Title Bout. Memoryshock v Semperfortis: Robin Hood

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posted on Dec, 20 2007 @ 06:46 PM
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The topic for this debate is "Stealing is sometimes a justifiable defense of liberty in response to oppressive price gouging".

Memoryshock will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
Semperfortis 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.


Character limits are nolonger in effect- you may use as many characters as a single post allows.

Editing is strictly forbidden. This means any editing, for any reason. Any edited posts will be completely deleted. This prevents cheating. If you make an honest mistake which needs fixing, you must U2U me. I will do a limited amount of editing for good cause. Please use spell check before you post.

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 two images and no more than 5 references can be included for each post.

Responses should be made within 49 hours, if people are late with their replies, they run the risk of forfeiting their reply and possibly the debate. Limited grace periods may be allowed if I am notified in advance.

This is a Title Challenge match. The winner will recieve two ranking points, the loser will lose 2 ranking points. The ATS Debate Championship is on the line.

Judging will be conducted by a pannel of annonymous judges. Their decision is final. Stars will have no affect on the outcome of this debate, but are still encouraged.

[edit on 31-12-2007 by The Vagabond]

[edit on 5-1-2008 by The Vagabond]




posted on Jan, 2 2008 @ 04:28 PM
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I would like to thank semperfortis for the opportunity to face off on the eminent battlefield that is the ATS debate forum as well as The Vagabond for his assistance in defining the parameters for this debate.

I will begin with a story.

Thomas has been struggling for years to keep his family and home financially secure, much less living large and whimsically. Years of arduous work at more than one job, not always the same places of employment, have left him with barely enough money to pay the rent, to keep a continuous flow of food on the table, to allow for new clothing on the back of his two children, as well as a modicum of luxury. There is no cable, the utilities have been shut off at times but the years have been kind in that Thomas was able to keep his family together and housed. Anne, his wife, had taken on a part-time job herself to help out with expenses and allow for her own small luxuries, as well as to keep her time with the children.
Then disaster strikes. A hurricane ravages the region, destroying not only homes and the economic structure, but lives and families. What was once a bustling cultural epicenter is reduced to nothing resembling a self sustaining metropolis. Help arrives slowly and tentatively. Lives need to be fixed…but what happens in the interim, before a depraved society can be helped? Thomas must negotiate not only with his morality and his faith in a temporarily bumbling government but, and more importantly for the safety and containment of his family, the many humans running around in his immediate environment who lack any compunction to even consider that morality is still a relevant concern in a time of crisis…Thomas may need to steal to secure enough food while waiting for shelters to be set up, or the delivery of provisions to a pre-established shelter.

Thomas’ need to take care of his family supersedes the morality of a smoothly functioning society in the aftermath of a major catastrophe. Period. End of Story.


People assert themselves in various ways. Some people need more help then others, while still more people find themselves in a position to take advantage of others. This is a generalized fact that is born out in every social situation.

In a devastated environment, it’s not just homes and utilities that are out of commission, but law enforcement is relegated to crowd control and various other humane concerns; sand bagging, medical treatment and assistance. There is little capacity to identify and incarcerate the various small time criminals during the after math of a major disaster. Looters have more or less a free for all and there are businesses that have the capacity to take advantage of the honest consumer. As a result, the honest man is not only at higher risk for bodily injury but has an increased exposure to individuals who will take financial advantage of the honest man’s need for survival. To survive is the name of the game in the face of a catastrophe. To allow the usual inclination for morality to affect one’s judgment when the individual goal is to eat a meal at the expense of a neighbors’ opportunistic entrepreneurial instincts is not a situation where I would personally judge, much less condemn a human for ‘stealing’….

It is an imposition of the liberty of others, much less the survival capacity of others, to deny a service or good that is required by an individual in a survival situation due to a selfish adherence to personal economic concerns. If such a gross neglect of the social responsibility for others occurs when all people should be reaching a hand to lift everyone back into the standard of life they were at, than who is to say that a response in kind is not justified? The social contract has been broken when a business man, temporary or permanent, has engaged in price gouging; an implicit contract that has been the foundation for our society and others. The social contract no longer applies to the guilty profiteer.

Price Gouging is not cooperation. It is selfish and counter-productive.

I would like to point out that there is an implicit support of my position by the very fact that there are laws against price gouging. These laws were undoubtedly legislated to protect the liberties of its respective citizens, to protect the right of an individual to expect fair treatment…especially when it is needed, not in spite of it. An economy that is constantly fluctuating to ambiguity in times of relative normalcy needs to remain accessible in times of extreme uncertainty…because if the citizen can’t expect consistency from his/her social, moral, and economic authority, then how can the citizen be expected to act in compliance? The need for survival trumps the societal luxury of common sense. Which is why we would have price gougers in the first place. Which is why we have looters. Which is why we have short term unpredictability in the behaviour of otherwise compliant citizens.

But unexpected circumstances arise all the time. Who could have predicted a year prior, the devastation that befell New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina ravaged through in the summer of 2005? How can one expect to plan ahead for the loss of employment and home when one is barely keeping up with the rent and a full cupboard of food?
Not everyone can afford to be financially prepared for a situation that has eliminated house and home, convenient access for food and has impacted the fluid capability of most civic institutions, including the security provided by law enforcement.

Price gougers are implicitly impinging upon the liberties of their common man, the common man who has planned for periods of normalcy and who is caught off guard by the selfish desire of an opportunistic entrepreneur in a period of heightened agitation. The world is not fair. The economic structure of our nation and world has created levels of inequality in many areas of life that are only getting worse. But times of emergency are different. That is where an upper middle class individual in Rolling Hills may find the need to assist a social worker from Inglewood in the aftermath of a huge Southern California earthquake. The diverse county of Los Angeles contains the above cities less than two miles from each other and, as a result, both economic classes will find their environment impacted in the case of a major catastrophe. Cooperation is required to repair the lives of the community…not the opportunistic businessman.

.
"Stealing is sometimes a justifiable defense of liberty in response to oppressive price gouging.”


Yes. Absolutely yes. In a democratic society that is offset and at times completely overshadowed by the capitalistic reality of our world, stealing can be said to not only be justified in certain situations, but a necessitated response to a survival situation

To illustrate my position, I am prepared to present the economic reasons that have created not only a varied financial status amongst the individuals of our nation (a regional variant throughout the free world) but an educational difference as well. The difference in economic and educational capacity/resource between our lower, middle, and upper classes are important to visualize what would motivate someone to take advantage of a fellow citizen. The current day to day reality of our economic/social state is an important foundation to understand what happens when our society experiences extreme fluctuations…the sociology of our society responds to the economic and social changes inherent of a capitalistic world. I am also prepared to demonstrate that price gouging can occur outside of a national emergency, and that the professional neglect of economic trend can potentially effect other aspects of our economy, creating unnecessary hardship.

I am also prepared to cite sociological theory to demonstrate that human behaviour is such that morality can be easily rationalized or even forgotten in certain situations. Indeed, controlled experiments that I will utilize as foundation will show that non-survival situations have resulted in gross discrepancies between the actions of an individual and unwaverable societal norms/mores. The breakdown of personal morality; indeed the assumed morality; is not justifiable in these situations when brought under the scrutiny of a communal perspective. But we will find contrast that will showcase the variety of motivations people may have for certain actions. Behaviour can not be static and as a result, the opinions we have for the behaviour of others can not be based on black and white assesments. We cannot assume that we know the reasoning process behind every individual, and likewise, we cannot attribute a moral condemnation to a man or woman who was forced by natural instinct to survive to take without proper payment a good or contextual service.

Taken on a case by case basis, there is no doubt that a situation would occur where stealing is a justifiable defense of a liberty that is being compromised by a selfish price gouger.



posted on Jan, 2 2008 @ 11:40 PM
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Title Debate

"Stealing is sometimes a justifiable defense of liberty in response to oppressive price gouging".

I would also like to express my appreciation to TheVagabond for all of his hard work and diligence in supporting these debates and my valued opponent Memoryshock for his time and attention to this most important aspect of ATS.

I will now post an opening statement followed by a short rebuttal of my opponents post.

Proposition:

In this debate I will prove to you that simply, “Price Gouging” is not a justification for theft. I will show you that there are indeed true and legitimate reasons to steal, survival being foremost, yet the topic of the debate is not “Survival Justifies Stealing”.

We will together examine the legalities around both “Price Gouging” and “Theft”, their history and impacts on society, leaving you with the undeniable truth that the only justification for criminal activity is survival.

Although the debate title is not specific to catastrophe, we will include such scenarios in our walk together through this debate. We will also look closely at economic constraints, product shortages, recessions and depressions, all of which are integral to the phenomenon of Price Gouging.

At the end I will ask that you separate any emotional reactions from the facts and evidence I will present to you. While a very human response, such emotions are not conducive to the examination of a factual subject and the determination of correct or incorrect behavior.

Essentially I intend on leaving you with no doubt in your mind that a desire for something, no matter how demanding that desire is, does not equate the need for that thing. The basic needs for food, water and shelter are essential for all and perhaps justification for the aforementioned stealing, if completely unavailable, yet the defining verbiage here is “Price Gouging” and not the restriction of basic human needs.

Opening:

Theft:
1. The act of stealing; the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another; larceny.
2. An instance of this.
3. Archaic. Something stolen.


Price Gouging:
1. Pricing above the market price when no alternative retailer is available


Justifiable:
1. Capable of being justified; that can be shown to be or can be defended as being just, right, or warranted; defensible: justifiable homicide.
Online Dictionary

Now let us examine these definitions for a moment.

First, Theft.

“Thou Shall Not Steal” Holy Bible

“"The male thief, and the female thief, you shall "eqta’u" (in Arabic) their "aydiyahuma" as a punishment for their crime, and to serve as a deterrent from GOD. GOD is Almighty, Wise." Quran (Meanings: Cut off their hands)

As you can see, the two major religions in the world today treat theft very seriously. The punishment being either Maiming or the loss of the soul.

Searching the various religious texts of the world reveals no reference to price gouging.

Contemporary man made laws:

Theft: Misdemeanor Class A, B and C or Felony dependant upon the amount stolen. Punishment: Fines and prison up to life.

Price Gouging: Price gouging is a frequently pejorative reference to a seller's asking a price that is much higher than what is seen as 'fair' under the circumstances. In precise, legal usage, it is the name of a felony that applies in some of the United States only during civil emergencies. In less precise usage, it can refer either to prices obtained by practices inconsistent with a competitive free market, or to windfall profits. In colloquial usage, it means simply that the speaker thinks the price is too high. Non-pejorative uses are generally in reaction to what the writer believes is an unjustified restraint on the market.
Wiki

Now in comparison the two are diametrically opposite. Theft, Larceny, Stealing, whatever you wish to call it is an established and historically significant legal premise, accepted by all 50 states and virtually all of the countries of the world as wrong and punishable by society.

Price Gouging?
As you can see on reading the supplied reference link, the law is not only not universally accepted, it is debated in the areas where it has been established as a law. There is a significant segment of society that is predominantly opposed to any Price Gouging legislation.

The very premise of the debate establishes my argument. How can the long standing and established crime of Theft be justified by a crime that not only is not universally accepted, but believed by many to be unconstitutional and unfair?

I would present to you that the criminal element routinely justifies their actions using any number of excuses; the excuse of Price Gouging is no different.

If a person is stealing to survive, and they can’t afford to pay for their needs, then they are stealing for survival and I have established that to be a perfect defense. If they are stealing because someone is charging more than the criminal thinks they should charge? They are stealing and there is no justification.

The question also arises as to who decides what is a proper and fair price. That will be addressed in further posts.

Rebuttal to my valued opponents opening:


I will begin with a story.


I am not going to address the story as it is a clear attempt at “Pulling the Heart Strings” and not really relevant. As I have established previously, stealing in order to survive is not stealing justified because of Price Gouging. Therefore the story is entertaining but unrelated to the issue being debated.


It is an imposition of the liberty of others, much less the survival capacity of others, to deny a service or good that is required by an individual in a survival situation due to a selfish adherence to personal economic concerns.


Is it your intention to argue that theft is justified because of the “Imposition of Liberties? So when something is uncomfortable, breaking the law is justified?
“Selfish adherence to personal economic concerns?” I generally have that every time I sit down to pay my bills.
That entire statement reeks of Socialism. (I am not going political with this, just making an observation)


Price Gouging is not cooperation. It is selfish and counter-productive.


Your very own words establish my point very well. Selfish and counter-productive behavior in no way justifies a criminal action. If that were the case, it would not be illegal to rob a convenience store. They are notoriously selfish and counterproductive to their employees and most of the time their customers.


I would like to point out that there is an implicit support of my position by the very fact that there are laws against price gouging.


As I have clearly shown, those laws in no way justify any criminal behavior. In point of fact they are being challenged due to unconstitutional issues.


because if the citizen can’t expect consistency from his/her social, moral, and economic authority,


Perhaps that is the problem we have in reaching any kind of mutual agreement. The Government is NOT my social, moral or economic authority. It was never meant to be. My individual belief system takes care of my morals; my economics are simply governed by my own hard work and the free market. Socially? Well my wife sees to that.


Yes. Absolutely yes. In a democratic society that is offset and at times completely overshadowed by the capitalistic reality of our world, stealing can be said to not only be justified in certain situations, but a necessitated response to a survival situation


Again, the survival scenario completely negates the “Price Gouging” aspect of this debate. Look at it this way, in order to survive, most will commit theft, (And any other crime) regardless of what price the necessary items are. In survival, Price Gouging does not come into play.


I am prepared to present the economic reasons that have created not only a varied financial status amongst the individuals of our nation (a regional variant throughout the free world) but an educational difference as well.


I will freely submit to the proposition that crimes are committed by all segments of society. Economics and education are not prerequisites to criminal activity. I present this in order to remain on the topic of the debate and not devolve into a political discussion.

The topic of the debate is:

"Stealing is sometimes a justifiable defense of liberty in response to oppressive price gouging.”

Not:

“Stealing is OK if you can’t afford it”
“Stealing is acceptable for survival” (It is as I have established)
“Stealing is acceptable if I only graduated 4th grade”

Or even:

“Stealing if perfectly fine because the Government isn’t fair”

Just look at this part of the topic. “A justifiable Defense of Liberty.” Now what are some justifiable defenses of liberty?

Our Founding Fathers probably stole arms and supplies from the British. Was that a justifiable defense of liberty? Of course it was.
I am sure execution style killings were done then as well; justifiable defense of liberty? Well yes.

Stealing because “Joe’s Corner Malt Shop” charges $2.50 for a bottle of soda? Absolutely not.


I am also prepared to cite sociological theory to demonstrate that human behaviour is such that morality can be easily rationalized or even forgotten in certain situations.


Of course it can. But again we are delving into that area of survival that has already been established as not pertinent to the debate topic and one can list many situations where human behavior becomes something less than it is. Does this in anyway imply a “Justifiable Defense of Liberty? Definitely NO.


Does the act of price gouging justify the act of theft? NO
Does stealing due to price gouging defend liberty? NO

Is stealing sometimes a justifiable defense of liberty in response to oppressive price gouging?

NO

Semper



posted on Jan, 3 2008 @ 08:48 PM
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Cut and Dry statements have no application to this debate


Originally posted by MemoryShock
Behaviour can not be static and as a result, the opinions we have for the behaviour of others can not be based on black and white assesments.


Stealing in response to price gouging, despite the connotative words of ’justifiable’, ’liberty’, and ’oppressive’, is NOT a black and white situation. The situation is not simple, oh it so rarely is…despite what semper has stated.


Originally posted by semperfortis
In this debate I will prove to you that simply, “Price Gouging” is not a justification for theft.


Simply…? Semper would have us think that stealing in response to price gouging is not a valid justification. But in the very next breath he states the following…


Originally posted by semperfortis
I will show you that there are indeed true and legitimate reasons to steal, survival being foremost,[snip


…in which he states quite succinctly that there are true and legitimate reasons for stealing. He also agrees, despite his relegation of my story as an attempt to ‘pull the heartstrings’, that survival is the foremost reason for any validation being attributed to theft. But my story illustrates a ‘sometime’ when stealing would be justified…which is what the debate topic is centered upon.


Originally posted by semperfortis
Does the act of price gouging justify the act of theft? NO
Does stealing due to price gouging defend liberty? NO


As a simple cause and effect, semper is not remiss. But the fact of the matter is that life is not simple. Human interaction is not simple. Why else would we have progressed to an intricate system of legal obligation?

Price gouging is usually an economic response to an emergency situation, as I have established. Survival is at the forefront of many individuals during a time of crisis. An illegal attempt to gain more money at the expense of individuals who have a pressing need for the good and/or contextual service, during the aftermath of a catastrophe, is an imposition on the very pressing need for the individual to survive, indeed an imposition upon the liberty of an individual. Stealing in response to price gouging can occur as a survival motivation. It does not necessitate that all instances of price gouging will result in stealing, nor does it necessitate that all people will steal to save their skin. But it can, and likely has, happened. If stealing is justifiable for survival, as semper has stated above, then the theft of a product from a price gouger who is impeding survival IS justified.

Let’s take a look at the debate topic yet again….

"Stealing is sometimes a justifiable defense of liberty in response to oppressive price gouging".

Sometimes. We are not discussing the illegality of theft, nor are we discussing the illegality of price gouging. Indeed, they are both illegal and both socially reprehensible. We are discussing the grey area of our collective experience. Sometimes an illegal act is justified in response to a ‘playing field’ that carries with it an obvious discrepancy of equality. My position is that sometimes a stolen good or contextual service is justified in the face of an unfair asking price.

I have demonstrated that.


Originally posted by semperfortis
[snip]yet the defining verbiage here is “Price Gouging” and not the restriction of basic human needs.


But price gouging can be a restriction of a product or service that impacts a basic human need(s)…especially in an emergency, where human needs are at the forefront. An impending flood from a cracking levee could necessitate the renting of a vehicle to expedite the person(and family) from what could very well be a lethal environment in due time. An unfair asking price that results in the ’consumer’ being unable to procure a means of escape is, in this case, a restriction of a basic human need. I would take that that vehicle.


Originally posted by semperfortis
If a person is stealing to survive, and they can’t afford to pay for their needs, then they are stealing for survival and I have established that to be a perfect defense. If they are stealing because someone is charging more than the criminal thinks they should charge? They are stealing and there is no justification.


Again, semper offers a ‘black and white assessment….but I am sure that a person stealing for survival because the price is too high, when fair payment would have been proffered, is the same as semper’s first sentence in the above quote. The only difference in our presentation is the level of detail applied.


Originally posted by semperfortis
Our Founding Fathers probably stole arms and supplies from the British. Was that a justifiable defense of liberty? Of course it was.
I am sure execution style killings were done then as well; justifiable defense of liberty? Well yes.


The Boston Tea Party is an example of American revolutionary theft in response to what was a gross economic manipulation. The British decided to omit taxes on the East India Trading company, who were selling tea, so that British tea would be more competitive in the colonies. Not exactly price gouging, but a relevant association in light of semper’s recognition that price gouging is, “ not universally accepted.” The British decision to manipulate the pricing of their goods in light of perceived economic turmoil for said East India Trading company is a [I]valid[/I] example of an entity taking advantage of others by using a change in price.



In 1773 Parliament passed the Tea Act, which gave the English East India Company a chance to avert bankruptcy by granting a monopoly on the importation of tea into the colonies. The new regulations allowed the company to sell tea to the colonists at a low price, lower than the price of smuggled tea, even including the required duty. The British reasoned that the Americans would willingly pay the tax if they were able to pay a low price for the tea.

www.u-s-history.com...

Semperfortis has stated that the theft and even murder is justifiable in the pursuit of liberty. But what prompted the American Revolution? As I stated above…economic manipulation.



Dickinson claimed that the colonies did not want independence but they merely wanted to negotiate trade and tax regulations with Great Britain.

en.wikipedia.org...

The Olive Branch Petition was an attempt by the colonists to appeal to Britian in an effort to cease aggressions that had resulted in bloodshed. The terms and conditions were focused on….’trade and tax regulations’. So we have an economic impetus for the creation of what is currently the superpower of the United States of America. What is good for the goose is good for the gander…

I would like to state definitively that the onset of the American Revolution is not an example of price gouging. What it is, is an example of economic discrepancy that prompted what were/are illegal actions. The only other point of notation to this example is that we now herald the illegal actions of our forefathers as exemplary and beyond reproach, even a point of inspiration.


We have no absolute legal definition of price gouging, yet we can most certainly agree that it is an effort by either an industry, corporation, or individual to ignore economic trend to profit at the expense of other individuals. That is the crux of any definition for price gouging. As the next source will illustrate, Florida has the most comprehensive definition for price gouging…and brings the crux home.



The Florida statute is the most detailed of the four. It establishes a prima facie case of unconscionable pricing, if:
1) The amount charged represents a gross disparity between the price of the commodity or rental or lease of any dwelling unit or self-storage facility that is the subject of the offer or transaction and the average price at which that commodity or dwelling unit or self-storage facility was rented, leased, sold, or offered for rent or sale in the usual course of business during the 30 days immediately prior to a declaration of a state of emergency, [snip]
Commodity is broadly defined to include “any goods, services,[snip]” and specifically includes, “without limitation, food, water, ice, chemicals, petroleum products, and lumber necessary for consumption or use as a direct result of the emergency.”8my emphasis

www.fas.org...

Florida seems to think that, in the context of this debate, that price gouging is a crime when applied to commodities ‘necessary for consumption’. Commodities necessary for consumption are commodities necessary for survival, in some cases economic survival and in other cases, physical survival. That there are instances where price gouging is an oppressive force to the well being of a human is the centerpiece of this debate. A justifiable response when presented with a situation where one is unable to procure a necessary commodity would be to ‘just take it‘. The price gouger would be remiss to have not considered the consequence to his action.

The facts are such that a [I]physiological need[/I] may prompt an individual to behave in such a fashion as to negate commonly held mores.
But if someone is trying to profit on my need to live when the proverbial #e-zu has hit the fan, then I will no longer feel that my moral compunction towards that individual and his product are any of my concern....

I will indeed be justified.



posted on Jan, 3 2008 @ 11:50 PM
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Title Challenge Debate

"Stealing is sometimes a justifiable defense of liberty in response to oppressive price gouging".

Semper Reply #1

A quick look at my opponents post will reveal to you a clever ploy in debates; attempting to turn the topic to fit the defense. His continued use of the catastrophe situation is emotional and interesting reading, but hardly relevant.

Let us examine that same scenario in the light of the debate issue for a moment.

Using my opponents same characters, Thomas and Anne, let’s look more closely at their situation and input some very real circumstances.

Thomas is witness to Anne and his children dieing of thirst. Is Thomas stealing because the local “Stop and Steal” raised the price of bottled water to $3.00? NO. Thomas is stealing to save his family.

Thomas needs food, clothing and shelter, all basic human needs. In our catastrophe scenario he is unable to pay for them at the current prices being charged. Thomas steals the articles needed by his family to prevent the demise of his family. Is this because the “M” Mart downtown that miraculously survived the catastrophe is charging exorbitant prices or because his family needs the things to survive?

As you can clearly see these examples completely render the survival scenario my opponent seems stuck on, a moot point. Of course people will steal to survive! I am a 21+ year police veteran and I will gladly steal to save my wife and children and I will not care whether the prices are artificially raised or not.

Just too once again make the point clear; a catastrophe and survival situation in which people steal to survive has NOTHING to do with price gouging; the topic of the debate.

Now to examine the debate topic.

Let’s look at price gouging a little further.

As per the definition of Price Gouging provided earlier, we must examine some key points.
First is the question as to who defines what price is so high as to fall within that category.
As only 29 of the 50 states currently have any legislation even remotely resembling Price Gouging, we must rely on that limited segment for our information.



Six states prohibit price increases above a specified percentage, and four states limit
them to the wholesale price increase for retail¬ers. Most states use nonspecific terms like
“gross disparity” and “unconscionable”. States that do not specifically target price
gouging may prosecute offenders under other trade practice laws


Anti Price Gouging

As you can clearly see, the deciding factors that make up price gouging are in contention even among the states that have enacted the legislation.

What that means is that our hero, Thomas, must decide in his own mind if the establishment is “Price Gouging” enough to justify his stealing that stereo.

Justifiable Theft? Of course not.

Let’s look at the Title a little more closely.

"Stealing is sometimes a justifiable defense of liberty in response to oppressive price gouging".

Now just what does a “Justifiable Defense of Liberty” mean?

Well, we have the definition of “justifiable” in my last post and the “Defense of Liberty” is rather self explanatory. Yet how does this apply to our current topic?

What are some of the more common justifiable defenses of liberty?

Standing up and speaking out for free speech. Yes
Advocating racial equality. Yes
Challenging unfair legal practices such as Search and Seizure Laws. Yes

On and on and on with not one coming to mind that mentions Larceny, Stealing or Theft in relation to price gouging.

My opponent mentions the Boston Tea Party; an interesting analogy to say the least, but like his survival scenario, completely irrelevant to the topic. As anyone that has attended our school system is aware, the Boston Tea Party was due in point of fact, to “Taxation Without Representation”. Not price gouging.

No matter how my opponent attempts to manipulate historical actions to make them fit the scenario he is espousing, the facts remain. I will address some of his more blatant attempts at this in my rebuttal section later on.

Catastrophe:

The Asian Tsunami
Katrina
California Wildfires

In every instance lives were lost and families were destroyed. Truly horrible events and we will never forget them. During tragedies such as these, a common occurrence, sad yet apparently inevitable, is looting. That is stealing. The vivid pictures of people carrying televisions, shoes and designer clothing out of the water ravaged stores in New Orleans will forever be ingrained in those of us it affected.

These stores were abandoned and empty at the time. Does that make it right? Of course not, but let’s examine the same scenario using the debate topic as a quasi guide.

A flood occurs and people are devastated. John the local store owner is a creep and increases his prices by 50% the day after the flood. As fate would have it, his store was undamaged.

Now enter our hero Thomas who on his own decides that John is engaging in price gouging and that he is going to steal a pair of Oxford loafers for his next party. Several others are in a group with our hero and they decide that Thomas is right and they all go in to get what the want. Now our store owner, the creep, decides to stop this invasion, as he has every right to do, and violence erupts. Several people, including our Hero die in the may lay.

I ask you this; is this “justifiable in the defense of liberty”? Is that what Thomas died for? Or did he die as a criminal stealing from, yes an obvious creep, who was protecting what he rightfully felt, was his property? Creeps have rights as well.

During a recession or depression, who gets to decide if the price being charged is too high? Reading my opponents post, it would appear he is giving the individual the social right to make that decision.

Right or wrong we live in a “free market”, Capitalist Society, in which we are all only bound by our own conscious as to charity or any contribution to society other than taxes. The laws of the land are clear in that no one can be forced to be charitable or held accountable when they are not. Yet that is the entire premise of my opponents argument, that each business owner be forced to contribute to the welfare and betterment of the community during extreme times. FORCED to contribute or suffer legally authorized Larceny. Socialism anyone?


Rebuttal:


Stealing in response to price gouging, despite the connotative words of ’justifiable’, ’liberty’, and ’oppressive’, is NOT a black and white situation.


There you have it! My opponents concession to my point exactly. NOT “stealing is a justifiable defense of liberty” but “Stealing in Response to price gouging.” Apparently my opponent feels no justification is needed.



But my story illustrates a ‘sometime’ when stealing would be justified…which is what the debate topic is centered upon.


Thomas stole for the survival of his family.

Question?
Are you saying that Thomas would NOT have stolen to provide for his family if the prices had not been artificially increased? If the store owners would have been fair, would Thomas have allowed his family to die?


then the theft of a product from a price gouger who is impeding survival IS justified.


Would not the theft of the same product from a NON price gouging establishment for survival be justified? The theft is justified due to the survival element, not the price gouging.


Sometimes an illegal act is justified in response to a ‘playing field’ that carries with it an obvious discrepancy of equality.


WOW! Now that is a socialist fundamental statement if I ever read one. What other illegal actions would you justify due to obvious discrepancies of equality?

Shall we burn his store down because he does not carry woman’s clothing?
Throw bricks through his windows for not having a wheel chair ramp?
Where do you draw the line?


An unfair asking price that results in the ’consumer’ being unable to procure a means of escape is, in this case, a restriction of a basic human need. I would take that that vehicle.


Why would you take that vehicle?

In order to survive of course. Not because the price was too high or artificially elevated. Hence, price gouging does not come into play.


we can most certainly agree that it is an effort by either an industry, corporation, or individual to ignore economic trend to profit at the expense of other individuals.

While I have no intention of arguing the merits of price gouging legislation, I will ask this. What individuals?

As we have established, if they are stealing for survival, price gouging is not an issue. So who is forcing those “individuals” you mention to enter that particular establishment?


Finally:

If my opponent wishes to justify price gouging legislation due to that particular practice making it inconvenient for consumers during times of crisis, I have no beef with that at all.

If my opponent is implying that he would steal from a price gouger in order to survive, I submit that he would steal from a NON price gouger to survive as well.

I would ask my opponent to explain to me how stealing due to price gouging in anyway defends liberty. Not “insures survival” as that has been established time and time again to not be dependant on price gouging.

Stealing due to Price Gouging is not a Defense of Liberty, it is a criminal action.

Thank You

Semper



posted on Jan, 4 2008 @ 03:29 PM
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Our hero, Thomas, whose motivations were defined by myself in the opening argument, has all of a sudden turned into a snarling looter intent on stealing for himself a pair of loafers. Hhmm…semper has demonstrated an example of what wouldn’t be justifiable under the debate topic. Who needs a pair of expensive loafers to survive?

But the debate topic isn’t about illustrating what wouldn’t be justifiable. Quite the opposite. After being consistently accused of providing ’irrelevant’ rhetoric and information to this debate, I would like to point out that the above scenario is, indeed, truly irrelevant to the matter at hand.


Originally posted by semperfortis
Just too once again make the point clear; a catastrophe and survival situation in which people steal to survive has NOTHING to do with price gouging.


Stating that a viewpoint is clear does not make it true, especially when the statement is contradictory to accepted definition…



Anti­price gouging legislation has gained momentum in many states since the spike in gasoline prices immediately after Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.[snip]

The new Wisconsin law will be triggered if the governor declares a state of emergency.[snip]

link

From semper’s own Anti-Price Gouging link in the above post, we see i]clearly that price gouging is inextricably associated with periods of emergency. These periods of extreme hardship carry with it an unpredictable fluctuation in economic laws. Price gougers misperceive the law of supply and demand and as a result feel that they may raise the price of their goods or services to take advantage of a narrowed economic playing field. The only reason we don’t yet have absolute federal legislation in this regard is predicated on the ambiguity of what percentage of an increase in cost constitutes a ’gross disparity’. But clearly the phenomenon of price gouging is the attempt of an individual to take advantage of another individual in times of heightened distress.



As anyone that has attended our school system is aware, the Boston Tea Party was due in point of fact, to “Taxation Without Representation”. Not price gouging.


Oh, I would love to start debating the efficacy of our school system, but at this juncture I will merely remind everyone that I am not only well aware of the fact that the Boston Tea Party is not an example of price gouging, but I clearly stated as such in my previous post…


Originally posted by MemoryShock
I would like to state definitively that the onset of the American Revolution is not an example of price gouging. What it is, is an example of economic discrepancy that prompted what were/are illegal actions.


I would also like to point out that there was no legal reference to price gouging. There in fact, was very little by way of economic restraints in reference to that era. America wasn’t even America, much less on its way to producing our current system of intricate legal parameters. But there was economic manipulation, which is what price gouging is…an incarnation of a more basic monster.


Originally posted by semperfortis
The laws of the land are clear in that no one can be forced to be charitable or held accountable when they are not. Yet that is the entire premise of my opponents argument, that each business owner be forced to contribute to the welfare and betterment of the community during extreme times. FORCED to contribute or suffer legally authorized Larceny. Socialism anyone?


The accusation of socialism aside, it seems that semper has misinterpreted the premise of my argument…perhaps that is why we cannot agree..?

I suggest that if stealing is an immoral act, before we discuss illegality, then in times of emergency, wouldn’t it be immoral to grossly benefit financially at the expense of another individual’s well being? Perhaps…but my argument does not center on the capacity of an individual to price gouge, rather it focuses on the price gouger evoking a response of theft when the impacted individual realizes that is own need, not desire, are more important then satisfying an unreasonable economic obligation…especially when the financial exchange would have been satisfied had the merchant not allowed greed to effect the exchange.

I’m not saying that anyone need be forced to contribute anything. I’m saying that if you are going to change the rules, then you need not be surprised when the human survival instinct trumps economic law.


Originally posted by semperfortis
Would not the theft of the same product from a NON price gouging establishment for survival be justified? The theft is justified due to the survival element, not the price gouging.


Semper has indeed stated that theft for survival in a non price gouging establishment would be justified. The survival element is the justification. But if we revisit a portion of the debate topic, we see the phrase, “oppressive price gouging. Oppressive price gouging could indeed be the impetus for the survival element, which my opponent is dutifully refraining from acknowledging.


Originally posted by semperfortis
What other illegal actions would you justify due to obvious discrepancies of equality?


Let’s not paint the picture that I would justify criminal behaviour at any instance of inequality, since you have stated that the ‘execution style killings’ were justified as a defense of liberty, which was predicated on inequality.


Originally posted by semporfortis
I would ask my opponent to explain to me how stealing due to price gouging in anyway defends liberty.


No problem.



lib·er·ty [snip]
1. freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.
2. freedom from external or foreign rule; independence.
3. freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, [snip] my emphasis

dictionary.reference.com...

If a price gouger is going to raise the price of a good or service beyond that which is economically viable, as defined by economic trends in the thirty day period prior to an “abnormal economic disruption”, then he is interfering with my ability to cope with the abnormal circumstance. He is imposing an unfair obligation upon me in my effort to cope with the abnormal circumstances. He is restricting my capacity to cope with the abnormal circumstances. If stealing removes these impositions incurred from a price gouger, in the name of my liberty, I will be justified. As I stated before, “I will no longer feel that my moral compunction towards that individual and his product are any of my concern.... “

The cost of living



The average income for Angelenos—community by community [snip]

Community/Median Household/Median Family/Per Capita

[snip]
Rolling Hills/ $200,000+/ $200,000+/ $111,031
Signal Hill/ $48,938/ $46,439/ $24,399
Florence-Graham/ $25,425/ $25,824/ $8,092

findarticles.com...

I chose Los Angeles County for the cultural diversity of its’ inhabitants as well as for its’ population; the second largest for a U.S. city. Rolling Hills represents the highest per capita income; Signal Hill represents the average per capita(by my math the average was $24487); and Florence-Graham represents the lowest per capita income.

L.A county is one of the largest counties in the nation with a square mileage of 4, 084. With over one hundred and twenty cities, the economic diversity is astounding. The difference in distance between Hermosa Beach, with an average per capita income of $54,244, and Inglewood, with an average per capita of $14,776, is less than ten miles. What a discrepancy of economic prowess for the families in the two afore mentioned cities!

Now I included the above statistics as an example of economic diversity in a relatively short land area. To steal from another individual is to be motivated by a need for money or property. The inclination of such an act can be for many reasons as defined by individual circumstances. But let us make one thing very clear…the amount of money one has is directly correlative to the amount of opportunities one can provide for one self and those close.

This is fine and good for normal economic and social circumstances. The foundation of our society, though not perfect, is such that illegal activity in times of normalcy are, indeed, illegal. We have established civic institution to judge and dole out consequence for any deviance from our set standards. But in an emergency, the rules change. I have stated that law enforcement can get relegated to concerns that allow the influx of criminal activity to fly under the radar. A law abiding individual from Florence-Graham can undoubtedly be presented with a situation where an economic obligation has been raised and that obligation could undoubtedly have an impact on his capacity to cope with abnormal circumstances.

In the name of survival,and the above circumstance, that individual is not remiss in refusing to be taken advantage of. Even if he must steal.

I have been consistently accused of providing information that is not relevant to the debate. I emphatically disagree. I have provided many points for a compare and contrast to occur, so as to illustrate that morality as applied to times of normalcy can't apply in the same way during times of immense distress, which I intend on addressing in the next post or two.

[edit on 5-1-2008 by The Vagabond]



posted on Jan, 5 2008 @ 01:10 PM
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Title Debate

"Stealing is sometimes a justifiable defense of liberty in response to oppressive price gouging".

Semper’s Reply #2

Before I get to the rebuttal portion of my reply, I would like to address an apparent issue that has yet to be “put to bed” so to speak.

The issue of a survival scenario.

In order to accomplish this, let us look more closely at the topic of the debate.

“Justifiable Defense of Liberty”
or
“Doing the Right Thing”
“Defending Freedoms”

Now we know the definition of “Justifiable”, let’s look closer at the quote.


Defense:
1. resistance against attack; protection: Two more regiments are needed for the defense of the city.
2. something that defends, as a fortification, physical or mental quality, or medication: This fort was once the main defense of the island.
3. the defending of a cause or the like by speech, argument, etc.: He spoke in defense of the nation's foreign policy.

Dictionary


Liberty:
1. freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.
2. freedom from external or foreign rule; independence.
3. freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.

Dictionary

Now my opponent would concentrate on the third definition of Liberty. Fine, we will concentrate on that.

First, I suppose that everyone is in agreement that in order to survive, a human will steal regardless of “Price Gouging”, “Price Hikes” or “Price Changing”, in fact it is a truism that a human will steal to survive no matter the particulars of price.

So let us concentrate on what is a “Justifiable Defense of Liberty” in the context proposed by my opponent.

“Freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions” “Power or right of doing, thinking, speaking etc according to choice”

Now if we stick closely to that foundation, what do we have? A lawless society in which we can all do whatever it is we feel like doing at whatever time we feel like it. A society based only on those parameters means no restriction of any action. I could murder my neighbor and under that definition, it would be perfectly legal as I would have complete freedom from the control of law, no obligation to my fellow man and the power of doing according to my choice.

Ridiculous:

There are restrictions on liberty. There must be in order to ensure society functions for all and not for the individual. You can NOT just go out and do whatever it is you choose to do without the consequences society places upon the individual.

Now with a basic understanding of the restrictions society places on us in order to function and the reason for them, what about stealing?

How is stealing a justifiable defense of liberty?

Scenario (Again)

Store owner Joe, (The Creep) has raised his prices in response to the catastrophe. He is perhaps subject to whatever Price Gouging law may be in place in that particular jurisdiction.
Thomas decides that Joe has violated his liberties by doing this. Thomas, on his own, decides that Law Enforcement is too busy to punish Joe so….
Thomas’ reaction is to STEAL from Joe.

NOW WAIT A MINUTE HERE!!!!!

If Thomas needs something to survive, whether Joe raised his prices or not, Thomas will steal what he needs. But NO! That is not the scenario; Thomas is stealing from Joe in defense of his Liberties…. HUH???? Is it to “Punish Joe? Does Thomas have that responsibility?
Simply acting under my opponent’s definition of “Liberty” Joe has as much right to raise his prices as Thomas does to steal. No restrictions remember?

Does Joe’s wrongful actions justify Thomas’s wrongful actions? (2 wrongs make a right?)
Is Thomas “teaching” Joe a lesson about the wrongs of price gouging? (Who gave Thomas that authority?)

Or more correctly, is Thomas using Price Gouging as an excuse to steal? ABSOLUTELY

How can the wrong action of Price Gouging be an excuse for another crime?
Survival?
Nope, a human will steal to survive. Period. Point. Fact. Whether the prices are gouged or not, in order to survive, a human will steal.

So to steal just because the prices are artificially inflated is not defensible, it is just a crime.

“Just because the prices are artificially inflated”

Isn’t that what this is all about here?
Now if you are going to say that a person’s liberties are violated because they can not obtain a TV at a reasonable price, a Tee Shirt or Coffee, then you would be wrong.

If a person can’t get food, water, shelter material, because the prices are too high. Then I say steal it. But that does not justify Liberty in any way! The theft is NOT due to price gouging, the materials are all needed to survive. So the theft is in order to survive.

Question:

Joe is no longer a creep. Joe has reduced his prices to one half of the retail in order to facilitate people getting what they need in this time of tragedy.
Thomas still needs food, water and shelter for his family to survive. Thomas goes to Joe’s and steals what he needs.

Is Thomas stealing because Joe lowered his prices? Of course not, but it makes as much sense as what my opponent is proposing.

Now my Rebuttal:



Originally posted by semperfortis
Just too once again make the point clear; a catastrophe and survival situation in which people steal to survive has NOTHING to do with price gouging.




Stating that a viewpoint is clear does not make it true, especially when the statement is contradictory to accepted definition…


So are you saying that your hero, Thomas, would NOT steal to survive if Joe’s prices were reasonable?


Price gougers misperceive the law of supply and demand and as a result feel that they may raise the price of their goods or services to take advantage of a narrowed economic playing field.


But if you are saying that the “Thief” is operating under your chosen definition of “Liberty” and may steal to defend that “Liberty”, how can you exclude the business owner from your very own definition and make it wrong for him to follow in the steps of the “Thief” and defend his Liberty to do what he chooses and raise his prices? How is the business owner any more wrong?


But there was economic manipulation, which is what price gouging is…an incarnation of a more basic monster.


Are you now ready to defend the crime of theft due to “Economic Manipulation”?
What other crimes are you willing to justify due to Economic Manipulation? What a can of worms that would be.


the impacted individual realizes that is own need, not desire, are more important then satisfying an unreasonable economic obligation


So the Hero in your scenario would allow his family to starve if the store owner had left his prices alone? Is he stealing to survive or not? Need = Survival


the human survival instinct trumps economic law.


Of course it does. What does that have to do with Price Gouging or Liberty?


Oppressive price gouging could indeed be the impetus for the survival element, which my opponent is dutifully refraining from acknowledging.


I have acknowledged that a human will steal to survive. REGARDLESS of the price. What you have failed to acknowledge is that if it is in order to survive, the price does not matter and if it is not in order to survive, it is a crime and not justifiable due to liberty or anything else.

Now the remainder of my opponents post is some kind of lesson in economics and it would appear to be an attempt at justifying theft due to economic hardship. Again, as a Law Enforcement Officer I have heard that one a million times. Stealing because the “Jones’s” have more than you do. Or “I stole because “They” don’t need all that stuff anyway.”

I will ask this one question though, as unlike the remainder is pertinent to the debate.


The foundation of our society, though not perfect, is such that illegal activity in times of normalcy are, indeed, illegal.

But in an emergency, the rules change.


Please after 21+ years enforcing the law, could you show me this in the United States Code please?
USC

As far as I am aware, only the Governor can declare Martial Law and set the boundaries during this time. NOT THE INDIVIDUAL

The individual decision to STEAL, not for survival but due to the actions (Right or Wrong) of another, is a CRIME. Not justifiable under Liberty or anything else.


I would now like to ask my opponent to answer the questions I posed in my previous post.



An unfair asking price that results in the ’consumer’ being unable to procure a means of escape is, in this case, a restriction of a basic human need. I would take that that vehicle.




Why would you take that vehicle?




Sometimes an illegal act is justified in response to a ‘playing field’ that carries with it an obvious discrepancy of equality.




WOW! Now that is a socialist fundamental statement if I ever read one. What other illegal actions would you justify due to obvious discrepancies of equality?


And Finally


Question?
Are you saying that Thomas would NOT have stolen to provide for his family if the prices had not been artificially increased? If the store owners would have been fair, would Thomas have allowed his family to die?


Debate



My opponent seems bent on continuing with the catastrophe rant and completely ignoring the personal responsibilities of the individual even during such a situation. Are we to all become animals during such a situation or maintain our humanity and adherence to the rule of law?

Stealing is NOT a defense of Liberty, price gouging or not.

Thank you

Semper



posted on Jan, 5 2008 @ 05:42 PM
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Morality

As I have already stated, we are not discussing the illegality of stealing or price gouging as stand alone occurrences. Indeed, with that one thought being the centerpiece, we have to understand that we are arguing one action as a response to another; one person’s circumstances with another person’s very different circumstances. On a very fundamental level, this principle is illustrated quite well with the diversity existent in Los Angeles along with the scenario of an emergency situation.

The defense of liberty is going to be a variant definition for different people. The price of a good or service may be necessary for an individual to keep enough gas in the vehicle so as to insure the retention of his/her job, which in turn supplies the individual(s) with food and money to apply towards other aspects of the human condition.

Stealing is sometimes a justifiable defense of liberty in response to oppressive price gouging.

The above statement, which is the debate topic, cannot be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. I have a lot of ground to cover in this post, so I will continue on into the heart of my current contentions.

Semporfortis continues my story in the following fashion…


Originally posted by semporfortis
Is Thomas stealing because Joe lowered his prices? Of course not, but it makes as much sense as what my opponent is proposing. [snip]

So are you saying that your hero, Thomas, would NOT steal to survive if Joe’s prices were reasonable?


His example that Thomas would steal even in response to Joe having lowered his prices is immaterial for two reasons…

1) He is not stealing in response to the scenario, examples, or reasonings I have provided.

2) Thomas is not my hero as I envisioned him when semper is utilizing the reference. Indeed, if we reflect briefly on semper’s past few posts, we will discover several incarnations of Thomas. The Thomas I presented is the ‘sometimes’ when stealing would be justified. Remember…I never held that Thomas needed a pair of loafers to survive.

Semporfortis is still attempting to make this debate about price gouging alone. We are indeed referencing, per the debate topic, an oppressive example of said price manipulation.

I would like from this point to take a look at the definition of morality. The reasoning for this is to illustrate that behaviour is not a static experience, that our opinions of our experiences and others cannot be boiled down to simple cut and dry statements if we truly want to make an accurate assessment of any given situation…including that of a price gouger being burgled.



To take “morality” to refer to an actually existing code of conduct is quite likely to lead to some form of relativism. Among those who use “morality” normatively, different specifications of the conditions under which all rational persons would put forward a code of conduct result in different kinds of moral theories. To claim that “morality” in the normative sense does not have any referent, that is, to claim that there is no code of conduct that, under any plausible specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons, results in moral skepticism.

plato.stanford.edu...

The above quote demonstrates quite clearly that if morality can be ‘defined’ as a specific standard, then the standard will result in a ‘relative approach’ when the application of morality is the topical discussion.

If morality is a black and white constant, then the reaction of people to the constant will undoubtedly be different for whatever reasons are defined by circumstance.

But if morality is not a constant, then its’ application as a moral standard for everyone as an across the board justification for right and wrong is going to be suspect. If morality is not a constant, then morality can’t be used as a summation point.

As we have above, morality in either situation is going to be subject to not only the varying factors of a situation, but the varying opinions as well! There are no black and white statements that we can apply…such as ..


Originally posted by semperfortis
“Doing the Right Thing”
“Defending Freedoms”


Doing the right thing is never going to have a consistent and absolute answer. In the case of the statement, “Doing the Right Thing”, we should understand that the right thing for a Hindu is going to be different than the right thing for an average Mcdonald’s patron.

So do we allow age old social norms such as ‘Thou Shalt not Steal.’ to impact with absolute conviction every instance of stealing?

No. We examine the instance of the situation and all relevant factors to determine the motivations of all parties involved. The instance of price gouging as applied to an emergency situation, an association I have definitively established, is not only a wrong in an of itself as it is an action taken upon for the interest of the individual, not the whole, but it also has the potential in many like and similar situations to become an oppressive force. Thus, it can very well be an impetus for the survival element and the act of stealing in response to ‘oppressive price gouging’ should be judged with the motivation of the price gouger firmly in tow…

Again, do we allow age old social norms such as ‘Thou Shalt not Steal.’ to impact with absolute conviction every instance of stealing?

Absolutely Not.

What we do with morality, seeing as it is a frequent tool by which we judge other situations and others, is take every situation as it arrives and assess it with its’ own set of unique circumstances. Why did so and so act in such and such a fashion? Why did so and so do that to this other person? In short, I am suggesting that every factor be defined prior to making judgement, rather than just conforming a judgement to previous associations of like situations. I would be remiss and inadequate as a thinking mind if I allowed an automatic conforming of my judgement.

[quote Originally posted by semporfortis
Simply acting under my opponent’s definition of “Liberty” Joe has as much right to raise his prices as Thomas does to steal. No restrictions remember?

My definition of liberty in no way limit’s the capacity of a merchant to raise his prices. In point of fact, a short term spike in supply and demand is grounds to raise prices reasonably. If a bottle of water typically costs $2.00, then an increase of say a quarter is reasonable due to the anticipated decline of consumers who will be more concerned with re-establishing their homes; a decline of consumers who will be knocked out of their usual routine. But an increase in the price of that bottle of water of $1.00 or more, as recognition of the fact that the consumer base is all of a sudden going to require that beverage more than usual, is not a defense of liberty. The motivation in the latter instance is greed, not survival.

Semperfortis is attempting to construe the use of the term liberty in the definition I provided, by suggesting, “no restrictions”. As well as in other instances…



Now if you are going to say that a person’s liberties are violated because they can not obtain a TV at a reasonable price, a Tee Shirt or Coffee, then you would be wrong.


No one here is attempting to argue that a person’s liberties are contingent on TV’s, T-Shirts, Coffe, or loafers except for semperfortis!!!


Originally posted by MemoryShock
The foundation of our society, though not perfect, is such that illegal activity in times of normalcy are, indeed, illegal.

But in an emergency, the rules change.


You left out a sentence when quoting me…


Originally posted by MemoryShock
We have established civic institution to judge and dole out consequence for any deviance from our set standards.


The established institution we have is effected greatly in times of emergency. People don’t usually go to work on those days. Courts usually get sidelined in times of duress, if only in the immediate proximity of the emergency. And law enforcement is directed all over, in efforts to help those in distress, prevent further property damage, etc. Law enforcement cannot respond to every call of misconduct. in an emergency…the rules change. I am not intentionally ignoring your “USC” link when I say that the state of Florida has already passed legislation stating that added stipulation be applied to periods of emergency. I offered that link two posts ago.

Questions semper would like to see answered…


Originally posted by semporfortis
Why would you take that vehicle?


The aforementioned vehicle would be taken because I would have needed the escape in a faster time than would have occurred while I argued about the unfair increase in price.


Originally posted by semporfortis
What other illegal actions would you justify due to obvious discrepancies of equality?


Truly, an irrelevant question. That is my answer to this question.


Originally posted by semporfortis
Are you saying that Thomas would NOT have stolen to provide for his family if the prices had not been artificially increased? If the store owners would have been fair, would Thomas have allowed his family to die?


No, I was not saying that, nor was I implying it. If the store owners had been fair, Thomas would have paid the fair price and we would have a scenario where everyone is happy. But that is not the debate topic.

To find justification may be a simple excercise in finding an outside perspective(s). That could satisfy the debate topic, which I will show in my next post.



posted on Jan, 6 2008 @ 12:19 AM
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Title Debate

"Stealing is sometimes a justifiable defense of liberty in response to oppressive price gouging".

Semper’s Reply #3

I would like to start off here initially with a few points of interest in my opponent’s last post.


Semporfortis is still attempting to make this debate about price gouging alone. We are indeed referencing, per the debate topic, an oppressive example of said price manipulation.


I’m sorry if I offended your verbiage here. As it was you who started with the catastrophe scenario and continue in that vein, it was my presumption that ANY price gouging during such an event would by definition be oppressive.

Please if you would, define what form of price gouging is NOT oppressive during such catastrophes as you seem stuck on?

I have clearly established that your hero, or anyone for that matter, will steal to survive, thereby negating your scenario completely.
I have also established that if they are only stealing due to the price gouging element, they are merely criminals and not defending Liberty or anything else for that matter.

All clearly “As Per The Debate Topic”


His example that Thomas would steal even in response to Joe having lowered his prices is immaterial for two reasons…


You could just answer the question. Please…

“If Thomas NEEDS what is in Joe’s Store, and Joe has lowed his prices, WOULD THOMAS STEAL WHAT HE NEEDS?”


The price of a good or service may be necessary for an individual to keep enough gas in the vehicle so as to insure the retention of his/her job, which in turn supplies the individual(s) with food and money to apply towards other aspects of the human condition.


Following that line of thinking answer me this.

If the world is caught in an Apocalypse scenario, I WILL NEED a large 4 wheel drive vehicle, say a Hummer, to ensure the safety of my family. Using your analogy, I should be JUSTIFIED in stealing it now and keeping it so that it is available when needed. Just to satisfy that aspect of my human condition of course. And due to an economic disparity.

Don’t you understand that Society, just like your fantasy scenarios, needs limitations and controls to ensure the individual does not take it upon themselves to redefine the law? Stealing can never be in defense of liberty in relation to price gouging oppressive or not.

Simple and Factual.


Stealing is sometimes a justifiable defense of liberty in response to oppressive price gouging.

The above statement, which is the debate topic, cannot be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.


Why not?

I just have and will again. The answer is NO



If morality is a black and white constant, then the reaction of people to the constant will undoubtedly be different for whatever reasons are defined by circumstance.


We are not discussing morality. We are discussing whether or not stealing is a defense of liberty in response to oppressive price gouging.

Prostitution is an illegal action, just like stealing. The morality is in question depending upon whom you ask.
Illegal Gambling
Private use of narcotics
ETC

Just like the stealing in the debate topic, they are all illegal but morally questionable. We are not debating the morality of stealing during a crisis. If you wish to, we can debate that at a later date.


we should understand that the right thing for a Hindu is going to be different than the right thing for an average McDonald’s patron.


PLEASE can we stick to the debate topic.

Whether it is “The Right Thing” in whatever religion you choose has no relevance to whether or not it is a “Defense of Liberty” as the debate topic states.


Semperfortis is attempting to construe the use of the term liberty in the definition I provided, by suggesting, “no restrictions”. As well as in other instances…


I am not construing anything. It is directly from the definition YOU chose to relate your instance to. Remember?


3. freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, [snip] my emphasis


You will kindly note your inclusion of “my emphasis” that indicates this is YOUR own quote.


The aforementioned vehicle would be taken because I would have needed the escape in a faster time than would have occurred while I argued about the unfair increase in price.


So! In your OWN WORDS your stealing the vehicle, NOT IN DEFENSE OF LIBERTY, but so that you may “GO FASTER”.

So you agree with my premise that stealing does not defend liberty in this instance as per the debate topic. OUTSTANDING, thank you.



Originally posted by semporfortis
What other illegal actions would you justify due to obvious discrepancies of equality?

Truly, an irrelevant question. That is my answer to this question.


How can you say it is irrelevant? If you are justifying theft due to economic discrepancies, why would you stop there? Once that is accepted as the norm, why not branch out and if a man walks by you that has a lot more money than you, that’s not fair, why not Rob him? Just justify it due to economic discrepancies.

As ridiculous as that may sound, where do you draw the line? When you start allowing individuals to make decisions as to whether or not to obey the law, and accepting that as a “norm”, you will have every law tested in this regard. Where do you stop?



No, I was not saying that, nor was I implying it. If the store owners had been fair, Thomas would have paid the fair price and we would have a scenario where everyone is happy. But that is not the debate topic.


OH! So Thomas DID steal simply in response to price gouging and NOT IN DEFENSE OF LIBERTY?

Glad you cleared that up.
As the Debate Title you are defending states quite clearly “Stealing is sometimes a justifiable defense of liberty”, not “Stealing is OK in response to price gouging.”


Well it would appear that my opponent has helped to prove my side of the debate quite well without my assistance, I will however muddle on.

Let’s break this down by the numbers.

1. Thomas needs something in order to survive and does not have the money for it because the store has raised their prices, so he steals it.

*Is this in Defense of Liberty?* Of course not (He stole to survive)

2. Thomas WANTS something, has the money for it, but decides to teach the store owner a lesson because he raised his prices, so he steals it.

*Is this in Defense of Liberty?* Of course not (He has no authority or right to “teach” anyone a lesson, he committed a crime)

See my opponent would have you believe his actions are defensible and justified, yet would not Thomas also steal that thing if the store owner had lowered his prices and Thomas still did not have the money? Is that in Defense of Liberty. Again OF COURSE NOT



The act of stealing can of course be justified and defensible in any scenario in which to NOT steal would cause death. Yet this is not the scenario we are presented with.

We must determine if “Stealing is a defense of Liberty in response to oppressive price gouging

It is not.

If we allow the individual to determine what society can consider is correct or incorrect behavior, and empower that individual to, in essence, punish the retailer by allowing him to steal or loot, we will have created chaos.

"Stealing is sometimes a justifiable defense of liberty in response to oppressive price gouging".

No it is not.

Remember that it is the function of society to punish those that would price gouge in an emergency, not the individual. The very presence of Price Gouging” legislation removes from the individual the “right” or “obligation” to enforce this action.

This is not defense of liberty, it is a criminal action.

Thank you

Semper



posted on Jan, 6 2008 @ 03:46 PM
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Originally posted by semporfortis
Please if you would, define what form of price gouging is NOT oppressive during such catastrophes as you seem stuck on?


Those that don’t result in the theft of their product...or a necessary complaint to a viable and able authority. Remember, some states have yet to recognize price gouging as a crime.


Originally posted by MemoryShock
The need for survival trumps the societal luxury of common sense.



Originally posted by semperfortis
I have clearly established that your hero, or anyone for that matter, will steal to survive, thereby negating your scenario completely.


No. You have not. I did, in my opening argument. You merely picked up the ball and ran with every instance of theft. Tell me, if every instance of theft that can have survival as a backdrop, would that not include scenarios of survival that were instigated by the realization that a price was unfairly raised? Honest citizens tend to want to satisfy the obligations set forth by our society. Not so much when people take advantage of them, however.

As well, you have construed and twisted my scenario into many scenarios. The theft of a TV or even a pair of loafers has nothing to do with the topic. A lot of your very loose association to my character is trite and not relevant to the debate topic as you are only succeeding in showing all of us examples of what the debate topic isn’t.

You asked me to show clearly how stealing in response to price gouging can be a defense of liberty.

I did that.



lib•er•ty [snip]
3. freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, [snip] my emphasis

dictionary.reference.com..." target="_blank" class="postlink" rel="nofollow"> dictionary.reference.com...


Originally posted by MemoryShock
If a price gouger is going to raise the price of a good or service beyond that which is economically viable, as defined by economic trends in the thirty day period prior to an “abnormal economic disruption”, then he is interfering with my ability to cope with the abnormal circumstance. [snip] If stealing removes these impositions incurred from a price gouger, in the name of my liberty, I will be justified. [snip]



Originally posted by semperfortis
We are not discussing morality. We are discussing whether or not stealing is a defense of liberty in response to oppressive price gouging.


If you’ll recall the paragraph/phrases you were responding to, you’ll come to see that it was an illustration of exactly how ambiguous and subject to interpretation morality can be. Thusly, the point is to necessarily maintain an open mind in response to every possible scenario that could occur.

We are not debating morality, but we are discussing it. It is an implicit factor in this debate.



Morality[snip]
3: conformity to ideals of right human conduct

www.m-w.com...

However you may want to construe this, semper, you can’t change the fact that if everyone considered stealing ‘right’, then we wouldn’t have any need for this discussion. Since there are people in this world who consider stealing right, and wrong, and either way, then we necessarily have an argument. I am a Huge Fan of taking each situation on its’ own merits, rather then attempting to force a circumstance to my static perspective. I got tired of trying to smash a circular block into a triangle space a long time ago.


Originally posted by semporfortis
Don’t you understand that Society, just like your fantasy scenarios, needs limitations and controls to ensure the individual does not take it upon themselves to redefine the law? [snip]
Simple and Factual.


But it’s not ‘simple and factual’. You’re talking about redefining a law that is not universally held. I believe that you are indeed the one who was so emphatic about that point a few posts ago. If actual legislation is only recognized by a percentage of our states, with no definitive, federal acknowledgements, then we must defer to the complexity of the matter. If a notable percentage of state law defines price gouging in vague terms, then we can say that there is enough colloquial recognition so as to reason that there are people who abuse the power they have over the price of their product. That is not right. The vague terminology allows for some of these humans to pass through unpunished and the resultant impact of their actions upon other people's lives will remain unanswered. That is not right.

In an emergency, the last thing I want to do is be presented with an inner conflict regarding the price of a good or service. If I assume that something will be about the same price as pre-emergency, or maybe a little above, I can reason that money I had stowed for next months utility bill will be enough to procure necessary survival supplies…since I probably won’t require next months electricity now. But if the ‘on the spot’ budget I created with the information I had proves grossly wrong, and I find that the supplies I need will cost me next months electric, water, cable, and grocery bills, then I have a problem. As above, I am encountering a hampering condition that requires an immediate resolution. Price haggling is not even an option. The same limitations and controls you spoke of in the above quote were broken by the merchant; I have no reason to honor the implicit social contract. Allow me to consider his feelings after I have secured my families feelings. His unethical approach to the situation at hand was what caused his loss of business and loss of product.


Originally posted by semperfortis
So! In your OWN WORDS your stealing the vehicle, NOT IN DEFENSE OF LIBERTY, but so that you may “GO FASTER”.


In my own words, the merchant was restricting my capacity to leave in the time I would have allotted myself. Per the definition of ‘liberty’, my need to ‘go faster’ correlates with a defense of liberty. The inability to gain a vehicle from the merchant in this case forces me to stay in a dangerous environment. I may not steal from the merchant proper, but one way or another, with a complete lacking in a reasonable price and a sated, justified conscious, I will steal that vehicle. My survival is more important than the pocketbook of said merchant.


Originally posted by semperfortis
So you agree with my premise that stealing does not defend liberty in this instance as per the debate topic. OUTSTANDING, thank you.


Evidently, I do not.


Originally posted by sempfortis
Remember that it is the function of society to punish those that would price gouge in an emergency, not the individual. The very presence of Price Gouging” legislation removes from the individual the “right” or “obligation” to enforce this action.


What happens in a state that doesn’t have anti-price gouging legislation? The function of society will fail in that state during an emergency. What will the individual do, when faced with an exorbitant price for a simple, necessary product. The individual in that case will not have any reliable authority to look out for him. Is it okay, semper, for prices to be raised unfairly in an emergency without the possibility for restitution of any sort? As much as I would feel a warming of my heart to hear that the letter of the law was met first and foremost, I may have some sentiment towards the family that couldn’t make it out in time because someone raised the prices of a product unreasonably…

…Stealing is justifiable in the face of an oppressive price gouger.

I have provided a huge variety of information to prove that what amounts to be an incredibly huge amount of human interaction must be taken and dealt with on the basis of their separate circumstances. From the necessary ambiguity that is resultant of any foray into moral concerns to the obvious creation of our society into a broad economic diversity. The motivations and subsequent actions of any given human being is necessarily different due to the fact that every human being has different concerns. Every human being has different access to opportunity. Every human being has different inclined reactions to every social situation, be it day to day or a period of crisis.

My opponent has every reason to argue this debate on absolutes. But that is not the nature of human behaviour. An absolute is only applicable in the physical world, where constants are attributed to the stability of elements, the freezing point of water, or the boiling point of mercury. Necessary observations regarding human behaviour must incorporate a wide range of factors and unfortunately, some of those factors will be subjective in nature.

"Stealing is sometimes a justifiable defense of liberty in response to oppressive price gouging".

Yes. There are times when someone has decided to raise prices beyond that is considered fair. Within that statement, there are times when the raising of those prices would happen to impinge upon the liberty of an individual. And within that statement, there are times when the individual may steal to defend the unreasonable obstruction of said individual’s liberty.

Be it 10 occurrences of the breakdown of the above paragraph, or 1000, there will indeed be situations where stealing in response to oppressive price gouging are justified.

Thank You to semperfortis for this well fought debate, to the moderators, and of course, the readers.

MmeoryShock



posted on Jan, 6 2008 @ 11:08 PM
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Title debate

"Stealing is sometimes a justifiable defense of liberty in response to oppressive price gouging".

Semper’s Closing

Well here we have it; the ending of a wonderful debate and investigation into a controversial topic. Let me say here that I have had a lot of fun in this debate; my opponent has presented a very good and strong argument. However in the end, there is only one conclusion the rational mind can come to:

That stealing is NOT a justifiable defense of liberty in response to price gouging, oppressive or not.

In the final paragraphs of this debate, let’s look at what some others considered a “Justifiable Defense of Liberty.”

How about that driver on the highway that is late for work and considers the traffic light too long. He feels it is his right to get to his meeting so that he may continue in his employment and provide for his family. So he runs the light, causes an accident and kills or hurts someone.

Or

How about Sgt. Asan Akbar who threw a grenade into a tent and fired his rifle killing sleeping soldiers? He was reportedly defending liberty with his actions. Did he have the right to kill those soldiers? Was it a justifiable defense of liberty that he took these actions?
Asan AKbar

More poignantly, how about Timothy McVeigh?

He felt oppressed by the government and blew up a building. Killing 168 people. Was this a justifiable defense of liberty?

Timothy felt that it was.

He was wrong.

Did they have as much or more justification than those that would steal to defend liberty making up their own minds that price gouging had occurred, or that the establishment should be punished?

To steal in defense of Liberty due to oppressive price gouging means the individual must make the determination that the establishment has engaged in oppressive price gouging. Not society, the individual makes that determination.

In a society where one is innocent until proven guilty, to steal from an establishment in defense of liberty due to oppressive price gouging, you are effectively deciding the establishment is GUILTY and pronouncing sentence.

Just like Akbar and McVeigh.

What happens in our society when the individual starts justifying criminal behavior in reference to their individual standards? Chaos.

When judging this debate I ask that you stop and ask yourself this question.

When the subject in our scenarios was stealing, did he steal to defend liberty, or to survive, or to teach the store owner a lesson?

If you think he was stealing to defend liberty, then you have placed upon him the right of punishment normally reserved for society. He has no more right to decide guilt or innocence or to dole out punishment, than did McVeigh.

If he was stealing to survive, you have answered the question of the debate and determined that “Stealing is NOT a justifiable defense of liberty.” But too survive.

If he is stealing to teach a lesson, ask yourself where he obtained the authority over the owner of the establishment to such a degree as to justify punishing him?

Apples and oranges folks.

If the subject in your thoughts is stealing to survive, then it is not in defense of anything except his life or that of his family.

If they are stealing due to price gouging, oppressive or not, they are committing a criminal action as they have no authority, no right and no obligation to decide guilt or punish anyone. Even if that establishment is taking advantage of a situation, it does not give someone else the power to decide guilt or punish by stealing.

I am not going to be engaging in a rebuttal in my closing. I feel I have proven that “stealing in defense of liberty due to oppressive price gouging” is not only NOT justified, it is a criminal action.

Criminals justify their actions in a myriad of ways. Trust me on this, I have heard it all.

In this debate I have proven that “Stealing is NOT a justifiable defense of liberty in response to price gouging.”

I have shown you where each and every scenario my opponent has presented has another more pressing issue such as survival or criminal action.

I have taken each and every one of my opponent’s arguments and made it perfectly clear that the reasons for stealing were in no way associated with the defense of liberty.

I hope that you will find as I have through the course of this debate, that “Stealing is never justified in defense of liberty due to oppressive price gouging”.

I would like to thank my opponent for this wonderful debate and TheVagabond for all of his very hard work. I also want to thank the judges and anyone else that is following these debates for taking the time to really read what we have presented to you.
I have found that a lot of work goes into a debate like this. A lot of preparation, research and thought, not to mention the typing and presentation, needed to lay out for you all a debate we can be proud of.

Once again, I thank you.

Semper



posted on Jan, 13 2008 @ 05:06 PM
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It's been an extremely close and entertaining debate. The winner, by split decision of 2-1 is Semperfortis. One of our judges gave the most lengthy verdict I've ever seen, and I think that the closeness of this debate warrants posting it in full:


The first two posts were more or less evenly matched. Memoryshock wasn't as concise or crystal-clear as I would have liked, and Semperfortis contradicted himself a few times (such as using the uniformity of law as a test, then saying the government is not his moral guide) but all in all both sides made valid points.

Memoryshock started to gain ground with his next post. The fact that the American Revolution was prompted in part by economic oppression, though neither gouging nor stealing was really the issue, did come across as a valid moral precedent for illegal activity in response to unfair economic activities. He also defeated Semperfortis attempt to separate survival and gouging by pointing out that gouging can be a barrier to survival in emergencies. Again i wish he'd been more to the point about it, but the car/flood example nailed it down reasonably well.

Semperfortis attempt at rebuttal in the hypothetical story of Thomas falls short. Yes, the motive for theft is survival, but the only reason that theft is necessary to survival is that gouging makes purchase impossible. Therefore crimes of necessity can be precipitated by gouging. Semperfortis did raise two important points however. He kept the question of survival versus gouging open by asking if theft from a non-gouging establishment. It wasn't enough to win the point exactly, but it did demand an answer, and it fed into another important question he raised: What increase constitutes a gouging price? Charging 5 bucks for a meal in America is normal. Charing the same amount in Mexico would probably be gouging. So does gouging depend somewhat on who the consumer is? Although this post didn't carry any point of argument to victory, it left a lot of questions that Memoryshock had to in some way touch on to give the affirmative position a coherent moral structure. On a somewhat less important note, by using socialism as a synonym for unfairness semperfortis limited his appeal somewhat. Communism might be dead, but socialism is widely practiced and is considered good policy in some instances by some people.

Memoryshock cleared up a bit in his next post, and made me feel a lot more comfortable with my finding on the relationship between survival and gouging, which the questions semper opened in his previous post did make me question a little bit. Using Semper's own link against him was pretty effective. He also did a good job of defending the general relevance of his revolutionary point, which did at first glance seem a bit tenuous. He didn't get into the really deep considerations implied by Semper's previous post though. He did choose a legal definition of gouging, in answer to Semper's second question raised in the previous post so I decided to have a look at how helpful the definition was. If we assume that a person was getting by before the disaster arose, then we can assume that gouging laws forcing prices to conforum to the recent average would preclde the need to steal to survive (thus defeating the first question semper raised). This however would break down in a disaster which was prolonged and/or substantially changed supply and demand, in which case what is legally defined as gouging by the law Memoryshock cited would seem to be a legitimate market price, thus making anti-gouging laws seem like an imposition on the vendor's well-being for the sake of the consumer's. Hitting this point would make the socialism argument more relevant and tie Semper's position together nicely, so In the next post from Semper I was looking for the effects of a disaster on supply and demand. In addition to leaving himself vulnerable to that angle, Memoryshock didn't do himself any favors by failing to explicitly qualify the definition of liberty within any societal bounds. Social contract theory had already been aluded to and this point really begged for some elaboration on that. Semperfortis was allowed to seize the initiative on that point. A big part of what he needed was a discussion of natural rights- I was inclined to agree with Memoryshock's side because I can see several ways in which constitionally guaranteed rights could have be claimed as threatened by gouging, but Memoryshock didn't really enumerate them or make the indepth argument to separate his position from anarchist concepts of absolute liberty.

Semperfortis started his next post with a valid and fairly obvious argument that liberty is necessarily limited in order for us to have a functioning society. This left two camps to fall into: Using the law as a guide to the limits of our liberty (which would be extremely damaging to Memoryshock's position if semperfortis could make it stick) or else working from a looser sense of how much of our liberty we are allowed to retain within the spirit of our society's laws. Unfortunately for semperfortis, his own admission that he would steal to survive suggests that we are using a generalized sense of liberty and not one defined strictly by law. That robbed him of a chance to land a crushing blow. Nevertheless he really nailed the liberty point, and made it vital. I was beginning to lean in Semperfortis' favor for the first time in the debate, thinking that if Memoryshock couldn't very explicitly counter the "theft as a defense of liberty argument" it was all over. I disagreed with Semper, and I felt his argument could be countered, but if the counter didn't actually come, or wasn't well executed, that would bode very ill for Memoryshock. The critical point was really summed up by this quote

If a person can’t get food, water, shelter material, because the prices are too high. Then I say steal it. But that does not justify Liberty in any way!
This first sentence all but admitted that pricing can be decisive in whether or not one must steal to survive, and thus that pricing can be decisive in the justification of theft, but the second sentence made justification by gouging a moot point unless Memoryshock could really articulate the point that it would constitute a defense of liberty by enumerating some liberty that is infringed by gouging and demonstrating that said liberty is guaranteed in our society.

Memoryshock undermined his own definition of gouging in his next post. Also moving into moral relativism late in the debate, when a social rather than moral guide to justification seemed to be indicated by the previous discussion, was also not terribly helpful. Backing down from the question on what other crimes he would endorse in the name of equality was also a mistake. My answer would have been that when liberty is threatened in a manner contrary to the spirit of our social contract, that the least amount of force which suffices to end that oppression is justified, regardless of law, and I would have cited the balance between justifiable homicide and concept of excessive force as support. Memoryshock pretty much got routed in this round.

Semperfortis' post in this round was significant primarily in that he kept his salient points alive, which brought attention to Memoryshock's failure to enumerate the liberties being defended and show their place within the limited liberties that we retain under the social contract.

The closing statements were pretty much a repeat of previously raised points, and I won't comment exhaustively on them.

In the end, this debate was pretty even. I'd call round 1 essentially a draw, Round 2 a win for Memoryshock, Round 3 a draw but one in which I was somewhat favoring Memoryshock, Round 4 a win for Semperfortis, and Round 5 a draw in which I was favoring Semperfortis. It really was almost a dead heat, with both sides making some good points and both sides making a few questionable decisions. I came in leaning towards the affirmative positon, and I came out with a more nuanced opinion that favors Semperfortis' position slightly more than my initial position did, even though Semperfortis was not able to fully win me over.

Ideally there'd be a 3rd verdict: Rematch, but since there isn't I guess my vote goes to Semperfortis, very narrowly.



posted on Jan, 14 2008 @ 06:20 AM
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I would like to "Take My Hat Off" to memoryshock for this debate.

Memoryshock almost convinced me with his argument.

Thank you for a great debate...

Semper



posted on Jan, 14 2008 @ 08:01 PM
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reply to post by semperfortis
 


Hats off to you, semper...





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