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Round 2. Gryffen V BlackJackal: Robin Hood

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posted on Jun, 25 2004 @ 02:21 PM
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Debate 3

The topic for this debate is "It is moral to steal from the rich to give to the poor."

Gryffen will be arguing for this proposition and will open the debate.
BlackJackal will argue against this proposition.

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

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

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

Excluding both the opening and closing statements only one image or link may be included as part of the argument in each post. This does not include references, no more than 5 of which can be included at the bottom of each post. Opening and closing statements must not contain any images or links in the argument, and must have no more than 3 references.

As a guide responses should be made within 24 hours, If the debate is moving forward then I have a relaxed attitude to this. However, if people are consistently late with their replies, they will forfeit their replies and possibly the debate.

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

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

[edit on 25-6-2004 by Kano]




posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 08:03 PM
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Opening Statement

The topic of this debate is: It is moral to steal from the rich to give to the poor?

I would have to agree...it is.

Many people would argue that stealing is wrong, that it is illegal and morally offensive to those around you. But you have to think of the flip side, what of those who have no choice to steal for food and water to survive on a daily basis?

Many questions will probably pop up during this debate through BlackJackels and my self’s arguments, will show you that, no matter what situation yourself or anyone else finds themselves in, stealing to survive is justified.

During the three replies I must give I will look at situations where stealing is justified in different scenarios:

1: Third world countries such as Africa etc where u must steal to provide for family
2: The governments stealing of oil to cover their own loss of money
3: Peoples rights to claim back stolen land from ancestors, such as Native Americans etc

Throughout this debate I will hopefully give many answers to common questions and even relate to the known legend of Robin Hood as a prime example of why stealing can be morally justified but still considered wrong...a very tricky combination of questions. Many different sides will present themselves to us, emotional, physical, spiritual and even psychological in some cases.
We all have to agree that no matter the outcome or reasons for stealing, it is justified in the actions we take.

Hopefully over the next couple of days many moral lessons will be learned and more insite is given into what it is like to have to steal to survive and what morality does to you in that situation.
Many people dont understand the whole conseptm but i hope this gives them the insite they need to stop makin judgements on situations they know nothing about.

over to you BlackJackel



posted on Jun, 27 2004 @ 09:28 PM
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Once again I would like to thank everyone who has made this debate a reality. Gryffen have proved to be extremely talented so I am sure I am in for a treat and a challenge.

To answer the question of whether or not stealing from the rich is moral or immoral it is imperative to understand the meaning of morality. Morality is defined as “concern with the distinction between good and evil or right and wrong; right or good conduct.”[1] Thus in this case the question is whether or not it is right or wrong to steal from the rich if you are impoverished or your intentions are to assist the poor. I will demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt, theft is immoral regardless of the situation.

Courageous, valiant, noble, charming, adventurous, and romantic are often used to describe the legendary Robin Hood. Whether or not this Robin Hood is man or myth is often hard to decide however the legend will undoubtedly live forever. At the heart of this legend is one mans quest to Still from King of England and give back to the poor that were unfairly taxed. This celebrated figure has been personified in theater, cinema, and song for the lion's share of ten centuries. A corollary of this fable has been to grey the line between right and wrong on the subject of thievery. Disney has produced a very memorable animated movie based on Robin Hood that portrays Robin and his merry men robbing the wicked King John to give to the poor. But Robin did it for the poor so its justified right? Well let’s delay that question for the moment.

Let me ask everyone “is theft as a general practice acceptable”? Of Course no one reading this will reply “yes”. Theft is criminal in every country on the face of the globe as well as condemned by every major faith. In any culture is it tolerable for someone to seize something regardless of who owns it. Of course not, theft is dissolute.

Now let’s suppose for example, Canada signs into law legislation allowing law enforcement to confiscate anyone’s belongings whenever their judgment saw fit. Is there anything wrong with this law? Since this is now a law does it make the practice morally acceptable? I am willing to wager not many here will believe this decree refines thievery to the point of becoming morally acceptable.

Next let me propose this question, do individuals or companies have the right to what they own, in other words lawfully acquired goods (through labor, business, or endowment). Again the answer is yes and thus stealing violates this right making the practice wrong.

Finally let’s return to the case of the poor and theft. How wealthy someone is not relevant to our definition of why theft is immoral for example: When someone is prosecuted for shoplifting do the courts take into account the net worth of the party stolen from and the party committing the crime? Clearly not, Stealing violates a right despite whose right is in question, therefore it is immoral.

To validate the morality of theft in the case of deprived stealing from the wealthy is quite dubious. However, realization must be made that everyone is a rich man relative to someone else. Therefore, if this practice was moral then everyone would have license to rob everyone else.

Another blurred area the legendary Robin Hood created was theft in itself. As the story goes Robin stole from the King to give to the poor but in actuality Robin never stole anything. What he reclaimed from the King was actually the rightful property of the poor that the King stole via unfair taxation which the poor had no say in. Is it actually theft if you are reclaiming something that was stolen from you originally? Is it theft to recover a stolen car, wallet, furniture, or memorabilia? Obviously not, the possessions were legitimately yours in the beginning.

The last question we are left with is stealing to survive, is it justified? Human compassion blurs this issue. Everyone knows the images, impoverished potbellied children, homeless in the New England winters, and the dying without proper medical care. It is unfortunate any human should have to bear these horrors yet if they steal from someone have they not infringed someone’s right to property? The answer is yes, hence poverty cannot alter the morality of the central issue of theft, which I reiterate is immoral.

The ball is in your court Gryffen and I apologize for the delay.

[1]http://www.cogsci.princeton.edu/cgi-bin/webwn?stage=1&word=morality



posted on Jun, 28 2004 @ 05:09 PM
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To answer the question of whether or not stealing from the rich is moral or immoral, it is imperative to understand the meaning of morality. Morality is defined as “concern with the distinction between good and evil or right and wrong; right or good conduct.”
[1] Thus in this case the question is whether or not it is right or wrong to steal from the rich if you are impoverished or your intentions are to assist the poor. I will demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt, theft is immoral regardless of the situation.

The word immoral can be used in many way, no one person's morals are exactly the same as anyone else. Some people may find curse words immoral, others may not, some may find it immoral to have an abortion, others may not. Some may find it immoral to have more than one wife, but this is a way of life for some. Should they be told their immoral? Some may find it immoral to teach your children about God others may find it immoral not to. Some may find it immoral to have sexual relations out of wedlock, others may not feel the same way. Some find it immoral to smoke, drink and get high, for others it's fine. A better definition for moral is the ability of you to live up to the standards you judge others by. Those are your morals. The rules you keep for your self. There your morals, no one else’s. Most people agree in a very wide area of situations and laws are set to keep most people in this spectrum. The spectrum has grown since the days of Robin Hood when women could not wear anything remotely revealing which would have been considered Immoral in those days.

Now, watch MTV, or any TV station for that matter. Immoral? We've come along way since the puritan laws, are we all now immoral?

Now let’s suppose for example, Canada signs into law legislation allowing law enforcement to confiscate anyone’s belongings whenever they didn’t like it?. Is there anything wrong with this law? Since this is now a law, does it make the practice morally acceptable? I am willing to bet not many here will believe this decree refines thievery to the point of becoming morally acceptable.

These laws exist all over the world. When something is taken from someone against their wishes or without permission it's stealing at least to the person being taken from.
This applies to governments, courts, thieves, robbers whatever.....

If something is being taken from someone that they want to keep it, it is agreed as stealing. Many would agree the courts enforce unfair fines in parking tickets, speeding tickets, taxes, etc, and they would call it stealing. Others would say it's needed and it's not stealing. Some consider welfare stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Some people do deserve to be helped, no? Is it still considered immoral if a little is taken from those that have more than enough and given to those that don’t have any? Some would say no, but some would say it's your moral obligation to try to help those in need even if it consists of small theft. Would it be more immoral to turn your back on a starving person because you didn't want to steal an ear of corn from someone’s garden to get this person a meal. Would it be immoral if the only way you could save some ones life was to steal a car to get them to the hospital? You said in your opening statement that "I will demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt, theft is immoral regardless of the situation."

I say...it is moral in such situations.



posted on Jun, 29 2004 @ 11:27 AM
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To answer the question facing us in this debate no one persons set of morals can sufficiently provide clarity. The matter posed requires definitive evidence from all peoples, not just one or a few people. As my opponent agrees most agree on a broad spectrum of morals with theft being one most agree upon. Thus, this philosophical enigma cannot be answered by one individuals set of morals and must be judged by a majority rule system. Otherwise, individuals lacking any credible morals could be justified in rape, murder, or anarchy.

My opponent agrees that “when something is taken from someone against their wishes or without permission it’s stealing at least to the person being taken from.” So what makes it any different when the person stolen from is wealthier than the person taking the belonging? We will delay our retort to this proposition for a second and exam why stealing is wrong or immoral, whichever synonym you prefer.

In 1948 the UN proclaimed and adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in which Article 17 lays out the human right to own property.[1]

Article 17.

  • Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
  • No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.


Now this is a basic human right as declared by the United Nations a consensus of all the world’s governments. In the definition you will not find any reference to wealth or lack there of, the only descriptors used are “everyone” and “no one”. As outlined in Article 17 depriving any individual of his property is a violation of human rights thus making it immoral. Theft is quite clear cut it deprives an individual, organization, or country to the basic right to private property.

Countries that deny its citizens this basic right are not moral in their actions. Taxation without representation is theft, as with the case of Robin Hood. Today the internet is littered with sites proclaiming taxation is theft however, this assumption is a little off base. In a Dictatorship or a Communist country where people do not have a voice in the government yes, it is theft. Conversely, in a democratic society the people have a say in the government. Consequently, the people have the power to change the laws they disapprove of via voting in new representation or running for office themselves. Therefore taxation in a democratic society is not theft.

Now returning to our retort to why theft is also wrong when the victim is wealthy we must exam the causes of such actions. Human compassion is a wonderful human trait but it sometimes confuses the line between right and wrong. For example, many physicians discuss the case of a deformed child and determine the child’s life is devoid of value. The doctors recommendation was to terminate the child’s life because it would be the compassionate course of action. The compassion did not stop here it overflowed to mental patients, epileptics, encephalitics, amputees, deformed and retarded children. When the flow of compassion finally reached its end 275,000 such people were murdered.[2] This is how the holocaust began, not out of hate but out of compassion. Do you see how compassion can distort right and wrong?

www.holocaust-history.org..." target='_blank' class='tabOff'/>

This same compassion can haze the morality of stealing as well. If anyone is faced with the situation of stealing to survive or stealing to assist someone that is starving or dying then stealing may not seem so bad. However it is still stealing and it still violates someone’s basic human rights so it is still wrong. Also one begs the question if you are in a situation where you feel you must steal would you not either return or replace the stolen item when you are able?

In the end theft inevitably violates a human beings basic right, no matter who is committing the act. Compassion for your fellow man is a very powerful emotion that clouds the mind making sound judgment difficult. However I ask that you put yourself on the other side, imagine you are the one being stolen from. You have worked hard for your belongings yet people steal from you just because they have less than you. Are you being wronged or are these people who are stealing from you justified? Of course you are being wronged, thus theft in any situation is immoral.

[1] www.un.org...
[2] www.renewamerica.us...



posted on Jun, 29 2004 @ 07:14 PM
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My opponent agrees that “when something is taken from someone against their wishes or without permission it’s stealing at least to the person being taken from.” So what makes it any different when the person stolen from is wealthier than the person taking the belonging? We will delay our retort to this proposition for a second and exam why stealing is wrong or immoral, whichever synonym you prefer.

In 1948 the UN proclaimed and adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in which Article 17 lays out the human right to own property.[1]

Article 17.
Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.


As far as the UN goes, who do they really speak for? The rich? The leaders? Those that have the most wealth? Those with the most to loose.
Article 17 is very vague. Just because someone lays claim to something does not mean they own it.

A neighbour of mine was dying of caner…she was manipulated into handing her will to her family who cheated her out of her god given right to chose who got what, its not fair but they may have had there reasons to do so.


Now this is a basic human right as declared by the United Nations a consensus of all the world’s governments. In the definition you will not find any reference to wealth or lack there of, the only descriptors used are “everyone” and “no one”. As outlined in Article 17 depriving any individual of his property is a violation of human rights thus making it immoral. Theft is quite clear cut it deprives an individual, organization, or country to the basic right to private property.

Countries that deny its citizens this basic right are not moral in their actions. Taxation without representation is theft, as with the case of Robin Hood. Today the internet is littered with sites proclaiming taxation is theft however, this assumption is a little off base. In a Dictatorship or a Communist country where people do not have a voice in the government yes, it is theft. Conversely, in a democratic society the people have a say in the government. Consequently, the people have the power to change the laws they disapprove of via voting in new representation or running for office themselves. Therefore taxation in a democratic society is not theft.


Once again, to the individual being taxed higher than he wants to it's theft. Maybe the person has no problem being taxed for education, space travel, roads, etc.... but to give their money to people in the form of welfare may be considered stealing to them. How many people would pay there taxes towards helping others in bad circumstances?

[url]http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=27797[url]


Just because the democratic government decides something is ok does not make it so. The war on Iraq is a perfect example of this. The government is run how the leader wants it run.


This same compassion can haze the morality of stealing as well. If anyone is faced with the situation of stealing to survive or stealing to assist someone that is starving or dying then stealing may not seem so bad. However it is still stealing and it still violates someone’s basic human rights so it is still wrong.


Our most basic human right is to live, no one can take that away from us, but in some cases they must decide if one death is for the good of the many. I would give my life to save any of u, but that is my morality and what I believe in. How many would do the same?


In the end theft inevitably violates a human beings basic right, no matter who is committing the act. Compassion for your fellow man is a very powerful emotion that clouds the mind making sound judgment difficult. However I ask that you put yourself on the other side, imagine you are the one being stolen from. You have worked hard for your belongings yet people steal from you just because they have less than you. Are you being wronged or are these people who are stealing from you justified? Of course you are being wronged, thus theft in any situation is immoral.


Compassion is a ground for most morals. It can be a guide just like guilt, telling you that there is something you can do. I have put my self in the shoes of both many times in my life. I still stand by my conviction that. Sometimes stealing is justified, if there is no other way. It all depends on the circumstances.

I apologise about the quotes in the last reply…me and BB code


[edit on 29-6-2004 by Kano]



posted on Jun, 29 2004 @ 09:58 PM
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Declaring property rights as basic human rights is not only the domain of the United Nations. Hundreds of activist groups declare for protection of this right around the Globe. Such organizations include but are not limited to Defenders of Property Rights[1], Property Rights Research[2], Property Rights Congress of America[3], and Property Rights Foundation of America[4]. All of these organizations proclaim being grass root organizations that fight for the little man, a far cry from the rich of the world. Property rights mean a great deal to a great many and I have yet to locate any mention of an exception stating the poor can steal on any of these sites.

The United States Constitution lays out the basic right of its citizens to property in the 5th amendment:

5th amendment

….. nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.[5]

As you travel the globe you will find that the basic right to legitimately obtained property is quite universal. The Constitution of the United Kingdom describes property rights in Section 9:[6]

Section 9


  • Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
  • No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
  • Compensation is paid for any losses suffered through compulsory purchase or the deterioration of property as a result of activities by public authorities.


South Korea demonstrates this right as well in its constitution as well. The South Koreans can find their property rights in Article 23:[7]

Article 23

  • The right to property of all citizens is guaranteed. Its contents and limitations are determined by law.
  • The exercise of property rights shall conform to the public welfare
  • Expropriation, use, or restriction of private property from public necessity and compensation therefore are governed by law. However, in such a case, just compensation must be paid.


Feel free to cast your gaze across the world and you will find property rights are considered highly important to all the worlds’ people. Even the historically communist Chinese government is outlining property rights for its citizens.[8] As you fix your eyes on every corner of the world you will find it to be void of any exceptions to property rights that make theft moral in any case.

If a homeless man starving to death steals a hamburger from McDonalds isn’t he prosecuted just the same as a rich man committing the same act? It may sound sad that he would be prosecuted but again that’s our old friend compassion. If society makes exceptions based on compassion then we are damned to deteriorate into anarchy. Simply said theft is dissolute in any situation. Theft violates a human right that is dear to so many people across the globe that it is enshrined in thousands of constitutions.

In a democratic society citizens have another right that they can exercise, the right to vote. Voting does not care if you are a billionaire or penniless you still receive one vote. Your vote means the same as everyone else. If you are unhappy with Welfare vote for a candidate bent of removing it. If you want lower taxes find a candidate that will lower them. If you can’t find a candidate then run for office yourself because you can. So in a democratic society if you don’t like the way things are run you have the right to vote in someone different.

In the story of Robin Hood the people had no such ability they were forced to pay taxes in which they had no say. That is the way some countries still operate today, however would anyone reading this say that those countries actions are moral. Of Course not those governments are stealing from its people.

Theft has been immoral since the dawn of time. There has never been an exception to this rule only clouded judgment.


[1] www.yourpropertyrights.org...
[2] www.propertyrightsresearch.org...
[3] www.freedom.org...
[4] www.prfamerica.org...
[5] caselaw.lp.findlaw.com...

[edit on 30-6-2004 by Kano]



posted on Jun, 30 2004 @ 02:54 PM
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So would you say that someone’s basic human right to live and exist (which is the most basic human right of all) is outweighed by someone’s right to own property? Wouldn't "common morality" be to feed and help provide for those that NEED something? I believe it immoral to sit and watch someone suffer that has not enough to get by while you have everything you need? Granted, it's your property, but morals would have you help the ones in need since life should be worth more than any property. It's even more moral to give them what they need and to make them pay it back or whatever than to deny them and watch them suffer when you could have done something. It would be selfish and greedy which are both just as immoral as theft. There is sometimes a reason for theft, there is no good reason for being selfish and greedy.

Again here is the 5th amendment:


"….. nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.[5]"


Notice at the beginning life is listed as the first basic human right, then liberty, then property. It was most likely worded this way for a reason. Life is more important than property. To simply turn you back on someone and carry an "it's not my problem" attitude is to deny that person of life if there is something you can do about it. If you have more than enough and there are those that have none, and NEED what you got, you can bet they will attempt to steal what you have in order to survive. Animals do it and so do humans when desperate. Morals are void when you have nothing and the survival instinct kicks in.

Human survival instinct is far superior to moral instinct. The chance to survive will cause people to act a certain way faster than morals will. A man of great wealth sometimes may find it justifiable to steal if he is caught in a situation that warrants stealing. Like feeding, clothing, or something as simple as firewood taken off someone’s property to keep warm thru the night. According to your logic it's wrong to take a few scraps of wood to ensure that you survive a cold night, because you can’t find the home of the owner of the property. Remember, it's immoral to take this without paying for it or asking permission first. Sometimes morals just don't matter, it's priorities that do. Even though it's stealing, a life is worth way more than a few scraps of wood, so stealing is there for justified and not immoral.

It's a double standard. The rich and powerful take something from the poor and call it "acquiring" and when the poor do it's considered stealing. Ever had something legally taken from you even though it was wrong? Ever been sued and lost only because your lawyer was cheap and the other person had more to spend on a better lawyer? It's not about what's right, it's about who has more and can afford more. Those people tend to be untouchable. That’s why in the face of theft the poor guy is more likely to go to jail for stealing because of his inability to effectively defend himself in court. A rich person will usually pay a fine and do some probation or maybe none at all while the poor guy goes to jail.

The police regularly seize people’s property they think are involved in crimes. They take your car in some places for excessive drunk driving violations. To some it would be stealing to others it may be justified to get this person off the road. Either way it's taking ones property against their will, the legality of it is always questionable as to if it's right or wrong.



"Theft has been immoral since the dawn of time. There has never been an exception to this rule only clouded judgment."


I say you are wrong here; Theft is sometimes the moral thing to do if it's the only way to provide something vital to ones survival. The need for whatever you may possess to ensure survival outweighs your right to own it.

To state that it is wrong to steal under any circumstance is covering a broad spectrum of possibilities. I say it's sometimes justified to "steal" (if you want to call it that) in order to survive. Especially if you are willing to do the time or punishment for the deed. What is more important life or property? Stealing in MOST cases is wrong but sometimes people have no choice.



posted on Jul, 1 2004 @ 05:06 PM
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[6] www.oefre.unibe.ch...
[7] www.oefre.unibe.ch...
[8] news.bbc.co.uk...

Theft in itself is immoral this my opponent has agreed upon. The argument has been made that in cases when property rights are weighed against the right to live, property rights just need to take a back seat. My opponent agrees “when something is taken from someone against their wishes or without permission it’s stealing at least to the person being taken from.” So when theft is committed regardless of the situation someone is wronged thus making the act immoral.

To begin it is imperative to understand that I do not argue the validity of a human’s right to live. However, in the very extreme situation in which a person being on the brink of death turned down by someone’s charity steals in order to survive it is still immoral. To begin with the owner of the property refuses to freely give help to his fellow man, committing immoral act number one. In turn, the other person steals from the other man, committing immoral act number two. Now since when do two wrongs make a right?

My opponent also agrees that “The chance to survive will cause people to act a certain way faster than morals will.” So just because someone’s survival instinct overthrows his or her morals does that mean everyone else should cast aside the same morals? Of course not, to do so would be to justify every injustice ever committed because the perpetrator could simply argue his morals allowed him to act in that manner. Simply put everyone could get away with murder, literally. Theft is immoral no matter the situation; there are no stipulations tied to the definition (non-consensual deprivation of another’s property).

If an armed Robber comes to your house and says to give him $100 dollars or he will kill you would you consider this act immoral? How about the same robber says to give him the money or he will kill you but this time he says that he plans to help an orphanage with the money, would you consider this act moral? Your life is threatened in both instances and money is taken from you without your consent. You are robbed both times does him giving the money to an orphanage validate the action he used to acquire the funds? No it does not it is plain and simple theft.

My opponent argues that sometimes people have no choice but to steal. I can see this happening in an extreme condition, but ask yourself would stealing once maintain a life? The answer is no, stealing once may prolong a life but in order to maintain it that person would have to steal repeatedly. In most peoples minds you justify theft because of compassion and the thought that it is a one time offence. However this is just not the case. Someone that is so destitute they must steal or starve to death would have to steal again and again to maintain their life. Are you willing to validate multiple thefts?

Bottom line is simply and absolute. To authenticate theft in any circumstances is to undermine society and allow anarchy to grow.



posted on Jul, 2 2004 @ 04:28 AM
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The topic of this debate is,” Is it moral to steal from the rich to give to the poor"?

My answer is, yes, there are SOME circumstances where theft would be morally justified. To say that it's NEVER appropriate is the most extreme answer possible. I'm sure many of us have found our selves in situations where we would find it justified to take something that belongs to someone else. It depends on the greater good.

To say it's NEVER moral to kill, which most people probably believe. Until put in the spot to defend their life or the life of a loved one. To do nothing when there is something that can be done is immoral which makes the action taken the "moral" or "right" thing to do. How many of us would sit by and watch someone we care about be murdered only because it would be Immoral to take the life of the attacker if there is no other way? Even the smallest person facing the greatest odds would most likely see morals in a completely different light.

Let's say that your neighbour is beating his little dog viscously on a regular basis, and after many attempts to take the legal route and report him, still, nothing is done. Now the only choices you have left are to either sit and watch this guy torture and possibly kill this animal or you can simply "steal" the dog from him. Would the second wrong which would ensure the survival of this dog make a right? I think so. The dog was his property. To take his property even though he doesn't deserve it, would still be considered stealing. But I, and I'm sure many others would see the morality of saving the life of the animal cancel out the wrong for stealing. Because it's for the greater good.

How about the mugger that stole your money and car to give it to the kids in the orphanage, shoots your pregnant wife and the only way to save her from dying is to steal someone’s car to get her to the hospital. Would it be immoral to tell your wife" sorry dear, It's immoral to steal a car, even if it is to save yours and the babies life"?

Are you going to tell your wife that two wrongs do not make a right? Wouldn't the immorality of not doing what it took to save these people make it all the more "right" to steal the car?

Bottom line is, JUST ABOUT every time theft is done, it's immoral. That’s not hard to argue. But, there is a time for everything, including stealing. It all depends on the circumstances. For one to argue otherwise would mean that there is defiantly NEVER a reason for that person to steal, even if it means their life is at stake. Otherwise that would make them a hypocrite. Certain circumstances morally justify "stealing".



posted on Jul, 2 2004 @ 06:39 PM
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The immorality of stealing is quite universal as has been proven throughout this debate. However, the inquiry posed was whether stealing is warranted when poor steal from the rich. As I have shown the decadence of thievery is universal and without stipulations.

The truth is that in certain situations even the most moral people will commit heinous acts. Does the situation lessen the immorality of the act to anyone except the one committing the act? No, it doesn’t the act is still every bit as immoral to everyone else. Suppose while on a picnic a man steals your food. Would you justify what the man has done? Suppose he was starving would that change your opinion? It shouldn’t depravation of property rights occurred in each instance, which constitutes theft which in itself is immoral regardless of the wealth of the parties involved.

People across the world have enshrined the immorality of theft through property rights outlined in declarations, constitutions, and charters. The recognition of this right is so universal that it is not an amplification to say it constitutes an essential human instinct. There is not one single instance in which society has made an exception to the morality of theft. Quite plainly, Society can not stand for exceptions to the morality of theft. To do so would be to undercut the justice system and allow anarchy to take control. Bottom line, civilization must maintain a greater morality and not be blinded by compassion.

Compassion warps right and wrong ensnaring human consciousness along the way. This compassion leads to varied “what if” situations, however the dissolution of the act remains. Compassion can never alter the wickedness of the act. Nazi Germany murdered in the name of compassion. What if someone told you that your daughter, son, mother, father, or sibling’s life was devoid of value and the merciful thing to do would be to kill them. My daughter is epileptic and would have been killed in Nazi Germany, however her life is far from devoid of value. Yet compassion can make the act seem moral when in reality the act is always immoral.

The morality of civilization need not rest on the dubious morals of various individuals or faiths; however certain principles must be upheld. Lying, cheating on your wife, or incest may violate the morals of individuals, faiths, and in some instances laws, nonetheless they are not obligatory for civilization. On the other hand, murder, rape, and theft if permitted, threaten the very foundation of humanity. Unless these absolute morals are upheld humanity is no better than the animal kingdom.

In the end, stealing infringes someone’s indispensable human right regardless of the riches one may possess. Furthermore, if you warrant theft from the rich you are also justify the robbery of yourself. Everyone is rich relative to someone else.

In a nutshell, Wealth plays no role in the ethics of theft.



posted on Jul, 6 2004 @ 11:03 AM
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Good stuff, I'll unfold the judges and set them to work. Results in a day or so.



posted on Jul, 7 2004 @ 11:03 PM
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The winner of this debate is BlackJackal, who defeats Gryffen by a margin of 6-2. Congratulations to BlackJackal and thankyou to Gryffen.

Judges comments:

In the end this debate was about the question: do two wrongs make a right? This is a very difficult question to answer and both sides offered some good arguments. I find it strange though that Gryffen said he/she would give three examples in the following posts, which I didn't see.

Gryffen admitted that stealing is immoral in most cases, but that there were cases where it was permitted. That's already saying BlackJackal is right in most cases.

BlackJackal made a good point for his side of the argument, with well-researched posts with a good (and I think thought out from beginning) structure. Even when I add the fact that Gryffen had the more difficult side of the argument to the equation, I still think BlackJackal won this debate.


Suprise verdict? Not really. Morality being the frame of this particular debate, it's no great stretch to make the case that the equally morally act of providing for the less fortunate is also valid.
The pro argument set & answered that 'proof' question.


While BlackJackal provided a number of solid rebuttal's, along with some solid source information, Gryffen provided excellent counter responses. This debate is another fine example of one that is difficult to determine a winner, and for this, I congratulate both participants. My vote went to Gryffen for providing a more direct response to the debate topic.


BlackJackal won this debate in my opinion. posting the articles from different governments on property ownership around the world really sealed the deal.


Gryffen did well but drew the harder position and didn't quite overcome it.


I think this debate was actually very difficult to judge, as both BlackJackal and Gryffen argued their respective corners very well. A credit to both of them!

However, the nature of debate – or, at least this competition – is to arrive at a “winner”. I believe in this case BlackJackal just got home and I think he narrowly won. Well done to Gryffen, however, for making a very good job of giving counter arguments!

Both used some emotive arguments in defence of their respective positions, although I felt Gryffen used rather too many, and it was this where I think BlackJackal had the edge, as his case didn’t revolve quite as much around somewhat hypothetical and emotive scenarios. Whilst I agree that the situations described by Gryffen were reasonable, I still thought the “moral” question – that "It is moral to steal from the rich to give to the poor." – wasn’t clearly enough defined nor argued for. I associated more with BlackJackal’s assertion that “…If society makes exceptions based on compassion then we are damned to deteriorate into anarchy….”

So, by a narrow margin, BlackJackal wins this one for me but please applaud Gryffen for her tremendous debating skills and prowess!!


An interesting debate! Also, a close call. BlackJackal's close, and the directness of his argument presented swayed me in deciding toward his favor.


Good luck BlackJackal for round 3.



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