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"When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty."-Thomas Jefferson

2 points
11 points
cowboy0108cowboy0108 (PRO)
Think about it, if the people fear the government, the people are most likely being oppressed. If the government fears the people, that means that the people have the power.
For example, in North Korea and China, the people fear the government. Their is tyranny. However, when the civil rights movement occured and their were marches on D.C., the government feared the people. Thus, black people got liberty.

Now, part of the rules say to relate to modern America. I will do that now.
The most recent ATTEMPT for the government to fear the people was the Occupied Wall Street Movement. This was still not effective. The government simply does not fear the people. In fact, the people seem to have a declining role in government. However, the people constantly fear the next bill that the government will pass that will hurt them or their family or friends.

This is just a synopsis of my points, I will go further in detail upon my opponents argument.
Return To Top | Posted:
2013-11-11 03:41:41
| Speak Round
h.w.e.a.th.w.e.a.t (CON)
I look forward to arguing this debate with you, and for this round I will also settle for a synopsis to avoid reaching the ever-present character limit.
Also I believe we need to specify what Jefferson means when he says “the people,” because clearly there is no one time where every single person feared the government. I will assume that he means the majority, however the minority cannot be overlooked.
Jefferson's quote makes it seem that fear of the people is the one and only thing that causes tyranny within a government, when this is not so. Tyranny can be caused by corruption within the government, unequal and unethical balance of power, feelings among the people, and many other reasons which I will gladly address if needed. The quote also implies that if people do not fear their government, tyranny does not exist, which is also not the case.
As for the second part of the quote, it has been shown throughout history that if a government fears the people, it works harder to control them, thus having the opposite effect of the claim in Jefferson's quote—limiting liberty.
Thus completes my synopsis.
Awaiting any questions, comments, explanations and retributions that you may present, Cowboy.
~He Wont Expect A Thing
Return To Top | Posted:
2013-11-11 09:54:11
| Speak Round
cowboy0108cowboy0108 (PRO)
I will begin by addressing the first point in the quote.
When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. Let me ask you something: Can liberty come from fear of the government? No. Fear of the government will prevent a person from disobeying the laws, yes; however, they obey the rules, not out of respect, but out of fear of punishment. Let me bring up the Whiskey Rebellion during Washington's president. Washington took thousands of soldiers to silence a rebellion that involved a hundred small farmers. This is the government imposing fear on the people to prevent rebellion. Now, someone may ask, "Why did they have the rebellion". The whiskey rebellion was because of the government was taxing the farmers ridiculous amounts and the rebellion was the only way for the people to make their views clear to the government. Looked an awful lot like the government did not want their opinions to show through.
Also, look at the Jeffersonian era(the early 1800s), participation in the government by the people increased and the economy boomed. Their was liberty. Did you see any rebellions? No. There were actually more rebellions during the era of powerful government than during an era of weak government. So, during the era where the people no longer feared the government, the economy was better, people being involved in the government increased, and the nation prospered overall.
Now, let us look at modern America.
The NSA scandals and the IRS scandals I believe are things that make the people fear the government. The government regulations are increasing the governments power over the people and the FDA and EPA often make the business owners scared of the outrageous programs that they have set up.

Now for the second part.
When the government fears the people, there is liberty. How would the government fearing the people bring tyranny? It wouldn't. How wouldn't the fear of the people bring liberty? It wouldn't. A government fearing the people means that the people have power over the governmnet. If the people want change, they can make the government, that represents them anyways, bring about that change.
Now, does this work in America? Absolutely not. The American government has become numb to the desires of the people. Like I said, the occupy Wall Street movement was an attempt to make the government fear the people but it got the people no where. People have constantly begged for new tax systems and abolition of the IRS, nothing happens. People have pointed out the NSA spying on AMERICANS, still nothing happens. If the government feared the people, if the people had any power over the government, something would change. It doesn't. In fact, the government has not feared the people since the civil rights movement of the 60s. This is a disgrace.
As of now, we are living in a state of tyranny. We the people fear the government more so than the government fear us. If we, as a population of "free" Americans want change, we must first understand this concept; otherwise, our problem will continue through our lives and the lives of our children!
Return To Top | Posted:
2013-11-14 03:46:05
| Speak Round
h.w.e.a.th.w.e.a.t (CON)
“This is the government imposing fear on the people to prevent rebellion”

The topic of the Whiskey Rebellion is an interesting one to bring up, seeing as the tax only effected a small minority and only seemed to anger a few farmers in Pennsylvania and hardly all of colonial America. Historians make the rebellion out to be a major event of which the results swept the nation but the truth is, the rebellion was a small scale one that only few knew about because of lack of communications methods. Washington's response was a little unnecessary, I can agree to that, but it was not a tyrannical response by any means. He was trying to establish the fact that the American government, as with many governments, was not one to mess with or take lightly. Question for you, Cowboy. Are you claiming that early forms of American government were tyrannical? I would like to hear your defense on that matter.

“Also, look at the Jeffersonian era...participation in the government by the people increased and the economy boomed. Their was liberty. Did you see any rebellions? No”

There may have been no major rebellions so to speak, but one could argue that the Second Great Awakening was a type of rebellion against the religious and cultural norms at the time. Also there was controversy over Jefferson's purchase of the Louisiana Territory, so much so that a group in New England “concluded that the only recourse for New England was to secede from the Union and form a separate 'Northern Confederacy'” (our history textbook p.203). So no, there were no real rebellions but the nation was full of sectionalism.

“There were actually more rebellions during the era of powerful government than during an era of weak government”

With regards to the Jeffersonian era I believe that you cannot legitimately claim this. The government was not a powerful one, and “...a central government that remained deliberately weak...with ambitious political leaders willing, if necessary, to circumvent normal channels in their search for power, the legitimacy of the federal government, and indeed the existence of the United States as a stable and united nation, remained to be fully established” (p.204).

“The NSA scandals and the IRS scandals I believe are things that make the people fear the government”

About the NSA scandals I must say this: governments spying on its citizens is not a new practice. The truth is that workers at the NSA do not spend hour after hour reading your personal text messages or emails, because they are spending their time trying to prevent terrorist attacks and keep its citizens safe. Also if you think about it, every single store and internet website can find out as much about us as the NSA can, because we willingly input our information. Even grocery stores can track every purchase made on club cards so that they can suggest products you may like due to what you buy. Amazon and eBay tend to make suggestions based on your previous searches, but you do not see people uprising against this. I do not see how the NSA practice is any different.

“The occupy Wall Street movement was an attempt to make the government fear the people but it got the people no where”

It may have had more people joined the movement. Those who participated only consisted of a fraction of a percent of the American population, a very small minority.

“A government fearing the people means that the people have power over the government”

This is not necessarily true, and I shall speak more of this later.

I shall set up my side in two parts, the first addressing the former part of the quote, and the second addressing the latter.

Fear is not what causes tyranny, or at least not all tyranny. Tyranny can be caused by anger, uncertainty, bias views, twisted facts, misinterpreted events. As shown throughout history, not all tyrannical governments are from the fear of the people.

I suppose it would be logical to first discuss Jefferson's time period, as that is the main premise of the quote, although I will not hesitate to refer to previous times throughout history.

Jefferson himself, as I am sure you know, was not one to believe in the goodness of a strong federal government. He lived during the time of America declaring its independence from the “tyrannical” rule of Britain, and therefore Jefferson's view of tyranny reflects the concepts of taxation without representation, unjust rule, and a series of acts passed. However I argue the fear that Americans had of the British. Perhaps in the era before the French and Indian War Americans feared the British ever so slightly, believing that they were invincible. However the rise of the French and Indian War showed Americans that the all-powerful British were truly not invincible, as they watched thousands of British die along side of them, which dispatched any fear that Americans felt because of their false belief.

The feelings of the Americans toward the British were not ones of fear, but more of anger and injustice. They were being directly and indirectly taxed as a source of revenue for King George III without having their views heard through the British government. They suffered through a time when the British ended the period of salutary neglect Americans had so enjoyed before the British began keeping a watchful eye on them and reinforcing the Navigation Acts. The way I see it, no Americans truly feared what the British could or would do to them; instead the British push was more of a thorn in the side of their established society. I would like to hear your view as to why this series of British actions and American reactions sparked the emotion of fear.

Looking back in history, people have had varying opinions on proposed tyranny at different time periods. The French Revolution was a plot to oust the tyrannical king Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette because the First and Third Estates were starving. The people were desperate for change, and they even misquoted the queen, claiming that she said “Let them eat cake.” As a matter of fact it was not Louis the XVI who began the difficulty of society but rather a Louis two before him, Louis the XIV, or the “Sun King.” It was he who brought France into a terrible debt through his lavish spending, especially through the building of Versailles. The desperation of the people caused them to go to immeasurable lengths for change, thus proclaiming their government to be tyrannical. Desperation is not fear, though. Again I would like to hear your opinion regarding how the two are interchangeable.

Even farther back in history we reach the glory of the Roman empire. It is discussed whether the government in Rome was tyrannical or not, especially involving the case of Julius Caesar. In order to keep the population of Rome content, the Roman government would treat them to “bread and circuses,” which would provide food and entertainment. Let us say that for the sake of this argument we take the side that the Roman government was tyrannical. Yet even though it was, the people were still content. Does a lack of fear in the people make a tyrannical government not one?

For the latter part of the quote, the more the government fears the people, the more likely it is to attempt to control them. The government is typically made up of two sides of egotistical people who debate and refuse to compromise, and nowadays the combination of the two creates a government that fears nothing, especially not the people. Using your example of the Whiskey Rebellion, the government may have feared the few farmers who rebelled, but even the newly formed government worked to control the people even more after the rebellion subsided.

Seeing as I am reaching the end of my character limit, I must end my argument here, but will elaborate if necessary.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Have at it, Cowboy.

~He Wont Expect A Thing

Return To Top | Posted:
2013-11-15 15:15:45
| Speak Round
h.w.e.a.th.w.e.a.t (CON)
To readers of this debate,

Cowboy tells me he let time slip away from him so in order for him to fairly express his side, we shall post this debate and continue it at a later date.

~He Wont Expect A Thing
Vote con! =)
Return To Top | Posted:
2013-11-20 10:13:30
| Speak Round

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Sorry, that was my fault with a site bug. See http://www.edeb8.com/forum/EDEB8.com+Site/74 for details
Posted 2013-11-21 12:31:07
Heineken i believe you may have posted your judgement for the wrong debate...we are debating tyranny, not sterilization :)
Posted 2013-11-21 12:28:43
The judging period on this debate is over

Previous Judgments

2013-11-20 21:18:20
HeinekenJudge: Heineken
Win awarded to: h.w.e.a.t
h.w.e.a.t. offered an outstanding refutation of PROs Whiskey rebellion. She effectively reduced the claim of a tyrannical government to a standard police action against civil unrest.

The Jeffersonian claim by PRO was also thoroughly dismantled by establishing that a national schism doesn't require rebellion. This was presented through the Northern threat of secession.

The winning argument, for me, was the establishment of a flagrantly tyrannical government that was NOT feared by its people (Rome).
Since PRO forfeited his next round, this point carried the burden and was dropped.

While a forfeiture doesn't automatically lose the debate, it does drop any arguments made in the previous round. If these arguments carry the burden, you are faced with a defeat, regardless of the rules.
1 user rated this judgement as constructive
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2013-11-23 08:20:03
PinkieJudge: Pinkie    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: cowboy0108
2013-11-22 16:22:16
adminJudge: admin    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: cowboy0108
2013-11-22 22:52:24
CermankJudge: Cermank
Win awarded to: h.w.e.a.t
The resolution had to do with the concept of tyranny and liberty. Cowboy fails to address hweat's arguments, focussing instead on reiterating the resolution. Hweat sufficiently proved why, although sometimes true, the P implies Q statement was not sufficient, nor was it always true. I feel his point over how government fearing people could ALSO lead to tyranny was the strongest argument made, and decided the vote for me. Plus, cowboy forfeited, so there's that.

Hweat: I think you should try focussing on the resolution, rather than addressing every point your opponent makes. In the second round, although your rebuttals to cowboy over Jefferson and the wine war were interesting, but I felt they didn't reaffirm the resolution in your favour, rather was just an interesting side argument. It lost direction in the middle.

Cowboy: I felt you could have done a lot better, mainly by addressing hweat's points. But perhaps there was a time crunch. Id like seeing more of you extending yourself.
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2013-11-27 00:10:43
draftermanJudge: drafterman
Win awarded to: h.w.e.a.t
Con handled Pro's points, one-by-one, demonstrating how they do not result in the conclusions Pro originally arrived at. Con showed how tyranny can arise through other means and how government fear of people can actually lead to tyrannical responses.

This debate was a bit muddled, due to the handling of what is a symbolic statement. While such statements can and should be debated, the instigator should make and effort to more clearly define terms. As it is in this debate, "fear" and "tyranny" were open-ended leading Pro to make statements that look more like appeals to ignorance than actual arguments.

Rather than simply saying something like "How can that be?" and expecting the reader to conclude that it cannot be, you need to follow up the question with evidence or a proof to that effect.
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2013-12-03 07:04:58
nzlockieJudge: nzlockie    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: h.w.e.a.t
I agree with points made below. HWEAT scored with the "normalising" of Cowboy's examples of perceived Tyranny. I also feel that rules requiring this debate to be linked to modern day USA made things tricky, since I think most people would agree that this would have to be one of the softest forms of "Tyranny" in world history. Perhaps North Korea would have been a better example?

Cowboy you lost me forever with, "How wouldn't the fear of the people bring liberty? It wouldn't." - That sentence just does not read well.
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We will be debating the issue on how does this quote relate to modern day America. First round-give a synopsis of your view and the rest of the rounds are fair game.