Feb 3, 2009

value and criterion pairs for the vigilantism resolution

Regarding the March / April resolution. A work in progress.

Suggest your own in the comments!

For the Aff

V: Justice
C: Preserving autonomy
Preserving individual autonomy--including the ability to exercise discretion in going after villains--is a necessary route to justice when the government has failed to enforce the law. Autonomy precedes any sort of societal or law-and-order consideration, because it is the foundation of human rights and societal order.

V: Justice
C: Social Contract
The Social Contract is a rough approach to balancing rights claims as a precursor to the formation of a State. Any State that, through some loss of sovereignty, can or will no longer enforce the law, has violated the Contract, and is no longer legitimate. Thus, not only do individuals reserve the right to seek justice outside the State, but the State also cannot bring any claim against those who protect themselves or their community by doing so. In this way, vigilantism and civil disobedience are two sides of a coin.

V: Justice
C: Popular Sovereignty
Vigilantism, as the resolution would have it, is justified when the government has failed--arguably to a significant degree, since we're debating the "general principle," as the rules of LD state--via notions of justice, which is achieved by recognizing that ultimate sovereignty lies in the people, not the State or the law.

V: Justice
C: Utilitarianism
A utilitarian view of justice is founded on two principles of effectiveness: deterrence and incapacitation. Both fail when criminals neither fear the law nor face its consequences. Thus, utilitarianism justifies vigilantism when the government has failed to enforce the law.

V: Justice
C: The Categorical Imperative
Punishing the guilty is a categorical imperative. A Kantian would argue that if one of the last two people on earth, surviving the apocalypse in a concrete bunker, knew beyond a doubt that his fellow survivor was an escaped murderer, he would have duty to execute the evildoer. This justice-over-all approach warrants vigilantism in the face of failed government enforcement.

For the Neg

V: Justice
C: The Rule of Law
Affirming the resolution threatens the rule of law, since it prescribes no real minimum for the government's failure to enforce its statutes. Allowing vigilantism to flourish devalues the very institution of the law, which is the closest approximation to real justice within a given society.

V: Societal Welfare
C: The Rule of Law
If vigilantism is justified, similarly to the argument above, the rule of law is at risk, and society is a few steps removed from anarchy. The proper response to an ineffective or apathetic government is to reform its institutions, not to tear apart the social fabric.

V: Justice or Dignity
C: Protecting Rights
Vigilantism offers no protections of due process rights, no checks on cruel or unusual punishment, no accountability to any exterior force. Suspects--or even known criminals--are still humans, deserving of fair trials and humane treatment.


LDn00b said...


V: Justice

VC: Rawl's difference principle (steal his warrents)

Argument: When the government fails, the least advantaged are the most likely to be harmed because they are the least able to defend themselves.

Jim Anderson said...

Well, you could always borrow his warrants, but forget to give them back.

Anonymous said...

V: justice
J: will to power
to mean a struggle against ones surroundings that culminates in personal growth, self-overcoming, and self-perfection, and assert that the power held over others as a result of this is coincidental.
suggest that vigilantism is justified through an individulas underlying will to struggle against one surrounding in this struggle vigilantism would be justified through Nietzsche's will to power...
just a guess.

Anonymous said...

revised prior thesis
V; Justice
C: Will to Power

The will to power is an individual’s struggle against their surroundings that culminates in personal growth, self overcoming, and self- perception and the ability to assert the power they hold over others. Example in a struggle against one’s surroundings a crime committed against someone is considered a surrounding an effect that lies outside the body and mind. Vigilantism is justified through this struggle against the crime that has been committed.

Massu said...

any idea how can an affirmative use Ross's prima facie duty ethics ?
It seems like something that might make an interesting arg,
but I'm not sure how it would be structured.

Anonymous said...

Jim, your analysis on Kant is interesting, but it is not just enough to just say "when the government has fails..." then vigilantism is just. Always act in such a way that your maxim can be made into Universal Law. Vigilantism would have to be justified in all circumstances.

Jim Anderson said...

Massu, I'm not sure how you'd warrant which prima facie duty (or "pro tanto duty," as some later commentators clarify) takes precedence, but I could see taking an argument in that direction.

anonymous, I don't think Kant disallows particular circumstances to shape the application of imperatives. If "punish the guilty" is the categorical imperative, then how we are exactly to do so is an open question.

Think of it another way: even if lying is forbidden, we still have to define what precise actions constitute lying. Mere deception won't do--otherwise camouflage is immoral.

Matt said...

This was mentioned earlier in this thread and I have been itching to run it...

The Nietzsche case.... Anonymous, defined one of the cases, but I was A) confused by the thesis as it seemed to have errors in it and B) curious as to how you would warrant that.

I love Nietzsche and really want to use him... I thought of WTP as well but dismissed it as something that would be hard to sell. Can someone elaborate?

emily said...

alright Mr. Jim. or for that matter, anyone else. for aff im running moral duty as my value, and Kants categorical imperative for my vc. i already have some good ideas for it. but would anyone please throw out their own to see if i can come up with anything new?im not looking for coppying, just new sparks.

Anonymous said...

this may be a long shot, but it would be awesome to pull off..


V:Duty. morality demands one to do one's duty and arguably even when there can be a negative outcome (slightly deontological)

VC: Nietzsche Slave Morality. watered down explanation: the individual should be allowed total freedom, including the freedom to vigilantism where law fails. so, this sets the stage for duty which REQUIRES one to perform acts of vigilantism where the law fails.

obviously from what i explained it may be a bit vague or seem hard to pull off, but if one can properly construct a case around these..it would kill.

Rod said...

Anon, how does Nietzsche warrant absolute freedom? Seems like the negative implications, such as anarchy, are to easy to attack without proper warrant.

RancidSumo said...

Here is what I have been thinking but I don't know if a judge will go for it or not.

V-Universal Human Rights
All people have the same essential rights amongst which is the right to be protected by the same, universally correct laws, regardless of wether or not their government recognizes them.

Facts are facts and truth is truth independent of man's feelings, wishes, hopes, and fears. Reality exists as an objective absolute.

Objectivism upholds Human Rights in that it establishes that the perfect system of laws that all humans have the right to be protected by exists.

Obs. 1- Plato's Theory of Forms (please correct me if I am wrong on the meaning of this)
When looking at this hypothetical resolution we must look at it in the best way possible so in this case we must see that the vigilanties would enforce the correct system of laws

Obs. 2-It is not the purpose of this debate to establish the perfect system of laws, rather it is to prove that they exist and must be enforced.

Thesis-Vigilantism is justified since no government enforces all of the correct laws so they must be enforced by someone else.

GD Olmstead said...

In a nutshell, the Theory of Forms says that we observe a shadow or reflection of true, perfect "Forms." If you call the law a shadow of true respect for Universal Human Rights, then there must be a true, perfect form that those laws might take. Plato goes on to say that philosophers can uncover the true Forms of objects. Thus, such correct (to use your term) laws must exist, and it is possible to find them out. This acts as a sort of warrant for your objectivism claim.

The call to action is then to act in the ways that best derive and implement the correct set of laws, and you would need to show that vigilantism does this better than organized government. Since the government has failed to enforce the law, vigilantism only needs to be shown to these things at all.

The caveat is that I'm not sure Plato ever intended his Theory of Forms to apply to abstract concepts such as law (but I'm no expert on them). I'm also afraid that moves away from the moralistic ground of universal human rights and more toward Justice or some other legal ideal.

lil' petey said...

Here is what i was thinking for the Aff:

Value: Justice (or maybe something less cookie cutter)

Criterion: Ruthless Efficiency (essentially by whatever means necessary)

Thesis: when the government fails to uphold justice justice still must be upheld and this failure opens the possibilities to other means (vigilanteism).

Some of the guys on my team think that my criterion will be passed off as too extreme but I think that with the resolutional provision of the government failing that it can be pulled off. What do you think?

Sexy Beast said...

Petey, justice and ruthless efficiency do not link. Try pragmatism. As for the criterion itself, it does seem a bit extreme, but I think it could work. Several philosophers agree with that mindset, so look them up. For a more acceptable, albeit less extreme criterion, try Rands Objectivism. It's a harder case link, but the link is there.

lil' petey said...

sexy, couldn't it be argued that the extremity is justified when the government has failed? because justice still must be upheld

Anonymous said...

hey does anyone have any philosophers on this topic? i think i have a good idea but i need some back up for it.

emily said...

umm. hello here? please could someone answer my question up above? it would be greatly appreciated! thanks.

RancidSumo said...

GD Olmstead, thanks for helping with the ToF thing. Do you think that a judge will go for that case or dismiss it as too abstract? (both lay judges and regular judges)

Sexy Beast said...

Hey anon, try Locke, Rawls, Hobbes, and Rouseau for social contracts. Then you could try Mill, with util. and the marketplace of ideas. And of course, Emery's Justice works good on the neg.

Sexy Beast said...

Oh and Rancid, I would be careful about running policy-esque strategies such as kritiks and disadvantages on your local circuit, and I'm not so sure how many local judges would dig the implication of psychology and its implications on vigilantes. It may just be better to run creative arguments that register with the norms of LD.

RancidSumo said...

What part of my case are you refering to?

Sexy Beast said...

Oh woops!!!! So sorry, I commented on the wrong post!!!

My bad. I actually like your case. Haha, sorry about that.

JJ said...

"VC: Nietzsche Slave Morality. watered down explanation: the individual should be allowed total freedom, including the freedom to vigilantism where law fails. so, this sets the stage for duty which REQUIRES one to perform acts of vigilantism where the law fails."

First, Nietzche hates the "slave morality" aka utilitarianism. He says they associate themselves with the group that does not express its power. They have a herd mentality. In order to survive, they have to stick together and cooperate as one. Each member becomes essential to the group's survival - they all consider themselves equals, even when they are unequal. I think. Nietzche is confusing. It would work in a kritik, but the problem is: you cannot advocate the resolution of you are running Nietzche. Because he says that the best thing to do is nothing. Striving for perfection, A) results in nothing (see his analysis on the world and its shit, often referred to as Kitsch), B) Hinders our ability to enjoy life, and C) removes value and purpose from life because we remove suffering and nothing exists to which happiness or good feelings can be compared. He holds that suffering is a necessary condition for purpose of life. The best way to get on is to let be. I'm not even sure if I have helped or confused at this point...either way, Nietzche is tough to run in LD. No one is real receptive.

JJ said...

and emily, please see the main page for the resolution. My ideas are commented there. I do not include a v/vc pairing. Just formulate it around the contentions. I have always found morality to be the achille's heel of cases. There is no way to determine what is good/bad unless done so arbitrarily. Requiring similar actions from all people based on a moral code links into all kinds of terrible impacts (because morality varies greatly across the globe): 1) eradication of culture-specific ideals or the culture itself, 2) the removal of a tool in the toolbox of humanity that could provide unique insight for the future including medical advances, 3) Human autonomy (especially if someone runs a case that says its a prerequisite to human rights) is dismantled. The list could go on. Morality is an etchy subject: you can either make morality a universal concept, remain vague and lose because we have no idea how to win the round or when moral rule is achieved, or say that the moral rule is relative which can go back to the second point there and further show that vigilantes are unfit to administer justice because their morality/perception differs and they will punish the wrong people (see definition...SUSPECTED criminals) Dono. Debate sucks :)

JJ said...

Also, on the will to power criteria. Interesting take. However, I would say that the vigilante would not be acting because the government has failed to enforce the law...in fact, I would say that the particular individuals acting under a will to power have beef with the law because it controls them. They hate the law. The criminals hate the law. They all commit crimes to dismantle the government and then attack each other for doing crimes against each other. Lol. So many takes you could have on that. You could literally ask 9 people how to rule of power is best accomplished and you would get 10 different answers. Do we affirm or negate? Who knows? Nietzche would say we just dont do anything haha.

Anonymous said...

V- societal welfare
VC- Justice or vice versa
What's best fo society is justice, that is giving each his or her due

JJ said...

You will want to do Value: justice, value criterion: societal welfare. The idea is, as you may know, that the value criterion achieves the value. Justice (assuming you are talking about a utilitarian justice) will be easily achieved by maximizing societal welfare, but societal welfare, while most likely maximized when justice is being done, is not necessarily created by doing justice. The contentions will simply prove that affirming/negating will lead to societal welfare and causally justice.

Anonymous said...

please don't use Nietzsche if you haven't read all of his major works at least 5 times a piece. Most poli sci theorists in college don't get him, I'm sure HS students will just hurt themselves playing with this kind of fire. rabble!

Patrick C. said...

my idea for my cases:
V: Justice/Moralty... etc
C: Thoreau's theory of moral agency
A. Thoreau states that individual have a moral concious.
B. Individual for the sake of having this moral concious is obligated to act opun it
C. Vigilantism is generally done from an individuals concious and not from their own self interest thus it is moral.

NEG Case
V: Moralty
C: Non Aggression axiom/principle
O: vigilantism is by definition going beyond just basic self defense
Thesis: it is impermissable (need proper warrant for this help appreciated)for any moral agent to aggress agains anothers life liberty or property. Aggress does not include self defense

DYX said...

Hi~ A somewhat confused novice. Can someone please explain more clearly the link between vigilantism and the social contract, and how it can be used on both aff and neg?

okiedebater said...

Patrick C., I would like to see how you would warrant your statement that "Vigilantism is generally done from an individuals concious and not from their own self interest thus it is moral."

That seems to be saying that if something is done selflessly, then it is moral. I could do something for someone else, and be immoral in doing it. An example would be if I stole something and gave it to someone else. I gained nothing from it, I didn't do it out of self-interest, and yet it would most commonly be viewed as immoral.

Also, there is some evidence to suggest that vigilantism is sometimes used to control young people and space. In Townsville, Australia in 1996, citizens organized into vigilante groups on the lookout for Aboriginal youth who were supposedly committing crimes. While thankfully not having a violent outcome, this scenario demonstrates potential for negatives within vigilantism, such as ageism and racism. Their efforts in "protecting" their neighborhood show that vigilantism is not always some legitimate form of achieving justice, but can be a perversion of it.
(This example is from "Juvenile crime and autonomous citizen action" by Richard Hil in Youth Studies Australia, September 1998)

While some AFFs will focus almost exclusively on the moral side of vigilantism, I believe that the strongest case will combine both moral and practical arguments.
A philosophy that could reconcile these two for this case is Hart's Theory. It outlines that "general justifying aim" of punishment is utilitarianism, and that the "distribution" is retributive". In other words, we should punish the guilty in such a way as to provide the greatest good for the greatest number.

The idea of retributivism indicates that the guilty should be punished for the crimes. If the government is failing to enforce the law, whether out of unwillingness or inability, then retributivism is not being upheld. Overall, society will be hurt as the threat of punishment will no longer have any significant deterrent value. In this way, vigilantism is justified, 1) b/c it is meeting the retributive aspect of the distribution requirement by punishing the guilty, and 2) b/c it is promoting the greatest good by maintaining deterrence.

An example of deterrence is Guatemala. Several cities have organized night patrols as a deterrent to gangs. The gangs had been a significant problem before. In a country of 13 million people, there were an estimated 80,000 gang members. (If you calculate that out, it's about 6.15%) The positive side of this situation is that according to one resident, there is "more tranquility". A former gang member states "We don't mess with the people in the provinces... In San Juan, Xela, San Lucas they're united."
Overall, these group vigilante actions can be very effective at deterring crime.

Of course, there is a catch. This situation is far from ideal. San Juan's police chief said that there were six vigilante killings in just 10 months, with another attempted lynching. The punishments being meted out included being tied up, stripped, beaten, paraded around town, and even covered in gasoline and set on fire. The extreme nature of this punishment could potentially violate principles of proportionality, although I'm not aware as to the type or extent of gang activity of those treated thus.
(Guatemala example is from "Fed Up, Ordinary Guatemalans Turn to Vigilantism" by Robert Siegel on All Things Considered (NPR))

Overall, this example could be presented as better than constant gang activity, unchecked by the small and insufficient police force. While vigilantism is NOT preferable to a legitimate and effective police force, it IS preferable to unchecked crime. Because it is (mostly/almost always) punishing the guilty (ala retributivism), and achieving the deterrent/incapacitative goals of utilitarian punishment, vigilantism is justified.

V: Justice
Cr: Hart's Theory

okiedebater said...

DYX, here's just my view on the link between the Social Contract theory (in this case, I'm gonna be using Locke's in a generalized way)and vigilantism.

The government is established to protect the rights of its people. It also establishes impartial judges to settle disputes. If it fails to protect the rights of its citizens, the government is illegitimate. In the absence of a legitimate government, a state of nature exists. In this state of nature, it's pretty much a free-for-all, everyone looking out for their own rights. Because of this, vigilantism is justified, because it's trying to protect yourself or others in the absence of a legitimate government.

Just a second thought on the AFF. The NEG may say that a criminal is still a citizen, so the government still has to look after their rights. However, by committing a crime, they attacked the social contract. By doing so, they forfeited their rights.

If the government is to protect the rights of its citizens, it cannot allow anarchy to reign. If citizens "take the law into their own hands", they are breaking the law, just like criminals. Also, such actions could potentially lead to violence between criminal groups and vigilantes. If the vigilante groups are not targeting criminals, then it is not really vigilantism, just crime.
If the government legitimizes vigilantes and allows them to operate, then it is undermining its own right to apply punishment. Citizens will lose respect for it, and will no longer go to it to resolve their disputes. This could lead to a free-for-all type anarchy. This would have clearly negative consequences. For example, there were 6 vigilante related killings in Guatemala in just 6 months, with another attempted one. This type of vigilante action violates the protection of rights for which government is established by the Social Contract.

Anonymous said...

For the NEG

V-Mill's Justice
CR- Locke's Social Contract

Eh? eh? =]

Matt said...

"please don't use Nietzsche if you haven't read all of his major works at least 5 times a piece. Most poli sci theorists in college don't get him, I'm sure HS students will just hurt themselves playing with this kind of fire. rabble!"

Agreed.... I have Issues with Nietzsche even after reading his stuff like 5 times.... Nietzsche is not only hard to sell but hard to run, because you need to be able to fix the very common misinterpretations of his work...

for example I may use Nietzsche somewhere, but I will also have a more straightfoward case...

on that note...

Existentialism Aff perchance?

Anonymous said...

The Maximization of justice
Sociatal welfare

C for measuring the V? I thought{=

Bob Sneider said...

for the neg case, can you use the rule of law as the VC, and have the protection of human rights as one of the contentions? (as in the vigilante is violating the rule of law by not guaranteeing rights)
I was going to use protection of human rights but I can only think of one contention- vigilantes don't gurantee criminal rights.

Jim Anderson said...

They are also in danger of punishing the innocent; it's not like vigilantes carry out extensive and thoroughgoing investigations. At least an innocent arrested by the state has the potential of exculpation at trial or through appeal.

Bob Sneider said...

can i combine the rule of law and protection of human rights?

Jim Anderson said...

It sounds like it's doable--if you make HR your value, and the Rule of Law the criterion.

Anonymous said...

If I want to use the social contract, which version works best with this resolution?

Jave said...

But how does Rule of Law link to Human Rights?

Anonymous said...

the argument will boil down to whether anarchy is preferrable over an oppressive government...plain and simple

Sexy Beast said...

Anon, I don't think so. As Jim has posted, there are several cases where vigilantism in the absence of the laws helps reconstruct a new, reformed social contract. In this way, the aff doesn't have to defend anarchy (unless she really wants to.)

Anonymous said...

COuld u now use Justice and use the Rule of Law as an affirmative case saying that no one is above the law and so the rule of law says we must see that this person is punished from the way the law see fits and therefore are doing justice?

alex said...

SO. a few thought on the topic. I'm having trouble making my case.
VP: MOrality- (it is by far the best value since it is resolutional)

VC: Kant's Categorical Imperative

1: Retributive justice (the guilty ought to be punished)

2: Protect natural rights: (people ought to protect the natural rights of others?)

the trouble is making the link between the contention and the VC. Basiclly, does anyone have advice on how to make the claim that "retributive justice meets the C.I. because it's maxim is so and so and clearly that can be both universalized and willed?) Any advice?

Matt said...

"V: Justice
Cr: Hart's Theory"

Is that H.L.A harts Positivism? Hmmm...

I wrote a John Austin positivism Aff, I wonder how Hart would advance that

PALD said...

I kinda want to use justice as a value and respect for human worth as a VC. How would I warrant this?

Nitin said...

here is an idea for an aff case, what do you guys think the weaknesses are.

V: Anarchy
VC: Government Legitimacy

Basically since the gov. has failed to uphold the law it is no longer a legitimate entity, therefore there is no governing institution and that mean there is a state of nature or anarchy, and since in an anarchy each is out for his own, vigilantism is justified since each man can interpret the law for himself and take action

I know it might have some holes but it is late and i need this done by friday.

Anonymous said...

Nitin, I don't think you should use anarchy as a value. Perhaps make governmental legitimacy your value and your criterion the PREVENTION of anarchy. That may work better.

Anonymous said...

What about using Societal Welfare as an AFF value upheld by Social Order (maintaining the status quo)? The AFF could argue that vigilantes by seeking to carry out unenforced laws are benefiting society by maintaining the status quo and preventing anarchy.

Nitin said...

"Nitin, I don't think you should use anarchy as a value. Perhaps make governmental legitimacy your value and your criterion the PREVENTION of anarchy. That may work better."

Alright but explain to me the link between the two, i can't really see it

Also for my neg case this is what i am thinking about,

V: Justice
VC: Bias

Basically since all vigilantism must involve some bias towards or against an issue. Therefore justice can never be attained through vigilantism, so it is not justified.

This one is pretty sketchy and even i don't think it makes much sense

Kathy said...

In toying with my Aff, I'm wanting to run the idea that when a government is failing, it must be reformed, per social contract, but while that process is taking place, someone had get the job done. Basically, if we sit around and wait for the goverment to get its act together and working the way it should, numerous crimes will go unpunished. While vigilantism does restrict rights such as due process rights, overall it is protecting more rights by taking care of the criminals and letting them know that there will be consequences for their actions. Maybe something with Maslow's Hierachy of Needs? Need to feel safe, so if the government isn't providing for that, someone must do it?

Matt said...

How is this for a Neg?

V: Justice
VC: Rawls Original Position

Thesis: Under the Original Position Justice must be decided by the whole community, thus when a Vigilante takes the law into his hands he denies the original position. (rough, but I think workable)

Matt said...

An Aff...

V: Justice/Saftey

VC Ethical Egoism (Objectivism is a good example, Nietzsche can be used well)

Thesis: A Free Market approach to Vigilantism.

1. Vigilantism will never get out of hand due to people always fearing for their own security, and thus they cannot go to extremes(Like Adam Smiths Invisible hand)

2. Vigilantism is Short lived and will lead to a new government
-Vigilantism is merely a way to keep order during the transitional phrase into a reformed government. Because of everyones egoistical urge to be safe they will find that they are best protected in a government(can even warrant the new government will be a democracy if you wish)

Vigilantism is always justified morally in a state without laws. It is infact justified in a state with laws, only the state, being the supreme power(hobbes warrant) checked this freedom and declared it unjustified. When the government has failed to enforce the law it sacrifices its supremacy and therefore its restrictions on vigilantism fall.(again rough)

Neg Perhaps?

If we assume a drop off point into vigilantism, say a sudden decree that vigilantism was now justified(really simple little argument, just say that aff is really almost making a decree that this is justified) who would be the first to act? Here is the answer, The Mob, Gangs etc... These organizations would love to dictate their own "laws" and are already organized and already have weapons.

Khepera said...

How can vigilantism uphold incapacitation?

Eutopia1994 said...

Hi Jim,

I was vaguely basing my Neg case on the [V: Societal Welfare; C: The Rule of Law] pair. For one of my contentions, I was thinking of saying something along the lines of "Even imperfect government is the best form of societal rule known to humankind. (Since vigilantism leads to anarchy)" Any ideas/suggestions on how I could back this up convincingly?

Also, do you have any ideas as to how I might squeeze a little bit of Kant in my argument? Something tells me he could be of considerable help but I can't manage to find a spot to wedge in a few of his ideas. Or am I totally off-target with that? (It's my first year debating and I'm a bit clueless ^^;)

Jim Anderson said...

Khepera, incapacitation is the prevention of further crime by someone who has committed a crime; it's similar to deterrence, except after the fact.

Eutopia, there's a good argument to be made that vigilantism leads to a cycle of violence. ("Cycle of violence" should be your search phrase.)

For Kant, go to Joe Nusz's "The LD Files." He has a good essay on Kant over there.

Eutopia1994 said...

thanks! The cycle of violence idea helps a lot. But looking at my other contentions (protecting rights, vigilantism's lack of restraint on power/checks and balances) it seems I'm leaning towards making my criterion justice. Could you give me any advice on how to include the cycle of violence into a case with justice as the criterion? Could I argue that vigilantism violates rights AND that it is likely to lead to anarchy in the same case? Should I stick to Rule of Law or does Justice seem like a smarter choice? If I stick to Rule of Law, is it possible to successfully link it to the protection of human rights?

Anonymous said...

I was actually wondering how one is going to REFUTE the rule of law criterion. I expect many to use it yet I cannot come up with any way to refute it.

Anonymous said...

You could refute rule of law by showing examples where the law is not necessarily just, and therefore should not be obeyed blindly. I mean, bring up slavery and challenge your opponent to say the rule of law should be followed in that instance.

Anonymous said...

this is my first year in debate (switched in)and i was just wondering if you could explain the Rule of Law to me? Thanks

Jim Anderson said...

Here's a modern conception of the rule of law, anonymous.

Anonymous said...

There's two things I don't understand right now:
1. the social contract as a criterion. my understanding of this is that when the gov fails to enforce laws it becomes illegitimate and the people no longer have an obligation to abide by the laws and have the right to seek justice on their own. but wouldn't this mean that vigilantism can't really exist because there are no real laws for the vigilantes to enforce?
2. autonomy as a criterion. how do i show that preserving autonomy achieves justice?

Matt said...

This seems to be a problem alot of people I have talked to are having and one I see with a Social Contract/Autonomy Aff

under both cases the only way for Vigilantism to be justified is if the government fails.(Social contract theory says we give up some of our freedoms under a government. so only without a government can we do as we wish.) But without a government there is no vigilantism. vigilantism requires law, so in a state of nature without laws then there is no vigilantism.

Anonymous said...

sorry, one more question.
if a vigilante breaks a law to achieve his form of justice, then wouldn't this be wrong under the categorical imperative? i only see how the categorical imperative works for the neg, not the aff.

Alexander said...

Hi Jim,

I'm confused as to the link between preserving individual autonomy and justice. I know autonomy is like free will, but how is it a necessary route to justice?

Anonymous said...

"Hi Jim,

I'm confused as to the link between preserving individual autonomy and justice. I know autonomy is like free will, but how is it a necessary route to justice?"
Let's divide the people into two groups: the government and the civlians.
The government has failed to enforce justice by not enforcing the law.
That means there's only the other option: to have civilians do that.
Since the only option other than government is to have the civilians do it, it also means the autonomy is a necessary route to justice in this scenario since the ability of civilians to do this with only their own consensus is part of autonomy.