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The State (government) is more evil than good.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/12/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 820 times Debate No: 30197
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
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This debate is a retry of another debate that failed due to computer difficulties on Pro's part.
The first round is for acceptance and definitions only. The only rule is that their should be no new arguments in the last round.


Evil- less morally right than morally wrong

Good- less morally wrong than morally right

Government- Any large organization with the power to make and enforce laws within a given territory, that has more power than the people.

Morally Wrong: More Loss of life than Protection of Life
Morally Right: More Protection of Life than Loss of Life.
Morally Wrong: More Bodily Harm Inflicted than Prevented
Morally Right: More Bodily Harm Prevented than Inflicted (except when loss of an individuals life is what prevents said individual from bodily harm)
Morally Wrong: More Harm to Society than Benefit
Morally Right: More Benefit to Society than Harm
Morally Wrong: More Rights (property, speech, press, basically all of the Constitutional Rights) violated than necessary, or creating an environment where it is necessary to remove rights when the situation could have been avoided
Morally Right: Protecting these Rights

I welcome whoever accepts and wish to have a great debate. Good luck.


I accept, and look forward to a most fascinating debate.
Debate Round No. 1


The rest of the morals will be up for debate. Usually the morals in question will be morally good and morally bad at the same time, given the criteria, although this is not always the case. Let's dive in:

First of all, the state is evil because while people originally agree to a tax, if somebody decides not to pay that tax anymore, or they simply were born into a system which forces them to pay taxes because somebody from 10 generations ago agreed to it, while they do not, the government holds them at gunpoint and locks them in a cage. This sounds like it's for the better of society, but it's really not. Here's why.

If taxes are truly spent on the welfare of society, then why can't a person simply opt out and not receive any benefits? For example, if a parent stop paying property taxes, they are held at gunpoint and locked in a cage. This begs the question, "If the property taxes are spent on school, then why can't the parent simply take their child out of school and homeschool them? After all, it's their money, why can't they educate the kid they want to, without also paying for someone Else's kid's education?" The same goes for social security. If one doesn't want to pay the tax, just don't let the person have Social Security. Seems fair to me. The conclusion to this argument is that the State is evil because it acts as a middle man for people to get things they want by stealing money from those who don't want the same benefits in the first place, therefore taking away the right to property, thus being morally wrong and evil.

Speaking of education, lets talk about schooling. The state is evil because it forces our children to go to school and be molded into a puppet of the state.. In essence, the state forcefully teaches children how and what to think, giving them false versions of history as they see fit, discouraging or even outright banning freedom of expression, does not allow the teachers to teach anything that is not state-approved, and uses violence to get the funds necessary to do so. The state gives the illusion of opting out if this indoctrination system, but only allows you to do so if you are paying property taxes and teaching the state-regulated curriculum. This harms society by dumbing down its children and violates Rights by taking away free-thought and thus free will. This is morally wrong and therefore makes the state evil.

On to my third argument, the wars. Government wages war without the peoples, and now even without Congressional (think Libya consent. This is Morally Wrong and evil because it takes away Lives and inflicts bodily harm on both sides, and since many of these are unprovoked, does not save the lives of anybody. It also violates Rights because it does not give people the ability to decide, thus taking away free will. It harms society because it makes a given country enemies, thus making the potential for more war and more evil to be inflicted on society. Government waging wars without the peoples consent is the most morally wrong and evil thing yet, because it fits all of the basic criteria for Morally Wrong that everyone can agree to.

In conclusion, the state is evil, it is just the Patriotism that makes it seem good. If Britain were to invade the U.S and conquer it and started taxing our cities, although it is very similar to the U.S, we would all agree that Britain was evil. If you look beyond the curtain of Patriotism and National Pride, all governments, even when started with good intentions, always end up evil.


P1: Taxes

A vital question when talking about taxes is to ask which rights are more important. Is the right to live without just barely scraping by worth more than the right to extra money? Is the right to obtain medicine and health care, which the lack of is a leading cause of death in this country[1], more important than the right to extra money? If the answer to either of those questions is "yes", then we must conclude that it would be acceptable to, say, take a thousand dollars from someone very rich and give it to someone who would then use that money to purchase medicine they needed to live.

Since the majority of spending areas connect, it makes sense to charge someone money for something they don"t directly use. For instance, if I don"t use the road system but rely on the police, I still use the road system indirectly"police use public roads to get from place to place. Even if I and my children (if I have any) never go to a single day of public school, I still benefit from the public school system, because it teaches many people vital skills. Even if I never go to college, I benefit from the skills of people who benefited from government-funded scholarships.

I might also add that it is possible to not pay taxes: Don"t make any money. If you live as a hermit, supplying all your own power needs, growing/gathering your own food, bartering for any supplies that you need, et cetera, you don"t have to pay taxes, because you don"t have any money to give the government. What are you to give them, tomatoes?

If the State is taking away the right to property (to some degree) while granting some people life, when otherwise they wouldn"t have that life (or would be trapped in poverty and be generally miserable), then we can reasonably conclude that, according to the definitions of morally good and morally wrong, the State is doing actions that fall under both categories, leaving us to evaluate how it is on balance.

Now, Pro might argue that in the United States the taxes aren"t spent on things that are in the public"s best interest, and I"d agree, but this isn"t just about the current United States government; this is about States as a whole. For instance, what about a country such as Sweden, or Norway? These countries use taxes collecting from citizens with more money to fund programs that benefit the country as a whole (with people with less money benefiting more since they have the chance to get things like health care/insurance, education, et cetera, which they might not be able to get otherwise)[2].

P2: Education

I certainly agree that many school rules are odious. But there can be value in requiring that curriculum be state-approved. For instance, would we want teachers teaching creationism? What about a sanitized version of the antebellum South? Or flat Earth theory?

And, of course, parents are completely allowed to tell their children to ignore what they hear at school and give them a copy of Lies My Teacher Told Me or something similar.

P3: War

That's only the United States, though. Many countries don't do lots of fighting. And furthermore, Libya was engaged in a civil war at the time. In such a scenario it might be considered acceptable to intervene, even without congressional permission, to expedite an outcome that would save the most lives.

Debate Round No. 2


First, some new arguments.

The State is evil because it censors information. Only approved Video Games are allowed, only approved TV is allowed, even on private cable TV. The State censors radio, it even censors the Internet in some cases. This is a blatant denial of the Right to Free Press, and the Right to Information, and makes it that much harder for the State to be held accountable. It is therefore morally wrong and evil.

The State is evil because it is easy to empower, but much harder to get rid of. Sure, in SOME countries you can vote, but even that does not fundamentally change the system. When the State shows its true colors, it is very difficult if not impossible to get rid of. This infringes on the Right to freedom of choice and is therefore morally wrong and evil.

The State is evil because it cannot be held responsible for it's actions by the people it governs. The only way it is held accountable is if another government gets involved, which is also evil because if infringes on the other governments citizens Right to choose and is not acting in the best interests of the other governments people. This makes it morally wrong and evil.

The State is evil because it extends its grip beyond protecting the rights of it's people, like the Right to Life by prosecuting murderers, or the Right to Consent, by prosecuting rapists and pedophiles. It focuses on prosecuting people for controversial things, like doing non-government approved drugs, or strange sexual practices (BDSM, homosexuality, bestiality, etc.), or even on how people eat. The State is acting as a middle man for people who don't like another's lifestyle to impose their will upon them. This is denial of Freedom of Choice, making it morally wrong and therefore evil.

Time for Rebuttals

P1: Taxes

Con assumes that taxes are only spent on the holistic causes of healthcare and welfare. This is a baseless and fraudulent assumption. If it is truly spent on taking care of the needy, why doesn't the government force you to donate directly to poor people? Why would it have to be the middle man at all? In reality, your money is spent however the government pleases. In the best case scenario, people have a choice over who makes the decisions, but not over what those decisions will ultimately be. When taxes aren't enough, the government borrows money, and uses taxes to pay it back. To obtain said taxes, the government holds people at gunpoint and threatens to lock them in a cage, which increases the burden on more taxpayers. This is essentially saying “Pay back the money that I borrowed, or I'll lock you up in a cage like an animal and spend my other victim's money to keep you there”. This takes away Right to Property, and Harms Society by increasing the burden on more taxpayers to keep them locked up while at the same time taking away productive members of society. This is morally wrong and therefore evil.

Even when money isn't borrowed, it is not ever solely spent on the welfare of society. If this were true, why isn't world poverty eliminated yet? It would take about $175 billion per year over a twenty-year period to end extreme poverty globally {1}, and the U.S alone spends $600 billion on defense each year. However, the burden should not and does not rest solely on the US. Even with the combined tax revenue of all of the countries in the world, extreme world poverty still exists This is physically Harmful and Life Threatening to many starving people around the world and is thus morally wrong and evil.

As for Con's argument for Norway and Sweden, I would like to point out that the income tax rate for an individual in Norway is 47.8%, and that's after the payroll tax, the maximum of which is 14.1%. Add them together, the most tax a working citizen can pay is 61.9%, the minimum is 47.8%. Then there's the sales tax, which is 8% on transportation, 14% on food and drinks, and 25% on everything else! As for Sweden, it's even worse there. The income tax is 57%, which is after a 31.42% payroll tax!.Put them together, and the effective tax rate is 88.42%. The sales tax is 25%, 12%, or 6%. This means that most of the time, taxes are actually higher than the income earned! Note that these tax rates don't even consider property taxes. This information is all from source {2}. These turn the middle class poor and give the poor all of the free benefits, which means that the poor turn middle class and the middle class keep barely any of the money earned. Using force to make one group of people suffer while the other prospers is morally wrong and therefore evil.

In response to Con's “Live as a Hermit” argument, I would like to note that many people do not trade or barter anymore. In fact, even paper currency is becoming less and less used. Why should an individual be forced to stop using currency and give up the goods and services that can only be obtained through currency or special skill-sets (glass, windows, surgery, firearms, metal, butchered meat, etc.) just because he/she does not pay taxes. If living as a Hermit or being a freeloader is the only way to avoid taxes, this makes the state evil. This is basically the same as holding someone at gunpoint and telling them to pay taxes. It is still morally wrong and evil.

P2 Education

I concede that flat-earth theory, Creationism, and antebellum South are not viable education options. However, all across the world, state-regulations always go beyond that. In history, I was taught that Sally Ride was the first woman in space. This is a lie, because the first woman in space was actually a Russian women named Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova.

In science, they only teach the Big Bang theory. Although they do say that it's just a theory, they do not give any alternatives, and I'm not just talking about Creationism. I'm talking about the multiverse theory, M-theory, the cycle theory, all of which are alternatives to the big bang theory.

In history, they say the U.S acquired Florida from Spain peacefully, even though we already had troops stationed in Florida ready to invade. They also teach that the Mexican-American war was justified, even though James K. Polk wanted it from the beginning of his term. This is denial of the Right to Information , harms Society by misinforming our children and is thus morally wrong and evil.

They teach to obey authority and not question decisions. They teach that you must obey or be punished (detention, Lunch D-hall, etc.). They say that it's to prepare you for the real world, even though that world is only the way it is because of the State.

I find it laughable when you say that I benefit from the values and morals kids learn in school when violent crime is still going on even though schools have been around for centuries.

Regardless, the State still uses violence to obtain the funds for this “education” (see P1), so it is still morally wrong.

P3 War

Half of your argument is irrelevant because while some States do not fight wars, a lot of them do. Tell me, how would an organized war be fought without some form of Government? As for the “War with a just cause” argument, the cause is not in favor of the people that the government was formed to serve. The government's military was formed to protect it's own people, not somebody else's. Need I remind you of World War 2? Millions of people died. This takes away Life, harms many Societies, Injures countless others, and took away Rights (think rations). This is morally wrong and therefore evil. Your entire argument about war easily refuted.


The State is still more evil than good, and more morally wrong than right.

I look forward to your reply.




P1: Taxes

No, I don’t assume that it’s only spent on that. I’m well aware that isn’t the case, and I apologize if I gave Pro that impression. However, if the causes of welfare/healthcare are sufficiently advanced by the collection of taxes, we might well conclude that the collection of taxes is worth the advancement of welfare/healthcare. As far as why the government wouldn’t make you donate directly to the poor, they have a national infrastructure and a vast bureaucracy. It isn’t very unreasonable to suppose they might be well-equipped to deal with the duty.

Nor does the government ‘hold people at gunpoint.’ There are penalties to not paying taxes, to be sure, but not anything as serious as being shot. And given that the taxes you aren’t paying are going to the vital functions of providing sanitation, streets, et cetera, you are basically stealing from everybody by not paying your fair share when in fact you are perfectly capable of paying it. That’s the reasoning behind my hermit argument.

The vast majority of people not only want government services like food inspection, public transportation, water sanitation, streets, police, fire fighters, and Medicare, they experience a great degree of benefit from using them. Can’t do that without money, so we need taxes. The only way, realistically, to not use these government services, is by living in the middle of nowhere. And even then the argument could be made that you’re benefiting from environmental regulations. Otherwise, you are blatantly using them and not paying for them—and if someone perfectly capable of paying the taxes isn’t, why should anybody?

To answer Pro’s argument relating to Norway and Sweden:

  1. You can’t add percentages like that. If I take fifty percent of something I’ve already taken fifty percent of, I haven’t taken it all. I’ve taken seventy-five percent of it. Unless Norway uses an income tax that isn’t based off of what people actually take home, that isn’t the maximum/minimum tax rate. And Pro’s argument for Sweden’s tax rate (that it is higher than the income earned) utterly fails because of this fact. I might also add that not all of the money someone in Sweden will be taking home will be taxed due to the sales tax; some of it may be invested, or saved.

  2. In exchange for the high tax rates, you get some of the best public health care[1], public transportation [2], a good social safety net[3], among other services. Not all that bad a deal.

  3. Logically, if the poor were being turned middle class and the middle class were being made poor, that would mean every single year social stratification would reverse itself. I would very much like to see any evidence of this; my conversations with people from Sweden have given me no sign of this, and thus it would bring a whole new perspective onto the lives of some of my friends.

P2: Education

That’s not necessarily a lie so much as the United States sticking its collective fingers in its collective ears and not wanting to admit that the Soviets were better at something than we were. And in any event, does Pro have any evidence that that is still what is being taught, or that it is due to the government at any high level and not the local school board, or that it was due to anything but incompetence?

M-theory, cycle theory, and the multiverse theory are all either fairly new and theoretical or variants on the Big Bang theory (for instance, the cycle theory is often described as a ‘Big Bounce’). M-theory was developed in the early 1990s. ’s not entirely unreasonable to suppose that many schools wouldn’t have editions where these competing theories were mentioned, or that certain courses (especially lower levels) would simply make mention of the most prominent theory for the origin of the universe.

Regarding history:

  1. Pro just admitted that we acquired Florida from Spain peacefully. The fact that we had troops ready to invade doesn’t necessarily mean the actual transfer wasn’t marked with a war or invasion to get it.

  2. My AP United States history textbook says otherwise. I forget the name, but will post it in the comments section tomorrow.

I find Pro’s assertion that the world only has rules because of the state baseless. For instance, tribal societies are often given as examples of stateless societies, but they nevertheless have rules—for example, several have laws pertaining to contact with menstruating women. The fact is, it is a good idea to get used to the idea that the world has rules that it’s a good idea to follow. That doesn’t necessarily mean questioning decisions is bad—and if I may use my personal experience as a source, I have been able to question decisions made by school faculty.

P3: War

As far as organized war… well, it would definitely look different, but what would keep two corporations from declaring war on each other in an attempt to seize each other’s private property? And even without a formal declaration of war, there’s still a lot of room for one group of people to be fighting another group of people. An organizational structure there helps, but that isn’t necessarily government as anarchists usually define it, and it isn’t actually necessary if you’ve got sufficient ethnic tensions. There were clan wars even without actual states to help them[4].

Relating to the fact that the cause is not in favor of the people that the government was formed to serve: What of it? Pro just argued that the United States has an obligation to assist people worldwide. Why should that not include something like stopping a few genocidal madmen who would systematically exterminate large numbers of people and oppress the rest? Unpleasant as World War II was, I would argue that it was worth fighting against Hitler, Mussolini, and whoever the guy in Japan was.

Yes, these people did use governments to carry out such acts. But the existence of pogroms and the Rwandan genocide (where the government was controlled by the people being killed) suggests that it isn’t actually necessary.

P4: Censorship

I’ll buy that some TV is censored, as is some radio, but the state (at least, the states that we’ve been discussing) is doing it out of a rather misguided attempt to ‘preserve public sensibility,’ which apparently means that Michael Savage can launch into homophobic tirades but we can’t see sex on TV. Odd, to be sure, but it seems a bit of a stretch to call it evil for having some stupid priorities. I suppose one could make the argument that not censoring Michael Savage leads to a detrimental effect on society, but a homophobic environment in schools is a far more a danger than a single git on a radio station, even if he has a fanbase. And censoring sex on certain television stations at certain times hardly has a clear harmful effect on society.

Indeed, it could be even argued that given the sheer amount of hand-wringing that would happen over it—since the censorship is popular (can you imagine a politician running on a platform of ‘Let’s allow explicit sex scenes on TNT at three in the afternoon’ being elected?)—it saves us having to deal with all our so-called ‘moral guardians’ acting like chickens with their heads cut off. Which would, in my opinion, be a giant headache.

C1: The State versus a specific State

The resolution is ‘The State.’ It is not ‘some states.’ Few sane people would disagree with the idea that some states are evil (by the stated definition of evil, since some people deny evil exists). Sure, you get states like Nazi Germany, and that’s obviously an evil state. Then you get states like Sweden, and these appear to be, all things considered, pretty good states. <Pro never specified which state. This means that the debate will either be:

  1. about the abstract nature of governments (usually anarchist thought seems to focus around this idea)

  2. about the actual effect of governments

If it’s going to be option two, since we’re judging moral balance by the concept of utility (more or less), Pro has to show that the situation without a government would be better.

Debate Round No. 3


FictionalTruths forfeited this round.


Out of consideration for my opponent's probable computer problems, I shall not post an argument this round.
Debate Round No. 4


FictionalTruths forfeited this round.


See above.

I ask that the last two rounds, which were forfeited, do not be counted as a forfeit of the debate itself.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Citrakayah 3 years ago
Right, it"s called <em>Out of Many</em>. It says that Polk deliberately provoked Mexico.
Posted by Citrakayah 3 years ago
Oh, and sorry about not being able to answer all your arguments; I ran out of space.
Posted by Citrakayah 3 years ago
1. Note that I am comparing by things like infant mortality and amount spent per capita.



Posted by FictionalTruths 3 years ago
Please note that my sources for round 3 are listed in order of appearee. The first source on the list cooresponds with {1}, the second with {2}, and so on. Sorry for the mistake.
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