The Instigator
untitled_entity
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
mongeese
Pro (for)
Losing
19 Points

The USA Patriot Act Abridges Essential Freedom

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
untitled_entity
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/15/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,041 times Debate No: 8645
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (27)
Votes (6)

 

untitled_entity

Con

Resolved : The USA Patriot Act abridges essential freedom.
mongeese

Pro

USA PATRIOT Act - http://en.wikipedia.org...

Abridges - "to shorten in duration or extent" (http://www.merriam-webster.com...)

Essential - Indispensable (http://www.merriam-webster.com...)

Indispensable - "not subject to being set aside or neglected" (http://www.merriam-webster.com...)

Inalienable/Unalienable - "incapable of being alienated, surrendered, or transferred" (http://www.merriam-webster.com...)

Freedom - Liberty (http://www.merriam-webster.com...)

1. Liberty is an unalienable right.
http://www.ushistory.org...

2. Liberty is an inalienable right.
(Grammar error)

3. Liberty is an essential freedom.
(Definitions of: inalienable, essential, liberty, freedom)

4. The USA PATRIOT Act enhances detaining.
"...enhances the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts."

5. Detaining shortens liberties.
(They are held in custody, lacking liberty, for a brief period.)

6. The USA PATRIOT Act shortens liberties.
(Step 4, 5)

7. The USA PATRIOT Act shortens essential freedom.
(Step 3, 6)

8. The USA PATRIOT Act abridges essential freedom.
(Step 7, definition of abridge)

The resolution is affirmed.

Vote PRO.
Debate Round No. 1
untitled_entity

Con

According to my opponent, detaining someone abridges civil liberties - therefore jails as well as the USA Patriot Act 'abridge' essential freedom.

I'm going to disagree with my opponents definitions and provide several definitions taken from Black's Law dictionary, a trusted debate sources, as well as premier legal dictionary.

-Patriot Act – (Proper Noun) – Also known as the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 is A statute enacted in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01, giving law enforcement broader authority to collect information, with a warrant on suspected terrorists, to share that information among domestic and foreign intelligence agencies, to make the country's border more secure, to detain suspects on new types of criminal charges using new criminal procedures, and to give the treasury department more authority to investigate and regulate financial institutions that participate in foreign money – laundering (Black's Law Dictionary)
-Abridge – (verb) – To reduce or diminish (Black's Law Dictionary)
-Essential – (adjective) – Absolutely necessary – indispensable (Webster's New World Dictionary)
-Freedom – (noun) – A Political right (Black's Law Dictionary)

So for all referential purposes we can assume that an essential freedom is an absolutely necessary, indispensable political right.

My core value for this round will be national sovereignty or the ability of the government to uphold itself. My value premise is the common good defined as a term that can refer to several different concepts. In the popular meaning, the common good describes a specific "good" that is shared and beneficial for all (or most) members of a given community. This is also how the common good is broadly defined in philosophy, ethics, and political science. . My philosophical basis will be Utilitarianism which is the act, of a thing or policy which does the most good for the most amounts of people.

My first contention is that a stringent focus on rights creates political disarray. The book Civic Repentance outlines the fact that to lead too far towards excessive rights leads to anarchy, and to lean too far towards order leads to authoritarianism. After examining this, it is clear that a focus on individual autonomy cannot be tolerated, because doing so will lead to a destabilization of the equilibrium between rights and sovereignty. In addition to this, if a nation is to sacrifice its autonomy or national sovereignty it is opening itself up to further abuses. By having the P.A., the U.S. is able to maintain its national sovereignty and promote rights at the same time. By allowing the government to scrutinize and acquire circumspect files from terror suspects the nation is a safer place allowing more individuals to have more freedoms than if the nation was under terror attacks. For an example, look no further than the week after 9/11 – while the government hemmed and hawed over strategies it was a vexation to board a bus. Now with the P.A., we are able to take the indispensable precautions to prevent terror without relinquishing rights. To preserve the national sovereignty individual rights are not to supersede governmental authority in importance.

My second contention is that the P.A. is much more beneficial than it is harmful. This is a simple fact and can be illustrated in a multitude of ways. First, the P.A. furthers global networking. For example, Susan Heald ( political columnist) noted that after 9/11, the countries involved in NAFTA threatened to back out of the agreement until the U.S. secured their borders and interior. Though the cost may have been minimal, negligent at best, the repercussions would have been global and economically catastrophic. The U.S. would have lost trade securities from several European and Asian nations. As a result of the P.A., countries with fears of being attacked simple because they were aligned with the U.S. had their fears expunged and allowed NAFTA to still be operation. Currently, the trade borders are more expansive and allow the U.S. to regain some economic stability. In the same vein, the Patriot Act has helped to foil terror attack attempts. First, the P.A. helped stopped failed shoe bomber Richard Reid. After seeing suspicious web history appear on his company sponsored computer, officials were able to track Reid all the way to the supplies he bought to make the bomb, on his credit card. As a result, he was plucked from American Airlines Flight 63 and the lives of everyone on board, including the pilot and several flight attendants were saved. As a result of the file tracking and supply purchasing the P.A. was able to foil a terror attempt. In our global tech society, it is necessary that there are monitors on the web to prevent e – terror as well as the propagation of terror in Jihadi and Al- Qaeda sponsored chats. The P.A., works to monitor these chats that could potentially prove harmful and in due course shut them down prior to the terror acts actually occurring.

My third and final contention is that the Patriot Act does not actually infringe on civil liberties or privacy rights. Therefore, any argument of such brought up by my opponent can be defeated with the following support. The USA Patriot Act permits tracking Web sites and e –mails if the law enforcement agency certifies that it relates to an ongoing investigation; searching a business or residence with a warrant and a variety of other measures. Furthermore, ACLU is all up in arms saying that section 215 of the P.A., infringes on first amendment rights. These charges are bogus. Critics of section 215 deliberately ignore the fact that any request for items under the section require not only a warrant but judicial approval. The bureau must first convince the court that oversees anti – terror investigations (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or FISA) that the documents are relevant to protecting "against international terrorism on clandestine intelligence activities." Furthermore, to even investigate a U.S. citizen, rather an illegal alien under FISA, the FBI must show that he is knowingly engaged in terrorism or espionage. Ignoring the Patriot Act's strict judicial review requirements is the most common strategy of the act's critics.

Apologies for the text block

Sources :
Initial definitions - Black's Law Dictionary
Core Value and Value Premise Definitions - http://en.wikipedia.org... and http://en.wikipedia.org...
General Argument - Taking Sides : Clashing Views On Controversial Political Issues
mongeese

Pro

"I'm going to disagree with my opponents definitions and provide several definitions taken from Black's Law dictionary, a trusted debate sources, as well as premier legal dictionary."
Merriam-Webster is a trusted debate source.
"Merriam-Webster is America's foremost publisher of language-related reference works."
http://www.merriam-webster.com...
If my opponent were really serious about her definitions, then she would have used them in the first round.
I was more proactive than my opponent in establishing definitions, and my definitions therefore trump her definitions.

First, my opponent talks about the "common good." However, the "common good" is a flawed philosophy. Under such a philosophy, the majority enslaves the minority, as it would do them the good of having slaves for the majority of the people. Should my opponent give herself up as a slave to government? It would do some good for the rest of America.

My opponent then talks about the balance between anarchy and authoritarianism. However, this implies that a policy can only drag a government between the two ideals, and never attain the positive effects of both.
My opponent claims that the P.A. protects our rights, but it does so at the expense of the rights of others, which would affirm the resolution.

My opponent then goes on to say that the P.A. did more good than harm. That's nice. However, it does nothing to the resolution.

Now, as long as the USA PATRIOT Act abridges one man's essential freedom, then the resolution is affirmed.
My opponent claims that a citizen can only be investigated if he is a known terrorist.
That's nice, but what about those who are legal residents, but not citizens?
If a man flew over here from Saudi Arabia, with citizenship from Saudi Arabia, and we suspected him of terrorism, but weren't really sure at all, as the entire conviction is based on speculation, we would at least move him into our custody for a brief period of time, to interrogate him or run a background check on him, or whatever.
Should that man be established not to be a terrorist at all, we let him go.
However, we just briefly shortened his right to liberty, which, through the syllogism presented in Round 1, equates to abridging essential freedom.

Therefore, the resolution is STILL not negated, and is rather reaffirmed.

I ask my opponent to directly counter my series of syllogisms, rather than indirectly critique it with a wall of text that may or may not be relevant.

Thank you for reading.
Debate Round No. 2
untitled_entity

Con

Pro - Activity means nothing when a premier source is used. Black's Law Dictionary is made for debate - seeing as this is a debate one could assume that the premier dictionary for debate should be used.

My opponent states that the common good enslaves the minority. We're not talking about minorities here, we're talking about terrorists. Therefore, a program that stops people from propagating terror clearly benefits the common good.

My opponent provides a scenario involving a man from Saudi Arabia, "that's nice" but people are not detained simply because we suspect them of terrorism. There are warrants obtained, approval received and then the man is investigated. It seems as though Mongeese generally misunderstands the concept.

My opponent completely ignored my third contention - he complains about my wall of text yet failed to read it. In my third contention it states that ,"The USA Patriot Act permits tracking Web sites and e –mails if the law enforcement agency certifies that it relates to an ongoing investigation; searching a business or residence with a warrant and a variety of other measures. Furthermore, ACLU is all up in arms saying that section 215 of the P.A., infringes on first amendment rights. These charges are bogus. Critics of section 215 deliberately ignore the fact that any request for items under the section require not only a warrant but judicial approval. The bureau must first convince the court that oversees anti – terror investigations (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or FISA) that the documents are relevant to protecting "against international terrorism on clandestine intelligence activities." Furthermore, to even investigate a U.S. citizen, rather an illegal alien under FISA, the FBI must show that he is knowingly engaged in terrorism or espionage. Ignoring the Patriot Act's strict judicial review requirements is the most common strategy of the act's critics." When something is under ongoing investigation rights are not being infringed upon.

My opponent seems to disregard the balance between rights and sovereignty here. Diminishing one man's civil liberties (which they are not under the P.A.) for a small amount of time is negligent to the amount rights that would be surrendered if our nation fell under attack.
mongeese

Pro

"Activity means nothing when a premier source is used..."
I honestly have never heard of Black's Law Dictionary. My opponent claims that it was made for debate. However, my opponent does not give any websites that mention anything about Black's Law Dictionary. Furthermore, there may be multiple definitions for the defined words within Black's Law Dictionary. Because I don't have Black's Law Dictionary, I can't look at these multiple definitions and identify that Black's Law Dictionary could be on my side. It's one-sided. For these multiple reasons, in addition to those previously mentioned, my definitions stand above those of my opponent.

"Therefore, a program that stops people from propagating terror clearly benefits the common good."
However, while the common good may be benefited, some of the uncommon good may have their essential freedom abridged, even though they do nothing wrong.

"There are warrants obtained, approval received and then the man is investigated."
In any investigation, people are interrogated if they are suspected, with or without warrants. The USA PATRIOT Act evidently directly allows for more people, including innocents, to be temporarily detained.

"My opponent completely ignored my third contention..."
I read it. It was irrelevant to what I was saying. I proceeded with my argument. And life goes on.

"When something is under ongoing investigation rights are not being infringed upon."
This is an obvious lie. Let's say we have NCIS (oh, yeah!) investigating the murder of a marine. They learn of five new potential suspects, so they interrogate them. This abridges the essential rights of the suspects, EVEN IF it is justified to do so.

"My opponent seems to disregard the balance between rights and sovereignty here."
Such a balance is irrelevant to the resolution. The resolution is entirely about rights. The USA PATRIOT Act increased sovereignty by abridging rights. The increased sovereignty does not make the rights unabridged.

"Diminishing one man's civil liberties (which they are not under the P.A.) for a small amount of time is negligent to the amount rights that would be surrendered if our nation fell under attack."
...So? My opponent concedes that essential freedoms are abridged by the P.A., but claims that it is made up for by the increase of rights of others. That's nice. However, this isn't helping my opponent. Essential rights were abridged, which affirms the resolution.

My syllogism still stands.

My opponent has conceded that liberty is an essential freedom.

My opponent has also conceded that the USA PATRIOT Act increases the detaining of people, which abridges liberties.

Therefore, my opponent has conceded that the USA PATRIOT Act abridges essential freedom.

My opponent has conceded the resolution.

Vote PRO.
Debate Round No. 3
27 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
I was winning this debate yesterday...

How?
Posted by sadolite 7 years ago
sadolite
Ya, if they hinder the FBI in an ivestigation with regards to terrorism, most definitely.
Posted by ilovgoogle 7 years ago
ilovgoogle
@Sadolite First of all that concedes to my point regardless of whether or not it was justified and affimd the resolution. Second of all, are you really going to tell me that librarians are a national security threat?
Posted by sadolite 7 years ago
sadolite
"I see, they couldn't disclose possible national security threats" Ok I get it now.
Posted by ilovgoogle 7 years ago
ilovgoogle
@ sadolite Yes actually. They did not have a warrant. In addition a gag order was issued meaning they could not exercise free speech.
Posted by untitled_entity 7 years ago
untitled_entity
for sadolite and ilovgoogle

its
Thomas v. Anchorage Civil Liberties Commission.
Posted by sadolite 7 years ago
sadolite
So you are saying that a librarian's civil rights were violated for refusing to disclose information on a publicly owned computer in a publicly owned library? What was the librarian unable to do with respect to his personal life?
Posted by ilovgoogle 7 years ago
ilovgoogle
@sadolite Using either definitions and applying them to this debate still puts Mongeese on top. Oh, and here's your case of violation of rights. http://www.motherjones.com...
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
It doesn't have to violate it. It just has to abridge it. Plus, why does it have to be a U.S. citizen?
Posted by sadolite 7 years ago
sadolite
Name one case brought before a court that shows how the patriot act violated a US citizens rights.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by LipstickandLightplay 7 years ago
LipstickandLightplay
untitled_entitymongeeseTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by SKEPTICISM 7 years ago
SKEPTICISM
untitled_entitymongeeseTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by sadolite 7 years ago
sadolite
untitled_entitymongeeseTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by untitled_entity 7 years ago
untitled_entity
untitled_entitymongeeseTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by ilovgoogle 7 years ago
ilovgoogle
untitled_entitymongeeseTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Vote Placed by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
untitled_entitymongeeseTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07