The Instigator
rbrownell
Pro (for)
Losing
18 Points
The Contender
Korashk
Con (against)
Winning
28 Points

An unjust government is better than a state of anarchy.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 9 votes the winner is...
Korashk
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/19/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,746 times Debate No: 11800
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (15)
Votes (9)

 

rbrownell

Pro

The first round will be used to set up definitions and general guidelines. A debate absent of semantics is largely preferred.

So, now for some definitions.

Unjust: not just; lacking in justice or fairness [1]

Government: the political direction and control exercised over the actions of the members, citizens, or inhabitants of communities, societies, and states; direction of the affairs of a state, community, etc. [2]

Anarchy: a state of society without government or law. [3]

My opponents first response should be an agreement or disagreement on definitions. Second round will be posting cases. Third round will be refutations. Final round will be concluding refutations/case rebuilding.

To whoever accepts: let's make it a good one.

Source:
[1][2][3]- Dictionary.com
Korashk

Con

I thank my opponent for creating the debate, accept the proposed definitions, and would like to reserve the opportunity to introduce definitions in my round two arguments should the need arise.
Debate Round No. 1
rbrownell

Pro

I apologize for my untimely response. I foolishly started this round during Spring Break, and the only time I've been home is in the few hours before my argument was due. Oh well, lets get this thing going.

The freedom of anarchy may seem appealing prima facie, but it would behoove oneself to dig deeper in to the issues with this ultimately lawless system. I will begin by outlining my contentions, and from there I will expand upon each one.

1st) Justice and fairness (as stated in the definition of unjust) are completely arbitrary[1].
2nd) Unjust government allows for progress.
3rd) Anarchy's inefficiencies are its downfall.

Now to expand upon the first argument. The definition that was agreed upon in the first round said that unjust is lacking in fairness or justice. Look around at other definitions of unjust. Do they not contain the same arbitrary terms? If an individual is able to speculate as to what is fair and just, then can we not call the United States government unjust? What about Germany? Japan? Any country? The reality of it is that any government can be defined as unjust in some way due to the arbitrary definition of unjust. At this point, I have shown that all government can be considered unjust. Therefore the case is now transformed in to "A Government is better than a state of anarchy". Though it isn't necessarily representative of the whole, I would ask if anarchy is better than the United States government? If all government is unjust government, then it is true to say there is no absolute in what an unjust government lacks. The lack of arbitrary justice and fairness could be the new health care bill in the United States, or it could be anything that someone considers unfair, or unjust in any government in any country. It is important to recognize that unjust governments do not often share whatever unfair or unjust qualities they posses. Because of this, my opponent cannot generalize any negative aspects of unjust government as they are likely not representative of the whole. Unless my opponent intends to prove that anarchy is better than any government, he now specifically has to defend anarchy.

The second contention is that unjust government still allows for progress. Despite a lack of justice or fairness existing in the society, the human race still advances. We can in fact look at numerous governments throughout the ages that could be considered unjust. Social evolution and scientific progress throughout United States history is just a single example. I don't believe it necessary to cite any specific examples of progress from a country such as the United States, unless my opponent wants some. The technologically advanced world we live in is a direct result of progress that came from unjust governments. Anarchy on the other hand stifles progress. The concern does not lie with progress as much as survival. Though I wouldn't necessarily cite the Somalian anarchy as a true anarchy, they were eventually ruled by piracy[3]. Even after the introduction of a centralized government, piracy still thrived. The people of the Somalian anarchy had reverted back to tribes, or clans if you will [4]. Using Somalia as an example, not only was progress halted, it was reversed. The people of the country reverted back to tribal communities. Due to this inherent lack progress in anarchy, it is certainly not superior to unjust government.

Lastly, the 3rd contention. As I stated in the brief introduction, anarchy has nothing more than cover appeal. "no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."- Thomas Hobbes [2]. Anarchy promises nothing to the individual. Though people have the ability to join together, that is when anarchy is no longer truly anarchy. Anarchy was defined as a society without government or law. The definition does not call for centralized government, so true anarchy is the state of complete lawlessness. What are the means of survival? Anarchy lacks any means of suppressing violence. The constant need for resources, and the obvious lack of law calls for a society that run off of fear and violence. As stated in contention one, all government is unjust. These governments (though lacking in some arbitrary quality) can still promise rights. Do they promise all rights? certainly not, but they promise more than anarchy can. Anarchy lacks both municipal and federal services that are necessary to maintaining a desirable society. In lacking these services, I will say again that anarchy has no means of suppressing any internal or external threats. My opponent must prove that a system such as anarchy is better than any government.

To conclude, my case has shown how anarchy is: inefficient, violent, lacking in progress, and ultimately detrimental to the people involved. The 1st contention was able to prove through definitions that all government can be considered unjust. With the ability to provide rights, progress scientifically, socially, agriculturally, and the ability to protect people; it is obvious unjust government is better than a state of anarchy.

I now give the stage to my opponent.

Sources:
[1] Definition of arbitrary: subject to individual will or judgment without restriction; contingent solely upon one's discretion (from dictionary.com)
[2] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[3] http://news.bbc.co.uk...
[4] http://news.bbc.co.uk...
Korashk

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for using semantics in his opening round, I accept the premise that all governments are unjust. That just made it much easier for me to negate the resolution.

It is my contention that the beginnings of an anarchistic society would be better than one ruled by an unjust government. This is because an anarchistic society offers unlimited personal freedom. Though, this ideal society would not last for long. Eventually the individual/organization with the most guns would use those guns to force the rest of the society into submission. This creates, you guessed it, a government.

If we use your arbitrary interpretation of the meaning of unjust then all governments are unjust. This means that the longer an anarchistic society goes on the more it reverts to a state controlled society. Since all state controlled societies are unjust this means that an anarchistic society is better than one controlled by an unjust government until a government forms from the anarchy which makes them equal.

In conclusion an anarchistic society is better than one ruled by an unjust society at first because of the personal freedoms that it offers, later on in the anarchy's life it inevitably will revert to one with a system of government. Making the two equally bad/good. Both of these scenarios negate the resolution.

I look forward to my opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 2
rbrownell

Pro

I thank my opponent for his timely and interesting response.

I am sorry for violating my semantics rule. In my local debate communtiy semantics is connotated with the defining of words that shouldn't mattter to the round. Nonetheless your objective critique is correct. My appologies for mis-speaking.

Rebuttal:

Short lasting
----------------
In your case, you yourself stated that this transient anarchy would not last long. Are we to expect it to last for 24 hours? 48? It is quite obvious that a state of true anarchy would be replaced by government in a short amount of time. In this short amount of time, any number of awful occurrences can happen. Your house may get burned down, or maybe members of your family are killed, and for what? So this state of anarchy is replaced by government hours after? This brings me to my next argument.

Violent transitions
----------------------
In your single contention, you said that the group with the most guns would take control. I'm glad you say that, because that means you agree that the transition to government is violent. Anarchy inevitably leads to a violent and generally undesirable government. From anarchy comes violent government, and from violent government one transitions to a more desirable government. With that said, is it worth the pain of transition? Anarchy is a short and violent process which turns in to something else that is violent. Why is it violent? because of the freedoms allowed to mobs, sociopaths, psychopaths, etc. The need for resources and the strive for survival will drive the already dangerous to act in ways that are detrimental to all else.

Further conflict
-------------------
Look closer at the violent transition argument. Are we to assume that the group with the most guns will rule uncontested? This transient anarchy will undoubtedly lead to a multi-government conflict that just promises more violence.

Personal freedoms
----------------------
A good portion of your case was dedicated to anarchy giving everyone unlimited personal freedoms. Tell me, what can you do with these extra freedoms that you can't already do in a government such as the United States? And is it really enough to justify a violent anarchy, with violent transitions, and violent results? Being the pro side, I would say no.

Value of personal freedoms/ Progress
-------------------------------------------------
Further on the personal freedoms argument, it would be smart to refer back to my second contention that discusses progress. It is true to say that anarchy causes a reversal in progress. What purpose do unlimited personal freedoms serve when you can't go out the movie theater? What about a grocery store? Maybe an airport? Since anarchy restricts ones ability to use their "unlimited personal freedoms" then they are far less valuable than freedoms given in an unjust government.

I very much look forward to my opponents response.
Korashk

Con

I thank my opponent for his response.

~~~~~~
Rebuttals
~~~~~~

///In your case, you yourself stated that this transient anarchy would not last long. Are we to expect it to last for 24 hours? 48? It is quite obvious that a state of true anarchy would be replaced by government in a short amount of time...///

Do these things not already happen under unjust governments? People's houses get burned down every day; people's families get killed every day, that doesn't make it anarchy's fault. Many of these occurrences are accidents, many others are purposefully done. Equating the transition from anarchy to government with violence is something that you did, not I.
~

///In your single contention, you said that the group with the most guns would take control. I'm glad you say that, because that means you agree that the transition to government is violent...///

I never stated that the transition from anarchy to government would be violent. Just that the group with the most power, aka guns/weapons/force, would eventually take control of the society. Most individuals not associated with any group that has significant power would likely submit to the will of those with the power and join their ranks, expanding the power that they already have.

*Please indicate whether or not you accept the following premise or would like sources to substantiate it:*
There are/have been governments that execute their citizens for no significant reason at all. There are still established governments that have the potential to be even worse for the society than any government that could rise from what was once an anarchistic society. Your arguments so far have simply been "what if" statements with no substantial backing.
~

///Look closer at the violent transition argument. Are we to assume that the group with the most guns will rule uncontested? This transient anarchy will undoubtedly lead to a multi-government conflict that just promises more violence.///

Once a group of people submits to a group that they consider to be higher than themselves what they have created is a government, as you say. Since all governments are unjust I do not see the significance of this contention, I seriously doubt that there was ever a time when no governments had violent conflicts with one another.
~

///A good portion of your case was dedicated to anarchy giving everyone unlimited personal freedoms. Tell me, what can you do with these extra freedoms that you can't already do in a government such as the United States? And is it really enough to justify a violent anarchy, with violent transitions, and violent results? Being the pro side, I would say no.///

Here's a small list of freedoms that you would have under anarchy that are not currently available in America that I believe is significant enough to negate this rebuttal:
* No taxes (the biggest freedom on the list)
* Drugs
* Do whatever you want with your body (another significant freedom)
~

///Further on the personal freedoms argument, it would be smart to refer back to my second contention that discusses progress. 1.) It is true to say that anarchy causes a reversal in progress. 2.) What purpose do unlimited personal freedoms serve when you can't go out the movie theater? 3.) What about a grocery store? 4.) Maybe an airport? Since anarchy restricts ones ability to use their "unlimited personal freedoms" then they are far less valuable than freedoms given in an unjust government.///

I'll be refuting this one part-by-part.
1.) What is your evidence for this? Progress is not the direct result of a government, progress is the result of the ingenuity of individuals or groups. Government is not a required element.
2.) You are making the assumption that there wouldn't be movie theaters.
3.) You are making the assumption that there wouldn't be grocery stores.
4.) You are making the assumption that there wouldn't be airports.

Points 2, 3, and 4 can all be provided by the free market which by definition would be unregulated anyways [1]. Anarchy is not synonymous with violence and primitivism.
~

I look forward to my opponent's closing statements.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
rbrownell

Pro

I thank my opponent for his thoughtful response.

It's been a very hectic time. Luckily I have been granted an hour to write up a response before I need to go and spend the day working on calculus packets. I almost needed to forfeit, which would have been a frustrating shame. I apologize for being late, again. Let's get on to conclusions!

Regarding your premise:

"There are/have been governments that execute their citizens for no significant reason at all." -Only if being a threat to the government is not a significant reason. Do we have the right to execute terrorist leaders?

Roots of government:

"There are still established governments that have the potential to be even worse for the society than any government that could rise from what was once an anarchistic society." -No, if you trace them back all governments have their roots in anarchy. There is no reason that an established government has the potential to be worse than one of mob rule resulting from anarchy.

Examples:

"Your arguments so far have simply been "what if" statements with no substantial backing." -No. Somalia and the United States were both used as examples. I use more specifics than you, not that it matters.

What anarchy is:

Anarchy is not a thing, but rather a void. This void, like any other, will undoubtedly be filled by a government in a short span of time. You are correct in saying that Anarchy doesn't cause a house of be burned down, or a store to be looted, but it allows these things to happen. Even unjust governments have previsions to TRY and prevent this, and thus have a chance to succeed. During the Police Strike (US History) when there was no government capable of (instantly) enforcing order, looting and violence broke out immediately. Anarchy might not "cause" anything, but it cannot preserve rights any more than it can give them.

Regarding your freedoms:

1: If you're free from taxes you're also free from such burdens as roads, medical aid, retirement funds, legal remedy, and the ability to contract with anyone.

2: Yes you could take drugs. There will be no system in place to help you once you've destroyed your brain and a incapable of normal function.

3: Yes, you could do things with your body (until you're killed by someone else who can do whatever they want with theirs.). Could you please explain what you mean here?

On Progress:

Progress is only possible when people have the ability to contract with one another. You cannot start a company without contracting with a bank for a loan (for instance), nor can you start a large scale operation effectively without a standardized currency. Without a government supported court system there is no process for contract enforcement or legal remedy, nor is there a standard currency. Anarchy cannot provide the protections necessary for innovation or business growth except through personal force (violence).

On violence:

It would be worth mentioning the US police strike again. Without the means of maintaining order, violence broke out and this happened immediately after the strike had begun. Nothing was done for days until the government finally brought in National Guard to calm everything down. This is both an example of how (in those few days) an inability to suppress violence leads to disaster, and it's also an example of how an unjust government was able to eventually end the violence. Yes governments can be violent, but they can also enforce the peace through legal remedy without the need for even more violence. Anarchy cannot do this. A government will also be able to protect citizens from other governments, anarchy cannot.

In conclusion:

Anarchy, being nothing more than a void, can promise nothing for its citizens. It cannot protect their hypothetical rights, nor can it exist for long without becoming a government of some sort. Governments, no matter how unjust, have a history of becoming more just (Any number of governments can be named: Russia, U.S, Britain, etc ). They can guarantee rights and progress, something anarchy cannot do. The supposed benefits of living in an anarchy (namely, the ability to pretend you have unlimited rights) is outweighed by the advantages and de-facto rights you lose, no driving, contracting, protection of rights, etc.

I look forward to my opponents concluding statements. I also thank him for making my first debate on this site very interesting and challenging. It's been an honor debating someone with a record such as your own.
Korashk

Con

Words in all caps are that way for emphasis.

My response will be brief and I will only provide a small response to my opponent's points against. On an unrelated note I just took the AP Calculus exam and it was FREAKING HARD. I don't think I scored high enough for college credit...

///"There are/have been governments that execute their citizens for no significant reason at all." -Only if being a threat to the government is not a significant reason. Do we have the right to execute terrorist leaders?///

What I'm actually referring to is the HOLOCAUST. I could provide many other examples such as Stalin's Soviet Union [2] and Mao Zedong's China [1].
~

///"There are still established governments that have the potential to be even worse for the society than any government that could rise from what was once an anarchistic society." -No, if you trace them back all governments have their roots in anarchy. There is no reason that an established government has the potential to be worse than one of mob rule resulting from anarchy.///

I'll concede that the first few governments emerged from anarchy, they would have had to. Thus by the transitive property technically all governments have roots in anarchy, but most governments today are the product of splitting off of an existing government to gain independence. Much like America.
~

///"Your arguments so far have simply been "what if" statements with no substantial backing." -No. Somalia and the United States were both used as examples. I use more specifics than you, not that it matters.///

I'll be honest, I didn't see anything about Somalia or America used to substantiate one of your points or refute mine. You mentioned America in round two, but that's it. I also haven't noticed significantly more specifics. I do tend to read fast so I could have missed them. Oh well.
~

///1: If you're free from taxes you're also free from such burdens as roads, medical aid, retirement funds, legal remedy, and the ability to contract with anyone.///

I'm running out of time, so I'll only provide examples of roads being privately funded, but all of those things can be provided by the private sector [3].
~

///Yes you could take drugs. There will be no system in place to help you once you've destroyed your brain and a incapable of normal function.///

It should be my right to destroy my brain and be incapable of normal function.
~

///Yes, you could do things with your body (until you're killed by someone else who can do whatever they want with theirs.). Could you please explain what you mean here?///

Sell organs for profit, I don't mean that I sell my heart and they take it out right then, but body parts go for A LOT of money. I could sell my remains to a medical institute for posthumous study [4].

And with that I'm pretty much out of time, at least I don't have enough left to refute the rest of my opponent's post. Let the voting begin.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://www.boneroom.com...
Debate Round No. 4
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Sonofkong 6 years ago
Sonofkong
Cicero says that the median is always the best between two extremes. Most governments, including unjust ones are a median between communism and anarchy.
Posted by Veridas 6 years ago
Veridas
You're implying that anarchy isn't unjust...
Posted by FormAndTheFormless 6 years ago
FormAndTheFormless
Conduct:
I voted for Con because Pro defied his own stance against the use of semantics.

Spelling/Grammar:
Both the instigator and contender had good spelling and grammar.

Arguments:
I feel that Pro constructed some very strong arguments in Round 3 and 4 that were not adequately negated by the contender. For example, Pro's argument that government acts as a restrictive force against violence helped reinforce his assertion that anarchic society is generally more violent than ones which are ruled by unjust governments. Con's reference to the holocaust did not seem very convincing because it did not attack unjust governments as defined by the instigator in general; genocide does not seem as prevalent within governments as infighting would be without the establishment and enforcement of law as described by the Pro. Con's arguments regarding the value and exclusivity of specific rights within anarchic societies were not adequately enforced; Con's points on the value of such rights were especially lacking considering that these rights were regularly used by the contender to justify anarchic society.

Sources:
The sources presented by both debaters were not very convincing or supportive of their arguments; in general the sources cited by the two debaters were of equivalent quality.
Posted by rbrownell 6 years ago
rbrownell
Yeah, there were some problems that just blew my mind. I'm hoping the general average is low so the curve is higher! Then I can hope for a 3 or a 4. I'd be a lucky man for that, though. Have any other AP tests this week or next?

hah, take note of one of the first votes. From a guy with the anarchist symbol on his profile. Objective voting? who knows. C'est la vie.
Posted by Korashk 6 years ago
Korashk
///And, I also just finished my calculus test. Multiple choice wasn't so bad, but wow the free response was really tough!///

I know, the free response is where I really tanked. It was about just some obsure concepts that my class didn't really spend a whole lot of time on.
Posted by rbrownell 6 years ago
rbrownell
I also apologize for that double comment and once again thank you opponent for an interesting debate. Wish you had more time to respond, I'm sure the debate would have continued on very interestingly.
Posted by rbrownell 6 years ago
rbrownell
Very sorry for the semantics thing. I apologized multiple times in the round and explained my misunderstanding due to how semantics is viewed in my debate community.

And, I also just finished my calculus test. Multiple choice wasn't so bad, but wow the free response was really tough!
Posted by rbrownell 6 years ago
rbrownell
Very sorry for the semantics thing. I apologized multiple times in the round and explained my misunderstanding due to how semantics is viewed in my debate community.

And, I also just finished my calculus test. Multiple choice wasn't so bad, but wow the free response was really tough!
Posted by Korashk 6 years ago
Korashk
I gave Conduct to myself because my opponent used semantics in his opening argument.
Posted by rbrownell 6 years ago
rbrownell
Yeah its coming up next Wednesday and my teacher has only offered some various practice multiple choice and free response sections. Never an actual timed thing. I'm afraid I haven't been well enough prepared.
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