The Instigator
C-Mach
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
sethgecko13
Con (against)
Winning
18 Points

The New US Dollar Coin: A Disgrace to Our Principles?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/25/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,345 times Debate No: 3380
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (13)
Votes (8)

 

C-Mach

Pro

I am recycling a debate I had just did, I know, so please do not complain about that.

Yes, the new dollar coin is a disgrace to the very principles that this country was founded on. The reason for this is because it is missing one word, which will be revealed after I say the (legible) words on the new dollar coin:

Obverse: "GEORGE WASHINGTON [Portrait of George Washington;] 1st PRESIDENT 1789-1797"
Reverse: "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA [Portrait of the Statue of Liberty;] $1"
Rim: "2007 D[elaware Mint]. E PLURIBUS UNUM. IN GOD WE TRUST."

What word that is the core principle that our country was founded on, and is found on ALL other US coinage?: LIBERTY! That is an outrage!!!
sethgecko13

Con

I don't feel that it's a big deal that "liberty" has been left off of the new dollar coin; in fact I actually think it's quite fitting.

Recently the US government has adopted a variety of policies (especially after 9/11) that restrict or eliminate various liberties that have traditionally been considered essential and inalienable for US citizens.

- Freedom of speech has been curtailed in spite of the gains made throughout the 20th century in securing first amendment rights; protesters are herded into "protest zones" away from the media and Bush administration officials, protesters are threatened with being tried as "terrorists" if they engage in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience (such as occupying spaces with sit-ins).

- Our third, fourth and fifth amendment rights are under assault from the Bush Administration's policy of warrantless wiretapping (which is devoid of the judicial oversight prescribed by the constitution and US law).

- We're in violation of the Third Common Article of the Geneva Conventions (to which we are signatories, and therefore accountable) with our policy of incarcerating suspected "terrorists" in extra-judicial sites like Guantanamo Bay or the Black Sites in Eastern Europe for years without trial; and to add insult to injury, we've done the same to some prisoners who are US citizens and unquestionably have a right to due process that is supposed to be guaranteed them by the Constitution.

In summary, given how willing Americans have been to give up their liberties for the illusion of security, I don't feel we deserve to proclaim the United States as a place of "liberty" using our currency and as such its absence from the dollar coin is appropriate.
Debate Round No. 1
C-Mach

Pro

You know, I dislike the U.S.A.P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act and the wire-tapping (Which is what you are referring to) as well. Our civil liberties need to be reinstated. However, this is a time of war, but since this is not a constitutionally declared war, the President does not have that authority to enact Martial Law, including but not limited to the wire-tapping, as well as the U.S.A.P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act. I frankly think it should be repealed, but this is not the point. Also, the Geneva Conventions specifically state that they only apply to soldiers who are uniformed, are loyal to one country, and bear their weapons openly. However, this is not the point (Once again).

Also, the United States is currently freer than any other country on the planet (Although you might dispute my claim). Why shouldn't we put "liberty" on any coin or banknote? But to remove it influences public opinion by it's absence on our coinage (As well as our banknotes), leading to policies that can change the law of the land. It's as free as it's gonna get right now, buddy (The future? You never know, but hopefully, we're going to be freer.)!
sethgecko13

Con

sethgecko13 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
C-Mach

Pro

I anticipate your response. See you then, sethgecko13. In the meantime, I will type until I reach 100 characters, which I did just now.
sethgecko13

Con

To your point, while we're in agreement about the PATRIOT Act and the warrantless wiretapping program that the Bush Administration has been running, a salient point to consider that recently came to light that illustrate how fragile our liberty is. New documents that have been uncovered in recent weeks undermine the claims of the administration that its warrantless wiretapping program is necessary because of 9/11; chiefly that the administration began the illegal wiretapping program months BEFORE 9/11:

http://blog.wired.com...

With respect to the Geneva Conventions, you're incorrect. While enemy combatants that do not wear a uniform or pledge allegiance to a specific nation do not deserve the same level of due process that soldiers do, they nonetheless deserve basic legal protections such as access to a "...regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples." They also are permitted protection from "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment" (IE everything we've been doing in the "harsh interrogations" approved directly by the Bush Administration for use by both the CIA and now, as we've learned, for the Army as well). The full text of Common Article 3 is available here:

http://www.nytimes.com...

I would recommend listening to either or both of these interviews on NPR of Gary Solis, former professor of the laws of war at West Point and a former Marine Corps judge advocate:

http://www.npr.org...
http://www.npr.org...

While all of the above is only tangentially-related to the topic at hand, it leads to a couple of other truly compelling examples of how limited our liberty is under the Bush Administration. In the cases of Kifah Jayyousi and Jose Padilla (among others) - the Bush Administration actually attempted to strip out the right of due process from US citizens (fortunately they were rebuked by the Supreme Court; however that was before the makeup of the court was changed by Bush with the appointment of extreme right-wing conservative Justices Roberts and Alito).

Even ignoring the recent spate of treats to the civil liberties of US citizens, I would have argued that the United States is most definitely not the freest country on the planet for a variety of reasons. Some liberties denied US citizens that are available to citizens of other nations include:

- the decriminalization or legalized consumption of narcotics (especially marijuana)
- the access of customers to purchase various products can be limited by counties or municipalities through the use of "Blue Laws" (for example, consumers can be barred from purchasing products like alcohol on certain days or during certain hours and businesses such as car dealerships can be forced to remain closed on certain days of the week)
- the access of same-sex couples to institutions like civil unions or marriage
- the right of unmarried couples to cohabitate (currently many states - including my own) make it illegal for unmarried couples to live together; fortunately such laws go unenforced
- the right of broadcasters to air whatever content they deem appropriate for broadcast; even paid access media (such as cable or satellite television providers) are severely limited in the content they may legally air and the hours during which they may air it
- local governments and states can determine other obscenity laws; such as when and how private businesses such as strip clubs may operate. In a related example, it is illegal to sell sex toys to consenting married adults in states like Texas
- similarly, as Eliot Spitzer just found out, prostitution is illegal in the US which is not the case in many other more free countries around the world
- speaking personally as an atheist, I can say that my liberties are increasingly diminished in the US; by way of example - if I were to run afoul of my state's various substance abuse laws - the government could force me to attend a religious rehabilitation program (in fact, some theists have been forced to attend rehabilitation programs of religious sects that they don't believe in)
- though it varies by municipality and state, there are in some cases very severe restrictions on gun ownership or the right to carry concealed weapons (in some cases total bans). Though the US tends to be more loose with its firearms laws than many countries - we're not the loosest.
- the US has historically had some of the more repressive reproductive rights laws, and though freedoms were won in the 60s and 70s (with legalizing non-prescription contraception for women, and abortion) those freedoms are currently eroding and many other countries permit more liberty than we do

All that said, however, I wouldn't say that my position is that we SHOULDN'T put liberty on our coinage - rather that it's not a "disgrace to our principles" that it is absent in this particular instance from the dollar coin.

One question I might ask is - what are our "principles" and from where do they derive? The dialog might benefit from a more in-depth framing of that aspect.
Debate Round No. 3
C-Mach

Pro

Well done! I agree with everything that you have said, except the thing about the judges (One of the only god things George Walker Bush has EVER done), and the topic of the debate: That the new U.S. Dollar coin is a disgrace to our principles. However, the principles that you mentioned are recent federal decisions, not the ones that have existed for the entire existence of the United States of America (I wouldn't be surprised if those were eventually taken away from us). But you do prove a point that our liberties are disintegrating rapidly, and we must keep them preserved, ad regain old liberties that are lost or in the process of being lost. Unfortunately, that is all I can say for ths round.
sethgecko13

Con

I'd be interested to know how the appointment of fervent right-wingers like Alito and Roberts is a good thing (adding to the already right-leaning court) – but that is perhaps another debate for another time.

With respect to some of the points I made being recent ones, I can make the same argument in reverse to point out that "liberty" certainly has not been one of our strongest values throughout history. For example:

- For over a century and beginning with the nation's founding, women were treated as second class citizens who were not entitled to vote or engage in a variety of the activities we consider rights today (it was even legal for men to rape and beat their wives).

- For nearly two centuries and beginning with the nation's founding, blacks were legally considered chattel – and subsequently it was perfectly legal to discriminate against them on the basis of their racial lineage.

- For this nation's entire history it has viewed Native Americans as sub-human and found nothing wrong with denying them virtually all of their liberties.

With respect to individual rights, the interpretation of them throughout history was not as generous as it is today. Freedom of speech is a great example. Technically it's been illegal to criticize the government for virtually all of this nation's history (beginning in 1798 with the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts), and it's been a long process to win that right, culminating with the supreme court's decision in NY Times v. Sullivan.

Our due process rights (as enumerated in the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and fourteenth amendments) have also been won over time. For decades, the accused were denied legal protections, either through exploiting the ignorance or exploiting the economic status of defendants. It wasn't until Gideon v. Wainwright in 1963 that defendants officially received the right to counsel if they could not afford it themselves. It wasn't until Miranda v. Arizona that police officers had to inform citizens of their rights to counsel and the right not to incriminate themselves.

"Liberty" has certainly been a very subjective concept throughout our history.
Debate Round No. 4
C-Mach

Pro

"I'd be interested to know how the appointment of fervent right-wingers like Alito and Roberts is a good thing (adding to the already right-leaning court) – but that is perhaps another debate for another time."

That is a debate for another time.

The topic of the second-class citizenry has been discussed (Not in this debate, though) and is over (Although there are some people who would beg to differ).

This is all I have to say, unfortunately. This has been a fun debate.
sethgecko13

Con

I would definitely be one who would beg to differ. I don't think it's even remotely accurate to say that the issue of second-class citizenship is over in this country; the rampant statistical disparities that exist across a variety of demographic features (sex, race, etc.) attest to the ongoing inequity in our society. Household income, educational attainment, lifespan, liklihood of incarceration, etc. all vary significantly by demography.

Liberty means one thing if you're male, white, heterosexual and Christian - and it means something entirely different if you don't fit all of the aforementioned criteria.

Thanks for the excellent debate; this has been enjoyable.
Debate Round No. 5
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by The_Philosopher 8 years ago
The_Philosopher
it has the STATUE OF LIBERTY on it... a picture is worth a thousand words...
Posted by Harboggles 8 years ago
Harboggles
FDR had much more education and insight that Bush will ever have, historians have concluded that Bush is the worst president in American history...
Posted by sethgecko13 8 years ago
sethgecko13
That's one perspective.

Another is that the social programs FDR established saved the US economy after it was demolished by capitalism run rampant (a phenomena that is on its way to repeating itself), and that they've led to our extraordinarily high median quality of life and the the US's competitiveness in the world economy.

For my money, the only "welfare" state that exists is the corporate welfare state that has been established through decades of lobbying and deregulation (which is currently exemplified by the federal government's bailout of the financial services sector after its risky investments).
Posted by Donlatt 8 years ago
Donlatt
"How is FDR worse than Bush?"

FDR established some of the first social programs in this country, paving the way for the current welfare state.
Posted by sethgecko13 8 years ago
sethgecko13
How is FDR worse than Bush?
Posted by C-Mach 8 years ago
C-Mach
"One of the only god things George Walker Bush has EVER done"

I put in a typo! I meant to say "good" instead of "god!"
Posted by DucoNihilum 8 years ago
DucoNihilum
Bush didn't do nearly as bad as, for example, FDR did.

FDR's evil trumps Bush's 100 fold.
Posted by sethgecko13 8 years ago
sethgecko13
wiredpilot12 -

While discussing the status of civil liberties under the Bush administration isn't strictly the topic - I feel that it fits very well into the way the debate was framed by the C-Mach. The title of the debate (which is supplemented in the description) is "The New US Dollar Coin: A Disgrace to Our Principles?" - and it is my position that the absence of "liberty" on our dollar coinage is not a disgrace as the principles our nation upholds of late do not seem to include "liberty" as one of them.
Posted by sethgecko13 8 years ago
sethgecko13
DucoNihilum -

Certainly it's the case that our liberties were being violated prior to Bush (in fact, many of them didn't even exist at the founding of the country; such as equal rights for blacks and women, and the right of freedom of speech was an entirely different animal for hundreds of years when the Alien and Sedition Acts were still in operation until those sorts of positions were reversed under NY Times v. Sullivan).

...that said, however, I would say that more than any other administration in recent history the Bush administration has done vastly more to undermine the liberties this nation fought hard to obtain over the past 200+ years.
Posted by sethgecko13 8 years ago
sethgecko13
My apologies - I completely forgot I had signed up for a debate. I'll return for the third round.
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