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Mutable Immutable
Debate Score:14
Total Votes:15
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Is justice mutable or immutable within a democratic gov.?

A Problem:

If justice is de jure mutable in accordance with democracy then by what subject of science shall we measure the righteousness of a democracy? And if there be no subject of science whereby we can measure whether democracy is righteous or not, then any assertion that posits democracy is just is blatantly unscientific?

A Solution: Justice must be de facto immutable.

Now consequently another problem arises. If justice is immutable then justice cannot be subject to democracy, and yet we assert that democracy is a just form of government.





Side Score: 7


Side Score: 7
5 points

Firstly we must establish that justice is indeed mutable when concerning law within a democratic political system before we discuss measures of righteousness or solutions for dealing with a lack of such.

The majority of western justice systems include measures to amend the law through either the courts or government (in some cases, both). In fact, nearly every democratic country has measures for law addition or amendment by the government. Whilst democracy itself is purely a system of government rather than a statute for how justice is to be determined or whether it be by the elected government, the political theory behind democracy clearly includes the principle that all citizens are equal before the law. Whilst not implicitly stated, it is implied within the very values of democracy that a democratic government should have the power to amend the justice system to better reflect the principle of all citizens being equal before the law.

So, we assume for the remainder of this argument that the justice system is intimately entangled with the principle of a democratic governance system, and therefore measures of a democracy's "righteousness" can theoretically be performed on the quality of the justice system. This measure, as laid out in the description for this debate, should be discretely measurable.

What is far harder to assert within the context of this debate is whether a measure of the righteousness of a democracy in regards to its justice system is even possible, and if so, whether this should affect the ability to amend the law. Scientific measurability is extremely difficult to perform on something that is firmly routed in concept rather than physicality. How exactly does one measure righteousness, and how does one apply that inexact measurement to something as complex as an entire nation's justice system?

Measures of the ability of a justice system are usually performed on conviction rates, or some other measure of effectiveness of conviction or reduction of criminality. However, the current amount of offenders currently being processed (either in prison or awaiting a trial, etc) within the justice system is simply a measure of the effectiveness of the implementation of the laws in place and the effectiveness of enforcing those laws. This is evidently no measure of how right (morally or otherwise) those laws are, or how right the enforcement of those laws are. How do we even begin to discretely quantify a measure of righteousness, and even if we jump that hurdle, how do we apply it to laws? The simple answer, and the one posited at the beginning of this debate, is that we are unable to effectively measure (in any scientific manner, at least) how righteous a law or the enforcement of said law is.

However, I disagree entirely with the solution suggested. I would even go so far as to say that a lack of any scientific measure of the righteousness of justice would in fact point to a solution that specifies that justice must be mutable.

If we ever found an effective measure of righteousness, then justice would be eternal. We would create our laws, create measures to enforce those laws, set up a fair justice system and then effectively end any discussion of what is and isn't fair and just. This assumes an absolute morality though. This would be the only situation where we could have an immutable justice system, because there would never be a need to modify it.

Morals and society change. What would be classed as both morally and legally acceptable even a hundred years ago may now be deemed wrong and illegal. Is this because society was moulded by changes in justice, or was justice moulded by changes in society? (This is most likely a subject best kept to another debate, as it is extremely wide ranging). I suggest that society is always at the forefront when it comes to either justice or morality.

The morals of society drive and mould justice, and this is heavily reflected in the way that the current democratic systems work. Actual governing is carried out by the people governed or the power to do so is granted by them. Members of society choose to elect leaders who, in turn, reflect the wishes of the people within the law. Society picks it government, and its government amends the laws based on the will of the people. (Again, this is something that can be left to another debate: is democracy really the will of the people, or a charade of such?).

If we stick purely to the theoretical aspects of democratic government, it should hold that justice is entirely mutable, and, in fact, a mutable justice system (one with an effective measurement of its righteousness other than by reflecting the wishes of the people) is one of the indicators of a democratic government.

Side: Mutable
1 point

Allow for me a day, probably more, to submit an argument for the immutability of justice. (Treatise like)

After I have submitted my viewpoint we’ll rebut one another’s arguments, if necessary.

(Don’t you hate it when CDers try to rebut an argument without taking the time to honestly explain their position? I do! But I am guilty of the same as well!)

Side: Mutable
1 point

Well done!

There is nothing within your post that gives me any reason to counter. Rather, we are in agreement by reason of your strict adherence to the questions of this debate. Oh, I could submit rebuttals, but doing such would require extreme irrationality on my part. And had I argued for the immutability of justice within a democracy, the argument would rest upon a hypothetical premise. Consequently, and after careful consideration of that endeavor, I judged that I am not interested in a college level course of government and its legal system.

Side: Mutable
3 points

In all actuality, either justice doesn't exist or the means for obtaining justice doesn't exist.

Democracy is not a means of obtaining justice. We put the fate of everyone's lives into the majority's hands. And guess what, the majority is retarded.

Side: Immutable
2 points system is perfectly just. Democracy(either pure or representative...that's another debate, though) may be the closest thing you can have to a just government, and you could measure that through history and sociology, but no government can be completely just, at least not by all standards. That said, justice should be immutable, at least in theory. In practice, however, there is a problem. How do we decide what is just? Is it decided by the majority, or a smaller group of people, or a combination of the two?

In order to have a truly just government, the people must have a voice in deciding what is just. In this way, justice is mutable by a democracy, because the people can change their minds, or change what was already decided or assumed years ago. This is necessary in order to have a just government.

However, there is a limit. Some rules are not debatable, such as laws prohibiting murder. If the majority of Americans wanted to make it legal to bring back the gladiators, the federal government would obviously need to prevent this from becoming law. What I'm trying to say is yes, justice is to some degree mutable in a democracy, but there must be limits.

Side: mutable within strong limits
1 point

The debate description doesn't make much sense.

Especially this last sentence:

"If justice is immutable then justice cannot be subject to democracy and yet we assert that democracy is a just form of government."

You seem to think there's a contradiction there, but there isn't one. It's like saying:

"If apples are red then they cannot be blue and yet we assert that apples are tasty."

We can assert that democracy is just without implying that justice is mutable.

Also, is it really necessary to use obscure phrases like "de jure mutable"? Couldn't you phrase that in plain English? Maybe something like "If the legal concept of justice can change..."

Side: Immutable
1 point

Ah hell Jesse,

Like myself, you too are bored with the senseless babble at CD.

While I'm not interested in defending my reasons for my choice of terms for this debate, or addressing the difficulties you've encountered in understanding this debate, but rather I was more interested in a debate that requires a thinking, rational mind. And for that you ought to be semi-thankful no morons are participating.

I'll be more lucid in the future once CD is absent some of the moronic chatter.

Yes, I intentionally used the terminology of this debate to negate the participation of idiots. So, be careful with the accusations.

Side: Immutable