The Instigator
AnonymousPublic
Pro (for)
Tied
6 Points
The Contender
micktravis
Con (against)
Tied
6 Points

The United States ought to value freedom above national security.

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 2 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Started: 4/5/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,502 times Debate No: 11647
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)

 

AnonymousPublic

Pro

First we'd like to say that the purpose of this debate is to question whether security of the nation is worth sacrificing some freedoms of the individual. We're interested to know the answer to this question, so we can guide our nation better and progress forward. Because this is a debate of pros verses cons, the criteria will be a net-benefit analysis of the superior value. Next I'd like to thank you for your opinion in our search for the truth.

My argument will be broken down into three main contentions on why individual freedom is more important than national security.

1) The United States was based on principles of freedom that have governed us for over 200 years. A truly strong and successful democracy requires the protection of its people, by ensuring certain "unalienable rights". When we pervert the freedoms that are the base of America, the country crumbles.

2) "National security" can be abused. Who defines what is a "security threat?" Could it be a possible terrorist? Or just a criticizing politician? My point is that when a tool as powerful as the government determines what is and is not a threat, the system will be abused. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, so by letting the government bend the rules of freedom at will the security of our democracy is at stake.

3) The country should not bend its values in fear. In times of chaos Americans cannot give up their rights for "security". Founding father Ben Franklin said it best, "He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither." Do we want to send the message of a country frightened and ready to throw away their founding ideals in fear? Or rather send a message of a nation united, more committed to the freedom that all Americans enjoy and stand for.

So for the principles we're founded on, the abuse of "security", and the message of unity we urge a vote for the affirmation. Actions speak louder, so stand up for all people and vote freedom.
micktravis

Con

Thank you for inviting me to take part in such an interesting subject for debate. I'll address each of your contentions individually.

1. I agree with much of this claim. I don't think it's axiomatic that a successful democracy requires the protection of its people by ensuring certain "unalienable rights," but since it's the only type of democracy I have any experience with I won't press the point. Certainly the US has always been notable for its liberal stance of personal freedom.

2. This is absolutely true as demonstrated by countless instances of suspension of civil liberties in foreign countries which serve not to promote the general welfare but to bolster the ruling party's power.

3. I think this portion doesn't make a solid claim - do we have any experience sending frightened messages in order to form an opinion? Is the primary message we send one of a commitment to freedom, or are there other more important messages which take precedent? I'll accept this contention since it is really just an expansion of the debate subject.

My strategy to refute my opponent's claim is simple: the contention lacks sufficient specificity to be of any practical use, and thus should be discarded in favor of a more nuanced proposal.

I think very few people would agree that we are free in the US to do whatever we choose. "My freedom to swing my fist ends where your nose begins," as the saying goes. Murder, theft, extortion, libel, and fraud are all actions which potentially could be part of the list of things we are free to do, but there is overwhelming consensus that making such actions illegal provides more benefit to society than allowing them would.

But what if an action doesn't result in such an obvious breach of somebody else's freedom to live unmolested? Can I provide state secrets to China? Can I kite checks? Currently these potential freedoms are curtailed, so clearly this is a question better decided on a case-by-case basis. The proposal needs revision.
Debate Round No. 1
AnonymousPublic

Pro

Our opponent's argument is based on the assumption that this is a different country, but as the resolution states this is the United States. In his counter argument, he says there are "countless instances of suspension of civil liberties in foreign countries", but the resolution is clearly intended to compare freedom to security in the United States, so his point is irrelevant. His only contention is that too much freedom leads to "murder, theft, extortion..." Our opponent is confused on the resolution, this belongs in another debate about government. But this resolution is about freedoms that conflict with national security, such as laws for privacy (i.e. wire taps, extensive tracking, etc.) In addition to making no real claim for national security, he agreed with our second point.

The real clash lies in our third contention, what kind of message does the United States send to enemies foreign and domestic. The majority of the debate will surround this point because the other two points are settled. The truth is, the United States sends a message of cowardice and submission when it sacrifices freedom for security. Again we'd like to restate that by staying strong to our basis of freedom, the world sees us as a united and powerful country. If, instead, we sacrifice freedom and privacy the world will view us with a critical view. When we passed the Patriot Act, for example, countries saw that as sacrificing freedom in fear, a serious step backwards for democracy. The truth is simple: the country is based on democracy, the American people are granted unalienable freedoms, and our government cannot take those away.

So to conclude, the United States was based on freedom, "national security" can be abused, and the country sends a message of fear when it takes away those freedoms from its people. My opponent offers no solid case to argue and he agrees or fails to refute our points.

Vote Affirmation.
micktravis

Con

micktravis forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
AnonymousPublic

Pro

Our opponent could not continue the round, but we think this is an important and controversial issue so we'd like to post a counter argument.

In some situations, civil liberties MUST be sacrificed. Take, for example, the civil war. Abraham Lincoln, possibly the greatest president of all time, put the country into martial law during the war. In addition, he suspended rights like habeas corpus. America could have been ripped apart forever, the civil war was almost lost and the country would never be the superpower it is today. If the country had stuck to its "founding freedoms", the country would have perished.

Today too, our country is threatened by enemies to democracy. If America is to guide the world and protect its people, privacy must be sacrificed. These freedoms like a right to a speedy trial could be used against us, as an ignorant or indecisive jury leads to criminals hurting the country.

The choice is clear, put SECURITY first. Freedom is only good for its people if its people are safe. So secure the country first, worry over ideals later.

Please post your comments for this debate, we intend to find an answer to this question with the help of the rational community.
micktravis

Con

My apologies for the forfeit - unforeseen work issues most definitely ought to be valued over participation on debate.org.

I'm fully aware that the argument concerns freedom vs. national security in the US. Surely there is insight to be gained by examining experiences in other countries, or even in hypothetical ones. Nonetheless, I'll restrict my comments geographically; this restriction doesn't hamper my argument at all.

As I explained in my first post, the notion of "freedom" needs to be more clearly defined in order for the subject of this debate to have any real merit. It's not as simple as, say, assigning a value (PF) between 1 and 100 to our personal freedom and then determining that our national security is therefore (100-PF).

While it's clear from my opponent's clarifications that he also realizes the fuzzy nature of his statement of argument, perhaps he does not realize that I agree with his broader claim: by dishonoring the constitutional codification of personal freedom here in America we cease to be that which has defined us since 1776 - a nation for which personal freedom, in aggregate, leads to collective freedom and prosperity.

The solution to this problem is to reword the initial argument: "The United States ought to value freedom (as defined in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the various amendments) above national security.

If you value precision and clarity then you must vote Con. The nature of any argument must be clearly stated in the title, not doled out piecemeal in the various rounds.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Voltar143 4 years ago
Voltar143
My final comment is USA is the most powerful contry in the world. It can destroy the whole world civilazation 28 times over. The US politicians and ambassadors are the power players in the UN. As what I see now, our African American president and the previos president proved that they can bend their promise and rules. They can indeed alter individual freedom or/and national security for example patriotic act and proposed healtcare bill as a few that has the enforcement on making people take health insurance that seemed to be unconstitutional. I already pay health tax and I don't have health insurance, now they want to force feed me with health insurance too which I desire not for the moment. They Enforce patriotic act because of fear in terrorrism of people but without peoples vote. More ignorant citizens today are being persuaded, misled and duped by politicians who tell people what they want to hear then turns around and break their promises. One word, corruption. I say people must come first before the nation, politicians supposed to provide service for the people instead of stealing tax money, fussing, arrogant, pride, boastful, greedy, powermonger individuals. The topic becomes more and more irellevant compare to today's postmodern garb.
Posted by Voltar143 4 years ago
Voltar143
I don't clearly understand anonymous 3rd argument clearly. He should be stating he is for freedom or national security. But in this round he is now confusing, he is now saying security must be valued. What? Is he talking about national security or about individual freedom?
Posted by Voltar143 4 years ago
Voltar143
Anonymous are more probably talking about freedom based on the constitution and ought to have adressed it in 1st round. These are two types of freedom I see here. Anonymous is talking about freedom based on the U.S. constitution and micktravis is talking about moral objective freedom. Micktravis needs to get into the same page.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by philosphical 4 years ago
philosphical
AnonymousPublicmicktravisTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 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:33 
Vote Placed by Voltar143 4 years ago
Voltar143
AnonymousPublicmicktravisTied
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 Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:33 
Research this debate: United States