The Instigator
aburk903
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
CJKAllstar
Con (against)
Winning
23 Points

Victimless crimes are not crimes at all.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
CJKAllstar
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/15/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,126 times Debate No: 52535
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (6)

 

aburk903

Pro

Hello all.
My premise is that victimless crimes are not crimes at all. A victimless crime is an action that is currently criminal, but one that harms no one other than the individual(s) willingly participating in said activity. Examples of such crimes are drug use, prostitution, and suicide. Individuals are still held accountable for subsequent actions that interfere with the autonomy of others, similar to current laws that apply to persons under the influence of alcohol.

I look forward to a good debate.
CJKAllstar

Con

I accept the debate, but would like to have some definitions to avoid semantics, as well as state my premise.

Legally speaking, victimless crimes are crimes. So semantically speaking, you have already lost, but seeing as I'm not an insidious debater, I presume you are saying that victimless crimes should not be crimes. In which case, BOP is then shared between us unlike before when it was solely on you. If this is the case then please say so in the comments.

Definitions

Victimless Crime -"An infraction of criminalwithout any identifiable evidence of an individualthat has suffered damage in the infraction." -http://www.princeton.edu...

Crime - "An action or omission which constitutes an offence and is punishable by law" -http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

My premise is that victimless crimes should remain crimes, due to the fundamenal purpose of law, which is regarding the safety of each and every person within the state.

I look forward to a good debate.
Debate Round No. 1
aburk903

Pro

I appreciate your maturity in not reverting to semantic games, and will clarify my premise. I agree with your definition of victimless crime as an activity which produces no apparent negative result/damage, but is still somehow unlawful. However, when I introduce the question of whether they should be crimes, I am obviously not confused as to whether or not they are currently illegal. If this debate simply asked if prostitution, suicide, and drug use were illegal, you would have only the simple task of citing the laws that criminalize them. However, my premise is that these actions do not harm objecting parties, that the purpose of the law is to protect an individual"s autonomy and not to allow others to infringe on it, and that any law forbidding an individual to practice free choice (as long as he is not interfering with another"s right to) is an unjust law.
I disagree with your assertion that the purpose of the law is directly correlated to individual safety. If that were so, then smoking, drinking, and even unhealthy foods would be banned. In fact, exercise would become mandatory, as sedentary lifestyle is far more likely to cause health problems. The reason that all of that sounds so absurd is that the law has never existed to promote safety, and if the law did proactively force individuals to behave in ways like I mention above, the public outcry would be tumultuous, as it would be viewed as an infringement on the individual"s freedom of choice. Safety relies solely on the discretion of the individual. The law exists to protect the individual"s freedom from being infringed upon. Laws against murder, rape, thievery, etc. must exist to protect individuals from one another. This is exactly why victimless crimes should not be crimes at all. The examples of victimless crimes that I have listed are not protecting anyone"s freedom, but restricting it. Therefore, given my definition of the purpose of the law as a tool with which to protect individual freedom, and the given laws against victimless crimes (restricting individual freedoms), it must be understood that these laws are what must be criminalized, not the liberties of the individual.
CJKAllstar

Con

Rebuttal

I disagree with your assertion that the purpose of law is solely to withhold the autonomy of an individual. All law relating to crime is based around safety. Someone cannot kill, steal, assault, harm, offend or abuse someone in a countless amounts of ways, and surely these are infringing on true freedom? Restrictions on purchasing alcohol, drugs, tobacco, knives and a variety of other products also infringes on freedom. Voting age, to driving age, to littering to rape all infringe on the freedom of the individual. Most of law is not based around withholding autonomy, because autonomy is the choice to do what you want, and those who want to commit crimes are all at a disadvantage. Those who want to litter, or vote under sixteen when they are underage cannot. Autonomy here is being infringed, so how can you say that law does not have a direct correlation with individual safety? How can you say that the purpose is to withhold autonomy, when so much of law is about keeping people from being killed? Maybe I want to drive down a road at 200mp/h, but I cannot because it is not safe. Maybe I want to enter a legally binding contract as a minor, maybe I want to drive a car without working lights, maybe I want to drink and drive, but all of these I cannot do, because they aren't safe.

Your premise is incorrect thus every argument to follow is as well, because law isn't just about safety, but isn't mainly about autonomy. It is about the protection of rights. Law is about withholding the rights of everybody. There are 30 human rights and I will go through each one to explain firstly why I am right in that law withholds these rights, and why victimless crimes can be against them.

1. We are all free and equal. - Everyone is equal and has all rights. This is why there is law against abuse, racism and offense. This is why every citizen has the right to vote once they reach a certain age, and everyone has the right to drink, buy knives and drive once they reach a certain age. This is why there is law against discrimination, sexism and abuse.

2. Don’t discriminate. - This is obvious. There is a bounty of law against discrimination. racism and sexism for this reason.

3. The right to life. Murder, manslaughter and offenses which mentally slay a person applies here, such as rape and abuse. This is why a victimless crime such as publicly supporting murder, which may not directly offend someone, is illegal, because it is displaying discontent against a human right,

4. No slavery – past and present. Trafficking, rape, kidnapping. See number three and replace murder with slavery.

5. No Torture. Torture and abuse is internationally illegal. See number three and replace murder with torture.

6. We all have the same right to use the law. The law applies to all, not some. See number three and replace murder with a discontent for the idea of law.

7. We are all protected by the law. This is self-implied. That is why we have lawyers and courts. See above.

8. Fair treatment by fair courts. There is law advocating fair treatment. Bias and lying, even if it is victimless for this reason is illegal.

9. No unfair detainment. Also obvious.

10. The right to trial. All people have a right to trial. Even if it saves time, money and effort and doesn't harm anyone, it is illegal because it is a human right.

11. Innocent until proven guilty. Again, this is the way the justice system works, and it is legally enforced. It can be so succinctly obvious that somebody committed a crime, and as I said before it can save time, money and effort and can cause no harm, but it is a human right and is legally enforced.

12. The right to privacy. This is where law helps with autonomy. From spying, to hacking, to the right to have personal data kept hidden, all of these are enforced. Somebody can install hacking programs and not use them to harm anybody, so by definition it is victimless, but he could be arrested because of potential harm.

13. Freedom to move. Obvious again. From kidnapping to forcing somebody to stay, this is illegal. Even if the person consents, forcing somebody to stay is still illegal.

14. The right to asylum. Even more obvious and you should be seeing the pattern. Keeping somebody from asylum is illegal even if they consent.

15. The right to a nationality. Everybody has the ability to become a citizen in a country. See above.

16. Marriage and family. Every grown-up has the right to marry and have a family if they want to. Men and women have the same rights when they are married, and when they are separated. See 14 and replace asylum with marriage.

17. Your own things. Everyone has the right to own things or share them. Nobody should take our things from us without a good reason. Which is why we have laws against theft.

18. Freedom of thought. We all have the right to believe in what we want to believe, to have a religion, or to change it if we want. This is where autonomy also comes in place.

19. Free to say what you want. We all have the right to make up our own minds, to think what we like, to say what we think, and to share our ideas with other people. Law as well is a bit sketchy with this one, but just like 18 it is enforced.

20. Meet where you like. See 13, they are similar.

21. The right to democracy. We all have the right to take part in the government of our country. Every grown-up should be allowed to choose their own leaders. And every grown-up can.

22. The right to social security. We all have the right to affordable housing, medicine, education, and child care, enough money to live on and medical help if we are ill or old. There is once again, lots of legislation for this.

23. Workers’ rights. Every grown-up has the right to do a job, to a fair wage for their work, and to join a trade union. Legislation helps this.

24. The right to play. We all have the right to rest from work and to relax. That is why there are restrictions on working hours.

25. A bed and some food. We all have the right to a good life. Mothers and children, people who are old, unemployed or disabled, and all people have the right to be cared for. A social safety net and welfare exists for this.

26. The right to education. Education is a right and a privilege. And that is definitely enforced by law. Whether you want to or not, because it is vital.

27. Culture and copyright. Copyright is a special law that protects one’s own artistic creations and writings; others cannot make copies without permission. We all have the right to our own way of life and to enjoy the good things that “art,” science and learning bring.

28. A free and fair world. There must be proper order so we can all enjoy rights and freedoms in our own country and all over the world.

29. Our responsibilities. We have a duty to other people, and we should protect their rights and freedoms. Law helps this.

30. Nobody can take away these rights and freedoms from us. And this is important, and heavily protected by law.

My point is that the purpose of law coincides with rights, which contain safety and autonomy together. Legislation is there for everyone of these points. Your premise has been defeated. Victimless crimes should be crimes, but I have to get on to that later because I am running out of space. But in short, they may not harm others, but they can harm the rights of people themselves. Drug use can prevent you from thinking correctly leading to stupid decisions. In turn, you can kill yourself, hinder your responsibilities, not have freedom of thought and you are more likely to ruin these for others. Prostitution can lead to diseases brought along by yourself hindering the right to live and can be mental torture if you will. Suicide harms others mentally and you have a right to live, which you are ignoring. Even subjectively, sodomy and homosexuality are sins and the bible states that sin is death, so practicing these is hindering your right to live. My point is, law isn't for safety or autonomy, but rights, which victimless crimes cannot always support. Sources I'm afraid will have to come next round.

Debate Round No. 2
aburk903

Pro

Your first argument is very flawed. The law does exist to protect an individual"s safety, but when it infringes upon his autonomy unnecessarily then it ceases to be just. Actions like murder, rape and thievery all interfere with the victim's autonomy to live, not be raped, and to maintain their honestly acquired possessions. The law protects us from each other. However, prostitution is not rape and suicide is not murder. The bottom line is that if every involved party gives full consent, then the law has no place in interfering. You are correct that restrictions currently exist regulating the purchase of alcohol, tobacco, and weapons, and governing the legal age to drive and vote. Obviously there is no fixed moral scale for these as they vary drastically as you broaden your view to an international scale, but I digress. I am against any such laws as they do unnecessarily restrict an individual's freedom. The main reason that those laws are even in place is because of the government"s definition of when an individual becomes an adult ("person"), capable of making educated choices so that they will not inadvertently cause self-harm.

As to the 30 arguments:

1.Autonomy is freedom, and must be guaranteed equally.
2.Discrimination is not a victimless crime, so said laws may exist in either of our proposed systems.
3.As stated above, murder infringes on another's right to choose life and as such should remain illegal. There is a clear victim. However, current laws prohibit an individual from forfeiting their right to life by choosing suicide, and that is what must change.
4.Not to be redundant, but slavery is only justifiable if someone willingly enters into it. (Individual autonomy)
5.As previously reasoned, no torture is just unless consensual. BDSM shouldn"t be criminalized, should it?

In fact, as I read the rest of this list, I see a very rational and thorough list of basic human rights, all of which I basically agree with. However, in your introduction you claimed that each of these points proved victimless crimes should remain criminal. Neither of us disputes the importance of equality and that is all that any of these points seem to represent. I simply argue that the law has no place in governing an individual's choices in matters that concern only the individual.

If drug use causes me to make poor choices, then I am responsible for them. If I contract a sexually transmitted disease from having consensual sex with a prostitute, it is not different then contracting one from any sexual partner. They also both bear the equal responsibility to inform me of their condition before we can enter into truly consensual sex.

I am shocked that you would argue that the Bible states sodomy is a sin and that the "wages of sin is death". I did not intend to bring religion into this, but by asserting that your religious doctrine is any just tool to use in making laws for me (an atheist) you have already violated your own value of equality. You can believe anything that you choose to morally, just as I can, but we must be given the chance to without the interference of the law as long as we do not directly interfere with each other"s lives in a nonconsensual way.
In the interest of furthering true freedom and equality wherever possible, you must agree that victimless crimes should be legalized and vote pro today.

It has been a pleasure debating, con.
CJKAllstar

Con

Rebuttal

The purpose of law does not just exist for autonomy. Simply because of your modified resolution. If law existed to withhold autonomy then victimless crimes already would not be crimes, and you would have no need to debate this. I should have made this point clear in the first round, but I ask the floor to think about this seriously. The main argument of Pro is that victimless crimes should not be crimes because they go against the purpose of the law, which is a focus on autonomy. If that were true then victimless crimes would not be illegal already. With this specific point, Pro had BOP to prove that this is the purpose of the law. I simply must find a few examples againt that to prove that the purpose of the law isn't, but this debate has already found said examples. These are victimless crimes. Clearly, unless Pro has solid evidence and proof, it makes no sense to say that the purpose of the law has always been to withhold autonomy and concurrently is has been failing, because victimless crimes were always a part of law.

I need to make this point loud and clear; Pro has stated that legislature, since the start of legislature has been failing the purpose of law, with no evidence. You cannot simply make such a claim and expect it to be self-evident. Unless written down in such a manner that the purpose of the law has been made clear, then neither Pro or I can define it is purpose, without resulting to legislature that is already there, without cherry-picking, so this must include victimless crimes. This is something I have done to show that law helps maintain human rights, even victimless crimes. Pro has said it is for autonomy, but left out a chunk of legislature in his evidence, but has no other evidence as well, so it simply cannot be heeded as fact. I urge the floor to disregard Pro's point about the purpose of law. Yes, he has valid points, but I could make the case that the purpose of law solely for road safety because there is legislature about it, and all other legislature not relating to it is simply incorrect. This is not true because there is no evidence about the purpose, thus I must point to all legislature and not simply disregard some because it does not fit my definition.

I cannot repeat enough how important this point is. Pro's premise is incorrect. The purpose of law is the sum of its parts. The purpose of Shar'ia law is to withhold Islam, not autonomy. Papal law in general isn't there for withholding autonomy, but God. Law isn't for autonomy. If it is, Pro had full BOP which he only picked certain examples of the law. But relate this to my argument relating to road safety. It simply isn't BOP met, and I here have negated what he had achieved. I say this once more, Pro's premise was incorrect thus any following arguments although logical can not be heeded. I urge the members of the floor to take this point seriously. His arguments are enticing, his rebuttal strong, but his premise simply cannot support them, and my negation of them has placed me ahead. I have completed my burden in BOP, but I exceeded buy showing how there is a 100% correlation in law and the human rights, which may not be true, but my evidence lies in the fact that these are the human rights, and we do have legislature for all of them, which is a better correlation that Pro's.

Now that I have made that point, I first would like to tackle the issue of the Bible. I am a Christian, but that does not mean I am a ultra-conservative super-Christian. Do not make assumptions. The example I used I could have replaced with Shar'ia law. I said "subjectively" for a reason. If we take the laws relating to awrah, regarding intimate areas, then in certain jurisdictions of Islam, the hands and face of a woman are awrah and must be covered. Now, you never stated which law so I can only assume you mean law in general. Well, how does awrah help retain autonomy? In the Salafi Movement, this is enforced, not for freedom, but because "intimate parts" of a woman being shown are against the Qur'an, are revealing and immoral and other more spiritual reasons only a muslim can preach. Where is the autonomy in that? But this and other laws help to tell the purpose of law. Because the purpose of law is the sum of its parts, and this is hard to disprove. If a country has laws only based on having as much fun as possible, and living ife to its fullest and funnest, then clearly the purpose of that law is hedonism. This is a very important point I wish I made clearer to start with. Because then it shows that what you are doing in defining a purpose and saying certain aspects do not fit does not make any sense.

The thirty points was a step-forward of my BOP, just to show a correlation which you could not. Which I will advance on,why they should be crimes.

To tackle why it should, we need to find out why they are, and there is a brillaint quote.

""The government's ambition is to end all forms of violence against women and girls. This includes protecting those involved in prostitution, who are particularly vulnerable to violent and sexual crimes."- Andrew Boff, leader of the Conservative group in the London Assembly - 2012

This is my argument. This shows that law simply does not want autonomy, but safety. It must do, as I have proven above, the purpose of law is simply the some of its parts and this is a part. Law's purpose includes safety, and the criminalisation of prostitution has intentions and hopes to help that. I do not see how much further I need to go into this, it is in black and white, literally. This law is a part of all legislature, so the purpose of law is clearly the sum of its parts, then this law is a part of the sum, so this must be heeded. Victimless crimes should be a crime because they can still cause harm to the safety of an individual and others, and this now has new light shed on it.

I really hope the floor has seen what has happened, and they vote responsibly. Thank you.

Sources:
http://www.politics.co.uk...
http://www.samaritanmag.com...
http://www.unesco.org...


Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
RFD:

Pro needs to be more careful about how he frames the debate.

Con actually warned him of this in R1, and I think Pro took the warning too lightly. So long as the burden is to prove what law is meant to do, the burden is on Pro to provide reasons why law as a whole is wrongly skewed, which means a lot of legal theory and arguments on how society should function. That requires evidence, or at the very least it requires reputable sources that agree with your point of view. I agree with Con that this sets the BOP on you, and that your own opinion, no matter how logical, is not sufficient to meet it.

Even if it was about logic, I think that Con has presented enough logical uncertainty to make me question the application. There's value to the law acting as a protective force from physical and psychological harms rather than a force of preserving freedoms, and Con does enough there to make me uncertain about whether freedom should be the major focus of legal doctrine.

For future reference, Pro, I would say that you could have made the BOP more even if you had argued that victimless crimes aren't harmful to society rather than that shouldn't be against the law. It would have forced a moral discussion on their effects rather than a legal one. It would then place a significant burden on Con to explain the logic behind the law and support its continued presence, whereas you would simply be able to argue freedom vs. safety. Just a thought.

Also, Con's getting sources, mainly because he had them while Pro lacked them completely.
Posted by CJKAllstar 3 years ago
CJKAllstar
I feel. That loss was purely negative and the debate was not beneficial whatsoever, when it could have been if the voter had been better, and that is my point.
Posted by CJKAllstar 3 years ago
CJKAllstar
That is an issue with votes anyway, not this particular one. I think a blind voting system would be better, in which only the debaters can see all the votes. But in this particular case, that is irrelevant. Maybe that particular aspect was not clear enough, but I was trying to make the case that there is enough law about safety to go against your point. That included, all laws about crime and other examples such as voting and littering. I never said they were related, I never once said that the purpose of law was safety.

That whole list about human rights was proving the correlation, more than your argument about autonomy. I did say, "I will go through each one to explain firstly why I am right in that law withholds these rights, and why victimless crimes can be against them. " Notice the "can". I never said that they all did. I even stated explicitly what I think the purpose of law was, and had evidence why. And for a voter to just disregard that and put words in my mouth, that is what annoys me. Here is another debate by the same person:

http://www.debate.org...

That is what I mean. You are not to blame at all and I do realise that you have lost because of this and it would annoy me, but read my post about why winning and losing are valuable. I would rather lose because I had a worse argument, and the voters explain to me why, than win in complete vain. Because there are effects of losing. From ELO, to rating to how you are viewed, losing is not something pleasant, so if I do I want it in the end to provide a greater benefit, I want to know how to improve.

The same really should be for you. You would have easily won that debate...if you could prove your premise. But with this now in mind, you are more likely to do so in the future because for a while, the effect of your lack to do so will remain. But in the end, you'll be a better debater. But imagine if you had done so, and still lost. That is how
Posted by aburk903 3 years ago
aburk903
You're frustrated because you were referring only to criminal law (which you state in the forum on "The Worst Kind of Vote")? Why is it, then, that in the same paragraph your legal examples are the legal ages for driving and voting, littering laws, and in the same list- rape. Perhaps AlextheYounga would have been better off in citing one of my examples of current victimless crimes that do not involve safety instead of introducing an example involving finances and revenue, but his vote still stands. Also interested to see that the voting paradigm has shifted from each of us having equally strong arguments in 9spaceking's opinion to your favor with the reason of "super unfairness". I suppose we will now begin judging rounds based on the votes of other judges and not the content of the debate itself.
Posted by CJKAllstar 3 years ago
CJKAllstar
http://www.debate.org...

I don't care whether I win or lose, as long as I do so fairly, and it is with value. There is so much wrong with his vote that it has lost all meaning, but in turn, if I lose because of it, then all value behind a win or a loss is gone...but try telling that to my ELO, or win ratio, or statistics, or onlookers. I want to win, but if I lose I want to be able to see the votes and see why that is so, then improve. I want a loss to have meaning.
Posted by aburk903 3 years ago
aburk903
CJKAllstar, our debate is over and it is wrong to continue it in the comments. If you wish to continue our debate, you may challenge me directly on the same topic, and I will accept. In any case, neither of us are here to debate with the voters. I understand that it is frustrating when someone votes against you (especially when it doesn't make sense to you), but criticizing the voter is not appropriate.
Posted by CJKAllstar 3 years ago
CJKAllstar
AlextheYounga2, can you read? I explicitly stated that "Law is about withholding the rights of everybody." Read before jumping to conclusions. "Great argument from pro". Again, I question whether you actually read the debate. Look at my round three for goodness sake.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by DreamSymphony00 3 years ago
DreamSymphony00
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Reasons for voting decision: Con used sources and clear definitions. Con had a more solid argument by showing that victimless crimes are actually not victimless.
Vote Placed by NiamC 3 years ago
NiamC
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Reasons for voting decision: Con had sources
Vote Placed by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
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Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.
Vote Placed by Linkish1O2 3 years ago
Linkish1O2
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Reasons for voting decision: Con had sources where pros arguments where all on a hunch.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 3 years ago
9spaceking
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Reasons for voting decision: pro had no sources, alex's vote was super unfair
Vote Placed by AlextheYounga 3 years ago
AlextheYounga
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Reasons for voting decision: Con lost when he said all laws are made for the safety of all individuals. Some are only for money revenue. What about renewing your car tag? Do you honestly believe that is for my safety? Awesome debate, Pro