My opponent has made a clever semantic argument, and I will take a moment to define this topic objectively before continuing with my argument.
We cannot permit full disclosure, as it would effectively ruin modern society
I begin with the term ruin, which my opponent has argued to mean:
society will drastically change after any traumatic or fear-causing disclosure. This is what the “ruin” of modern society means.
This is inaccurate. My first source: Dictionary.com
ruin: 1. To destroy completely; demolish. 2.To harm irreparably.
My opponent, if he is shrewd, will propose economic ruin in light of the German example, but our topic dictates society, not economy. If he can focus
on economy, then I can focus on physical ruin. Neither of these is the topic, so objectively speaking, such a retort is not possible.
Recalling the qualifier to our topic
Then there is “cannot permit”. Even if my opponent’s contention that radical change constitutes a ruin of modern society were to be accepted, it
should be noted that the establishment of world peace would constitute then constitute the ruin of modern society.
Is radical change, when radical change, as seen above, is not necessarily a bad thing, necessarily a warrant to prohibit any action? Indeed if we were
to avoid all radical change, we would never have arrived at modern society to being with.
Straying from evidence and into assumption
Last we come to disclosure. My opponent argues that events, not revelations concerning them, are what constitute disclosure. If you accept that an
event itself is disclosure, and that the revelation of information is not a disclosure, then the harm in prior examples can be attributed to
This argument alludes to the hypothetical however and is not very convincing upon examination. In all of these observable events, whether they truly
are disclosure or not, there was an imminent threat, and that caused the situation to degenerate beyond control. Only if we assume
disclosure will reveal an imminent threat can this semantic argument demonstrate a danger of disclosure causing the ruin of modern society, even if we
accept that the unfolding of an event can be disclosure. (By that definition, the act of blowing my nose would constitute disclosure, because then
everyone would see that I had blown my nose.)
Summing up and moving on
My opponent’s definition of ruin is inaccurate and fails to fully support his position, even if accepted. Furthermore his semantic arguments
regarding what constitutes disclosure trivialize the term and are only relevant if we assume that disclosure will be of imminent threat.
Disclosure can be vital
In 1953, the Niagra Falls Board of Education bought a toxic waste dump from Hooker Chemical for 1 dollar. In the deed, Hooker disclosed that the land
was full of toxic chemicals and unfit for use, and stipulated that this warning must be passed on to any new buyer of the property. (They wouldn’t
have sold it at all, but if the land had been seized by eminent domain, no such warning could have been forced into the deed).
During construction of a school and other structures, the Board of Education ruptured the clay seal of the dump. This made it possible for toxic waste
to leach to the surface, which was not possible before. The Board of Education did not disclose this when they handed a large tract of the land to the
When residents moved into new housing developments in Love Canal, it was not disclosed that the School Board had knowingly compromised safety
features in that dump
Did that lack of disclosure help anyone? No. The truth and toxic waste will and did eventually get out. The unprepared suffer then, where stressful
disclosure could have saved them.
There was no disclosure though. A disaster unfolded on an unprepared town- the result is legendary for its horror.
Before, I cited an MD who says early, calm disclosure is the way to avoid a panic. Traumatic disclosure is better than being caught completely by
surprise. The victims of Love Canal urge you to consider those words carefully.
Preview of Remaining Argument
My opponent has argued that secrecy is necessary for social stability and national security, and is no more stringent than it need be for our
protection. Note the conspicuous words “homeland security” in his source. Ah, so what secrecy are we really talking about? Secrecy over motives
for war? Secrecy over who is exposing CIA agents? Secrecy over the development of new nuclear weapons which could change the strategic balance of
power? These are not secrets to be kept. I will show you that what is worth preserving in our modern society cannot be preserved by secrecy, but only
(MS Word 795)