By Liam Roddy
Franciscan students gathered to debate whether billionaires should be allowed to exist at the semester’s first Dumb Ox Debate on Jan. 29 in the Gentile Gallery.
This parliamentary style debate, put on by Franciscan University’s Veritas Society, posed the question of whether or not it is moral and in agreement with the Catholic Church to be a billionaire.
The house posed the motion “billionaires should be allowed to exist,” which was affirmed by Matt Hennig and Paul Ward. Representing the opposing side were Alex Denley and Henry Sanders, who stood in favor of the government taking excess money and distributing it amongst the less wealthy.
After opening arguments by both sides, the floor opened for students to ask the four representatives questions. This was followed by an open floor speech period where any attendee could deliver a speech in favor of either side.
Finally, “lightning rounds,” or two minute speeches, were given followed by the closing arguments from the four representatives.
Representatives of the affirming side argued that God condemns the evil that can come about from wealth, but not wealth itself. They further went on to say that there have been many billionaires who have used their money for good including Tom Monaghan and St. Katharine Drexel.
They also pointed out that men are entitled to the goods that come from their labor.
The opposing side argued that few billionaires have attained their wealth through just means and it should therefore be taken away. They also held that distributing wealth contributes to the “common good” of society.
At the conclusion of the speeches, attendees were asked to vote on which side presented more convincing arguments and won the night. The overall final vote was 56 affirming the motion, 22 opposing and 4 abstaining from voting.
Freshman Jake Fitzgerald said “I really enjoyed tonight’s debate. It was my first but I will definitely be back next time.”