Instigator / Pro
1
1421
rating
127
debates
31.89%
won
Topic

If the world was going to end in 30 days, governments should declare the news rather than keep it a complete secret

Status
Finished

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

Voting points
1
1

With 2 votes and same amount of points on both sides ...

It's a tie!
Parameters
More details
Publication date
Last update date
Category
People
Time for argument
Two days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
Two weeks
Point system
Winner selection
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Rated
Characters per argument
5,000
Contender / Con
1
1490
rating
5
debates
40.0%
won
Description
~ 639 / 5,000

Assume that the apocalyptic event is devastating and powerful, resulting in the end of the human race if nothing is done. Whether it is preventable is up to speculation.

Government: political leaders, or those representing the people controlling the government. "Declare the news" means it can be televised, on newspaper, online, etc. "Keep it a secret" means say nothing and try to keep people from finding out.

This is the recommendation of actions of majority of worlds' government, for simplicity. We are thinking about positives and negatives of each side. I am arguing they should declare the news, rather than say nothing at all.

Round 1
Pro
My argument is simple. The people have a right to know. Obviously, news would not be as stupid as to say "world ends in 30 days. Get rekt scrub. Good day to you." The government could be smart and wise and gradually release information. For instance, they could say "traces of asteroid are found in space. Imminent danger is soon to approach earth." and then gradually release more and more information so people can prepare and not panic. To put up a façade of confidence and power is definitely important, but to keep it a complete secret and reveal absolutely nothing is near impossible. If it was asteroid or alien, any amateur could look into a telescope and spread rumors, causing doubt into the government's credibility. If it was zombie or robot apocalypses, then we would still know sooner or later when the robot malfunctioned or if a person was infected. No. A complete denial is far, far more difficult than a small white lie. At least, if the government acknowledged *something* was out there, endangering earth, even the white lie of "not that dangerous" is easier to hide than the complete lie that "nothing is out there, everything is fine". Indeed, a lot of people would want closure in these last 30 days, and it is important that they have an idea that their lives are now more important. Just as cancer patients should deserve to know how long they have to live, this applies to our people as well. Just what can con argue against this?
Con
It is impossible for  "should" claims to be statements of fact by their very nature.

As pro, it is your job to prove that "If the world was going to end in 30 days, governments should declare the news rather than keep it a complete secret".  You cannot prove something that isn't factual and could never be factual. You cannot prove it empirically or by using logic because "shouldness" is conceptual and has no physical representation in reality except as electrical and chemical signals in the minds of those who think something should or shouldn't in any given context. That being said, "shouldness" is inherently subjective and there is no actual state of "should" for something in and of itself to truly "be". Instead there is only the idea that something should or shouldn't be, meaning nothing "should" in objective reality, one can only think it should. 

Pro has not clarified which set of laws or moral standards he is using when he claims the people have a right to know, or explained why those laws or standards are any more valid than any others when it comes to deciding what the government "should" do.


Round 2
Pro
The standard for democracy has indeed debated over both many times. The conversation compares the two (https://theconversation.com/the-right-to-know-vs-the-need-for-secrecy-the-us-experience-40948), and notes that only when national security is at compromise that government has right to keep the secret. The Freedom of Information Act precedent is precisely what makes con's case difficult (https://www.foia.gov/about.html). It is hardly "national security" especially if an outside force is going to end the world, and is extremely difficult to prevent.

Based on scientific predictions, the world might end with disease, robot uprising, meteor, global warming, etc. But none of them are truly "security" especially if ALL the worlds' government would have to somehow cooperate together in order to truly keep this a secret (if even one government disagrees, censoring the entire of internet and that countries' news would be absurd). It is more than merely "moral" basis as con thinks, it is also whether it is actually plausible to keep it a secret or not. Indeed, countless political scandals in US history have undermined the credibility of government, and with the discovery of 30 days left to live, god knows how lawless and panicking people would get, especially not even the president can be trusted to reveal this type of crucial information. My case still stands: whether they should or should not does not merely depend on their own moral beliefs, as the whole world must cooperate in order to help combat and alleviate the problems. Con must also show that it is more moral to keep it a secret. He undermines his own side by appealing to ignorance; just because you are uncertain what to do, does that mean doing nothing is the best course of action? He has not shown this to be true.
Con
Pro has failed to present a satisfactory case for there being an objective "should". He hasn't even addressed the issue, and thus as he makes each argument he is building a house with no foundation or even a ground to build it on.

I will now quote and then refute the key flaws in Pro's second argument.

The standard for democracy has indeed debated over both many times. 
There is nothing in how you framed this debate to suggest that our arguments should be restricted to the standards of democratic countries. The title of the debate merely says "governments" which one can only take to mean governments in general. "Governments" will no doubt have disagreements on how to handle various scenarios. Pro has not clarified why those laws or standards are any more valid than any others when it comes to deciding what the government "should" do.

The Freedom of Information Act
There is nothing in how you framed this debate to suggest that we would be defaulting to US law. "Governments" can also include China and NK etc. and they don't have the Freedom of Information Act. Also, the existence of the Freedom of Information Act proves nothing when it comes whether or not a "should" claim can even be proven. If it can't be proven, and there is no objective "should" then you lose by default. Pro has not clarified why US laws or standards are any more valid than any others when it comes to deciding what the government "should" do, or why "the" government is the US government by default when the debate proposition refers to "governments" in general.


 It is hardly "national security" especially if an outside force is going to end the world, and is extremely difficult to prevent.
There is nothing in how you framed this debate that excludes scenarios in which keeping it a secret would be justifiable for national security reasons. You are simply focusing on certain examples and not on others, when other hypotheticals in which it would be justifiable in the context of such a legal/moral standard are equally valid. How then can you make the blanket claim that the government should declare the news in all cases even if I were to pretend that the specific laws or morals you are using are objectively "right" and can lead to an objective "should" which applies to "governments" in general? 

The BoP is on Pro to prove there are no examples in which secrecy would be necessary for National Security according to his arbitrarily selected standards which are irrelevant to begin with because he has not fulfilled his most basic BoP of justifying his assertion that there is an objective "should" and it can be proven.

It is more than merely "moral" basis as con thinks, it is also whether it is actually plausible to keep it a secret or not. Indeed, countless political scandals in US history 
Again Pro arbitrarily defaults to the US. What about other countries and/or time periods in which a hypothetical 30 day apocalypse count down might occur wherein it may be much more plausible? The BoP is also on pro to prove there are no countries/scenarios in which covering an apocalypse up would be more plausible than in the US, since he seems to think the US government can be used as the universal model of "governments" and conveniently leaves out hypotheticals (which the BoP is on him to prove the non-existence of) in which covering up the apocalypse might be plausible or justifiable based on his arbitrarily selected standards.

My case still stands: whether they should or should not does not merely depend on their own moral beliefs, as the whole world must cooperate in order to help combat and alleviate the problems.
Your case does not stand. What about a scenario in which nothing can be done to stop it to begin with? What about a scenario in which conflict or lack of cooperation between governments is the cause of the apocalypse and/or is not something that can be plausibly overcame? Why does any "moral belief" have more weight than any other when it comes to what "should" happen?

Con must also show that it is more moral to keep it a secret.

I have no such obligation. Your BoP demands that you prove that there is an objective, universal "should" and that "governments" in general "should" reveal that an apocalypse is happening to the public in all cases. All I need to do is argue that the debate proposition is wrong, not prove that governments "should" do the opposite. By denying the existence of objective "shouldness" and stating my case that it does not exist, I am attacking you at the root rather than engaging in some unnecessary moral argument that would only be relevant after you prove that there is objective morality or an objective should.

He undermines his own side by appealing to ignorance; just because you are uncertain what to do, does that mean doing nothing is the best course of action?
I have made no such arguments and have in no way undermined my own side. 


Round 3
Pro
Firstly, con continuously denies burden of proof despite having equal to mine. Keeping a secret takes arguably just as much effort as releasing news about it, it is more than merely doing nothing. Con must answer these questions: What happens if someone discovers the secret? Are we to contain this person? What if the news spread? Should we have the military police contain the people? Indeed, the idea of having the apocalyptic secret has a lot of implications and you can't merely undermine my case, because keeping the secret is not necessarily the "status quo". Scientific American has agreed on this, that keeping a secret is incredibly difficult, and so Con must have some justification for having this end of the world be unrevealed to the public. 

Now, con notes that US may be Texas sharpshooter fallacy, but scandals have been common across the world. The reasoning why I used US is that the democracy with balance of powers seemed most reasonable to base upon. It is one of the world powers and been looked upon as an example of politics and technology, and Obama himself has confirmed this. It is just as much Con's case to disprove that US doesn't work as an example. Unless con can prove people don't deserve the rights given in constitution, then he fails, as the ideas of freedom and interaction of government are hailed. Transparency news article notes that information is key to prevent corruption. Indeed, if the world was going to end in 30 days, the government (if a corrupt government, since con keeps wanting non-US) keeping it secret would give it a huge advantage to smuggle money, to do whatever they wanted, because nothing matters after 30 days. Even India is implementing this policy, and Queensland, even Asia is moving to try to implement the right to information. Now con must disprove this as well.

He says what if a country caused the apocalypse. This is horrible and even more case to declare that the news, that an apocalypse is arriving. When a criminal does wrong, they are given a lighter punishment if they plead guilty. This is a justice standard that proves my case. Con says what if you can't prevent it, this is even more case to help prove that it should be displayed as news, I already said that families deserve to wrap up final problems and have closure, that's why we should declare the news. 

By refusing to provide a plan to actually keep the secret, con does in fact undermine his argument. If he thinks the status quo of "do nothing" is good enough to keep the secret, then he undermines his plan. If he agrees with my proposal, then he accepts the additional effort needed to keep the secret, and has given no motivation that we should indeed hide critical information from citizens. He thinks there is no moral "should", but still doesn't tackle the actual plausibility of what can be done or not. Tell me, if I cannot use telekinesis, should I use telekinesis? Obviously, the question is no. Because I can't do something, I shouldn't do it. Saying the right thing to do is an impossible thing is absurd and ridiculous. That's why I'm talking about how difficult/easy it is to keep a secret, and how citizens should deserve be told of something critical happening. It is up to Con to prove otherwise. A secret takes much effort, and brings in countless problems to solve. 

Conclusion: Con has only tried to shoot down the "release the news" side without supporting keeping the secret. It takes far more effort than "do nothing" than to keep such an immense secret. I have given many possibilities, the majority which make con's side near impossible to actually implement. As such, he has lost the debate. Vote for pro.
Con
Firstly, con continuously denies burden of proof despite having equal to mine.

Pro's proposition is "If the world was going to end in 30 days, governments should declare the news rather than keep it a complete secret". Con's only job is to demonstrate that Pro cannot prove this. There is nothing in the title of this debate or the debate description which demands that con must argue that governments shouldn't declare the news, thus con has free reign to argue that there is no actual "should" or "shouldn't" objectively, and if Pro cannot prove that there is then it his him who fails to fulfill BoP as his BoP for the debate proposition requires that there be an actual, objectively provable "should". Since there is not and he has failed to prove the contrary, his BoP remains unfulfilled and he loses by default. Con's only job is to dispute the debate proposition and has no true BoP if Pro cannot even justify his claim that there is an objective "should". The rest of Pro's 3rd argument is just more foundationless house building since it has been established that Pro cannot and will not fulfill the most fundamental part of his BoP.

Without proving that there is objective morality and objective "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts" and that they align with his idea of them, his entire case is rendered baseless. Even if you personally believe in objective morality or objective "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts" Pro has not proven them in this debate and you are probably aware that they are not proven fact but rather a personal belief you hold, and thus even if you believe in them personally the reasonable thing to do is vote con as pro has not fulfilled his BoP unless he can prove their existence. Without proving their existence, he cannot prove what anyone "should" do on the basis of morality. Whether covering it up is feasible or not is just a matter of what hypothetical scenario you want to imagine.

, if I cannot use telekinesis, should I use telekinesis? Obviously, the question is no.
You are conflating personal attitudes with physical realities of the world we live in. If you are unable to do something, you are simply unable to do something. Objective reality doesn't think in terms of "should" or shouldn't" and even if it did you wouldn't be able to prove it (especially now that it is the last round).