Each week our two teenagers debate a hot topic. This week ... Jeannette Lee, 17, Diocesan Girls' School The distinction between man and beast is human rights, which entitles us to basic autonomy. Our rights mean that we should not use physical force on others and vice versa. This is the reason for law and order in society. One purpose behind criminal law is to protect individuals against harm from others. Another is to discourage us from stepping on others' rights. Without the law and its enforcement, aggressive members of society could take advantage of other people through physical force and intimidation. The idea that physical force can be used to implement or change ideas cannot be justified either. History shows us that people will never be convinced by ideas backed by violence and force. Leaders who listen have lasting, peaceful reigns, whereas cruel tyrants will eventually be overthrown. Physical force suppresses other people. Defence is carried out for self-protection. People have an instinct to protect themselves from physical force, hence the necessity for self-defence, which is protection against bodily harm to a certain level. However, we need to distinguish between self-defence and retaliation, which is a kind of violent revenge. In modern life, we try to protect children from possible parental abuse. Physical force against children is not justified. Any other form of physical force cannot be justified either. Jeremy Wong, 17, Hong Kong International School Human beings thrive on money and power, which promote competition, enabling society to run more efficiently. But they are also forces that contribute to inequality, which drive people to commit crimes. Crimes are basically any assault on people's property and safety, and without the threat of physical force it would be very difficult to protect them. Criminals naturally keep committing crimes until there are physical consequences. Without punishment, crime rates would continue to increase, resulting in chaos. This is no different from using force in self-defence. When they physically resist an attacker, victims of violence are more likely to avoid being victimised. When national security is at stake, the same principles apply. If countries do not retaliate when attacked, they will be invaded and occupied. When it comes to individuals, criminals and terrorists are naturally reluctant to provide information about who they are working with unless they are coerced. When they are threatened with physical force, they will likely change their tune. Perhaps this sounds bad, but it is sometimes necessary to exercise force in order for us to achieve peace and keep safe.