The Instigator
Con (against)
The Contender
Pro (for)

Resolved: An unjust government is better than no government at all

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/15/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 746 times Debate No: 106705
Debate Rounds (3)
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"No man has any natural authority over his fellow men" - Jean-Jacques Rousseau. It is because I agree with Jean-Jacques Rousseau, that "Resolved: An unjust government is better than no government at all" is not true. According to Oxford Dictionary, unjust means "Not based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair" better means "More desirable, satisfactory, or effective," and government means "The group of people with the authority to govern a country or state." The main topic of my argument is that we value liberty, and the criterion put forth is the duty of government coming from their social contract with the people.

The basis in which government is created arises out of a rational fear that if humans are granted unlimited freedom, then they will invariably violate the rights of another through acts of aggression. And as such, a government is created. In the social contract, based on this fear, the government must meet this need. In the case of a government that is not morally fair to its citizens, there is an implication that the government, in being unjust, does not respect the rights of individuals. Thus, if not respecting or protecting the rights of individuals within its jurisdictions, the government fails to meet its obligations under the social contract. However, on the other side of the spectrum, the absence of government meets the criterion and more. Since the government isn't established, there is no social contract between the people and an authority, and therefore a social contract cannot be violated. From this, it can be drawn that an unjust government does not meet the criterion, but the absence of government does.

Absence of government respects natural rights further than an unjust government. In an anarchic scenario, absolute autonomy is inherent, whereas in an unjust government, and government in general, power over the people is demonstrated in the hands of a few men exercising absolute autonomy. Comparatively, the anarchic scenario respects the autonomy of individuals better. The affirmative will try to question this, stating that if given unlimited freedom, natural rights can be violated by other men. However, this is exactly where the contradiction occurs. It is inherent to an unjust government that rights aren't respected, because removal of rights is immoral, and in this infrastructure, power will be concentrated with a few men. But in anarchy, according to philosophers like John Locke, the masses are benevolent. Weighing the two options: a corrupted few men with unlimited power over all others, and benevolent masses with unlimited power over themselves, it is evident which respects natural rights more. In addition, without Locke's philosophy, it is still better to err on the side of the absence of government because of the nature of government. The government is created with the intent of authority existing, and therefore must have a legitimate means to obtain the ends, something called enforcement. If the government is able to have such enforcement, they have a medium to violate natural rights, and to perform acts of aggression that wouldn't otherwise be possible. To protect natural rights, we have to vote negative.

In conclusion, what we can clearly see is that an absence of government meets the criterion of societal contract being met, simply because there is not a societal contract, and upholds the values of liberty through an unlimited freedom distributed to all people, rather than the few present in an unjust government.


Thanks for letting me debate. I will be talking about how any government is better than none. First of all, like the great George Washington said, "We cannot have no government because its bad" Wisest words from one of our best American Senators. Without him and his government (which is more corrupt than North Korea) we would not be where we are today. Anyways, even if there was no government, people would form their own governments and make another George Washington.
Debate Round No. 1


Okay, let's talk about this topic and establish some burdens.

Since you are the affirmative, you have the burden of proof to show that an UNJUST (not only any) government is always superior to a lack of government (anarchy). Let it be clear that I am not arguing for anarchy nor am I stating that anarchy is en balance superior - but what I am arguing is that an unjust government is NOT superior to a lack of government.

Let's look at the facts of the matter.

To begin, we have to look at what an unjust government entails. An unjust government is one that does not uphold its social contract, or violate the rights of its constituents. By rights, we can turn to either the natural rights that John Locke spoke about, or we can turn to civic rights that the government gives to its constituents. By violating that contract, the purpose of that government is null and void. That government takes what it was established to prevent (like homicide, etc.) and flips it around, committing that same act. In an absence of government, no contract exists between the people and an institution. As such, that contract cannot be violated. Meaning that in this debate, you have to show that a violated contract is better than an unviolated, nonexistent contract.

Now let's further look at why these contracts exist. Humans create these contracts to prevent bodily harm to themselves, such as a violation of John Locke's property, liberty, or life rights. But once an unjust government exists, those contracts are violated to the dismay of those humans that created the contract. That being the case, we have to consider consent of the governed. By affirming, my opponent states that it is superior to ignore the consent of the governed.

But finally, by affirming by opponent has to gauge that the violation of rights by authority is better than the violation of rights by a common man. The problem in this logic is a matter of leverage. Authority, by definition has the leverage to violate the rights of every man within its jurisdiction. This means that authority then can mass violate rights. Contrary to this stands an absence of government. In this absence, no centralized authority exists other than consensual agreements between private individuals. This means that private individuals and consensual agreements lack the leverage to violate rights anymore than a centralized authority. For instance, a tyrannical government violates the rights of all within its jurisdiciton, whereas terrorist cells only violate the rights of certain individuals (not the entire population that consented to its governance.)

Let it be understood that if the affirmative fails to meet these conditions, then he loses the debate and you have to vote con. I have no burden.

So far my opponent has presented two arguments.

1 -- that an unjust government leads to a just government.

He brought up the example of the United States becoming a just government by breaking off from an unjust government. But there are a multitude of issues. By making this statement, the affirmative claims that the ends justify the means. Let's say I go out and kill someone, but that person is a corrupt monarch. My ends are to make a better society by eliminating that monarch. But my means are to kill him. To violate his rights in exchange for the betterment of others rights. This idea entails a utilitarian approach. That is also the case in the debate today - so he has to show why a utilitarian approach is superior to an individualized approach. But further, his mentality in the debate today that an unjust government leads to a just government excludes an entire possibility - that an absence of government leads to a government.

2 -- If there is no government people will form their own governments.

This topic is irrelevant. We're arguing whether an unjust government is superior to an absence of government. Those governments formed can be just or unjust - but that has no bearing on the topic today. But let's say that it does. In the absence of government, there is a possibility that a newly formed government is just. However, when a government is unjust, it fails to be just. Between the two, an absence of government holds stronger because of the possibility of justness that doesn't exist in an unjust government. To respond, my opponent might point out that an unjust government might reform to become just. But keep in mind today, the topic is concerning an unjust government - not a reformed government.

Thus, the option is clear - negate.
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Lookingatissues 3 years ago
You posted this question,"....... An unjust government is better than no government at all..."
I think the question is answered by the results, did you personally gain or lose by this government's actions.
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