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That it should be criminal for a politician to lie

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nzlockienzlockie (PRO)
Welcome everybody to another exciting and thought-provoking e-debate: As always, I thank the judges for their time and I wish my opponent good luck!

So today's topic is an interesting one. In this debate we'll be using standard dictionary definitions for all of the words, and the resolution itself is pretty straightforward, but just so that we are all on the same page... 

I'll be taking the PRO position this time, so I'll be arguing that it should be a CRIMINAL OFFENCE for a POLITICIAN to LIE.
To make things clean here, I'll be approaching this as a Policy debate. 

In our proposed scenario, Men and Women holding government office at a national level, (POLITICIANS) can be Accused, Prosecuted and, if found guilty, Sentenced, (as for a CRIMINAL OFFENCE) if they Knowingly bear False Witness, (LIE) while in their capacity as an Official representative. 

To clarify some of the areas that might be a little grey here, this proposed amendment to the existing law will only apply to elected members of the Legislative Government of the country. It will only apply to them while they are operating in their official roles as Government officials. 
For example, if they lie to their doctor after work about exercising every day, then that's not a criminal offence. However if they tell the Public that they didn't make it to New Orleans after the Hurricane because they were signing Trade deals in New York, when ACTUALLY they were playing Mini-golf in Hawaii - THAT would now be a criminal offence. 

The False Witness could be verbal or written. The person accused of this crime would obviously still be entitled to their due day in court and the chance to defend themselves. The intent of the law is not to send people to jail needlessly, it is to give the people some kind of way to hold their elected representatives to account if they were to promise one thing and do another. 
Fortunately we already have many examples of laws like this - Perjury, Slander, Libel, False Advertising, etc etc. In fact in most countries, the kinds of lies we're talking about here are generally all punishable by some aspect of the law already, albeit, many of them would not result in a CRIMINAL conviction, if it went to court at all, it'd likely be a civil case. 

If my opponent would like further clarification on any of the issues in this policy, please feel free to ask me in round, but trusting that it seems pretty clear thus far, the rest of my time in this debate will be spent explaining WHY this kind of policy should be adopted. 

Essentially these men and women are employed by us. We give them money WE earn, (Taxes) and we employ them to redistribute that money for the collective betterment of us all. 
It would be very rare indeed to find any employer who would tolerate an employee lying to them about a job that they were specifically hired to do. 

I'm struggling to find a scenario where a Government official would be justified in lying to the people who employ them. I can't think of any. 
The only example I can think comes close would be matters of National Security. In those instances, this policy would not result in a conviction. Assuming a Judge could be convinced that Politician was justified, the case would be thrown out. 
We already make allowances for mitigating circumstances in criminal cases in virtually every law, ranging from boring old Health and Safety laws right through to Capital offences including Murder. 

I challenge my opponent to give three examples of scenarios where we should be fine with our employees lying to us, that don't fall under these mitigating circumstances. 

Consider the following ACTUAL lies told by Politicians that had huge impacts on National, if not Global society. 

1. Hitler lied when he said he wouldn't start a war if England just gave him the appeasements he wanted. Often referred to as the greatest lie in History. Plunged the world into World War II with Germany starting from a much stronger position than they would have otherwise had.

2. Gorbachev lied to Russian people when he said that Chernobyl was handled. This disastrous attempt at a cover up led to many thousands of people being affected by Radiation poisoning with hundreds dying, and many more being affected generations after the fact.

3. Nixon lied to the American press about knowing nothing about the break in at the Democratic HQ at Watergate. It was later revealed that he knew all about it. Although he paid the price after being found out, there's a good case that he would not have been elected at all had it not been for this cover up. 

4. Johnson lied about the progress the US forces were making in Vietnam. Had he been open about it with the people, he would have had no real alternative but to pull out of a war early that claimed the lives of thousands from both sides. In fact this was one of many times where an entire war was predicated on a lie. 

It's clear that power can go the heads of our leaders some times. There are many examples throughout history where the lies they tell us have had actual tangible effects on society. And these are only the ones we know about!

 I checked out half a dozen polls. They ranged in scope but they all boiled down tot he same thing - when two people have to work together or share some form of relationship, what is the most desirable quality they look for in the other? As this poll shows, in literally every single one I looked at, HONESTY was the number 1 quality. 

Clearly society desires, values and respects Honesty. That doesn't change if the person we're talking is in a position of power. 
Politicians have consistently carried the wooden spoon when it comes to "Most Trusted Professions" polls. Perhaps if it were a criminal offence to lie, we could bring a bit more accountability back to the role and change that statistic. 

Judges, this resolution is a very tough one for my opponent to win. If YOU are a human member of society, then statistically I don't need to convince you that Trust and Honesty are important traits. History teaches us that we need to hold our leaders to account and that this is hard to do when they lie to us. 
We already have many laws that govern and protect the truth. Extending this principle to all official communication from our Politicians will not cost us more money. It won't take more time. It won't alienate our allies or make us a less desirable trade partner to the greater world.

To win this debate my opponent must convince you that it is preferable to have a system where people in power, people WE EMPLOY, can say what they like with little to no accountability. 

It's going to hard to make that case with a straight face.       

Vote PRO - I am NOT a crook!


Return To Top | Posted:
2018-05-05 04:52:47
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