The Instigator
HandsOff
Pro (for)
Winning
40 Points
The Contender
sghallma
Con (against)
Losing
12 Points

Welfare is forced kindness and a form of legislated morality. It is inconsistent with liberty.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/18/2008 Category: Sports
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,725 times Debate No: 2757
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (16)

 

HandsOff

Pro

The question of whether one should give up his property to another is a decision that should be left entirely up to the rightful owner of said property. For example, it is a nice gesture to give to charity, take out the trash for your elderly neighbor, or to just be kind in general, but it is typically a matter of free will as to whether an individual chooses to partake in these acts of kindness. If these once-voluntary deeds were suddenly forced upon us by our government, I think most would consider the new requirements a transgression upon our freedoms.

Government-mandated generosity, or kindness if you will, is paramount to legislated morality-- the government forcing a particular moral or religious viewpoint on society as a whole. I find it a huge inconsistancy that most of those who would detest the thought of legislating morality (liberals) would have no trouble supporting the same in the form of welfare, or any other income redistribution scheme for that matter. Where is the consistency?

I realize many are helped by welfare and see it as beneficial. Whether the benefits are worth the cost is a separate debate for another day. Nevertheless, I believe such requirements to be an assault on our free will and inconsistent with individual choice and liberty.
sghallma

Con

Hi, I accepted your debate because I have recently been taking a class on international political economy, and this topic comes up frequently (especially from those crazy Ron Paul people, just kidding... not really).

First of all, the idea that welfare is a form of forced morality is wrong. It is a redistribution of wealth by the government to provide our society with a "safety-net." The taxes that we pay to government is then redistributed to people below the poverty line, in the form of welfare. This distribution of money to the poor is not charity, it is, like I said, a safety-net that is in place because of a problem that is inherent within a free capitalist market. This problem is the fact that some people simply get screwed by the market. You cannot disagree that in the game of capitalism some people do in fact lose.

So, for these "losers of capitalism," who were in the majority during the 1920's and 1930's in both the US and Western Europe, the safety-net of welfare was created, and it eventually saved the free Western democracies through the adaptation of "mixed markets," which are markets that have a mixture of free capitalist market policies and welfare (or socialist) market policies. If you were to take this safety-net away, millions of people would be forced out onto the streets, crime rates would dramatically increase, and property values would plummet, among many other very bad things. Overall, taking away state-funded welfare would cause both the society and economy much damage.

I hope I engaged the issue in question and I look forward to reading your response.
Debate Round No. 1
HandsOff

Pro

Ron Paul is considered "crazy" because he is in the very small minority. He's actually consistent. Everyone thinks he is some renegage or brilliant free thinker because he's consistent. Today that causes controversy. Unfortunate.

First of all, you did not rebut my claim that welfare was forced charity and legislated morality. You simple pointed out that it should be referred to by a different name--"redistribution of wealth" to provide a "safety net." That's no different that calling illegal aliens "undocumented workers." Fine. Call welfare what you will. That does not change the fact that it is still legislated kindness (morality) and that it is being foisted upon us by the government.

In your second paragraph you explained how the "safety net" helped "the losers of capitalism" and society in general, who benefited by a reduction in crime.
In this paragraph you simply restated what I stated in my opening argument-- that many are helped by welfare (substitute your word for welfare).

Now we're right back where we started. Most of the terminology you are using sounds like it came from a college or highshool text book, likely reinforced by a liberal professor. I'd like to hear some of your own thoughts on this topic, especially challenging my contention that social programs are nothing more than government-legislated morality. You're obviously in favor of the concept. All I ask is that you call it what it is and defend it.
sghallma

Con

The reason that I pointed out that welfare is a safety-net, one that is necessary, is to point out the difference. It is not charity. It is a government policy that is in place to save the bottom X% of our society from some of the negatives of a capitalist market system.

If we use your logic on this subject, all taxes are forced charity, both to poor people and the government. For instance, your tax money that goes to your local high school or county school is forced charity because you did choose to go to them and give them that money. Or, money that goes to the war on terrorism around the world is a forced charity to the military, state department, and CIA. This is wrong in your mind because it is your money and no one should be able to tell you what to do with it. While that sounds correct in your mind, it is an elementary, black and white idea of private property and liberty in general. One must sacrifice to live in a modern, stable society with a stable economy and functioning government. The questions that we normally bat around in the Senate and House is to what degree we will sacrifice (in the form of taxes) to sustain the country.

I do not consider my sacrifice of income to the state "forced charity" because I willingly give it to the state to do what they will with the money. If I do not agree with their distribution or use of those tax dollars, I will vote differently in the next election. That is the beauty of an elected democracy, if you feel as if these politicians who represent you in your district, state, so on are forcing you to be charitable, you can vote against them.

I digress. My point is that if you feel as if welfare is forced charity, then all taxes are forms of forced charity, which is ridiculous. Taxation (with representation) is how the modern democratic nation-state survives. I think of it as dues to live in the best damn nation on the planet.

By the way, I am in college so my rhetoric is obviously going to be academic as I have been righting papers for the past 3.5 years. However, my professor in this particular subject is a libertarian that I could not disagree with more.

Oh, and yes the US is considered to have a mixed economy, funkeemonk.
Debate Round No. 2
HandsOff

Pro

You are correct that the degree to which we must give is the big question. But that amount is based on how much the governement believes it is required to spend. Therefore, the government should do its very best make sure it is spending as little as possible and in such a way as to create benefit for those who are contributing. Low-income people pay little or now taxes, so, even if no tax money was spent on welfare, they would likely receive more benefit than would be commensurate with their contribution. They are able to enjoy the benefits brought about by government schools, roads, parks, etc.

I think recipients of unearned benefit should feel fortunate. I'd go as far as to say a humble thank you is in order. Instead, these incidental beneficiaries vote to put more programs in place that will benefit them ALONE in the form of welfare and other wealth distribution schemes. These government projects seek to take money from the largest contributors in society and spend it SPECIFICALLY on those who contribut the least, in the name of morality. That is that point at which taxation becomes a tool to impose morality. Government must limit spending to that which is absolutely necessary and just, not on that which the majority considers kind. So taxation can become government-sponsored charity depending where the money is spent.
sghallma

Con

sghallma forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by HandsOff 8 years ago
HandsOff
This is beautiful... http://youtube.com...
Posted by HandsOff 8 years ago
HandsOff
Yeah, I agree 100%. I don't think all of Ron Paul's supporters see his principles. They too are ignorant and guilty of voting for what they see as favorable outcome. They just happen (by chance, not examination) to be on what I consider the right side of the issues. Many of his supporters are hippies who just want the government out of their growing rooms.
Posted by Patrick_Henry 9 years ago
Patrick_Henry
Yeah, I've spent some time with Ron Paul. I've been to his rallies. I've met his wonderful wife. He's a nice guy. I think he's pretty principled which is hard to find in in a politican.

The problem is, you've probably never been to a Ron Paul rally. A lot of people who support him are pretty off the handle. I watched a farmer turn himself blue and nearly have a stroke as he stood up and cheered the idea of ending the Federal Reserve.

Also, I don't think that there is a single candidate in the race that has benefited more from people being ignorant of his stances.
Posted by blond_guy 9 years ago
blond_guy
"this topic comes up frequently (especially from those crazy Ron Paul people, just kidding... not really)."

HAHAHAHAAHAAH! I don't know why he said "not really" he's pretty much right, lol.
I'm against welfare, I'm just saying, that was pretty funny.

As for my vote it goes for pro, because he spoke my beliefs and sghallma forfeited his/her last round.
Posted by C-Mach 9 years ago
C-Mach
Even though law was created to enforce moral standards and common decency, I have to disagree with government provided and mandated welfare programs. This should be voluntary and be provided by private enterprise, such as a charity.
Posted by goldspurs 9 years ago
goldspurs
"It is a redistribution of wealth by the government to provide our society with a "safety-net."

Wouldn't a more appropriate title be wealth distribution, seeing that the Goverment didn't distribute the wealth to the people they are taking it away from to give to others?
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
I think most people agree with Ron Paul in principle. But their fears get in the way of allowing them to support what they know is right. Many Americans shutter at the thought of letting unproductive citizens reap what they sew while letting productive citizens do the same. They are afraid of what will happen if unsuccessful industries are allowed to fail. They are afraid of what will happen if prostitutes and drug users are able to do what they want with and to their bodies. They are afraid of what will happen if they let two gay people enter into a union contract by their own accord. When your vote depends on outcome rather than principle, you must contemplate outcome.
Posted by sghallma 9 years ago
sghallma
also, i made a typo in my second response:

"...county school is forced charity because you did choose to go..."

Should be "...county school is forced charity because you did not choose to go..."
Posted by sghallma 9 years ago
sghallma
By the way, I was joking about Ron Paul, he is the most logically consistent candidate, dare i say politician, that we have encountered so far. I just disagree with him.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Individuals are not truly free in a democracy. Although it is possible for a democracy to temporarily be in harmony with individual rights, it is very unlikely. In a democracy one is forced to give up his individual rights for the good of the majority. I have a problem with that. But I have a bigger problem with liberals who deny that fact.
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