The Instigator
TouchtheSky
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Aontas
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Should a democracy hold the public's right to know over a political candidate's right to privacy?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/8/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 651 times Debate No: 119406
Debate Rounds (5)
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TouchtheSky

Pro

The title is fairly self-explanatory. I'll let my opponent make the first argument, But I'll start by offering definitions. If you disagree, Please feel free to contest them.

From Merriam Webster:

-I define "democracy" as a government in which supreme power is vested in the people, And is exercised through a system of representation and periodically held elections.

- I define "ought" as a moral obligation.

- I define a "right" as a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or act a certain way.
Aontas

Con

Conetntion 1. A public right to know distracts people from actual policy issues. In essence, People are more easily able to discuss cheap gossip about candidates and their health than they are to discuss about a candidates positions in tax and tariffs.
Contention 2. A public right to know violates HIPPA and similar laws, Which mandate to keep health issues private because releasing them would undermine patient doctor trust. Further it violates the Americans with disabilities act, And discriminates against people with disabilities, Making a right to know morally bad.
Contention 3. No harm has come without a public right to know
Contention 4. We know more about candidates now than at any point in human history. What else do we need, And how would it even help.
Debate Round No. 1
TouchtheSky

Pro

I will start by addressing my opponent's arguments, And then I will move on to presenting my own.

My opponent's first contention is that a public's right to know is only a distraction from actual policy issues. The terms "personal"and "public" lives are so indistinct and hard to separate that it becomes increasingly difficult to judge what is relevant and what is irrelevant. If this distinction were to be determined by any court, We would be at the mercy of a restricted and regulated knowledge that disables us from trusting any candidate for government. Deciding what information is relevant and irrelevant is the job of the public, Who is ultimately the only proper arbiter.

My opponent's second contention is that not granting the public's right to know violates rights that protect privacy of health and disabilities, Such as HIPPA. I argue, However, That while privacy is an essential right, It is not an absolute one. In the interests of public safety, It can be overridden. According to Article 8 of the english Human Rights Act, "Privacy rights can be overridden when the situation is in accordance with the law, And necessary for a democratic society in the interests of. . . The economic well-being of a country, For the protection of health and morals".

In other words, There are necessary restrictions on what can be private. Transparency is crucial in the interests of the well being of the country, And the protection of democratic morals. Even outside of politics, The more senior and powerful a job, The more rigorous the qualifications and background checks must be. As politicians, Our representatives are the embodiment of the people"s will, And the powers that they wield demand high scrutiny into their background.

My opponent's third contention is that no harm has come without a public's right to know. As a matter of fact, Severe harm has come to governments from granting a right to privacy. In France, For instance, They have extremely strict regulations on privacy for politicians, Which allowed President Francois Mitterand to get away with hiding cancer from the public, Convincing many of his friends in government that it was "a state secret". The cancer, According to his doctors, Severely affected his decision making and eventually killed him while in office. The strict privacy regulations allowed Mitterand to hide behind them, And a watered down, Inaccurate picture of his total health was portrayed to the people.

My oponent's fourth contention is that we currently know all that we need to know about candidates. However, I affirm that there are many other issues that we are currently unaware of that could have the capability to do serious damage to our society.

As an example, I offer Mark Sanford, A South Carolinian representative who mysteriously disappeared for five days. His friends from office lied that he was on the Appalachian trail, And delayed people from discovering the truth in the name of "leaving him alone and giving him his privacy". However, The truth was that he was visiting his mistress in Argentina. Because there was little investigation into his life and actions, He was allowed to become corrupt and throw his purpose in government away for the sake of another woman. He unexpectedly abandoned his position for five whole days, Proving himself to be extremely unreliable and untrustworthy.

I will now move on to my own three contentions.

First, A democracy relies on the consent of the people to choose who to rule them, And access to the complete and unrestricted story is necessary to be free to make a decision. According to the Washington Legal University, "The right to know is a significant method for seeking the truth. It is vital for collective decision making in a democratic society, And as a mechanism for effectuating social change without resort to violence or undue coercion".

In May 28th, 2018, For instance, It was revealed that a running congressman named Thomas Garrett had previously struggled with crippling alcoholism, To the point where he relied on aides to take care of his children. While he had been working to recover and to take care of his family, This detail about his private life significantly decreased his polls to the point where he ended up resigning. While some believed that this publication of personal details was a privacy invasion, The voters ultimately held that these details, While personal, Were crucially important to understanding the full extent of his character and making decisions based on who he truly was. If the public had not been aware of these details, The story would be distorted and incomplete, And polls show that Garrett was likely to have been elected. While the publication of these details put Garrett in a negative light, They were ultimately necessary.

Second, In a democracy, It is vital that every individual must have a voice. The public, As the ultimate decision makers, Is the best arbiter. They alone can decide what information is relevant to their vote, And what information is not. If the public is not the one to make decisions on behalf of their governing authorities, Then there is no single person or group of people who is qualified enough to do so. We cannot balance decisions about the fate of our country based on what one or multiple people deems "suitable for us to know". The information we receive would be at an extremely high risk of distortion and bias. Barak Obama, Former president of the United States, Said, "We must work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, Public participation, And collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in the government".

Third, Accountability and transparency prevents corruption, And without scrutiny, Crime in government will easily thrive. Since the year 2000, Over two hundred politicians have been convicted of crimes, Including John Rowland, Larry Craig, And Kwame Kilpatrick. All three of these people were in office for several years before their crimes were discovered, Simply because they were not held to a transparent standard and were instead granted a "right to privacy".
Aontas

Con

Aontas forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
TouchtheSky

Pro

My opponent has forfeited this round. There is little more to say.
Aontas

Con

Aontas forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
TouchtheSky

Pro

Alright then.
Aontas

Con

Aontas forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
TouchtheSky

Pro

TouchtheSky forfeited this round.
Aontas

Con

Aontas forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
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