The Instigator
Thefightforfreedom
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Hayd
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

You can't wage a war on a word

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Hayd
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/12/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 572 times Debate No: 77593
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)

 

Thefightforfreedom

Pro

You can't wage a war on a word. Anytime politicians say they are waging a war on terror or drugs in all reality it is a war on people. By saying "we are waging a war on (insert word here)" it allows the government to open a giant closet of freedom and right stealing bills, acts, and proposals. In order to be at war, there must be a known enemy. For example we can be at war with Isis. However the government will say its a war on terrorism much more often than actually saying who an enemy is. Looking at this logically, drugs don't do anything. It's up to a person to use them. If they own their body they have every right to. It may not be good for them but that is not the argument at hand. As far as terrorism goes. The word terror is a concept. People that do harm to others in order to get a reaction are considered terrorists and the aggressed upon has the right to defend themselves. Regardless a war on words creates "ghost" wars, allowing the powers that be to continue stealing money to fight "ghosts" as there is no DEFINED enemy.
Hayd

Con

I accept the debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Thefightforfreedom

Pro

Ok I will begin.

You cannot wage a war on a word. Unless you can find a "word" hiding in a bush somewhere. One cannot shoot it with a rifle, blow it up with a grenade, strangle it etc, as it is a concept. Good luck refuting that!

Alright I will be serious. Any war on a word is really a war on people. When I say people I mean everyone. Lets talk about the "war on drugs". For example, if a cop pulls you over he is looking into your car to see if you have drugs. Now, your not a soldier of an enemy government. Your driving home from a baseball game. However you will be assumed as an enemy until proved innocent (when he does not see any drugs). Now the real underlying issue is that the government allows some drug dealers to peddle their drugs into the market (Big pharma). This is a huge problem as if you are waging a war on drugs, these laboratories should have flash bang grenades tossed in and everyone cuffed no? See a war on something is completely irrational. The drug does not make itself (not all). People make drugs. However, when a government does not define an enemy it is going to war with, it ultimately ends up arbitrarily going after whomever it wants. Arbitrarily being the most important word here. It is reckless and endangers millions of people when you carelessly don't define WHO you are going to war with and just put a broad word as what you are fighting.

Now I will discuss the war on terror. Ever since 9/11 we have had this issue with the word "terrorism". According to Webster's dictionary, the definition for terrorism is: the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal. According to Webster's, the word "terror" can have a very similar definition. Now here we have another issue. If just about any government wants to wage war on the ACTS of terror. The government must fight and destroy itself! Using logic, we can say that governments engage in violent acts that frighten people in a way to obtain a political goal. Which is terrorism. An example that comes to mind is the u.s. de-throning Saddam Hussein. I do not argue if it was in defense or not (I say not). I argue that the united states did use violent acts to scare people for a political goal. In fact, I cant think of a war that didn't use violent acts, didn't strike fear into people, and not have some political goals in mind. So if a government is to wage a war on terror or terrorism, the moment it strikes fear into people, it committed terrorism itself and must therefore wage war on itself.

See, the problem is that waging a war on a word is to broad. It allows the powers that be to continue a war for as long or as short as they see fit. They have the power to pick and choose who goes to jail ( Big pharma is allowed to sell drugs, YOU CANNOT!!), or who we send hundreds of troops to (one country over another even though by definition both countries commit terrorism ex: Israel and Palestine). There is no defined enemy. The government commits the (by definition) very act it is at war with! Words and language are highly important. Words could start a war or end one. "The pen is mightier than the sword" - Edward Bulwer-Lytton.

I want to thank CON for accepting my challenge!

Vote PRO! Its the logical thing to do!
Hayd

Con

I thank Pro for posting his arguments. I’m glad that we will not be childish and proclaim that we are declaring wars on literal words, I am relieved that we are both not that obnoxious and stupid.

Now that it is established that I will not be arguing that literal sense of ‘War on a Word’, but instead the meaning of a word. Words are ideas, they are concepts. I argue that we can declare war on a concept, that we can declare war on an idea.

Pro’s arguments are basically just one main idea, yet he breaks it up into two different examples; the war on terror, and the war on drugs. Pro’s one main idea is that these aren’t really wars on terror or drugs, only a war on people.

R1) War on Drugs

Pro gives an example of a person driving home from a baseball game and he is pulled over so the cop can check for drugs. Pro says that “you will be assumed as an enemy until proved innocent (when he does not see any drugs)” And that this is proof of how the War on Drugs is about people and not drugs. This is false, you are labeled a ‘suspect’ until proven guilty, in other words; you are innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around.

Pro then brings up the ‘Big Pharma Conspiracy Theory’ https://en.wikipedia.org...

I fail to see how this has any relevance to my opponent’s case; it has nothing to do witht he topic of the debate; how we can’t declare war on words.

Pro then says that not declaring war on people is ‘reckless’ and ‘endangers millions of people’. Pro also says that governments just go after whomever they want in war. This is completely false; the government uses a variety of methods to achieve their goal in a war, as far as in the Drug War they burn drug farms and educate children about the dangers of drugs and take away and punish people who use drugs.

The goal in the War on Drugs is not to arrest every person who does drugs; it is to stop people from doing drugs. We are attacking the drugs not the people.

R2) War on Terror

Pro says that a government cannot declare war on terror because then it would have to declare war on itself because the government is a terrorist. Whether or not the government employs terror or not is another debate entirely, for now let’s focus on whether or not we can declare war on a concept.

War on Poverty

I would like to point out one thing in my response today. President Lyndon B. Johnson declared War on Poverty in his State of the Union address on January 8, 1964. He declared war on the concept of poverty, he did not declare war on people in poverty. This is one example of how we can declare war on an idea, and this negates what Pro’s main idea was. In this war, the government is not targeting the people, they are targeting the concept.
Debate Round No. 2
Thefightforfreedom

Pro

I thank con for the intriguing rebuttal.

So I am not sure if con thinks that being a "suspect" and being "innocent" are the same thing, as con says "you are labeled a "suspect" until proven guilty, in other words; you are innocent until proven guilty". However, being innocent would imply nobody suspects you of anything. While being suspect means you are thought to be guilty and, in this case, police are looking for proof. If someone is innocent there is no need for things like DUI checkpoints as there is no reasonable suspicion while driving through a checkpoint. However during the holidays, everyone is considered a suspect of doing a drug (alcohol) and police are now checking for evidence.

Con uses the word "conspiracy" and questions how big pharma is even relevant to this debate. I guess I need to explain better. If there is a "war on drugs", and it is actually a war on using or selling drugs, lets draw the logical conclusion. Pharmaceutical companies produce and distribute drugs. So, u.s. government declares "war on drugs". Big pharma makes and distributes drugs. Can we now see why I have addressed this? The u.s. government wants to stop people from using drugs, yet allows companies to sell drugs as long as there is money paid in the form of fees. This is why you cant have a war on a word or for that matter a concept. This is why it in fact is relevant to this debate. It is too broad. There is no war on drugs. It is a war on people, but only certain people who don't pay fees to make or sell their drugs.

Con says the following:
"Pro then says that not declaring war on people is "reckless" and "endangers millions of people". Pro also says that governments just go after whomever they want in war. This is completely false; the government uses a variety of methods to achieve their goal in a war, as far as in the Drug War they burn drug farms and educate children about the dangers of drugs and take away and punish people who use drugs". Now the paragraph I laid out above this one logically proves I am not false in my statement that government just go after whomever they want in this war. If you pay up, the government is fine with you peddling your drugs (pharmaceutical companies).

Con then says, "the goal in the War on Drugs is not to arrest every person who does drugs; it is to stop people from doing drugs. We are attacking the drugs not the people". This statement is false. For example certain drugs are allowed to be sold to certain people, yet not to others. Someone can be prescribed Xanax, while another person cant because they are not prescribed it. A war on drugs would mean no one could use Xanax. This is why it is an attack on people, not the drug. Also it is why we cant have a war on a word. It is too broad.

Con goes on to say the following:
"Pro says that a government cannot declare war on terror because then it would have to declare war on itself because the government is a terrorist. Whether or not the government employs terror or not is another debate entirely, for now let"s focus on whether or not we can declare war on a concept". I have laid out the definition of terrorism. I don't think anyone can debate that when a government uses a drone strike on a town, it scares the people of that town. To say that it does not scare people would be irrational. So I think either con is evading my comments of the "war on terrorism" because con cannot or does not want to refute my argument, or may agree with me.

Regardless, lets continue with the "war on poverty".
Con claims LBJ declared war on the concept of poverty and then goes on to say how this example negates my main idea. I must disagree. Without PEOPLE there is no concept. Concepts or ideas are in PEOPLE's minds. There are many rulers throughout history that have put PEOPLE to death for having an idea or concept that went against the ruler, or the ruler simply did not like. So when one declares a war on poverty, one is declaring a war on people by default. Without people, there is no concept.

Lets look at the word "war". The end goal in a war is obviously to win. We still have drugs, terror, and poverty. These wars cannot be won. I will agree, anyone can say whatever they want. You can say "we are declaring war on dirty socks!", but just like the other concepts (poverty, terrorism), or objects (drugs), it is irrational. It is as irrational as me saying, "go find me this poverty so we can lock it in a cage and make it a prisoner of war!". You can only have a war on people.
Hayd

Con

War on Drugs

The definition of guilty given by Google is, “Not guilty of a crime or offense”. The only time you are ever formally guilty of a crime is when you are officiated so by a court of law. Until that moment, you are considered a “suspect.” Even if the cops walk in to your house and video tape you doing the crime, you are still considered a suspect until proven guilty by a court. You are not “guilty” yet merely a suspect, still innocent.

Pro explains how big pharma is relative to the debate, big pharma an example to illustrate Pro’s point of ‘you can’t have a war on a concept because it’s too broad’.

Since I did not know what ‘Big Pharma’ was, I researched it. And what I found did not correlate with what Pro proposed. Pro has the idea that ‘Big Pharma’ gives out drugs to people and the government allows it.

Big Pharma is the theory that, ‘the medical establishment in general, and pharmaceutical companies in particular, operate for sinister purposes and against the public good.
https://en.wikipedia.org...

These sinister purposes include fake vaccines that don’t work (so pharmaceuticals can make billions of dollars), suppressing real data about vaccines…basically that the pharmaceutical industry is completely corrupt. I found nothing of a ‘Big Pharma’ company selling heroin to people and the government giving permission. I feel that Pro has been misinformed, if not I would ask that he please illustrates what he means with some links and sources.

(Just so we are clear, when we are talking about a ‘War on Drugs’ we mean drugs as in heroin, marijuana, etc. not Tylenol and Aspirin.)

The focus in the ‘War on Drugs’ is the removal of harmful drugs from our society. Pro needs to provide evidence on how we are trying to remove people, or attack people, or harm people in the War on Drugs instead of removing, attacking, and harming drugs. Thus far he has failed to do so.

Pro’s third paragraph is just a repetition of the second which I already touched on.

“For example certain drugs are allowed to be sold to certain people, yet not to others. Someone can be prescribed Xanax, while another person cant because they are not prescribed it. A war on drugs would mean no one could use Xanax. This is why it is an attack on people, not the drug. Also it is why we cant have a war on a word. It is too broad.”

The War on Drugs entails drugs that are free to use, not drugs for medical purposes. If this is not the case Pro should have defined it in R1. But the common known definition entails free-to-use drugs (e.g. marijuana, cocaine, heroin, tobacco, etc.) This does not include medically prescribed medicine. If this was not the case in Pro’s mind, he should have said so in the prior rounds. Since this is my last response, I cannot respond to the new definition if he gives it.

And about words being too broad, I believe poverty is not broad. As long as there is one word that is not too broad, and we can have a war on, then I win. Poverty entails anyone who is poor, there is a set income that labels you as in poverty. The objective in this war would be to eliminate poverty.

War on Terrorism

I don't think anyone can debate that when a government uses a drone strike on a town, it scares the people of that town. To say that it does not scare people would be irrational.

Could you still have a war without any violence? (in our sense of war)
Yes.
Would educating people on the dangers of terrorism, persuading others of giving up their terrorist views, and stopping terrorism in any method possible without killing or scaring anyone possible?
Yes.

Just because we haven’t done so yet, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Remember, all I have to do in this debate to win is show that it is possible that we can. This debate is not whether we have declared war on a word yet, it is whether we can in the future.

What Pro brings up is irrelevant.

War on Poverty

The objective of this war is to help people, I don’t understand how this attacking them. The enemy is one of two things; poverty or people. My opponent can admit that the enemy of this war is not people, so it must be poverty.

Pro then makes a good point in saying that without people there is not concept. Just because we declare war on a product does not mean we are declaring war on its maker as well. Saying that you hate a person does not automatically entail that you must hate their mother as well. You can declare war on a concept, without people.

In Pro’s last paragraph, he changes the definition of war as to the traditional sense, as in physical combat. I assumed that we were referring to war as an effort with a goal, not a traditional war with guns. I thought we were smarter than this.

Conclusion:

This has been a very interesting and educating debate and I am sad to see it end. I would like to wish my opponent the best of luck in the rest of his debating career and thoroughly hope that he will stay on DDO so I can keep in touch with him. I respect my opponent, for he is a very intelligent debater and it has been fun conversing with him. With that I end my case, thank you!
Debate Round No. 3
Thefightforfreedom

Pro

To be suspect, implies that you are forced to go to court to represent your "innocence". If you are innocent, why must you be dragged through the court system? I go to the example of checkpoints. You must go through a dwi checkpoint, speak to a cop, and have him take a glance into your private property. He does this even with no suspicion. I can't argue the definition my opponent came forth with. I aim to point out the irrational behavior that is caused by the use of broad blanket terms like " war on drugs".

Let's now talk about the pharmaceutical companies as this may have confused my opponent. Big pharma is a term used for major pharmaceutical companies. This has nothing to do with "sinister" motives. Inside the united States there are pharmaceutical drug companies that make DRUGS.

Con goes on to say the following, " just so we are clear, when we are talking about a 'war on drugs' we mean drugs as in heroin, marijuana, etc. Not Tylenol and Asprin". What con has just stated lays out EXACTLY why I have this debate! There is no DEFINED enemy! (Those exact words were in my opening argument). Again, a war on drugs is a blanket statement that is to broad.

A perfect example would be marijuana. Today state governments are arbitrarily saying lets not go after people who smoke weed. Cocain at one point was uesd for medical reasons. Today its illegal. Next year who knows. The enemy is arbitrary.

Con says the war on poverty is to eliminate poverty. So if some people are not driven by money do they go to jail? Of course not. In reality how do you have a war on poverty? Abolish poor paying jobs? It's irrational plain and simple. The introduction of welfare just make people with money poorer and people with less richer. It's a zero sum game.

Terrorism is used by all parties in a war. When people are scared when a u.s. bomb goes off in Iraq, or an Iraqi IED goes off in the u.s. it is terrorism. Therefore, by definition if the u.s. is at war with terrorism it must be at war with itself.. Which since that is irrational, the "war on terrorism", by default, is irrational as well. There must be a DEFINED enemy. The point con made about having a war without violence is not relevant to this debate.

Con brings up that we are defining war as an " effort". He says "not a traditional war with guns". The reality and undeniable truth is that if I sell cocaine, men with guns will come after me. There is nothing stupid about reality. However if I get a permit I can sell marijuana in Colorado with no issue at all today. Yet less than a year or two ago, men with guns would come after me.

This is why we can't have a war on words and need DEFINED enemies when declaring wars.

This debate was challenging and exciting to say the least! I thank my opponent and hope to have more debates with him in the future!
Hayd

Con

I wont post anything in this round to keep it fair. This is because I was able to rebut Pro's R2 in my R2, while he had to wait until the next round to rebut mine, this would've given me an unfair advantage, so not posting in this round keeps it fair. To be clear; I am not forfeiting or conceding, I am merely keeping it fair. This has been a great debate and I hope that Pro will stay on DDO for a long time so we can keep in touch. Thank you!
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by mentalist 2 years ago
mentalist
@ Thefightforfreedom - The proof is in he pudding...
War "on" drugs - (1971) - since then drug abuse and availability increased to an all time high.
War "on" poverty - (1964) - since then the middle class has virtually disappeared and we currently live in the times of the so called "1%"
War "on" terror - (2001) - since then terrorism and fear based news reporting have increased dramatically.

I'm just saying...
Posted by Thefightforfreedom 2 years ago
Thefightforfreedom
Is a belief a rational process? Only if backed with evidence.

Mentalist, your statement is irrelevant because governments don't use the word "of" for a reason.
Posted by mentalist 2 years ago
mentalist
If you switch the word on with the word of in phrases like 'war on drugs' and 'war on poverty' you may realize the weapons being used.
Posted by vi_spex 2 years ago
vi_spex
impossible is possible by belief
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TinyBudha 2 years ago
TinyBudha
ThefightforfreedomHaydTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: The resolution is basically that: 'it is impossible to wage a war on a concept'. Through the debate I heard a lot of disadvantages to attempting such a war, like it being too broad, being hypocritical, justifying any actions the government sees fit..ect, however none of these tell me why it is impossible to wage a war, rather, that waging a war like this is a bad idea. As CON points there must only be one instance where it is possible to wage a war on a word and so I needed something inherent about wars on words which made them impossible, I never got this, the closest I got was that wars on words tend to be on people, not that it is utterly impossible to wage a war on a concept which doesn't actually fight people. Thus the burden goes unfulfilled and I have to vote con for arguments. Con makes a good argument by pointing out that even though people create the concepts, they still aren't the ones being warred with. people Can be the subject of word words, not always though...