The Instigator
snelld7
Pro (for)
Winning
68 Points
The Contender
pgoulaimpact
Con (against)
Losing
29 Points

Vigilantism is justified when the government fails to uphold the law

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/26/2009 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 9,672 times Debate No: 7123
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (17)
Votes (14)

 

snelld7

Pro

Affirmative

"A government that fails to fulfill its responsibility is not a legitimate government, thus, citizens aren't obligated to recognize its legitimacy"- Famous philosopher John Locke.
When you apply this statement to the current debate you can see there is no other way then to affirm the resolution;

Resolved: Vigilantism is justified when the government has failed to enforce the law.

My value is that of Justice.

Justice being Justice being defined as the maintenance or administration of what is just based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, fairness and equity. A conception of justice is one of the key features of society because essentially justice concerns the proper ordering of things and persons within a society.

My criterion in today's debate is that of John Locke's theory of administrative justice.

Essentially what the theory of administrating justice is, is that a legitimate government has the responsibility to uphold the law. However, a government that doesn't fulfill its responsibility is not a legitimate government, and citizens aren't obligated to recognize its legitimacy. Before I go further into my case I offer the following Observations and definitions to clarify my side of the debate:

OBSERVATION1:
Under the resolution, it is made clear that the government is not upholding the law, and this is the circumstances in many nations. In Brazil, as few as 1% of robberies are successfully investigated by the police. (Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, American Academy of Arts and Sciences) Jose Gregori, the secretary of state for human rights stated: "It is a chronically violent country. The police are not efficient, it does not fight crime, and it is violent. The justice system is very slow." From this, we can conclude that the only reasonable hope of law and order in a community such as this comes from private action.

OBSERVATION 2:
My second observation concerns the definition of ‘vigilantism.'
Classic vigilantes, according to the American University Law Review:
1.are members of an organized committee
2.are established members of a community
3.proceed with definite goals, not with the intension of random violence
4.act as a last resort because of a failure of the established law system

From this definition, we must see that true vigilantes only act to enforce laws the government can not or will not enforce. They are not revolutionaries, rather the opposite. True vigilantes strive to uphold the current legal system by preventing, deterring, or providing justice for crime.

Contention 1: Contention one: Vigilantism is an extension of natural rights

The concept of protecting one's own rights (as through vigilantism) must be looked at through the filter of the social contract, which is essentially an exchange between the government and its people. Locke's social contract, upon which all governing bodies are based, states that if the government upholds the laws and protects its people, the citizens will obey the law.
John Locke states on Civil Government that:
There is one way whereby a government may be dissolved, and that is this: When he who has the supreme executive power neglects that charge, so that the laws already made can no longer be put in execution; this is demonstratively to reduce all to anarchy, and so effectively to dissolve the government. For laws not being made for themselves, but to be, by their execution, the bonds of society to keep every part of the body politic in its due place and function. When that ceases, the government visibly ceases, and the people become a confused multitude without order or connection. Though this quote presents the extreme example of the complete dissolution of government, the concept is clear. When the government does not uphold the law, which holds society in place, private entities gain the right to uphold the law because the contract is broken.
However, when the government allows criminals to escape justice through exploiting loopholes and technicalities it can be seen as the law not being enforced. Often in this case vigilantes, with the goal of due punishment, will seek retribution against the criminal because the government has failed to do so. If it is ensured that criminals will be punished justly whether it is by the government or a private entity, it is altogether a more fair system because the law will be applied equally.

Contention 2: Vigilantism is a just response to a failed government

What you must analyze in today's resolution is the section quoted "when the government fails to enforce the law." In further analysis of this section of the resolution, you realize that what it's asking is, is a law abiding citizen just in standing up for a law when no one else will? And the answer is a firm yes. How can you deem courageous actions in the face of wrong doing, bad? I'm not condoning killing someone for being a petty thief, which may be the case in some extreme bizarre situations. What we're arguing is, if the idea of vigilantism is just when the government fails to up hold the law. We aren't going into detail of what they should and shouldn't do; Just to say if it is, Justifiably, the right thing to do or not. And the answer is that it is. What is a citizen to do when the government is failing? Ride the government down like a sinking ship until you drown in its inefficiencies, or stand up for what is right in an effort to reestablish justice.
pgoulaimpact

Con

Contention 1) Morality
Morality plays a big issue in this resolution. People mess up all the time whether small or big. Introducing vigilantism will hinder america. People all have there on reasons of doing things and have there on views on life and the things that happen in the world. This is why we don't need to allow vigilantism.

I would like to attack my opponents first contention with my second contention

Contention 2) Natural rights
Now as my opponent has stated it would just be an extension of natural rights. But what about other peoples natural rights. Everybody is essentially promised a right to go to court. Now what happens when the person is innocent but everybody views him as guilty. Then the judge and the jury realize that they have the wrong man so they release him. Well then family and friends of the victim decide to use the idea of vigilantism to repay there friend or family member. Well that guy that they decide to take care to seek revenge, he has just been killed for something that he didn't do.

If we needed vigilantism then we shouldn't have a legal system. What this essentially does is give the people the power to convict other people and seek revenge. Now the thing is is that we have a legal system to protect NATURAL RIGHTS. We don't want to take away others natural rights just to give more to one person. Lets keep people equal with fair natural rights.

I hope that my opponent will present a good argument. Best of luck to you.
Debate Round No. 1
snelld7

Pro

Thank you for the acceptance of this debate. I will, in turn, try to fulfill your wishes of an interesting debate.

Now first of lets go over my opponent's case and then refute the arguments made upon my case.

First off, let's review his first contention of morality. Morality is derived from the idea of it being "moral" when you are in accordance with the societal norms and needs. In the resolution, it has been pointed out that the government has tried to uphold its laws but has failed to do so. Moreover, what this means is that the "criminal" the vigilante is pursuing will go unchecked without the vigilante. What is moral in the situation would thus become what will be the lesser of the two evils (violating a criminal's liberty and natural rights talked about in his 2nd contention, or letting a criminal roam unchecked throughout a society allowing him to violate multiple people's natural rights). In seeing this, you see that his "Morality" argument is better upheld on the affirmative side.

Secondly, let's get to his second contention of "natural rights." This argument is wrong for many reasons:
1) John Locke states that if you violate society (committing crimes), then you are then placed outside of the social contract and are thus not protected by its benefits. For example, one attempting to deprive someone of their rights can't, inturn, decide to "cry wolf" when someone has deprived him of his rights.
2) He went on to talk about an instance in which a trial was used and vigilantes kill the suspected criminal. The problem with this is simple, if the person being tried is given a fair trial and so on, isn't the government enforcing the law? If he has been arrested and is standing trial, that means the government HAS INDEED enforced their laws. The resolution points, only, to situations in which the government has NOT upheld the law. Let's say I decide to allow this argument. The other problem is that the government has pointed out that they have "failed." If the criminal is proven innocent by the courts, then they're saying that they were wrong in this and that the person is ACTUALLY guilty. My opponent bringing arguments stating that they may kill an innocent person is therefore untopical.

Since my value of justice, my value criterion of John Locke's theory of administrative justice, and contention two have been (virtually) untouched in today's debate, I'm guessing that my opponent then agrees with me on these issues.

Seeing as how so much of my case has been dropped by him is combined with his inability to adequately respond to the points he tried to refute, I see no other ballet in today's debate but affirmative. Thank you
pgoulaimpact

Con

Okay then since I'm incapable and inadequate lets get as you stated right to the point.
How can any one person decide that justice has not been enforced. What gives one man the right to choose whether or not he/she has been justified by America. In defense of my second case. What happens when vigilance is used on the innocent guy who just happened to be the one to find a body or discover the crime scene. Because he has reasonable proof and the police dismiss him. Then we say he is guilty and the police didn't enforce justice how can we kill this guy when there is no justice needed. We as civilians better yet as townspeople hear everything that goes on in a city, including the gossip. We as people always judge people biasedly. Therefore we can't say that someone else is needs to be killed.
And please next time you post don't try and call me stupid.
Debate Round No. 2
snelld7

Pro

First off, I'd like to apologize if you took my statements as me insulting you. It was not my intention, just to point out you're not giving suitable answers.

Secondly: When cops ride around in singles (one person in a cop car) and make an arrest; Wouldn't the problem you're trying to present still be present? Yes it does.

My third point is, your closing sentences. "We as people always judge people biasedly. Therefore we can't say that someone else is needs to be killed."

If we as a poeple are alwas "bias." Then what you're saying is, it doesn't matter whether we're by ourselves or in a group because we will always be bias. So then your putting forth the idea that we will never be able to decide the fait of anything.

Moreover, this can't be the case because we allow people to have a jury. What a jury is for, is so each person can give there individual opinion (after they are presented what happened) of whether or not they think this person is guilty. This proves that our independant view does matter and holds precedence.
pgoulaimpact

Con

When cops go around in singles as you said they don't just pick up anybody they don't pick on a particular person they only pick up law breaking citizens. And when I said we are biased it was focusing on vigilantes not jury's. People here is the problem with vigilantes. Nobody has the same morals. Whether or not we should choose between the life and death of a person as regular people not juries who hold this task but regular people is wrong. What I may see as justice you may see as wrong. Therefore we can't just let people run around revenging people cause they believe justice hasn't been given. So therefore I urge you to vote in negation of this resolution.
Debate Round No. 3
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by iustitia_est_monstrum 3 years ago
iustitia_est_monstrum
His 2nd contention was flawed from the beginning because it describes Revenge Motivated
Homicide rather than Vigilantism in the sense that PRO used it.
Posted by snelld7 7 years ago
snelld7
Sure, use what you'd like.
Posted by ohKAYZ 7 years ago
ohKAYZ
Then again..you can't form a government without have a leader come out and establish some sort of primitive form of law that will probably resemble much of the former law in which they lived in before because people take from the examples they are shown. Moreover, since they proceed with definite goals, it also means that vigilantism lasts for a definite amount of time. There's nothing saying that vigilantism won't lead to the creation of a new government, and there have been cases that are such.

Locke definitely isn't a friend of vigilantism, but it doesn't mean that we can't use part of his ideas. :D
Posted by mrinal71996 7 years ago
mrinal71996
ALso is it cool if i copy a couple of ur contentions for my case. PLZ.....:D
Posted by mrinal71996 7 years ago
mrinal71996
Snelld7, Ur criterion of john locke cannot be used. REad this for more info-"...it is unreasonable for Men to be Judges in their own Cases, that Self-love will make men partial to themselves and to their Friends. And on the other side, that Ill Nature, Passion and Revenge will carry them too far in punishing others. And hence nothing but Confusion and Disorder will follow.... I easily grant, that civil government is the proper remedy for the inconveniencies of the state of nature, which must certainly be great, where men may be judges in their own case, since it is easy to be imagined, that he who was so unjust as to do his brother an injury, will scarce be so just as to condemn himself for it..." Left in the state of nature, the vigilante is without accountability; no vigilante will punish himself, Locke argues, for committing injustice in the name of upholding the law. The proper recourse to state failure is the creation of another legitimate state. Locke is no friend of vigilantism.
Posted by snelld7 7 years ago
snelld7
Sure Ashleezzy, you can use what you'd like. However I can not agree with your previous comment.
If a debater has had "obviously had the better debate," then you can not pick against him. When all is reduced to all, it isn't about who's the nicest, it's about who has the better agruments POINT BLANK. I can see, suggesting that a debater ease up on his opponent, but I can not see someone picking against him for THAT reason if he "obviously had the better debate"

And I absolutely have NO CLUE who that person is. Whoever it is, has copied what I've done. I can care less though, it isn't like I invinted words. In a sense, anything anyone says is copied from someone else.
Posted by rougeagent21 7 years ago
rougeagent21
hey snel, did you copy justinisthecrazy's arguments, or did he copy you?
Posted by Ashleezzy 7 years ago
Ashleezzy
I think that LD debate is majorly built off of having respect for your oppnoent regardless of their ignorance. A ballot will not go to a rude debater, even if they obviously had the better debate. From a judges standpoint, disrespect= a loss of ballot. I feel that you all are very harsh when talking to each other, although I really like the way that you guys think. I have been reading over the debate and posts and I think some really good points were covered.

Snelld7- I am a current LD debater and I really enjoyed your contentions and observations. Do you mind if I use some of your information and taglines in my own case?
Posted by lordjosh 7 years ago
lordjosh
My comments and beliefs have nothing to do with Anarchism. The anarchy is created by the criminal. Citizens need to take more responsibility for their protection.

As for "rediculous" statements;

>>Also this argument was directly pointed at the rediculous statement made by lordjosh and its serious consequences. <<

How does one "directly" respond to a paoint that had not yet been made, by a person who had yet to make a statement.(don't answer, I know what you meant)

>>Vigilantism is a noble ideal to uphold, but in this realistic (not idealistic) world we must look to all possibilities and we cannot let even a single possibility of needless bloodshed be overlooked because life is of intrinsic value and cannot be out valued by anything."<<

The acknowledgement that one must take responsibility to protect one's person, family, property and community is much more realistic than your idealistic assertion that "life is of intrinsic value and cannot be out valued by anything".
Posted by resolutionsmasher 7 years ago
resolutionsmasher
No, I just really don't like his idea of a purely anarchist justice system.
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