The conclusions of "The Veil of Ignorance" are a just standard by which public policy must be made
Round 2: Opening Arguments
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: Closing Statement
The Veil of Ignorance is a thought experiment proposed by John Rawls which changes the perspective of anyone participating to that of a consciousness ignorant to the specifics of the situation in which they will be born into. A better, more complete explanation can be found here: https://hammeringshield.wordpress.com...
I will be arguing that the conclusions drawn from this thought experiment are a just standard of by which public policy should be made.
The "conclusions" strictly stated are as follows (and are stated in the link)
"1st each person will be given the most extensive basic liberties possible without intruding upon the liberties of others, and
2nd there will be equal opportunity for everyone to climb the economic and/or social ladder and that any social or economic inequalities that are allowed must be arranged so that they improve the access to Primary Goods for the Least Advantaged"
The Primary Social Goods: "1) Rights and Liberties, 2) Powers and Opportunities, 3) Income and Wealth, and 4) conditions for Self-Respect".
By "just" I mean the dictionary definition "based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair"
By "Standard" I mean the dictionary definition "an idea or thing used as a measure, norm, or model in comparative evaluations"
By "Public Policy" I mean "the principles, often unwritten, on which social laws are based"
Essentially my argument is that for a society to be fair, as one who does not yet know the specifics of their birth would wish it to be, it must adhere to the conclusions of this thought experiment.
My opponent will argue that adhereance to these conclusions would make society unfair.
The conclusions drawn from the Veil of Ignorance thought experiment created by John Rawls are, by the definitions provided, a fair standard by which to judge and structure future public policy of the United States of America.
The conclusions drawn from "VoI" are as follows-
-Each person will be given the most extensive basic liberties without intruding on the liberties of others
-There will be equal opportunity for everyone to climb the economic and/or social ladder and that any social or economic inequalities that are allowed must be arranged so that they might improve the access to Primary Goods for the Least Advantaged.
-The Primary Goods are outlined in round 1
The lynchpin of this argument is the term "just", "based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair". So, we are essentially concerned with the state of fairness or a lack thereof in our society. I will define fair as "a state in which unmerited advantages are limited or of little negative consequence". Chess is fair because both players are given the same tools and no player is given an advantage by the game, even if one player is more skillful. It becomes unfair if one player must play without a queen because the box didn"t come with two. Let us then talk about the root of all unfairness in our society: chance birth. I will address this phenomenon with the hypothetical citizens Jack and Jill.
Let us assume that if Jack and Jill were born into the same social-economic state, went to the same schools, had pleasant lives and aspired to have the same job, they would both be equally able to do so and it would be near impossible for an employer to choose between them. Now let us assume that they are both still equally capable but they are born in radically different situations.
Jill drops out of school in spite of her perfect grades at 17 to get a job and support her mother and younger brother. Her family is in debt from mortgage payments and medical bills and Jill realizes that she cannot support her family even by working full time but can"t go back to school as her family will surely fail financially without her income. Her mother becomes sick and stops working, and Jill knows they can"t afford treatment. She applies for a loan and is denied, presumably because she is black and a woman (http://www.nclc.org...), and seeps into depression. She finds solace in recreational marijuana use and relies on that to cope with her life and eventually becomes a manager at the retail store she works at. She is caught smoking, is arrested and is sentenced to 5 years in prison for drug use, the same average time as a white man would serve for a violent crime, and presumably arrested because she is African American (http://www.naacp.org...). She gets out only to find that her younger brother has resorted to a life of crime and her mother has died. She is unable to find a job due to her criminal record and lack of degree and spends the rest of her short life on welfare, all of her potential success made impossible due to the circumstances of her birth. She dies alone at 29 after being mugged and shot.
Jack on the other hand has it good. Born to an affluent white family, he goes to the best private schools and has tutors. A straight A student, he goes to college and has it paid for by his parents, parties and uses marijuana recreationally but is let go by the one officer who catches him and his friends because his parents are well known in the local community. He gets through college, finds a job and is paid more than his female coworkers for that same job (http://www.iwpr.org...), which is an added advantage as they are all struggling to pay off student debt while he has a trust fund set up by his parents. He moves up the company with ease, marries, lives a generally affluent life and dies at 83 surrounded by family.
Now, obviously I wanted to, and did, paint a particular picture with these stories, but that does not mean that lives like this do not take place, and take place often. And it is also worth noting that any part of the story can change. I can make Jill not drop out of school, never use substances, go to college and still fall into destitution because she is crippled by student debt and finds it much harder to find a job than her white male counterpart (http://www.nber.org...).
There are countless capable people, in the US and abroad, who are subjected to lives like that of Jill because of the chance occurrence of their birth and there are countless people who are subjected to lives like that of Jack for the same reason. I know many capable people who live good lives largely due to their birth. Conversely, I know many capable and respectable people who have had the opposite life purely due to bad luck.
The objective of this argument is to suggest that a just, therefor fair, society is not one where chance can easily destroy a citizen"s life. Obviously there will always be chance and there will always be natural advantages/disadvantages in the lives of citizens, and it is not the objective of this argument to suggest that one"s good luck must be punished. What I am suggesting is that while good luck can be the road to success, bad luck cannot be an allowable road to poverty or destitution. I suggest no bar above which a capable citizen cannot ascend, only a bar below which a capable citizen cannot descend. That bar, that set of policies which will defend a society"s citizens against phenomena beyond their control, is the assimilation of the conclusions of Rawl"s Veil of Ignorance into our society.
So what exactly are the problems in society which make the circumstances of one"s birth of paramount importance? To name a few-
Any citizens can become financially ruined by:
-medical costs (getting injured or sick is a chance occurrence)
-cost of education (going to school is a decision but your parent"s ability to pay is a chance occurrence as you do not choose your parents)
Groups of citizens (race/gender/sexual orientation ext.. all chance occurrences) are unfairly targeted or discriminated against in:
-criminal cases (mostly minorities, particularly African Americans)
-financial support like loans (minorities and women)
-the workplace (minorities and women)
Now, I believe I have demonstrated that the lives of many, if not all, people are shaped in part by chance. This shows that capable people"s lives can be destroyed by no fault of their own or by other unfair means and suggests that if it is the goal of a society to be just and therefore fair, it must provide the means for a citizen to show the fruits of their capacity even in the cases of extremely unfortunate birth circumstances or any unfortunate circumstance which is not the fault of the victim. The political translation is that the government must provide safety nets to guard against unfortunate chance phenomena which can apply to anyone. Even a white male, born rich, can fall into destitution through no fault of his own. There are endless ways that a life can be ruined faultlessly. Natural disasters are a great example that applies to thousands of people across every demographic every year.
So, I have identified a problem and I have proposed a fair solution. It is not the goal of this debate to provide the "how", of achieving Rawl"s conclusions is the best way, nor that these conclusions are in fact the best solution to solve the problem outlined here.
The goal of my opponent, as laid out in the first round, is to convince the voters that adherence to these conclusions would make society unfair or more unfair. I will also allow him to argue that society (the united states society) is already fair and therefor no solution is even necessary.
My entire case in this round is sourced from Justice for Hedgehogs, by Ronald Dworkin. All parenthetical citations refer to page numbers.
A note on the resolution: Pro clarifies in his intro that the resolution is "that the conclusions drawn from [the Veil of Ignorance experiment] are a just standard [by] which public policy should be made," after having stated in the title that it's a just standard by which the policy must be made. I'm fine with the first clarification. However, I'm not fine with his change in R2 to "The conclusions drawn from the Veil of Ignorance thought experiment created by John Rawls are, by the definitions provided, a fair standard by which to judge and structure future public policy of the United States of America."
I cannot accept this change because it changes what Pro said he would be arguing when we initially started this debate. There is a difference between calling it a fair standard to judge public policy, and calling it the fair standard to judge public policy that we should use. This unfairly restricts my options from the original resolution--according to the original, I need only show that another standard is more fair and thus the standard we should use.
Pro notes that I will argue that the conclusions are unfair, but he misses a critical point--I don't need to argue that they are on balance unfair, as I only need to show that another standard is more fair. He attempts to add in a rule in Round 2 against that, but adding rules after the debate has started is unfair.
Holes in the Veil
"-Each person will be given the most extensive basic liberties without intruding on the liberties of others
-There will be equal opportunity for everyone to climb the economic and/or social ladder and that any social or economic inequalities that are allowed must be arranged so that they might improve the access to Primary Goods for the Least Advantaged."
These sound great, but there are issues with these conclusions as they stand. My opponent has not defined many of the terms. What are the "basic liberties"? How do we define "equal opportunity"? How can "social or economic inequalities that are allowed . . . be arranged so that they might improve the access to Primary Goods?" Until Pro defines these terms, they are quite meaningless.
This is important because of several flaws in the VoI experiment.
The VoI does not reach all the conclusions my opponent claims it does. For a tl;dr, the VoI experiment is this: Imagine you are a human who is going to spend life on earth. You do not know where you will be born, who you will be born to, or any of the details of your family's wealth or stature. Assuming you're a rational actor, what do you do?
According to my opponent, two of the things you do are A) advocate for maximal liberties for everyone, and B) advocate for an equal chance of success. This is not necessarily the case, though. The model assumes that people are going to value liberty as an end. However, liberty is not an end; it is a means to an end, and different people have different ends. This by itself makes the thought experiment fall apart, as people have to know their values for the veil to work, and yet the veil explicitly excludes value calculations, but we're interested in the effects this has on the conclusions of the experiment.
Let us presume we have a religious extremist. This religious extremist values martyrdom for their cause. No matter what their situation, they wish to spread their religion by any means necessary. Under the VoI, this extremist does not care about "basic liberties" like freedom of speech. They care about how best to fulfill their own ends--liberty is incompatible with the extremist's desires. Now, under the experiment, those few people can be ignored. But what if there is a world of extremists? If there is a world where all are interested in spreading their religion by any means necessary, liberty will not be valued. Liberty is only valued if the people themselves value it, and thus it cannot be derived from the thought experiment itself. Because the thought experiment bends to the will of the people, its conclusions are only to give the majority what they want, no matter how bad the consequences might be. The conclusions aren't bad if people who think like Rawls constitute the people under the veil, but if people think differently, disaster ensues.
This flaw leads us to a better, more just theory. Famed legal scholar Ronald Dworkin argues, "No government is legitimate unless it subscribes to two . . . principles. First, it must show equal concern for the fate of every person over whom it claims dominion. Second, it must respect fully the responsibility and right of each person to decide for himself how to make something valuable of his life" (Dworkin 2). In other words, the government must value everyone's life the same, no matter their status, and it must respect their autonomy and Will to Power--their actions must still have consequences to grant them a meaningful life.
The consequences of such are illustrated as follows: "Imagine an initial auction of all available resources in which everyone starts with the same number of bidding chips. The auction lasts a very long time, and will be repeated as long as anyone wishes. It must end in a situation in which nobody envies anybody else's bundle of resources; for that reason the distribution of resources . . . treats everyone with equal concern. Then imagine a further auction in which these people design and choose comprehensive insurance policies, paying the premium the market establishes for the coverage each chooses. That auction does not eliminate the consequences of good or bad luck, but it makes people responsible for their own risk management (3)
This is more just because, rather than abstract "liberty" and "equal opportunity", the framework I present has actual impacts. Dworkin does not "endorse any general right to freedom," but argues for individual liberties that must be protected because they stem from the right of equal concern and the respect of personal responsibility (4). Specifically, it protects the rights that people want for themselves, but do not necessarily want for others (369). Unlike the VoI, which concludes that people should have all the rights that the majority wants for itself, this framework argues that people should have additionally all the rights that they want for themselves, but that the majority does not want them to have, provided that said rights do not infringe upon the rights of others.
In the VoI, "liberty" is a buzzword that masks a majoritarian stance in which the only ends valued are the desired ends of the majority. In Dworkin's framework, "liberty" means freedom to pursue your own ends, to fulfill the Will to Power. This respect for individualism and minority rights makes it the just framework.
Furthermore, Dworkin's framework is superior in that it answers how those primary goods should actually be distributed. He criticizes "[supposing] that our own communities could be improved only by an actual completely fresh start: by a voluntary return to a state of nature or an isolated island with convenient veils or bidding chips at hand. A useful theory of distributive justice must show which of the minimal steps we can actually take now are steps in the right direction" (352). For instance, the responsibility of government to treat people with equal concern requires that it implement regulations on businesses to prevent "distortions of monopoly or externality" (357).
The VoI is majoritarian and does not truly lead to protection of individual liberties. The liberties it protects are so vague under Pro's conception as to be effectively meaningless. Better are Dworkin's equal concern and personal responsibility. Both of these result in a truly just society in which all people are ends in themselves, and are free to pursue and achieve their own goals in life.
I would like to remind voters that this round is for rebuttals, no new arguments are to be made.
My first rebuttal is on the real and perceived goals of this debate. Even if Con could not accept my second clarification, this would be effectively meaningless. As I stated in R1, before con accepted the debate, "My opponent will argue that adherence to these conclusions would make society unfair". This is clearly a difficult task yet con accepted and so in R2 I softened the criteria by which con must debate to "The goal of my opponent, as laid out in the first round, is to convince the voters that adherence to these conclusions would make society unfair or more unfair. I will also allow him to argue that society (the united states society) is already fair and therefor no solution is even necessary." It appears that my opponent based their argument on the phrase "or more unfair" which only appears in R2. It strikes me then as hypocritical that Con cherry picks changes in R2 for his own benefit. For the sake of this debate, I will allow the criteria that Con laid out in his R2 argument namely "I need only show that another standard is more fair and thus the standard we should use" even though I never stated that this would be the goal of Con in either of my rounds. He then goes on to say that "adding rules after the debate has started is unfair" which is seems to only highlight his hypocrisy. I will continue on with the debate in spite of this, but urge the voters to take this discrepancy into account.
Holes in the Veil
The first point my opponent makes is that I have not defined my terms. All definitions are provided in the links I gave in R1 and R2 as I stated that it would be the round of definitions. I would suggest that Con revisit the link. It is also quite clear that Con does in fact understand the meaning of the terms and if he does not, clicking my link, 5 minutes on google or a little chat with Mr. Rawls would solve that problem. I do not think that Con is arguing that they are meaningless, only that I have not adequately defined them. My rebuttal is simple, I provided all definitions via a link to save time and space.
The VoI does not reach all the conclusions my opponent claims it does:
My opponent over generalizes in this section of his debate. A simpler and more complete description of the experiment is simply: imagine you are a consciousness (not a human as you have no body) who is going to spend life on earth but has not yet been born. You know nothing except that you are a rational actor. How do you assure your goals under this criteria? My opponent claims that I suggest that a rational actor would suggest maximal liberties. I would like to see a quote supporting that. The conclusion Rawls sets forth was "most extensive basic liberties without intruding on the liberties of others" which is obviously not the same as maximal liberties. While I personally would tweak the wording of "B)", my opponent pretty much hits the nail on the head with that one, but not "A)". Con suggest that I imply that liberty is an end, which is clearly incorrect. The obvious end is whatever a citizen wants. All these conclusions do is create an environment where it is more possible for every citizen to do that, as explained in my R2 argument. My example of Jack and Jill clearly illustrate that the "end" is whatever Jack or/and Jill aspire to. Con contends that a rational agent needs values for the veil to work, this is simply not true as well. The purpose of the veil is to create an environment where any citizen, regardless of their values, has the opportunities to express those values and achieve what they desire/aspire to once they define those values.
The Religious Extremist:
The example of the religious extremist is contradictory to Cons own description of the veil. No one is religious before you are born, religion is something you learn. Therefor it is impossible to suggest that any rational agent that has not yet been born could be religious or an extremist. The thought experiment is simple in its setting. It does not allow for personal values or ideologies or anything other than the simple criteria of a rational human consciousness"s which are frightened at the understanding that the world is not, in fact, fair and that they would change it if they could for the betterment of all. These changes are the conclusions.
Con begins this section by stating that the flaws he claimed in the VoI lead to another theory. Here I would like to remind voters that the inclusion of Cons own theory is not in the terms of the debate as laid out in R1 or 2 but I will let it continue for sake of argument. This should not, however, go unnoticed.
I would also like to point out an important distinction made both in my R1 and R2. This is an argument about the merits of a conclusion, not about the implementation of a system which would yield those conclusions. I stated this by saying "It is not the goal of this debate to provide the "how", of achieving Rawls's conclusions in the best way, nor that these conclusions are in fact the best solution to solve the problem outlined here." The clause "nor that these conclusions are in fact the best solution" negates any counter proposal by my opponent as it is not the goal to find the best solution, only to decide if the conclusions set forth by Rawls's solution in the VoI are in fact just. Due to this, I am forced to understand the goal of my opponent in providing a counter proposal to be to somehow show how my proposal is in fact unfair by showing the greater of merits of his own proposal.
On to addressing the supposed flaws of the VoI:
I would first like to express a sense of confusion at the description of Con"s alternative. He says "Specifically, it protects the rights that people want for themselves, but do not necessarily want for others". Forgive me for a possible misunderstanding, but it seems that you are suggesting a system in which some people can have rights and others cannot. I see here a dystopian system which endorsees discrimination of rights, which I am sure is not in fact what you mean, but it is the image I"m getting just the same from this specific statement.
Your following sentence has glaring problem. "this framework argues that people should have additionally all the rights that they want for themselves, but that the majority does not want them to have, provided that said rights do not infringe upon the rights of others". If you are saying, "anyone has the right to have whatever rights they want, even if people don"t want them to have them, as long as those rights don"t infringe on the rights of others who also have the right whatever right they want, even if people don"t want them to have them" well I find a very obvious and serious problem in this spider web of unlimited rights. Your system proposes the right of unlimited rights as long as those rights don"t infringe on another"s equally unlimited rights. You must realize that this system yields a stalemate of contradicting equal rights which cannot achieve anything at all and must ultimately result in a defined set of rights which will apply to either only some people, which would be discrimination of a sort, or everyone, which would then mirror the conclusions of the VoI.
Ultimately, Con"s counter proposal is neither feasible or just and finds no consequential flaw in the conclusions of Rawls. Con"s claims on the liberties proposed by Rawls are fallacious or/and out of context. His final statement "a truly just society in which all people are ends in themselves, and are free to pursue and achieve their own goals in life" is the very thing that the conclusions set forth from the VoI achieve.
The title of this debate is, "The conclusions of 'The Veil of Ignorance' are a just standard by which public policy must be made". In R1, Pro goes on to state, "I will be arguing that the conclusions drawn from this thought experiment are a just standard of by which public policy should be made." He then states, "Essentially my argument is that for a society to be fair, as one who does not yet know the specifics of their birth would wish it to be, it must adhere to the conclusions of this thought experiment." When he states, "My opponent will argue that adhereance to these conclusions would make society unfair," given all the prior information, it is unreasonable for me to expect that I should somehow interpret that last statement as the resolution, when every other statement about the resolution speaks to the contrary. It looks like this was an unfortunate case of miscommunication, but regardless, Pro accepted my interpretation, so go with that.
Perhaps I poorly communicated this in my first round. When I said that the terms were not defined, I meant that their definitions were so vague as to be effectively meaningless, as I stated in my conclusion last round. What are the rights of which he speaks? What are the conditions for self respect? What does it mean to have the "most extensive basic liberties possible?" As I stated last round, "How do we define 'equal opportunity'? How can 'social or economic inequalities that are allowed . . . be arranged so that they might improve the access to Primary Goods?'" The link he provides doesn't do any better at explaining this. My framework protects specific liberties, while his protects only general "liberty", which, again, is vague. Telling me to read Rawls is not a rebuttal; this is a debate, not a summer reading list. The point of a debate is not to give books to read that support your point; it's to use the books yourself to support your points.
Holes in the Veil
Pro's description of the veil fails when it comes to the problem I mentioned before. If you're a rational actor selecting conditions for living, and yet you are ignorant of your ends, then you have nothing to value. I never implied that Pro said that liberty was an end, but if you're going to accept the thought experiment, you have to accept that. Otherwise, it doesn't work. The rational actor under the veil, if liberty is not an end in itself, has no reason to value it if they do not know the ends they aspire to. If there is a chance they will become a religious extremist, and yet also a chance that they will become a relatively normal human, then the people selecting conditions under the veil have no reason to choose any particular circumstance whatsoever. Without values, none of the possible scenarios can possibly be preferable under the VoI. That is why the possible world of religious extremists is important--it demonstrates that any agent under the veil cannot possibly predict what their desires in life might potentially be, and thus there is no guarantee that they will select the things Pro claims they will. Who is to say that the conclusions of the veil, given complete ignorance, wouldn't be communism? After all, the probability of being born into the lower classes is much higher than the probability of being born into the upper classes. If all people seek to ensure security of their person, and at least most do, why would they not advocate for seizing the means of production to ensure their security? That's not to argue that communism is itself unjust; it's merely to state that the VoI doesn't have a definitive conclusion.
Pro accepted my interpretation of the resolution, so I only need to show an alternative is better. He did not put "nor that these conclusions are in fact the best solution" in R1, but R2; do not accept that new rule, because it is unfair and because Pro already accepted my interpretation.
Since my own description of Dworkin was unclear, I'll borrow a paraphrase from a secondary source.
Dworkin believes that a right to liberty in general is too vague to be meaningful. However, certain specific liberties such as freedom of speech, freedom of worship, rights of association, and of personal and sexual relations, do require special protection against governmental interference. This is not because these preferred liberties have some special substantive or inherent value (as most rights philosophers hold), but because of a kind of procedural impediment that these preferred liberties might face. The impediment is that if those liberties were left to a utilitarian calculation, that is, an unrestricted calculation of the general interest, the balance would be tipped in favor of restrictions.
. . . Dworkin says that if a vote were truly utilitarian, then all voters would desire the liberties for themselves, and the liberties would be protected under a utilitarian calculation. However, a vote on these liberties would not be truly utilitarian nor would it afford equal concern about and respect for liberties solely by reflecting personal wants or satisfactions of individuals and affording equal concerns to others . . . because [of] external preferences, such as prejudice and discrimination against other individuals deriving from the failure to generally treat other persons as equals . . . These external preferences would corrupt utilitarianism by causing the individual to vote against assigning liberties to others.
Accordingly, the liberties that must be protected against such external preferences must be given a preferred status. By doing so, society can protect the fundamental right of citizens to equal concern and respect because it prohibits "decisions that seem, antecedently, likely to have been reached by virtue of the external components of the preferences democracy reveals."
(The Philosophic Foundations of Human Rights, Jerome Shestack, Human Rights Quarterly 20.2: 201-234)
This also provides further evidence that my framework is superior in treating human beings as ends--its prevention of "corrupted" utilitarianism means that the framework in itself doesn't just provide an opportunity for all humans to achieve their ends, but advances them by its very nature, increasing the utility all humans share in.
Pro failed to address my major points. At this point, Pro has still not shown how the VoI advances justice. He has argued that his conclusions help "Jack and Jill", but this is fallacious. Let's put what he says into another form:
P1: Jack and Jill should both have an equal chance to succeed in life
P2: The VoI concludes that people should have an equal chance to succeed in life
C1: The VoI's conclusion matches with what should be.
P3: The VoI concludes that this equal chance to succeed can be achieved by improved access to the primary goods
C2: Adhering to the VoI improves access to the primary goods.
C3: Adhering to the VoI helps Jack and Jill
The problem is C2; it doesn't follow from P3. Pro has not shown how the VoI actually improves access to the primary goods. He just says that improved access to the primary goods is the way it should be. This is not unjust, but it is also not just. The reason is because it's simply a statement on reality rather than a way to fix it. It is akin to saying that "murder is wrong" is a just standard for government. Yes, murder is wrong, but simply stating conclusions is not actually working to achieve a solution to murder; it's a moral fact-claim, rather than an actual standard for government to follow. Similarly, the VoI as Pro describes it doesn't actually offer a way to improve access to the primary goods. My framework does. As I showed, one logical conclusion of it was the need to "implement regulations on businesses to prevent "'distortions of monopoly or externality'" (Dworkin 357).
The VoI is vague and doesn't reach the conclusions Pro claims it does
Dworkin's framework protects specific liberties to achieve justice.
On to the conclusions!
I"d like to start by thanking con for this debate.
A couple of points:
-Liberty is the means by which anything can be done. The VoI promotes liberty for the sake of those who will wish to do something which they can only do through liberty. Perhaps you wish to be a lawyer, or a religious extremist, or a philosopher, or a musician or something else. If you do not know which, you must dream of a nation which gives you the liberty to do any of them or more while also provides protection from the various injustices found in today"s world. This is the essential notion of the VoI. Liberty is not meaningless, especially when you are unsure of your path in life, and even more so when you know that chance may place you in a position in which just "rights" will do nothing for you.
-It was never my intention to lay out a plan by which a nation could achieve the dream of the VoI conclusions, only to argue that the conclusions were in fact that which should be dreamt of. The VoI in itself does not solve a problem, it only illustrates them and proposes a state where they are solved. It does not provide the how, only the what and why. The how is subject to the individual, I imagine a country like Norway with a Nordic economic model as being a good example of the how although I will not argue which model is the best model.
-If you believe that the conclusions of the VoI are a set of conditions that would yield a just nation, and that politicians and policy makers should keep those ideal conditions in mind when making decisions, then vote pro.
Thanks again to my opponent and to everyone that voted or read this debate.
Thanks to Pro for this interesting debate.
As Pro eventually accepted, the crux of this debate is whether the VoI provides just standards that should be used to make public policy. My debate strategy was to focus on the second half of that statement, but I contested both parts.
On whether the VoI provides just standards:
I showed the conclusions of the VoI are not what Pro claimed they are. Because values define how people would decide to govern themselves under the VoI, the experiment can reach no conclusion whether the people are with or without values. With values, people choose divergent forms of government and rules. Without values, the people have no reason to choose any particular form of government. Thus, the VoI is incoherent.
I showed that even if we accept the conclusions as valid, they are too vague to have any impact.
On whether those standards should be used to make public policy:
I showed that my alternative conception of rights is more concrete and provides greater protection of rights. Prefer the framework of equal concern and respect.
If Pro failed on either point, you must vote Con.