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Americans Ought to Feel National Pride (7.42k Characters)

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All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

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2

With 2 votes and 1 point ahead, the winner is ...

oromagi
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Resolution: Americans are justified in feeling national pride.

Definitions -

Americans: citizens of the United States of America

National Pride: a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction arising from the accomplishments, behavior, and condition of the USA in the past and present

BoP is shared. I must advance a case as to why we should not feel national pride, whereas my opponent must advance a case as to why we should feel national pride.

Round 1
Con
I intend to defend the following statement: Considering the balance of US accomplishments, actions, and conditions throughout our past and in present day, Americans are unjustified in feeling national pride.

America's Past Failures
Forced Displacement of Native Americans - The Library of Congress describes the forced displacement of Native Americans thus:
as the deadline for removal approached, thousands of federal soldiers and Georgia volunteers entered the territory and forcibly relocated the Cherokees. Americans hunted, imprisoned, raped, and murdered Native Americans. Cherokees surviving the onslaught were forced on a 1,000-mile march to the established Indian Territory with few provisions. Approximately 4,000 Cherokees died on this “Trail of Tears.”
History.com notes the US government authorized "over 1,500 wars, attacks and raids on Indians, the most of any country in the world against its indigenous people. By the close of the Indian Wars in the late 19th century, fewer than 238,000 indigenous people remained, a sharp decline from the estimated 5 million to 15 million living in North America when Columbus arrived in 1492."

Many feel the treatment of indegenous peoples in the United States rises to the level of genocide. Whether genocide is the correct term is probably for another debate. I hope we can all agree that the treatment of Native Americans is a stain on our country's history.

Slavery and Jim Crow
From the very beginning of our nation's history, we have been stained by the original sin of slavery. Beginning with slavery's sanction by the 3/5ths compromise and continuing until the Civil War nearly a century later, millions were enslaved on the basis of their skin color. Under a system that treated black people as property, abuse was widespread. Poor diet, unsanitary living conditions, hard labor, sexual exploitation, scattering of families via sales, and more were suffered by enslaved peoples.

In short, millions of people had their most basic human rights violated. This alone should cause anyone to think twice about saying they're proud of our nation's history.

Even after the legal abolition of slavery, black Americans remained second-class citizens. Jim Crow laws enforced segregation and denied black people access to the same opportunities as white people. Once again, this episode in our nation's history is no cause for pride. Millions were denied equality and dignity because of their skin color.

Imperialism
U.S. imperialism took a variety of forms in the early 20th century, ranging from colonies in Puerto Rico and the Philippines to protectorates in Cuba, Panama, and other countries in Latin America, and open door policies such as that in China.
In addition to the examples listed by Oxford, I would like to point out that the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) was a clear example of imperialism. We started a war with Mexico and annexed half its territory in order to fulfill our so-called Manifest Destiny desires. President James Polk instigated the war when Mexico refused to peaceably cede its territories to the United States. Invading a sovereign nation and stealing its territory by force is barbaric and selfish, and should be no cause for pride.

Sexism
Of course, we should not forget that, for the majority of this country's history, women have not been guaranteed the right to vote. Throughout our nation's history, women were denied basic property rights, economic rights, and constitutional protections that should have been afforded by the 14th amendment. Needless to say, it is a shame on the United States that half our population was denied dignity and equality on the basis of sex.

America's Present Failures
Disfunctional Political Culture
Our political climate is marked by hyperpartisanship and gridlock. American partisans hate their political opponents; Pew Research Center has found, for example, that "55% of Republicans say Democrats are “more immoral” when compared with other Americans; 47% of Democrats say the same about Republicans." This trend has actually worsened since the 2016 election, when "47% of Republicans and 35% of Democrats said members of the other party were less moral than other people." According to Pew, approximately 75% of Americans say that partisans “not only disagree over plans and policies, but also cannot agree on the basic facts.” Pew has also found the partisan gap over political values has more than doubled since the mid-90s.

The division in political attitudes has practical consequences. According to a study by the Brookings Institute, congressional gridlock has doubled since the 1950s. I expect this broad finding will reflect the intuition of many readers. In our daily lives, we see Congress failing to act responsibly on critical issues like impeachment, immigration reform, budget battles, the national debt, and more. Hyperpartisanship is at the heart of this disheartening gridlock.

America's #1 in... What?
#1 in health care costs (by a country mile)
#1 in infant mortality rate (among 11 advanced industrialized nations)

Present-Day Racism and Sexism
Our society is still stained by racism. Significant research has found that people of color receive tougher sentences than white people for similar crimes. For example, the ACLU notes that "race plays a significant role in the determination of which homicide cases result in death sentences."

There is also evidence of implicit bias in hiring processes. An MIT-Univ. of Chicago study found that resumes with white sounding names were 50% more likely to be favorably received than resumes with black sounding names.

Implicit gender bias is also rampant. For example, both boys and girls suffer from bias in the classroom.
teachers are more likely to interrupt girls, less likely to call girls to the front of the class to demonstrate, and less likely to direct their gaze toward girls while answering open-ended questions.
(I'll note that our students' test scores suggest our education system is mediocre and lags behind many other advanced industrial nations.)

Conclusion
I want to make clear what I am not saying. I am not saying you should hate the USA. My argument simply is that we have done too many bad things, and continue to fail in too many ways, to merit feeling national pride. I am confident that once this debate is over, voters will agree with the statement I'm defending: "Considering the balance of US accomplishments, actions, and conditions throughout our past and in present day, Americans are unjustified in feeling national pride."

The critical phrase there is "the balance." I am sure my opponent will highlight many of America's successes, both past and present. Generally speaking, I do not deny that America has quite a few positive achievements to its name. My argument can withstand these positive achievements, because in this debate, pride is defined as "deep pleasure or satisfaction." Once we have weighed the negatives I've highlighted and the positives my opponent will highlight, it will become clear that Americans cannot justifiably be proud of their country. Instead, one would be justified in taking a balanced, perhaps lukewarm view of the country. But, to put it simply, pride would be taking things too far.

Happy 4th, everyone!
Pro
thx, Jeff_Goldblum, for this holiday themed topic

KING GEORGE III:

What comes next?
You've been freed
Do you know how hard it is to lead?

You're on your own
Awesome, wow!
Do you have a clue what happens now?

Oceans rise
Empires fall
It's much harder when it's all your call

All alone, across the sea
When your people say they hate you
Don't come crawling back to me

     -"Hamilton"


RESOLUTION: AMERICANS are JUSTIFIED in FEELING NATIONAL PRIDE

CON proposes a balancing of crimes vs. achievements in a zero-sum game called patriotism as if there's some practical outcome to standing up the pain of racism against the pride of American spacecraft flying past Pluto and asking "which of these is greater?," As if there's some set of achievements that undoes or overcomes the sins of slavery or genocide, abuse and oppression. 

  • PRO rejects the premise that there's some set of good deeds that might out-accomplish the harms of genocide. 
  • PRO likewise rejects the notion that all national pride must prove unjust unless and until the harm of genocide is eclipsed by our beneficence.
    • That's a trap- the crime of genocide is a black hole of guilt that can't be escaped or outshone by brighter stars.
      • PRO will provide no liist of patriotic talking points to hold up against CON's horrors, but if no achievement scrubs clean the stain of genocide, then the only just outcome by CON's plan is perpetual shame.  CON offers no plan for redemption, no period of mourning from which America might emerge cleansed.  CON is satisfied to condemn and only condemn without considering the consequences of failing to forgive ourselves. 
          • In a nation defined as We the People, National pride is a pride in our fellow citizens, not a pride of place or history or skin color or sex.   Isn't it possible for a man to feel shame for his brother and pride in his brother at the same time?  Isn't this true of many types of human relationships?  Old loves?  Weird friends?  Sure we can.  Of course we can.  Consider then the notion of national pride as an expansion upon human brotherhood and our many other dual-natured, nuanced human relationships.  Our national pride is our love for one another, and We the People won't long endure without that love.
          • CON argues for an absence of any legitimate American pride, without offering any plan for correction or forgiveness or amendment.
            • What is the consequence of delegitimizing any sense of patriotism without any plan for the relief of that unjustified state? 
  • PRO argues we should call absence of pride by its proper name, shame; and yes,  we should feel shame for many past and present cruel injustices to some appropriate but non-debilitating extent and yes, we should seek the redemption of correction.  But its not as if we can only feel ashamed or only feel proud of our nation. Shame does not cancel pride or make pride unjust.  
    • It always was and always will be both emotions, such is the heartache of democracy.  In an unjust kingdom one can always blame the King but in a democracy, we can only blame ourselves.
    • If a relationship is always, only shameful and never proud then that's a bad relationship that should be severed but CON has not advised whether CON recommends succession. 
  • PRO urges CON not to forget that America is not only the displacer of Native Americans but also the Native Americans displaced.  America is not only the descendant of slavers but America is also, even more so the descendants of slaves. Must black Americans share in the illegitimacy of American pride?  Let's note that the aggrieved in PRO's cases are mostly also Americans.
    • CON is not really faulting America for the displacement of Native Americans, since Native Americans are also Americans and Native Americans are not at fault for their own displacement.  CON is really faulting mostly white men for the displacement of Native Americans.  Can't America be ashamed of white genocide but proud of Native endurance simultaenously?  Must even Native Americans suffer the lack of any justified patriotism or is CON ultimately just blaming the wrong group of humans?
    • Likewise, CON is not really faulting America for the enslavement of African-Americans, since Black people are Americans and African-Americans are not at fault for their own enslavement.  CON is really faulting mostly white men for the enslavement of African-Americans.  Can't America be ashamed of white genocide but nevertheless proud of Black resiliance?  Must blacks also suffer the lack of any just feelings of patriotism or is PRO ultimately just  blaming the wrong group of humans?
    • Same thing with imperialism: aren't we mostly just faulting white guys?
    • PRO is not really faulting America for sexism, since America is majority female.  PRO is really faulting mostly men for sexism against women.  Can't Americans be ashamed of our male chauvinism but also proud of our influential feminism at the same time?   Must women also suffer the lack of any justified feelings of patriotism or is PRO ultimately just blaming the wrong group of humans?
      • CON's argument fails as unfair generalization: not all Americans are guilty of all these accusations and some of the Americans CON addresses are entirely innocent of CON's accusations.  Why should these innocents be denied and sense of national pride?
  • Democracy is losing ground worldwide.  While America hunkers down hunkers down through Trump and other plagues, Hong Kong is losing her autonomy.  Today Beijing pulled pro-democracy books from the Hong Kong's libraries.  Russian democracy is a shadow, a memory.
    • "Data scientists and independent election observers have claimed statistical analysis suggests there was massive falsification of votes in a referendum this week that overwhelming approved constitutional changes to grant Russian President Vladimir Putin the right to extend his rule until 2036."
  • If PRO and CON can agree that democracy is a value worth preserving and increasing in the world (and as we are Americans we ought to so agree), then we should also agree that the oldest democracy in the world must stand proud on the ramparts of democracy and project some sense of "to preserve democracy, we will fight."  How do we do that if we can't take some pride in our nation and our accomplishments?
    • Consider the problem of George Washington.  As a nation we have to be able to take pride in our great general's victory at Yorktown, his embrace of popular election and his relinquishment of office.  These are famous and admirable acts that directly inform the very birth of modern democracy.  And yet the man owned humans who he whipped and raped and forced to work his crops.  PRO and CON agree that the dichotomy is irresolvable but where CON asks us to forego all pride therefore,  PRO argues that we cannot do so without then blinding ourselves to the gradual nature of democracy's growth: to the way enfranchisement is never  quite complete but in a democracy always expanding; the way a flawed union works to make ourselves more perfect.  We must hold the bad and the good together before us unblinking but to never take pride in our man Washington harms our democratic values and offers no advantage to any community.
PRO looks forward to CON's R2.








Round 2
Con
Appeal to Consequence
A recurring theme in my opponent's opening argument was an appeal to the consequence/implication of my argument. Examples:
What is the consequence of delegitimizing any sense of patriotism without any plan for the relief of that unjustified state? ....

to never take pride in our man Washington harms our democratic values and offers no advantage to any community....

...must stand proud on the ramparts of democracy and project some sense of "to preserve democracy, we will fight."  How do we do that if we can't take some pride in our nation and our accomplishments?
These statements have a fallacious air to them. Specifically, they remind me of the Appeal to Consequences Fallacy:
Concluding that an idea or proposition is true or false because the consequences of it being true or false are desirable or undesirable.  The fallacy lies in the fact that the desirability is not related to the truth value of the idea or proposition.
I understand that Oromagi isn't explicitly engaging in an Appeal to Consequences Fallacy, but by repeatedly raising the prospect that my argument might have unsavory implications, he is implying that we ought to reject it on the basis of those implications.

On a related note, I also object to this approach because this debate is about whether Americans are justified in feeling national pride, not whether it is desirable that Americans feel national pride. For this reason, it does not strike me as relevant when my opponent warns that without national pride, we won't be able to grow as a democracy. (If my opponent wants to argue that we should engage in a "noble lie" apropos patriotism, he's of course welcome to do that, but so far he hasn't.)

Crimes of White Men
CON is not really faulting America for the displacement of Native Americans, since Native Americans are also Americans and Native Americans are not at fault for their own displacement.  CON is really faulting mostly white men for the displacement of Native Americans.  Can't America be ashamed of white genocide but proud of Native endurance simultaenously?
My response to the question in bold is "yes," of course. As I noted in R1, I expected my opponent would point out the bright spots in our nation's history. Certainly, the resilience of those our nation has harmed qualifies as a bright spot. Recall the statement I'm defending: "Considering the balance of US accomplishments, actions, and conditions throughout our past and in present day, Americans are unjustified in feeling national pride."

Again, when considering whether we should be proud of the nation, we must consider the nation in its totality, otherwise we're not really talking about the nation, but rather a part of it. So, I don't reject my opponent's rhetorical question: "aren't we mostly just faulting white guys?" White guys are part of the nation and its history. Likewise, people of color and women are part of the nation and its history. So, when we consider the historical actions of all these people, we must consider the good alongside the bad.

This is why noting the resilience of Native Americans, for example, doesn't help my opponent. My argument can withstand this observation. When we consider the atrocities alongside the bright spots, we cannot reasonably conclude that Americans should feel pride ("deep pleasure or satisfaction") with the United States. It would be more reasonable to say that Americans are justified in feeling conflicted or ambivalent toward their country.

Rejecting the Balance
Calling the genocide of Native Americans "a black hole of guilt that can't be escaped," my opponent declared he would not try to list good things the country has done to outweigh the bad. Essentially, my opponent has rejected my balanced approach to assessing whether we ought to be proud of the United States. Unfortunately, I am unable to identify a clear justification for this rejection, nor do I see a clear replacement offered by my opponent.

The best I can do to identify my opponent's justification for this rejection of a balanced approach are comments to the effect that it is impossible to outweigh the US' crimes with its achievements.
  • PRO rejects the premise that there's some set of good deeds that might out-accomplish the harms of genocide. 
In my view, this does not constitute a valid justification for rejecting my approach. Just because Pro thinks nothing can scrub clean the stain of genocide doesn't mean my approach is wrong. As I noted from my source on the Appeal to Consequences Fallacy: "desirability is not related to the truth value of the idea or proposition." In what way does the inability to overcome the moral stain of genocide invalidate my approach? Pro does not asnwer this question, thus, his rejection of my approach is unsubstantiated, as of yet.

Putting aside the lack of justification, my opponent also offers no clear replacement. If we shouldn't assess the totality of the nation's actions, then how should we assess it? To my understanding, the closest Pro comes to providing this replacement standard is quoted below:
In a nation defined as We the People, National pride is a pride in our fellow citizens, not a pride of place or history or skin color or sex.   Isn't it possible for a man to feel shame for his brother and pride in his brother at the same time?  Isn't this true of many types of human relationships?  Old loves?  Weird friends?  Sure we can.  Of course we can.  Consider then the notion of national pride as an expansion upon human brotherhood and our many other dual-natured, nuanced human relationships.  Our national pride is our love for one another, and We the People won't long endure without that love.
With all due respect to Pro, this is more political rhetoric than analytical debate writing. For this reason, I am unclear as to the standard my opponent is advancing. If we shouldn't assess the totality, then how should we approach this issue? Until my opponent clarifies this, I do not think there is much of substance I can say.

Conclusion
In my sections on Appeal to Consequence and the Crimes of White Men, I defended my R1 argument against Pro's counters. In the case of the former, I argued that just because Pro sees unsavory implications arising from my claims doesn't make those claims wrong. In the latter, I pointed out that even if we accept the idea that we're "really just faulting white men," that doesn't make my approach wrong, either. To properly assess the country, we must consider the totality of its actions, both past and present.

In my final section, I confronted Pro's attempt to reject my balanced approach to assessing whether we should be proud of the United States. I argued that Pro failed to justify his rejection and did not provide a clear alternative. I look forward to receiving clarification from my opponent as the debate continues.

For the above reasons, I believe my case still stands. I have defended my R1 against Pro's rebuttals, and I have demonstrated why Pro's attempt to forward his own case has yet to succeed.
Pro
thx, JG

RESOLUTION: AMERICANS are JUSTIFIED in FEELING NATIONAL PRIDE

APPEAL to CONSEQUENCE

I understand that Oromagi isn't explicitly engaging in an Appeal to Consequences Fallacy
  • ...or even implicitly.  An appeal to consequence is only a fallacious argument in support of an objective fact
    • "In logic, appeal to consequences refers only to arguments that assert a conclusion's truth value (true or false)... appeal to consequences does not refer to arguments that address a premise's consequential desirability (good or bad, or right or wrong) instead of its truth value. Therefore, an argument based on appeal to consequences is valid in...abstract ethics, and in fact such arguments are the cornerstones of many moral theories."
      • E.g., if PRO were to argue that
        • the stain of slavery harms America therefore
          • Washington did not own slaves-
      • that argument would be a false appeal to consequence.
      • Arguing that the stain of slavery ought not to extinguish all national pride in the man is a subjective argument- an opinion and not a fact.
      • JUSTIFIED is subjective: an ethical consideration.  No act should claim moral justification without considering the consequences of that act.
      • We are arguing ethics: the rights and wrongs of patriotism. The consequences of invalidating every American's national pride, without benefit of individual consideration or any plan for national forgiveness, redemption, for the normalization of Union- that is the central question of this debate. 
        • Regrettably, CON has wrongly claimed fallacy as a substitute for confronting the consequences of invalidating American patriotism and so has dropped PRO's primary concern with CON's plan.  CON only has one round left to either deny or concede that stripping America of all national pride represents a lasting national harm.
I also object to this approach because this debate is about whether Americans are justified in feeling national pride, not whether it is desirable that Americans feel national pride
  • Look at the fallacy definition above- addressing the right and wrong (justification) of an argument is to a address "a premise's consequential desirability."  Humans denied any sense of self-worth die- by suicide, recklessness, self-medication, etc.   Nations are conglomerates of humans that likewise die when stripped of self worth -by disintegration, stagnation, conquest, etc.  A highly undesirable state, yes, but also an existential threat. 
    • CON is arguing for national suicide as a just response to American injustice, past and present. 
    • PRO argues for a renewal of pride; that reparation and re-dedication to that original proposition that all men are created equal is the more just and productive response to failure. 
  • A justified patriotism is desirable but more than that PRO argues that patriotism is essential
CRIMES of WHITE MEN

  • CON concedes that some Americans are innocent of the failures he described in R1 but if no Americans are justified in feeling any national pride as PRO argues, then those innocent are punished for American failures alongside the guilty- an unjust result.
Again, when considering whether we should be proud of the nation, we must consider the nation in its totality, otherwise we're not really talking about the nation, but rather a part of it.
  • Let's note that the subject of PRO's resolution is AMERICANS and not AMERICA.  The "nation in its totality" is called AMERICA and is not the subject of our debate.  The subject of our debate is AMERICANS defined as the set of all humans who are US citizens, which yes, is only one part of America but is also the most essential part.
  • Abstract concepts like "AMERICA" are incapable of feeling emotions.  We are debating whether US citizens should feel pride or not.  Only humans feel patriotism, not nations.  When we say AMERICANS, we mean 330 million humans with unique conditions of guilt and innocence, shame and pride.  No collective emotion or collective justification for some one emotion may be substituted for the nation in all its 330 million contributions
when we consider the historical actions of all these people, we must consider the good alongside the bad.
  • Agreed.  So why, then, does CON apply the negative consequences of those actions (absence of pride) to both the good and the bad?  Why can't we agree that American men should feel shame for male chauvinism but women should also take a national pride in suffrage?  Why do women have to share in the shame CON places on the "nation in its totality?"
It would be more reasonable to say that Americans are justified in feeling conflicted or ambivalent toward their country
  • Agreed. 
  • CON effectively concedes the debate here
    • CON's resolution is that pride is
    • CON is arguing the absolute here, not PRO.
      • Sometimes justified and sometimes unjustified is not UNJUSTIFIED which is the condition PRO advocated in his thesis.
        • "Americans cannot justifiably be proud of their country"
        • That is, CON's "nation in its totality" is never reasonably proud- an absolute
      • PRO's argument justifies the ambivalent state here, not CON.
        • PRO argued as much in R1:
          • "Isn't it possible for a man to feel shame for his brother and pride in his brother at the same time?"
          • Holding pride and shame simultaneously, like holding Washington's slavery and Washington's presidency simultaneously, that is the appropriate response.
            • That ambiguity refutes CON's "Americans are unjustified in feeling national pride"
REJECTING the BALANCE

    • CON shifts the goalposts by substituting the phrase "on balance" used in R1 with a fairly disingenuous "balanced approach" in R2
      • ON BALANCE means "overall, when all factors are taken into account."
      • The phrase precedes judgement.
        • As when CON concludes R1:
          • "Once we have weighed the negatives I've highlighted and the positives my opponent will highlight, it will become clear that Americans cannot justifiably be proud of their country."
      • A balanced approach means incorporating elements from both sides.  Which does not characterize CON's R1 argument at all.
        • CON only listed American faults (in R1) and
        • CON's only verdict was the delegitimization of patriotism (R1 and R2). 
      • CON cannot start recharacterizing R1 as a balanced approach in R2 just because PRO spotted CON's thumb on the scale.
my opponent has rejected my balanced approach... Unfortunately, I am unable to identify a clear justification for this rejection...In what way does the inability to overcome the moral stain of genocide invalidate my approach?
  • PRO rejected CON's game precisely because there was no balance in CON's approach.
    • PRO explained there is no
      • "set of achievements that undoes or overcomes the sins of slavery or genocide, abuse and oppression."
    • CON's premise is morally flawed.  We Americans are justifiably proud of Salk's Polio vaccine but to weigh that event on false scales vs. Hiroshima is to diminish the profundity of both events.  It is to reduce both events to arbitrary assessment of value when the true resonance of either event surpasses contemporary comprehension.
  • CON ignored the problem of Washington.
  • CON ignored the necessity of national pride to the preservation of the state.
  • CON needs to clarify his thesis- AMERICA or AMERICANS?
  • CON needs to clarify NO JUSTIFIED PRIDE (R1) or BALANCED APPROACH (R2)?
  • PRO looks forward to CON's R3.

Round 3
Con
How To Understand "Justified" in this Debate
In responding to my concerns about Appeal to Consequence, Pro argued that "justified" refers to "an ethical consideration. No act should claim moral justification without considering the consequences of that act." He goes on to say that "We are arguing ethics: the rights and wrongs of patriotism."

Meanwhile, I have contended that this debate is about whether we deserve to feel national pride, not whether national pride is desirable.

In essence, we have two competing standards for what "justified" means in this debate. Pro has argued "justified" refers to the consequences, whereas I have argued that it refers to the facts of the case.

Another way to understand the difference: Pro has treated "justified" as equivalent to moral necessity (i.e. we can't ditch national pride because the consequences would be bad), whereas I have treated "justified" as whether we, based on the facts, are deserving of feeling national pride. So, which will it be? Moral necessity or whether we're deserving?

A Defense of the "Deserving" Standard
I advocate that we understand "justified" in this debate to refer to whether we're deserving of feeling national pride based on the facts of the nation's past and present, and not whether national pride is desirable. We ought to to favor my definition because it allows for a more straightforward understanding of this topic. This definition of "justified" merely calls on us to assess the nation's accomplishments and sins, both past and present, and then asks us if we're proud of the nation. Meanwhile, the moral necessity definition my opponent takes asks us to consider the nation in past and present and asks us to consider the consequences of going without patriotism. Presumably, this understanding of "justified" then asks us to weigh our assessment of the nation's past and present alongside the supposed moral necessity of maintaining patriotism. After all this is done, we can then determine if we are "justified" in national pride.

My use of the word "justified" allows us to first concerns ourselves only with the nation's past and present accomplishments/sins. Once this is done - and done in its own right - we can move on to other questions, such as the moral necessity of maintaining national pride in the face of facts that seem to advocate against that pride.

Not Convinced?
Perhaps voters are not sold on my version of "justified." Perhaps they agree with Pro when he says that "No act should claim moral justification without considering the consequences of that act." Even if this is so, I am not convinced I have lost the debate. Let's look at some of the consequences of lack of national pride my opponent proposes:
  • Not being proud of George Washington could prevent us from seeing the "gradual nature of democracy's growth: to the way enfranchisement is never quite complete but in a democracy always expanding; the way a flawed union works to make ourselves more perfect."
  • To defend against the rising tide of authoritarianism internationally, we need to be proud of ourselves to promote democracy.
  • The preservation of the state itself
My responses:
  • Re: Washington and democratic growth - National pride isn't necessary to continue the "gradual nature of democracy's growth." One can lack national pride and still arrive at the conclusion that a stronger, fairer, and more just democratic society should be pursued. One can observe the good and the bad in our country and resolve to increase the good and decrease the bad. They don't need to feel pride to do that.
  • Re: Democracy promotion - Again, one does not need to be proud of their nation to conclude that it is preferable that China and Russia be stymied in their attempts to spread authoritarianism. All one needs to do is recognize that democracies, though flawed, are better systems of government than authoritarian regimes. One can reach this conclusion even while realizing their nation has done too many horrible things to merit feeling pride.
  • Re: State preservation - I have a similar counter here, as well. One does not need to be proud of their country to recognize that it is morally preferable for the state to continue functioning efficiently in service to the public good.
Of course, one might argue that even if these claims are logically true, they lack the emotional resonance that national pride (however unjustified) can bring. This is true, but it's not as if pride in the nation is the only source of emotional motivation Americans can draw on. As Pro has pointed out, we can be proud of the minorities who persevered and fought for their rights. We can be proud of our liberties today. We can be proud of the fact that we have peaceful and fair elections. We can use these sources of pride to continue pursuing the public good. (we can also draw on sources of shame as motivators)

Voters might be saying: wait, if you can be proud of today's peaceful and fair elections, isn't that being proud of your country? 

Well, that takes us to the second core contention of this debate.

What Does it Mean to Have National Pride?
The basic question we're asking here is: Are Americans justified in being proud of their country? (#1)

Critically, this is not the same thing as asking: Are there some things about America that its citizens can justifiably be proud of? (#2)

The first question - which is the question we're addressing in this debate - asks us to consider the country in its totality (this is the "balanced approach" my opponent has maligned me for. I did not shift goalposts. See my R1 conclusion). The second question only asks to consider parts of the nation.

To my understanding, my opponent and I agree on the facts of the case. That is to say, we both recognize that Americans have some things to be proud of and some things to be ashamed of. Where we differ is whether we evaluate these facts through the prism of the 1st or the 2nd question. By evaluating these facts with the 2nd question, my opponent is able to act as if pride and shame co-existing means he wins the argument. However, this is not the case, as this debate asks us to consider whether Americans are justified in being proud of their country. Not parts of their country. The whole thing. Warts and all.

Thus, this debate calls on us to assess the country in its totality. When this is done, it is clear that Americans should not feel pride. It would be more reasonable for them to feel conflicted or ambivalent (which, I note, is something my opponent agreed to in R2).

Last Words
In my final round, I have argued that "justified" should more properly be understood to mean "deserving on the basis of the facts" rather than "morally justified on the basis of consequences."

Recognizing that some voters may disagree with that, I offered a backup argument, in which I pointed out that national pride was not logically or emotionally necessary to motivate pursuit of the common good.

Finally, I identified where my opponent and I have differed in interpreting the established facts, and demonstrated why my interpretation is in keeping with this debate's question, whereas his is not.

For these reasons, I believe I have earned your vote, regardless of what Pro may say in his final round.

Thank you all for reading. It has been a pleasure to debate the great Oromagi.
Pro
oromagi                          JC Tran
TOWN
PressF4Respect           Doyle Brunson
ILikePie5                         Daniel Negraneau
Speedrace                     Phil Ivey
RationalMadman        Johnny Chan
warren42                        Chris Moneymaker
Crocodile                        Stu Ugnar
Discipulus_Didicit      Johnny Moss
BearMan                         Archie Karas
SupaDudz
SCUM

UVC

Supa (2/6) - oro, Disc,
VTNL(2/6) - Press, bear,
Croc (1/6) - RM,

Not voting: SupaDudz, warren, Crocodile, Speed, pie,