Challenge Match!! The Vagabond vs MemoryShock: "Don't Do The Crime If You Need My Money!"

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posted on Nov, 22 2008 @ 02:35 PM
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The topic for this debate is "If A Citizen That Depends on a Welfare Program is Convicted of a Serious Narcotics Crime, That Citizen Should Lose Their Welfare Benefits."

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

ATTN: The Debate has altered rules. Please READ carefully!

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 4 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 4 images and no more than 8 references can be included for each post. Each individual post may contain up to 20 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 5 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 debater 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.

In addition to the above changes, each fighters is wagering 3 points instead of 2!!!

[edit on 11/22/2008 by semperfortis]




posted on Nov, 23 2008 @ 09:20 AM
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Thanks for the great topic semperfortis, and Memoryshock, I wish you luck- it's a pleasure to be up against you again. Anyway, this is going to be very tight on the character limit, so without further ado...

The nature of the topic

I contend that "If A Citizen That Depends on a Welfare Program is Convicted of a Serious Narcotics Crime, That Citizen Should Lose Their Welfare Benefits."

Beacuse this is to be a government policy, it must be judged against two sets of criteria: the practical and the ethical. In essence, we must determine whether removing narco-criminals from welfare programs would make the real world a better or a worse place overall, and we must determine whether or not the government has the rightful authority to make this decision.


Outline of Arguments

My position is the correct conclusion to an exercise in deductive reasoning. It essentially consists of four premises.
I submit to you that
1. if the function of government is to minimize the harm that men do to one another by limiting the privileges given to them,
2. if welfare is a privilege rather than a right,
3. if serious narcotics crimes involve men doing harm to one another,
and 4. if taking welfare away from serious narcotics criminals will reduce serious narcotics crimes,
then it follows that to fulfill its function, government must take welfare away from serious narcotics criminals.

I will prove these premises with the testimony of the great philosophers, political leaders, and legal documents which shaped the evolution of our government and society from Classical Greece to The Great Society, and beyond, as well as with analysis of relevant historical events, and with original discoveries of principle and of fact which we shall arrive at through Socratic dialogue and thought experiments.

Premise 1: First of all, in my next post, I will prove that it is the function of government to minimize the harm that men to do one another.

This is a fairly simple exercise. People are driven by self interest. People form governments. Therefore governments are formed in the interests of the people. People's interests are defined by Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Government addresses some of these needs in only a minimal way, leaving them to be provided for mostly by other means, but addresses other needs in an almost exclusive way. Safety is the need which government provides in the most exclusive way. Therefore providing men with safety from one another is a principal function of government.

Among the expert testimony at my disposal on this subject are the writings of Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, and any number of America's founding fathers, Franklin and Jefferson perhaps in particular, and also decisions of the United States Supreme Court. I shall present as many of these as are both necessary and possible, leaving no room for doubt regarding context and interpretation.
This premise shall also be supported by examples of policy successes and failures of both a practical and an ethical nature. These will include programs carried out under the New Deal, gun control legislation, and positions on freedom of speech.

Premise 2: Concurrent with my proof of premise 1, I shall prove that access to welfare programs is a privilege, not a right.

Again the varying degrees of responsibility which the government assumes in providing for the needs enumerated in Maslow's hierarchy will be informative. The economic system is our mode of procuring many of the things which we need. The extent to which the government is required, optionally allowed, or forbidden to interfere with various aspects of the economy thus reveals which things the individual may have a right to receive via welfare programs, which things are granted via welfare programs only as a privilege, and which things may not be expected via welfare at all.
The United States Constitution and decisions of the Supreme Court shall figure prominently in my evidence on this subject. Other courts, statutes, and political writings illuminating intent may also be included. If necessary I may also draw upon modern and historical figures in the fields of economics and philosophy including Voltaire, Adam Smith, and Karl Marx.

Premise 3. In my third post, I will begin with a brief demonstration of the simple truth that serious narcotics crimes do involve citizens doing each other harm.

The narcotics trade, like any black market, saps resources from the economy.
It also generates violent conflict because it must organize itself without the aid of the government, and the government's counter-violent institutions such as a legislature and its laws, enforcement agencies governed by law, or civil courts. The absence of these institutions betrays the lack of a social contract and suggests rule by force, which makes violence an irrevocably necessary condition for the continued existence of a narcotics trade.
Also by virtue of being a black market, the narcotics trade gives its consumers no choice but to forfeit their legal right to be made aware of known product deficiencies, contaminations, and side effects, and to receive products that have been screened for such things. Thus consumers in this trade are poisoned not only by the narcotics they knowingly choose to take, but by cutting agents and contaminants which they did not knowingly choose to take.

A few examples from the news and a few statistics should suffice for this, although as necessary I can draw upon a detailed analysis of the drug economy which is related in economist Steven Levitt's book Freakonomics, among other sources.
It may or may not be necessary at that point to briefly determine what constitutes a serious narcotics crime, however I believe that my position could be proven correct even if the word serious were omitted and all narcotics crimes were considered, so this will not be allowed to consume a substantial portion of the debate.

I will also enumerate other damages caused by narcotics crime which are not directed at individual citizens but the public good in general. This includes the corrupting influence of organized crime on democratic government, the opportunity cost of fighting narcotics crime, and other concerns. In addition to demonstrating the harm caused by narcotics crime, this will reinforce the 2nd premise (that welfare is not a right) as relates uniquely to criminals. The rationale behind this is that narco-criminals willfully separate themselves from and work against society, thus alienating nullifying their share in the social contract and any rights that come with it (those rights other than natural rights). Again I will use philosophical and historical support, specifically Plato's Crito.

Premise 4. Also in my third post, I will explain how a policy of removing serious narcotics criminals from welfare programs can reduce the occurence of serious narcotics crimes.

This will not merely be an argument for deterence, although that argument has its place. I will demonstrate that this policy would also have a rehabilitory effect as well.

Clearly one who depends upon welfare programs, as stipulated by this topic, is not getting rich as a result of his career as a narco-criminal. The rewards of committing narcotics crimes then are very low for these individuals compared to the consequences of risking their livelihood to continue commiting such crimes. Deterence is therefore a valid argument.

The greater effect may however be that if one's addiction or other involvement with narcotics does cause one to forfeit welfare benefits, the necessity of replacing those benefits by maintaining gainful employment, which is difficult to maintain when handicapped by narcotics, creates a strong motive to rehabilitate. This is important, because therapy is far more effective when the patient embraces it. For some substances, rehabilitation is extremely rare at all, but almost unheard of for addicts who have not yet "hit the wall" and reached the point where they must choose between addiction and life.

I will support both of these arguments with compelling anecdotal and statistical evidence, gathered from multiple sources ranging from law enforcement to legislative inquiries to rehabilitation professionals and scientific researchers as well as from individuals who actually commit narcotics crimes.


Second half of the debate: Trial by Fire
Thus by my third post, I intend to have put forth all of the premises from which we must deduce that the government should remove narcotics criminals from welfare programs.

After that point, I shall add additional support to my premises as needed and make a complete defense of those premises and their logical conclusion against any arguments my opponent raises. Essentially, I will present a case that I believe to be air tight early on, and then I will leave it sitting out for my opponent to attack, with every confidence that my opponent will not be able to defeat it, because it has the advantage of being correct.


Socratic Questions
1. Does my conclusion logically follow my premises, if I can show them to be correct?
2. Why might my first premise be incorrect?
3-5. Same question for my second third and fourth premises.



posted on Nov, 23 2008 @ 10:39 PM
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I would like to welcome The Vagabond back to his forum. Undoubtedly, without his attention in years past, we may not have such a raucous group of formidable Fighters by which to stretch the boundaries of our minds on a daily basis. For that, I extend a most sincere Thank You to the guy who set the standard. As well, a big thank you to Semperfortis for the moderating of this debate and of course, the expression of gratitude towards the readers, for whom the debate forum is primarily designed to reach.


"If A Citizen That Depends on a Welfare Program is Convicted of a Serious Narcotics Crime, That Citizen Should Lose Their Welfare Benefits."

A citizen on welfare is a citizen whom has had his or her share of bumps on the road throughout their lifespan. This is a crucial point to look at during the course of this debate as I hold that many people are not given the proper comprehension of what life is. Many of us are educated only on a base level, being given only the basic tools to learn how to read, write and socialize. There is not much by the way of actually effecting a positive and collaborative interaction within each human. Many people come from families that were even more poorly educated. These are pretty harsh statements but they tend to be true. My opponent’s premises’ are ideological in nature and seem to be only tolerant of a “black and white” recognition of societal behavior.

But that isn’t a realistic reflection.

As much as I enjoy the works of our historical philosophers, I must say that the expression of an ‘ideal ideology’ as a construct by which to strive for is just that…an idea that we should all strive for. Unfortunately, we live in a world that is not perfect and as a result we must recognize all of the real world variables that influence the behavior of the almost 700 million people living within the United States.

Unhappiness is a prolific human condition that is experienced by many. This is easily recognized through the production of anti-depressants by Big Pharma and as well the success of the therapeutic community.

And perhaps unhappiness is what drives many to drugs, both prescription and illicit. Society is an imperfect amalgam of human interaction that is without a guarantee of happiness for all. Indeed, in our current American society, competition is a major focus point as evidenced by sports, the entertainment industry and of course the economy. For there to be a winner, there must be a loser.

Further, our educational system does not necessarily adequately teach alternatives to drugs in the case of unhappiness and unfulfilled dreams and goals. We are urged implicitly to make do and look to the future. In fact, the use of foreign substances to enhance our day to day experience is encouraged by pharmaceutical companies. Many people day in and day out view the commercials propagating prescription drugs to either enhance their sex life, lower their cholesterol or even just to be comfortable (“social anxiety disorder”).

How can we punish people who are inundated with contradictory messages? DARE to say No. Or, consult your doctor for more information on whether or not you qualify for the regimented altering of one’s physiological chemistry for a better lifestyle.

This debate is not about the capacity of an individual to conform to the standards of society as defined by our rule of law. Rather it is a look at our society and the inherent flaws of our propagated ideologies when confronted by reality. My opponent has stated that he will rely on the philosophical ruminations of our forefathers (both government and philosophical) for his support of his position. I hope that he continues to do so as the reality is that the perfect society quite possibly only exists in hypothetical form.

I’m not interested in the hypothetical for the course of this debate.

Society has proven that it is ill equipped to adequately prepare an individual for their respective lives.
What it has proven is that it will provide avenues for escape; the entertainment industry is where a large portion of the everyday attention of many Americans spends there focus. On TV and in the movies do we see people who are able to live happily; our celebrities even live the “fairy tale” life as they are allotted a much greater salary than the average citizen. We live vicariously through them and happiness is but an extension of our beliefs regarding their fictional and real life presentations.

How can we fault a human for seeking his or her own adventure in life when that is what they are lead to believe through popular propagation? Especially when they are ill advised and under educated.

Throughout this debate, I intend to explore the human animal and the reason for an inclination to the changing of one’s physiological experience through illicit and legal substances. Alcohol, though legal, qualifies in this context as it is an intentional effort to change one’s physiological experience for the purpose of enjoyment or escape.

I will also, throughout this debate, focus on society’s failure to adequately prepare an individual for a successful and gratifying social life.

The many arms of the corporate world undermine these very ideologies my opponent will be citing and that is where we must look if we are truly going to understand the animal that is drug abuse and ignorance. We live in a society that takes advantage of the ignorance of others, indeed, by selling the image of a perfect family life, the product (whatever it may be) is encouraging people to focus on the ‘ideal’ rather than encouraging people to make informed and productive choices as it specifically relates to their personal lives.

We will examine the human experience in our society on a real level, rather than focus on the ideological hypothetical my opponent has opted for. While valid to an extent, there is a huge discrepancy in theory and application. We shall negotiate the difference between reality and the hypothetical, as my opponent has stated his position.

By the end of this debate, I intend to demonstrate that there are reasons for the failure of society and government to prevent what may be called ‘social deviance’.

Socratic Questions



1. Does my conclusion logically follow my premises, if I can show them to be correct?


No.



2. Why might my first premise be incorrect?

Because there are other options available for the 'minimizing of harm to men' beyond merely taking priviliges.



3-5. Same question for my second third and fourth premises.


3
Welfare is a right. There are many people who are unable to work for valid reasons. It is there right to receive assisstance from the government.

4
Doing harm to others is not exclusive to serious narcotics crimes. Should we restrict welfare for all violent crimes and accidents?

5
There is no guarantee that serious narcotics crimes will decrease as a result of taking away benefits. The likely result would be an increase in crime as there will be a need for the acquiring of said narcotics.

I turn the floor over to my opponent…



[edit on 11/24/2008 by semperfortis]



posted on Nov, 24 2008 @ 07:33 PM
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I will be using my 24 hour extension for this post. Sorry for the delay.



posted on Nov, 25 2008 @ 07:56 PM
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I wish to begin with a brief address of the charge that my position is idealistic and has little bearing on reality.


This woman is being poisoned to death by meth. If she doesn't change, she will lay waste to herself and everyone who makes the mistake of getting close to her, including any children she might have, then she will die. I know because my mom is a recovering meth addict.

Yet by the time my opponent is finished making up rights that aren't in the constitution or the law, blaming schools, and arguing against just consequences as being "too black and white", he can somehow justify helping that woman buy more poison! That's not practical or realistic. It's quite idealistic and compassionate in intent, but out in the real world it kills that woman, and in the process it puts my tax dollars into a dealer's hands so that he can buy an AK-47.

On My Opponent's Argument
My opponent argues from a mixture of practicality and compassion, taking advantage of five primary arguments.

In compassion, my opponent argues:
1. That my premises do not necessitate my conclusion because they do not rule out methods of protecting citizens from each other other than the restriction of privileges.

This point will be refuted under the heading of my first premise in this post.

2. That welfare is a right, and thus cannot be restricted even if it is true that privileges can be restricted to prevent harm to others.

This will be dealt with later in this post, as in this post I will be establishing the premise that welfare is a privilege and may be restricted.

3. That the individuals committing these crimes are themselves victims of poor education etc.

I will deal with that now because it's too absurd to pass up. My opponent appears even to argue that this victim status confers on the individual a right to obtain illegal narcotics as a means of coping with a disadvantaged condition. In combination with the right to welfare, that would allow my opponent to characterize drug-seeking crime as a just method of securing rights that have been wrongly denied. The argument is essentially, "We can't give little Johnny an education, so let's do the next best thing: give him a bottle of ritalin and a bag of sticky to make the long days at the drive-thru window more bearable... of course he'll be so loaded that he'll probably get people's orders wrong and get fired, but Uncle Sam can hook him up with a fix once in a while then"

In my next post, I will demonstrate that narcotics crimes involve people hurting each other. That, in combination with the government's responsibility to prevent such harm, which I deal with in this post, effectively disproves the right to use drugs in general, and only by arguing that two wrongs make a right can my opponent use the disadvantages he speaks of argue that such a right actually does exist.

From practicality he argues further:
4. That my proposal is likely to backfire as it eliminates a non-harmful way of obtaining drug money.

This is the subject of my 4th premise and will be dealt with chiefly in my next post.

5. That the whole of my argument lacks a foundation in reality simply because philosophers can be quoted in support of it.

The content of the evidence I present throughout the debate will disprove this. My philosophical evidence will deal with the observation and analysis of events in the real world, the rules which were established to address observed problems, and the empirical results. It shall be clear that the empirical arguments align with my position, while the quaint but unrealistic and ethereal arguments will come from my opponent.

Premise 1: It is the function of government to minimize the harm that men do to one another by limiting the privileges given to them,

When I asked my opponent to find fault with my first premise, he said the following:

Because there are other options available for the 'minimizing of harm to men' beyond merely taking privileges.


My opponent therein concedes that it is a function of government to prevent citizens from doing harm to one another. He has instead challenged only the method by which the government may do so. Thus I can spare you a long journey into Hobbes' Leviathan and other works. As we have agreed the government exists to protect us from each other, the only aspect of this premise in question is that limiting privileges is the government's means of accomplishing the task.

There is no practical alternative to limiting privileges, thus my argument remains sound.

I contend that all possible acts are either rights, meaning that under normal circumstances nobody may justly stop you, or privileges, meaning you may in some or all cases be justly stopped. My opponent contends that rights and privileges cannot be removed; there are alternatives. Thus my opponent implies that no one can ever be forcibly stopped by way of consequence. So if I am characterizing my opponent's argument correctly, he must be proposing some kind of non-binding incentive. Indeed, incentive is precisely my opponent's suggestion.

My opponent argues that if we keep giving welfare to narco-criminals, they won't commit serious narcotics crimes.
However, right now there are drug offenders on welfare. Per section 115 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, only a felony directly involving sale or possession forfeits welfare. Drug-motivated felonies such as burglary don't count. Neither do misdemeanor drug offenses. States can even opt out of what little restriction there was. Yet even with all those narco-criminals on the dole, we have plenty of drug crime all the same. Courts have even accepted as factual studies presented to them indicating that drug abuse is more common among welfare recipients than in the general population.

Decision

Howard presented to the district court numerous studies supporting the FIA's contentions that controlled substance abuse negatively affects the ability of an individual to obtain and retain employment and to be a responsible and effective parent; that the incidence of controlled substance abuse is higher among recipients of welfare benefits than in the population as a whole; that substance abuse by parents contributes substantially to child abuse and neglect; and that controlled substance abuse is a significant barrier to economic self-sufficiency.


Not all serious narcotics crime is about buying drugs. In fact the SERIOUS ones rarely are. I'm not sure exactly how many radios a crackhead has to steal for it to be serious in my opponent's mind. However, I do know that while my opponent looks at the junkies, meanwhile dealers are murdering people for turf, "cooks" are using toxic and explosive chemicals in unsafe home labs surrounded by innocent families, and cartel members are kidnapping six year old boys to blackmail rivals. (Please note that this not only establishes that incentives don't work, but also establishes a legal precedent for the suspension of privileges as a means of combating narcotics crime).

Socratic Questions 1 & 2
1. Should people who kidnap six year old boys to gain leverage in drug feuds be walking free on our streets?
If not:
2. If the right to freedom can be restricted to prevent such crimes, then why must the offender retain the privilege of receiving an income without working?

Premise 2: Welfare is a privilege, not a right
This point will likely be argued at length. I will begin with the law and proceed to other sources as necessary in later posts, as space is limited.

PRWOA explicitly denies entitlement to welfare programs. This was cited by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in overturning an injunction against drug tests for welfare applicants in This Case


Rather, we think that the evidence suggests that the Michigan program imposes a condition on the plaintiffs' receiving the program benefits, and that there has been no showing that the condition is unreasonable. Our conclusion is premised on the language of 42 U.S.C. � 601(b), which explicitly negates any claim of entitlement to any state program funded under the PRWORA, and the reasoning of the Court in Wyman v. James, 400 U.S. 309 (1971), an action brought by a welfare recipient who claimed that requiring her to submit to home visits by caseworkers as a condition of receiving benefits constituted an unreasonable search and violated her Fourth Amendment rights. Id. at 314. The Court assumed that the home visit was a search and held that the search was reasonable, id. at 318. The Court considered the public interest in aiding the dependent children of recipients; the public interest in insuring that welfare benefits are spent on their proper objects; the nonintrusive, limited, means of the search; the civil and noncriminal nature of the objects of the information gained from the search; the impracticability of obtaining a warrant; and the consensual nature of the home visit, id. at 318-24, and concluded that the condition itself was reasonable, and the plaintiff was free to refuse to permit the visits but could not then complain about the benefits' being withheld.


The ruling in Wyman cited in the case above is clear. Welfare recipients do not have a right to welfare, and therefore conditions can be attached.



posted on Nov, 26 2008 @ 10:43 PM
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My opponent appears even to argue that this victim status confers on the individual a right to obtain illegal narcotics as a means of coping with a disadvantaged condition.


I get the impression that my opponent and I may be doing this dance quite often in this debate. In no way am I attempting to imply that the pursuit of illegal narcotics is a right; that would be absurd.

No, the fact of the matter is that there are many industries, legit and illicit, that are vying for the attention and dollars of everyone. Before I dive into some interesting aspects of the illegal drug world, let us take a look at some aspects of the legal drug world which support the propagation of the American population into feeling a need for legal drugs.



The problem is serious, with newer drugs causing twice as many drug injuries and deaths as older drugs approved for the same purpose.

This problem has been going on since 1992 when the FDA started taking money from Big Pharma so as to fast track the drug approval process – which is more akin to buying protection from the mob than to drug safety. [1]


The very people that are approving drugs for the health and safety of the population are making a mockery of the same populations’ safety concerns by paying off the FDA to streamline the approval process so that their product can make it into circulation, to be advertised as a miracle cure, no doubt. Obviously, there are ethical implications here, but we have known about this practice for years now. Why is it that people who have money are exempt from the standards that we project ad nauseam to the population? Some of these drugs have been known to increase the suicide rate in children and young adults(Prozac) while others have actually been reported an increase in adverse behavior (Ambien).

What is my point with the above?

To demonstrate that the drug industry as an entirety has problems, not only for the potential of antisocial and at times deviant behaviors that may and have been observed in usage, but during the approval process as practiced by the decidedly upper class and more educated portions of our society.

As well, there is a significant amount of attention that can be paid to the fact that our intelligence professionals are fueling the fire for domestic drug use by using the illicit drug trade for the payment of their own operations.



The CIA's operational directorate, in other words that's their covert operations, para-military, dirty tricks — call it whatever you want — has for at least 40 years that we can document paid for a significant amount of its work through the sales of heroin and coc aine. — Guerrilla News Network's Interview with Christopher Simpson[2]


The CIA is a part of our governmental expression as they are the ones gathering information for the advisement of our executive branch. Yet there is a significant amount of information available detailing CIA involvement in drug trafficking and the aiding of drug smugglers abroad. What kind of double standard is it that our professionals can aid drug smugglers with the knowledge that these drugs will end up on American soil? My opponent harps on my citing of an ill educated population regarding the drug trade and the effects that the ingesting of various drugs can have on not only the physiology of an individual but their subsequent life experience.



There are 47 million school age kids in America, currently over 27 million of them try drugs and alcohol each year.[3]


27 million. Where do all of these drugs come from and how, in the face of the failed ‘War on Drugs’ do so many still seek the ingesting of drugs?
The fact of the matter is that drugs have permeated our popular culture, from hip hop singers who indulge to the very real lack of alternative programs to dissuade from drug use.

My argument is based on this very prolific integration of the drug industry into American society. As such, my argument is based on the realization of just how integrated the drug culture is in America and the offering of alternative options to the cessation of drug use in America, as opposed to a static denying of help to individuals who have been convicted of serious narcotic crimes.

Which leads us to a point that my opponent and I have ignored until now.

What constitutes a ‘serious narcotics crime’?

My opponent has already eliminated drug related offenses…



Drug-motivated felonies such as burglary don't count.




SQ#1&2:
Should people who kidnap six year old boys to gain leverage in drug feuds be walking free on our streets?

If not:
2. If the right to freedom can be restricted to prevent such crimes, then why must the offender retain the privilege of receiving an income without working?


1: No.

2: The offender of such a crime should receive much more of a consequence than a restriction of income, indeed, such an offender should be placed in prison. If my opponent is stating that drug motivated felonies don’t count then why is the kidnapping of a child relevant for his position?

My opponent argues that the elimination of all privileges afforded serious drug criminals should be retracted. We already have a system like that in place.

We typically call it prison.

So what does a serious narcotics crime entail?

Is it smuggling of such in huge quantities? Is it possession of a certain amount? Is it the use of specific drugs? Is it the selling of drugs to another? Or is it the smuggling of drugs?

Indeed, this is where we reach a problem with how my opponent and I have chosen to look at this topic. Serious drug motivated crimes already carry with them hefty penalties on a person’s autonomy. But specific drug offenses are usually either attributed to the ‘major players’ whom smuggle for huge sums of money (not much need for welfare there), minor players whom make a moderate living distributing narcotics (again, not much a need for welfare, though welfare may supplement these incomes, moderately) and users, whom likely require welfare.

I will stay upon the serious narcotics crimes that negatively impact a citizen’s capacity to be a productive member of society, much as welfare is designed to aid in this endeavor.

And prior to getting to any actual discussion of what alternatives methods are, I would like to continue detailing the discrepancies in our society.



In the censored chapter the authors, three leading addiction researchers, compare the dangers of marijuana, as documented by science, against those of the legal drugs alcohol and nicotine and illegal opiates.
In dry, factual language they point out that where risks exist these are actually more serious for these two legal drugs.
They exposed the double standards that are being applied in the drug debate, and according to an insider quoted by New Scientist some WHO officials went nuts. Citation 3


There are legal substances that have a worse affect on an individual’s ability to function in society. So if this debate is centered, roughly on providing government aid for those who are willing to spend the money on productive ways to be a recognizable addition to society, then why are these two substances legal? They provide the same function as illegal drugs, yet are generally accepted in our society.

This debate necessarily hinges on the capacity of our societal standards to successfully invoke a citizen to pull their weight. Where does denying government aid fit into this premise? Where does the focus on the hot point topics of drugs exclude tobacco and alcohol?

This post has focused on the inherent “Everyone else is doing it so why can’t we” aspect of our society. Some find their escape in legal prescriptions, others find their escape in legal substances, others find their vice in illicit drugs (some like marijuana have little to no adverse physical effects) and then there are the straight shooters (who may even be a part of the first group).

What do all of these people have in common? That if society is designed to interact with everyone, through ethnic inequalities to economic inequalities, is not fail proof. There are people who fall through the cracks and there are some who are persuaded to fall through the cracks.
The truth of the matter, that my opponent will inflect with worst case scenarios (see his opening image last argument), is that there is a huge variance of mentalities that are left to their own devices.

The rescinding of government aid to individuals based on a serious narcotics crime (possession, intent to sell to like individuals and the use of) is not a relevant way to accomplish social equilibrium.

In designing society we have to conform it to the people, rather than frame them for the government.

SQ#1:
Why should Medicare not be retracted from individuals who ‘need’ their antidepressants if these antidepressants have shown to negatively influence the individual’s ability to function properly in society?

SQ#2:
How does the actions of some Americans (CIA) who are working for the American way of life affect the decision making capacity of high schoolers first being introduced to drugs?

SQ#3:
What other options are available to dissuade from drug crimes than the rescinding of welfare?

SQ#4:
Are all ‘drug criminals’ a drain to society?

SQ#5:
How would it be possible for the lower classes to function in a non violent way to their ‘lot in life’ without chemical manipulation of their physiologies, legal or illicit?



posted on Nov, 28 2008 @ 08:42 PM
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In order to clarify a few points before proceeding with the debate, and ensure that my opponent does not again change his mind about what exactly his position is, I will only respond to my opponents socratic questions and offer my own for this round, and will continue with my argument in the next post.


SQ#1:
Why should Medicare not be retracted from individuals who ‘need’ their antidepressants if these antidepressants have shown to negatively influence the individual’s ability to function properly in society?


Simple, deciding something is bad after the fact and imposing consequences is called an ex post facto law, and it's unconstitutional. Make the drug illegal, the patients have to go back to the next best option, and THEN those who continue to take it will be committing a crime and can be justly punished.



SQ#2:
How does the actions of some Americans (CIA) who are working for the American way of life affect the decision making capacity of high schoolers first being introduced to drugs?


Is this a question or an essay prompt? Among the several non-grammatical problems with this question are, number 1, the loaded assumption that the CIA is working for the American way of life when it conducts unscrupulous covert activities, number 2, the request for speculation about covert activities, and number 3, the request for speculation on indirect impacts of said covert activities.

As for the required direct answer, the best I can honestly do is to acknowledge as a matter of record that the CIA has engaged in drug trafficking, that this necessarily increases access to drugs and ability to experiment, and point out that it is still a crime when the CIA does it.


SQ#3:
What other options are available to dissuade from drug crimes than the rescinding of welfare?


There are an infinite number of possible consequences ranging from drawing and quartering to loss of right to work in safety-intensive fields, to fines.
However the imposition of other consequences would still not be a reason to leave the person on welfare. Someone who has defrauded a welfare program by hiding ill-gotten income, or who has unjustly imposed costs on the public by criminal activity should logically be forced to cease stealing from the public along with any other consequences. My opponent may want to send inmates a welfare check every week, but I trust the rest of us can see the logic in this.


SQ#4:
Are all ‘drug criminals’ a drain to society?

Yes, every single drug criminal is a drain on society. Every one of them contributes to the need for the public to spend millions on law enforcement, every one of them plays a role in an industry which creates prison inmates that society must pay for, every on of them plays a role in an industry which is killing people.


SQ#5:
How would it be possible for the lower classes to function in a non violent way to their ‘lot in life’ without chemical manipulation of their physiologies, legal or illicit?

Your question is clearly loaded. The direct answer is of course not. The reason the answer is so obvious is that people can't even function non-violently WITH chemical manipulation.With or without chemical manipulation, people are violent.

So the real question is do drugs have any bearing at all? Are they making matters better or worse?
Which leads me to my first question.

1. Do you claim that drugs (illegal and legal combined) prevent more violence than they cause?

2. Which is a better response to the double standard in the drug debate: to make harmful perscription drugs illegal or to start treating all drugs the same way we now treat perscription drugs?

3. Do you believe that people on welfare who are involved in drug crime are likely to use that money, in one way or another, on drugs?

4. Please clarify exactly where you draw the line between what is and what is not a serious narcotics crime?

I ask because you carefully left yourself wiggle room by using soft language such as "usually attributed" and semi-quoting the word 'major players' to denote the subjective description, and never actually defining the limits of where serious ends and not-so-serious begins.

But specific drug offenses are usually either attributed to the ‘major players’ whom smuggle for huge sums of money (not much need for welfare there), minor players whom make a moderate living distributing narcotics (again, not much a need for welfare, though welfare may supplement these incomes, moderately) and users, whom likely require welfare.


5. What should be the standard for determining which drugs are illegal and how their use should be prevented?

I yield the floor to my opponent, who I'm sure will not say anything he will later regret.



posted on Nov, 29 2008 @ 05:13 PM
link   
I will be using my 24 hour extension.



posted on Nov, 30 2008 @ 04:20 PM
link   


…the best I can honestly do is to acknowledge as a matter of record that the CIA has engaged in drug trafficking, that this necessarily increases access to drugs and ability to experiment…


So my opponent does recognize the double standard that some of our intelligence officials have been aiding and abetting the very people who provide and circulate street drugs. Seeing as how the debate topic is regarding an overall ‘symptom’ rather than the cause, should we not be more focused on the cause?

If the aim of welfare is to provide financial aid for those who need it, then it would be a more relevant effort to focus on the cause and origin of the drug introduction into our society, perhaps, like not aiding and abetting foreign drug lords so as to enable them to provide their product to the American public.

What we see instead is not only government complicity in the covert actions of a major intelligence community but an attempt to demonize and punish the public for what was made available to them through these actions. This is not the best strategy for motivating a public that sees inequality all over our society.

And since we as a society have been imposed upon in this fashion (subjected to trite and unexpanded opinions regarding drug use; i.e. drugs are bad don’t do them), we have conflicting views on what is good or bad for our bodies...and the views/opinions we usually encounter are either propagated by the government or Big Pharma.

The medicinal pot movement is a great example of this as we currently have 13 states that have “legalized” marijuana and likely we will see marijuana integrated into our society at some point in the future.



Since 1996, thirteen states have legalized medical marijuana use: AK, CA, CO, HI,
ME, MI, MT, NV, NM, OR, RI, VT, and WA.
[1]


Here we find the bridge between the prescription drug industry and the illegal drug industry.



4. Please clarify exactly where you draw the line between what is and what is not a serious narcotics crime?


The direct answer is “I can’t”. One hundred years ago, smoking ‘reefer’ was deemed a social menace (lovely propaganda piece by the name of “Reefer Madness” illustrates this rather well) and fifty years ago marijuana was a part of the yet another social movement. Today, we have legal shops set up with an amount of marijuana that would have qualified for felony possession even twenty years ago.

This is primarily my point with the many variables inherent within our society and how we view various drugs. Cocaine and amphetamines are still acceptable for use in military and medical institutions. It really depends on context and while actions committed under the influence of drugs likely stem from use, the actions themselves already carry with them penalties. So the accepted interpretation of “serious narcotics crime” is really something that has to be considered in the context of societal productivity.

To return to my point regarding the overlapping of the prescription drug industry and the illegal drug industry, the proof is there when considering how variant our perspectives and opinions of drugs are throughout society. As well, there have been studies conducted that demonstrate how insignificant our welfare system is in contributing to drug use.



Before the Michigan policy was halted, only 10% of recipients tested positive for illicit drugs. Only 3% tested positive for hard drugs, such as coc aine and amphetamines[3] – rates that are in line with the drug use rates of the general population.[4]

Seventy percent of all illicit drug users (and presumably a much higher percentage of alcohol users), ages 18-49, are employed full-time.[5][2] My Emphasis




The rationale for drug testing is based on myth, not fact. According to a federal study, "[t]he percentage of welfare recipients using, abusing, or dependent on alcohol or drugs [is] relatively small and consistent with the general US population and those not receiving welfare benefits."

Other studies indicate a somewhat greater rate of overall drug consumption among welfare recipients -- mainly use of marijuana - but indistinguishable rates of drug abuse, especially for drugs other than marijuana. [3] My Emphasis


Studies conducted on the prevalence of drug use have not substantiated a relevant problem in this regard amongst welfare recipients and the more ‘damning’ studies show mostly marijuana as the drug of preference.
Which leads me to think that the attempt to associate welfare recipients with drug use is a fallacious and merely an expression meant for the population so as to create more of a social dissidence or distraction between the ‘haves and have nots’.



Do you claim that drugs (illegal and legal combined) prevent more violence than they cause?


Yes. If the motivation for drug use is the satiation of a physical desire, then it stands to reason that the use of a drug would result in a calm and amiable demeanor. This, of course, does not accurately reflect the reality of every individual, and as my opponent has pointed out people are capable of violence almost regardless and despite, but overall I would say that if people are allowed and are regulated within reason then there is less violence – especially in a consumer reality where economic inequality is so blatantly obvious as to induce depression for those who aren’t even in the running. I will take another look at this in my next post.



2. Which is a better response to the double standard in the drug debate: to make harmful prescription drugs illegal or to start treating all drugs the same way we now treat prescription drugs?


A loaded question; legal drugs have been shown to induce a lack of motivation in citizens along with varying physical side effects while some illegal drugs have been shown to be compatible with a productive lifestyle. The best response would likely be a combination of both options to an extent that would require some study beyond the limits of this debate.



3. Do you believe that people on welfare who are involved in drug crime are likely to use that money, in one way or another, on drugs?


No. Rent, food and other sundries are required even in households where drugs are used.




5. What should be the standard for determining which drugs are illegal and how their use should be prevented?


My direct answer is “I don’t know”. While I can argue on the subject from a somewhat informed perspective, I have no idea how to go about a classification system, save for a re-examination of our current standard. [4]

The above link is from the FDA and is a relevant read; undoubtedly my opponent may want to go over it and provide some of his interpretations regarding the set criteria but I will direct the reader to a very important aspect of this list and a necessary reason for the reassessment and subsequent updating of referenced criteria; namely the fact that “Marihuana” is listed as a Schedule 1 drug…indicating that it not only has the potential for abuse but as well contains no medicinal properties. This contradicts the legal legislation of thirteen states who have determined for there to be medicinal qualities in marijuana.

SQ#1:
Will the revoking of welfare payments encourage or discourage a black market for illicit drugs?

SQ#2:
Do you think that the majority of people are informed well enough to make clear decisions regarding whether or not they should start using drugs (legal and illegal)?

SQ#3:
What other options for short term financial gain are available to citizens who hypothetically have had their welfare claims revoked?

SQ#4:
Is it society’s responsibility to continue to look after people whose welfare claims have been revoked?

SQ#5:
Regarding your fourth premise, how would removing serious narcotics criminals from welfare reduce the occurrence of serious narcotics crimes given the fact that a statistically insignificant amount of welfare recipients have been shown to use drugs, much less be affiliated with serious narcotics crimes (smuggling, distribution, etc.)?

 

My position is quite simple in that I am focusing on the larger entity that is society, rather than government. The policies of government are an interesting dichotomy, as they are ever evolving and cater to not only broad economic reform as dictated by times of war and the lobby industry but also by knee jerk reactions from a population that doesn’t necessarily comprehend the many factors involved in whatever social issue is being offered for their ‘analysis’ and consumption. The reality of the matter is that we as a society are continuously integrating new standards and that these new standards are the result of government and socially propagated myths having fallen to public scrutiny of the actual issue at hand. While my stance is more ‘liberal’, I have demonstrated that there is little economic correlation between welfare and the drug industry and efforts to dissuade drug use are best served to look in other directions.

There is no directly relevant reason to eliminate welfare assistance…ever. Indeed, it is the potential revocation of a person’s first step towards a healthy social re-integration. To deny assistance of any kind is an unproductive measure that would only reinforce social division, which historically has only resulted in violent social unrest and less than amicable deviance in behaviour.

It's really the difference between honey and vinegar.





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