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