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If law enforcement were not given discretion, how do you propose that order and public safety is maintained?
Do you believe that radical groups whose only interest is disorder exist?
How do you propose that violent protest is curbed if not by giving law enforcement discretion?
Do you believe that the actions of the few affect the rights of the many?
Do you believe that there are aspects of political protests which taint activists and paint them in a bad light?
By what method do you arrive at the conclusion that there are no groups whose only interest is violence?
Why do you ignore the other law enforcement agencies that the police rely on for intelligence regarding particular groups or individuals?
Do you think a neutral group who oversee police decisions and can overturn them is a good idea?
In determining a course of political action, is there a point at which violence becomes acceptable?
In forcing their will on the many by use of violence, are not those that would do this worse than any government?
The topic for this debate is “The Right to Political Protest Should Be At The Discretion Of Law Enforcement To Insure Public Safety.”
In making my case, I would like to raise the point that political protest is a challenge to the state, either by the individual or by a group.
And yet although we demand accountability from those in power, we do not deem it necessary to hold ourselves or groups within our society accountable to anything other than themselves.
Note the word “society”
A society means that we are all accountable for each others actions, including those who would perpetrate violence in the name of political activism.
Would we rest easier at night knowing that al Qaeda’s surrogates could protest against our way of life on our own streets?
I say that law enforcement should have discretion over who is allowed into the political arena, in much the same way as Sinn Fein was not allowed into the political arena until they laid down their arms.
The violent uproar over the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohamed has become "a growing global crisis", the Prime Minister of Denmark said.
Thanks again to Maxmars, despite the increase in verbosity
Do you believe that sometimes people need protecting from themselves?
Do you believe that the law of the land is of paramount importance?
Do you believe that the protection and safety of the public and property is of paramount importance?
Do you believe that extreme and known violent groups have a place in the democratic process when it is to the detriment of public safety?
Given a choice, which rights would you rather see protected, those of violent troublemakers, or those of the law abiding populace?
It seems reasonable to me that this applies to VIOLENT protest and this is where I will focus in this part of the debate.
I would ask the readers this question: Who has the greater rights, the peaceful population, or those intent on violent disorder outside of the mainstream?
It is a situation comparable with the High Court and the European Court of Human Rights overturning government decisions in certain situations.
Protest and the right to protest is not something that should ever be taken away….
Let me take you back to 1990, and the poll tax riots.
Throughout the UK, peaceful protests had taken place, with no arrests and no damage to property.
Yet in London, after a series of confrontations designed to ensure a police reaction, a hard core of between 3,000 and 3,500 began rioting, burning and looting…..
And yet this protest eventually brought down the Prime Minister at the time - NOT through protest or riots, but through the ballot box.
In Luton, Islamic extremists targeted a parade of troops who had just come back from Afghanistan…..
I further submit that if law enforcement, including intelligence agencies had the wherewithal to deny certain groups the ability to cause strife, then we would see less of the knee jerk reactions of people everywhere regarding Islam.
What I propose would be discretionary powers, given to law enforcement and overseen by a neutral body with powers of veto over law enforcement decisions.
Socratic question 1: Shall we begin to restrain ‘known’ hooligans to their homes and places of work? Why allow the violent freedom to expose us to the eventuality of their dysfunction?
Socratic Question 2: Do you contend that protests represent a danger to society? What if the protest was about a perceived danger to society[ (ironic?)
Can you give specific examples of intelligence agencies and the police NOT working well together in countries other than the US?
Which intelligence agency was responsible for infiltrating the BNP, and then working with police to make them a toothless tiger?
Can you name the intelligence agencies which stopped so many deaths in Northern Ireland?
Do you believe that "security forces" do not work hand in hand together, in countries other than the US?
How does oversight amount to taking a decision out of the hands of law enforcement?
In the interest of public safety, should we not also ban any and all groups whose focus is violence, incitement of violence, incitement to hatred, incitement to racism, homophobia or any other of the ugliness we see in the modern world?
My opponent has tried to say that a neutral body would mean that law enforcement would not be using discretionary powers - I say this is nonsense.
There MUST be a right of appeal against any decision by ANY agency if it potentially denies the rights of a group or individual.
“The Right to Political Protest Should Be At The Discretion Of Law Enforcement To Insure Public Safety.”
On the surface this [is] a statement which seems designed to deny us our rights.
But ONLY on the surface.
First of all I would like to congratulate both budski and maxmars for an intelligent, well thought out debate. It was interesting, informative and enjoyable.
It is difficult to render a decision but I believe maxmars carried the day.
Budski failed to answer the first of maxmars questions. Although he made some compelling arguments and such as:
"Let us not forget that in some people's eyes, terrorism is a natural extension of the political process."
His argument that veto poser of law enforcement would be overseen by a neutral party was interesting but I believe he failed to show how such a neutral party could exist. Later on in the debate he appeared to agree with maxmars position that such a body might not protect the citizens' rights to assembly and speech.
Maxmars, even after taking some good natured teasing about his writing style continued to stay the course. At no point in the debate did he waver from his position. He also answered all the questions posed to him.
Maxmars made several different comments that I found very compelling.
1) "In my opinion, a person either has a right or doesn't. I think the notion of degrees of rights leads to the inevitable disenfranchisement of citizens."
2) "Theirs then becomes the poser of denial of access, at the cost of rights many fought and died for. Appealing such deficiencies after the fact means nothing;"
And the most compelling;
3) " At what point in our society should we willingly surrender the right of free assembly and speech?"
4) "Disallowing political protest is a sure way to provoke violent reaction."
I believe that the stronger argument was made against allowing law enforcement to decide who can and who can't protest. Once again thanks to both for providing such a though provoking debate.
I wanted to take a moment to say how amazed I was when I read this debate. Both of you showed professional debate quality in your posts, and I like seeing that!! It just goes to show that this forum is doing something right. Good job to the both of you!! Admirable work!
One issue that I'd like to touch on before we get started here: The debate topic was deliberately left vague I believe to allow for a wider variety of arguments. In this case, however, I see that it may have hindered more than it helped. You see, "Law Enforcement" in some areas is constituted by the use of Martial Law, while in other locations, rogue militant groups control huge portions of a country unopposed, because no one will stand up to them. I think that this debate could have been better defined using some more restrictive verbiage, like selecting certain places to discuss, or something of similar intent.
The main problem is that this world is not an Utopian place. Nothing we can come up with will be exactly as we see it in our heads, no matter how perfect it may be, as people are not all alike. We all have differing opinions, and as such, can't agree on everything. While that sounds like it's a weakness, it's actually our strongest quality as a species. It allows us to adapt to any circumstance.
Regardless, as you will both see, I judged each of your posts, and will give a point value of either -1, 0, or +1 to each. In this way, it helps to simplify the judgment process for me. Without further adieu:
Intro: Good intro. Pertinent Socratic Questions which help to establish your argument. (+1)
Reply 1: You made a great point when you stated that law enforcement wasn't just the police.
I would like to comment though on one thing that I saw here.. Your assumption that law enforcement's job is to protect our safety and property is fundamentally flawed on the grounds that they cannot be everywhere all at the same time, else there would be no crime. Besides, until the police arrive, I, as a citizen, am the law, no?
Regardless, great post!! (+1)
Reply 2: Good use of sources. They support your argument well. Again, great Socratic Questions! The only problem that I see here is that you didn't answer Maxmars' Socratic Questions from his previous post, which is mandatory per the rules that you agreed to upon coming into this debate. (-1)
Reply 3: As you have throughout this debate, you ask pertinent Socratic Questions, which serve to help your argument along. (+1)
Close: Great close and summation. (+1)
Total: 3 Points
Intro: Excellent intro! The part about police instigating violence during protests is well-documented and I am glad that you brought it up.
One thought for the future though: if you have any Socratic Questions that you feel will be useful in aiding your argument, ask them!! They are a handy tool to establish an argument! (+1)
Reply 1: The way you broke down the topic statement was very appropriate, and added more direction to your argument. Very well worded! (+1)
Reply 2: Again, you continue to direct the debate just the way you want it! you make good use of budski's statements to further your own position. (+1)
Reply 3: Not much to say here. More of the same great prose. A concern that I do have, however, is your lack of sources. Budski is using sources to his advantage here, and simply refuting them, while very effective here, doesn't always work. Just some advice... (0)
Close: A closure only you could write!! (+1)
Total Points: 4
Now that that's out of the way, I have a few parting words for each of you...
budski: Your argument supposes that those in charge will all be of a like mind; out to genuinely serve the greater good. In reality, this is never going to happen. As such, while your solution is novel and idealistic, that's all it can ever be until people evolve enough to get past the petty things that they currently fight over. GREAT WORK THOUGH!! Keep it up!
Maxmars: While your "verbosity" made several appearances throughout this debate, I think it fit in well with the side that you had. You laid out a great argument, and convinced me at least that you deserved the win. GREAT JOB!
To both of you: Keep improving guys!! You've both got talent like you wouldn't believe. I want to see a rematch sometime soon!!
Congrats to you both!!
Budski vs. Maxmars
An interesting contrast of styles. I enjoyed this read very much. There were several key points that this debate hinged upon. The role Law Enforcement Agencies play in our societies, what exactly is a political protest and not least of all, our rights as citizens.
Budski's opening firmly set where he was taking his position and he stuck to it throughout the debate. MM used his opening to be a bit more broader in it's scope. He brought some doubt to the perceived objectivity of the LE agencies in question. He also made good points about LE only enforcing the laws.
As the debate developed, MM asked the question about what good is the neutral body if the appeal is after the fact, which Budski didn't answer. I was hoping to see that, as that would have been a extremely strong point to his side. Busdki mentions this body several times but fails to explain how it would function properly.
Budski had some great points about the violence in his country and the banning of Sinn Fein from the political arena due to there affiliation/attachment to the IRA. This was, in my opinion, the strongest part of his case. This showed how the rights of a group could be infringed upon for the greater good. Max didn't have a good counter for this and basically conceded this point.
Also, MM contention that violence through protest is not really protest at all was very compelling.
Overall, I thought that Maxmars did the better job of defending his position through good case building,adept answering of Socratic questions and over all rebuttal.
Therefore, my decision goes to Maxmars.
Great job by both fighters. You both did a great job.