The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Vigilantism is Justified when govermnment has failed to enforce the law 2

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/10/2009 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 739 times Debate No: 7767
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




Hi, I need to punch the holes out of my case and really need critiques on this new case before I go to nationals. Please only accept if you really are thorough in attacking and give all attacks you think about or critiques. No attack is stupid, just KILL MY CASE.
Vigilantism is justified when government has failed to enforce the law
V: Societal welfare
VC: Will to Power of societal order
Thesis: The will to power is an individual's struggle against their surroundings that culminates in personal growth, and the ability to assert power. Vigilantism is justified through this struggle against the crime that has been committed. In Will to Power Nietzsche writes:
"My idea is that every specific body strives to become master over all space and to extend its force (its will to power) and to thrust back all that resists its extension. But it continually encounters similar efforts on the part of other bodies and ends by coming to an arrangement ("union") with those of them that are sufficiently related to it: thus they then conspire together for power."

If the government (the highest power) has failed to uphold the law then the vigilante is justified at working for the top, for this is the natural state. Thus, Vigilantism is Justified when the government fails to uphold the law(which is essentially relinquishing power over people). Since the will of the people is being upheld
Observation1: The affirmative is stating that all actions are manifestations of power and a want for the ideas behind it to reach supremacy. EX. Why would I do charity? Because I want to help children and promote the idea by example.
Observation 2: Will to Power explains how an individual set out to reach his goals. The vigilante's goal is to maintain a status quo in which the society is neutral or better. This can further be explained in the definition "who decides to take the law into his own hands" meaning that said individual will fix the law. Thus, it can be understood that the object that is being altered is societal laws.
Contention 1: How vigilantes both work for themselves and others
It can be understood that a government's priority is its citizens, however will to power may seem to contradict that. Or does it?
Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr., wrote—clearly within a line of thought already well-established by then:
It has been said that "[t]he most basic function of any government is to provide for the security of the individual and of his property." Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 539 (1966) (WHITE, J., dissenting). And unless Government safeguards its own capacity to function and to preserve the security of its people, society itself could become so disordered that all rights and liberties would be endangered. As Chief Justice Hughes reminded us in Cox v. New Hampshire, 312 U.S. 569, 574 (1941):
Civil liberties, as guaranteed by the Constitution, imply the existence of an organized society maintaining public order without which liberty itself would be lost in the excesses of unrestrained abuses.
1.White: Government must "provide for the security of the individual and of his property."
2.Powell: Government cannot do that unless it "safeguards its own capacity to function."
3.Hughes: Without "an organized society maintaining public order," there can be no liberty.
4.Yoo: Our government must therefore protect "the security of the United States."

There, in just a short set of remarks by members of the professional legal class, by what seems like an unassailable logical progression, we can see the clear development of what ought to be a deeply troublesome idea: only a government whose primary interest is protecting its own institutional existence can serve the function that its citizens believe—apparently mistakenly—ought to be its primary interest, namely, the security of those citizens and their interests. Thus disproving will to power as a narcissistic term.

Cont: 2 Vigilantism's on your side ( To the tune of nationwide)
Some may ask, Well, what if the vigilante fails? I will answer truly. He probably will but this is how all governments are formed. Through trial and error he will work his way up. He will essentially be our patriotic fighter. He works to help us and if he fails, then we mourn. However with every vigilante the will to maintain the societal order will grow. Then, with an incredible barrage someone will achieve.
A: Misdirected conceptions make the vigilante harm society
This is not true. The vigilante first represents himself and then his people. The vigilante will work for his people to establish a societal order. If he fails in that will, it will be not because of him being. "Vigilantes" who have misconceptions about their will or people aren't really trying to enforce the law or better it, only to achieve a knock off or their personal justice which is not a vigilante. To put it in simple terms if the vigilante tries to enforce the law, but isn't really, then that isn't the will of maintaining the social order and thus enforcing the law.
B: the laws are bad.
Again, I will point out that if the "vigilante" tries to enforce bad laws, he will be disturbing the societal order. This runs contradictory to the earlier statement that his will is to promote the societal order. Some may point out that the definition says to take the law into one's hands. This, however, does not imply that the laws will be enforced. This can mean that the laws will be changed and then enforced or some other sequence.


I would first like to thank my opponent for issuing this challenge and wish him the best of luck.

i offer the following definitions for clarification.
Vigilante-any person who takes the law into his or her own hands, as by avenging a crime; done violently and summarily, without recourse to lawful procedures
Justify-to defend or uphold as warranted or well-grounded
Government-the form or system of rule by which a state, community, etc., is governed
Enforce-to impose

Value: Peace which shall be defined as avoiding a state of nature or total government collapse

Value Criterion: Governmental Legitimacy.

Contention 1: Effort
Vigilantism is a short-term solution; my opponent can agree that a long-term application of vigilantism in any situation wouldn't solve crime, as violence perpetuates violence. Also, such a system would depend on vigilantism ALWAYS being morally correct and perfect, and at that point, there's no need for law or government anyway, since individuals would be... next to Christ-like. Ignoring that line of argumentation, the only real solution would be to put effort into rebuilding a NEW government or REFORMING the old one. Otherwise, you undermine the government's ability to rule, and we fall into a Hobbesian state of nature.

Contention 2: Naturalistic Fallacy
The resolution states that the government only needs to fail to enforce the law to justify vigilantism. But, is vigilantism justified when the law isn't good? My opponent has assumed that all laws are good and righteous, when I can easily point out such things as Jim Crow laws. Does my opponent REALLY want to stoop to that level? If he does, then:
A) He agrees the government doesn't have to support Jim Crow laws.
Oh, then all laws aren't justified then. And, therefore, vigilantism isn't justified (sometimes) when the government fails to enforce the law. That's conditional affirmation. He loses.
B) He says that a vigilante wouldn't support such laws.
My opponent fails to take groups like the KKK into consideration.
C) He finally admits that such laws would have to be enforced, for whatever reason.
My opponent has no moral standing. He's freely advocating, at this point, a government that freely abuses and dehumanizes certain members of society. And, at that point, there's no point in the law for those members of society.
D) He says Jim Crow laws don't count; I need a broader view.
How about China's One-Child policy? Should vigilantes enforce THAT law if the government fails to do so? It gets worse and worse from here on out.

Contention 3: Social Contract Theory
A government's job is to represent the people's best interests; the reason we concede power to it is because it NEEDS that power to protect our interests. Therefore, we also put power into the GOVERNMENT to decide when and where to enforce the law. It is not the right of the people to choose when and where to support the government's decision; otherwise, my opponent is directly choosing a state of nature, with no government. I already said why that's bad; that's why peace is my value.

Contention 4: Overkill
Okay. Obviously, the resolution has stated that the "jury" part of due process has failed to work. I'm fine with that; it's the single advantage (for all intents and purposes) that the affirmative has. The other part of due process is the punishment. The resolution only says that vigilantism is justified; we have no clue what such a person could do. Let's say the government decides that a shoplifter (a single mother in poverty) doesn't have to pay a fine or spend jail time. At that point, the government has failed to enforce the law. Let's say Joe Brown, our vigilante, comes up and brutally murders the girl to "enforce" the law. This is clearly wrong and unnecessary.

For these reasons I encourage a negative vote.
Debate Round No. 1


V: Peace
1 peace is not achieved by a bad government
2 you provide no link
3 Not compatible with the resolution
Legitimate governments
1 Are not always just and thus not compatible with the resolution
2 Do not necessarily create peace
3Blah Blah
c1 Vigilantism is a in the middle option, During THE TIME THE GOVT IS GOING THROUGH REFORM
c2 The vigilante does not uphold the law but the will of the people
c3 ????
c4 Your example is invalid. The will of the people takes her will ( to not be killed) as well as the just masses into account

By the way I didn't want to debate, sorry if I wasn't clear but I wanted to punch the holes out of my case. I really am rushing so If you want I will critique your case better in round two but we have no third rebuttal either. thanks for accepting though.


AnimeFanTony forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Metz 7 years ago
Con's Case is Copied from another site... word for word
Posted by s0m31john 7 years ago
Sorry I agree. And I'm far too busy for a debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TheCategorical 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:70