

Well, a massive portion of the money that the top 5%, say, of society is illegitimately earned and kept. So, things like rent-seeking, lobbying, tax evasion, etc. So, whether or not what they are doing is considering "crime", it circumvents the political system established by the collective body of people. Practices like predatory lending and regressive taxation actually HURT the poor. If anything is a perverted Robin Hood, it's siphoning money from the already poor to the rich by illegal means; neither the people who lose their money nor the wealthy who obtain it get what they deserve. Redistribution in this case is enormously moral, one of the most moral ways to handle it.

Socialists don't want to confiscate the money of the class of people who have earned their money legitimately. There is even a passage in the Communist Manifesto in which Marx responds to this criticism. He says that the only reason he is willing to abolish private property is because the only current property that exists is "bourgeoisie property". As I'm sure you're aware, Marx considered the bourgeoisie to be generally abusive of the proletariat and to have enslaved the proletariat to their labor. Whether or not this is a realistic assessment of capitalism in general (in some ways it is, some ways it isn't), the point is that one of the MOST socialist socialists of all time by most counts only wanted to abolish the property of those who earned their property illegitimately. He says that he would most definitely NOT abolish the property of hard-working artisans of pre-Industrial Revolution times. Marx thought that the artisans were ideal, and certainly deserved everything they earned.

So, in your example of the farmer, even Marx, and by extension the majority of reasonable socialists, would disagree with the confiscation, because, as far as I know, farming is one of the most directly labor-based occupations and does not engage in any predatory practices or subject other people to bad conditions for minimal pay where they are alienated from their labor.

Lastly, Marx spoke very, very much about the alienation of workers from their labor and the products of their labor. He specifically WANTED people to be able to keep what they worked for and have the full experience of labor that was not de-humanizing and mechanical. Agricultural workers are the kind of hard-working people that he would support, even if they were among the wealthy. Marx, at least, did not care about who was wealthy and who wasn't, but rather who was oppressed proletariat and who was abusive bourgeoisie. Simple wealth distinctions mean nothing, and I would chastise any "socialist" who wanted to redistribute according to a simple wealth schematic. Even if the farmer was very wealthy, the very nature of their work means socialism would not confiscate their legitimately earned property.

I would have quite a bit more to write but I have business to attend to. I am not sure weather or not you are arguing for full blown socialism, like the one I have described above, or democratic socialism. Please tell me in your next argument so that I may be prepared to answer you back.

I don't know what you mean by "full blown socialism". I suppose democratic socialism is what I support? The reason I reference Marx is because he is a socialist icon, so if he defies your claims on socialism, that more or less refutes your claims. However, I do not support revolutionary socialism in general.

I personally hold something along the lines of libertarian socialism or anarcho-syndicalism, I think. Socialism is and can be a very good and fair thing if it is established through legitimate social channels and legislation.
Debate Round No. 2
labarum

Pro

You did answer my question but in a rather odd manner. I was looking more towards a direct yes or no. Sorry that I did not understand the first time.

As to your comments regarding " general circumstances" and how " there is nothing that can never be taken away." I firmly disagree with you. The rights of man ( even Hitler's and criminals) cannot be taken away unless they themselves violate another persons rights. In this instance of violation on behalf of the violator his rights can then be taken away. Therefore, until a person violates another persons rights, they CANNOT have there rights taken away from them. Once again, you have not given me exactly what you mean by " circumstances generally" many different people have many different circumstances and to say that there is a default set of circumstances is ludicrous. I will ask you once more to please answer what circumstances specifically you mean!

A good portion of you argument is based around the " social contract theory" The very name should give you a clue as to what it really is... just a theory. The social contract theory states that individuals have willingly given up some of their freedoms in order for an organized form of justice ( government) to protect the remaining freedoms. This theory is invalid if a person does not consent to either the freedom that they must give up, or the freedom that the government protects. people across the world will not follow their governments if they violate the peoples 'inherent' freedoms ( life, liberty, property) that all governments are suppose to protect. A brilliant example of this would be the Arab Spring, The people living in these nations did not consent to the depravity of their governments even though some of their people did. Even if this group were a minority, they would still be trampled over by the majority whom consent. This is an injustice if there has ever been. You would assert that so long as the government does not prohibit persons from leaving the nation, the government can do what ever it pleases. And what if the person does not want to leave their homeland? According to the social contract, too bad. The same goes for the farmer, it does not matter weather or not the people consent, if the farmer has not violated anyone else liberty, then it only matters weather or not the farmer consents to the resignation of HIS property. Believe me, not many people are going to consent to the immediate seizure of their property because of another group of people want them to.

To the situation regarding how I define robbery you stated "1) The confiscation of the farmer's property was not fairly established by whatever legislative channels the farmer has assented to by means of social contract and 2) The farmer was not given any opportunity by the government to have himself and his property completely and safely transported to a society he preferred to live in." As I have already told you the social contract only implies so long as the rights of the individual are not infringed upon as they are in this situation no matter by what legal means. Secondly the farmer should and does not have to leave the property that is his right because of some outside consenting force. You appear to believe that the legislation is some how divine in their rulings and cannot be wrong. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but they are also people, and people make mistakes.

Your comments toward my attack against the redistribution of property are as follows "Well, a massive portion of the money that the top 5%, say, of society is illegitimately earned and kept. So, things like rent-seeking, lobbying, tax evasion, etc." You assume that because a person has obtained great amounts of wealth that they earned it illegitimately? Let me give some names from the top 5% http://www.forbes.com... As you can see, these people have not gained their money from illegal means, they have made their money from providing services to the consumer that are completely legal. If you look at how they have attained their wealth, you will notice that many of them have done so through investment. So you see, they are not hoarding all of their money like Smoug the dragon, but rather by sharing their money in exchange for interest.

You said quote "Socialists don't want to confiscate the money of the class of people who have earned their money legitimately." But the people that you wanted to take from, the top 5%, earned their money legitimately. Doesn't this kind of go against what you previously said? You then go on to assert that the only property owned is "bourgeoisie property" Here's a little statistic that will change your mind on that http://economics.about.com... as you can see, not only will you be taking property away from the so called " oppressive" bourgeoisie, but you would also be taking away from the hard working people that you claim to love so much. And how exactly are the bourgeoisie abusive? The fact that they give a minimum wage to jobs that require little to no skill what soever like say cashiers or fry cooks? Or is it the fact that according to you, they have forced people into slavery so they would work for them.... even though they joined of their own free will, receive a pay, can be promoted, or leave and join another profession of their choosing. Yes, bourgeoisie slavery. You say that you want to eliminate property that has not been earned through legitimate means when the fact of the matter is, you have only suggested eliminated the property of those whom have prospered. And if Marx believed that artisans deserved to everything they earned, then how come socialism has imposed some of the highest income taxes in the world?

You would also go on to say that the worker is alienated from the work of their labor. So, if say I worked in a factory that made door knobs, you are saying that I could not go out to the nearest store and buy one of the door Knobs that I my self had made? REALLY?! A;so, you said that Marx did not care about who was wealthy and who wasn't ( even though you spent the better part of 2 paragraphs attacking the wealthy) This is a complete oxymoron! By stating that the rich have earned their wealth through illegitimate means and then going on to say that they are hard workers and would be protected you have essentially argued against yourself! Which is it?! Are they oppressive, evil, SOBs, or are they hard working, and generous?

Finally, I will answer your question of what I mean by full blown socialism. There are two kinds of socialism, the original version developed by Karl Marx and Engels, Then there's the slightly less extreme version of socialism used by nations like Norway, but they have a relatively high free marked standard.

If you are wondering what political ideology I hold sway to, it is American capitalist conservatism. I believe that socialism is a horrible system for a realistic world and should never be repeated as it has been so many times before.
Hematite12

Con

As to your comments regarding " general circumstances" and how " there is nothing that can never be taken away." I firmly disagree with you. The rights of man ( even Hitler's and criminals) cannot be taken away unless they themselves violate another persons rights. In this instance of violation on behalf of the violator his rights can then be taken away. Therefore, until a person violates another persons rights, they CANNOT have there rights taken away from them.

Right, I agree with you that that is what people generally mean when they say "rights". I said this in the very first round:

"When people speak of "rights", unless they are followers of unreasonably strict deontology, they really just mean something which is inherently valuable and should generally be given to people unless they do something to remove it."

Once again, you have not given me exactly what you mean by " circumstances generally" many different people have many different circumstances and to say that there is a default set of circumstances is ludicrous. I will ask you once more to please answer what circumstances specifically you mean!

I don't understand what else you want me to say. I'm not referring to specific circumstances, I'm saying that what a person should and should not be given depends on the circumstances surrounding the matter. You agree with this, recognizing that Hitler had no rights. That is all I am saying.

A good portion of you argument is based around the " social contract theory" The very name should give you a clue as to what it really is... just a theory... I hate to be the bearer of bad news but they are also people, and people make mistakes.

You're missing the point. Let me clarify several things:

1. None of what I am talking about applies to America as it currently stands, because the Constitution guarantees private property. So if the government were to confiscate the private property of a person spontaneously, they would be breaking the social contract, and this is a bad thing. I do not support this. But, if in the future the Constitution were to be amended to allow the confiscation of private property by the government, since this was established legally and legitimately, the government could then take your possessions assuming it complied with all other rules in the Constitution. You have consented to a republic/democracy, so you have to deal with the decisions of that. As long as you benefit from a government, you comply with its rules, assuming the government doesn't contradict themselves or violate rights that they have established.

2. Your example of the Arab Springs is just an example of a bad government. That government is bad because it allows trampling of the minority by the majority. The American government doesn't, because it has an elaborate system of checks and balances. I do have questions for that scenario specifically: Did the government do what it was suppose to, or did it violate rules that had been established? If it violated no previously established rules, then it wasn't breaking any social contract. If people were unhappy with it... Time to revolt! Change the contract by force. To me, it sounds like the government was oppressive and did not get consent from the governed, in which case it was not even a government, and it doesn't apply to our debate.

3. You are blatantly strawmanning with your attack on my view of the legislative. Of course people make mistakes. Which is why we have a system of checks and balances. Unreasonable seizure of property is ILLEGAL, and no matter how many people want it today, they would have to violate the social contract to do so. I'm not advocating some psychotic Athenian democracy with tyranny by the majority, or that you suddenly lose your Constitutional rights because a lot of people want you to. Those people better deal with it, because they have consented to a contract where you get to keep your property.

Your comments toward my attack against the redistribution of property are as follows "Well, a massive portion of the money that the top 5%, say, of society is illegitimately earned and kept. So, things like rent-seeking, lobbying, tax evasion, etc." You assume that because a person has obtained great amounts of wealth that they earned it illegitimately? Let me give some names from the top 5% http://www.forbes.com...... As you can see, these people have not gained their money from illegal means, they have made their money from providing services to the consumer that are completely legal. If you look at how they have attained their wealth, you will notice that many of them have done so through investment. So you see, they are not hoarding all of their money like Smoug the dragon, but rather by sharing their money in exchange for interest.

This is honestly a digression from the main point of the debate. This is a whole different topic and one of the largest points of contention between the two parties in America. All I am saying is that the situation isn't cut and dried, and redistribution is not automatically bad.

If you want evidence that goes far beyond what I could possibly fit into this character limit, see The Price of Inequality by Joseph E. Stiglitz, and check out my debate here:

http://www.debate.org...

Part of your initial argument against socialism was based in the inherent immorality of redistribution, but clearly this claim, while it may or may not be true, is very, very questionable. I don't think you want your argument against socialism based in something that lacks any concreteness.

You said quote "Socialists don't want to confiscate the money of the class of people who have earned their money legitimately." But the people that you wanted to take from, the top 5%, earned their money legitimately. Doesn't this kind of go against what you previously said?

Assuming they always did earn it legitimately. I MYSELF never said the top 5% always earned it legitimately, you are the one who said that. So there is no inconsistency in my argument.

You then go on to assert that the only property owned is "bourgeoisie property" Here's a little statistic that will change your mind on that http://economics.about.com...... as you can see, not only will you be taking property away from the so called " oppressive" bourgeoisie, but you would also be taking away from the hard working people that you claim to love so much.

Well, you are showing bad conduct and being disrespectful here. I'm trying to have a polite and productive debate with you, you make it very difficult.

Why do you assume I want to take property from small business owners? You are putting words and policies into my mouth that I never even remotely made, please stop.

And how exactly are the bourgeoisie abusive?... And if Marx believed that artisans deserved to everything they earned, then how come socialism has imposed some of the highest income taxes in the world?


I'm not for Marxism, and I made this very clear: "The reason I reference Marx is because he is a socialist icon, so if he defies your claims on socialism, that more or less refutes your claims. However, I do not support revolutionary socialism in general." Please read your opponent's points before you shout at them incessantly.

But as far as Marx, what do high income taxes have to do with his claim on artisans? He says artisan labor has disappeared, so high income taxes would not punish artisan labor, which is nonexistent.

You would also go on to say that the worker is alienated from the work of their labor... Which is it?! Are they oppressive, evil, SOBs, or are they hard working, and generous?

I didn't attack the wealthy in general, I attacked the practices that MANY of them employ, not all of them. I'm not going to talk to you if you are going to keep doing this, this is getting horribly exhausting.

By the way, "oxymoron" isn't the word you mean.

You're confusing legitimate labor with illegitimate labor. I'm not making claims on what is and what isn't, but socialism only wants to remove the illegitimate. If it removes compensation for legitimate labor, it isn't socialism. Period.

Finally, I will answer your question of what I mean by full blown socialism. There are two kinds of socialism, the original version developed by Karl Marx and Engels, Then there's the slightly less extreme version of socialism used by nations like Norway, but they have a relatively high free marked standard.

You think Marxism is the original version of socialism?.............. Marxism is a specific variety of many, many, many different types of socialism that were around at the time, also including Owenism, Saint-Simonianism, Fourierism, etc.

"Slightly" less extreme is an understatement. Very much less extreme, we are talking about implementing a few laws for workers' protections and redistribution vs mass, bloody workers' revolution.

Your dichotomy of Marxism and Third Way Socialism is horribly, horribly false. This is probably why you have such a limited scope of socialism and attack Russian communism when you argue against me.

If you are wondering what political ideology I hold sway to, it is American capitalist conservatism. I believe that socialism is a horrible system for a realistic world and should never be repeated as it has been so many times before.

When has it been "repeated"? You think Russia was socialist? Russia was a psychotic and extreme implementation of Marxism, more accurately referred to as Leninism and Stalinism. Generalizing socialism under the communist Russia heading is like generalizing Christians under the Westborough Baptist Church.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by EndarkenedRationalist 2 years ago
EndarkenedRationalist
I can't decide if I want to take this or not.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Relativist 2 years ago
Relativist
labarumHematite12Tied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct was invaded several times. Reasonable Deception is still an invasion, as the instigator must make it clear to his opponent on where the resolution lies. A deception is a deception,Not only that, misquoting and misrepresenting Con's case is a misconduct, either way both warrants a loss of conduct. Con's last round rebuttal made him win the debate, as he clearly provided a comprehensive explanation of every point made by Pro and how pro is confused with Con's stance. Pro made hypothetical scenarios as his main argument and this was easily rebutted by Con. Other arguments of pro such as the forbes list, which he(i assume unintentionally) accuse Con of dealing with absolutes, which clearly Con wasn't as he provided it in his last round. His last round is what made Con win 3 points. I like Pro's constructs though and Con's way of explaining. As such 3 points to Con
Vote Placed by MrJosh 2 years ago
MrJosh
labarumHematite12Tied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: CON addressed all of PRO's points; conduct because PRO was misrepresenting CON's words.