The only morally acceptable form of government is no government
Debate Rounds (3)
Governments are merely made up of people and, if we all have equal rights, no one has the right to take the property of another without their voluntary consent.
What rights would we have? The only rights we need are the right to life, liberty, and property rights and these are natural rights. These rights are not created or given by governments. Property rights are defined as the right to exclusively control scarce resources. Property rights are acquired by either being the first to physically demarcate the borders of otherwise unowned resources or by voluntarily getting them from other people who were legitimate owners either through free trade or gift or some other kind of voluntary exchange. One has property rights in his/her own body. There is no other way to legitimately acquire property rights.
The meaning of property rights is that if one legitimately has property no one else may invade, damage, destroy, or harm the property without consent of the owner.
If the above is true, which is the entire subject of this debate, then no form of government is morally legitimate.
All manner of current government activity will no longer be possible but it is also true that much activity currently monopolised by government would still be possible. It would just be implemented on a voluntary basis instead of by threats of violence. But how it would be done is not the subject of this debate. I'm only interested at this point in debating the arguments and propositions given above.
To negate his first point, he referred that the citizens do not want to fund the government and do not want to be governed. This is not necessary true. Government exists base on the theory of "social contract", which is to surrender humans' "natural rights" and submit to the authority in exchange for the protection of their rights. Under the contract, instead of "natural rights", humans will instead live with the "legal rights".
Natural rights are rights that is universal, inalienable and is not influenced by any form of governments, cultures or beliefs.
Legal rights are rights that is given to one person by a given legal system.
In the past, under the time of Monarchy or Dictatorship, natural rights were used as a justification for the establishment of the social contract. Conversely, many anarchists also use the natural rights as a way to challenge such establishment.
According to John Locke, a Enlightenment philosopher who has influenced many individuals including the Founding Fathers of the United States. Humans have the natural right to defend his "Life, Health, Liberty and Possessions". However, in some case, the sole right to defend one's property isn't enough, so us humans have to established a civil society to resolve conflict which is the government.
One of my opponent's point is "The meaning of property rights is that if one legitimately has property no one else may invade, damage, destroy, or harm the property without consent of the owner." He also claims that if such is true, then no form of government is morally legitimate. This claim is true on theory. However, on practical, it seems impossible.
If there were no establishment of government, each human will act selfishly according to his/her desire. There would be no authority or civil security to stop them. A good example to demonstrate this is the book "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding. The context of the book is that a group of children is stuck on an inhabited island and try to govern themselves, however, ends with disastrous result.
More example would be a hypothetical situation where someone, who is unassumingly stronger than you, takes something that is belong to you. Under my opponent's meaning of property rights, he is not allowed to take it; however, he did. Without the existence of government nor civil security, who is there to stop him?
Furthermore, in my opponent last argument that is government monopolies our activity. This is true under some form of government; however, in a modern society, where democracy or republic are the ideal government, such monopoly is not a common practice.
"...he referred that the citizens do not want to fund the government and do not want to be governed."
That is not what I said and I did not intend to imply it either. I said "It is inconceivable that a government could exist on a totally voluntary basis" It is quite possible for many citizens to be completely in favor of what the government wants to do and the means it wants to use. But it will certainly also be the case that many citizens will not be in agreement. Those who disagree have 3 options. They can;
1. Go along with it in spite of disagreeing because the cost of going along appears to be less than the cost of not going along - the threat of violence from the government.
2. Not go along with it and, if they sufficiently try to defend themselves and their property, end up dead at the hands of agents of the government.
3. Leave the area. This isn't really a voluntary option as they wouldn't have left if not for the threat. As an example you could create a life and many connections and involvements in a certain town and at some point a gang of thugs moves in and begins stealing and otherwise menacing the neighborhood. It could hardly be said it would be a voluntary action for you to move away. The fact that the thugs moved in after you is not the reason you would be the aggrieved party. The actions of the thugs are the violations against you. Likewise just because the State has been in your area longer than you does not establish their right to violate your rights and I would suggest the onus of proof is on them to justify their actions and not you for not being willing to submit to them.
Some will be tempted to offer a 4th possibility - that of replacing the current government with another one. I'm not going to address this beyond just saying that if I go to a shop and meet a salesman who offers me a product I don't want all I have to do is say no and that is the end of the matter. Having to do anything more than that is ridiculous.
My opponent later mentions John Locke and then states ""However, in some case, the sole right to defend one's property isn't enough, so us humans have to established a civil society to resolve conflict which is the government."
I didn't quote Locke in my argument and I never said "the sole right to defend one's property". I also never implied that an individual could only defend his rights alone. Apart from that going from "...the sole right... isn't enough" to "...which is the government" is a huge leap and completely ignores even the possibility of other possibilities. But as stated in my challenge looking into how such things as law and order, who will build the roads, defense, etc. is beyond the scope of this debate.
My opponent later says, "He also claims that if such is true, then no form of government is morally legitimate. This claim is true on theory."
That was the only debate I intended here. Once it is agreed we can then move on, in another debate, to how could we possibly survive without people with super rights roaming freely among us.
My opponent offers the "social contract" as the means by which the State gains the right to violate our rights. This is a fictional contract that was invented after the fact of the establishment of the State and is an attempt to justify it. I can't see how it does this for a couple of reasons. Firstly it is ridiculous on it's face. We give up our rights in order to preserve our rights doesn't make any sense. But it goes beyond that in stretching credulity. I don't have the right to steal from you but if I agree with this social contract idea then somehow I can give someone else the right to steal from you. How does that work?
Secondly, and I think this is quite important, there is no such contract. No one has ever been presented with a social contract and been asked to sign such a thing to my knowledge. I certainly haven't anyway.
But let us suppose that such a thing actually existed. What would it say?
"I the undersigned agree to hand over on demand any such property that I have that is demanded of me by whoever may act as an agent of the State which either does not yet exist or does not have any authority over me until I sign this document. I agree that at any time such agents may decide entirely at their own determination that they can increase the amount of property they claim from me. I agree to live according to any arbitrary conditions or rules they may decide upon. I agree that any disputes between myself and the State will be settled by the State. I also agree the State offers no guarantee in the protection of whatever life or property I may have left."
Who in their right mind would sign such a contract?
Then we have "The Lord of the Flies" as an example of what life would be like without the State. This is a fictional work that I read back when I was at school. I don't recall it being presented to me at the time as proof of what life without our Wise Overlords would be like but perhaps I didn't get the hint at the time. But it doesn't surprise me it might be used that way today after all most of us get our education from the State and they do kind of have a little bit of a vested interest in having us believe such things.
Let's look at reality and pose a few questions instead. Does my opponent truly believe that the only reason we are not all killing each other and stealing each other's property is due to the existence of the State? That does not appear to be the case for me. I do agree there would still be criminals. A world free of States would only rid the world of the most vicious, effective and organised ones. It would still leave small time thieves and serial killers and such. There would therefore still be a need for protective services. I completely disbelieve the idea that myself and my opponent would be the only ones who would want protective services. But I see no reason to stand around scratching my head and wondering what to do about it. There are lots of people who would be good at offering such services possibly including some who were former police officers. There are also insurance companies who would likely offer better rates for those who subscribe to such a service or who might offer the service themselves. There are many possible solutions but to repeat the purpose of this debate was to establish there is no moral justification for a State in the first place.
ExiOrca forfeited this round.
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