TOURNAMENT R(3): MISTERCHRIS vs NIKUNJ_SANGHAI
All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.
With 1 vote and 2 points ahead, the winner is ...
RESOLVED: A public health emergency justifies limiting civil liberties.
Public health emergency: "an occurrence or imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property resulting from a natural phenomenon or human act." (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1406167)
Civil liberty: "the freedom of a citizen to exercise customary rights, as of speech or assembly, without unwarranted or arbitrary interference by the government." (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/civil-liberty)
RESOLVED: A public health emergency justifies limiting civil liberties.
DEFINITIONS & BoP:
Public health emergency: "an occurrence or imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property resulting from a natural phenomenon or human act."
NOTE: For the purposes of the debate, “rights” and “liberties” will be referred to by PRO interchangeably as de facto synonyms. While probably not technically synonymous, the difference between the two words is negligible enough for PRO to not really sweat over it.
Thus, CON must present a constructive of their own.
- The resolution does not imply that civil liberties will be limited in all cases in a PRO world, or that in a PRO world all cases limiting civil liberties is justified. It is abusive to charge PRO with the task of ensuring all situations are handled competently or benevolently. PRO’s only job is to demonstrate that, on balance, some level of limitation on civil liberties can be justified in the event of a public health emergency. Thus, a CON argument that “some authority somewhere will use the emergency to erode more rights than necessary, therefore do away with limiting civil liberties as an option” is invalid unless they can prove that, on balance, more country leaders have such a predisposition than not.
- The voter should prioritize saving lives above all, as having life is a prerequisite to all other things that humans prioritize: liberty, happiness, etc.
- CON accepts all definitions and shared BoP.
- CON does not accept or challenge PRO’s R1 observations, they are uncontested. Extend.
- PRO will respond to CON’s case as it appears.
“It is to be noted that PRO has to fight CON's arguments on a global front meaning if CON can convince judges and readers that on a global scale restrictions of civil liberties is not beneficial CON can claim victory and vice versa.”
“First and foremost PRO's entire argument is based on the premise that curtailing civil liberties can affect the spread of disease or somehow ameliorate the situation of the public health emergency, which in most cases across the globe does not hold true.”
- It should be noted that a public health emergency is an extremely broad classification of events. As CON conceded, a public health emergency is "an occurrence or imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property resulting from a natural phenomenon or human act." Disease should be treated as one example of many as to how temporary restrictions in civil liberty can be beneficial. For example, as recently as September 16th, a public health emergency was declared in Oregon for wildfires. As a result, many areas were issued evacuation orders for their own safety. This is a restriction in civil liberty that is obviously a net benefit
- RECALL & EXTEND PRO’s R1 observation:
“1.Public health emergency constituted by non- contagious disease.
2.Public health emergency constituted by contagious disease.”
“a.Chernobyl nuclear disaster: Soviet union exercised severe limitations of civil liberties, in such a grave situation freedom of press was highly restricted, people in immediate neighbourhood of the disaster were left unaware of the public health disaster that had struck in their vicinity, had there been more aware of the situation, citizens could themselves have taken the initiative to escape the immediate after effects of the disaster.”
- CON is essentially arguing that the Soviet Union did not curb civil liberties fast enough. Communism meant all media was under strict control of the state at the time. There was no “free press” to report the scenario, it had to happen under state media. It follows then, that CON is arguing the state didn’t command people to leave their homes quickly enough, an obvious restriction on civil liberty.
- While it is true that the restrictions of the press backfired, but Soviet Russia immediately turned around and forced 50,000 people to leave the town of Pripyat and enforced other measures in the surrounding regions.
This curb on civil liberty saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Is PRO advocating that the Soviet Union not take this action?
- The Soviet Union’s restrictions of the press are a relic of a dying ideology shared by only a handful of countries today. The vast swath of world leaders have abandoned this ideology and genuinely care about their people, and would not take action that would obviously impede on emergency response efforts. RECALL: “a CON argument that “some authority somewhere will use the emergency to erode more rights than necessary, therefore do away with limiting civil liberties as an option” is invalid unless they can prove that, on balance, more country leaders have such a predisposition than not.”
“b. Many other public health emergencies like Dengue and Malaria and associated deaths relating to them too have inverse effect. Corona virus is relatively new but the world loses approximately 500,000 lives due to Dengue and Malaria on a yearly basis, the problem manifests itself in it's most catastrophic way when there is a certain surge of Dengue and Malaria after monsoon season constituting a public health emergency in many developing parts of the world in a very short and deadly span every year. Civil liberties provided to people enable people to ensure a crackdown on black marketing of medicines and essential equipment for patients, any curtailment encourages black marketing.”
Instead, PRO simply posits that in situations of high demand, the black market rises to meet that demand regardless of any restrictions on civil liberty.
“1.Major economies can enforce lockdown in case of diseases such as corona virus (Sars-covid-2) but there is no guarantee that lockdowns will cause a net benefit as per projections of UK health , these deaths come in cases of delayed treatment triggering irrepairable damage.”
- Within CON’s own source, it is acknowledged:
“Conservative MPs seem to think the collapse in output is due to the lockdown, whereas in reality it is due to the pandemic. If there had been no lockdown, and the epidemic had run its course unhindered, we would have seen a fall in output of similar size.”
- There is no debate that so far the lockdowns have been a net benefit. CON’s source does not contest this. CON’s source simply questions whether lockdowns should be relaxed now in the UK, a country that has largely gotten over the worst parts of the pandemic. In fact, this simply backs up PRO’s point that RECALL: “On balance, once an emergency situation is over, the rights are returned to the civilians. It is in the country’s best interest to do so (for example, the US is currently opening at large because the economy is better performing when people are restricted less).”
- Even if none of this is bought by the voter, consider that lockdowns saved 470,000 lives in the UK. More than double CON’s 200k estimate.
“Yes, in certain situations lockdown can definitely help to mitigate the scale of infections but limitations needed to be put up when countries and their administrations grew complacent as in case of USA, denying covid-19 and it's potential damages.”
Denying COVID-19 is an argument to relax restrictions, not increase them. CON concedes that the US should be cautious about relaxing COVID measures.
“South Korea never went on complete lockdown nor any limitation was put up in place, only aggressive testing and contact tracing were deployed as main tools by South Korea to suppress the virus.”
“Even if these countries afford to put economic lockdowns there runs a risk of several millions of people being pushed in rampant poverty causing economic collapse. The harshest lockdown and curtailment was put up in place in India for 68 days on 1.3 billion people but the extremely high population density of my country prevented recoveries.”
- RECALL & EXTEND: “Attributing economic slowdown to the lockdown rather than the virus itself is simply false, says Oxford economics profession Simon Wren-Lewis in an article for The Guardian.
- Officials estimate that lockdowns saved 210,000 lives in India so far and averted 7 million cases (a lakh is 100,000), and India’s situation shows no sign of getting better. While it is true that India (being a country with a large amount of poverty to begin with) is suffering from poverty, again, there would have been a similar economic downturn either way, and at least this way lives are saved. In fact, because of India’s high population, more lockdowns are beneficial in that sense.
- Even if the voter does not buy any of the above points, RECALL: “even if in most cases a restriction on civil liberties is not necessary nor justified, the fact that it is immensely beneficial in some cases fulfills PRO’s BoP to a T.”
“Many cities have already developed herd immunities without much loss of life, partly because of people being more resistant to diseases than the first world. Some cities in India already pegging at a staggering immunity of 52% in August, herd immunity is the only thing that can explain the reducing positive cases in India.”
- CON claims that achieving herd immunity has come at a light cost. PRO counters that over 100k people dead as a fraction of 7.3 million cases is a high cost. (AKA, 1/65 people that have gotten the virus).
- India is a unique case according to CON’s own source:
A doctor from a public hospital in central Mumbai said the hygiene hypothesis may hold the answer. “We Indians have been exposed to so many microorganisms that we have a better immune response,” he said.”
- RECALL: “even if in most cases a restriction on civil liberties is not necessary nor justified, the fact that it is immensely beneficial in some cases fulfills PRO’s BoP to a T.”
“More importantly even if lockdown was imposed freedom of press was never curtailed, press unearthed many black marketing activities in the lockdown period.”
- CON’s own source backs up the PRO hypothesis that the black market responds solely to demand. The source outlines that because of increasing COVID cases, people become increasingly more incentivized to buy black market drugs. The black market meets this demand. The demand was not created by lockdowns.
- RECALL: “This high demand would exist with or without restrictions on civil liberty, but PRO argues it would be even worse if civil liberties were not restricted, because more people would carry the disease.”
“3. Many of these countries never went to lockdown still managed to evade almost all the negative effects of the corona- virus , partly because low international travel and partly because of more resistance but no data is available in terms of deaths, cases, so an accurate picture cannot be painted.”
“As per PRO's study CON takes offense being an undergrad academic himself, PRO is misinforming the document is an article not a study, by study people expect an epidemiology study conducted by doctors not some random students with not even a basic understanding of infectious diseases. How can such documents be used as a source, the article clearly mentions the department and qualifications of the writers , CON would like to point out that none among them are qualified to speak on the topic. CON vehemently protests against such documents.”
- Any and all objections CON has brought to the table regarding this study are easily refuted.
P2: PRO has proven that in several public health emergency situations of the past, the limitation of civil liberties was justified.
C1: The resolution can be confidently affirmed.
The C3 easily follows. At this point, the debate has already been settled.