2 years ago
Which side makes a better case?
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  • 2 years ago

    @mosheweissman Great debate. Thank you.

  • 2 years ago

    Thoughts as I watch this.

    If one grants that inalienable rights exist, and that one of these is a right to life, that right to life would be irrelevant if one did not have a right to self defense of that life.

    Along the same lines, if we grant a right to life, then the right to food/water would also be assumed to be part of that, otherwise the right to life was irrelevant.

    This is part of why we have governments in the first place. It is seen as a good that humans are able to be alive, so in the defense of these humans, we form societal structures to protect our ability to be alive.

    So I agree with Moshe on this point.

    Moshe says that your "inalienable" right is dependent on what the people of their time have, which is not a good argument imo. If it wasn't available in the 15th century, it wasn't an inalienable right. If it's dependent on what a lot of people have, it isn't an inalienable right. Michael calls him on this which is good.

    Michael also correctly points out that we'll never have Tomahawk missiles or smart bombs, thus it's rather naive to try to say that the right to guns exists in order to stop an oppressive government. Either we allow everyone to have tomahawk missiles so that they can defend against an oppressive government, or we prevent people from having such weapons, but if the second, then there's no way the citizens can actually fight against an oppressive government, thus it's not a reason to support inalienable gun rights.

    Moshe says that people need to sit down and have a logical debate about what weapons will contribute to a significant loss of life, and these weapons it would be reasonable to ban. Well if guns are such weapons, then according to Moshe, guns would not be inalienable.

    Moshe's argument is that if a weapon is too dangerous, it wasn't an inalienable right. But that says the weapon itself isn't an inherent right. The right to self defense may be an inherent right, but there isn't an inalienable right to any weapon out there.

    Moshe brings up DGU, which is a good argument for guns. It isn't a good argument for an inalienable right to guns though. He's talking about how 40,000 lives (or an unquantifiable amount) are being saved by guns. I agree with him on this, but that suggests a practical benefit for guns. It doesn't suggest an inalienable right to hold these weapons.

    Michael grants that self preservation is a right. He then accurately points out that guns are only temporarily the best use of self-preservation. A temporary necessity =/= an inalienable right. Con actually agrees with this, saying that there's a right to self preservation, not necessarily a right to guns. Well... that means there isn't an "inalienable right to bear arms". It wasn't an inalienable right before guns existed. It won't be an inalienable right in the future. It's just a temporary necessity. This is a winning argument for Pro.

  • 2 years ago

    Hey all. Great argumentation by both sides. If I were judging this as a competitive debate, I'd say that Con needs to do a little more work on framing and not simply accept Pro's definition of Inalienable. You want to come with your own that supports your arguments. If they are the same, that's fine. But in this debate, the definition strongly favored Pro's argument.

    That said, this wasn't in a tournament and I don't think that purely competitive argument was the goal.

    This was a good debate in that there were not many disputes of fact, mostly of interpretation and meaning. Not that disputing facts are bad, but when you can agree on them you can move on to more "root" understandings.

    So here is my observation/ judgment.

    Pro provides a definition of inalienable that says it comes from within us and is intrinsic to our personhood.

    Both sides agree life and liberty are part of this

    Con contends that a logical extension of the right to life is the right to self-defense.

    Pro eventually agrees, but he points out there are many different means to self-defense, some that don't involve killing people

    The back and forth discussion of the effective means of self-defense leads Con to make many statements that badly undermine Guns as meeting the definition of inalienable.

    They are not intrinsic to personhood, nor do they come from within us. They are instead tools, a means to an end.

    And with that, the round is decided so far as the resolution goes. The right to bear arms is not inalienable, it is circumstantial in nature.

    ---- further thoughts ---

    This debate isolates an interesting line of reasoning.

    That is to say that you have a given right... say life.

    Then there are means in order to secure that right. We may create legal guidelines to tell us what means are acceptable and what means are not.

    When a means is intrinsic, then we are almost in universal agreement to it. Self-defense is intrinsic to protecting your life. It is definitionally so.

    When it is not so intrinsic, then we start to have a very debatable zone of how legislation can or should uphold a right or uphold what we need to uphold it ourselves. And I think that is the crux of the gun debate (outside of it being in the constitution)

    Honestly, the best way to defend your life is to avoid conflict situations and if you get into them, to disarm them. I think culturally, we ignore that and instead create the myth of the old west where the surest way to stay alive is to shoot first and best. I've defended my life a few times, but I've never done it through aggression. Which is not to saya gun is never helpful, but I think it is a lot less helpful than most Americans think it is, and as a result, we have the kinds of gun violence we have. AKA, just because you used a gun to defend yourself, that may well not have been the best way to do it.

    But... I will say that under the current circumstances, I support the right to personal firearms, but only as a circumstantial means to another ends and thus I think it should be limited by pragmatic concerns such as "what weapons are effective for this purpose and not especially dangerous outside of it"