You are on page 1of 6

HAHAHAHAHHA AC Des Moines Roosevelt Emma Weddle

I affirm the resolution, Resolved: Oppressive government is more desirable than no government. Because desirability, defined by Collins English Dictionary as worth having is the weighing mechanism given in the resolution, and we define what is worth having by its normative goodness or badness in relation to us, the value is morality. My criterion for achieving morality is maximizing overall well-being of individuals, which should be preferred for four additional reasons: First,

maximization is the only way that we can respect human beings as moral equals. When faced with a conflict scenario between killing a few and saving many, I must save many because it would be inconsistent with equality to ignore the worth of the most. Equality entails that each human has the same worth, and five people of value x is greater than one person of the same value. Second, the resolution asks a question of desirability, which must be evaluated on a utilitarian basis since there are different degrees of desirability. Thus analyzing the resolution from a utilitarian point of view is the only way to weigh between multiple scenarios of governance. Third, individuals must be in the safest possible environment in order to allow for ethical deliberations, since you cant be concerned with issues of ethics when youre concerned with your immediate safety, meaning that maximizing overall well-being best achieves morality. Fourth, all moral systems collapse into an evaluation of end states, since end states are the only way to classify acts into moral categories, and we can only know and describe acts through their outcomes.
Moreover, frameworks based around a concept of universalizable principles are nonsensical in the context of the resolution, since just as a boat has a different purpose than the wood that composes it, a government or community has a different set of obligations than an individual.

Thus, I contend that oppression is justified. Only the collective will provided by the state can ensure that rights exist. There are literally no rights in the state of nature since everyone can

make the same claims to their supposed rights, as explained by Arthur Ripstein, professor of law and philosophy at the University of Toronto
[Ripstein, Arthur Professor of law and philosophy at the University of Toronto. Force and Freedom: Kants Legal and Political Philosophy. Pg 165. Harvard University Press. 2010]

Without an obligation of right, nobody is under any obligations with respect to external objects of choice, and nobody is entitled to enforce any acquired rights they (suppose themselves to) have. to external objects in a state of nature are
merely As a result,

all rights
A

provisional, because they

are all titles to coerce that nobody is entitled to enforce coercively.

provisional property right is thus a right to use force to exclude others from an external object while you are in possession of it; although physical possession gives provisional title, in anticipation of a condition in which rights can be made conclusive, your entitlement to use force is limited to the case in which interfering with your possession thereby interferes with your person. Any other use of force to secure an object against another is just aggression against that person, which can be resisted with right. Private rights of enforcement are the cornerstone of Lockean political philosophy; Kants premise that rights must form a consistent set under universal law preempts that entire line of argument.

If I am entitled to coerce you, and you may resist with right,


consistent with our respective independence under universal properly speaking. If the problem is one of reconciling rightful

neither of us has a title to coerce


law,

so neither of us has a right,

honor with the duty not to interfere with others,

the solution is to enter a condition in

which each can be secure in what is his, by means of a will putting everyone under obligation,
everyone this assurance. hence only a collective general (common) and powerful will, that can provide

Only a common and powerful will can provide this


The incentive has two dimensions.

assurance because only it can provide everyone with systematic incentives in relation to the possession of others. First, it pointless. assures the private right holder that the right will remain intact, even if another violates it. Second, it makes rights violations
prospectively

If a right holder is assured of a remedy, others will not normally have any incentive to violate rights, because a violator will expect to gain nothing and could possibly lose something through a violation. Even the most well-intentioned people will end up in a horrible environment without a state, as written by Christopher Wellman, professor of philosophy at Washington University, and John Simmons, professor of philosophy at University of Virginia

[Wellman, Christopher Professor of Philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis, John Simmons Professor of philosophy and law at University of Virginia. Is There a Duty to Obey the Law? Cambridge University Press. 2005.] Let me stress that in positing this gloomy picture, I do not mean to suggest that all humans would be revealed to be inherently evil; rather, I believe that even well-meaning, rational people would end up in a horrible environment if there were no state. I think that

unless the state is present to

establish,

enforce, and

adjudicate a clear and uniform set of

rules that everyone must follow, trouble would that conflicts

ensue. The problem is not that everyone would seek to violate the moral rights of others simply because
they knew that they were unlikely to be punished (though some un- doubtedly would); it is

would inevitably arise even among morally good people who genuinely prefer a stable and just peace.
onsider briefly just three things that social contract theorists have traditionally cited as unavoidable sources of chaos.

First, in the absence of a state there

would be no definitive body to establish a salient set of rules; as a consequence, conflicts would abound even among well-meaning people who sincerely disagree over what justice requires.
the details. Consider, for instance, property rights. The point here is that, even if one supposes that moral rights exist and are often generally recognizable and recognized by the vast majority of us, devils lurk in

Let us assume that everyone agrees that sought to respect it, there would
inevitably

each of us is morally entitled to the fruits of her labor. Even if we all agreed to this be
plenty of general directive and conscientiously

room for conflict. Problems would

emerge because,
Our elaborate and

although it modern

would presumably be relatively clear that I have a right to the fish I catch in the ocean,

very few of

lifes possessions are acquired in such a simple fashion.

sophisticated system of commerce would be impossible without an equally elaborate and sophisticated system of rules to govern property, and such a detailed set of rules is underdetermined by the vague pronouncement that each person has a moral claim to the fruit of her labor. And because people typically care passionately about who gets to keep what property (especially when both parties sincerely believe themselves to be in the right),

there is every not

reason to suppose that these conflicts will infrequently lead to violence. Second
that everyone would be so disposed. Think of it this way:

often be intractable and

and more obviously, even if we assume that most people are

well-intentioned folks who would never purposely violate the moral rights of others, it is clearly implausible to suppose

if there is already a

nonnegligible

number

of us who regularly violate the clear rights of others despite the imposing presence of an enormous punitive system designed to apprehend and punish criminals, it seems unrealistic to assume that there would not be considerably more criminal activity if that system were dismantled.
(Indeed, it does not require great imagination to appreciate this point; one need only reflect upon what has happened in virtually all cases in which natural or social causes have even temporarily disabled those authorities responsible for enforcing

the criminal law.) Moreover, notice that

these relatively few criminally oriented people


It is not just that borderline people will be more likely to

are likely to be a corrupting influence on many of those who would otherwise


be inclined to

play by the rules.

succumb to temptation when they see others routinely getting away with taking from others (though this effect should not be minimized). The more dangerous problem is how the initial victims will react when they realize their relative impotence either to catch and punish those who have wronged them or to ensure that they are not victimized again in the future. It does not seem unreason- able to think that these victims might be more inclined to violate the rights of others (in a misguided attempt to restore themselves to the level to which they consider themselves entitled to spend less time and energy on productive projects (the fruits of which are vulnerable to being stolen) and more time on defensive (if not preemptive) efforts designed to retain what is most precious. In fact, one need not have been a victim oneself to rec- ognize the rationality of adopting this defensive strategy; anyone who comprehends the incentives of life without an effective system of criminal law can appreciate the folly of working to acquire portable goods and the wisdom of striving instead to limit ones vulnerability to others. Of course,

as

people generally produce fewer and fewer new goods, this will increase the temptation to steal those already in circulation, and thus interpersonal relations will continue to deteriorate as each person becomes increasingly fearful of the threat posed by others.
In the end, then, it is clear that even if most of us are antecedently disinclined to mistreat others, the absence of an effective system of criminal punish- ment would create dangerous incentives for those few who do not respect moral rights, which in turn would set in motion a number of other, mutually reinforcing trends whose cumulative effects would be dramatic.

Third

and finally, let us suppose

that a victim does apprehend someone whom she is convinced has violated her rights.

In the absence of a

legal system, it now falls upon the victim and her allies to exact restitution and/or mete out punitive justice. And when the punishment is imposed by the victim herself rather than by
person; an impartial

third party, three types of and (3) even if the victim

complications are prone to arise: (1) the victim may punish an innocent (2) the victim may overpunish
the wrongdoer;

punishes the criminal in accordance with her guilt, the criminal might sincerely believe that she has been either wrongly punished or overpunished. <continued>Now, (1)(3) are all significant because each one is likely to inspire retaliation.
To appreciate the importance of this point, consider how Jennifer and her friends and family would likely react if Jane imposed punishment X upon Jennifer for crime Y,vand either (1) Jennifer is in fact innocent of crime Y, (2) punishment X is excessive for crime Y, or (3) for whatever reason, Jennifer and her allies sincerely believe that punishment X is excessive for crime Y. In each case, Jennifer and her support- ers would be convinced that Jane has wrongly harmed Jennifer and thus are likely to set out to exact retribution for what they regard as Janes wrongful or excessive punishment. The prob- lem, of course, is that Jane and her allies will not believe that the initial punishment violated Jennifers rights, and thus they will regard any attempt to punish Jane as a mere criminal at- tack. As a consequence, the longer Janes allies are able to protect her from punishment, the more Jennifer and her supporters will be likely to resort to extreme measures to exact some sort of revenge. If Jennifer

and her allies are able swiftly to impose a punishment, on the other hand, then we should expect Jane and her friends and family to be especially incensed that Jennifer has (at least from Janes perspective) now violated Janes rights for a second time. In short,

if the state were to disappear and criminal punishment

were

then

left up to those sufficiently interested in the particular crimes

to take matters into their own hands, it is hard to see how things would not soon deteriorate into a bloody mess. The state is desirable since it synthesizes individuals and society. The path of history cannot be changed, and everything in history has a purpose. What overcomes oppression cannot occur without oppression, and so oppressive government is desirable in order to achieve the ideal form of government, as explained by Matt Stannard, graduate of and current intern at University of Wyoming College of Law
[Stannard, Matt graduate of and intern at University of Wyoming College of Law. Georg Willhelm Friedrich Hegel.] According to Georg Willhelm Friedrich Hegel,

the desirability of the state derives from its

historical role in synthesizing individuals and society. Reason guides history. History, in this epoch, has produced states, which are intended to synthesize the needs of the individual and the community. These governed states are the foundation of ethics, self-actualization, and political participation.
ike Socrates (but for much more grandiose reasons), Hegel argues that the individual has no meaningful existence outside the state. All of Hegels philosophical arguments derive from the notion that the subject, consciousness, is in search of itself. Consciousness is in search of Reason, and Reason guides everything through a dialectical process of thesis-versus-antithesis, forming a synthesis and facing another antithesis, and so on. (This may seem almost mystical now, but consider the possible interpretations of the Enlightenment claim that the universe is rational). Hegel animates philosophical truth into a kind of god called Reason, and human consciousness is a continual dialectical project of realizing that Reason. Hegels truth, simultaneously philosophical and theological, explains the impatience in the preface to his statist masterpiece, PHILOSOPHY OF RIGHT, asserting that rights and truth-claims are reflections of law, morality and religion. Further, as to rights, ethical life, and the state, the truth is as old as that in which it is openly displayed and recognised, namely, the law, morality, and religion. But as the thinking spirit is not satisfied with possessing the truth in this simple way, it must conceive it, and thus acquire a rational form for a content which is already rational implicitly. In this way the substance is justified before the bar of free thought. Free thought cannot be satisfied with what is given to it, whether by the external positive authority of the state or human agreement, or by the authority of internal feelings, the heart, and the witness of the spirit, which coincides unquestioningly with the heart. It is the nature of free thought rather to proceed out of its own self, and hence to demand that it should know itself as thoroughly one with truth. most (http://marxists.anu.edu.au/reference/archive/hegel/works/pr/preface.htm) Thus, for Hegel, even the oppressive government is more authentic than no government at all. Moreover, for Hegel,

a government is

oppressive because, for that moment in history at least, it must be

oppressive. [the]
Hegels

Hegels state-centered political ontology is absolute.

Ones social existence is so History is moved

dependent upon the state that the state, and not the individual, becomes historical agent.
Global relations are conducted among states.

and changed and developed by states.

This has been true throughout history, and so each

current state must be viewed as an irrefutable instance of history.

If oppression is what we have,


(T.Z. Lavine, FROM SOCRATES TO

then oppression is what is historically expedient

SARTRE, 1984, p. 244-246). It is meaningless to speak of rights standing above the state, or of freedom from the state, since the only way to express the concept of rights is in law, and law is the province of the state. Hegel writes: Right and ethical principle, the actual world of right and ethical life are apprehended in thought, and by thought are given definite, general, and rational form, and this reasoned right finds expression in law (Hegel, Philosophy of Right . By rejecting the twin pillars of...individualism and democracy, Hegel not only justifies the existence of an oppressive state, but also rejects the possibility of life without government (Lavine, FROM SOCRATES TO SARTRE, 1984, p. 252). Moreover,

the objection that totalitarianism is wrong, or destructive,


As a historical

or bad in any way whatsoever, slide off Hegel like water off fowl.
even oppression. And theres more:

relativist, Hegel need repeat his maxim: The real is rational and the rational is real. Everything happens for a reason,

The purpose of oppression may be its end or

overthrow. because,

Hegel

[We] can claim to be both against oppression and in favor that which overcomes oppression could not

of the eventual historical events which overthrow oppression. This is


according to the Hegelian dialectic,

have occurred without the oppression, and so what is overthrown shares the same value as that which transcends it. Therefore, I urge an affirmative ballot in this debate