EDEB8 - Ultimate Online Debating
About Us   Debate    Judge   Forum

That terrorism is justifiable

2 points
0 points
MaxChristie32MaxChristie32 (PRO)
Before I get into anything else, I first want to say specifically what I'm not defending.

By saying that terrorism can be justifiable, I am in no way saying that it is good or beneficial in all or even most circumstances. As someone who's family has been affected by terrorism, I hold no sympathy for extremists or for those who use violence against innocent people for political purposes. While I will argue that there are limited circumstances where political violence may be justified, I believe that in totality, terrorism is evil and the world would be a far better place without it. As well, I believe that defending a tool for political change is separate from defending political change itself, so I will not be baited into defending the ideology of any group that uses terrorism as part of its operations. 

Now, with that disclaimer out of the way, I want to talk about my first argument in this debate: Violence as a Tool for Political Change
For the purposes of this debate, I will be defining "terrorism" as "the use of intentional violence for a political purpose by a non-state actor." In order to evaluate if this violence is justified, it must first be examined how political change can come about in the context of modern nation-states. In a democracy, we take it for granted that there are numerous ways one can affect their society (voting, petition, protest, etc.) that are perfectly legal and carry no retribution. However, when looking at illiberal or undemocratic states, these routes for political change are often made untenable o for a nation's citizenry. When all legitimate means for societal change are shut off, most resistance movements then turn to what is referred to as Non-Violent Direct Action (NVDA for short). NVDA, colloquially known as "civil disobedience," is the practice of intentionally refusing to follow the laws of a state without resorting to violence. NVDA is not exclusive to illiberal regimes (many groups such as Extinction Rebellion utilize it), but it is often best associated with popular resistance movements in illiberal regimes (think the Arab Spring, Euromaidan, or the American Civil Rights Movement). However, it is often observed that NVDA, even when it involves millions of people, can fail to achieve its goals and leads to the unnecessary deaths of demonstrators (Again, look at the Arab Spring). In this case, where the state refuses to provide legitimate means of political expression and severely punishes non-violent resistance, it is hard to argue that the citizenry does not have the right to use violence in order to counteract the state that is oppressing them. While of course there are severe restrictions to this, I would concede that political violence should only be used as an absolute last resort and that violence against civilians should never be used in ANY circumstances, it would be hard to argue that it is completely unjustifiable in every case. While it has severe limitations and can be extremely problematic, when legitimate means and NVDA have failed, violence against government or military targets of illiberal regimes may be justified.

For an example, let's look to fiction with the Star Wars series. In the original Star Wars trilogy, an illiberal government (The Empire) is oppressing the people of the galaxy and severely restricting any form of political expression. In the absence of legitimate means to effect political change, the heroes of the story engage in violent rebellion in order to secure freedom and liberty for the citizens of the galaxy. Despite leading to the deaths of thousands, you would be hard-pressed to make an argument that the destruction of the Death Star was not justified, given that the Death Star had been responsible for the deaths of millions and posed the greatest threat to the continued safety of billions more. When looking at the example of Star Wars, rebellion (or to use a synonym, terrorism) is justified.

While I am not advocating for it and vehemently detest it in nearly all situations, it is impossible to simply say that violence is never an option in political scenarios. In a situation where all legitimate means of dissent have been suppressed by the government and Non-Violent Direct Action is resisted to with violence, violence on the part of government dissidents may be justified. If you support freedom and the global struggle against illiberalism, if you are a true believer and lover of democratic ideals, then you must support this motion.

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-03-26 07:18:43
| Speak Round
MaxChristie32MaxChristie32 (PRO)
So it appears that my opponent has forfeited the previous round. I still stand by what I said in round 1, and if my opponent is willing to continue the debate I'd be happy to continue as well. 
Return To Top | Posted:
2020-03-29 04:14:23
| Speak Round

View As PDF Judge this debate

Enjoyed this debate? Please share it!

You need to be logged in to be able to comment
You need to sign in to help judge this debate

Previous Judgments

The time to judge ends in 2020-04-04 07:14:01
2020-04-06 00:05:29
dpowell3543Judge: dpowell3543    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: MaxChristie32
My vote goes to Pro on the basis of Con's total forfeiture.
1 user rated this judgement as good
0 comments on this judgement
2020-04-06 09:37:16
idiyosyncraticanthropoid_Judge: idiyosyncraticanthropoid_
Win awarded to: MaxChristie32

Rules of the debate

  • Text debate
  • Individual debate
  • 3 rounds
  • No length restrictions
  • Reply speeches
  • No cross-examination
  • Permissive Judging Standard (notes)
  • Forfeiting rounds does not mean forfeiting the debate
  • Images allowed
  • HTML formatting allowed
  • Unrated debate
  • Time to post: 2 days
  • Time to vote: 3 days
  • Time to prepare: 1 hour
This is a random challenge. See the general rules for random challenges at http://www.edeb8.com/resources/General+rules+for+random+debates+%28version+2%29