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Challenge Match. Sublime620 v illusionsaregrander: Deadbeat Parents

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posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 06:41 PM
The topic for this debate is "Parents who chronically fail to support their children should be forcibly sterilized".

Sublime620 will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
illusionsaregrander 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.

The Socratic Debate Rule is in effect. Each debater may ask up to 5 questions in each post, except for in closing statements- no questions are permitted in closing statements. These questions should be clearly labeled as "Question 1, Question 2, etc.
When asked a question, a debater must give a straight forward answer in his next post. Explanations and qualifications to an answer are acceptable, but must be preceeded by a direct answer.

Responses should be made within 24 hours.

This is a challenge match. The winner will recieve 2 ranking points, the loser will lose 2 ranking points, unless the loser already has zero ranking points. This debate will be judged by a secret pannel.

posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 10:59 PM
I’d like to start off by thanking illusionsaregrander for the debate, and also Vagabond for taking the time to set all this up.
The topic on hand here is: should we forcibly sterilize parents who can’t take care of their children? I think that’s a great question; however it leaves out too many important factors. Some of the questions that need to be addressed are:
  • What is a bad parent?
  • What could we expect if this kind of program was to be adopted?
  • Would the sterilization be reversible if the parent cleans up his/her life?
  • Is this constitutional?

These are the types of questions I plan to answer during this debate. I will define an “unfit parent”, I will provide all of the benefits this program would offer, I will prove that these methods are reversible, and I will show the constitutionality of such a program.

Now my opponent may try to tie this issue to eugenics. I will prove this is punitive and holds no relation to eugenics, if necessary. He may try to say that such laws would be illegal, and again, I will prove otherwise. He may try to sway your opinions by calling to ethics, and I will ask you what is more ethical than keeping children out of the hands of unfit parents?

That’s what we are discussing, in my opinion. We’re discussing the future of the children of this country. We are deciding whether we should take action or sit idly by. Is it worth breaking conventional and widely accepted ideas for the betterment of humanity? If we do not take punitive actions on the parent, aren’t we then just passing the damages onto the child? These are the kinds of questions that I ask you to consider.

posted on Jan, 30 2008 @ 01:37 AM
I would also like to extend my gratitude to Sublime620 and Vagabond for the opportunity to debate this issue.

I agree with my opponent that an important point to clarify is; "What constitutes a "dead beat" parent?
1)Is it strictly a matter of finances?
2)Is it abusive treatment of the children?
3)Is it drug use by one or both parents?

I would argue that the issue of how to quantify who qualifies as a dead beat deserving to be sterilized poses so many problems on its own that it makes such a program of forced sterilization undesirable.

I argue that any such program of forced sterilization will not be equally punitive across all classes, or genders of people. If the finances alone are not the determining factor, and abuse of the children and substance abuse on the part of the parents are considered then I would argue that the poor are going to be disproportionately targetted in this proposed program, and that, as in many areas of life where people come into contact with the law, the wealthy are going to be able to avoid the consequences of their bad behaviour either by concealing the problems from prying eyes in the first place, or by having the ability to afford the best legal representation if a problem is discovered and reported to the authorities.

I will also argue that despite how "dead beat" parents are defined, the negative consequences of such a program would fall squarely on the shoulders of women, with the male contributors to the problem avoiding bearing their fair share of the punishment simply by their absence in many of the households in which these children are being raised. Of course it could be argued that they could be tracked down using DNA testing, but depending upon the promiscuity of the mother this could be a time consuming and expensive program. If these children are the result of an act of prostitution, the fathers may be untraceable, and so would completely escape punishment for their contribution to this problem. I, of course, will argue that any policy that is implemented that cannot be fairly enforced across gender and economic lines is not ethical or desirable.

Sterilization of women, whom I argue will be punished in greater proportion than men simply by virtue of being the one holding the evidence, is also NOT generally considered reversible, despite advances in technology that have increased the odds of this possibility.

A program such as this would create as many problems and expenses as it would remedy, or more. Consider some of the costs;

1) The cost of the program itself including labor, the cost of the proceedures performed as well as pre and post surgical care.

2) The legal costs associated with proving the parents were deadbeats, or otherwise unfit. Lawsuits arising both from medical malpractice and from predictible cases of irreversibility, human rights challenges, sex discrimination challenges, etc.

3) The cost to us as a people, more difficult to quantify, of living in a society that has empowered the government to make this sort of a decision without the consent of the individual.

Lastly, I will argue that despite the obvious hardship living in such circumstances causes the children, many can and do rise above these difficulties and become contributing members of society, and they as much as anyone else, deserve the chance to live. Many children whose parents would be considered "unfit" to bear children by lacking the capability to care for them have gone on to do some pretty remarkable things. It is very difficult to get hard information about people who grew up in abject poverty but were not placed for adoption, not everyone who has gone on to better themself cares to tell the world how they began in life. However there is information about people whose parents were not in a postition to raise them and they were either adopted or raised in orphanages. Steve Jobs, Rudyard Kipling, Coco Chanel, John Keats, Josephine Baker, Truman Capote, Jesse Jackson, "Stonewall" Jackson, Edgar Allen Poe, Mike Tyson, JRR Tolkein, among others. These individuals not only mananged to become normal, average, contributing members of society, they managed to achieve greatness in some field of endeavor despite their parents "sins" or irresponsibility.

So many, many more go on to live ordinary lives. Perhaps not ever achieving fame and fortune, but lives none the less. Ultimately, a program like this makes a decision about who deserves to be born as much as it is a punishment for the irresponsible parent. Ask any one of the people on that list if they are happy to be here. Hell, ask me. I was raised in foster care because MY parents were unfit to care for me. I have gone on, gained a trade out of highschool, and then put myself through college graduating Magna Cum Laude with a major of philosophy and a minor in business while working full time and keeping my mortgage paid. I am not famous, or rich, but I am a pretty all around good person, and I, for one, am glad to have had the chance to be here despite the failings of my parents.

posted on Jan, 30 2008 @ 03:18 PM
I’d like to start off by discussing some of the benefits to this program. I will address some of my opponent’s concerns later; however, I feel it’s more important to get some facts out there on the table. Let us first discuss the issue of finance. Currently our prison systems are bloated. Instead of classifying each crime with different punishments, we seem to feel that jail or fines are the appropriate measure of justice. The only distinction is how long the person is sentenced.

State inmates cost an average of $19,801.25 to incarcerate per year…
Federal prisoners cost an average of $23,476.80 per year to imprison.

Now, compare that to the cost of tubal ligation or vasectomy:

The cost of vasectomy is typically 3 to 4 times less than the cost of tubal ligation. Although prices vary, regionally, vasectomy costs generally range from about two hundred fifty to one thousand dollars, while the cost of tubal ligation often begin at about one thousand dollars and may go as high as twenty-five hundred dollars.

Cost is clearly non-issue. In fact, this would leave room for thousands of dollars of counseling or other out-patient style treatments. Overall these sterilization methods would not affect the patient’s life. They are both relatively quick procedures. In fact, here are the post surgical care recommendations:
  • Go home and rest.
  • Avoid heavy lifting and exercise for one week.
  • Keep incision areas dry for 24 hours, a bath or shower may be taken after this time.
  • You may have sex about a week after the operation.
  • You should have a post-operative check-up three to four weeks after surgery.
  • Use another method of birth control until your next period.

Should this parent complete counseling and other out-patient programs and prove to no longer be a danger to children, then reversal is an option. It would not be paid for by the state, but rather allowed. Reversal is more expensive, but successful in most cases. Reversal in vasectomy has around 99% success rate of returned sperm flow. It takes around 1 year for this process to complete. The average cost is around $10,000. Source

Tubal ligation reversal is also successful. The chance of successful reversal depends on the age of the individual. The younger the patient is, the better the chance at success. This offers another incentive for the unfit parent to get counseling and clean up his/her act as soon as possible. Success rates of the procedure range as high as 82% and as low as 41%. Also note, the success rate is formulated by pregnancies after the procedure. These numbers would clearly be affected by other natural causes. This explains the dramatic decrease in success as the individual gets

Now that we’ve discussed cost and the methods themselves, let us take at what constitutes an unfit parent. This cannot be the same definition currently held by the courts. With a decision this extreme, we must revise this definition so that it describes only the types of parents that society feels should not have children.

My definition of an unfit parent is not broad. It is not open to interpretation by the courts. To be defined as an unfit parent, the person must have committed on numerous occasions at least one of the following characteristics and proven unable to provide a healthy living environment for any child. The characteristics or actions are:
  • Any physical, mental, or sexual abuse of the child(s). Physical abuse is not to be mistaken for overzealous disciplinary action taken by the parents. Physical abuse is limited to a clear battery against the child(s).
  • Any neglect that causes the child malnutrition to the point of endangering the life of the child(s).
  • Allowing any of the above to go on without report. This would be included for cases in which the boyfriend/girlfriend of the parent is doing the abuse; however, the parent still has an obligation to care for the child and report it. Failure to do so would constitute child endangerment and neglect.
  • Child endangerment will also be grounds for removal to have children. This is extremely important for cases where children are put into harm’s way on a daily basis. This would include but not be limited to: if a child is living in a meth lab, if a child who can’t swim is left by a pool unattended on a consistent basis, if the child is left in a car on a summer day while the mother is at work.
  • Alcohol and drugs are not included. If any of the above do occur as a result of drugs and alcohol, then the appropriate measures would be taken.

I want to stress one part of my definition. This must happen more than once. This individual must have proven in multiple instances that he/she cannot provide a healthy living environment for the child, and more importantly, is endangering the child(s) life. A provision for non-payment of child support could be added by states. This would only take effect in extreme cases. A person who is having issues making rent would not be sterilized for non-payment of child support.

At this point, instead of taking this person to jail, the judge would rule the kids to be removed from the home until the parents can prove themselves fit to care for their child. In extreme cases, the parent could be sterilized and would not be allowed to care for any child again until the defendant can prove him/herself healthy. The courts would have a system set up to allow the defendant free counseling and group sessions. In no case will the defendant be able to have full custody of the child again. If the defedant wants to see the child, he/she will only be able to do so through supervised visits. If the defendant wants another child after rehabilitation, he/she can either try reversal of the operation, or attempt to adopt through a special agency. This agency would closely regulate the family on a regular basis, much like probation.

Before I allow my opponent to respond, I would like to address his statement concerning our empowerment of the government to make such choices for us. I agree, this can seem scary, but anything new does. Also, it would not be the government making these choices. It would either be trial by jury, or judge, depending on what the defendant requests. We allow juries to recommend sentencing for the death penalty, something I would assume is against the defendant’s will.

Of course this will be against the person’s will, and so would be going to jail. Once you are found guilty of a crime you are at the mercy of the court. There is no will. Would you argue that jails should be removed because people are put in there against their will? I hope not. For the most part, people who go to jail, deserve to. The same will hold true with this program. People who are sterilized will have deserved it.

I also need to address the idea that women would be more affected and that the rich would never be held accountable. These are already currently issues in society and are a whole different debate.

posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 01:53 AM
I will accept my opponents very narrow view of what a "dead beat" parent is, although such a narrowing of the definition clearly is to his benefit. My own interpretation of the original topic would include people who are simply chronically financially unable to support their children, even those who are good and loving parents. This of course would make any argument for the program of forced sterilization much more outrageous and more easily rebutted. However I feel that even operating under such narrow and unfavorable constraints I can still manage to prove that such a program would be inherently unfair, expensive, and unnecessarily oppressive, without providing any substantial benefit to either children or society.

My opponent begins his argument for forced sterilization in this next round by comparing the cost to sterilize an individual with the cost to incarcerate an individual, but does not go on to show the relevence of those particular figures. He closes that portion of the argument with a conclusion that somehow the fact that sterilization is less expensive per person than incarceration is, a surplus of money would be created if people were sterilized that could then be used for counseling or out patient style treatments.

Since my opponent has not taken us through the logical process he uses to come to this conclusion, I can only scratch my head at the math. Nowhere has he shown us that sterilization of dead beat parents will reduce the number of inmates in the U.S., or the cost of caring for them. Without giving us any estimate of what percentage (if any) of the inmate population he expects to disappear due to any program of forced sterilization, I dont see how any reasonable claims can be made regarding whether or not there will be some surplus of money created by this program of forced sterilization that somehow comes out of the prison budget.

So, since my opponent did not offer evidence to support this conclusion, I decided to do a bit of digging on my own. Here is a nice summary of rates of severe violence towards children done by the National Service for Prevention of Child Cruelty in the UK.

Table 3: USA National Incidence Studies (NIS1, NIS2, NIS3) (PDF, 35KB)
The Table shows that the rate of neglect cases increased most dramatically over the thirteen year period.

The Family Violence Research Program at the University of New Hampshire has attempted to measure the incidence of physical abuse in the USA at Layer 4 (Straus, 1979; Straus and Gelles, 1986; Straus et al., 1998). They conducted three nationally representative surveys of American families in 1975, 1985 and 1995 to find out the levels of physical violence used in them. Severe violence to a child was when a parent acknowledged that they, or their spouse, had 'hit with an object, punched, bitten, kicked, beaten up or used a knife or gun' on their child in the last year. The incidence rates for severe violence by parents towards their children fell from 140 per 1000 children in 1975 to 107 per 1000 in 1985 and 49 per 1000 in 1995. These rates are considerably higher than those reported in the three NIS studies. Using the same measures Bardi and Borgogni-Tarli (2001) found a rate of severe violence by Italian parents to their children of 83 per 1000 children. Ghate et al. (2003) expanded the definition of severe violence to include 'smacking/slapping of the head or face' in their national survey of parental discipline in Britain and found a rate of 90 per 1000 children.

I chose this study out of a desire for the criteria used to determine "child abuse and neglect" to be consistant. The definition varies widely and all statistics cannot be taken at face value until the underlying criteria is examined. In comparison, in the US data on child abuse, the estimate of abused children is only 12 children per 1000. To be absolutely fair to my opponent, I am going to use the UK data that suggests a higher rate of abuse in the US, as this will be the most lenient upon my opponents apparent contention that inmate population is somehow linked in a causal way to abusive parenting. The US figures are here;

In the UK, the percentage of the population incarcerated is 142 per 100,000. In the US, the percentage of the population incarcerated is 714 per 100,000. You can view the figures here;

Comparing the data, it would appear that the UK has almost twice the rate of serious violence against children, but only 1/5 the rate of incarceration. Hardly an argument for a causal link between child abuse and incarceration. It may, admittedly, allow some correlation between child abuse and later incarceration, but correlation does NOT equal causation.

In conclusion, I can find no evidence that a program of forced sterilization would necessarily cause a savings to the US taxpayer via reduction of the prison population that could be considered a "surplus" with which the costs associated with a program of forced sterilzation and all the legal expenses that that would generate could be funded. The data simply does not support that claim.

As far as my opponents claim that the recovery for forced sterlization are minor and almost of no consequence, those post surgical care instructions are for non-complicated procedures. There is, on his own source a list of "risk" involved with the procedure that he fails to introduce into his argument that include perforation of the intestine, bladder or blood vessels, adhesions that could require surgery, and increased liklihood of ectopic pregnancy both while sterilized and after reversal, which can be, and is, fatal in some cases. Not to mention that reversal is done under general anesthesia, and also carries a risk of death. My opponent did not offer any post surgical care instructions for the surgical reversal, perhaps because the procedure itself is more risky and involved. So, for some, (albiet small,) percentage of women the forced sterilization is likely to be a death sentance. While child abuse is a heinous crime, and anyone of conscience would be horrified by it, except in the case of fatality, which would be tried as a murder in any event and dealt with under the current system, I hardly think death is the appropriate sentance for most forms of abuse. Particularly in light of the fact that under his definition of who qualifies, a non-abusive spouse who may out of fear fail to report would be equally held accountable.

Using my opponents own figures, he gives the rate of reversal at a high of 82% and a low of 41% for women so at best, 18% of women sterilized under such a program will permanently have their ability to bear children taken from them. This "best case scenario" is hardly the most likely, however. Mirco-surgery is required to reverse tubal ligation, and the skill of the surgeon is of utmost importance in determining outcome. It is highly unlikely that the quality of healthcare provided to these women will be top shelf. This is to be a government program overseen by a bureaucracy we are discussing here. They are hardly known for their quality of service.

Which brings me to another point. These bureaucracies that we are going to be entrusting this power with, how reliable are they really? Bureaucracies certainly dont inspire my confidence at the Motor Vehicle Department. Nor do they seem particularly good at determining who has weapons of mass destruction, or mana. Many of the people most abused by the current system are not in a financial position to fight them, and lack the education and basic knowledge of their rights to even realize that that would be a possibility. Despite having the odds stacked against them, there are times when investigations are done and abuses come to light, such as this investigation in Kentucky.

Under my opponents proposal, that woman would be sterilized, and not only have to fight the injustice of having her children taken from her without cause, but also would be having to undergo procedures to reverse the sterilization. How many like her are there? How many more would a program like this create?

My opponent closes with a comparison of a prgram of forced sterilization being somehow similar to a death sentance handed down in a murder trial. The last time I checked, there was a system, though not perfect, that offered jury trials to people accused of murder or other criminal offense. In the US cases of child abuse are not handled by juries, they are handled in "family court" and so if any comparison is to be made one would have to then specify that all child abuse accusations be handled like criminal charges and the accused be allowed a trial by a jury of his peers. That will certainly add to the expense of such a program, and overburden our already backlogged criminal justice system.

Finally, my opponent admits that he has yet to address the issue of economic and gender inequality that I argued in my opening statement is built into such a program of forced sterilization. I certainly hope that his parting comment that those issues are already in existence in our society was not his idea of a response. Simply the fact that an injustice is pre-existent does not excuse any culpability on the part of a person or program that makes that injustice deeper. If someone had been hit by a car, for example, and injured, and then another person seeing this deliberatly ran them over killing them, who in their right mind would assume the second driver was not liable for the death of the person simply because someone else had previously hit them? The logic is flawed and I am certain my opponent must have simply been pointing out the existing injustice as a prelude to a more satisfying response which will be forthcoming.

posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 03:14 PM
Honestly, I don’t care if my opponent accepts my definition. If he came into this debate thinking I was going to argue that poor people need to be sterilized then he grossly misread the direction I was going to take. Even financially unsound families have the ability to take part in government initiated programs to put a roof over their head, put clothes on their children’s backs, feed them, and provide decent health care. Any family that chooses to ignore those programs and continues putting their children in unhealthy situations would fall under the category of child endangerment. I clearly stated that if the child is living in a situation that is detrimental to his/her physical health, then the parents are not in a position to have a child. Being poor is not an excuse to endanger your child’s life anymore. Welfare, Medicaid, food stamps, and WIC checks are just a few examples of ways families can survive while living in poverty.

Of course my opponent wishes that I want poor people sterilized. Then he would not have to debate or make sound arguments. All he would have to do is point out poor ethics and call it a match. Listen, I can fight off straw mans all day. If my opponent wishes to continue arguing the system that is already in place we can do so. My point is that you cannot disapprove of a new idea just because the current system is already flawed. Your analogy of the two cars hitting a person is completely irrelevant and I hope the judges take notice. It doesn’t even address the real issue. A more realistic analogy would be that a car is released with a major defect. A few years later they release a new upgrade to the car but never address the original problem. Should the car company scrap the new car idea or address the original defect?

The fact that women are being persecuted more is not a problem that is just now arising. It is a preexisting issue that needs to be addressed in a separate forum. I refuse to continue arguing about it. If my opponent wants to have a future debate on how we can solve that problem then I accept in advance; however, let us please stay on topic and talk about the issue on hand. What’s his next argument going to be? Will he say that black people are more likely to use drugs and be neglectful? Again, it’s a social problem in this country. It needs to be addressed, and you will hear no argument from me about that. That does not affect my position that we need to reform our law to punish unfit parents more appropriately.

Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander My opponent begins his argument for forced sterilization in this next round by comparing the cost to sterilize an individual with the cost to incarcerate an individual, but does not go on to show the relevence of those particular figures. He closes that portion of the argument with a conclusion that somehow the fact that sterilization is less expensive per person than incarceration is, a surplus of money would be created if people were sterilized that could then be used for counseling or out patient style treatments.

Really? What part of 20,000 being greater than 2,000 is hard to understand? I didn’t realize that I would have to provide addition and subtraction in this debate. I thought it was common knowledge. I can source basic math in my next post if my opponent wishes. I’ll wait for his response I guess.

Apparently my opponent thinks that in the past 24 hours I should have time to compile a whole slew of data that is not available to the public. Where could I possibly get the raw data to give you exact math on the effects this program would have? I suppose I just figured we’d all be using common sense here. The less people we send to jail, the less people we have in jail. Let me provide you with an example:
Case of Child Abuse on Oprah

A 6-year-old boy in Marshall County, Indiana, endured a horrible fate because his mother no longer wanted to care for him. She left him with his father and never came back. The boy was locked repeatedly inside a hot, dark, airless bathroom closet for more than 24 hours at a time. His crime, you ask? He was not able to fall asleep. The story gets worse, much worse. The boy was chained so that he could not sit down, forced to eat food coated with burning sauce, deprived of liquids, and when he lost control of his bowels, his captors would open the closet and rub his feces into his face. His captors were not strangers, they were his parents.

Joseph and Carmen Grad were sentenced to only 4 1/2 years in prison. As of a month ago, Joseph Grad was about to walk out of jail after serving only a year and a half of his sentence. Where is the justice?

The abuse in this case is unbelievable. The worst part about it that these people were able to walk away after less than 2 years of jail time. Most drug offenders serve worse time. I would not lose a night of sleep if I knew these people were heavily fined, put on elongated probation, and sterilized. The prison system has proven itself too bloated to give the correct amount of justice in all cases. Sometimes the punishment just doesn’t fit the crime, and this is one of those cases.

So yes, I argue that if we sterilized, fined them, and gave them counseling sessions instead of jailing them, we would save this country a fortune. It does not matter to me, though. I am not interested in saving this country money in the justice system. Any program that betters society is worth extra spending. If my opponent wants to discuss a fiscally responsible government, we can discuss irresponsible global policing. Again, this should be done in another debate.

Also, what does the amount of abuse in this country have to do with it being financially feasible? What does it matter if its 100 per 1,000 or 2 per 500,000. We are not debating on how to save the legal system money. This is not a plan of mine to reduce the number of inmates drastically. In fact, I was just responding to my opponent’s incorrect statement that it would not be financially responsible.

Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander There is, on his own source a list of "risk" involved with the procedure that he fails to introduce into his argument that include perforation of the intestine, bladder or blood vessels, adhesions that could require surgery, and increased liklihood of ectopic pregnancy both while sterilized and after reversal, which can be, and is, fatal in some cases.

Yes, this is known as a waiver. Complications arise in anything and the company must make people aware. Let us examine the possible side effects of birth control:
  • Cerebral hemorrhage
  • Gall bladder disease
  • Migraine
  • Depression
  • Pulmonary embolism

Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander Using my opponents own figures, he gives the rate of reversal at a high of 82% and a low of 41% for women so at best, 18% of women sterilized under such a program will permanently have their ability to bear children taken from them...It is highly unlikely that the quality of healthcare provided to these women will be top shelf. This is to be a government program overseen by a bureaucracy we are discussing here.

Again, I must remind my opponent that the government will not paying for this surgery. If reversal is wanted, the defendant will have to pay themselves. I do not expect most insurance companies would help pay either. It will be allowed if this person proves himself/herself to be reformed; however, if he/she can’t afford it and feels that it is not fair to be forced to pay for it, maybe someone should remind them that they should not have locked their child in closet and rubbed feces on him. No pity will be found here. Also, again I will remind my opponent that the chance of pregnancy is mostly effected by natural causes. Here is a good example:
Pregnancies over 40

Lastly I must address his comparison of my program to the case shown in the above YouTube video. That case is completely irrelevant. I have already stated that this program would be heavily regulated. There would only be specific cases involved. It would be determined by the prosecutor whether or not this case is qualified to put up for sterilization. Then it would proceed to a grand jury, and trial – assuming that the defendant wanted a trial by jury. You would assume the defendant would.

I also already stated that overzealous discipline would not be considered. The only time a case would be considered is if the child’s life was put into serious danger on a consistent basis, and this was able to be proven beyond reasonable doubt. States may make provision for non-payment of child support – or deadbeat parents as they are called – but would have to be strictly supervised to show intentional non-payment and lack of interest in the child’s life.

Socratic Questions:

  1. Theoretically, if we were able to make it impossible for drug offenders to access drugs, instead of sending them to jail, would you think that would be an appropriate punishment?
  2. Since I have taken steps to prove that it would be financially feasible to maintain this program, and you are arguing that it would not, are you able to provide any sort of numbers that say otherwise?
  3. If you knew a child that went through the types of things in the story I provided above, would you be satisfied with a one year punishment?
  4. Based on the above side-effects of birth control, are you saying it's not safe to take it or it's just a waiver as I stated?

posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 10:59 PM
As a reminder to my opponent;

"Challenge Match. Sublime620 v illusionsaregrander: Deadbeat Parents

The topic for this debate is "Parents who chronically fail to support their children should be forcibly sterilized".

Sublime620 will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
illusionsaregrander will argue the con position. "

That was posted by The Vagabond. I hardly think that any assumption on my part that that was indeed the topic to be debated constitutes some effort on my part to introduce a "Straw Man" into debate in order to make my own position easier. I considered whether perhaps my own understanding of the topic as issued may have been flawed, in light of my opponents opening in his last post, and so I checked.

sup·port (s-pôrt, -prt)
tr.v. sup·port·ed, sup·port·ing, sup·ports
1. To bear the weight of, especially from below.
2. To hold in position so as to keep from falling, sinking, or slipping.
3. To be capable of bearing; withstand: "His flaw'd heart . . . too weak the conflict to support" Shakespeare.
4. To keep from weakening or failing; strengthen: The letter supported him in his grief.
5. To provide for or maintain, by supplying with money or necessities.
6. To furnish corroborating evidence for: New facts supported her story.
a. To aid the cause, policy, or interests of: supported her in her election campaign.
b. To argue in favor of; advocate: supported lower taxes.
8. To endure; tolerate: "At supper there was such a conflux of company that I could scarcely support the tumult" Samuel Johnson.
9. To act in a secondary or subordinate role to (a leading performer).
a. The act of supporting.
b. The state of being supported.
2. One that supports.
3. Maintenance, as of a family, with the necessities of life.

It seems to me that the last definition is the one most consistent with the overall phrasing of the original topic, and so I am uncertain as to why my opponent would seem to feel entitled to imply that I was attempting to skew the topic of this debate in my own favor unfairly. If anyone is altering the topic by throwing out a "red Herring" for me to debate against, it would be my opponent. Even though I am aware of this, and that it makes my own position more difficult to argue, I have agreed to accept this more difficult revision, even though it clearly favors my opponent. I am confident the argument still can be won.

I actually did expect that my opponent was going to stick to the topic issued at the outset, and so I suppose I did, "grossly misread the direction I was going to take." I will agree with him on that one point at least. I am willing to make sound arguments and debate him in either case.

"My point is that you cannot disapprove of a new idea just because the current system is already flawed. Your analogy of the two cars hitting a person is completely irrelevant and I hope the judges take notice. It doesn’t even address the real issue. A more realistic analogy would be that a car is released with a major defect. A few years later they release a new upgrade to the car but never address the original problem. Should the car company scrap the new car idea or address the original defect?"

In fact, my analogy is not irrelevant. I argued that simply because an injustice had already occurred to some party, some further injusted perpetrated by an additional party, that additional party was not exempt from liability for that futher injury. Another example, if your house has been burglarized, by person x, and then another person, y, comes in after the fact and steals some more of your possesions, person y is still guilty of the crime of burlary regardless whether or not person x committed a crime against you first.

My opponents refusal to consider that any program of forced sterilization will impact both the poor and women unjustly and inequitably is understandable. Certainly, diverting attention from that fact makes his argument for a program of forced sterilization easier to support. However refusal to consider or address it does not invalidate the simple fact that this program of forced sterilization is inherently unjust. I will not, and do not argue that there are not existing inequities and injustices for the aforementioned groups. I am arguing that the fact that there are current injustices, historical ones, in no way makes it acceptable ot perpetrate further injustice upon them.

My opponent then asks if a car is released with a "major defect," and then a new model is created that does nothing to correct that major defect, should the car company go ahead and release the new model defect and all? Or should they scrap the plans for the new model? I would say the answer to that depends entirely on the nature of the defect. If it is purely cosmetic, and harms no one, then it is not a matter of a "should" except in terms of how that cosmetic defect may affect sales. And in that case, it would be their call. However if the "major defect" was one that was known to be harmful to the potential end users, then I would say that clearly they would be required both ethically and legally to repair the defect in the plans for the new model before releasing it, or scrap the plans for the new model all together. This is no mystery, there is a whole body of law regarding product liability, and a defect that is "known or any reasonable person should know about" is one of the standards for determining liability. In fact, it is the more lenient definition of liability. Strict liability says you are responsible whether or not you "know or reasonably should have known."

Further, I think my opponent misunderstood my confusion over how a program of forced sterilization was going to not only pay for itself, but save the taxpayers enough money to also pay for counseling for the people who have been sterilized. I do understand subtraction, though I appreciate my opponents taking the time to refresh my memory, what I didnt understand was how my opponent has established a cause and effect relationship between forced sterilization of people convicted of abusing their children and the money we already spend to keep inmates incarcerated. It appears from his most recent post that he is suggesting that we sterilize and then release people into a probationary sort of setting, in lieu of incarceration.

I did not intend that my opponent should in a 24 hour period of time come up with a fully fledged proposal including an itemized cost estimate, but I did expect him to show a clear link between his plan and his claim that his plan did not add to the costs already borne by the taxpayer but instead somehow offered a less costly solution. I remain unconvinced that the numerous legal challenges this sort of plan would attract would in the long run be any cheaper. He is offering counseling to the perpetrators, and there must be some new bureauacracy in place to oversee the whole thing, and aside from couselors some system must be put in place to monitor the perpetrators while on their probationary period or another very serious problem arises.

What does forced sterilization actually accomplish? It seems my opponent thinks it is a harsher punishment that jail time. By his own account, the recovery is mild, and the person is returned to the comfort of their own home. He also suggests a fine, but in the case of the poor, this will only add to the legal costs associated with this program as you simply cannot get blood from a turnip, though certainly the court system would be utilized to try. If you jail them for non-payment of the fine, they are then adding that same cost per year to incarcerate back on top of the cost to sterilize, and obviously that would eliminate any savings that had initially occurred to help fund the program.

So, I see a program that does little to punish the guilty, is excessively invasive of our human rights, and has the potential in the case of a person wrongfully convicted of forever removing their ability to have children. I know my opponents casual dismissal of my video clip which helps to illustrate the existing abuses in a bureauacracy designed to help children and families. He confidently states that it would be "heavily regulated. There would only be specific cases involved." If we are unable to "heavily regulate" our existing systems and prevent massive abuses, how will we somehow magically be able to make this one work? Perhaps he did not watch the second half of that investigative report, where the social workers go on to elaborate on the corruption and the disregard for the rights of both the children and parents in many cases. Here is another report, about the same thing, to illustrate the point that that first clip was not some abberation, but actually the tip of a large and dirty iceberg.

I am almost out of words and so I will reply to my opponents questions.

1) No. I would instead address the root of the problem. Completely limiting access to drugs is impossible IMHO, and so that question requires "magic" to be possible. If magic were available "theoretically" I would cure them of their addiction.

2) Numbers? No. I am as limited by 24 hours as you, but I have provided argument above.

3)No. A punishment of one year does not seem sufficient for the crime.

4) I do not think it is a "waiver" that is a specific term with a precise legal meaning. It is a statement of risks to allow you to decide if you are willing to accept that risk. Forcing someone takes away their ability to assume personal responsibility. For some women it IS to dangerous to take birthcontrol pills. It depends on their individual health circumstances.

posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 11:48 PM
I do see where my opponent could get the idea that support could mean financially. It just does not fit in this type of case. A person cannot be punished for being poor. Perhaps if I was a more conservative person I would try to argue that poor people could fit into that category, but I am not. I must point out, however, that his own definition sums it up:

Maintenance, as of a family, with the necessities of life.

The necessities of life. Exactly. That is not money. The necessities for a child are a roof, school, food, clothing, and health. They do not need video games or Abercrombie & Fitch. I wish as a country we would do more to support the poor. That we would provide more support to drug addicts. That women who are taking care of their kids by themselves would receive more help with day care costs. Those are all great ideas to me. That is not what we are discussing.

We are discussing people who under almost no circumstances should have kids.

Back on the topic of money, I think I have a better understanding of my opponent’s position now. He did not understand that I was saying little or no jail time. Now granted, I’m saying this under the assumption that they have committed a crime that the jail time would not be enough to really serve justice. If a child dies, major jail time should be served.

On the other hand, in cases where parents rub feces on their children’s faces and receive maximum 5 year sentences, where everyone knows less than half will be served, that jail time is simply not enough. Maybe a year or two, just for extra punishment. But would the public really get justice out a year or two of jail? I think not. Sterilization would be a perfect punishment.

I am a bit confused on my opponent’s stance on sterilization. Is it a horrible act that is cruel and unusual punishment, or is it a walk in the park compared to jail? In reality, sterilization is neither. It is not cruel and unusual. The procedure is routine, safe, and quick. The recovery is simple. It stops the child abuser from repeating his/her steps again in the future to a new child. It is basically a life sentence. This individual can no longer reproduce, unless reversed with approval by the state. He/she can no longer care for any child or work in any environments that involve caring for children.

So let us sum that up. The abuser would have no one to abuse anymore, will not be able to reproduce, will be on extended probation, possibly serve a short jail sentence, and will not be able to care for any child unless approved by the state after rehabilitation. That’s a pretty stout sentence. It certainly seems worse than a year and a half in jail to me.
I would like to point out that I understand my opponent’s stance on that YouTube video clip. My girlfriend, who just happens to be a Social Worker, laughed when she saw the clip. She stated that she thought it was funny because one of the first things they are taught is to protect case files. To make sure they are not lost or stolen.

I believe my opponent is correct, that there may be some corruption in the field of work, as with any other field. These corrupt social workers can and do cause emotional duress on families. However, a social worker alone could not get someone sterilized. There would be no “possible abuse”. As I have stated, it must be beyond a reasonable doubt. Occasionally innocent people are convicted of crimes they have not committed. I would say it is rare. Most of the wrongfully accused cases have been cleared up since the use of DNA has been in effect. These cases generally have more to do with murder and rape than child abuse.

It is hard to defend that someone who leaves his/her kid in a car while at work should have a kid. It is even harder if to defend them if they have done that and had documented cases of abuse. It would be even harder if they had abused the child, left the child in a car all day, and lived in a meth lab. These are the kinds of extreme and rare cases I would expect to see sterilization be authorized.

Also, I’d like to thank my opponent for addressing my questions. Let me respond to each one and explain why I asked them:

  1. I asked the drug question because I felt it was relevant. If it was possible to strip a drug user’s ability to gain access to drugs it would be the perfect punishment. But my opponent is correct, that would take “magic”. Not with child abuse. We can take the ability to abuse children away from these people forever. In fact, it is our responsibility to do so. We have an opportunity to make sure kids are safe from predators like these.

  2. I asked if my opponent had access to numbers because I was wondering where he got his basis that it would be too expensive. Even if we jailed and sterilized, it wouldn’t be shockingly expensive.

  3. I wanted to clarify that he too feels that the punishment did not fit the crime.

  4. Again, I wanted my opponent to clarify that he was aware that warnings are mostly there for superficial reasons. Call it a waiver or call it a statement of risks. Whatever. It is there to protect the company. They are rare occurrences. More importantly, if a child abuser reforms and gets the reversal surgery but has complications: too bad. Oh well. Maybe he/she should have taken that into consideration before they destroyed an innocent child’s life.

posted on Feb, 1 2008 @ 10:01 PM
My opponent states in response to the definition of support as, "Maintenance, as of a family, with the necessities of life," "Exactly. That is not money. The necessities for a child are a roof, school, food, clothing, and health." All of which, in the U.S., which the exception of school, require money to provide. And even in the case of school, which is publically funded, schools supplies are generally NOT provided out of puclic funds and must be purchased by the parents. There may be some programs which provide assistance in acquiring these necessities of life, but in those cases the State, and not the parent, is providing "support."

Be that as it may, under our new definition of who would be eligible for sterilization, the point is moot. So to proceed with the arugment as it stands. My opponent now says that the punishment for perpetrators of serious abuse or neglect upon a child will NOT only have forced sterilization imposed upon them, but also jail time in some cases and definitely in the case of a child dying from abuse or neglect.

One quite serious problem with my opponents proposal is that he is a moving target in terms of actually defining who qualifies. Although he is justifiably outraged at the idea of a parent "rubbing feces on the face of a child," he says that for such a person, "But would the public really get justice out a year or two of jail? I think not. Sterilization would be a perfect punishment." He has also twice reiterated that "overzealous discipline" will NOT be considered grounds for sterilization. I find the criteria awfully subjective. What constitues "overzealous punishment?" Whipping a child with a switch until there are welts up and down their legs? Punching a child? Forcing them to eat soap? Use of a belt, paddle or hand on their bottoms? Calling them horrible names and emotionally traumatizing them? So part of my problem with this program isthe same problem my opponent is apparently having. Where do we draw the actual line in determining who deserves to have their reproductive rights terminated permanently? For despite my opponents concession that they may, at some point, "win" the right to have the surgery reversed, they have to pay for it themselves, (which again would favor the rich unjustly, as the poor may never be able to pay for the reversal) and if they were one of the unlucky ones who could not have it successfully reversed, "too bad."

My opponent says he is uncertain where I stand on the issue so I am going to clear that up. I am going to sum up my opposition to this proposal and then provide some elaboration upon each point. In short;

1) The program is inherently unjust. The poor in general and poor women in particular will be selected for punishment more often, they will be the least able to defend themsleves against abuses of power on the part of authority, and they will be least able to "undo" their punishment at the end of their sentance in a program such as that outlined by my opponent.

2) This program WOULD be un-Constitutional. Buck vs Bell does allow the forced sterilization but ONLY for eugenic reasons. (Mental illness, retardation, brain damage, blindness, epileptic, etc. ) It has never been overturned despite the fact that modern scholars now feel certain that the evidence against Carrie Buck was false, and her defense council acted in bad faith to collude with the prosectution. So, forced sterilization in the US for Eugenic reasons IS constitutional. After Buck vs Bell withstood constitutional challenge, clever minded folks of the day did decide to write some laws calling for the sterilization of 'habitual criminals." However, Skinner vs Oklahoma specifically disallows the use of forced sterilization for criminals, citing the "equal protection clause" in the Fourteenth Amendment. Not only does the decision assert the right to bear children, "a right which is basic to the perpetuation of a race the right to have offspring." It also points out that it would not equally apply to all crimes. White collar criminals will not be subject, and so it fails the "equal protection clause."

Further reading on Buck vs Bell

Further reading on Skinner vs Oklahoma

3) This program is unnecessary. My opponent rightly points out that in his example of a small child abused by his parents, that the punishment was inadequate. I could not agree more. I applaud my opponent for his obvious good intentions, and his compassion for the children who suffer this sort of abuse. His passion for their cause is apparent, and admirable, and I share it wholeheartedly. I simply disagree that we need to risk the civil and human rights of all Americans by tampering with the Constitution to adequately punish the people who treat children so heinously. This sets the stage for future abuses of this policy by special interests by undermining our Constitutional rights, which the aftermath of Buck vs Bell clearly illustrate. We already HAVE a system with which to deal with criminals. I heartily agree that the justice system is too lenient with people who perpetrate certain sorts of violence, including child abuse. So instead I offer some suggestions.

a) Strengthen childrens rights. Oneo f the problems is that crimes against children are not considered equal to crimes against adults. Lets change that. It offers greater protection for children without eroding the existing rights of adults. Lets stop treating children as the "property" of their parents.

b) Spend the funds that this sort of program would require on working to fix our legal system, the child welfare system, and reducing the "bloat" in our prison system my opponent points out is partially responsible for these ridiculous sentances. Child abuse of the sort my opponent describes is dangerous to human life, and those sorts of criminals are the ones we need to incarcerate. We have way too many drug users locked up, and that problem needs to be addressed. We dont need to make it easier for this problem to continue by letting child abusers walk free while pot smokers do hard time.

c) Invest in developing parenting skills by counseling new parents at high risk or requiring parenting classes as part of a high school curriculum BEFORE they abuse their children.

d) Create sentancing guidelines that prevent serious abusers from "skating" out of prison after ridiculously short terms.

4) This program would NOT prevent these abusers from abusing more children. Stepparents or live-in romantic partners of a parent are more likely by far to abuse a child seriously than a genetic parent is. It is naieve to assume that simply sterilizing someone by force will prevent them from having access to children. I understand that my opponents argument hinges upon our ability to "monitor" these people on some sort of "probation." In practice, lets be realistic. How on Earth can we actually prevent them from dating a person with children? We "lose" pedophiles all the time. It would take the same sort of "magic" required to keep a person away from children as is required to keep drug addicts away from all drugs. You cannot realistically assign someone to walk around with the sterilized person and make certain they do not date someone with children. The only way you could keep them from children reliably would be to incarcerate them. And we are back to square one. If that is the case, why fight the battle for forced sterilization considering all these issues in the first place?

posted on Feb, 1 2008 @ 11:31 PM
Speaking of unethical, why would my opponent bring up new ideas knowing my next post was supposed to conclude my previous arguments? In fact, my opponent’s response only confirms my previous statements accusing him of straw man arguments. Let me refer to my first post:

Originally posted by Sublime620 Now my opponent may try to tie this issue to eugenics. I will prove this is punitive and holds no relation to eugenics, if necessary. He may try to say that such laws would be illegal, and again, I will prove otherwise. He may try to sway your opinions by calling to ethics, and I will ask you what is more ethical than keeping children out of the hands of unfit parents?

I assumed this would be the direction this debate was going to take. It was only logical. My opponent instead decided to waste time arguing over financial data he could not even provide. He stated the program would be too expensive. He stated that the program would target one group more than any other. Did anyone notice any facts to back those statements up? Of course not. My opponent never intended on defending those view points. He knew that he could wait until his last post and I wouldn’t be able to issue any rebuttals.

Well guess what? This is not going to be an atypical closing statement. I will sum my arguments up, but I will answer his previous rebuttal first. I feel that is only fair to the judges. They deserve the debate that should have occurred. Not the waste of time above. I will not address any of his rebuttals to the financial argument above because it was clearly never his intention to actually debate on those issues.

I will start with his unproven statement that lower class families are more likely to be targeted. I am not aware of any statistics he has provided to prove this, but what else is new? If it does target lower class families, then those individuals deserve it. I do not care how much money you have. How many more times can I make that clear, sir? I do not care if you are Bill Gates, or on welfare in the ghetto. Anyone who endangers his/her child’s life should not raise children.

And finally, my opponent actually brings a real argument to the table. He states that it’s unconstitutional. He cites Skinner v Oklahoma as his reasoning. Of course this holds no precedent due to the fact that these people were sterilized for committing three crimes. Not child abuse. Not major crimes. Just three crimes in general. My opponent’s own post explains even further why this case holds no precedent. The equal protections clause was cited due to the fact that white collar crimes were omitted. This is not the case here. We are not punishing for general crimes against the state. The equal protections clause holds no relevance here.

That means Skinner v Oklahoma is not a binding precedent.

Now, how refreshing would it have been if we were discussing real issues like this during the debate? But I digress and will now sum up my arguments in a traditional style closing statement.

The prison systems are bloated. No matter what crime an individual commits, the appropriate answer seems to be jail. The main problem this presents is that our prisoners cannot be properly sentenced. In fact, if these prisoners were properly sentenced it would be quite a burden financially on society, contrary to the information my opponent never provided.

So I ask: Why even bother trying to free up more money or more room in jails for these people? Give them the short sentence that was already being planned on and just add sterilization to the list. Let these perverts and cowards go through life without the ability to procreate. Let them never be able to come into a situation where they can take advantage or abuse a child again.

My opponent has stated all of the following:

  • The program would cost too much. He provided no figures to back that up.

  • That the punishment is an invasion of our rights too heavy of a penalty. I say no quarter for child abusing cowards.

  • That giving them less jail time and only sterilizing them is letting them off lightly. I say that is a direct contradiction to his original posts.

  • That Skinner v Oklahoma shows this program to be unconstitutional. I say he blatantly ignored that ruling’s irrelevance to our discussion. That he knew its irrelevance and left it out until his last rebuttal hoping I would be sucker enough to not respond.

  • That this would not stop the abusers from abusing again. That it is usually step parents that abuse. I say, how does removing the child from his/her care, sterilizing them, and disallowing him/her from ever directly caring for a child again not put a major barrier between the abuser and the abusee?

The fact is, my opponent has said a lot of things during this debate. The one thing he has not said is anything that proves sterilization to be an unrealistic program. No statistics. No relevant laws. No mention of ethics.

What is important here is not my opponent's baseless arguments. What is important is keeping our kids safe. Under the current system, the only way we could get more justice against these cowards is to extend their sentences. That is not enough.

We are not talking about poor people, black people, or women. We are talking about people who beat, molest, endanger, and commit emotional battery on children. It feels shameful that I must keep repeating that, but my opponent wants you to forget the type of people we are talking about.

So I say: no quarter to these cowards. Let us strip them of their ability to raise, produce, care, and more importantly abuse children.

So judges, I have one question I want you to ponder on while you consider this debate:

What makes you lose more sleep?

A child abuser gets sterilized and can no longer reproduce?


A child abuser is sent to jail for a term that is already too short and will probably not even be fully served?

Your answer should decide whether or not sterilization of parents who chronically fail to support their child is appropriate.

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 02:29 PM
My opponent seems to have a misunderstanding about the structure of debate itself. He accuses me of being unethical by revisiting the issue of Constitutionality, which he promises in his opening statement to prove, but never again actually addresses. Apparently, he is under the mistaken impression that I was obligated to remind him earlier in this debate that he had offered to prove this plan was Constitutional. I was not, and waited for the promised proof to arrive. In fact, by not waiting until the closing argument I allowed him the opportunity to revisit this aspect and allowed him a final opportunity to fulfill his obligation of proof that his original claim that forcibly sterilizing certain individuals WAS Constitutionally allowable.

He has failed in that regard, and his opening statement actually sets the stage for that failure. Under Constitutional law, the only type of program of forced sterilization that WOULD be Constitutional would be a program that did operate under the principles of Eugenics. By his own claim in the opening statement, his argument is that this program is NOT tied to Eugenics, and since it is not, would not be allowable using the precedent set by Buck vs Bell.

In the written opinion of Justice Douglas;

"But the instant legislation runs afoul of the equal protection clause, though we give Oklahoma that large deference which the rule of the foregoing cases requires. We are dealing here with legislation which involves one of the basic civil rights of man. Marriage and procreation are fundamental to the very existence and survival of the race. The power to sterilize, if exercised, may have subtle, far-reaching and devastating effects. In evil or reckless hands, it can cause races or types which are inimical to the dominant group to wither and disappear. There is no redemption for the individual whom the law touches. Any experiment which the State conducts is to his irreparable injury. He is forever deprived of a basic liberty. We mention these matters not to reexamine the scope of the police power of the States. We advert to them merely in emphasis of our view that strict scrutiny of the classification which a State makes in a sterilization law is essential, lest unwittingly, or otherwise, invidious discriminations are made against groups or types of individuals in violation of the constitutional guaranty of just and equal laws. The guaranty of "equal protection of the laws is a pledge of the protection of equal laws." Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U. S. 356, 369. When the law lays an unequal hand on those who have committed intrinsically the same quality of offense and sterilizes one and not the other, it has made as invidious a discrimination as if it had selected a particular race or nationality for oppressive treatment. Yick Wo v. Hopkins, supra; Gaines v. Canada, 305 U. S. 337. Sterilization of those who have thrice committed grand larceny, with immunity for those who are embezzlers, is a clear, pointed, unmistakable discrimination. Oklahoma makes no attempt to say that he who commits larceny by trespass or trick or fraud has biologically inheritable traits which he who commits embezzlement lacks. Oklahoma's line between larceny by fraud and embezzlement is determined, as we have noted, "with reference to the time when the

Page 316 U. S. 542

fraudulent intent to convert the property to the taker's own use" arises. Riley v. State, supra, 64 Okla.Cr. at p. 189, 78 P.2d p. 715. We have not the slightest basis for inferring that that line has any significance in eugenics, nor that the inheritability of criminal traits follows the neat legal distinctions which the law has marked between those two offenses. In terms of fines and imprisonment, the crimes of larceny and embezzlement rate the same under the Oklahoma code. Only when it comes to sterilization are the pains and penalties of the law different. The equal protection clause would indeed be a formula of empty words if such conspicuously artificial lines could be drawn."

In the case as proposed by my opponent, we are not dealing with felonies involving a set sum of money, which may be acquired by embezzlement or by grand larceny, which as the justice states are "intrinsically the same quality of crime," in that they both result in the same quality of harm. We are dealing with actions that pose harm to the health and welfare of another human being. His proposed class of criminals is perpetrating this violence against children, but using the logic of this opinion, violence against another human, an adult one, is "intrinsically the same quality of crime," and so his proposal would fail to fall outside the bounds of this precedent unless he was able to show that the crime of child abuse has some biologically inheritable traits that the crime of violence against adults lacks. By my opponents own statement this has never been his position, and so the proposition is NOT allowable under Constitutional law.

It pains me to have to spend that many characters on a direct quote, but clearly the point was lost in the greater body of text provided by my earlier link.

My opponent claims I did nothing to prove that a program of forced sterilization would unfairly burden the poor, and women. In my opponents own words,

"The fact that women are being persecuted more is not a problem that is just now arising. It is a preexisting issue that needs to be addressed in a separate forum. I refuse to continue arguing about it.

Despite this refusal, I indeed did spend a good deal of time showing that an existing inequity did not remove liability from the perpetrators of further inequity. In case further evidence is required that justice is not equally accessible to the poor, I submit this article.

I also provided evidence of abuse of power by existing child protection agencies against women and the poor, which my opponent also dismissed. Casual dismissal on the part of my opponent of the evidence I have provided does not undermine either its accuracy or its relevance.

My opponent claims I did nothing to support my claim that the costs of implementing such a plan would outweigh the benefits. I did define "costs" more broadly than "financial" in my opening statement. I have shown by outlining what such a policy would require, ie; counselors, probation officers, surveillance, oversight, court and legal costs, the procedures themselves, legal challenges specific to the program in terms of Constitutionality or human rights abuses, etc.) that this program would add to the costs of punishing child abusers, WITHOUT providing any material benefits not derivable by fine tuning our existing laws and programs to make them more effective or appropriate. An additional cost I identified was the cost to us all of losing a Constitutional protection against the assault by the state upon our physical persons. My opponent has done nothing to show that the benefit provided by forced sterilization is greater than these costs.

I have also shown that biological relatedness does not increase the likelihood of someone abusing a child. Step parents and romantic partners of parents are more likely to seriously abuse a child than its own parents are. With a divorce rate of 60% percent, and the breakup of non-marital relationships less quantifiable but logically assumable to be similar at the least, it is quite likely that these individuals forcibly sterilized will indeed have access to children again. Bearing children and having access to children are NOT equivalent.

My opponent has asked me, in an attempt to prove his own point, if I would keep drug users from having access to drugs without incarcerating them. He admits that this would require magic to accomplish in practice. I believe it would require the same "magic" to keep child abusers from having access to children without incarceration unless someone was assigned to hold that persons hand 24 hours a day, which, obviously, would be prohibitively expensive.

My opponents other objection is that he does not seem to be able to tell if I think forced sterilization was too lenient, or too "inhumane." In answer I reply that it is both. For those who are guilty in fact of the crime of the most heinous sort of child abuse, simply depriving them of the ability to bear more children is not sufficient punishment. That same end could be accomplished under existing law by incarceration WITHOUT granting the State the power to commit an assault against our most basic human rights. For the rest of us, and those innocent who may unjustly convicted, the cost is too high.

Protecting our own freedom of speech requires that we tolerate and protect the speech of those who preach hate, and abuse that freedom in ways we find repugnant. We protect the freedom itself, and as a consequence we must protect those we may feel a moral loathing towards. Protecting our freedom to have sovereignty over our own physical bodies, including our reproductive freedoms, requires that we tolerate the reproductive excesses and abuses of those who share that freedom. The ends of preventing child abuse can and should be pursued. It should simply be pursued by means that do not place our collective freedoms at risk with little benefit to offer.

In summation, I would like to thank my opponent, the moderator, and the reader for enabling this debate.

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 08:53 PM
The results are in. Illusionsaregrander has won.

Judges comments:

Sublime was really his own worst enemy in some ways. He based many of his arguments on the idea that child abusers, rather than those who simply fail to provide adequate support, are the subjects of the proposition. If this idea is rejected, then his jury trial defense against Illusionsaregrander's points about the justice of the proposition fails, as does his argument that we will save money on prison expenses, the issue of revesability becomes more significant, and the risk involved seems less justified. Also by arguing that the individual is responsible for the cost of reversal, he effectively did bias the program against the poor.
Illusionsaregrander did a good job of raising all the right objections to the program, and although Sublime made a great effort, he couldn't sell me on his interpretation, thus he was left defenseless against those challenges. Illusionsaregrander is the winner.

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 09:58 PM
Thanks Illusionsaregrander and Vagabond. I feel like I learned a lot in this introductory debate.

Congrats Illusionsaregrander on the victory.

posted on Feb, 3 2008 @ 11:06 AM
Sublime you had the truly tough side of this debate in my opinion. Yet you played it with confidence and passionate support.

I thought you did a fine job and if you would have been a little more consistent on your points, you may have faired better... Just my opinion of course..

Over all good job by both...


posted on Feb, 4 2008 @ 10:27 AM
reply to post by semperfortis

I appreciate the kind words semper. Thanks for the tip on being consistant and I do know what you are talking about. I have a real tough time organizing anything in my head.

I read what you said on your thread v. The Vagabond

Originally posted by semperfortis
My biggest weakness?

Convincing myself and assuming that means I have convinced everyone. When I put together what I consider to be a logical and convincing argument, it bewilders me that everyone may not be able to see it... LOL

I have the same problem.

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