The Instigator
mongeese
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
Mr_Jack_Nixon
Con (against)
Losing
13 Points

The people of Texas have the right to secede from the United States of America.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/9/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,644 times Debate No: 11181
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (38)
Votes (6)

 

mongeese

Pro

Full resolution: Assuming that the majority of Texans support secession, the people of Texas have the right to secede from the United States of America.

Definitions shouldn't be necessary, as the context of this debate should be clear by my arguments.

1+. The United States of America's history is obviously in support of the right to secede.

The United States of America was formed when thirteen colonies SECEDED from Britain.

The Declaration of Independece, one of America's most important historical documents, establishes the right of the people to amend a government that becomes destructive of the rights to Life (legalized abortion), Liberty (PATRIOT act), and the pursuit of Happiness (EPA, FDA, AMA, etc.) [1].

The independent republic of Texas was formed when Texas seceded from Mexico. The United States did not consider this secession abusive at all, even inviting Texas into the United States.

2+. The United States Constitution establishes the right of Texas to secede.

According to the 10th Amendment, all powers not reserved to the federal government or denied from the state governments by the Constitution are reserved to the states or to the people [2].

The Constitution makes absolutely no mention of secession, neither reserving it to the federal government nor forbidding it from the states [2].

Therefore, by the 10th amendment, the power to secede is reserved to the states or to the people.

3+. The Texas Constitution establishes the right of the people to secede.

"Sec. 2. INHERENT POLITICAL POWER; REPUBLICAN FORM OF GOVERNMENT. All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit. The faith of the people of Texas stands pledged to the preservation of a republican form of government, and, subject to this limitation only, they have at all times the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think expedient" [3].

If the people want to reform government so that it is not attached to the United States politically in any way, it is their inalienable right, clearly written.

Conclusion+:
In conclusion, America's history and important historical documents all clearly identifiable the right of the people of Texas to secede from the United States.

Good luck to my future opponent.

1. http://www.ushistory.org...
2. http://www.ushistory.org...
3. http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us...
Mr_Jack_Nixon

Con

While it seems this resolution is rather impossible to go against, it might not be completely. I'm always up for semantics, so here we go.

I refute the resolution on the grounds that the people of Texas do not follow the legal context of secede my opponent uses. In the context my opponent uses 'secede' it is necessary for a government to withdraw for some other government. This could mean, for example, the state of Texas withdrawing from the United States of America, or a hypothetical government A withdrawing from a Union of government's A, B, and C. This is the definition of secede my opponent implies.

Next, my opponent says the resolution applies to the subject 'people' belonging to Texas. The people are the individuals themselves, all 'of' Texas. People refers to the human species, and in this case, human beings that were born in/reside in Texas.

My opponent violates the meaning of secede when he says that a people can possibly have the right to it. My opponent states that these people have the right to secede, but this simply can't be. People are not a government. People can be PART OF a government, but the people themselves are not governments at all. So a person will literally find it IMPOSSIBLE to secede by definition of both people and secede. Only the government of Texas can secede from the U.S. So my opponent does not meet his resolution as he shows only why the government can secede and not why the people can.

VOTERS

Vote for Neg because he adequately shows how the context in which the resolution is stated is impossible. Seeing as Pro made the resolution, it is only logical that he be punished [by not getting votes] for creating this inherent contradiction. Also, my opponent does not provide one shred of evidence even attempting to prove his side of the debate. While I have shown it would have been impossible, he could have at least tried. But instead, he decided to argue for a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT resolution, and this is why the round flows to Neg. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1
mongeese

Pro

Apparently, we are going to have to pull out the dictionary, but I love a good semantics argument.

My opponent claims that to use the word "secede" requires a government to withdraw from another government. However, this is not the case. Merriam-Webster [1] defines "secede" as "to withdraw from an organization (as a religious communion or political party or federation)." Nothing in this definition implies that a government must be the subject of the verb "secede."

My opponent already agrees that the people of Texas can be part of the federation known as the United States. Therefore, it stands to reason that they can secede from such a federation, as the definition implies.

Ultimately, my opponent's attempt at semantics fails in that he makes up a definition of secession that he does not back up in the slightest.

My opponent chooses to call me out for "not provid[ing] one shred of evidence even attempting to prove [my] side of the debate," but that's only because I have not yet had the chance to respond to my opponent's arguments. It is only natural that I have a chance to respond to any argument before it is assumed that I have not held up my burden in this debate.

In conclusion, the resolution of this debate is not an "inherent contradiction," as my opponent claims, because in order to postulate that the resolution is contradictory, my opponent made up his own definition of secession, not backed by any sources or dictionaries, which must yield to the established definition of Merriam-Webster. The resolution holds, and remains affirmed.

Mr. Jack Nixon, your attempt at semantics may have failed, but good luck in providing a different argument against the resolution.

1. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Mr_Jack_Nixon

Con

All right. My opponent has brought some new evidence into the round.

So my opponent states that the people of Texas have the right to secede from the federation. But who would give them this right? Seeing it is people and not a government that we are talking about, it goes to reason that the people would be the ones granting the right. The word people used in my opponent's resolution, would refer to ALL people. In this case all people in Texas. I myself happen to be from and live in Texas. I say that we don't have the right to secede. So because my opponent didn't say "Some people of Texas" But rather "the people of Texas" it binds him the obligation of showing all people in Texas believing they have a right to secede. Seeing as I don't, then the people of Texas don't have the right to secede.

Secondly, a right dictates choice. For someone to have the right to do something, the right must be CHOSEN by some agent. But natural law of the universe shows everything has specific attributes in the way it acts. This means that nothing really has free will, or the ability to choose. We just have the illusion of a choice because of our lack of omnicience. Humans don't have some special ability to defy common physical laws, and unless my opponent proves we DO, then determinism (what I just described) stands. If determinism is real then people cannot truly choose. If people can't choose, then they can't determine whether someone has a right. This means there are no rights, just illusions of rights. So the people of Texas have no right to secede, because rights aren't real.

In summary, I have provided two solid reasons as to WHY the people of Texas don't have the right to secede from the U.S. I look forward to the next round, thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
mongeese

Pro

My opponent has brought in two new and rather creative arguments against the resolution; however, I shall demonstrate why they still fall flat.

1-. Some Texans don't believe that they have the right to secede.

This is true; some Texans don't believe that they have the right to secede. However, there's nothing at all to imply that one must believe that he has the right to secede in order to have the right to secede. A "right" is defined by Merriam-Webster [1] as "something to which one has a just claim"; I have already made a justification as to why Texans may claim secession. Additionally, according to the Texas Constitution, the right to alter the government is "inalienable," which means that it cannot be surrendered on the basis of not believing in it.

2-. Rights aren't real.

My opponent puts together a large paragraph of unfounded claims and non-sequiturs, which I shall now pick apart.

"For someone to have the right to do something, the right must be CHOSEN by some agent."
This does not follow from anything. Why must the right be chosen by some agent? There is nothing in the definition of "right" to indicate this.

"[N]atural law of the universe shows everything has specific attributes in the way it acts."
Everything? We haven't even discovered everything. There is no basis for claiming that because some observed phenomena follows natural laws, all phenomena must follow natural laws.

"This means that nothing really has free will, or the ability to choose."
Since when does "specific attributes" mean lack of free will? Non-sequitur.

"Humans don't have some special ability to defy common physical laws..."
My opponent assumes a physical law against free will based in "specific attributes," but can we really observe what happens to inanimate objects and conclude that animate people must act in similar ways? That's like saying that things that float in water must float in air: preposterous.

"[U]nless my opponent proves we DO, then determinism (what I just described) stands."
This is my opponent's contention; my opponent holds the burden of proving his contention valid. Just because I cannot disprove determinism, doesn't mean that my opponent has proven it.

"If people can't choose, then they can't determine whether someone has a right."
Non-sequitur. Even if I grant that people can't choose, that has no bearing on one's rights, especially one's natural rights.

"This means there are no rights, just illusions of rights."
This assumes that all rights come from people; my opponent would have to disprove both natural rights and divine rights for his contention to actually mean something.

In conclusion, both of my opponent's arguments still just don't work, but I look forward to any new arguments or the strengthening of these arguments in the next round. Good luck.

1. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Mr_Jack_Nixon

Con

My opponent has presented some refutals, but I feel they aren't adequate. I shall explain.

1. Some Texans don't believe they have the right to secede.

I agree with your definition. But who does this 'justification'? Seeing as you resolution points to the people, it seems only logical the people must decide themselves what is just. If someone (like myself) finds it to be unjust to secede, then it's unjust and therefore not a right. My opponent also makes the mistake of talking about a government. But, the resolution he provides talks about the people, not the government. So all definition apply to people, making my argument valid.

2. Rights aren't real.

My opponent seems confused. I'll walk through each argument individually.

*rights must be chosen by agent*

This is only logical. Rights do not simply 'exist' but something must find them to hold true. In my opponent's own definition he states a right must be just. This means something must judge it. In the case of this resolution, the people are the agents that should choose there rights.

*everything holds 'laws'*

While it is true we have not discovered everything, everything we HAVE discovered is bonded to very strict rules of nature. It is illogical, and simply wishful thinking to assume that there is some entity not bounded by the very laws nature abides by. My opponent's thinking is illogical, while mine makes perfect sense and is common knowledge.

*specific attributes to lack of free will*

I am sorry I was not clear enough. Allow me to explain. If everything is bounded by specific attributes, then they will always act the same way in the same situation. This means that everything in the universe is determined, and strictly cause and effect. In a cause and effect situation, our lives could be completely predicted by looking at the arrangement of molecules and seeing how the will react. This means that the human's life is already laid out for him. Because it is laid out, the human can't truly 'choose' and action, but merely has the illusion of doing so. If humans don't have the freedom to choose their actions, it is obvious they don't have free will.

*Opponent must prove determinism is false.*

I have already shown determinism to be true. What I was saying was that if my opponent failed to show determinism false, then it would flow to me. It also appears that my opponent didn't show determinism false. Therefore he must agree it is true (from the given arguments).

*people can't choose, then they can't have rights*

This is completely linked, it just seems my opponent doesn't understand. A right must be proved just to be a right according to my opponent's definition. Therefore something must be judged to become a right. If someone does not have free will, then they can't truly judge anything, as it is predetermined. Since nothing can be judged, no rights can exist [all according to my opponent's definition.]

*illusions of rights*

If my opponent is to say there are divine and natural rights, it is his burden to prove it. As Neg, I don't have an obligation to. Although I will say that there are no natural rights, and also that there is no God (therefore no divine rights)

In conclusion, I have cleared up and explained my arguments so that they still stand. I look forward to the next round.
Debate Round No. 3
mongeese

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for making this a fun, unique debate. Now, to finish this:

1-. Some Texans don't believe that they have the right to secede.

My opponent claims that only the people can decide what is just. I shall agree with this. However, he then claims that just one dissenting voice makes the entire process unjust, no matter what arguments are used by either side. I find this ridiculous. That would mean that anything that anybody disagrees with unjust. Helping the poor, according to the most radical social Darwinists, would be unjust. Funding a church, according to some atheists, would be unjust. It does not matter what people claim is just and unjust. What matters is the arguments that they use. Currently, I have three contentions not refuted that support the notion that secession would be just. My opponent, however, only has his own dissenting voice.

My opponent criticizes my mentioning of the Texas Constitution's piece on the inalienable right to change the government. However, his criticism doesn't make logical sense. He claims that the resolution does not talk about government, but people, making my point somehow invalid. This is nonsensical, and ought to be ignored.

2+. Rights aren't real.

My opponent has gone in more detail into his arguments, so I shall respond to them accordingly.

a. Rights must be chosen by agent

My opponent claims that something must be judged before it can be considered "just." However, "just" means "having a basis in or conforming to fact or reason" [1]. If there exists nobody to evaluate the statement 2+2=4 to true, does that mean that 2+2=4 is false? No, it doesn't. Two plus two has always equaled four, since before man existed.

b. Everything holds "laws"

My opponent claims that "everything we HAVE discovered is bonded to very strict rules of nature." However, have we observed ourselves not to have choice? My thoughts certainly don't feel very restricted in any way. My opponent's conclusion that he lacks choice presupposes that we have observed ourselves without choice; this is clear circular reasoning, a logical fallacy that makes his entire postulate worthless.

c. Specific attributes to lack of free will

"If everything is bounded by specific attributes, then they will always act the same way in the same situation."
This is a rather curious statement that doesn't actually have any evidence to support it. How can my opponent prove that, at this very second, I will inevitably continue to type this argument? How can he know that I wouldn't change my mind to get a drink? My opponent seems to be making up this connection between "specific attributes" and a lack of free will, and I posit that either my opponent cannot prove his statement to be true, or he cannot prove that we have "specific attributes" as he claims we do.

There's also the Heisenberg uncertainty principle [2], which states that it is physically impossible to know everything about a given particle, which means that we can't predict everything that's going to happen in the universe.

d. Opponent must prove determinism is false

My opponent claims that he has proven determinism to be true, but uses so few reliable sources, and so many logical fallacies, that we can't take his word seriously. As for "flowing" to him, he has the burden of proof for his own contention, so he can't just expect a default to favor him over me. Finally, my opponent makes the preposterous statement that because I didn't show determinism to be false, I must agree that determinism is true. I can't show free will to be false, either; does that mean that I must agree that free will is true, as well? I can neither show that dinosaurs weren't completely green nor that dinosaurs weren't completely red; does that mean that I think that dinosaurs were simultaneously completely green and completely red at the same time?

e. People can't choose, then they can't have rights

I already refuted this claim in Point A.

f. Illusions of rights

It was my opponent who initially claims that all rights must be judged by people; it was my opponent who initially claimed that rights cannot be natural. His claim, his burden. However, I will point out that the Texas Constitution cites the right to change the government as a natural, "inalienable" right.

Conclusion+:

I have provided two solid, yet ignored arguments as to why the people of Texas have the right to secede from the United States of America. My opponent has made three counter-arguments, one of which collapsed right away and two of which I have repeatedly shown to be filled with baseless assumptions and logical fallacies. Vote PRO.

Thank you again, Mr. Jack Nixon, and good luck with your future debates.

1. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Mr_Jack_Nixon

Con

It's now the final round, and I feel quite glad that I accepted this debate. Now, I will follow up on my opponent's closing remarks, and present my conclusion.

1. Some Texans don't believe that they have the right to secede.

Right off the bat, my opponent agrees that it is the PEOPLE who decide what is just in this situation. I also concede the fact that one person does not stop a cause, so we'll assume that for a right to be unjust, the majority of the group must vote it so. So my opponent had 3 rounds to provide evidence showing that the majority of Texans did agree it was just to secede. Unfortunately for him, though, he did not provide such evidence. It is his responsibility as Pro to fulfill his burden of proof. As he did not, the point must fall to me.

Regarding the government, my opponent missed the crucial part of my semantics attack. My opponent had three contentions proving the the Texas GOVERNMENT had the right to secede from the United States. But the resolution doesn't state the GOVERNMENT has the right but rather if the PEOPLE have the right. As my opponent provided no standing evidence as the how or why people have this right, the point flows to me. So in two ways I have shown how this point flows to me. As I have explained it, the voter will see that this should NOT be ignored as my opponent suggests.

2. Rights aren't real.

a. Rights must be chosen by an agent.

The careful reader will notice that my opponent provided a different definition than earlier. Earlier my opponent stated that a right was "defined by Merriam-Webster [1] as "something to which one has a just claim"". The fact that it must be 'judged' as mentioned, all comes from my opponent's own definition. If my opponent is now presenting a NEW definition in the last round, then this shows a dirty tactic, abuse, and most of all a contradiction with himself. All of those things are wrong, and the voter should consider the ORIGINAL definition my opponent provided, and brought to this round.

Also, in my opponent example, 2 2 =4 is not a right. A right would be like the right to drive. Someone can have a right to drive and not have the right to drive. Both are logical and possible. It is not logical for 2 2 NOT to have the right to equal 4. It's not a value, therefore no right can be attributed to it. Just another point that should go against my opponent and for myself.

b. Everything holds "laws"

Of course my opponent's thoughts don't feel restricted. As I stated, we have the complete illusion of free will. If we knew the future, we would see everything we would do, and we would realize we didn't have free will. Just in the hanging ball toy, with the five metal balls held next to each other. If you pull one and drop it, you will expect the ball on the other end to pop up. If the toy was in working condition, then this would happen. Our minds are MUCH more complex, but it is still made out of the base materials of the non-animate objects around us. We have no reason to believe our minds are unique from the physical bonds of the universe, and my opponent stating my logic is 'circular' does not make it so. So my opponent's assertion doesn't hold water when compared to the natural law of the universe that we have observed to be true 100% of the time.

c. Specific attributes to lack of free will

My opponent's refutal of this point lies solely on the evidence provided on Heisenberg uncertainty principle. While this is part of the quantum theory, many prominent scientists directly deny [1] this principle. This is because the principle makes up for something we do not yet have the power to do. Besides, not knowing a particles position and velocity does NOT mean that it does not abide by the laws of the universe. So EVEN if the principle holds true, it doesn't affect the argument. Now my opponent said to 'prove' that he chose to do this argument instead of get a drink. As I have proven the universe is deterministic, this means that we have no actual choice. There is not some particle in our brain that can allow random spontaneous thought. And on how 'specific attributes' is connected to determinism; if everything behaves in a uniform fashion, then every particle (with a uber strong computer) could be exactly calculated. This hypothetically could apply to humans, and scientists have NEVER found anything disproving the theory.

d. Opponent must prove determinism is false

My opponent has taken an innocent statement from me, and completely misunderstood it. The context that I used, was that because I proved it, my opponent would have to DISprove it. I wasn't saying this as if he had to prove a negative. I had already proved the negative. My opponent also stated that I had few reliable sources an many logical fallacies. The 1 or 2 fallacies my opponent pointed out I explained. If my opponent saw so many fallacies, isn't it logical that he would have presented them. I see no reason why would should take his word not backed up by logic. I have shown logically the determinism is completely true. Also, I have provided some evidence, something my opponent has lacked just as much as me. If you will notice, my opponent will still has not refuted determinism. He has failed to prove my logic incorrect, or sources wrong. Because he could not refute this point, it must go toward me.

e. People can't choose, then they can't have rights

I have defended this in point A. Don't know why my opponent brought it up again. Probably so he had more points to make, perhaps?

f. Illusions of rights

As I have proven before, we are not dealing with the government. The constitution is not relevant, as only the people are. See previous arguments, and also conclusion.

CONCLUSION

My opponent has provided two solid arguments as to why the government of Texas has a right to secede, but has failed to show how the PEOPLE of Texas themselves [as the resolution states] have the right to secede. I have shown rights don't exist, therefore the idea that ANYONE has a right is ridiculous in the first place. This should be enough to win me the round. But in case the voter doesn't buy it, he/she must realize that my opponent did not defend his resolution, but a different one. He showed why the GOVERNMENT has the right [or claims to have done so], but not why to PEOPLE [as resolution actually states] have the right. Because he has had ample time to do this, and hasn't, it seems the round has gone to me.

I thank my opponent for this most exciting debate. I relish debates that are actually fun, and let's just say I enjoyed this one QUITE a bit. I look for to debating my opponent again in the future---thank you.

1. A Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking
Debate Round No. 4
38 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mongeese 6 years ago
mongeese
Volkov, that would be Stage 2. First I want a simpler debate over the right to secede.
Posted by Volkov 6 years ago
Volkov
Well, it's fairly obvious the state of Texas has the right to secede. No one can really argue against that. This debate is fairly silly in that way - you're arguing over facts, not opinions.

Why not make it interesting? Ask whether the state of Texas should secede.
Posted by jaweber1 6 years ago
jaweber1
The US invited Texans into the Union did they. Hahaha thats funny because from what I know of history, following the secession of Texas from Mexico no one wanted the thought of adding Texas to the Union on there plate. In fact Texas's original appeal for admittance into the Union was turned down and Texas was known as an independent nation for a decade. Four presidents would pass through the oval office before Tyler, foreseeing Texas's imminent future, chose to act in the final days of his office to secure the glory for himself before Polk ever could.

Not to be a nick picky pest but it was by no means an inviting welcome, their admittance into the Union was long debated over the additional issues to come from adding Texas, especially those of foreign affairs. In the end, Tyler had his own interest at heart, not Texans.

Selfish actions that receive glory for being more than actually are irritates me to no end. You may have or may not have known the information above but I feel I have an obligation to the state of my sanity to cut down the balcony of men who do not deserve the praise they receive.

B-T-DUBS - Unrelated topic but come on society Michael Phelps is not the BEST Olympian of all time, he is the best Olympian Swimmer of this time. There is a major difference, not to mention, Spitz was actually better in comparison to rivals of his time and swimming consist of remarkably repetitive events.
Posted by alto2osu 6 years ago
alto2osu
I was actually only posting that for the symmetry value. Until you said that, I'd totally forgotten about it. :D
Posted by Xer 6 years ago
Xer
Hey! Don't laugh at me again, I've already been embarrassed... by myself. :/
Posted by alto2osu 6 years ago
alto2osu
Snicker.... (wow...deja vu!)
Posted by Xer 6 years ago
Xer
I remember this debate. Eh.. I also remember using "altruism" instead of "truism" twice, without any idea. Embarrassing.
Posted by alto2osu 6 years ago
alto2osu
Wow...this got resurrected when? As for the Civil War, Matt, was that the North telling the South to buzz off because they couldn't secede, or was there a declaration of war involved with the secession? The two acts (war and secession) are mutually exclusive, so the Civil War really isn't an applicable example here. A group of people can secede without starting or participating in a civil war.
Posted by Freeman 6 years ago
Freeman
Moral Progress ==========>

<=============== Texas

If Texas does secede, then can you take the rest of the red states with you, please? ;)
Posted by mattrodstrom 6 years ago
mattrodstrom
all the people who're saying that they unarguably have the right to secede... I agree... BUT I'm pretty sure the Fed. legislature, executive, and maybe even Judiciary, would disagree.
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