The Instigator
SocialContract
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Cody_Franklin
Con (against)
Winning
32 Points

The abuse of illegal drugs should be treated as a matter of public health, not of criminal justice

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/8/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,981 times Debate No: 13599
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (19)
Votes (6)

 

SocialContract

Pro

"…the solution lies in prevention, which in turn is largely a matter of education and enforcement, which aims at keeping drug pushers away from children and teenagers."

This quote of the Drug Enforcement Administration compels me to affirm today's resolution, Resolved: The abuse of illegal drugs should be treated as a matter of public health, not criminal justice.

For clarification of today's round, I offer the following definitions:
Source: Black's Law Dictionary
Abuse: To make excessive or improper use of a thing, or to employ it in a manner contrary to the natural of legal rules for its use.
Source: Merriam Webster Dictionary
Public Health: the art and science dealing with the protection and improvement of community health by organized community effort and including preventive medicine and sanitary and social science
Source: Academy of Criminal Sciences
The system of practices and institutions of governments directed at upholding social control, deterring and mitigating crime, and sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties.
The highest value in today's round is Societal Good. The common good is defined as the greatest possible good for the greatest possible number of individuals, as defined from John Stuart Mill. The Common good is the most important in today's round because when dealing with public health, because the greatest good is what supports the public health. When these abuses are treated as a matter of public health, treatment is the first priority. Instead of simply punishing the victims of the addiction, Society can strive to treat and rehabilitate them. Thus not only rehabilitating the addict, but improving society as a whole. Because society seeks to better themselves through each other, and society can allow all of their people to live a life without addiction and without becoming a criminal.

The best criterion for evaluating the resolution is Immanuel Kant's Categorical Imperative. Categorical Imperative is defined as an unconditional moral law that applies to all rational beings and is independent of any personal motive or desire. Categorical Imperative achieves my value of Societal Good because Societal Good is about bettering society, while Categorical Imperative is about morals that apply to all. So my criterion allows for morals to lead the way in helping society improve in the matter of public health. My three contentions supporting my values and criterion are as follows.
I.Criminal Punishment is unjust
II. Global War on Drugs is counterproductive
III. Other Nations demonstrate efficacy

Contention I:
Criminal Punishment is Unjust
In order to reach the greatest good in society, measures must be taken to make the treatment of addicts just. Unfortunately, Criminal Punishment of addicts is simply unjust. Today, thousands of people are serving in federal prisons for non-violent drug related crimes. Not only are these crimes non-violent, these crimes only affect the addict, because they themselves have become victim to the addiction. They not only suffer, but they are thrown into prison and made felons. Because of one mistake that an addict makes, the addict loses their right to vote, their ability to obtain a pilots licence, and their ability to obtain a state license, (i.e. Law, medical, cosmetology). These is no just moral is any of those actions, to obtain Societal Good, the greatest good must be done, which to rehabilitate the addicts, not punish them. Instead of rehabilitating the addicts, they are thrown into jails and prisons, which brings me to my first sub point.
Sub Point A: Incarceration is too severe for non-violent offenders.

Contention II:
Global War on Drugs is counterproductive.
In 2003, the Prime Minister's strategy Unity concluded that their effort in the war on drugs is a failure, saying, "Trafficking cannot be significantly curtailed: seizure rates of 60-80% would be required to have any serious impact, and nothing greater than 20% has ever been achieved." Worldwide, drugs have never been cheaper, more widely available, or more openly used then now. The openness due to the failure of criminal justice has caused much pain and suffering, leading to my sub point:
The Global War on drugs causes misery and suffering. Simon Jenkins of, The Guardian, in London quotes, It is throwing 11,000 Britons into jail. It is corrupting democracy throughout Latin America. It is devastating the ghettoes of America and propagating Aids in urban Europe."
These offenses are in the millions, taking otherwise law abiding citizens and throwing them in prison for something that they do to themselves. To truly achieve societal good and to create just laws, law must be changed to make the abuse of illegal drugs a matter of public health, because we can't let people lose their chance to live a normal life. We must allow them to be rehabilitated, not punished.
Contention III:
Many countries have decriminalized drugs instead of dragging on the criminal justice system. The results of this have been shockingly efficient. Portugal, who was the first country in Europe to decriminalize all drugs in 2001, shows their success. A report concluded in 2009 by the Cato Institute, a U.S. based think tank, concluded that the policy change had led to lowered instances of drug trafficking, sexually transmitted diseases, and overdose deaths, and an increase in the number of adults registered in addiction treatment programs. The Swiss have been treating heroin as a health problem since 1994. There were 23 clinics in the country where addicts could go up to three times a day to inject government-supplied heroin in 2007. The drug is provided on a sliding monetary scale. If an addict can pay for it, he or she does; if not, it's free. The crime rate went down by 60 percent.
Cody_Franklin

Con

I shall not be presenting a negative position; rather, as the negative, the burden with which I am today faced is one of clash. That is: the purpose of the negative is neither to justify the criminal justice approach (since the phrase "not of criminal justice" is used to indicate the status quo--not to force the negative into a corner) nor to present any alternatives to the affirmative's advocacy. The negative's only job is to demonstrate that the affirmative has failed to meet the burden of proof given him by the resolution--is is exactly what I intend to do. The fact that I may or may not refer to some alternative or moral principle is irrelevant to whether my position of the negative necessitates such considerations on my part.

1. Societal Welfare

a. The affirmative fails to tie his value to the resolution, as he in no way demonstrates how illegal drug abuse is inherently related to public health. Prima facie, it would appear that an individual's choice to abuse illegal substances is a matter of private health, rather than public. There seems to be little reason that society at large has any intrinsic interests here.

b. When explaining the importance of his value, the affirmative becomes rather convoluted, stating that "The Common good is the most important in today's round because when dealing with public health, because the greatest good is what supports the public health." As long as his explanation remains incoherent, we cannot accept "Societal Good" as the greatest value.

c. By defining "Societal Good" as the greatest good for the greatest number, the affirmative makes it clear that this good does not necessarily extend to all members of society. Not only does this destroy the individual's incentive for entering into a civil society (by making the benefits of being a party to the contract entirely contingent on a utilitarian gamble), but it also contradicts the final assertion that he makes, wherein he states that the public health approach will allow "all people" to live a clean, healthy, non-criminal life, when, realistically, the difficulties of calculating and comparing the "greatest good" with respect to the "greatest number" suggests that his promise will not be met.

d. There's no reason to believe that sentencing in criminal proceedings cannot include (or even be limited to) rehabilitation, meaning that his value, even if applicable, measurable, and achievable, is clearly achieved by the negative.

2. The Categorical Imperative

a. The categorical imperative, being deontological [http://en.wikipedia.org...] in nature, is not at all concerned with consequences. This is, for example, why Kant tells us that, even in situations where there is a murderer at the door looking for a man whose location you know, you are not permitted to lie, despite the "good" consequences which may result from an action; therefore, to judge the public health approach as "good" by making the consequential [http://en.wikipedia.org...] appeal that it achieves the "common good" is to blatantly deny the deontological basis of Kantian morality.

b. Look at each of his contentions. Nowhere in his case does he bring up Kantian morality or its applications to his arguments. It seems to be a well-placed ruse which ultimately goes unused, leaving the rest of his case without any impact back to the topic.

c. Refer to the second formulation of the Imperative: "Act so as to treat humanity, whether in thine own person or the person of any other, never merely as a means, but always at the same time as an end" [http://en.wikipedia.org...]. In this case, the affirmative is not seeking rehabilitation for the sake of the good of the individual being rehabilitated; rather, he is seeking to use their addiction (and the curing thereof) as a mere means to the pursuit of a greater social good. Pro would appear to be caught in a contradiction.

3. "Criminal Punishment is Unjust".

a. This contention doesn't affirm the resolution. Even accepting that criminal punishment is unjust, it would be a non sequitur to claim that affirmation of the public health approach logically follows from this.

b. The affirmative is also making fallacious emotional appeals by turning the abuser into a victim of their addiction and of a cruel, dehumanizing justice system. Note the structure here, where the affirmative cites the suffering and long-term damage caused by the criminal justice approach. This is a mere lead-in to Sub Point A, which is essentially a rehash of his point about the severity and immorality of retributive justice.

4. "Global War on Drugs is counterproductive."

a. Again, this is a non sequitur where the affirmative position is concerned. That we ought to treat illegal drug abuse as a public health matter does not logically follow from the mere fact that the War on Drugs is obviously ineffective. It seems to me that these arguments are defensive or preemptive in nature, which means that he doesn't actually gain any ground by making them.

b. The question to ask is "counterproductive to what?". This implies the consequential goal of curbing drug abuse. Problem is, refer back to his criterion: the Categorical Imperative. This criterion, by virtue of being deontological (and therefore unconcerned with consequences) removes any positive impact that this argument may have had by nullifying the impact of his implicit "drug abuse is bad, preventing it is good" framework.

5. "Many countries have decriminalized..."

a. The resolution neither explicitly uses the term "decriminalization" nor implies it through exclusion of a criminal justice approach. It merely distinguishes between a regulatory system, as advocated by the affirmative, and a disciplinary one, as may conceivably be advocated by the negative.

b. Refer back to the argument I made on his second contention concerning how his implicit consequentialist framework concerning the curbing of abuse is robbed of any impact by his deontological criterion, which makes his argument about the efficacy of decriminalization--even if relevant to the resolution--quite meaningless.

Thus far, it would seem that the affirmative, caught in a mess of contradictions and logical leaps, has failed to meet his burden of proof. As such, the only way to go is negative.

See you in Round 2.
Debate Round No. 1
SocialContract

Pro

SocialContract forfeited this round.
Cody_Franklin

Con

Extend my rebuttal.
Debate Round No. 2
SocialContract

Pro

SocialContract forfeited this round.
Cody_Franklin

Con

Extend my rebuttal.

--Points Breakdown--

Conduct: Con - Pro forfeited two rounds.

S/G: Tied - I personally disliked Pro's structure and writing style, but I can't say it deserves a point penalty. You decide.

Arguments: Con - for obvious reasons.

Sources: Tied - I had none, and Pro's were canned (as they were pre-integrated into his case).
Debate Round No. 3
19 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by lovelife 6 years ago
lovelife
fvck cody, what have I told you? That bear scares people away.
Posted by Korashk 6 years ago
Korashk
Holy crap, it's Nails. Awesome
Posted by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
Cody_Franklin
That's what I'm saying, dawg.

By the way, glad to see you around again, Nails!
Posted by Nails 6 years ago
Nails
Societal Good + Categorical Imperative
LOL
Posted by Sobriquet 6 years ago
Sobriquet
Thought so :P Well, I judged 11 LD rounds at a tournament last weekend, and I only judged 1 person that actually did something like that. He did present a quick case of their own first though. It was a critique of the resolution. I found it odd, but that guy demolished his opponent (open level)
Posted by innomen 6 years ago
innomen
Nice job anyway Cody. Maybe you just scared the fella.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
Cody_Franklin
That's why I didn't present a neg case. :) That, and I'm just too dang lazy.
Posted by Sobriquet 6 years ago
Sobriquet
Maybe your opponent was only concerned with getting ideas for a con case. This is the Nov/Dec LD resolution as I'm sure you're aware of.
Posted by BlackVoid 6 years ago
BlackVoid
I have the same problem. Only 25% of my opponents have finished the entire debate.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
Cody_Franklin
I just don't quite get why so many of my opponents mysteriously disappear.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Shtookah 6 years ago
Shtookah
SocialContractCody_FranklinTied
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Vote Placed by foxholemanifesto 6 years ago
foxholemanifesto
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Vote Placed by Atheism 6 years ago
Atheism
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Vote Placed by Nails 6 years ago
Nails
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Vote Placed by innomen 6 years ago
innomen
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Vote Placed by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
Cody_Franklin
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