First, actually read the Second Treatise by Locke. If you do, you will find valuable info for the Aff.Thought-provoking all around. Thanks for sharing, Ms. Grewal.
In my first contention, I argued that when the government fails to enforce its laws, that state is considered dissolved and society is in the state of nature. I had a quote from Locke supporting this. The quote ended with "and the people are at liberty to provide for themselves."
In my second contention, I argued that the right to punish criminals is a natural right. I had a quote from Locke that said that in the state of nature, vigilantism was needed to enforce natural law, and was a right of all men. I then argued that any right that someone had in the state of nature was a natural right. It is important to note that the right to enforce natural law and punish criminals is the only one that individuals give up when the state is formed. However, when the state dissolves, as in C1, individuals can reclaim this right.
In my third contention, I argued that vigilantism provided the necessary enforcement of natural law to protect the community. I had excellent anthropological evidence of this (from a cross-cultural study) from Dr. Ray Abrahams. Three overarching patterns that Abrahams found: 1. Vigilantism is a frontier phenomenon; occurs in areas where a weak state has a large power vacuum. 2. Vigilantes tend to protect, rather than violate property rights. 3. Vigilantes tend to reduce chaos.
On to the Negative. I took the standard, yet persuasive procedural justice angle here, as well as a disproportionate punishments angle. I proved that disproportionate punishments were inherent to vigilantism because 1. vigilantes had a mob mentality and 2. they let their emotions, rather than a desire for justice take over.
In rebuttals for the negative, I established that vigilantism wasn't needed in the state of nature, because in the state of nature, cooperation would occur. This was established through a Robert Axelrod card. I then gave an excellent statistic to prove this. Out of 196 countries, only 15 are currently at war. I also gave examples of this on the national level. 1. When Fransisco Franco lost authority in 1936, groups of workers in cities. 2. Since 1991, the private sector of Somalia has very little crime rate because its citizens have cooperated. I then claimed advantages of this by saying that cooperation would bring about the re-establishment of the state. I proved that the Aff destroyed this cooperation by locking society into an endless cycle of violence, and consequently, into a state of fear. Whenever an Aff claimed that I wasn't allowing criminals to be punished, I responded that individuals who refused to cooperate will be ostracized (this included criminals and non criminals, so it wasn't vigilantism). Example: economic sanctions on the international arena. I then pointed out that very little crime would occur as a result of the fact that individuals feared reciprocity (if I don't cooperate with you now, you won't cooperate with me in the future) and had a sense of duty to the community. I always was able to extend the international anarchic arena statistic to prove that very little crime/conflict would occur.
Mar 16, 2009
guest blogger on Locke and vigilantism
As a dissenting view to my recent post on Locke versus the vigilante, I offer the thoughts of Sharry Grewal, this year's Ohio State OHSSL champion. The words are hers, slightly edited by me.