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Individual Vs. Society

  1. Mar 10, 2006 #1
    Resolved: Individual claims of privacy ought to be valued above competing claims of societal welfare.

    What are your views on this issue? I once debated both sides on the topic a year ago when I was on the LD debate team, but I have forgotten most of the arguements except the con value of Utilitaranism(sp).
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 11, 2006 #2
    The entire premise is flawed becuase society and individualism are not opposite. When one tries to make them opposed they become so, but when a proper balance is achieved then they can work together for a greater good.

    Private property will never be to the detrement of society, it is the abuse of this right that detracts from the whole. The simple existence of it is not wrong. This is the same with everything else: a practical balance needs to be found where both the individual and the society can flourish. It is highly destructive to place them at odds and pose the question of individuals vs. society.
  4. Mar 11, 2006 #3


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    There do exist situations where public welfare and individual privacy come into conflict, and he's asking which we should value more.

    Honestly, though, I'd like a specific case to evaluate. For instance, if the conflict is between the police's right to investigate a murder and a suspect's right to keep his gun in private so no one can tell whether or not it was the murder weapon, I'd say go with the right of the police.

    On the other hand, if the man isn't a suspect and has no involvement with the case, let him keep his weapon where he will; he should have to hand it over to no one.
  5. Mar 12, 2006 #4
    I believe the case in the United States is a good example. Everyone knows how recently everyone freaked out about the wire taps. They all say that this is detrimental to our country, etc. But I do not believe that these claims are substanciated. Even though the government may violate privacy, don't they have a right to since it is a time of war, like other times during WWI, especially since citzens have ways to counterbalance the government with such ways as the Freedom of Information Act? What do you think about this matter? I am not totally familar with the nit-gritty details of the Freedom of Information Act, so please correct me if I have made an incorrect assumption.
  6. Mar 12, 2006 #5
    You're completely right. Of course there are cases where private rights and society come into conflict, but I would have to say they must be judged on a case by case basis. The principle I can think of would be that whatever the result it should work towards the protection and general good of the society.
  7. Mar 12, 2006 #6
    Well I am asking now whether or not you think the case with potential violations of privacy in the United States is justified, currently with the citizens ability to check what the government is doing with the Freedom of Information Act and the fact that it is a time of war.

    Is there an incorrect assumption in my view that this is so?
  8. Mar 14, 2006 #7
    Which case, and what is involved?
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