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

Resolved: Redistribution is ethical

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/30/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,696 times Debate No: 36150
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (5)




This debate forms part of the Official DDO Prepared Championships for Summer 2013. Please see the forums for details. (

R1 will be acceptance only, with no new arguments to be introduced in R4. 8000 characters per round with a 72 hour response time, plus a voting period of 1 week.


Redistribution - "Taxing higher income people to pay for a basic standard of living."

Ethical - "In accordance with prevailing concepts of morality."

Anything that Citrakayah wants to further define or clarify should be mentioned through PM or comments.

Otherwise, it's game on.

I look forward to debating you.


I accept, and wish the best of luck to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting.

Seeing as I am Con on this resolution, I do not have the BOP to show how Redistribution is not ethical, because I'm not defending the resolution. However, seeing as my opponent will probably lay out a strong case, I will begin with some points of my own on how redistribution is not ethical.

Redistribution is the taking of wealth from higher income citizens by the government, and spreading it evenly amongst those with lower incomes, in the hopes of promoting a higher standard of living.

This seems like a very noble goal at first glance. An attempt to promote the basic standard of living must be moral and good, right?

Not quite.

Redistribution is the wrong way to go about achieving a good goal. I am not arguing against the objective, but rather the method.

But first, let me show you directly why it is not ethical.

C1: Redistribution is comparable to theft, an immoral action.

Ethical, as defined above, is "In accordance with prevailing concepts of morality". Now, mind you, this isn't to be confused with the ad populum logical fallacy, where it is stated that the prevailing opinion must be true. Rather, this means that redistribution, as a concept, must line up with prevailing concepts of morality.

One of the things redistribution is most likened to is theft, an obviously immoral act. But we can not just take this opinion and brand the whole concept immoral. First, we must see if there is any actual comparison.

Theft is defined as - "the act of stealing; specifically : the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it"[1]

What is the difference between this and redistribution? There are two glaring inconsistencies at first glance.

One, theft is outlawed, while redistribution, in a sense, is not. Since redistribution is an action taken by the government, it cannot be illegal. However, legality isn't in question here. Something being legal does not justify morality. I'm sure my opponent will not argue this.

Second, theft is intended to deprive the rightful owner of their property, while redistribution is essentially the same action, just with the intent to give it to someone in need.

The morality of actions are not based off intent to do well. If my friend complains to me about a person annoying them, I may be morally correct to want to help them. However, if I do so by insulting, harassing, or harming said annoying person, I am not moral in my actions. Likewise, I may have good intent when performing the action of taking your possessions, but the action's morality is no different. As the popular saying goes, "The ends don't justify the means."

And, as we'll see in a minute, the ends of redistribution don't quite fulfill the goals of the concept anyways.

But to recap, since redistribution takes the same wrongful action as theft, then it is comparable (despite good intentions). Therefore, by definition, redistribution does not live up to prevailing concepts of morality, and is unethical.

Moving on.

C2: The moral goals of redistribution are not reached

As I stated earlier, the goals of redistribution are quite noble. But the end result is disasterous, and quite unethical.

While a higher standard of living is desirable, redistribution instead promotes a society where people are paid not to work, and lowers societal quality as a whole.

An article from shows how this philosophy is flawed.

"In fact, though, it is the defenders of big government who are being naïve and simplistic by believing they can "spread wealth" without harming the incentives to generate wealth.

Better outcomes cannot be willed into existence. They come from millions of participants in a free market trying to win customers by innovating and driving down costs. When there is a level playing field, free enterprise spawns competition and cooperation that benefits us all with more wealth, more jobs, and greater choice for consumers."[2]

This is only logical.

If you pay people not to work, and take the money of those that do, eventually the number of those who are being paid not to work will out number those that are paying to work. This is because those that are paying to work see that those who are being paid to work get just as much for doing nothing for society.

But redistribution's harms aren't just theoretical. They're statistical fact.

In;'s index ranking for most economically free countries, we see that countries with highe respect for personal property and a free economy are doing fantastic as always. Hong Kong, the most free country economically, has a stunning 3.4% unemployment rating, and a GDP of around 350 billion dollars! Other free market (non redistributive) countries like Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and Switzerland, join it at the top of the economic food chain.

Meanwhile, some examples of countries that support redistribution and lack of property rights are...

North Korea (Unknown economic status. Extreme poverty sepculated.)
Zimbabwe (GDP of $6 billion, and decreasing.)
Congo (GDP of $18 billion.)

Not only is this sad for economics, but more importantly, it's sad for ethics. As we can see, North Korea, Zimbabwe, and Congo, are not exactly "human rights promoters", much less countries that support a higher than average standard for living. It gets even worse when other countries that are with them in the group of "no private property rights" include Venezuela, Cuba, and Iran.[3]

So in conclusion:

While I'm sure my opponent will put up an admirable fight (I wouldn't expect anything less), these two arguments alone weigh against his position quite heavily.

To recap, redistribution is unethical, both due to its methods of thievery, and (less importantly) its failure to fulfill its goals and promote its ethical objective.

Redistribution, as stated in the beginning of my speech, is an unethical means to get to an ethical (but ultimately unachievable) end.

Thank you. Your move, Pro. I look forward to it.



Both Con and I accept that the goal of redistribution is ethical. An excellent start. Now, I think I'll start by refuting Con's points.

C1: So?

When we get down to it, why is theft bad? Surely there must be a reason; it's not enough to say that theft is theft, therefore it is bad. We would not consider theft bad if theft had never hurt anyone. Rather, we recognize that theft generally does more harm than good, both by making people feel unsafe and by hurting them financially/emotionally. Meanwhile, theft is generally not essential for the thief to receive a benefit that balances out or outweighs the harm incured by the victim.

But that doesn't mean theft is innately wrong. Would it be wrong to steal a sample of medicine from a pharamacist, after you had exhausted all other methods available to you, to cure a loved one? If so, why? The pharmacist doesn't depend upon that single item. You offered to pay a fair price (ie what you could afford). He refused. There is no other option. If you do not act someone you love will die.

I agree that intents do not matter. The ends do, though. Option one: Theft performed. Loved one does not die. Option two: No theft. Loved one dies.

Either way, harm is done. But the first way, the harm is minimized. The ends do justify the means... it's just important to realize that the ends aren't just what you intend, they include what you do. The ends are simply the end state of the world due to your actions.

C2: The Moral Goals of Redistribution Are Reached

The goal of redistribution is not to increase GDP, or to promote business. It is to make sure that people down on their luck survive, and can get another job. Let us look at studies.
  1. There are obvious abstract issues. Part of redistribution, for example, is being able to have a home. Given much of the prevailing opinion in this country (USA), it is logical to assume that being able to list an address that was not a homeless shelter would increase one's chances of getting a job, thus by extension increasing their chances of becoming independent.
  2. We live in a culture that glorifies the ability to have cool stuff. Redistribution provides the minimal amount of stuff necessary for sanity and survival. If someone wants a nicer car, or better books, or a nice television, or an expensive piece of art, that requires not just living on welfare. For that matter, much welfare currently doesn't even meet the poverty line.[5]
  3. Obviously, redistribution lowers income inequality; I think we can all agree on that. This is called the Pigou–Dalton principle. Income inequality is positively correlated with violence, for instance.[1][4] It is also positively correlated with obesity, diabete mortality, and general bad eating habits.[2] This is believed to be due to the stresses of living in a heavily hierarchal society. Income inequality also increases corruption.[3] Obviously, in the event of corruption income inequality can easily increase, as rich people plan to make themselves richer.

Con references the Heritage Foundation. However, Con is cherry-picking data. For instance, if we look at government spending, which is closer to redistribution than the wide range of items sampled by the Index, we see that Sweden, Norway, and France all do very poorly, but Slovakia, Albania, and Armenia do just great. Yet overall, Sweden is better than Albania. Why? Because Albania has poor property rights, labor freedom, and freedom from corruption. Meanwhile Sweden has a very low score in government spending and fiscal freedom, and a rather low score in labor freedom, but scores in the eighties and nineties for everything else.[6]

The Index was never meant to judge redistribution alone. It was meant to judge many factors, many of which countries with high levels of redistribution (Scandenavia, many European countries) are better at than us. And it is not a measure of overall freedom. Remember that Hong Kong is a special section of China, and is subject to many of the same restrictions. For instance, censorship.[7]

As we can see, I don't need to make my own point. I can simply use prove the negative of Con's argument to make my own.

Debate Round No. 2


I thank my opponent for his response.

C1: Redistribution is theft

First, I would point out that my opponent concedes that redistribution is theft. While I understand that his argument is far more complex than this, this specific concession will come into play later.

Next, my opponent argues that theft is only wrong when the harm it does outweighs the good. I disagree.

How can we scale what is "more good" or "more bad"? We cannot. There are moral actions and immoral ones. Like I stated in my previous analogy, a wrongful action for a good purpose doesn't justify the wrongful action. (See R2's analogy in C1 about harassing someone who is annoying your friend).

The moral part of redistribution is the fact that it intends to do good. But, as even my opponent conceded, the right intent does not justify the action.

My opponent tried to rationalize his way of thinking with his own analogy, which states that "Would it be wrong to steal a medicinal sample in an attempt to cure a loved one?". My answer is this. Yes.

Does that seem cruel? It might. But let's think about this, shall we?

The intent is to save the loved one. The action is to steal the medicinal sample. The intent is moral. The action taken is immoral. It's that simple.

The act of theft deprived the pharmacist of his rightful property. He had worked and gained, poured in some amount of time, and acquired that medicine. Now, you, as someone trying to save a loved one, have taken this away from him, without his consent; effectively stealing the medicine and his time that he spent acquiring it. Yes, you did so to save a life, but that is what you intend to do with the stolen property. (As my opponent stated, intentions don't justify actions)

We cannot rationalize the whole process as moral. We must examine each step of the journey.

So, again, redistribution is wrong, because it deprives people of their rightfully earned property. No matter if the thief intends to use the stolen property selflessly or selfishly, the action of theft is still wrong.

C2: The goals of redistribution aren't reached (Stop renaming my points! lol)

I would like to remind everyone that this point is not consequential to this debate.

Let me explain. We are debating whether or not redistribution is an ethical action, not if the intentions or results of redistribution are ethical.

So, whether or not redistribution is successful at meeting its goals is irrelevant. It is an immoral act.

But I'll argue this point some, anyways...

I remind my opponent that we are not debating welfare, so much as redistribution. Welfare is where the state aids those who are handicapped, in order to protect their safety. Redistribution is, as defined in R1, the act of raising taxes on the wealthier only in order to provide a higher standard of basic living.

Redistribution may use the ill-acquired money in welfare programs, but welfare itself is not redistribution.

Therefore, a better standard to weigh countries by is financial and property freedom. If a country's government respects the finances and property of its people, it is not a redistributive state.

Also, government spending is a poor standard to weigh redistribution's merits by, because there is no telling where high government spending is going towards (it could be the military, border security, government payroll etc...)

If we are to go by the official OECD index for best living standards (the agreed upon goal for redistribution by definition), then Australia is the leader in this category.[1]

However, if we return to the Heritage index, which shows the economic side of the situation, then Australia is shown to have an incredible score in both property and financial freedom. [2]

The next five highest OECD scorers are Sweden, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, and the United States (respectively).

All of these score over the average in financial freedom.

All of these score FAR over average in property freedom. [3][4][5][6][7]

The rest of my opponent's arguments seem to be more arguments favoring welfare and less favoring redistribution of wealth. Again, while sometimes compatible, welfare can exist without redistribution. If a country decides to use rightfully gotten tax revenue to support the handicapped and impoverished, that is okay. But for a country to unjustly tax welathy citizens, intending to support those with low living standards, is both unethical and ineffective.

For welfare to work, the government needs to let the wealthy become wealthy and tax them so that they both stay wealthy, and the government can earn money off the taxes. If the government is going to tax the wealthy until the wealthy are as average as everyone else, there will be no one to tax to support the redistributive method. Business will screech to a halt, because gaining income will be punished.

If the wealthy are taxed (fairly) just enough to stay wealthy, then the government can continue to gain revenue from them, and support those with lower income for better living.

Redistribution may try and use welfare programs, but welfare isn't redistribution.

C3: My opponent has essentially conceded the resolution

Back to the resolution!

My opponent, earlier, stated the redistribution is, in fact, theft. (At least in method) This is essentially a concession, as I will show.

The resolution states that my opponent must prove that redistribution is ethical.

Ethical was definied as "In accordance with prevailing concepts of morality"

Redistribution was conceded to be theft.

Theft is not in accordance with prevailing concepts of morality. (My opponent tried to argue if theft was actually immoral, but this doesn't matter. Theft is prevalalently viewed as immoral.)

Therefore, redistribution (or theft) is not in accordance with prevailing concepts of morality.

Therefore, redistribution is not ethical.

Logical. Sensical. True.

Well, this wraps up my speech for R3. I look forward to my opponent's response.


. (Organize by rank for convenience)
(For 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7: Use icons to organize by specific freedoms)


P1: So?

It"s quite easy to scale them. We just look at the end results. Consequentalism 101. Intent doesn"t matter. But neither do actions. What matters is where everybody is when everything is over. The action itself isn"t wrongful. No one would care about a theft if it was so minor that nobody even noticed (say, someone stealing a twig from your property that was full of twigs).

Con"s argument that the action is wrong misses a crucial point: The action is also to save the loved one, since that is the result of the action. Con creates a separation between intentions and actions that do not exist. For intentions to be different from actions, the intended action must fail: For instance, stealing the medicine and failing to save a life. Even then, when making decisions the most ethical one is the one that has the greatest probability of the greatest increase in utility; all actions have the risk of backfiring.

All actions"and all inactions"have consequences. By refusing to sell the medicine at a fair price, the pharmacist is responsible for your loved one"s death. He could have stopped it, he was that link in the chain, and he refused out of greed. To speak of time ignores the fact that your loved one could have years if not decades of happy, healthy life with the medicine.

P2: The Goals of Redistribution are Reached:

Con"s own definitions in the first round refute his allegation that we are not talking about welfare: He defines redistribution as:

"Redistribution - "Taxing higher income people to pay for a basic standard of living.""

This is the definition we agreed on prior to the debate. If you examine Justin"s profile, I wrote the following comment two weeks ago:

"Redistribution, in the sense of taxing higher income people to provide money to pay for a basic standard of living (healthy food, adequate shelter, et cetera) is ethical."

His response was:

"Fair enough. You'll go Pro I assume?"

Clearly we are speaking of redistribution in the broad sense. Con"s arguments apply not only to redistribution to provide a basic standard of living and lower the level of income inequality, but to anything paid for with taxes.

Con then argues that the Heritage Foundation has rated countries like Australia, Sweden, Norway, et cetera quite highly. True. Let"s look at what the Heritage Foundation calls property rights:

"100"Private property is guaranteed by the government. The court system enforces contracts efficiently and quickly. The justice system punishes those who unlawfully confiscate private property. There is no corruption or expropriation[1]."

This has nothing to do with taxes.

What, then, measures the tax burden and the involvement of government in spending? Answer: The "limited government" section, which, when we rank by it, reveals that Sweden is extremely low, at 39.6, and Australia is 66.4[2].

High ranking countries in this section include Bahrain (99.9), Kuwait (99.9), the UAE (99.9), Qatar (99.8), and Saudi Arabia (99.6)[2].

Why, then, does Sweden, which has a heavy amount of welfare/redistribution and a top income tax rate of 57% and government spending about equal to half the GDP[3]. Rather ironically, Americans really do prefer such an income distribution[4]. And the Swedes spent, in the nineties, 33% of their spending on welfare and redistribution. Since then, average quality of life has actually fallen as they cut taxes and slashed social programs"though they are still significantly higher than the United States[5].

My opponent seems to be under the impression that redistribution means that everybody will have the same income. This is not the case. It merely means that income inequality will be lessened. I have already shown the advantages of this. Also, keep in mind that wealthy is a relative term. In many European countries, the wealthiest Americans have a net worth far more than the counterparts.

P3: I Haven"t Conceded

Firstly, if you view the comments on each of our profiles, nowhere did I agree to such a definition of ethics; my lack of objection to my opponent"s definition of ethical was based on the theory that he couldn"t actually be trying that.

In any event, since people can believe rather contradictory things regarding ethics, I would point out that most people see exceptions to the rule of theft being immoral, and that if most people support income distribution similar to Sweden"s, they implicitly favor redistribution.

Debate Round No. 3


I thank my opponent for his response. I will now deliver my final say in this debate.

P1: Redistribution is theft

My opponent's argument is that all that matters are consequences. I disagree completely. He states that, in the case of stealing medicine to aid a loved one, the only thing that matters is that everyone is ok in the end. However, how does he reconcile this with real life situations? Are things only immoral when someone dies? If I steal all of one person's posessions to aid another, am I really wrong in doing so? Are all cases where a life is taken essentially immoral?

Rather, I think we know theft is wrong because it is wrongfull taking someone's earned property. No matter what one intends to do with that property next, it was still illegitmately gained. Correct? Redistribution is the act of taxing the rich greater than the rest of the populace, to pay for better living standards. However, is the act right? Is theft right? Theft, where one intentioally harms another person by wrongfull taking their property, is moral? I don't think so. However, my opponent continues to argue that redistribution, which uses the same immoral method of acquisition, is right. Why? Intentions.

Intentions and actions aren't the same, as much as my opponent would like to say otherwise, due to two things.

First, intentions have no guarantee. Intentions are great if they're good. However, my opponent argues that probability is the key to morality. If you intend to do something with immorally gained item, and it's a moral action, (despite having done immoral things to get the item) and you'll probably succeed, then it's okay. However, by this logic, taking huge risks in an effort to help people, with a low probablitiy of success, is immoral. Even if this action was completely selfless, it'd be immoral. This doesn't line up with prevalent views of morality, nor does it line up with what morality is.

Second, intentions are only future planned actions. If I buy a gun with the intent to rob a bank with it, does it make my purchase immoral? Not at all! However, my action in which I rob the bank is still completely wrong, even if I intend to use the money to benefit the poor of my community.

My opponent finally argues that the pharmacist is implicit in any immoral action by refusing to sell medication to said dying family member at a fair price. However, I never argued that this was moral. This is certainly immoral. But that doesn't mean the act of taking his property is moral.

The bottom line is, if (as admitted) redistribution is theft, than it is immoral. This is because theft wronfully takes the property of someone who earned that legitimately. It is depriving them of their rights to own what they can make/earn. All of a sudden, this becomes moral because we plan on giving it away? No.

P2: The Goals of redistribution are not reached

First, addressing that this point is indeed inconsequential. My opponent references our agreement on the resolution. However, A) we are arguing if the act of taxing the rich to pay for a higher basic standard of living is ethical (not if it's effective... which it isn't) and B) there is nothing in that definition which would suggest we are debating welfare. Welfare can be paid for with legitimate and fair taxation of every citizen, no matter the income. There is no logical argument that states all welfare must use the method of redistribution.

Moving on....

The definition of private property rights is exactly one of the things we are debating. It's possesions (not monetary) that people own personally. They are the rights of the citizens to own their own items, without fear of them being taken by any means. If a nation scores high in private property, it obviously can't endorse a method like redistribution.

My opponent also ignored what I stated about financial freedom! This has to do directly with the monetary side of posessions. It is also under the "limited government" tab.[1]

I think my opponent's silence on this is more telling than any argument could be.

Limited government scores, especially with low scores on government spending, can be skewed as if to show that countries prefer redistributive methods. However, as I stated before, government spending has to do with ALL spending by the government. This doesn't just have to do with social policies. (And even if it did, the financial scores show that taxes aren't heavily imposed or unfairly imposed on one specific "class")

As for my opponent's statements on Sweden's redistributive methods, he uses the source of "wordpress" a blogging site, as evidence. Now, while I trust him as far as the facts go, I would remind him this isn't necessarily a very reputable nor legitimate source.

But the fact still remains, this is one country. Circumstancial evidence could point any which way, and the mere fact that Sweden is trending back towards financial freedom (to where they score high on the scale again) and that they still have a crazy high OECD score, shows that the impacts of redistribution aren't proven to be beneficial or unbeneficial by this specific point.

Lastly, I am not under the impression that redistribution immediately makes everyone financially equal. However, I am merely showing the only logical way that such a method could drive the economy. If the rich keep being taxed to help the poor, then eventually we will run out of people with higher financial assets (or lower) and it will become completely equal, thereby effectively ruining the economy.

P3: Concession

My opponent states that he didn't agree to the definition. However, he was given numerous opportunities to do so before this round started and in the past few rounds. Before the debate, as I outlined in the R1 opening, I encouraged my opponent to address anything he didn't agree with.

Even in the debate, the definitions did not irk my opponent until now. If my opponent had thought them unfair, he should've brought that up before the round. If he had thought them to not give him enough of an advantage, then he could've argued for more advantageous definitions in the round. He did neither, and therefore, must come to terms with his indirect concession. He may fight it, and I assume he won't go down without a fight, but it still remains. He admitted that redistribution was something that was immoral by prevalent standards in society, due to the immoral actions it takes to get to its goals (or not get to them).

He argues that his lack of objection was due to his assumption that I actually couldn't be trying this. I wasn't. I even used the definition he gave me for redistribution, and the Merriam Webster definition (which I always use for official definitions) for Ethical.

I merely argued off the resolution and the definitions that made up the words of the resolution. If I did not, this debate would be pointless...

I made no definitions that automatically gave me any advantage. I just saw the opportunity my opponent presented me when he chose to admit there was no distinction between theft (percieved as immoral) and redistribution.

Therefore, by the definition of ethical in this round, redistribution, as conceded by my opponent, is not ethical.

To conclude:

Redistribution is unethical because it deprives people of rightfully gained property. Intent on future actions with said property after it is wrongfully taken are not consequential.

Redistribution doesn't work anyways, despite having noble goals. (This doens't matter in the big scheme of the debate, but it is my personal beliefs on redistribution anyways, and I've shown why)

My opponent has conceded (admittedly indirectly) to the Con position of the resolution.

Therefore, I believe a Con ballot is warranted.

I look forward to seeing my opponent's final response, and I thank him for being an incredible opponent in this debate.

Thank you.




My thanks to my opponent for the stimulating debate.

P1: I Still Don"t Care Or Why You Should Not Either, Given The Arguments Presented In This Debate:

Simple. Probability, and optimization. Ideally, everybody would have a 100% chance of reaching their optimal state. In many cases this will differ. My optimal state involves working as an architect while living outside a city in a semidesert area with a nice garden and my favorite cat. Other people may prefer other situations. But everybody has a way that they would like to live. Ideally, we would all be able to do so. In real life, then, we can"t.

What, then, to do? Well, if everybody having a 100% chances of living in their own personal Hell is really bad, and everybody having a 100% chance of living in their optimal state is really good, then obviously we want to be closer to the latter option. That"s just common sense. Who wants to be miserable? But since we"re talking about an overarching ethical system, a transcendent one meant to guide many people, we"ve got to look beyond ourselves. My own pleasure and my own pain are not objectively more or less important than anyone else"s.

The latter option I state involves everyone having the maximum possible welfare. I do not mean in the manner of government assistance.

From this framework, we derive a basic ethical truth: Things that increase welfare are good. Things that decrease welfare are bad. So if I make someone permanently miserable to gain momentary pleasure, I have committed a heinous act. If I am too damn lazy or greedy to help someone, and they are made permanently miserable, die, or suffer great pain, I have also, by my negligence, committed a heinous act.

My opponent then goes on to argue that we know theft is wrong because it is wrongfully taking someone"s earned property. The logic is circular, of course"that or unsupported, it could be interpreted either way. In any event, my opponent continues to ignore that a lot of people actually do think theft can be right" leaving aside Robin Hood fans for now, I challenge him to go to his town"s busiest district and ask people, randomly, to provide an answer to my scenario. No leading, challenging, or anything, just the question: "If the only way for the one you love the most was to steal medicine, after you had offered a fair price for it, would you do so?"

I"ll wait.

The probability my opponent gives here would have to be very low indeed. For instance, something like trying to untie someone securely tied to a train track when the train is a second and a half away from hitting you. Even then, if a person really is willing to risk it, then they may have their ideal state as living a life where they help other people, no matter the cost.

P2: They Are Reached:

If any money is moved between income groups by the government, that is redistribution, by definition. Taxing people who are higher income than the poor to give to the poor is redistributing money.

Next my opponent argues that private property rights mean redistribution can"t happen. False. He admits as such when he says that they aren"t monetary; redistribution redistributes money, not non-monetary possessions. Rather, private property rights would be more concerned with eminent domain laws.

Then he says that financial freedom is under limited government. False, again.[1]

It"s true that government spending covers all aspects of spending by government. Nevertheless, when one examines the limited government scores, many of the countries with low scores for government spending do practice heavy redistribution. Examples include:

1. France has a minimum standard of living for everyone, with taxes dependent on income. Obviously, this is redistribution: The rich are taxed more so the poor can have a basic standard of living.[2]

2. Sweden provides housing to those who can"t afford it. Again, redistribution.[3]

3. Denmark uses "flexcurity", which is made-up word that basically means that they have a highly progressive tax rate coupled with benefits for those between jobs. There are other elements, but that"s the relevant part.[4]

My opponent says that Sweden is increasing its score in fiscal freedom. True. Over five years it has increased by about four points and is still in what the Heritage Foundation calls "repressed".[5] If he doesn"t like my source, perhaps he would like Reuters?[6]

Again, my opponent fails to understand. The rich continue to make income under redistributive systems. For that matter, they almost certainly will continue to gain money after income taxes and basic needs are deducted. The amount they pay in taxes merely is more than poor people pay, and poor people get benefits that are paid for, in large part, by taxes on richer people.

P3: No, I Haven"t Conceded:

I thought that that definition was to avoid something like arguing "Redistribution is ethical because X said so/I benefit from it/I feel like taxing rich people", not to say, "Let me compare redistribution to theft, and then argue that since people don"t like theft they don"t like redistribution." This is not a debate on popularity of redistribution. When people actually think about the underlying moral concerns that drive them, the prevailing view is not based on an absolute right to property; there"s a reason that libertarians are a minority, and I would point out that if there is an absolute right to money and property, and taking it is wrong for any reason, then no taxation should exist. The people who think this are very few in number, though.

The fact is that theft is only generally viewed as wrong, and even then, as my opponent acknowledged, taxation is not the same as theft! People evidently don"t view it as immoral for the government to tax them so it can pay for basic welfare, roads, the military, et cetera.

Yes, taxation and redistribution can be likened to theft. They are not the same as theft, and I did not admit to such. Rather, I took my preferred route and criticized the idea that theft is wrong in all circumstances. I then showed that people actually did want the results, by overwhelming margins.

Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Citrakayah 5 years ago
Donald, could you expand on your RFD? The arguments section is kind of vague.
Posted by RedMoonlight 5 years ago
And the first time I said Con under my P1 paragraph I meant Pro. Woops.
Posted by RedMoonlight 5 years ago
P3: Con tries to win on a technicality. The immorality of theft under certain circumstances was brought into question, and I"m confident that it would not be seen as "prevalently" unethical in a Robin Hood-esque situation such as Pro"s pharmacist example.

To explain the sources point, it appeared that more of Pro"s claims/facts were backed up as opposed to Con. Pro also made use of quite a few more sources than his counterpart.
Posted by RedMoonlight 5 years ago
P2: Con attempts to dismiss the results of redistribution as inconsequential to its morality, which I find irrational, as it is logical that results are the main thing to take into account when determining morality. Why are theft, DUI, rape, murder and any "unethical" action all generally considered unethical? Negative consequences and results. Additionally, Con fails to specify what factors do have an effect on an action"s morality if outcome (the only concrete remnant of an action) is "inconsequential".
After reading every statement, it seems fairly difficult to dispute the effectiveness of redistribution. There is very little, if any distinction between redistribution and welfare, as welfare policies are a form of redistribution (the blanket term for nearly all social programs). In the US welfare state for example, funds are appropriated in a progressive fashion, the result being that most welfare money comes from the middle and upper class. It is then allocated exclusively to the unemployed and those below the poverty line. It has effectively been moved from one socioeconomic level to another, or "redistributed".
The good fortune of highly redistributive economies such as those of Scandinavian and other European nations remains unrefuted at the end of the debate. Sweden in fact, as Pro pointed out, has even reduced the quality of life of its citizens by doing away with redistributive policies.
P2 goes to Pro.
Posted by RedMoonlight 5 years ago
Both parties agreed upon redistribution as a form of theft. Con made a very strong case that the morality of theft and other supposedly-immoral actions should be considered on a case by case basis, with the intent, known outcomes, and probability of possible results taken into account.
I'm a very firm believer that in many cases, the ends DO in fact justify the means, and the way in which Pro's pharmacist example relates to redistribution reinforced that opinion. Con's attempt to play up the less extreme immoral side of a largely moral action (i.e. the pharmacist losing his property to save the thief"s loved one) made little sense to me. Which is more heinous: the loss of property, or the loss of life? Most people would say the latter. After all, results are what make an action significant; this is the origin of morality as a concept. Pro wins this point hands down.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by donald.keller 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con had better grammar. While not very noticeable, he did have slightly better. Both sides did good with Conduct. I felt Con tried harder to make a case in the beginning, and in the end had just made it over Pro's. The sources were close, but I noticed Pro's Wikipedia pages, a few of them too. While I don't mind Wikipedia, I don't feel they are a reliable source in a political debate.
Vote Placed by LevelWithMe 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct: Con began and continued to make a contention that he conceded was irrelevant to the debate at hand. S/G: Upon a thorough check, they made essentially the same amount of mistakes. Arguments: Con made morality claims that he didn't expand upon. It is never argued/evidenced why/that the morals presented are accepted in prevalence. Although it was a point brought about in the 3rd round, giving Con a chance to respond to it, Con didn't contend Pro's claim that although theft may or may not generally be considered immoral, people at large don't consider that act to which they apply the moniker of theft to be immoral itself. Argument dropped. Sources: Although the same amount of relative links were provided, Con generally used the same source for all of his claims(different sections of the same website). I treat his no differently than citing different pages from the same book. It's still a singular source. Pro had more reliable sources with greater diversity and number.
Vote Placed by RedMoonlight 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by snamor 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: SG: As I read debates, I count errors that I notice. I don't look hard for them but if they stand out I will mark them. My score was 4-0 for Con. Enough to get the vote. Con won the welfare/redistribution difference argument and he successfully demonstrated that intentions and actions are not the same. Furthermore his arguments for redistribution = theft stood resulting in the logical conclusion from R3 C3 that pro could not overcome.
Vote Placed by larztheloser 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con took the initiative early, and for the most part controlled the debate. I felt most of the empirical stuff in this debate, while both sides got it quite wrong (heritage foundation not being the greatest of sources), was largely irrelevant. The two issues for me were: is theft bad, and is it self-destructive. I felt the latter argument wasn't actually logically justified. All con did was cite a source calling the alternative na?ve. All the rest were empirical correlations. This could have been a strong argument (for pro also), but it needed to be run along careful economic lines - what does it affect and why. The other argument was the real winner in this debate. Pro had the BOP, but I felt managed to parry the issue of whether the ends justify the means from R2. Pro did good to use a narrative to counter, but didn't run it hard enough to beat con's continuous appeals to alternatives. I felt con thus prevented pro from meeting their BOP. Narrow neg win. Msg me if u have questions.