The Instigator
actorgurl
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
symphonyofdissent
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

The government does us more harm than good.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/23/2007 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,733 times Debate No: 923
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (6)

 

actorgurl

Pro

Being that it is really obvious that there are a lot of problems going on in America right now, the government should be taking care of us right? They should be protecting us against things like led poisoning and not making it so hard to live. The gas prices are out of this world and only going to get worse and living in itself is not going to be easy. Who is at fault here? Is it us as American citizens? No it is the fault of the government. THEY are the ones raising the prices of gas, food, utilities, gas, electric, just about anything you can think of. Shouldn't we be able to live without having to almost go bankrupt every time we go to the store or fill up out gas tanks? The answer is yes. We should also have the right to be protected and not worry about being poisoned. How many times have there been toy recalls because someone over in China messed up putting too much led in the paint? The government should be checking these things out, and the news has already stated that led testing kits do not work. So what is your opinion about this? Do you think the government does a good job of protecting us? I surly don't and think we need to get better people into those positions.
symphonyofdissent

Con

The merit and good of government in our affairs can be simply proven through empirical and historical evidence. Let's look back to a simple measure such as food safety before and after Theodore Roosevelt as one great example.

In the late 19th century, our nation could best be described as a corparatocracy. Corporations ran and financed most of the major presidential campaigns and ensured that populists such as Willian Jennings Bryan were shut out of any real chance of winning office. More importantly, the supreme court had time and again limited federal government ( and state courts had limited state government) ability to impose restrictions on trade. The supreme court had continually argued that corporations were just like private individuals and deserved the same right and safeguards. In this government free vortex, we saw the emrgence of essentially a market of low wage labor exploitation and the degradation of standards in terms of products. The court used a caveat emptor ( buyer beware) standard that stated that consumers were responsible for all of their purchases not corporations. What emerged from this policy was a cespool of foul filth and disease. Food companies employed few if any checks on their production ( as best seen by the classic muckraking work the jungle) and sold utterly unsane and nutrient products. Furthermore, corporate monopolies were free to crowd the market and force higher prices for their vastly inferior products.

When the government took action-limited, tentative and admitedly flawed as government action can often be- many of these measures improved for the better. Resonable laws against child labor or unfair practices allowed children to have the time and ability to go to school and improve their prospective futures ( not to mention that without government we have no public schools and all of these poor children would continue to be uneducated), improved safety standards on food products ensured that consumers would not recieve poisonous filth that would get them sick, ( Indeed, today's problems with e coli stem from lax enforcement on the part of the FDA and an unwillingness to require corporations to fully disclose what goes into their prducts or hold stringest checks- once again government falls at the behest of corporations and public interest falters) and anti-monopoly actions on the part of the government ensured that corporations would have a harder time conspiring to artifically raise prices.

The most important thing to emphasize here is that all of these changes could not have properly happened in the free marker and without force. Consumer demands and even worker strikes could never reach a proper level of agitation to require serious changes and monopolies ensure that consumers have no where else to go to voice their complaint or vote with their dollars. It is only through a robust government that such nefarious corporate domination can be stopped.

I am uncertain from your argument if you are trying to argue for a purely anarchist system without any government or meerly one that does not limit market forces. If you mean the later my above arguments are appropriate, but I'd like to adress an extra point if perhaps by implying that the government does more harm than good that it should be abolished in total.

I would love to see you explain a system of law and order that can not be enforced without government at some level. How do we create and impose basic laws and punishments for violations of these laws without some institution in place. The closest model for a non governmental society that also had law and order would perhaps be iceland in the 10th or 11th century in which feudal family warfare was rampant and families came together at feast time to form a legal body to rule of matters. There was no total government but instead unending warfare between members of different clans structured around a notion of honor and revenge ( see the epic Njal's Saga). Is this really what you support, or do you have an alternative vision of no government. Furthermore, the burden falls on you to prove exactly how said system would be better than the status quo or any democratic government in the world today.
Debate Round No. 1
actorgurl

Pro

First of all, I would like to point out that you never said anything about the led poisoning or gas. The only thing you really attacked was that of the raised prices so that in itself shows that you agree with me about the gas and led poisoning, so that is a dead case which you cannot pick up again. Therefore I win on those two arguments. Also you brought up food safety which has nothing to do with my argument. I brought up nothing about food safety, just the fact of things at the store being raised in prices, so therefore I win on that to. You also brought up the American government from the 19th century, which has nothing to do with today's government and Iceland's government from the 10th and 11th centuries. That is not topical at all because I said today's government, not a government from 10 centuries ago and I also said AMERICAN government, not Iceland government. That may be a reference you're using for your case but what are you trying to get at? This is not the 10th, 11th, or 19th century and this is America, not Iceland. No to mention that I never said anything whatsoever about having no government at all. If I remember correctly, in my closing sentence, I said,"we need to get better people into those positions." That is nowhere near having no government at all, that is just saying that we need to replace the current people in charge. How am I supposed to "explain a system of law and order that cannot be enforced without government at some level" when I never said anything about having no government?

So just to summarize what I am saying: I win on the led poisoning and gas topics simply because you did not attack that whatsoever, therefore being a dead case you cannot pick it back up and I win. I also win on the cost of living because you never said anything about electric, utilities, and everything it takes to live. The only thing you attempted to attack was the cost of food. That you did not even attack correctly because you talked about food SAFETY which was not even an issue I brought up. I have no idea where you got food safety, or the Iceland government in the 10th and 11th centuries or even our government in the 19th century. What I want you to see here is that you really attacked nothing I said in my opening argument therefore I win this case.
symphonyofdissent

Con

Your response argument did not really make a lot of sense. Apparently you have never heard of inductive reasoning or proving a point through examples. You assert initially that government is the cause of the rise in many different things. What I instead aim to prove is that government is often the only solution to growing ailments that face our nation, and moreover that a corpratocracy unhindered by government control is immesurably worse. Instead of substantively adressing my examples or my general argument you just attempt to declare them irrelevant.

To my understanding, debates generally proceed from a premise or topic in this case that the government does us more harm than good. You then gave forth an argument or a construct in favor of that, and it is my duty to present evidence to the contrary. If so, then why is all my evidence that is not exactly a response to your literal examples deemed irrelevant? This is illogical and counterintuative.

The fact is that most of your examples fall into a similar mold as to what I have set up in my construction. Most stem from a lack of government protections or overly powerful corporations. Gas prices are a great example, because corporate entities continue to raise them up at their will and have an essential monopoly of control. China has lead control problems because its newly formed proto-corporations are poorly checked by its government. Utility prices are actually at their cheapest when controled by the government such as with the TVA rather than when corporations dominate such as Enron. The important thing to emphasize here is that all of these conclusions could resonably be drawn from my examples in the first argument. I did not need to spell them out for you or to any other cognizant reader.

Historical examples are great at proving points. The reason I used this particular one is that in no point in american history is there as clear a demarcation between a totaly free market corporatocracy and vigrous government protection that followed in the early 20th century, and therefore there is no better place to look to see the impact of more government.

My later point was a response to you if and only if you were going to argue that because government does more harm than good it should be abolished. If you were planning to take that route, I hoped to impose resonable burdens on you. Since you have not taken up these burdens I assume you did not mean to go down that path. Iceland was used because it was the closest to a government free society I know of that still functioned. It was filled with bloodshed and anarchy and I asked if that was the government free society you invisioned.

If all you really were trying to argue is that the current government, as in the 110th U.S congress and the 43rd U.S president and the John Roberts court, were doing us harm as a society, then that should have been much more clear in your construct and moreover would not a topic I would accept debating. It is no doubt that our current government is one of the worst in our history, but I would argue it is because they fundamentally mistrust government and therefore sabatage it at every step.

Government is neccesary to help people in situations where they would be prey to the machinations of corporations that hold monopolies beyond their control. A system without government would inevitably be far far worse.
Debate Round No. 2
actorgurl

Pro

Actually yes, I have heard of both inductive reasoning and proving a point through examples. I declared practically your entire argument irrelevant because it really had nothing to do with my initial argument. Debates do proceed from a premise but as the con team, your responsibility is to try to argue against the pro teams arguments, not drop what they said and try to bring up your own arguments. My examples do fall under a similar mold, but the key word there is "similar." Technically they can be and are separated into different sub examples in which you did not even attempt to talk about in your opening argument. Since you did not attempt to talk about them at all until I brought up that they were dead subjects, I am completely unclear as to why you even brought them back up. That shows me that those subjects in this debate were unimportant to you until I declared them dead. That would be the lead poisoning, the gas and utility prices, and even the food. That part also makes no sense seeing as I never brought up anything about the FDA or them inspecting the safety of food, so why would you try to prove your point in an argument that was never even something this challenger had brought up in her opening case? That is also untopical. I was not asking you to spell out your case, but your first one made no sense and almost completely untopical. I never said our government should be abolished. Re-read the last sentence in my opening argument. It said, "we need to get better people into those positions." Please explain to me how that sentence could even slightly be interpreted into, "there should be no government" which according to you is what I said. I was saying that we need to replace the current people that are in governmental positions with new people. That right there clearly shows you did not read my opening statement very well. As to the fact of you not accepting this challenge, not only is it not right to bring personal attacks on yourself or your opponent into a debate, but it is also your responsibility to understand what you will be debating against. Therefore, that is completely not my fault and should not have even been brought up because no one made you choose this topic to debate.

So just to clarify everything, you basically dropped my entire case in your opening argument and only brought them back up after I declared them dead. It also shows me that what I initially was talking about was unimportant to you so you must agree with me on some level or you would have at least attempted to disprove my entire case in your opening statement. You also said that you thought I was saying that we need to abolish our government which if you had read my opening statement more clearly, you would have known that that was not what was on my mind at all. And the last part about you not accepting this challenge had I been more clear, that has nothing to do with this case and should not have been brought up because you are the one who had to make the choice to debate against me. Therefore that argument is thrown away because it has no significance to this case, just like your thought about the FDA.
symphonyofdissent

Con

The topic of debate above is entitled "The government does us more harm than good." Against such a strong statement and an equally strong position in your initial argument that the government is RESPONSIBLE for all of the high prices or shoody products facing our nation, all I had to prove is that government is A) Actually generally responsible for mitigating high prices or shoody products foisted on the consumer by corporate monopoly or control and B) Vitally needed because no market force equivalent would arise without a strong government actor.

Your subsequent arguments have only been rooted in metadebate an attempt to show that my examples were no topical, but you have clearly failed to do this. You have failed to show how food quality or prices is in someway disanalogous to posion gas, led pain or any other such example you brought up. Moreover, you failed to argue why my 20th century example is not perfectly analogous to today. As I stated in my last argument, I used the turn of the century as an example because it is the most clear divide between deregulation and corporatocracy and a regulating government involved in managing affairs and making life better for its citizens. What this shows clearly is that when government gets actively involved in people's lives, their quality of life goes up in measurable and sustainable ways. It is a lack of vigrous enforcement of government standards that brings us to where we are today
rather than government being a bad agent.

From your arguments logically flowed my question of what alternative form of government do you purpose. If something does more harm than good, the logical solution is to try as much as possible to mediate or eliminate that harm. You have failed to answer my resonable questions about what exactly you purpose and have failed to present a coherrant defense of your positions.

Because your initial arguments really were similar to my responses and your completely failed to substantively adress them, I win the round. I have shown that government is both needed and capable of providing good in individuals lives and improving them
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by ttiot8 9 years ago
ttiot8
To Actorgurl: I was just wondering what exactly you meant by "led". I am assuming you mean "lead", which is the spelling in America today. (to use your phrasing) If you are not talking about lead, the only other thing I can think of that is led are LED lights. I really don't think those are the most poisonous things in the world.

As for your argument style, you don't seem to be making a clear argument from the premise, which is "the government does more harm than good". You say in your second argument that you said nothing about "having no government at all", however, with something that says "the government does us more harm than good". Are you saying that we should be harmed by our government since you do not seem to disassociate people in governmental positions and the actual government in your first argument?

Other than that, it's a pretty interesting debate. Please go on.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Derek.Gunn 9 years ago
Derek.Gunn
actorgurlsymphonyofdissentTied
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 Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by CharmingAnecdote 9 years ago
CharmingAnecdote
actorgurlsymphonyofdissentTied
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 Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by fenderjazzerguy 9 years ago
fenderjazzerguy
actorgurlsymphonyofdissentTied
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 Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by WaximusMaximus 9 years ago
WaximusMaximus
actorgurlsymphonyofdissentTied
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 Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by mv 9 years ago
mv
actorgurlsymphonyofdissentTied
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 Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by actorgurl 9 years ago
actorgurl
actorgurlsymphonyofdissentTied
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 Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30