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9/27/2015 7:28:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Oh boy. Such mess.
Ok. Let's see.
The resolution states: "Governments ought to protect citizens from themselves."
Kasmic's position is self explanatory in that regard. He needs to show that Governments should protect citizens from self-harm.
On the other hand, Sarra's position - as Con, should also have been self explanatory. The opposing position to "Governments ought to protect citizens from themselves" is "Governments ought NOT to protect citizens from themselves." Therefore, Sarra's burden was to show, in some way, that governments in general should allow citizens to cause self-harm or even possibly - harm to each other.
From what I understand of Pro's position, he is arguing a case against individual citizens harming their own persons, and I can assume that from his examples such as suicide and drug use. While the resolution can be interpreted as a case of citizens harming each other, I can reasonable rule that this is not the interpretation that Pro was gunning for.


Kasmic's entire case rests on a single syllogism.
P1: Governments ought to protect citizens from harm.
P2: Citizens harm themselves.
C: Governments ought to protect citizens from themselves.
He asserts that if he can show P1 and P2 to be true, then C follows. He also states that if Sarra can prove P1 or P2 invalid, then she will have effectively negated his case. Sure. I'll buy that. I'd also buy that if Sarra can show that the impacts of P1 and P2 don't hold with regard to C, then I can also rule out C.

Sarra's refutation is, to say the least, confusing. She says that Kasmic denies the antecedent, and routes several letters a, b and c, with arrows pointing toward each other. What is a, b and c exactly? How does Kasmic's statements translate into logical propositions. As a judge, I expect the debaters to be clear and concise. Sarra's refutation here was incredibly obfuscated.
Here's an example:
"government can only accomplish justice, tranquility, general welfare, etc. of its citizens" if it can "protect it from harm.
Sarra denotes this (b <- a) where I'm supposed to assume that
b = government's accomplishment of justice, tranquility, general welfare, etc.
a = protection from harm
Sarra then quotes:
"Moreover, there can be no justice, tranquility, general welfare etc. if citizens are subject to harm that the government could reasonably prevent."
She denotes this (b <- c).
so b = justice, tranquility, general welfare, etc.
But wait.
Let's examine both cases of b.
In one case, b = the government's accomplishing justice, tranquility, etc.
In the other case, b = justice, tranquility, etc.
So is b the latter or former? A government's accomplishing a goal and the actual goal itself are two different things.
So it's really actually (b <- a) and (d <- c), which disrupts the propositions necessary to reaching the conclusion.
I suggest next time, you title your variables and state in concise terms exactly what your variables are so that you don't accidentally redefine them into something else.
But ultimately, Sarra does not show why I should not buy Kasmic's P1, which is that Government's ought to protect citizens from harm.

Her constructive cases on the other hand focuses on the harms that government have committed. But what a government actually does and what it should be doing are mutually exclusive. Kasmic is right. Her cases are not topical, though not for the reason he states. Sarra does not show me why a government ought to allow citizens to harm themselves or even each other. I would have bought the latter since Kasmic didn't specify. English is vague and awesome like that.

Ok. So I cannot vote Con on arguments.
There's still a chance that I can tie this debate. If Kasmic's argument's aren't satisfactory, then neither side win.
Kasmic tells me that governments ought to protect citizens from harm. He cites text from U.S. governmental doctrine as an example of the goals of specific government and cross-applies this as representative as goals of governments in general. Ok. I can buy that. Sarra's response tells me that Kasmic's bolded title of P1 specifies "The US Government" means that he is confined to the U.S. government. It then follows, according to her, that Kasmic's cross-application is false. Which, in reality, doesn't actually logically follow. Kasmic defends against this by rectifying his typo. I buy that it is a typo since his previous iteration of P1 did not include "The US government", and the text that follows is indeed inclusive of more than just the U.S. government.
This is really sad. Sarra could have mentioned that the U.S. government isn't representative of all government. She could've cited some horrible governmental regimes with self-serving goals as counterexamples. Something. Anything. Attacking Kasmic's title and his reference to the U.S. government just doesn't work. She needed to attack what Kasmic used the reference for, not the reference itself. In doing so, she fails to address Kasmic's actual argument.
But here's the thing. When Sarra declared Kasmic's argument logically false - with false logic heheh - Kasmic doesn't deny it. Kasmic actually seems to accept that his supporting argument for P1 is false. Since he made the statement, the burden is on him to prove P1 true and not on Sarra to prove P1 false. So basically, Kasmic had a nice case, and he threw it away in favor of calling out Sarra's fallacist's fallacy. Kasmic does not contend the denunciation of fallacy, thus I am forced to accept that the support for P1 is indeed fallacious like Sarra says - despite that not really being the case. So I have to accept that Kasmic's supporting arguments, the mention to U.S. doctrine and whatnot, are fallacy because Kasmic himself has done so. That means I cannot accept any part of his P1 support because I do not accept fallacy as evidence. Without evidence, I now view P1 as a standalone assertion.
And really, I have no reason to accept assertions. This means that P1 doesn't stand to me, as a judge, and Kasmic's syllogism fails.
I cannot vote Kasmic.

That's why this debate is a tie.

Further thoughts:
I think this debate could and should have been more focused on the extent to which a government ought to protect citizens from themselves. Kasmic's argument basically implies that any and all cases of harm qualifies governmental intervention, which I think has many plausible counters. I would've liked to see Sarra run the gambit on clauses of freedom and stuff like that. Maybe state that government's have a contrary obligation to afford citizens certain degree of freedom and how it might be violated by government's all-inclusive provision of protection from harm. I would also have liked to see Sarra intentionally interpreted 'harm' as 'harm that citizens cause to each other'. When you say something like: "Citizen's harm themselves.", 'themselves' could refer to and be inclusive of the entire body of citizens.
That would've been fun. ^-^
But oh well.

Oh, here's the link to the debate this vote is on, if anyone's interested to vote:
I'm handsome. Whoever disagrees with me can go die in a deep, dark hole.
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9/27/2015 7:32:09 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/27/2015 7:28:07 PM, MisterMittens wrote:
Thank you for a thoughtful response. Sorry that I suck at debating :/
Posts: 3,660
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9/27/2015 7:33:04 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/27/2015 7:32:09 PM, Sarra wrote:
At 9/27/2015 7:28:07 PM, MisterMittens wrote:
Thank you for a thoughtful response. Sorry that I suck at debating :/

No problem. I look forward to seeing you improve. Good luck in the future. ^-^
I'm handsome. Whoever disagrees with me can go die in a deep, dark hole.