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The Contender
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Violence is bad but government has a responsibility to use force to enforce policy

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/13/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 720 times Debate No: 54575
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
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Round One: Opening argument
Round Two: Response to opening argument
Round Three: Second response and conclusion

Government should take the land of those who don't pay their property tax at gun point if required. Government should collect tax from its population at gun point if required. Government should enforce compliance with all its policies at gun point if required.

Government has the responsibility to use force against its population to enforce policy but it is morally wrong for any citizen not working for the government to use violence for anything.
This is because:
1) The majority of the people in a country give their consent for government to enforce the policies that bureaucrats, agencies, banks, or special corporate interests make. To resist this means that the person resisting won't cooperate in a democratic society, thus harming the lives of those around them which is wrong. In self defence on behalf of the majority, government must employ violence against any and all people who actively resist government policy.

2) People need government to survive and be peaceful. Any resistance to government policy threatens the peace and prosperity of the majority who voted for their favourite politician.


It was former President of the United States Abraham Lincoln who once said, "No man is good enough to govern another man without the other's consent." It is because I agree with the words of Abraham Lincoln that I firmly stand in negation for the resolution mentioned here today. Resolved: "Violence is bad but government has a responsibility to use force to enforce policy."

For clarification, I offer the following definitions, all of which are taken from Merriam-Webster's Online Edition.
Government: a particular system used for controlling a country, state, etc.
Responsibility: a duty or task that you are required or expected to do.
Enforce: to make (something) happen : to force or cause something.

As for now, I will move onto my contentions.

Contention1. Psychological Egoism.
It was renowned philosopher Thomas Hobbes who had stated that people only act within their own self interest, and this is to be known as psychological egoism. With this idea in mind, it must be recognized that there's a reason that these people are in need of discipline. A government acting on something as simple as failure to pay insurance in a violent manner does not address the root of the problem. True, it may allow for the collection of the tax under the circumstances given, but that also instills distrust in the government, and creates an uncivil society. Instead, the government should try to avoid the negative consequences, and instead focus on negotiating with the citizen in hopes that they can come to a reasonable conclusion

Contention 2. An Uncivil Society is a Society Deemed to Fail.
This does not require that much thought. With distrust in the government, society is not happy. Ranging from countries within Africa, to examples such as the United States starting a revolution upon Great Britain. If the citizens of a country are not happy with their government, which would be in the case of unnecessary force, there would be negative consequences. There are other examples of this, and if my opponent so desires, I can bring up more examples, but I believe that this stands for itself.

Instead of the unnecessary force, a government could be civil and do something along the lines of a trial to insure the happiness of the countries citizens. Since they are not doing unnecessary force, the citizens will lack a reason to detest the government and its practices.

Contention 3. The Government Hiring Those who can Negotiate has a Positive Impact on the Economy.
If you recall from my first contention, the government can assist the economy by hiring people who would negotiate with people that are not meeting the tasks of the government. According to economist Arthur Okun, "For every 2% unemployment rate, there is a 1% gap between the potential and actual GDP." Regardless of whether or not this statistic proves to be completely true 52 years after its creation, it still shows us that there is a near linear correlation between the GDP of a country and its unemployment rate.

Using the United States as an example, the unemployment rate of the United States is 7.3% as of October of 2013, with a GDP of 15.6 trillion USD as of 2012. Since the GDP is at such a high number as of the moment, any linear increase will greatly increase it, which of course will have a positive impact.

It is for these reasons and more that I firmly stand in negation for the resolution mentioned here today, and I have showed you multiple reasons as to why violence ought not to be used by the government to enforce their policies under unnecessary circumstances. I thank my opponent for this debate, and look forward to their rebuttal.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for their acceptance of this debate and their contentions. Following will be my rebuttal for each of my opponents contentions. I will limit my response to no more then two points for each contention for the sake of brevity" I hope.

Rebuttal 1 in response to my opponents opening premise "No man is good enough to govern another man without the other's consent." :

Mr Lincoln is incorrect about his statement, and a hypocrite. Here is why:
1) Why a hypocrite? (Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 3, pp. 145-146):
"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will for ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."
2) Why is Lincoln incorrect? Let"s look at the first and most fundamental relationship anyone ever has. It is nearly universal and accepted that parents employ force in governing their children. The use of soft force like punishments for unwanted behaviour such as "grounding", sending children to their room etc. is generally recognized as good practice. Also, pure force like physically controlling a child"s body movements and physical location by overpowering them, or carrying them away against their will is accepted behaviour. Also hitting children to discipline as in "spanking" in also recognized as civilized, effective, and required in some instances.

If Lincoln"s position was correct, then surely parents would protect their children from the violence inherit in the governance of children by parents, nothing to say of a government employing force against a population that is not loved or respected as parents supposedly love and respect their children.

Rebuttal 2 to my opponents Contention 1, Psychological Egoism as a basis for the government to not employ violence in the collection of tax:

A citizen who does not pay their tax is doing so because of short sighted psychological Egoism. Send a negotiator if one must. It is better to offer the illusion of civility then outright tyranny. At the end of the day, they must pay for the good of the majority, which is the good of the individual. If democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what"s for dinner, then surely benefiting two wolves is better then benefiting one sheep. If the sheep can"t see that this is preferable and refuses to listen to a negotiator, then the sheep needs to be forcibly imprisoned and or killed so that the majority i.e. the wolves can benefit, and so that other sheep don"t get the idea that all they have to do is say "no" to the negotiator. One way or the other, the good for the majority is achieved by the application of force against those who disagree with official policy. In one instance the "problem", that is the trouble maker, is removed in some violent fashion like prison or death. In the other instance the citizen recognizes that all arguments for his case are a moot point because in the end, government has a monopoly on force and will employ it, in which case, the threat of force has convinced the citizen to capitulate and the majority is benefited and civility restored. And what good is a threat if your not willing to follow through? One of Obama"s chief advisor has been quoted as saying "[The] major world powers, new and old, also face a novel reality: while the lethality of their military might is greater than ever, their capacity to impose control over the politically awakened masses of the world is at a historic low. To put it bluntly: in earlier times, it was easier to control one million people than to physically kill one million people; today, it is infinitely easier to kill one million people than to control one million people," Excerpt from an article here with links to his speech:
The only person who won"t trust the government is the criminal who undermines the stability of the society by their lawlessness and disregard for policy and the greater good. Kill them or lock them away, and the problem is solved. The rest of the population who obey the law don"t have anything to be distrustful about. They can trust that if they turn to civil disobedience, then they will be stopped from harming their fellow citizens, and the national security and stability will be maintained.

Rebuttal 3 to Contention 2 " An Uncivil Society is a Society Deemed to Fail".

Let us look at Great Britain and the United States. A very small percentage of the people in the colonies rebelled against the Crown. The cause and ideals of the Founding Fathers have been eroding for a long time now, where almost all of their ideals in practice do not exist. However, the United states has come to dominate world affairs precisely through the methods and ideologies of Britain that the United States was born out of fighting against. Great Britain for it"s part is very much intact, as is the United States. In fact the British Crown is the largest land owner in the world, and their banking system with its heart in the city of London, the IMF, World bank, and Federal Reserve control the world with exceptions to the BRICS nations. England is a civilized first world country. The citizenry are not allowed to defend themselves in anyway, they have no guns and the government has a complete monopoly on force. Their society is, has and will continue to go on.
Let us imagine somehow that a man in a uniform carrying a gun, arresting someone who has broken the law, isn"t employing the threat of force, and that if the man being arrested resists, physical violence wouldn"t be used to detain him. Let us imagine that the criminal comes to court to face his trial of his own volition because its the right thing to do, not because if he doesn"t come, someone with a modern club will make him, regardless of what his crime was. Now the criminal is in court. The question is asked "did you break law xyz". The answer or verdict is "yes". The judge decides to fine or imprison the citizen who broke the law. If the citizen doesn"t want to, then men with guns throw him in jain. If he resist this enough, he will be shot or subdued through extreme force. He has no choice. Only force takes away all other options and leaves you with capitulation, or detainment/death. Only force provides the means to exercise justice. Only government can use force, and therefore has the moral obligation to maintain justice in society for the benefit of everyone else.

Rebuttal 4 to contention 3, "The Government Hiring Those who can Negotiate has a Positive Impact on the Economy."
Yes, hiring negotiators, police and military creates jobs. Negotiators for the government are the soft hand of force. What is a citizen going to negotiate? "I won"t pay my tax" he says. The negotiator says "why don"t you pay a little bit now, and the rest later?" If the citizen still refuses, he continues to break the law, in which case the gloves of the government come off. See rebuttal 3 point 2. More tax collectors and policy enforces weather they be of the negotiating "soft" type, or the gun wielding "back-up plan" type do help stimulate the economy by providing jobs and coercing lawbreakers to contribute or pay. Their jobs however are predicated on the threat of force, or the actual backing up of that threat of force.


Sasajiro forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Bandhu forfeited this round.


Sasajiro forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Bandhu 7 years ago
You killing me with the suspense. Are you still still interested in this topic Sasajiro?
Posted by Bandhu 7 years ago
Yes, that works. I'm new to this myself, and it looks like I made the same mistake. Not a big deal as far as I'm concerned. I'm more interested in the content and clarity and accuracy of the arguments then where the citations are posted. Just so we are clear, and that you don't think me a monster. I chose my position in this argument as a challenge. I think my position is well thought out and reasoned, but completely immoral and crazy, and I don't support violence in any form less it be for self defence only. I wanted to stimulate thought on the matter, and see if I could present a compelling argument, albeit a completely luny one.
Posted by Sasajiro 7 years ago
Drat. I forgot to post my citations at the end. Would you like me to do so in the comments section?
Posted by papadoi1 7 years ago
1. By "government" do you refer to any type and structure of government, or just democracies?
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