Resolved: Vigilantism is justified when the government has failed to enforce the law.
The value ought to be Justice as the resolution specifies the term, ‘justified’. As Merriam-Webster defines it, both as “to prove or show to be just, right or reasonable”; and to “administer justice to, to judge, regard, or treat as righteous and worthy of salvation”. The moral composition of the action is what is being called in to question by our resolution.
In terms of justifying behavior, I may have reasons which compel me to act in a certain way, but to distinguish between internal and external factors contributing to reasons upon why a person acts or ought to act require differentiation of language. To that end, the term justify is used to denote particular moral obligation from the external viewpoint whereas reason or motivation would denote the internal perception driving individual action. The resolution doesn’t seek a determination on the vigilantes internal motivations, but rather an exploration of the value from the external viewpoint and is why the term ‘justify’ has been used. As a result, a much high lever of rationality must accommodate the reasoning or obligation towards the action or behavior being committed – that of vigilantism.
In turn, the criterion for weighing such a value proposition is ends based and so Consequentialism will govern the manner in which arguments are to be observed as contributing to Justice.
Contention 1 – the Gift of justifying vigilantism
By necessarily ‘justifying’ vigilantism, under any set of circumstances, the righteousness thereby associated with vigilante behavior breeds the ‘gift-giving’ perception towards those operating outside the scope of a social contract or any constituted social-governance behavior.
According to Bruce Arrigo [University of North Carolina, 2003 “Justice and the deconstruction of psychological jurisprudence: The case of competency to stand trial”], “By restoring the defendant’s competency, the presumption is that the consignor of treatment will provide the gift of reparation; that is, one’s psychiatric illness will be corrected, the person will be made functionally well. Deconstructively speaking, what is the price for this gift? First, difference is reduced to sameness. In other words, the identity of the person is transformed: homeostasis and normativity prevail.”
In ‘justifying’ vigilantism, the gift of justification afforded to vigilantism creates this debt transference and instills upon society a homogeneity of expected and normalized behavior from citizens. This normalization of the cause and effect relationship for vigilante behavior is dangerous as it forces chaotic behavior reminiscent of anarchic living.
Tomohisa Hattori [Assistant Professor of Political Science at Lehman College, City University of New York, 2001 “Reconceptualizing Foreign Aid”], “The extension of a gift was always followed by elaborate forms of discourse that seemed to oblige a response. This led him to conclude that the compulsion to reciprocate was a universal norm in human society, an insight that has become widely accepted in anthropological and sociological theory. This anarchy was similar to the social fragmentation and widespread distribution of the means of violence he found in primitive societies, and suggested a similar potential for the attenuation of conflict through strategic use of the norm of reciprocity.”
The resulting norm and expectation to act where government does not is to make compulsory, that behavior which is indicative of anarchy.
Contention 2 – Impacts of anarchy…