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DEBATE FINALE. Rdube02 vs. The Vagabond: Dangerous Disclosure

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posted on Apr, 24 2006 @ 06:23 PM
The topic for this debate is "We cannot permit full disclosure, as it would effectively ruin modern society."

Rdube02 will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
The Vagabond will argue the con position.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

No post will be longer than 800 words and in the case of the closing statement no longer than 500 words.

Credits or references at the bottom do not count towards the word total.

Editing is Strictly forbidden. This means any editing, for any reason. Any edited posts will be completely deleted.

Opening and closing statements must not contain any images, and must have no more than 3 references. Excluding both the opening and closing statements, only one image and no more than 5 references can be included for each post.

Responses should be made within 24 hours, if people are late with their replies, they run the risk of forfeiting their reply and possibly the debate.

Judging will be done by a panel of anonymous judges. After each debate is completed it will be locked and the judges will begin making their decision. One of the debate forum moderators will then make a final post announcing the winner.

This debate is now open, good luck to both of you.

posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 09:48 AM
To open, I would like to thank the moderators for debates well done, and the judges for the honor of taking part in this final round. I wish my opponent the best of luck.

Social Consciousness and Mass Hysteria

Oct 31, 1938 - 8:15pm to 9:30pm: Radio Broadcast of "The War of the Worlds"

Resulting social reaction:

This event "disrupted households, interrupted religious services, created traffic jams, and clogged communications systems."[1] Grown adults required medical treatment for shock and hysteria. Families ran outside their homes with wet towels and handkerchiefs over their faces to flee what they believed was a gas raid. Thousands called police, newspapers, and radio stations.

...people stood on street corners looking for a sign of the 'battle' in the skies.

The entire nation was terror stricken with panic and fear. Hysteria and fear was so high that in some places people actually reported seeing the invasion.

May 2001 - New Delhi, India: After power cuts requiring lights to be turned off during the nights, reports began in New Delhi of a monkey-like creature appearing at night and attacking people.

Resulting Social Reaction:

After the first sensationalized reports, citizens panicked. In one case a man was beaten at a Geena Colony in East Delhi and "his vehicle smashed by a restive crowd which mistook him for the elusive creature who has spread panic in and around the Capital."[2] The police were flooded with phone calls with reports of sightings.

In only about 10 cases did the police find some injury on the bodies of the complainants. And of these, seven were cases of people sustaining injuries while running for fear of the mysterious figure.

1692, Salem, Massachusetts (Danvers): Two girls, daughter Betty Parris and niece Abigail Williams of Reverend Samuel Parris, fall ill, as did other young girls in the village. Village physician concludes the girls are bewitched. The Parris’ servant Tituba, as well as Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne are arrested for suspicion of witchcraft. Tituba confesses and all three are sent to a Boston prison.

Resulting Social Reaction:

Accusations throughout the community start to fly and warrants are issued for arrests. By the end of the trials, nineteen individuals were hanged on Gallows Hill, and others died in prison. Giles Cory refused to stand trial. He was interrogated by the placement of stone weights on his body. He survived two days of the torture before dying.


Mass delusion and hysteria can be easily created, even from simple rumor. Public disclosure of “real” sensitive information, in particular shocking information, is a delicate and dangerous proposition. Because as we have seen in the past – the public mind is an unstable beast, and anything that would tip the balance, and upset the “comfort level” of that public mind, is sure to move the social consciousness into the dangerous area of mass hysteria.

1. New York Times Article
2. CNN
3. Salem Web

posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 10:57 PM
It’s an honor to have made it this far. I thank the judges, Nygdan, and my worthy opponent for this opportunity. Good luck Rdube.

About the Topic
The topic before us is a broad one. It is open to speculation of what exactly may be disclosed, open to examination through invented instances and certainly wide open to the ever popular appeal to fear: particularly fear of the unknown.
I will not indulge in these speculative vices, and I respect my opponent for so far not having done most of these things to any awful degree.

Preview of Arguments
The case I will make over the course of the next several days will rely on our knowledge of human psychology, the precedent set by historical examples and of course the nature and requirements of modern society.

  • I will demonstrate that humans are not psychologically hardwired to self-destruct if presented with alarming truths.
  • I will show you that humanity has endured shocking revelations in the past.
  • I will illustrate through historical events that disclosure can be necessary to the survival of a society.
  • I will explain how the principles underlying modern society cannot endure without disclosure

It shall become clear that disclosure, while possibly traumatic, would not destroy modern society but in fact may be necessary to save it.

Point 1: Psychology
The examples presented by my opponent all shared an important trait in common: they all involved populations being presented with false news of an immediate threat to their safety. We will now begin to delve a little deeper into the psychology of this matter, setting aside the offending assumption. While we can know very little about what will be disclosed, it seems unlikely that there is an as of yet undisclosed Martian gas attack underway.

The brain consists of three parts. These are
1. The reptilian brain, which handles basic body functions and survival instincts. (Yes, I said reptilian. No, I’m not afraid that undisclosed Reptilians will take offense and gas us)
2. The limbic system, which handles emotions and associates them with events.
3. The neo-cortex. This is where we exercise logic.

Not all of these levels are fully active at all times. Certainly you’ve heard of a “fight or flight” response. If the mind is under too much stress, it will cease relying on the neo-cortex and instead take immediate action driven by emotions and the survival instincts which they call for. New information will not be easily accepted or subjected to logical interpretation when the mind is “downshifted” in this way. This is what gives rise to illogical reactions and hysteria.

This can be overcome in several ways; most we will discuss later. The most relevant, which I will preview now, is that we should have disclosure now before an imminent threat arises and precludes logical reaction. Psychologically speaking, disclosure is a question of whether or not we will face a challenge before it has a chance to become a crisis.

(MS Word 496)

Too Scared to Learn (Journal of the Maine Association for Middle Level Education report on fear, brain activity, and logical functions.)
Triune Brain [further explanation of 3 levels of brain activity)
More on Triune Brain

posted on Apr, 26 2006 @ 12:28 PM
First, I would like to quickly comment on my opponent’s well written opening post, and my appreciation for his resolve to avoid dissolution of this debate into a discussion of whether the government should reveal the “truth” about aliens or who killed JFK. The truth is, such a debate would be worthless, as no one really knows the “truth”.

So to get to the heart of our debate – I would like to touch on one concept my opponent unfortunately misunderstood. This misunderstanding was no fault of his, maybe I wasn’t quite clear enough. I will try to press forward with better clarity. Here was his misunderstanding in reference to my three examples:

...they all involved populations being presented with false news of an immediate threat to their safety. We will now begin to delve a little deeper into the psychology of this matter....

What I’ve presented in these few examples (there are many more examples throughout history as well) are periods where a society was presented with a truth, not false news, which created an element of fear. Whether this truth was a real animal that frightened a village or an odd illness that began to strike children in a community – these truths were passed around from person to person in the form of rumors, and then group psychology began to take hold.

This is an important concept to discuss, because it demands that any sensitive or shocking information that may introduce fear into a population, needs to be treated delicately and with care. While my opponent might suggest that the only kind of fear we have to fear, is fear of the unknown (hence we must have full disclosure) – it is important to understand that realistically, what we have to fear is group psychology and the reactions that groups have to fear or threat, regardless of whether that threat is real or imagined.

According to James F. Mattil, Managing Editor of Flashpoints: Guide to World Conflict

"The common thread that weaves violent political movements together is fear. It is not the only motivating factor behind political violence, nor necessarily the most obvious, but it is virtually always there. Whenever we ask why people hate, or why they are willing to kill or die for a cause, the answer is invariably fear."

When a fear is introduced into a population, and if that fear is perceived as a threat to the very survival of a group – each individual begins to see themselves as members of a group. Research has shown that when an individual integrates themselves into a group, be it a political group, a small town, or a nation – group psychology takes over. And that research has shown that “individual opinions and attitudes become more extreme in a group context, and that groups generally hold opinions and attitudes that are more extreme than those held by the individual members of the group”[2]

One theory of this is Le Bon’s Theory of contagion. Whereby irrational and violent feelings can spread through members of a crowd.

He believed that:

by the mere fact that he forms part of an organized crowd, a man descends several rungs in the ladder of civilization. Isolated, he may be a cultivated individual; in a crowd he is a barbarian - that is, a creature acting by instinct

The examples that I’ve offered in my opening post show not only how crowds, but communities, towns, and nations can fall prey to fear and to the dangerous effects of extreme group behavior. Can such fear destroy a society? One only need look back to World War II to see how a society, how a country, was destroyed by extreme collective group behavior. Even today, we can see how fear of the perceived threat by western nations in the Middle East has lead to extremist group reaction in Middle Eastern society.

While my opponent may believe that full disclosure, “while possibly traumatic” is a necessary evil, I beg to differ. Disclosures that are traumatic and could create extreme fear in a society, should never take place. Because it is known that fear is the foundation of extremist and violent group behavior, and such behavior and beliefs, in the end, will always lead to the downfall of a society.


1. James F. Mattil, What in the Name of God?: Fundamentalism, Fear & Terrorism

2. Assessing threats of targeted group violence. – by Marisa Pynchon and Randy Borum

3." target="_blank" class="postlink" rel="nofollow"> Le Bon’s Theories on the Crowd

posted on Apr, 26 2006 @ 06:47 PM
More on Psychology
We now continue with the introduction of historical examples in which shocking revelations were handled well. (Also note that none of the incidents discussed so far destroyed a society)

You will find here that disclosure is exactly what is required to avert mass-hysteria and extreme reactions.

Marc D. Feldman, M.D., writing in Self-Help Magazine says:

Mass hysteria is best countered through prevention or very early intervention. The most powerful tool is for a calm authority figure to give clear and accurate information repeatedly, and to remain visible and available to provide updates and reassurance.

In the instances discussed so far, what was presented to the public was first of all false, but more importantly an imminent threat. The imminent threat is exceedingly important, because this is what causes the logical neo-cortex to give control to the primitive brain whose domain is strictly survival instinct.

Please note in Dr. Feldman’s article that psychosomatic illness did not proliferate at the mention that the food tasted strange. It was only when the girl vomited that symptoms proliferated, and this increased dramatically after the announcement that food might be poisoned. Only upon the introduction of threat did a panic ensue, and this grew in proportion to the severity of the threat.

You can see above that group-think is not a monolithic concept. There is a continuum of intensity. On the low end of the spectrum you would find a political party while on the high end you would find a group of children becoming violently ill because someone said “poison”.

My opponent has mentioned WWII. Surrounding this traumatic period are countless events which involved group-think, often at a surprisingly low level on the continuum considering the magnitude and shocking nature of the events.

This can be credited to understanding. People will attempt to logically interpret and understand new information. If this produces hope: if the information disclosed to them shows them a logical path to survival, they will not revert to primitive instinct. This mechanism has saved societies in the past.

Let us begin with the group-think exhibited by Germans, since my opponent has referred to this. (Please pardon my déjà vu).

The Nazis presented their people with a false disclosure that economic downturns were the result of a Jewish banking conspiracy. (I anticipate my opponent’s objection that this disclosure was vague and false. So was that in Salem. Both involved false disclosures of cause for real events)

Group-think grew when stock markets plunged in 1929. Yet there was not a revolution. There was a polarization and limited violence; nothing more than America and other nations have survived before. There was not a breakdown of German society. Politics continued to be embraced.

Only after the Reichstag fire introduced imminent violence did herd mentality drive the German people to Nazism.

The key point is that disclosure of a menacing conspiracy did not cause the breakdown of society. Only the imminent threat of violence did.

Moving on from Psychology
It is noteworthy that the above disclosure was incomplete, and ultimately false. This is useful only for describing psychological reactions.

Be attentive to nuance. Only psychology can be discussed without regard for whether a belief was true or false. Analysis of decisions made under stress requires that we only regard full and true disclosure, because our topic is not misinformation.
To discuss real consequences of disclosure, we must realize that true disclosure could have altered the reaction to the Reichstag fire and stopped the Nazis.

So we proceed to an incident of true disclosure which did not destroy the society it affected, but freed it. Ukraine’s “Orange Revolution” was a triumph of organized and measured reaction by an informed public.

Disclosure was their weapon. They proliferated information. Information did not spark chaos but organized and civil reaction. Thus they not only faced the threat but met it with cool heads and defeated it peacefully. If you’ll see my link below, you will see how the Ukrainian opposition obtained information, communicated it, organized a peaceful response, and won against an ominous government conspiracy. Without information and organization in advance, who would have thought a non-violent response could work?

Understand, Organize, Respond: That’s what disclosure is about. Does this sound like a panicked mob? No, a panicked mob is what happens when you don’t disclose, but let a threat build to imminence quietly and spring upon the people by surprise.

May I also briefly mention despite grave fears, there was no breakdown in American society when the Russians obtained nuclear weapons or even when the presence of missiles in Cuba was revealed on day 8 of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

A fearful response does not equate to the destruction of a society. History demonstrates that disclosure can be endured and can be necessary
(MS Word 799)

Non-integrated References:
UK Guardian on Opposition Tactics in Ukraine

posted on Apr, 27 2006 @ 09:28 AM
Before moving on, I would like to point out the second half of the debate statement to my opponent:

We cannot permit full disclosure, as it would effectively ruin modern society.

When I speak of the downfall of society, I speak of the collapse of those things that make our society what it is today. Does humanity continue on in some form? Of course humanity will survive – but society will drastically change after any traumatic or fear-causing disclosure. This is what the “ruin” of modern society means.

The Nazis presented their people with a false disclosure that economic downturns were the result of a Jewish banking conspiracy.

Not true. The Nazis used a true disclosure (that Germany was suffering a major economic downturn), and then proceeded to offer their own false explanation of what the threat actually was. It was the explanation/misdirection that was false – not the initial disclosure of imminent economic collapse. Where the irrational and extreme groupthink psychology comes into play is immediately following a disclosure that can be traumatic or cause fear. In the case of Germany, people accepted the extreme views of the Nazi party.

There was not a breakdown of German society. Politics continued to be embraced.

That’s also untrue. Modern German society was changed forever. Government leaders were tried for war crimes, a political party and a government was completely destroyed and replaced with a new government.

As to the other examples my opponent gives, in each case there was a drastic “ruin” of society. In my opponent’s own examples – the Great Depression and Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, you can see how disclosure – not of an menacing conspiracy but of a menacing reality - leads to the ruin of modern society. The ruin of modern society is not some cataclysmic end-of-the-world scenario. The ruin of modern society means that society is drastically changed forever. It means that society, as we knew it, has been destroyed. What replaces that can be anything – be it a new government, or a major restructuring of government programs and social beliefs.

Consider the major changes that shook the nation because of the Depression alone. It produced an alphabet soup of federal programs and commissions to regulate business, finance, and Wall Street. The Social Security act was created. Unions were created thanks to the 1935 Wagner Act. FDR had a landslide victory in 1932. It would be very difficult for anyone to attempt to say that the Great Depression did not ruin the modern society of the 1920’s. What arose from the ashes of that destruction was a new society of the 1930’s and 1940’s. This was a drastically changed society – one that now had social security, labor unions, and the New Deal of federal programs and commissions. Not to mention a new set of social/national ideals and values.

Why full disclosure cannot be permitted.

At this point, it’s important to consider the first part of the statement we are discussing: “We can not permit full disclosure”.

From the 2003 Information Security Oversight Office’s Report to the President, we find one of the major goals of government classification of information to be stated as follows:

Provide for an informed American public by ensuring that the minimum information necessary to the interest of national security is classified and that information is declassified as soon as it no longer requires protection.

So even the American government understands the need of the public to have access to most information. One of the goals of the U.S. government is to declassify information as quickly as possible that is no longer considered sensitive. However there is also the recognized need to keep sensitive information classified in the interest of national security.

Stated on page 7 of the same report (emphasis mine):

Our security classification framework recognizes that our democratic principles require that the American people be informed of the activities of their Government and that our nation’s progress depends upon the free flow of information. Nevertheless, it also recognizes that throughout our history, the national defense has required that certain information be maintained in confidence in order to protect our citizens, our democratic institutions, our homeland security, and our interactions with foreign nations.

While the idealistic view of full disclosure is a utopian one, is simply isn’t realistic. Full disclosure is not only dangerous when considered within the framework of the extreme “group-think” reaction of society to sensitive information, it is also extremely fool-hearty in regards to national security against foreign nations or groups who would mean to do harm.

It is for these reasons, and many others, that we can never allow full disclosure of any form – not only for the sake of social stability, but also for the safety and security of a nation.

Word count: 795

References:" target="_blank" class="postlink" rel="nofollow"> Kingwood College Library'information%20classification%20is%20necessary" target="_blank" class="postlink" rel="nofollow"> 2003 Oversight Report to the President

posted on Apr, 28 2006 @ 03:47 AM
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:

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 disclosure.

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 that full 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
Love Canal

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 city.

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 by disclosure.

(MS Word 795)

posted on Apr, 28 2006 @ 10:12 AM
Let’s accept the definition emphasized by my opponent. In this debate we will use definition #2 – “To harm irreparably”. Excellent – let’s move on.

This definition confirms my previous statement that modern society would be ruined beyond repair. What my opponent ignores (instead diving into definitions – deja vu) is the word modern.

Apparently I’m not shrewd, because I will not focus on just the economy. Modern society also consists of values, beliefs, behaviors, and culture. From the same source, let’s consider the definition of society:

A group of humans broadly distinguished from other groups by mutual interests, participation in characteristic relationships, shared institutions, and a common culture.

Which means if a disclosure induces fear in a society, and drastic change take place, this can result in the complete and irreparable harm to the culture and institutions that make up a society – ruining that former “modern” society.

The point is this, and I ask our readers to read this paragraph carefully, because this is what the discussion concerning society and fear has been about – disclosure of sensitive information (not all information) has the potential of inducing fear, paranoia, and terror into a society – and those have been shown in the past to very much have the ability to destabilize modern society. The resulting fallout of such an impact to modern society, good or bad, is a subject for another debate. The simple fact is – full disclosure has the potential to upset the stability of, and in effect ruin, modern society.

Moving on to “Full Disclosure”

Let’s cut right to the chase. My opponent is arguing for full disclosure. Full disclosure is disclosure regardless of content and regardless of consequences. He uses an example of a toxic waste dump in an effort to portray disclosure as necessary to the safety of citizens in all situations . It’s a convenient story and a nice case study of when public disclosure may be required. However it is not an effective argument for my opponent’s assigned position of full disclosure – as full disclosure requires disclosure in every situation, regardless of circumstances.

In other words, full disclosure would also require governments to openly disclose top-secret military and scientific research. It would require adoption agencies to disclose identities of birth parents even when anonymity is requested. It would require hospitals to fully disclose all patient records upon request. It would even require police to disclose the identities of victims of violence.

There is no validity to the argument that full disclosure should ever be considered. Disclosure of some information is some times necessary, but full disclosure (the topic of this debate) would, without doubt, be a danger to the stability of modern societies, and the security of nations.

A system of reasonable scrutiny is in place to ensure that information deemed “classified” is classified for justified reasons. This kind of policy is outlined as shown here, in this Department of Defense Information Security Program of 1997. (emphasis mine):

The decision to apply classification involves two sub-elements, both of which require the application of reasoned judgment on the part of the classifier. The first is the determination that the unauthorized disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to cause damage to the national security of the United States, and that the damage can be identified or described. It is not necessary for the original classifier to produce a written description of the damage at the time of classification, but the classifier must be prepared to do so if the information becomes the subject of a classification challenge, a request for mandatory review for declassification, or a request for release under the Freedom of Information Act.

Keep in mind that further safeguards, such as the Freedom of Information Act are already in place to help ensure that information that should not be kept secret is provided to the public. But this statement allows us to accept that full disclosure can never be permitted, however it also allows disclosure in cases where secrecy is not required for the security and stability of a society.

The withholding of some information is critical for the safety and security of any nation and any society, just as it is critical to the safety and security of a family or individual. Some kinds of information, be it a social security number, medical records, or the military secrets of a nation – have the ability to do irreparable harm. Put down the dictionary and use logic – do not allow your self to be convinced otherwise. Full disclosure can never be permitted as there is no doubt that it would absolutely lead to the ruin of what we consider to be our “modern” society.


References:" target="_blank" class="postlink" rel="nofollow"> 1997 Information Security Program - DoD

posted on Apr, 28 2006 @ 05:39 PM
With my opponent driven from his earlier definition of “ruin” we now see that examples we have discussed did not ruin societies. In none of these cases was the harm irreparable. Life has picked up and carried on since War of the Worlds, Salem, etc etc.

My opponent throws the word “modern” around, attempting to claim that changing the state of things at all will necessarily “ruin” modern society. If the change is not harmful and irreparable however, clearly his attempts to tip-toe around history with semantics are in vain.

In all this semantic argument we have yet to be given any clear claim of what values, beliefs, behaviors, etc of our modern society would be irreparably harmed. It’s an argument without a conclusion: sophisticated, well organized, hollow. It is fitting that the opponent of disclosure would present such an argument, which for want of a detailed conclusion adds up to “you can see from my prose that I am quite intelligent, so you must accept my vague but ominous threat of ruin on faith”.

I quote my opponent’s own source and note that he has not pointed to any fulfillment of the requirements for classification, even as set forward by the offenders themselves- the US government:

The first is the determination that the unauthorized disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to cause damage to the national security of the United States, and that the damage can be identified or described.

On Full Disclosure
My opponent takes the term “full disclosure” in an incredibly broad context that would include everything the revelation of secrets kept by our government to medical records, and theoretically right down to the size and description of any given person’s genitals.

Given the context of this debate: the venue, the government-centered discussion so far, etc, I believe the judges will not be taken in by this broad context, but will realize that full disclosure for the purpose of this debate means disclosure of all information at the disposal of the federal government. This would not extend to information the government is not entitled to collect because it is not entitled to rule on, and therefore any potential damage could be prevented or repaired in that case by denying the government information not relevant to its constitutional functions. (3)

And if it is not seen this way, and then all information whatsoever must be disclosed, right down to the size of everyone’s genitals, then while granted that could be horribly embarrassing for everyone, I still fail to see (and have failed to be shown by my opponent) the manner in which society would mysteriously fall to ruin as a result. On the up-side of that, the economy would get a huge boost from the growth of the penile implant industry after a disclosure of the ridiculous nature that my opponent suggests we are discussing.

Secrecy is incompatible with modern society
Modern society has increasingly used the government as a venue for the common efforts of society, hence the rise of social programs in many forms virtually around the world. The government facilitates education, the government handles our infrastructure, the government often provides for medical care to some degree, and many other things. And with this responsibility has come accountability. Governments are suspected to be increasingly transparent and democratic. The organs which facilitate modern society are managed by the people’s control of the government. Democracy is a fundamental component of our modern society because of the many facilitating roles that government has been entrusted to fulfill therein.

You cannot rule without information, and if the people are to rule they must have information. What do the people rule in a democracy? Do they rule a few small things, and it is acceptable for an elite cadre to dictate the rest? NO!
Wherever there is to be rule at all in a democracy that rule will originate from the voters. The voters therefore must have information of all that will be ruled.

This necessitates early, organized, gentle, disclosure with all measures in place to help society deal with the information rationally. This way it can be incorporated into their decision making process at the polls and addressed in an effective democratic fashion. The alternative is that the secrets be allowed to lay hidden, until like so much undisclosed toxic waste they seep to the surface and destroy an unprepared society.

It is no accident that among the first America’s founding fathers established a government sponsored communication system- the postal service, and built strong protections for the disclosers of information- the press, into the US Constitution. Democracy and the modern society we have built around it will either wither slowly or be crushed swiftly if we maintain secrecy. (2, 3)

(MS Word: 795)


1.Constitution Article I, Sec 8: limits scope of congressional legislation

2. Ben Franklin: There is no Liberty in the absence of means

3. First amendment

posted on Apr, 28 2006 @ 11:04 PM
It is a typical and surprisingly amateur response, in any debate, that one opponent who finds himself in a losing battle will take two tactics. The first, as our judges have probably seen before, is to resort to a dictionary. My opponent resorted to this tactic as early as his second reply.

The second act of desperation, of course, is the ad hominem attack – typical of my opponent’s past style, however I was hoping for more from him. In this debate however, he has failed and yet continues on in desperation, with childish mocking of “prose”, and comments about “genitals”. I ask my fellow readers here, in this discussion, to rise above this. While my opponent may like to portray my statements as vague, our readers are intelligent individuals and can judge for themselves which argument has been vague and misleading without the assistance of my opponent.

I will summarize my clear position here, and it follows the exact statement of this debate: We cannot permit full disclosure, as it would effectively ruin modern society.

1. Full disclosure, to settle all argument about “definitions” we use my opponent’s definition in his previous post (my emphasis):

full disclosure for the purpose of this debate means disclosure of all information at the disposal of the federal government.

At the disposal of the government is the following extremely sensitive information:

- Our social security information
- Our taxes and economic information
- Our driving and criminal records
- Our nation’s most high level and sensitive scientific and military research
- Our nation’s foreign and domestic national security interests

2. Ruin of modern society: This concept was clearly defined in each of my previous posts (please feel free to examine the review of how the great depression completely destroyed the flamboyant and carefree society of the 1920’s). This post was a concise outline of the precise institutions, beliefs, and culture that can be brought to “ruin” by any traumatic or terrifying disclosure in our society.

As outlined in my previous posts, bringing these two issues together, it is obvious how full disclosure of any information at the disposal of the government could generate trauma, fear, paranoia, and general social instability. This is the kind of instability that leads to the ruin of institutions, belief systems, and the culture that makes up the “modern” aspect of any society.

As my opponent enjoys the luxury of his final last word (maybe he’ll progress past the genitals this time), I would ask our intelligent readers, after the completion of that – to return to this post for one last review. The argument I’ve presented has been consistent and clear. Full disclosure of sensitive information, in particular government information, is a foolish and naïve proposition. Full disclosure should never be allowed, as there is no question it would, without doubt, lead to the ruin of our modern society.

Thank you for following this debate, I hope you have enjoyed this discussion as much as I have.

posted on Apr, 29 2006 @ 04:12 AM
I am not offend by my opponent’s accusations. He probably learned to do this by watching me before.

The “low tactics” I am accused of have each been embraced by my opponent as well and they are legitimate. Never did I say a single thing explicitly about my opponent, but only about my opponent’s method of argument. Meanwhile he has called me childish.

It is a fact that my opponent has taken a semantic angle since my first response. He ceased introducing historical incidents, he never brought statistics on market reactions to bad news, he never brought scholarly information on the makings of a civil disturbance, he never even suggested what the specific consequences of disclosure would be. To criticize the nature of his evidence is no ad hominem, and this is why he did likewise; same for the dictionary.

I pay him one final compliment. He was crafty to introduce my past errors. Is my own past conduct relevant though? THAT is an ad hominem.

Having made due note of the compliment of imitation that Rdube has paid me and the futility thereof, I make my summation.

  • I have shown you that not all group reactions are equal. I have shown that disclosure allows the logical center of the brain to maintain control, thus preventing irrational behavior that can harm society. I have been supported in this by the words of an MD.

  • I have given examples where disclosure has not destroyed societies, and what harm did come was born of imminent threat AFTER society had already proven its ability to endure disclosure.

  • I have demonstrated an incident wherein failure to disclose caused irreparable harm.

  • I have reminded you that one of the defining features of modern society- democracy- is incompatible with secrecy.

My opponent argues against these with semantics.

Through these semantics he claims that America was ruined by the Great Depression. Been here lately?

He argues that the subject of our debate is whether or not your social security number should be disclosed. Have a look around; is there any question that ATS had other disclosure in mind? Yet as I have noted and do again, even if my opponent’s extreme definition is accepted, the government can only disclose the information it has and within the context it is permitted to have it, therefore given the context in which the government is permitted to have your SSN, there’s no danger. What’s more, if that were not the case, is it irreparable or can we implement other defenses against ID theft?

It comes down to this my friends. Must we forbid disclosure on the grounds that we fear that others will be stricken by fear, and that fear will then destroy our society? Yet if it is fear that will destroy our society, then do not fear disclosure, for fear of disclosure will destroy democracy. We truly have nothing to fear but fear itself. Disclosure is necessary.

In defiance, I close with the word genitals.

MS Word 499

posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 01:48 PM
The debate will now be submitted for Judgement.

posted on May, 4 2006 @ 07:54 PM
The Vagabond wins the debate and claims the title of Champion of the first Debate Tournament of 2006!!!

A random selection of Judge's Comments:

[The Vagabond] used common logic and pychology to make his side well known.

This was a great debate, and both debators stepped up to the expectations of a debate finale.

The Vagabond was best able to manuever around points of contention and employed strong deductive argumentation in support.

The toughest debate to judge so far, the two finalists deserved to be in the final and what a fight it was

Congrats to both fighters, strong performance on both sides!

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