Round 2. Phoenix V Genya: Robin Hood?

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posted on Mar, 3 2004 @ 01:06 PM
The topic for this debate is "It is moral to steal from the rich to give to the poor."

Phoenix will be arguing for this proposition and will open the debate.
Genya will argue against this proposition.

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

No post will be longer than 800 words and in the case of the closing statement no longer than 500 words. In the event of a debator posting more than the stated word limit then the excess words will be deleted by me from the bottom. Credits or references at the bottom count as part of the post.

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

Excluding both the opening and closing statements only one image or link may be included in any post. Opening and Closing statement must not carry either images or links.

As a guide responses should be made within 18 hours. If the debate is moving forward then I have a relaxed attitude to this. However, if people are consistently late with their replies, they will forfeit the debate.

Judging will be done by an anonymous panel of 11 judges. After each debate is completed it will be locked and the judges will begin making their decision. Results will be posted by me as soon as a majority (6) is reached.

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

posted on Mar, 4 2004 @ 12:13 AM
I would like to again thank Kano for organizing and moderating this debate as well as the 11 Judges who are donating their time. Congratulations to my debate opponent Genya for winning a very well done first round.

Debating in the affirmative,

”It is moral to steal from the rich to give to the poor”

In opening I want to point out to the Judges and Genya how narrowly defined the debate is due to the use of the specific word ”steal” in the subject given for this debate.
The usage of “steal” rather than a word such as “take” has definitely precluded any distracting discussions of socio-political-economic policy, income redistribution schemes by governmental or social fiat, redistribution by class action lawsuits and philanthropy.

This is a straightforward debate about an action (stealing) that is justified by a higher moral need. Stealing from the rich to give to the poor can and will be shown as a superior moral path to the right injustice of an amoral society valuing materialism over paternalism.

An individual can commit moral acts even though the norms of society may judge otherwise, that rational people, given a certain set of circumstances will make moral decisions superior to those imposed by a given society.

As an example to start things off put yourself in this situation, You and your family live in a country struck by severe famine. The borders have been closed by the regime in power - besides you used all your money months ago to buy food on black market when it was to be had so you can’t bribe your families way out. All of your neighbors are in the same sad shape and have no help to offer. Your wife, child and neighbors are close to starving to death when you find out that the grain sent to relieve the famine has been confiscated by a rich business man in the next town to be sold to the army who is paying top dollar for the scarce food. Late that night you take the only running vehicle and go to the other town and find a way to break-in to the poorly guarded warehouse and steal enough food to save your family and your village from starving.

The above is a case where the people in power morally justified their actions (closed border) to maintain the regime and status among their peers. The rich businessman was amoral and only cared about profiteering. Your action saving the village served a superior moral calling by preventing many deaths from occurring.

Genya I am looking forward to your opening statement and further to the debate itself, good luck.


447 Words

posted on Mar, 4 2004 @ 03:53 PM
Greetings to my worthy friend Phoenix, Kano, assembled adjudicators and noble audience!! I am very sorry for my rather late reply, which was caused by factors beyond my control.

I was somewhat flattered, and nostalgic, that the sub-heading was “Robin Hood”, as I was born in Nottingham, and now live about 20 miles from there. My sister lives within sight of Nottingham Castle (a Victorian building as it was rebuilt – many times – throughout it’s turbulent existence). The caves and the “Trip to Jerusalem” - (reputed to be the oldest Inn in England) - bare testament to the history of the place.

However, there is no time for reminiscences of misspent youth, drinking strongale and wenching in the “Trip” - the game’s afoot!! It is with great pleasure that I find myself arguing against the specific topic of:

It is moral to steal from the rich to give to the poor

Let’s do a little bit of defining here, just so that it is clear what we are talking about.

First, consider the word “moral”:

1. Of or concerned with the judgment of the goodness or badness of human action and character: moral scrutiny; a moral quandary.
2. Teaching or exhibiting goodness or correctness of character and behaviour: a moral lesson.
3. Conforming to standards of what is right or just in behaviour; virtuous: a moral life.
4. Arising from conscience or the sense of right and wrong: a moral obligation.
5. Having psychological rather than physical or tangible effects: a moral victory; moral support.
6. Based on strong likelihood or firm conviction, rather than on the actual evidence: a moral certainty.

Now, what about “Steal”?
v. tr.
1. To take (the property of another) without right or permission.
2. To get or effect surreptitiously or artfully: steal a kiss; stole the ball from an opponent.
3. To move, carry, or place surreptitiously.
4. To draw attention unexpectedly in (an entertainment), especially by being the outstanding performer: The magician's assistant stole the show with her comic antics.
5. Baseball. To advance safely to (another base) during the delivery of a pitch, without the aid of a base hit, walk, passed ball, or wild pitch.

v. intr.
1. To commit theft.
2. To move, happen, or elapse stealthily or unobtrusively.
3. Baseball. To steal a base.

1. The act of stealing.
2. Slang. A bargain.
3. Baseball. A stolen base.

Straight away I, and I’m sure Phoenix and our on lookers, can see a paradox here, namely the juxtaposition of “moral” with “steal”. Whilst not wishing to appear to be appealing to a “Higher Authority”, I think we might consider the Bible and, specifically, the Ten Commandments:

V15 Thou shalt not steal.

Of course, moral precepts are not exclusive to Christianity or Judaism. Buddhist moral precepts are based on the Dharma, and they reflect such eternal values as compassion, respect, self-restraint, honesty, and wisdom. The precepts are grounded on these factors, their practicality remains sacrosanct even today, and their usefulness is beyond question. That one should not steal is self-evident – and specifically mentioned in the Dharma.

Simply put, if it is not yours to begin with, you have no right in taking it. Even what we think is no big deal - like taking a pen from the office - is stealing.

Morally, then, stealing is inherently “wrong”. To say otherwise is to put yourself before God and the wisdom of the great religions of the World.

My good friend Phoenix is a fine, eloquent writer and describes a scenario that seems to justify “stealing” as being somehow “just the thing to wear”.

Later, I will show that the so called “Robin Hood Syndrome” or “complex adaptive system” (CAS) is, in fact, extremely dangerous to society at large, as people “justify” their criminal behaviour as being towards the greater good. Poppy cock Sir! Have at you!!

So, I have great pleasure in returning the floor, to Phoenix. I know this will be a fascinating debate for both of us!!

I doff my feathered hat, bow (very carefully and cautiously) in my Lincoln Green tights and wish you good luck Phoenix in our discussion!!

696 Words

posted on Mar, 5 2004 @ 11:44 PM
Hello again to my esteemed friend and colleague Genya, Kano the moderator, all of the Judges and lest they be forgotten – the audience viewing our debates who hopefully derive enjoyment, learning from debates.
One comment for Genya if you please, Genya I definitely see the irony and humor of our assigned tasks in this debate.

I will begin by reiterating debate subject once more,

“It is moral to steal from the rich to give to the poor”

Genya you detailed in your introduction the terms “steal” and “moral” side by side in juxtaposition, being paradoxical, attempting to imply an oxymoron.
The words out of context may appear that way, in the context of debate they are not paradoxical nor an oxymoron. You’re pointing out the doctrine of judicial moralism, which addresses the “act” rather than the “intent”

Quoting from Friesian theory based on the writings of Kant and others as promulgated by Kelly L. Ross Ph.D.,

“Judicial Moralism, generalization of intentions into all of morality has been common. Religions typically guilty of such moralism, have controlled or pressured political authorities for enforcement; but there has been no lack of purely secular ideologies, from the French Revolution to Communism, that have tried to enforce their views in political programs apart from religion. Judicial moralism tends to be characteristic of both religious moralism, political moralism. Furthermore, each characteristically becomes way of morally judging, not just actions or intentions, but beliefs. That’s because good - bad intentions always go with beliefs about what’s good - bad. Judicial moralism collapses intention and act, requirement of justice acting justly is transferred to the mental state. What’s proper moral issue in that state is good or bad will; For judicial moralism more is required than that, good will doesn't have anything like content, structure, or definiteness of good - bad act. Consequently, judicial moralism focuses on beliefs conditioning the will, something as definite in the mental state as the act was external. Thus the moral requirement becomes one of correct belief as the sign of good will. Incorrect belief obviously signifies ill will, all the commendation and reward or condemnation - punishment that should focus on good - bad deeds becomes focused on these incorrect beliefs.”

Ergo: Judgement of acts, construed superior to moral intent of action is error in the context of this debate and accepted philosophical theory.

Ergo: My opponents assertion that the judgement of what is “moral” is based solely on the “action or behavior” of the individual. My position is simple: the moral path can only be judged by the “intent” of the action or behavior. (Ex: my opponent would suggest that “stealing” in and of itself (as an action) is always morally wrong. However, a person that steals for the PURPOSE OR INTENT to altruistically aid others with no benefit to themselves is, in fact, morally superior.) One has to always consider the situation and the intent when morally passing judgement. Thus – the basis of this debate is not one of, “is stealing morally wrong” by itself as your Ten Commandments reference suggests, but one of “Is stealing to help the poor a moral wrong”

To engage your logic used in your opening statement one has to confuse ethical dogma to the detriment of moral theory, which is the subject of the debate at hand.

Referencing a point made in my opening statement, “An individual can commit moral acts even though the norms of society may judge otherwise, that rational people, given a certain set of circumstances will make moral decisions superior to those imposed by a given society.”

I would like to expound on the above statement by quoting the Stamford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, specifically under the heading – Moral Responsibility, Recent work on Moral Responsibility, P. F. Strawson,

Strawson contends that it is pointless asking whether the practice of holding responsible can be rationally justified if determinism is true. This is either because its not psychologically possible divesting ourselves of these reactions and continually inhabit the objective standpoint, or even if possible, because its not clear rationality could ever demand that we give up the reactive attitudes, In sum, Strawson attempts to turn the traditional around, for judgments about being responsible understood in relation to the role reactive attitudes play in the practice of holding responsible, rather than the other way around. Whereas judgments are true or false and can generate the need for justification, the desire for goodwill and attitudes generated by it possess no truth value themselves, eliminating any need for an external justification.

Ergo: To save helpless people with no other recourse is moral in the sense that one of rational mind recognizes societal injustice, others (of rational mind) may see and absolve action with superior moral decision irregardless of external moral dogma or belief.

800 words

posted on Mar, 8 2004 @ 09:57 PM
Due to off-line concerns and time constraints with work etc. Genya has had to retire from the debate, Phoenix goes through to round 3.

posted on Mar, 9 2004 @ 10:59 AM
I am sorry that Genya is retiring, I was looking forward to a vigorous debate with Genya whom I believe has great debating skills,(see round 1 debate)


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