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Round 4: maria_stardust vs Skyfloating: Catch Me If You Can…!

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posted on Oct, 13 2008 @ 05:20 PM
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The topic for this debate is ”It’s Only Illegal If You Get Caught."

maria_stardust will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
Skyfloating 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.

There is a 10,000 character limit per post.

Any character count in excess of 10,000 will be deleted prior to the judging process.

Editing is strictly forbidden. For reasons of time, mod edits should not be expected except in critical situations.

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. Each individual post may contain up to 10 sentences of external source material, totaled from all external sources.

Links to multiple pages within a single domain count as 1 reference but there is a maximum of 3 individual links per reference, then further links from that domain count as a new reference. Excess quotes and excess links will be removed before judging.

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 preceded by a direct answer.

This Is The Time Limit Policy:

Each debate must post within 24 hours of the timestamp on the last post. If your opponent is late, you may post immediately without waiting for an announcement of turn forfeiture. If you are late, you may post late, unless your opponent has already posted.

Each debater is entitled to one extension of 24 hours. The request should be posted in this thread and is automatically granted- the 24 hour extension begins at the expiration of the previous deadline, not at the time of the extension request.

In the unlikely event that tardiness results in simultaneous posting by both debaters, the late post will be deleted unless it appears in its proper order in the thread.

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




posted on Oct, 14 2008 @ 05:20 PM
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First of all, I would like to thank my esteemed collegue and opponent, Skyfloating, whom I’m facing once again. Also, a quick acknowledgement of our debate tournament host, MemoryShock, and last, but certainly not least, our readers and debate judges. I hope everyone enjoys the show.
 


”It’s Only Illegal If You Get Caught."

The debate topic seems simple and straightforeward enough. However, as is often the case, looks can be deceiving. To say that this sentiment is a virtual Pandora’s Box is an understatement. Be that as it may, it is my stance that there is truth to this statement.

My opponent may ridicule this claim, as merely hogwash or idealistic lip service. He will attempt to cherry-pick a definition that will suit his limited viewpoint in an attempt to frame this debate. In all honesty, I don’t find this to be a problem whatsoever. In fact, I welcome it as I believe it will have little or no impact on my stance. All I ask is that you keep an open mind.

Through the course of this debate, we will discuss the following indepth:

  • Philosophical issues
  • Political issues
  • Social issues
  • Religious issues


As you will discover, the issue of legality is not as cut and dry as it may first appear. This point is proven ad naseum thorugh the courts of our legal system. Fear not, I will not drag this debate through tedious legal mumbo-jumbo or legalese. Nor, will I numb your brains by splitting hairs on certain issues of legality or even clever word play. First of all, it is not necessary. Second, it certainly would not help my case to bore either the readers or judges to sleep.

That said, I’m going to keep my opening statement brief. However, don’t mistake this as a folly on my part. I promise the rest of my argument will be fairly content heavy.


At the end of this debate, it will be apparent that there is indeed truth to the expression, “It’s only illegal if you get caught.”



posted on Oct, 14 2008 @ 07:18 PM
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Debate Opening Statement

I have been assigned the debate position „Illegal activity is still illegal...even if you dont get caught“.

The significance of this debate is that an increasing amount of people seem to think that engaging in “small” crimes such as illegally copying software and movies, tax-trickery, petty theft, are “OK”. And in principle, from a certain anarchic standpoint, occasionally copying a movie will not do much harm to others and society overall. We certainly wouldn’t call the family dad who happened to copy a DVD for a friend of his, a “criminal”. However:

1. Where do we draw the line? In summation/accumulation, even “small” illegal activities are harmful to you and me.

2. And just because they are “small” illegal activities does not make them legal. A little bit illegal is still illegal

My position then is, while it may be acceptable for some people to engage in “small” crimes, these activities should by no means be “legalized”…unless we want to embrace Anarchism and get rid of society as we know it altogether.

Illegalism


Illegalism is an anarchist philosophy that developed primarily in France, Italy, Belgium, and Switzerlandduring the early 1900s as an outgrowth of anarchist individualism. The illegalists openly embraced criminalityas a lifestyle. Advocacy of illegalism proved to be highly controversial and was contested within the anarchist milieu, particularly by those who favored anarcho-syndicalism over individual actions disconnected from the labor movement.


Law


Law[2] is a system of rules, enforced through a set of institutions,[3] used as an instrument to underpin civil obedience, politics, economics and society. Law serves as the foremost social mediator in relations between people. Writing in 350 BC, the Greek philosopher Aristotle declared, "The rule of law is better than the rule of any individual."[4]


Laws and Legality are what allow us to live a life of safety, happiness, health and prosperity. Honesty and Integrity allow us to relate to each other in a setting of trust and well-being. It is possible for me to take a walk outside without the fear of getting shot or mugged. While there is still the possibility of me getting robbed or shot on my happy stroll, the person doing so will be held accountable for his actions. Who wants to live in a world in which we can grow up and experience the bright sides of life, no longer exists?

Anyone who therefore suggests Illegalism and Dishonesty as a way of life, is also suggesting less happiness, less well-being, less safety-for-all. The idea of something not being illegal if nobody knows about it is ludicrous. The idea of small-crimes not being crimes is ludicrous as well. Small crimes are still crimes, albeit smaller ones. Make sense? Im sure it does.

With this, the debate is actually already over…except that I have a debate opponent who will surely go on 4 more posts trying to sell theft, fraud, homicide, vandalism, etc. as something that is “fine” as long as we don’t know the perpetrator.

Good Luck with that Dear respected and valued opponent and fellow Moderator maria_stardust.



posted on Oct, 15 2008 @ 07:04 PM
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My dear opponent has taken a rather simplistic view as to how he would like to fame this debate.


The idea of something not being illegal if nobody knows about it is ludicrous. The idea of small-crimes not being crimes is ludicrous as well. Small crimes are still crimes, albeit smaller ones.


I have no intention of arguing the merits of pirating movies off the Internet, or the illegality of peer-to-peer sharing of music or other such petty crimes. Strictly, because that is precisely what they are crimes, and as such they are illegal.

Whoa! Did maria_stardust just concede the debate to Skyfloating?!? In short, NO!

As I have expressed in my opening statement, the phrase “It’s only illegal if you get caught” is a virtual Pandora’s Box by virtue of its utter lack of a frame of reference.

Confused, yet? Don’t be.

Legality: A Frame of Mind – Part I

Most of us treasure the comfort that comes from living in a society that values ethics, integrity and justice. Our sense of morality is part of the system of checks and balances that keeps our world intact. Consquently, it is imperative we delve into the philosophical issues that encompass our moral system of justice.

Most of us have our own set of core principals by which we conduct our day-to-day lives. It is our moral obligations to not only ourselves, but to society at large. It allows us to live in a civilized manner. By the same token, society as a whole has adopted many of these shared morals as a framework for our legal system.

For instance, stealing and killing is frowned upon and considered a crime. These crimes require a consequence to deter further reprehensible actions and protect society. This is our sense of justice.


According to (Immanuel) Kant, what is singular about motivation by duty is that it consists of bare respect for lawfulness… Thus, if we do something because it is our ‘civic’ duty, or our duty ‘as a boy scout’ or ‘a good American’, our motivation is respect for the code that makes it our duty.

Source 1: Kant’s Moral Philosophy

Kant was a logician whose theoretical body of work has become a cornerstone of Western philosophy. The influence of Kant’s ethics on our legal system, as well as our contemporary moral reasoning cannot be overstated. He believed that ordinary people have an intrinsic sense of what is considered right and wrong, thus building a collective conscience. It is through this conscience that our legal system and sense of justice is derived.

Kant refers to this logical framework as the categorical imperative.


This argument was based on his striking doctrine that a rational will must be regarded as autonomous, or free in the sense of being the author of the law that binds it. The fundamental principle of morality — the CI (categorical imperative) — is none other than thelaw of an autonomous will.

[1]

However, there are times when aspects of the law or judicial system may not coincide with our individual core principles. This can lead to circumstances of personal moral dilemma.


For another, our motive in conforming our actions to civic and other laws is never unconditional respect… Indeed, we respect these laws to the degree, but only to the degree, that they do not violate values, laws or principles we hold more dear.

[1]

It is this distinction that is important to note, and one I will refer back to throughout this debate.

Political Issues

Civil Disobedience. There are occassions when laws or public policies are met with public moral outrage. A prime example of this type of outrage would be anti-war demonstrations. The gathering of people in a civilized manner in and of itself is not illegal.

But when these demonstrations prove unruly, law enforcement may order the protesters to disperse under threat of arrest. Those protesters who are civil (not breaking the law) may find themselves in the predicament of being unable to disperse in a timely manner due to the size of the crowd. In this instance, it’s only illegal if you get caught, as not all protesters are arrested.

Freedom of Speech. This is undoubtedly one of the most fundamental rights that American citizens cherish and protect with zeal. Indeed in many minds “censorship” is a dirty word. However, there are instances where this basic tentant of the Constitution clashes with the law.

Take the Patriot Act, for example:


Among its provisions, the Act increases the ability of law enforcement agencies to search telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial and other records; eases restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering within the United States…

Source 2: The Patriot Act

This piece of legislation allows for law enforcement to search personal communications rendering the right to privacy moot. In other words, a person can be arrested for expressing their right to free speech at the government’s (or law enforcement’s) discretion. In these instances, it’s only illegal if you get caught, as not everyone who converses in private is arrested.

Political Prisoners. There are untold cases around the world, of people imprisoned for their thoughts and ideology. In these cases, it matters little if the allegations are substantiated by any actual evidence. However, there are people who share many of the same views as these political prisoners who are not incarcerated. Once again, in these instances, it’s only illegal if you get caught.

Each of the three scenarios, are not far-fetched by any stretch of the imagination. Unfortunately, they have played out time and time again in real life instances. It is also fair to say that in many, but not all, of these cases, the people arrested would generally be considered morally upstanding citizens. So indeed, there are realistic instances of it’s only illegal if you get caught.

Socratic Questions

Question 1: Do you concede that there are indeed instances of “it’s only illegal if you get caught” regarding civil demonstrations as outlined in my example?

Question 2: Do you concede that there are indeed instances of “it’s only illegal if you get caught” regarding Freedom of Speech and the Patriot Act as outlined in my example?

Question 3: Do you concede that there are indeed instances of “it’s only illegal if you get caught” regarding political prisoners as outlined in my example?



posted on Oct, 16 2008 @ 01:25 AM
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“They are only illegal if you get caught….lets therefore legalize them?” – “No!”

I read Kant as a teenager and applauded almost everything he said. How exactly my opponent is using Kant to re-contextualize legality is quite unclear to me. I assume this quoted passage is the basis of maria_stardusts argument:


Indeed, we respect these laws to the degree, but only to the degree, that they do not violate values, laws or principles we hold more dear.


And I would agree with this attitude – across the board, no ifs or buts!!!

The very moment my government bans the reading of my favourite books and threatens me with jail for owning or printing them, I will gladly embrace illegalism and wear the badge “criminal” with pride. I believe in freedom of speech and that I may read any book I want. However…and here´s the big BUT:

1. Just because I personally value it would not make it legal as defined by the country I live in.

2. We in the U.S. happen to be living in a society with quite reasonable restrictions and a huge amount of relative freedom. Put in simple terms: Im allowed my “freedom of speech” (especially in our Internet World) as long as this freedom of speech does not spread hate-driven libel, slander and lies about my fellow citizens.

It is really simple as that…except for the criminal undercurrents of our society who try to justify their hate of any sort of authority, order or regulation by “reframing” what is right and what not. This is precisely what my opponent is doing when speaking of legality as a “frame of mind”.

If thoughtout-to-the-end, my opponents anarchic views will eventually lead to the suggestion of legalizing certain acts since “its only illegal if you get caught”. So again the question arises: Where do we draw the line? I think our own legal system has done a damn good job of drawing the line…with only few areas of ambiguity left to exploit. Lets take my opponents example of the Patriot Act. Maria-Stardust correctly notices, that this Patriot Act could be abused to infringe upon our privacy (without providing actual examples of where and when this happened of course…take note of that). One area in which the Patriot Act has been feared to be interfering with our human right for privacy is the Internet. The Government is allowed a certain amount of monitoring the Internet “for the protection of our citizens”, as they say. Now, I don’t like this either, but imagine what would happen if we go with the anarchist and get rid of any restrictions and monitoring by the government?

If we say that computer crimes are “small crimes” and propose to “turn a blind eye” on them or to abolish the regulations laid out by the Government of the U.S., we will soon be confronted with a wave of the following things that classify as Cyber-Crimes:

• Malware and Virus Dissemination
• Denial-of-Service Attack
• Hacking and Data Theft
• Cyber Terrorism
• Idenity Theft
• Information Warfare
• Cyber Stalking
• Online-Fraud
• Phishing
• Virtual Harassment

Surely these are things you and most other people don’t take lightly. Lets hope my debate opponent does not make a mockery of these serious transgressions by mistaking them with "our right to privacy". Sure, we have a right to privacy when going online. But we also demand protection from fraud and deception!

With this in mind, lets answer my opponents Socratic questions:



Question 1: Do you concede that there are indeed instances of “it’s only illegal if you get caught” regarding civil demonstrations as outlined in my example?



No. Absolutely not. There are laws in place to protect the populace from violent and unruly protesters. There are laws in place that allow loud and explicit demonstrations – such as anti-war demonstrations. There are laws in place that protect protesters from police brutality.because lines are occasionally overstepped and things go wrong and just because innocents sometimes wrongly spend an evening in jail, does not mean we have to overthrow or change our entire law system to meet anarchistic ideals.



Question 2: Do you concede that there are indeed instances of “it’s only illegal if you get caught” regarding Freedom of Speech and the Patriot Act as outlined in my example?


Again: While you are correct that there are gray areas which are under heated public debate and scrutiny, this would not justify terming something “legal because you didn’t get caught”.



Question 3: Do you concede that there are indeed instances of “it’s only illegal if you get caught” regarding political prisoners as outlined in my example?





I fully agree that what some countries term illegal is at great odds with my values. I read in the newspaper yesterday that Indonesia plans to outlaw sunbathing in Bikinis because it contradicts Islamic Values. But even my fiercest of disagreements wouldn’t make it legal if that government decides its illegal. I would then respect the laws of that country and leave it to move somewhere more in tune with my values. Respect of others, respect of property, respect of a wide variety of views and values…something anarchic illegalists have difficulty grasping, it seems.

Should we infringe on the national sovereignty of other countries by going there and freeing political prisoners? That is a matter of political opinion and debate. My personal opinion is that we should not interfere or invade…if anything we should negotiate the freeing of those prisoners. Not to go too far off-topic here though.

Something is either defined as legal or illegal by any given country. Whether we agree or disagree with a law makes no difference to its status.

A good point brought up by my opponent is of innocent people being charged of crime. This does occasionally happen. It is, however, not related to the topic of this debate. These people did not do anything illegal and were nevertheless charged. The topic of this debate is doing illegal things and not getting caught and those things therefore being “OK”.

Socratic Questions to maria_stardust:

1. When I say “food theft is not illegal if Im starving” does that make it legal in the eyes of the public and the police?

2. Do you agree that the Computer-Crimes I’ve listed would be undesirable if they were directed at you?

3. Do you appreciate that the Law tries to protect you from being deceived and attacked?

4. Do you agree that some laws in other countries contradict our values and laws but that they are nevertheless illegal there?

5. Is it correct to say that one person could see a wall as an impedement and another as protection?



posted on Oct, 17 2008 @ 01:03 AM
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It seems as if my opponent is once again trying to change the topic of the debate.

Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.


“They are only illegal if you get caught….lets therefore legalize them?” – “No!”


Who is he trying to kid?

We are not debating on whether or not illegal activity should be legalized. That has never been my intent. Apparently, desperate times calll for desparate measures, and my opponent is grasping at staws.

The official topic is: ”It’s only illegal if you get caught.”

Nice try, though.


 


Now that we have cleared up that dismal attempt at spin, let us wade through Skyfloating’s argument thus far: Crime is crime, and therefore it is illegal. I believe that is a fair assessment of his stance.

To bad I’m not arguing that crime should be legalized. Then maybe he would have a leg to stand on.

Let me begin by answering my opponent’s Socratic questions:

1. When I say “food theft is not illegal if Im starving” does that make it legal in the eyes of the public and the police?

No. Theft is a crime.

2. Do you agree that the Computer-Crimes I’ve listed would be undesirable if they were directed at you?

Yes. Cyber-crimes are still crimes.

3. Do you appreciate that the Law tries to protect you from being deceived and attacked?

Yes, I have not implied otherwise.

4. Do you agree that some laws in other countries contradict our values and laws but that they are nevertheless illegal there?

Yes. Different countries have different laws.

5. Is it correct to say that one person could see a wall as an impedement and another as protection?

Only in the same sense that one person could see a glass as half full and another as half empty.

Alright, that’s over with. No surpises there.

Now, let’s get this debate back on track and examine how my opponent answered the Socratic questions I put forth.

In my first example of “It’s only illegal if you get caught,” I put forth the scenario of a legal anti-war demonstration turned unruly and ordered disbanded by law enforcement. Those protesters who are civil (not breaking the law) may find themselves in the predicament of being unable to disperse in a timely manner due to the size of the crowd. In this instance, it’s only illegal if you get caught, as not all protesters are arrested.

I asked my opponent: Do you concede that there are indeed instances of “it’s only illegal if you get caught” regarding civil demonstrations as outlined in my example?

His responds:

No. Absolutely not.


But, strangely enough concedes:

There are laws in place that protect protesters from police brutality.because lines are occasionally overstepped and things go wrong and… because innocents sometimes wrongly spend an evening in jail…


Emphasis mine. Law enforcement does not go around arresting people on legal grounds. Charges can be dropped if they are proven to be unwarranted. Therefore, in this particular scenario, it’s only illegal if you get caught, as not all protesters are arrested.

In my second example, I put forth the scenario that the Patriot Act allows for law enforcement to search personal communications rendering an individual’s right to privacy moot. In other words, a person can be arrested for expressing their right to free speech at the government’s (or law enforcement’s) discretion.

I asked my opponent: Do you concede that there are indeed instances of “it’s only illegal if you get caught” regarding Freedom of Speech and the Patriot Act as outlined in my example?

His response:

…you are correct that there are gray areas which are under heated public debate and scrutiny…


Which proves my point, there are indeed instances of, it’s only illegal if you get caught, as not everyone who converses in private is arrested.

In my third example, I put forth the scenario of political prisoners incarcerated for their personal thoughts and ideology. These men are not arrested for any action they have taken, simply for the thoughts existing in their heads.

I asked my opponent: Do you concede that there are indeed instances of “it’s only illegal if you get caught” regarding political prisoners as outlined in my example?

He evaded directly answering the question. His response:

I fully agree that what some countries term illegal is at great odds with my values.


Huh? Not even a “yes” or a “no.” That is certainly an answer worthy of a politician!


The sad truth is there are people who share many of the same views as these political prisoners who are not incarcerated. Once again, in these instances, it’s only illegal if you get caught.


Legality: A Frame of Mind – Part II

As I have previously stated, there are times when aspects of the law or judicial system may not coincide with our individual core principles. This can lead to circumstances of personal moral dilemma.


…motive in conforming our actions to civic and other laws is never unconditional respect… Indeed, we respect these laws to the degree, but only to the degree, that they do not violate values, laws or principles we hold more dear.

Source 1: Kant’s Moral Philosophy

One area in particular, where these principles can collide involves the issue of autonomy. It is one of our most cherished and fundamental rights. It encompasses the sanctity of free will and authority over our physical bodies. That said, it should be noted that autonomy does not free us from constraints of the law and judicial system. Nor, am I advocating that such laws be dismissed.

At this point I will introduces examples and scenarios where the notion of ”It’s only illegal if you get caught” comes into play regarding social issues of autonomy.

Social Issues

Homosexuality. One evening in 1998, two men in Houston, Texas were engaging in consensual sex at their private residence. A false report had been made that there was a disturbance at the home, and a sherrif’s deputy entered the residence through an unlocked door with his weapon drawn. He came upon the men in a compromising position and arrested both of them on charges of sodomy.
Source 2: Lawrence v. Texas

This is a prime example of it’s only illegal if you get caught, as not homosexuals who engage in consensual sex in the privacy of their homes are arrested.

Homelessness. People affected by homelessness face undue hardships on a number of fronts. One that is faced on a continual basis is the threat of arrest for loitering. In cases where the homeless are unable to find residence in a shelter, the risk of arrest is a daily reality as it is physically impossible to stay in motion for an indefinite period of time without adequate rest. It is for this reason alone, that it’s only illegal if you get caught, as not all homeless people who loiter are arrested.

On a similar note, in July 2006, Las Vegas became the first city to pass a city ordinance making it illegal to offer food to the area’s homeless population. Under this ordinance any good samaritan caught making such humanitarian gestures faced arrest. The ordinance was eventually shot down as unconstitutional. This serves as another instance of ]it’s only illegal if you get caught, as not all people who offered a hungry homeless person the kindness of food were arrested.
Source 3: Advocates for Las Vegas Homeless Declare Victory

Good Samaritan law. Generally speaking, Good Samaritan laws are intended to prevent ordinary people who may aid persons in need of emergency assistance from threat of litigation. This is generally seen as a good thing, as it would allow people to willfully render aid who may have otherwise been reluctant.

However, there have been cases where good Samaratians have been charged with causing bodily injury to those they were trying to help. Case in point:


The 2nd District Court of Appeal wrote in a decision Wednesday that the Good Samaritan law only protects people from liability if they are administering emergency medical care. The perceived danger of remaining in the wrecked car was not "medical," the court ruled.

Source 4: Good Samaritan Law May Not Apply

Once again, this is a case of it’s only illegal if you get caught, as not all good Samaritans who render aid and inadvertently cause bodily harm are arrested.

These examples are further evidence that there are indeed instances of it’s only illegal if you get caught regarding social issues of autonomy.

Socratic Questions

Question 1: Do you concede that there are indeed instances of “it’s only illegal if you get caught” regarding homosexuals engaging in consensual sex in a private setting as outlined in my example?

Question 2: Do you concede that there are indeed instances of “it’s only illegal if you get caught” regarding the homeless who loiter due to rest as outlined in my example?

Question 3: Do you concede that there are indeed instances of “it’s only illegal if you get caught” regarding people who feed the homeless in Las Vegas as a humanitarian gesture as outlined in my example?

Question 4: Do you concede that there are indeed instances of “it’s only illegal if you get caught” regarding good Samaritans who render aid and inadvertently cause bodily harm as outlined in my example?



posted on Oct, 17 2008 @ 02:11 AM
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The idea "its only illegal if you get caught" is spherically delusional, i.e. delusional no matter which angle you look at it from. In her last post, maria_stardust is again saying that "If you dont get arrested, then its not illegal" and again citing one example after another which proves that some people dont get caught in the illegal act.

Then she claims she is not arguing that illegal activities should be legalized or that we should tolerate some of them or turn a blind eye on some of them, but nevertheless cherry-picks the most ambivalent and heart-wrenching of gray areas such as the case of the Las Vegas Samaritans. This case was fortunately crushed as unconstitutional...which proves that the laws that are in place are indeed as self-correcting as they can be.

Summary from my side: Just because you dont get arrested doesnt mean its not illegal.

And as a side-stab: Whats Kant got to do with it? Constructivism is a bit different than Illegalism.

To dutifully answer the socratic questions in a debate that has become somewhat circular and repetitive:



Question 1: Do you concede that there are indeed instances of “it’s only illegal if you get caught” regarding homosexuals engaging in consensual sex in a private setting as outlined in my example?


If a state defines sodomy as illegal then those engaging in that act can be arrested, irregardless of whether we agree or disagree with this law.

My advice would be to move to California or not get caught.




Question 2: Do you concede that there are indeed instances of “it’s only illegal if you get caught” regarding the homeless who loiter due to rest as outlined in my example?


If a state has defined loitering as illegal, it remains illegal whether they get caught or not. *Sigh* Whats the point? Your emphasis on these laws possibly being wrong or not-in-sync with our values does imply that you are gearing for a change-of-law or some sort of legalization. And there is nothing wrong with that, if thats your attitude. Since its not the debate topic, you wouldnt loose this debate by admitting that thats your stance here...so go ahead and admit it.




Question 3: Do you concede that there are indeed instances of “it’s only illegal if you get caught” regarding people who feed the homeless in Las Vegas as a humanitarian gesture as outlined in my example?


As mentioned earlier...if laws get too restrictive and oppressive for me, I will choose to break them. If books are outlawed, I will choose to become a criminal. I would choose to feed the ocassional homeless person. But that wouldnt make it legal. I am responsible for my acts. The criminally inclined person tends to place the blame on "the evil establishment" rather than assuming responsibility. And THAT is what is actually being debated here, in subtext.




Question 4: Do you concede that there are indeed instances of “it’s only illegal if you get caught” regarding good Samaritans who render aid and inadvertently cause bodily harm as outlined in my example?


No. Same answer as the above answers and the answers in my last post.

Dear Reader, take note of how all of my opponents questions and comments are geared at finding fault with the legal system as it is

Why take note of this? Because its the defining characteristic of an illegalist to find out tiny flaws and gray areas in our legal system, find flaws in how the government runs things, in order to justify broader acts of crime.

I few years ago I met a major-league drug-runner. Unlike the movie-stereotype, he was actually a nice guy who truly believed himself to be a Samatarian. The only problem: He was completely delusional. He offered a few of the same arguments that are being dropped in this debate: "The establishment is a wicked and oppressive force. I want to liberate people from it. The police will crack down on derelicts, homosexuals, and more...but they cant help who they are!". He also thought that his drugs free the mind and was oblivious to the pain and addiction caused on the street. "As long as you dont get caught, its fine" was his motto. Sound familiar?

Although my opponent hasnt mentioned it, I would like to tackle the idea of "its only illegal if you get caught" from an additional angle to drive home how destructive this belief can be to society.

The concept implies that if a crime is unknown then its not harmful. Thinking a bit deeper however, it should become apparent that unknown crime is even more harmful than known crime. Acts that are harmful to you and me are bad enough. But if we don’t even know the perpetrator of those acts and are not aware of when and where his attacks come from, that’s even worse. I think most readers would therefore agree that the exact opposite of this saying is true: An opponent who attacks you from the front is much better than one who sneaks up from behind. The philosophy that illegalists are advertising opens up a can of foul worms and maggots sneaking around the lower ebbs of society, hidden and undetected, causing harm to us and the open and honest society we’ve come to appreciate.

Defining codes of law and legality has its origins in most ancient history. It has always been recognized as necessary to establish social order and the general happiness and progress that accompanies that order:

Crime


The Sumerian was deeply conscious of his personal rights and resented any encroachment on them, whether by his King, his superior, or his equal. No wonder that the Sumerians were the first to compile laws and law codes.


From an anarchic-illegalist standpoint laws impose “restrictions of freedoms and human rights” on ist populace. This attitude, when thought-out to the end, does not carry any logic. Why? Because being protected from acts such as murder, vandalism and theft is an human RIGHT we have claimed and offers us greater freedoms than “the freedom to kill”. The attitude of “anything goes” is simply barbaric and would take us back to an age of savages and beasts who have no awareness of personal space, decorum, respect and love of one another.

Do we in the U.S. sometimes go overboard in regulating society by imposing laws that are too strict? Yes. Should we therefore disrespect those laws? No.

We should:

* Protest them

* Become an activist for improvement

* Write and Broadcast about their unfairness

* Make use of other laws and legal values to combat the less attractive laws

* or leave the state/country

By no means should we sport the attitude "Its only illegal if you get caught". As I have shown, this attitude is not only without respect and responsibility but even dangerously destructive to humankind.



posted on Oct, 17 2008 @ 09:32 PM
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I am taking my 24-hr. extension.



posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 10:13 AM
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I will be taking my 24 hour extension too. This means I will post 48 hours after maria_stardust posts her next post.



posted on Oct, 19 2008 @ 01:25 AM
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My opponent fails to see the entire point of this debate. No one is arguing that criminal activities should be legalized. I’m certainly not. He seems to feel if he throws the words “illegalism” and “anarchy” around enough, they will stick.

The point of this thread is, and always has been, this: The acknowledgement that there is indeed truth to the statement ”It’s only illegal if you get caught.”

Quite frankly, it all comes down to a matter of perspective. The perspective of the authority figure or law enforcement officer who decides if a crime has been committed in the first place. It is this person who interprets the law and makes the determination if a violation has occurred. And because it comes down to an individual’s point-of-view, the perspective can vary from one individual to the next.

It is in this sense that ”It’s only illegal if you get caught” comes into play.

Hazy Shades of Gray

Straight from my opponent’s fingertips:


… you are correct that there are gray areas which are under heated public debate and scrutiny…



… the most ambivalent and heart-wrenching of gray areas



… tiny flaws and gray areas in our legal system, …flaws in how the government runs things…


In a perfect world, there would be no ambiguity concerning judicial law. But, as my opponent has pointed out numerous times, it isn’t. The fact of the matter is our judicial system is not a dichotomy that is strictly black and white. It is riddled with shades of gray. It is these shades of gray that open up the law to interpretation, and therefore individual perspective. Which is why some people are charged with a crime, and others aren’t.

This is precisely why there is truth to the statement, ”It’s only illegal if you get caught.”

Legality: A Frame of Mind – Part III

The case I have been making all along is that legality is, in essence, a frame of mind. Especially, regarding those gray areas of law shadowed by ambiguity. After all, it is the perspective of the law enforcement officer or authority figure who decides whether or not a person is to be charged with a crime.

In order to better understand how we, as citizens, preceive and react to our judicial system , it is also imperative that we understand the philosophical and moral concepts behind it. As such, I am reintroducing this passage from Kant demonstrating our relationship with this system.


… what is singular about motivation by duty is that it consists of bare respect for lawfulness… Thus, if we do something because it is our ‘civic’ duty, or our duty ‘as a boy scout’ or ‘a good American’, our motivation is respect for the code that makes it our duty.

Source 1: Kant’s Moral Philosophy

In other words, we respect the law because it is our moral obligation to do so. That is until aspects of the law run counter to our personal core prinicples, in which case we are presented with a moral dilemma.


For another, our motive in conforming our actions to civic and other laws is never unconditional respect… Indeed, we respect these laws to the degree, but only to the degree, that they do not violate values, laws or principles we hold more dear.

[1]

I have repeatedly pointed this out, as it bears witness to the fact there are times we may find ourselves at odds with those pesky “shades of gray” that are ever present within our judicial system.

Religious Issues

Separation of Church and State. There has been a steady movement to introduce to religion into the public school system via:


  • School Prayer
  • Student Bible Study Groups
  • Bible as Literature Classes
  • Creationism and Intelligent Design
  • Abstinence-Only Sex Education Classes


Each and every single one of these cited examples have repeatedly and vigorously been battled in our courtrooms for years with decidely mixed results. This is a direct result of the ambiguity present in our judicial system regarding the separation of Church and State. Once again, it is one of those “gray areas” that my opponent has fondly referenced time and time again.


A public school teacher preached his Christian beliefs despite complaints by other teachers and administrators and used a device to burn the image of a cross on students' arms, according to a report by independent investigators.

Mount Vernon Middle School teacher John Freshwater also taught creationism in his science class and was insubordinate in failing to remove a Bible and other religious materials from his classroom, the report said.

Source 2: Ohio teacher burned cross on kids' arms

This teacher promoted his religious beliefs for years despite numerous objections. It wasn’t until the cross-burning incident that a lawsuit was filed against the teacher and the school district. This is a case of: ”It’s only illegal if you get caught.”

Faith and Medical Treatments. The court system has generally interpreted the concept of freedom of religion very broadly allowing individuals to choose prayer in lieu of medical treatment. There have been numerous instances where parents and guardians have denied their children proper medical treatment on religious grounds, sometimes with deadly results.

Recently, a set of parents in Oregon were indicted on homicide charges for failing to get their teenage son proper medical treatment for a treatable condition, opting instead for prayer and faith healing.


The Beagleys belong to the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon City. It favors spiritual healing and prayer over medical treatment.

Their 16-year-old son, Neil, died in June from complications of a urinary-tract blockage that triggered heart failure. Doctors said a simple procedure could have saved his life.

Source 3: Faith Healers Plead Not Guilty in Son’s Death

Since the law is purposely ambiguous regarding religious freedom, it has opened the door for these unfortunate events of death resulting from faith healing. It is only until things go horribly awry, that such charges are brought forth. Again, ”It’s only illegal if you get caught.”

Despite my opponent’s assertion that ”It’s only illegal if you get caught” is a ruse by anarchists to justify criminal behavior, it is painfully obvious that his notion is simply not that cut and dry. Anytime ambiguity allows for open interpretation of the law, there will always be cases of ”It’s only illegal if you get caught.”

Socratic Questions

Question 1: Do you concede that there are indeed ambiguous areas of gray inherent throughout our judicial system?

Question 2: Do you concede that ambiguity within our judicial system can lead to open interpretation of the law?

Question 3: Do you concede that open interpretation of the law can result in a variety of individual perspectives of the law?

Question 4: Do you concede that there are indeed instances of “it’s only illegal if you get caught” regarding the separation of Church and State as outlined in my examples?

Question 5: Do you concede that there are indeed instances of “it’s only illegal if you get caught” regarding faith healing as outlined in my example?



posted on Oct, 20 2008 @ 04:18 AM
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1-on-1-debate

What follows is a one-on-one debate with my opponents remarks in quotation and my responses to each.


Originally posted by maria_stardust
My opponent fails to see the entire point of this debate. No one is arguing that criminal activities should be legalized. I’m certainly not. He seems to feel if he throws the words “illegalism” and “anarchy” around enough, they will stick.


Ive already acknowledged that there are people who believe "its only illegal if you get caught". It would be nonsensical not to acknowledge that. I have also shown that the people promoting this idea are known as illegalists.

I have also used logic to show that the idea is neither universally valid nor workable. Nor is the concept accepted as valid by anyone but criminals, anarchists and anti-establishment or anti-government groups.



The point of this thread is, and always has been, this: The acknowledgement that there is indeed truth to the statement ”It’s only illegal if you get caught.”


The point of this debate is to test the validity and workability of this attitude and examine its origins.

Socratic Question 1: If it is indeed true as you claim, what consequences do you think we should take out of it? (In which way do you believe our legal system need be changed to accomodate to this "truth"?)



Quite frankly, it all comes down to a matter of perspective. The perspective of the authority figure or law enforcement officer who decides if a crime has been committed in the first place. It is this person who interprets the law and makes the determination if a violation has occurred. And because it comes down to an individual’s point-of-view, the perspective can vary from one individual to the next.


Uhm...in real life law is not "a matter of perspective". If I commit a crime I am subject to face real consequences (such as jail) irregardless of my perspective. When Im having the very real experience of standing behind bars, it doesnt matter if my "perspective" is that Im innocent.




Hazy Shades of Gray

In a perfect world, there would be no ambiguity concerning judicial law.


Wrong. Absolutely wrong. The only world in which there is no ambiguity concerning the law is the super-totalitarian, full-control, mega-regulated dictatorship. Exceptions confirm the rule. The small areas of leeway allow for self-correction, protest, discussion, improvement.



This is precisely why there is truth to the statement, ”It’s only illegal if you get caught.”


I have not quoted the numerous times you have repeated the debate title slogan. I am assuming its a tactic to drive your point home without having to underline it with facts.

Socratic Question 2: Can you show me the legally binding paragraph that states an act to be lawful if it remains undiscovered?




The case I have been making all along is that legality is, in essence, a frame of mind. After all, it is the perspective of the law enforcement officer or authority figure who decides whether or not a person is to be charged with a crime.


And I think I have conclusively shown that this line of thinking is at the heart of a career of crime. Legality is not a frame of mind. It is a set of definitions the majority of people have agreed upon, in order to make life with each other less barbarian and more safe, clear and honest.




In other words, we respect the law because it is our moral obligation to do so. That is until aspects of the law run counter to our personal core prinicples, in which case we are presented with a moral dilemma.


Socratic Question 3: Can you name one single ocassion in your life in which you acted illegally because you were in a moral dilemma?




Separation of Church and State. There has been a steady movement to introduce to religion into the public school system via:


A public school teacher preached his Christian beliefs despite complaints by other teachers and administrators and used a device to burn the image of a cross on students' arms, according to a report by independent investigators.

Mount Vernon Middle School teacher John Freshwater also taught creationism in his science class and was insubordinate in failing to remove a Bible and other religious materials from his classroom, the report said.

Source 2: Ohio teacher burned cross on kids' arms

This teacher promoted his religious beliefs for years despite numerous objections. It wasn’t until the cross-burning incident that a lawsuit was filed against the teacher and the school district. This is a case of: ”It’s only illegal if you get caught.”



Again, wrong. Burning a cross into a students arm was already illegal before the teacher got caught. There is no ambiguity about this in U.S. Law. Exercising force against other people and impeding their freedoms, is against the law and has always been frowned upon in any civilized society.





Since the law is purposely ambiguous regarding religious freedom, it has opened the door for these unfortunate events of death resulting from faith healing. It is only until things go horribly awry, that such charges are brought forth. Again, ”It’s only illegal if you get caught.”



Groups of people disagreeing with the law has always been an issue and will always be. If there were no disagreements within the broad consensus we´d be an unquestioning, docile hive-mind with no say and no word of protest in the process of defining laws that best reflect us as a whole. Laws regarding medical treatment vs. faith treatment (which would be another interesting debate topic altogether), differ from state to state and country to country, thus providing the christian family to move elsewhere.




Despite my opponent’s assertion that ”It’s only illegal if you get caught” is a ruse by anarchists to justify criminal behavior,


I did not say that this is a stance held only by anarchist-illegalists and criminals. But most often it is. And even more often it is a stance held by people who hold a great disdain toward regularly organized society.




Question 1: Do you concede that there are indeed ambiguous areas of gray inherent throughout our judicial system?


I dont have to "concede" to that because I was the one who brought it up in the first place.




Question 2: Do you concede that ambiguity within our judicial system can lead to open interpretation of the law?


I already said that it can, yes. And it does. In exceptional cases. In fact, I find these exceptions to the rule to be the most interesting.




Question 3: Do you concede that open interpretation of the law can result in a variety of individual perspectives of the law?


There are as many perspectives of the law as there are people. However, in most cases its pretty clear what murder is and that murder is undesirable and punishable.

I dont want to be too dismissive of alternative viewpoints and I do understand, for example, the belief that murder is "OK, because its the nature of things", but that is certainly not how the majority or our legal system sees it.




Question 4: Do you concede that there are indeed instances of “it’s only illegal if you get caught” regarding the separation of Church and State as outlined in my examples?


No. You have failed to show how burning a cross into a students arm can be legal. No matter what angle you look at it from...its insane, or as I said earlier, "spherically delusional".





Question 5: Do you concede that there are indeed instances of “it’s only illegal if you get caught” regarding faith healing as outlined in my example?



No. What is and is not illegal is outlined for every state in country in their civil codes of law. Im sorry but that is simply a matter of fact.



posted on Oct, 21 2008 @ 03:26 AM
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We have now arrived to the end of our debate. As I have stated from the very beginning, the issue of of ”It’s only illegal if you get caught” is a virtual Pandora’s box in that it is not a clear cut subject. As such, opinions can vary widely as to the validity of this claim.

I am of the opinion that there is indeed truth to the notion that of ”It’s only illegal if you get caught.”

I am not, and have not, made a case for the petty thieves and criminals who embrace this notion to justify their own criminal behavior. This is not about downloading songs freely through peer-to-peer networks, or pirating the latest blockbuster movie from the internet. Those are criminal acts that cannot be justified with any amount of spin.

What I have set out to do is view this issue from a multitude of angles. Throughout the course of this debate, we have discussed this topic in regards to philosophy, political, social and religious issues. Ultimately, what we discover is that the issue of of ”It’s only illegal if you get caught” revolves around individual perspective and interpretation of the law.

Legality: A Frame of Mind – Overview

As I have stated earlier, it all comes down to a matter of perspective. The perspective of the authority figure or law enforcement officer who interprets the law and makes the determination if a crime has occurred. (Not the perspective of the person being investigated.) Being human, it’s only natural that perspectives will vary from individual to individual. This in turn leads to some instances as being regarded a crime, and others not.

I had asked my opponent very pointed questions regarding the issues of ambiguity and perspective, and he has conceded the following:


  • There are indeed ambiguous areas of gray inherent throughout the judicial system.
  • That ambiguity within the judicial system can lead to the open interpretation of the law.
  • That open interpretation of the law can result in varied individual perspectives of the law.
  • That there are indeed “as many perspectives of the law as there are people.”


Although, he states:

When Im having the very real experience of standing behind bars, it doesnt matter if my "perspective" is that Im innocent.


It should be noted that issues of legality and illegality are decided by law enforcement or an authority figure. It is not the perspective of the person behind bars that matters. It is the perspective of the law enforcement officer making the judgment call that does.

It is in this sense that ”It’s only illegal if you get caught” comes into play.

Let’s take a moment to examine some of the issues I have introduced earlier.

Political Issues

The first example I brought up was that of protests and demonstrations. I provided an extremely realistic scenario in which innocent people are arrested in the heat of the moment.

To this scenario, my opponent responded:

There are laws in place that protect protesters from police brutality.because lines are occasionally overstepped and things go wrong and… because innocents sometimes wrongly spend an evening in jail…


This is important to note, because my opponent has inferred that law enforcement officers in these cases can sometimes make a wrong judgment call and proceed to arrest an innocent person. Law enforcement does not go around arresting people they deem to be acting legally.

In my second example, I put forth the scenario that the Patriot Act allows for law enforcement to search personal communications rendering an individual’s right to privacy moot. In other words, a person can be arrested for expressing their right to free speech at the government’s (or law enforcement’s) discretion.

My opponent’s response:

…you are correct that there are gray areas which are under heated public debate and scrutiny…


Gray areas that allow for open interpretation of the law that can vary from one authority figure to the next. Which proves my point, there are indeed instances of, it’s only illegal if you get caught, as not everyone who converses in private is arrested.

In my third example, I put forth the scenario of political prisoners incarcerated for their personal thoughts and ideology. These men are not arrested for any action they have taken, simply for the thoughts existing in their heads.

My opponent completely side-stepped the Socratic question posed to him in this instance, and did not give a direct answer.

As I have stated, there are people who share many of the same views as these political prisoners who are not incarcerated. It comes down to the judgment of the authority figure deciding whether a violation has occurred. Once again, in these instances, it’s only illegal if you get caught.

Social Issues

Under social issues, I brought forth the case of two adult men engaging in consensual sex within the privacy of their own home. They were arrested by a law enforcement officer who responded to a false report of a disturbance at the residence, entered the home, came upon the men and arrested them on charges of sodomy.

They were not arrested for illicit drug use, or domestic violence, or any other clear cut crime. They were arrested for nothing more than embracing their right to autonomy over their personal being in the privacy of their home. Chances are likely that if the law enforcement officer had come upon a heterosexual couple engaging in sexual acts in the privacy of their own home, as opposed to a homosexual couple, charges would not have been filed.

My opponent’s response:

My advice would be to move to California or not get caught.


In short, it came down to a judgment call of one particular individual to determine whether or not a crime had been committed.

When I introduced the cases of Good Samaritans feeding the homeless or aiding accident victims, and facing arrests for their actions, my opponent deemed these cases:


...the most ambivalent and heart-wrenching of gray areas such as the case of the Las Vegas Samaritans.


Gray, because the laws regarding these incidents are not black and white, and are left to the judgment call of law enforcement. Authority figures who may deem some instances as legal, and others as not. In others words, different officers can have different perspectives of the same instance and act accordingly.

Religious Issues

Under the Separation of Church and State, I mentioned several examples of a Christian movement intent on introducing religion into the public education system. The case I cited was a school teacher who taught Creationism to his science classes for several years, despite objections from his school colleagues and administrators. He was only stopped after a lawsuit was brought against him and the school district because he burned a cross sign on the arms of several students.

My opponent’s response:

Burning a cross into a students arm was already illegal before the teacher got caught.


Interesting he should note the obvious child abuse, but completely ignore the issue of Separation of Church and State.

The teacher’s actions regarding the teaching of Creationism prior to this incident was widely known, yet it was clearly tolerated by the local public school system and law enforcement despite objections. This is a direct result of the ambiguity present in our judicial system regarding the separation of Church and State. It was the gray area of the law that allowed this teacher to get away with forcing his religious views upon students without their parents direct consent. In short, law enforcement turned a blind eye on this teacher’s behavior regarding the separation of Church and State until the allegations of abuse arose.

In my final example, I put forth the example of faith healing in lieu of proper medical treatment. In this case, parents exercised their right to religious expression and extended that right regarding the medical treatment of their minor child. The parents were well within their legal rights to pursue faith healing and prayer regarding their child’s ill health. It wasn’t until the child died that their actions were then deemed illegal.

My opponent’s response is that laws vary from state to state.

Now, to address my opponent’s questions:

Socratic Question 1: If it is indeed true as you claim, what consequences do you think we should take out of it? (In which way do you believe our legal system need be changed to accomodate to this "truth"?)

I don’t think the legal system can be changed in this regards. Law enforcement officials and authority figures are mere mortals, and as such are open to such human failings as error, bias and in some cases, prejudice. It comes down to a matter of humans making judgment calls, which can widely vary depending on one’s perspective of a matter.

Socratic Question 2: Can you show me the legally binding paragraph that states an act to be lawful if it remains undiscovered?

Of course, not. But then again, that is dependent on the “act” and the clarity of the law that may or may not (after all, this is rather vague) pertain to it. Especially, if it involves those infamous shades of gray my opponent has freely alluded to so many times.

Socratic Question 3: Can you name one single ocassion in your life in which you acted illegally because you were in a moral dilemma?

I have been fortunate, thus far, not to have been placed in such a situation. However, that doesn't mean those situations do not exist.


The truth remains, that anytime ambiguity allows for open interpretation of the law by law enforcement or authority figures, there will always be cases of ”It’s only illegal if you get caught.”



posted on Oct, 21 2008 @ 06:55 AM
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What we as a society have defined as illegal, remains illegal whether you get caught or not

I have counted how many times maria_stardust as written "Its only illegal if you get caught" within this debate. She has repeated her slogan, mostly in bolded lettering an awesome 44 times!

Since Ive never seen this done during a debate to such an extent I asked myself "Why?". The answer may also be apparent to the readers: Goebbels, the Nazi-Minister of Propaganda once said: "If you repeat something often enough, it soon becomes the truth". Advertisers are well aware of this. But used within a formal debate, I can only assume it is being done because of the general weakness of my opponents argument.

Dont have any facts to back up your claim? No problem, simply repeat a slogan 44 times until it sinks in.


* In her last post, maria_stardust openly admitted that she cannot provide a factual and legally valid paragraph stating that undiscovered crimes are lawful.

* Neither do I think it is a phrase she would like to teach her children.

* Neither can she provide an example of having experienced this in her personal life.

* Neither does she admit that the slogan is predominantly used by illegalists.

* Neither has she addressed the main points I brought up, such as:

- Whether someone comitted a crime or not is not a "matter of perspective" as this person is subject to real-life consequences for his/her actions (for example going to jail)

- Gray Areas are the exception, not the rule

- There are laws in place which address the mistakes caused by the Law and even specifically address gray areas. In this sense, our legal system is as self-correcting as is possible by todays standards and our level of knowledge.

- Gray Areas dont justify illegal acts or exploitation but discussion, reform, improvement, protest. In other words, if there is a gray area you are confronted with, its better to get legal advice or join an activist group that is intent on changing an issue, rather than take justice into your own hands and risk being fined or jailed.

Rather than referring to facts, my opponent has based her argument soley on philosophy and moral relativism. It is correct that what is good or bad is a matter of perspective. It is incorrect that what is or is not illegal in any given country, is a matter of perspective.

I would have expected my opponent to quote passages from legal papers which address gray areas of legality. Such passages and sources do exist, but the debate is already over now.

My opponent says that it is the perspective of the law enforcement official that decides what is legal and illegal. This is another blatantly false and deceptive statement. An example:

Person X commits a crime.
In our lawbooks this crime is defined as illegal.
The law enforcement official does not decide whether the act is illegal or not, he decides what form of punishment to initiate (although even here, the form and duration of punishment is largely pre-defined by our codes of law.

Just where my opponent gets these type of ideas remains a mystery.

Next my opponent repeats the idea of officials making a wrong judgement call (as in the case of protesters being arrested for nothing). This has nothing to do with the debate topic but more to do with being falsley accused. In other words: The act was legal but got treated as illegal.

Next my opponent claims that I side-stepped answering the issue of political prisoners. I did not, but I will repeat my stance on this: Because of my own thoughts and views I would probably be a political prisoner myself in certain countries on this planet. However, when publishing material deemed illegal in that country, I do so knowing which consequences I face. I am responsible.

My opponents main point in her last post is gray areas of legality justifying the slogan "Its only illegal if you get caught". As Ive already shown, gray areas are necessary in a democratic society and ought to encourage continued discussion rather than the attitude "Its only illegal if you get caught". Hence, an issue such as the separation of church and state, or lack thereof, should continue to be a matter of discussion and democratic vote rather than fixed-forever.

"Its only illegal if you get caught" is not only socially, politically, economically and legally invalid from many different angles, but even dangerous if embraced as "truth", like my opponent does, or taken as a lifestyle.

It is the slogan of drug dealers, hackers, derelicts, cultists and others who have become antagonistic towards society. While I can appreciate that there is a lot to improve about society and the way the government goes about things, I strongly disagree that "Its only illegal if you are caught" is the right way to go about it.

In the United States we have three cases in regards to legality:

1. What is defined as legal
2. What is defined as illegal
3. What differs from state to state or is still under discussion.

The issues still under discussion are a very small percentage of our overall issues. If you are opposed to a certain issue of law, do one of the following:

a) Get legal advice
b) Move to a place which favours your view
c) Join the discussion/protest

Do not act upon the idea "Its only illegal if you get caught", because its nonsensical...as shown in this debate.

_______________________________

I thank maria_stardust for the lively exchange, MemoryShock for his choice of difficult and compelling topics, the Readers for taking the time, the Judges for taking even more time, and all the people over at the "Fight Club Pub" for being a great group of Fighters.



posted on Oct, 24 2008 @ 01:21 PM
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Again, I would like to congratulate both Fighters on a very impressive performance.

The Judges have spoken and Skyfloating will advance to the Finals.



Decision- Skyfloating is the winner.


This was a painful debate to judge.

Maria had a very difficult argument to support. Unfortunately, she struggled too long with examples of people committing crimes, participating in illegal activities, and not being arrested and charged for doing so.


Maria introduced a position that could have possibly saved her;

"Quite frankly, it all comes down to a matter of perspective. The perspective of the authority figure or law enforcement officer who decides if a crime has been committed in the first place. It is this person who interprets the law and makes the determination if a violation has occurred."

Unfortunately, her continual return to instances where people ARE breaking the law, and just not being caught, really undermined this aspect of her case. Even in closing, she muddied the two together in such a way that while I understood and could agree with the above line of reasoning, it was not clear to a reader or this judge that she was clear which was which. Her closing statement should have been her opening, and had she built that case the whole way, I would have awarded the win to her.

Skyfloating had, (by far) the stronger position in this debate. Although he did an adequate job of rebutting Maria's confusion over whether being an act is only illegal if one is caught, his own argument was disappointing. It was very unstructured,and muddy in many places. His win in this case is less the result of his own argument, or demonstrated skill in this debate, but rather on the inherent weakness of Maria's side of the debate.

It would be a much less painful decision had he come out clear and strong and really built a masterful case for legality being a matter of record and being caught being an entirely separate issue, rather than just pointing out the flaws in Maria's case.

In the end, though, Maria did not build the case she needed to win early enough and clearly enough in this debate. Skyfloating did meet the minimum requirements of rebutting her case, and so the decision is for Skyfloating.




maria_stardust vs Skyfloating (m_s v Sky)

A compelling and lively debate in which both fighters provided excellent rhetoric and logical thinking, but in which neither fighter was able to control the debate - and it was this which made it particularly difficult to score and find a winner.

m_s started in lively fashion and shaped the argument nicely with good definitions and good rhetoric.
m_s stuck to the points raised in the first post and kept the discussion to the 4 parts raised in opening:
# Philosophical issues
# Political issues
# Social issues
# Religious issues
The promises made in the first post were delivered as the debate was framed and progressed.
However, m_s was never able to put opponent on the back foot and take control of the debate despite some good cases cited and good use of rhetoric.
A solid performance.

Sky countered every argument well, but was unable to take control of the debate.
The use of rhetoric and logical argument was excellent, and Sky managed to counter all of m_s's points as well as scoring many hits on opponent.
Sky's knowledge of kant shone through and sky concentrated on actual legality and the difference between an act being illegal and legal regardless of whether someone gets caught.
The focus was on "getting away with it" and both fighters did an admirable job in framing their arguments.

I would have liked to see m_s focus on the issue of ethnicity in how a crime is perceived and also cases of rich people getting away with things that poor people don't which I think would have better framed the case made.

That aside however, I make Skyfloating the winner by a very narrow margin - sky was just a little more impressive in refuting opponents arguments and with logical assertions based around rhetoric.



posted on Oct, 24 2008 @ 01:32 PM
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I would like to extend Skyfloating a hearty and fond congratulations!



This is a well-fought debate! Good luck to you in the next round!



posted on Oct, 25 2008 @ 12:30 AM
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Thanks maria_stardust.

This was difficult for me too, because I was never quite sure what we are debating and you are an extremely tough fighter.





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