The Instigator
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0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
1 Points

It is morally permissible for victims to use deadly force as a deliberate response to repeated domes

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/1/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,324 times Debate No: 20148
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)




This debate will be in LD format. I'm arguing this at a tournament Jan 6th, so I need the practice with this topic, and I need to edit my case and make blocks. Please accept this only if you can do LD format. First round is my AFF case and your crossex/your con case. Second round is my answers/crossex for you and your answers. Third round is rebuttals. Fourth round is conclusion. Also, if you want to see any of my evidence please post a comment and I'll give it to you, which is how it's done in LD debate at tournaments anyways. Thanks!

Here is my case:

Resolved: It is morally permissible for victims to use deadly force as a deliberate response to repeated domestic violence.

Deadly Force:
Deadly force, according to the US Armed Forces, is force which a person knows is substantially likely to result in death.

someone or something which has been hurt, damaged or killed or has suffered, either because of the actions of someone or something else, or because of illness or chance

repeated domestic violence:
"Domestic violence is a pattern of interaction that includes the use of physical violence, coercion, intimidation, isolation, and/or emotional, economic, or sexual abuse by one intimate partner to maintain power and control over the other intimate partner."

I value justice, which is each being given their due.

My value criterion is respect for the social contract, which gives each person a reason to morally respect each other, which creates an interest in human rights, as explained by Robert Grant, "Human rights are the benefits negotiated by reasonable persons and received by each of them as a result of their agreement to accept the natural duties imposed by the social contract. Human rights are the consideration for the obligations assumed under that fundamental agreement. Recall that when parties enter into a contract each becomes obligated to the other and each reciprocally acquires a right to what is promised by the other." The social contract, thus, creates justice because it gives each their due under the social contract.

However, when the social contract is violated, there is no longer any obligation to abide by it. This leaves the victim able to protect their own interest, without having to deal with the perpetrator's basic rights because they are now null and void. This lack of respect for the social contract creates a necessary need for justice by individual force.

Contention 1:
By violating the social contract through means of domestic violence, the attacker no longer has basic human rights. Under this topic and under basic rights, the right to life is the number one basic right. With domestic violence, this right is sacrificed because of the harm done to the other person, which violates their basic right to bodily integrity. This allows for the victim to use deliberate, deadly force to achieve justice.

A.) Since women account for 95% of abuse victims, most evidence will focus on their defense. Women cannot defend themselves without deadly force in situations because they are at a disadvantage against a man. As Elisabeth Ayyildiz explains, "Deadly force on the part of the battered woman [is] justified in several ways. First, death [is] necessary because lesser degrees of force may be insufficient. The battered woman may not be able to confront the batterer without a deadly weapon because of disparities in size, strength and emotional control. The lower degree of force a woman typically exerts upon a man may have little or no impact on a physically stronger abuser. Indeed, a woman's lesser degree of force may only incite a vicious retaliation by the abuser."

In the case of domestic violence, failure to harm or kill is not an option because that would only increase the violence. If the victim attacks the perpetrator and fails, the violence is only going to get worse. Death, as said by Ayyildiz, is the only option. Because the aggressor has failed to respect the social contract, the victim has the right to toss out any moral obligations to the aggressor. Thus, morally allowing for deadly force, which achieves justice.

B.) Victims cannot simply leave their abusive environments for multiple reasons. Ayyildiz explains that "battered women are apt to feel psychologically paralyzed, as if resistance is hopeless and they have no place to go." Psychologically paralyzed means that they cannot think past the violence. Battered women are constantly waiting for the next attack. Jane Campbell explains, "The law of self-defense arises from longstanding principles governing behavior between those involved in aggression, but developed apart from the relationship between spouses....The law needs to recognize that batterers are different than others who make threats. Not only do batterers share a home with the victim—unlike most people involved in disputes—but they operate much like the way terrorists do by instilling fear that an attack is forthcoming, and thus, creating constant anxiety and fear in their victims. The uncertainty about precisely when or how the attack is coming creates dread, hyper vigilance, and fear in the victim...The sustained trauma created by an abusive relationship differs from other [situations] in which self-defense is used." Therefore, domestic violence must be evaluated under different terms from other violence and the victims cannot be evaluated in the same way that other victims are. Psychologically, these victims differ because they live in this constant state of fear. This creates the inability to leave or even to predict attacks.

As shown by Dehart, "A survivor's ability to trust and to form emotional attachments is severely impacted by domestic violence." This creates an impossibility of leaving because the victim has no where to go. The victim can't trust, leave, or fight back without deliberate, deadly force. This complete violation of the social contract allows for the victim to use deadly force as a moral reaction to repeated domestic violence, which achieves justice because each person is getting their fair due.

For these reasons, I urge for an affirmative vote.


I value a persons natural and human rights.

The social contract according to John Locke and Robert Grant states that all people have inalienable human rights. John Locke theorized that all people have inalienable rights which cannot be changed. Robert Grant came to the exact same conclusion a couple hundred years later ("these rights are unalienable--that is, they cannot be taken away or even abridged"). These "social contracts" hold that a persons natural rights are inalienable and can never be taken away in any circumstance.

I must object to my opponents definition of human rights as negotiable benefits. If it is a benefit and is negotiable how is it a right? It is not. This is the definition of a privilege. A right is something which can not be negotiated. A right is concrete. Therefore, a more fitting definition of human rights is as follows: "inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being."

Inalienable fundamental are the rights stated by the United Nations especially the ones of Article 3. (

Contention 1: Everybody has the basic right to live; no matter their actions.

In 1948, the United Nations wrote a document, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 3, of this document, is as follows, "[e]veryone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." These rights are universal, limitless and applied to everybody, whether the person is murderer or the victim. Or even a wife beater, or the wife. "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." There is no compromising in this regard. So here is question presented, is it morally permissible for one person to take away an inalienable right of another person? No it is not. Furthermore, Robert Grant asserts that, "these rights are unalienable--that is, they cannot be taken away or even abridged." So even Pros own source supports my claim, no person can morally take away another person's inalienable rights which includes the right to life. You cannot take away a person's right to live.

Contention 2: The government is the protector of natural rights not individuals.

According to Robert Grant, a person is "entitled to the enforcement of these rights by the government against offending members of that society." What Mr. Grant says here is clear, a society's government is the protector of natural rights. Not individuals. This is why there are laws within society. Therefore, it cannot be morally permissible to kill in any circumstance.

Contention 3: Using violence to stop violence logically does not make sense.

This entire resolution is based upon using violence to solve violence. This resolution uses the single thing which it wants to prevent to try and prevent what it wants to prevent. This is circular reasoning and therefore is null and void. All morale law must abide to the laws of logic. If logically the resolution is null, then morally it must be null to.


1) Are wife beaters people? If you answer yes to this question, then they have the right to life and therefore, it is morally unacceptable to kill them. If you answer no, then what other species are they?

2) Does the social contract protect peoples' rights? If yes, then how can you logically argue that a persons basic rights can be taken away? If no, then your entire argument is invalid because it is based upon the social contract protecting one persons rights but, not another.

3) Is the world just? If yes, then why are there people in parts of the world struggling to survive, do they not get what is due to them? If no, then you cannot value justice because there is no justice in the world.

4) Your subpoint B states that "battered women are constantly waiting for the next attack" if they are constantly waiting for the next attack how does killing a person change this reality it's still part of their permanent psyche, as explained by Dehart?

5) What psychological/physiological problems arise from killing a person and how would this affect someone throughout their life?

6) How is subpoint A even relevant? Explaining that not killing a person only incites greater anger does not make it morally permissible to kill a person.

7) If rights can be taken away, as explained in your first contention, how are they rights?

8) If you value justice how is killing a man equal to assault? Under your logic, shouldn't a wife beater be beaten not killed?

9) If I attack another person does that mark me for death because I violated the "social contract"?

10) Can you provide an exact plan of how a women should kill their husband?

11) You cited Robert Grant several times, and in specific his Humanist article (or book) in 2000, and in this Robert Grant asserts that "these rights are unalienable--that is, they cannot be taken away or even abridged." How can you utilize Grant's logic and then state that for some people these rights can be taken away?

12) Do members of society have a moral obligation to kill a killer? If yes, then how can the Catholic Church morally oppose the death penalty?
Debate Round No. 1


1. Wife beaters are people, however they lose their protection of their right to life when they violate the social contract.

2. The social contract protects rights until it is violated, as I explain in my case. The rights are not taken away, but they are no longer protected by the social contract, and thus, the victim is no longer obligated to respect that right, which makes it morally permissible.

3. The world itself is not just, but as a general rule, most people are just. Your qualifications do not apply to the resolution anyways.

4. They are only constantly waiting for the attack by the attacker, not every single person.

5. I'm only required to discuss if it is moral, not the implications of that moral decision.

6. If the victim attacks the attacker but does not kill him/her, then the violence will increase. The point is that death is the moral decision because it is the only way to stop the violence.

7. Rights cannot be taken away, but they can be no longer protected once the social contract is violated.

8. It would be great if it could work that way, but the disparity between the victim and the attacker is too great. The victim is psychologically and physically less than the attacker, which means that they cannot ever fight fairly. Therefore, for the victim to stop the violence, they must make the morally permissible choice to kill the attacker.

9. When referring to repeated domestic violence, yes.

10. That is irrelevant to the resolution.

11. I cited him to explain the social contract.

12. They do not because once the social contract is violated, it is between individuals. This is also not about moral OBLIGATIONS, it is about morally permissible choices.


1. What is your value criterion?

2. If everyone has the basic right to live, no matter their actions, then how can the government legally and morally use the death penalty?

3. Is the social contract not also between individuals and not just the government and the people? If yes, then when it is violated, what holds the other person to the contract?

4. What do you propose victims do instead of fight back?


For the sake of organization I will answer question 3 last.

1. My value criterion is the same as yours, the social contract theory.

2. The government cannot morally use the death penalty.

4. Let society deal with them under provisions given to the government by the social contract.

3. The Social Contract theory, at it's core, is nothing more than a political theory trying to explain the relationship between individuals and the government. This theory asserts that individuals unite into political societies, by mutual consent, agreeing to abide by common rules. Political philosophers use this definition and the starting point of political order, in other words, before society formed every person acted as judge, jury and executioner, called the "state of nature". Using this starting point political philosophers then go on to attempt to explain why man would give up natural freedoms in order to form a ordered society aka set up a government. Thoughts about the social contract are only theories explaining why people come together to create a government. A government is legitimate since the people delegate to the government their right of self-preservation, thus, allowing the government to act as an impartial agent of self-preservation rather then all persons acting as judge, jury, and executioner. The government preserves people through laws. The two parties involved in the contract are the people and the government.
Debate Round No. 2


brittanyland forfeited this round.


Pro has forfeited and therefore believes my side of the argument to be true
Debate Round No. 3


brittanyland forfeited this round.


Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by THEBOMB 6 years ago
or rather vote i feel like an idiot now....
Posted by THEBOMB 6 years ago
that's what the google is for....if your looking for something about the Social Contract just google Social Contract
Posted by soccerfan22 6 years ago
great debate you need to state the evidence in you speech but other wise great now about that evidence please i cent find anything
Posted by brittanyland 6 years ago
you too! Are you novice, jv, or varsity?
Posted by IBdebating 6 years ago
@brittanyland: lol i really hope so. im constantly researching to improve my cases but i don't know. i guess we'll see :) haha. good luck at myers though!
Posted by brittanyland 6 years ago
@ibdebating: it is myers. You ready?
Posted by THEBOMB 6 years ago
I would like to thank my opponent and hope we have an informative debate.
Posted by IBdebating 6 years ago
@brittanyland: you said you were going to a tourney on the wouldn't happen to be Myers Park would it? cause im going to that tournament!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Chthonian 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit