The Instigator
the_last_Patriot
Con (against)
Tied
3 Points
The Contender
reller
Pro (for)
Tied
3 Points

American Representative Democracy: illusion or reality

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/5/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,374 times Debate No: 2416
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)

 

the_last_Patriot

Con

Americans are truly a people taken with illusion. The ideals we accept as truth are so seamlessly integrated into the understanding of not only our nation, but ourselves as individuals that we take them for granted as self-evidently true, when in many cases they are decidedly false. Through our own complacent assumptions, and acceptance of rhetorical definitions, we have developed an invincible identity as people of liberty and freedom which, in many cases goes without even a modest definition. The irony of this precarious fixation is comfortably situated somewhere between our unshakable belief in its reality, and our surprisingly common inability to recognize and examine its possible absurdity.
This preoccupation with illusion is possibly nowhere, more evident than in our false assumptions relating to the Bill of Rights found in the United States Constitution. From childhood, we are educated to assume that the Bill of Rights are the enumerated manifestations of the freedoms we as Americans and humans are guaranteed by our creator. The first 10 amendments to our constitution, as any learned scholar of United States legal history is aware, were not intended to ensure citizens the rights they expressly describe at all. They were instead an olive branch offered to a suspicious political minority of Anti-federalists (Here I use the term minority lightly), who would not have allowed the constitution to be ratified without the rights they held most dear being expressly protected from the strong, centralized government that the new Constitution created. It was not until the ratification of the 14th amendment, and the phrase "No state shall..." that some of these rights were guaranteed to citizens. Some of them, but even to this day not all.
Another area where America's gullible nature is exposed, is in the acceptance of the two party system. American citizens have lived so long, under a political system that has been traditionally dominated by two parties, that they fail to see the obvious negative impact it has on American Government as a whole. Generation upon generation of Americans have voted by party association, holding their affiliation so close, that it begins to form their identity. The very bylaws of our bicameral legislature operate largely along the lines of party seniority, creating such positions as "majority whip" and such actions as the infamous "filibuster". These partisan tools serve only force the lawmaking body of the land into gridlock and make mindless party servants out of elected representatives who are, above all, supposed to represent the interests of their constituents, not those of their party. Many citizens have more of a sense of what it means to be a member of their party than what it means to be American! Surely this is not the system our founding fathers had envisioned.
Let us first examine the failures in the intended function of the House of Representatives. After the 2000 census it was estimated that each Congressmen in the house represents 650,000 Americans. Even if we are naive enough to believe a representative actually wants to serve his constituents interests and not his own or that of his party, how can it be rationally assumed that one person can actually be in touch with the needs of 650,000 people? The assumed fact that we are truly represented within the branch of the legislature tasked with this specific duty is yet another fallacious illusion we devour willingly every time we claim to be citizens of a representative democracy.
The final vice of the American system prohibiting us from having a democracy worthy of the illusion we have created, is to deal with the problem of the ignorant electorate. The founding fathers never intended for universal suffrage to take hold in this country. Among the original qualifications for voting rights was the ownership of property. This requirement remained in effect until 1850, almost 100 years after the Declaration of Independence. These requirements were important to maintaining an educated electorate. Land ownership meant not only that voters had a vested interest in the new Republic, having owned a piece of it directly. It meant something else as well. With a complete and utter lack of public education, their status as members of the landowning class also ensured they were educated members of society. Education was something the founding fathers and many early enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke, agreed was a fundamental prerequisite for successful democracy. Although requiring property ownership today would be absurd, some measure of qualification must be instituted to ensure the educated status of today's electorate. However, due to the civil rights era and its aggressive action against literacy tests, there is no establishment of qualification necessary to receive the right to vote. This has translated into a large, ignorant electorate who, in many cases, despite their ignorance, do not actually use their right to vote anyway. A system of establishing qualification is absolutely necessary for ensuring that our voting body is educated and aware, not ignorant and blindly partisan.
The American democratic system is at the mercy of these vices I have identified and shall not serve its illusionary identity until they are corrected. It shall not suffice to deal only with one and expect results. Just as our system of Government has inherent checks and balances on authority, these three vices serve to check progress and development in the same manner. Until they are all three repaired, they will continue to do so. We must educate the electorate, and ensure their qualification. We must eradicate the two party system to return America to the hands of her citizens and out of those of the political machines. Finally, we must ensure that our system represents the people, and not the interests of the parties and individuals which dominate our so called Representative Democracy.
reller

Pro

Well, America is the greatest country. And, you see, it just is. It is a reality. Yes. I am sorry but you are going to lose. Touche.
Debate Round No. 1
the_last_Patriot

Con

As you can see from my user name I do not doubt that America is the greatest country in the world. If we want to keep it that way we can't bathe in complacency and pretend that our system is infallible. While I agree it is the best system on the planet that doesn't mean that it can't or shouldn't be improved upon. If we sat back and drooled over our strong military after we won world war two instead of constatnly working to improve and upgrade it, we would be sitting on a bunch of useless military hardware and wondering how the rest of the world surpassed us. Change is needed to keep America the greatest nation on earth. I have identified a few areas of our government that need to be changed, you can't logicaly refute them by simply professing america's greatness. That isn't how debate works. I invite you to refute my points in any way you choose that is compliant with the rules of logic. Thank you
reller

Pro

Letteth me elaborateth with a simple touch. You state in your first argument that

Americans are truly a people taken with illusion. The ideals we accept as truth are so seamlessly integrated into the understanding of not only our nation, but ourselves as individuals that we take them for granted as self-evidently true, when in many cases they are decidedly false. Through our own complacent assumptions, and acceptance of rhetorical definitions, we have developed an invincible identity as people of liberty and freedom which, in many cases goes without even a modest definition. The irony of this precarious fixation is comfortably situated somewhere between our unshakable belief in its reality, and our surprisingly common inability to recognize and examine its possible absurdity.
This preoccupation with illusion is possibly nowhere, more evident than in our false assumptions relating to the Bill of Rights found in the United States Constitution. From childhood, we are educated to assume that the Bill of Rights are the enumerated manifestations of the freedoms we as Americans and humans are guaranteed by our creator. The first 10 amendments to our constitution, as any learned scholar of United States legal history is aware, were not intended to ensure citizens the rights they expressly describe at all. They were instead an olive branch offered to a suspicious political minority of Anti-federalists (Here I use the term minority lightly), who would not have allowed the constitution to be ratified without the rights they held most dear being expressly protected from the strong, centralized government that the new Constitution created. It was not until the ratification of the 14th amendment, and the phrase "No state shall..." that some of these rights were guaranteed to citizens. Some of them, but even to this day not all.
Another area where America's gullible nature is exposed, is in the acceptance of the two party system. American citizens have lived so long, under a political system that has been traditionally dominated by two parties, that they fail to see the obvious negative impact it has on American Government as a whole. Generation upon generation of Americans have voted by party association, holding their affiliation so close, that it begins to form their identity. The very bylaws of our bicameral legislature operate largely along the lines of party seniority, creating such positions as "majority whip" and such actions as the infamous "filibuster". These partisan tools serve only force the lawmaking body of the land into gridlock and make mindless party servants out of elected representatives who are, above all, supposed to represent the interests of their constituents, not those of their party. Many citizens have more of a sense of what it means to be a member of their party than what it means to be American! Surely this is not the system our founding fathers had envisioned.
Let us first examine the failures in the intended function of the House of Representatives. After the 2000 census it was estimated that each Congressmen in the house represents 650,000 Americans. Even if we are naive enough to believe a representative actually wants to serve his constituents interests and not his own or that of his party, how can it be rationally assumed that one person can actually be in touch with the needs of 650,000 people? The assumed fact that we are truly represented within the branch of the legislature tasked with this specific duty is yet another fallacious illusion we devour willingly every time we claim to be citizens of a representative democracy.
The final vice of the American system prohibiting us from having a democracy worthy of the illusion we have created, is to deal with the problem of the ignorant electorate. The founding fathers never intended for universal suffrage to take hold in this country. Among the original qualifications for voting rights was the ownership of property. This requirement remained in effect until 1850, almost 100 years after the Declaration of Independence. These requirements were important to maintaining an educated electorate. Land ownership meant not only that voters had a vested interest in the new Republic, having owned a piece of it directly. It meant something else as well. With a complete and utter lack of public education, their status as members of the landowning class also ensured they were educated members of society. Education was something the founding fathers and many early enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke, agreed was a fundamental prerequisite for successful democracy. Although requiring property ownership today would be absurd, some measure of qualification must be instituted to ensure the educated status of today's electorate. However, due to the civil rights era and its aggressive action against literacy tests, there is no establishment of qualification necessary to receive the right to vote. This has translated into a large, ignorant electorate who, in many cases, despite their ignorance, do not actually use their right to vote anyway. A system of establishing qualification is absolutely necessary for ensuring that our voting body is educated and aware, not ignorant and blindly partisan.
The American democratic system is at the mercy of these vices I have identified and shall not serve its illusionary identity until they are corrected. It shall not suffice to deal only with one and expect results. Just as our system of Government has inherent checks and balances on authority, these three vices serve to check progress and development in the same manner. Until they are all three repaired, they will continue to do so. We must educate the electorate, and ensure their qualification. We must eradicate the two party system to return America to the hands of her citizens and out of those of the political machines. Finally, we must ensure that our system represents the people, and not the interests of the parties and individuals which dominate our so called Representative Democracy.

You state in your second argument that

As you can see from my user name I do not doubt that America is the greatest country in the world. If we want to keep it that way we can't bathe in complacency and pretend that our system is infallible. While I agree it is the best system on the planet that doesn't mean that it can't or shouldn't be improved upon. If we sat back and drooled over our strong military after we won world war two instead of constatnly working to improve and upgrade it, we would be sitting on a bunch of useless military hardware and wondering how the rest of the world surpassed us. Change is needed to keep America the greatest nation on earth. I have identified a few areas of our government that need to be changed, you can't logicaly refute them by simply professing america's greatness. That isn't how debate works. I invite you to refute my points in any way you choose that is compliant with the rules of logic. Thank you

I have two words for you: You're Wrong.

Oh, and you used bad punctuation, as you ended your argument with a "Thank you" without a period. Thank you.';'.
Debate Round No. 2
the_last_Patriot

Con

(Sorry I accidentally posted this in the comment section)

I can see this is a useless gesture trying to argue this very complicated point with someone who clearly is endeavoring only to annoy, or simply has no ability to refute even a simple argument. Moreover, I would like to point out that my lack of concern for punctuation and spell check results from my conversational style of debate and my assumption that people know what im saying regardless of proper grammar. Perhaps this basic skill is outside the realm of some people here on this website. The last few debates I had concluded with no problem. Furthermore, your over emphasis on my poor concern for punctuation further supports my point that you refuse and/or are unable to refute my argument or any other argument presented in debates in this forum. To that end I might as well resort to your tactics.

I'm right, your wrong and you are terrible at debate. I think anyone who reads this will think likewise. I hope to have this debate with someone who will take it seriously in the future. Due to your lack of contribution thus far I ask that you please leave the rest of us who actually enjoy debate to ourselves on this website. thank you.
reller

Pro

reller forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by mmadderom 9 years ago
mmadderom
Can no one make their arguments readable, here?
Posted by the_last_Patriot 9 years ago
the_last_Patriot
I can see this is a useless gesture trying to argue this very complicated point with someone who clearly is endeavoring only to annoy, or simply has no ability to refute even a simple argument. Moreover, I would like to point out that my lack of concern for punctuation and spell check results from my conversational style of debate and my assumption that people know what im saying regardless of proper grammar. Perhaps this basic skill is outside the realm of some people here on this website. The last few debates I had concluded with no problem. Furthermore, your over emphasis on my poor concern for punctuation further supports my point that you either refuse, and or are inable to refute my argument or any other argument presented in debates in this forum. To that end I might as well resort to your tactics.

I'm right, your wrong and you are terrible at debate. I think anyone who reads this will think likewise. I hope to have this debate with someone who will take it seriously in the future. Due to your lack of contribution thus far I ask that you please leave the rest of us who actually enjoy debate to ourselves on this website. thank you.
Posted by the_last_Patriot 9 years ago
the_last_Patriot
who's your favorite member? Me or him?
Posted by wingnut2280 9 years ago
wingnut2280
You are my new favorite member.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by mynameisjonas 9 years ago
mynameisjonas
the_last_PatriotrellerTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by oboeman 9 years ago
oboeman
the_last_PatriotrellerTied
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Total points awarded:30