Anarchism vs Marxism-Leninism
Debate Rounds (4)
Hello, I would like to debate a moderate opponent not some one who is incredibly well versed in government theory, I am not supreme defender of my ideology but I would like to debate someone that is relatively of my compentance level. I would it to be good debate. Rather even and hope the voters take the debate and don't shut me down completely. Any way thank you. All standard rules(no ad homiem, no cursing, and no semantics arguments) except one as I am the Con I would prefer if the Affirmative-Pro party post there case this round instead of the general I accept. To be clear the party I will be debating will be defending traditional anarchism(government is unnecessary) and attacking Marxism-Leninism. Thank you.
Anarchism: a political theory holding all forms of governmental authority to be unnecessary and undesirable and advocating a society based on voluntary cooperation and free association of individuals and groups.
Marxism-Leninism: a communist ideology, officially based upon the theories of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and Vladimir Lenin, that promotes the development and creation of an international communist society through the leadership of a vanguard party presiding over a revolutionary socialist state that represents a dictatorship of the proletariat.
Seeing as both Marxism and anarchism agree that a stateless society is the end goal, it would appear that this debate will focus primarily on the methods which each respective philosophy supports to attain an anarchist society. Marxism-Leninism has a very different way to attain this end then does anarchism. While anarchist do not separate means from ends (and are thus against State methods aimed at reaching anarchist ends), Marxism-Leninism specifically advocates a seizure and control of the government in order to bring about anarchist communism. Therefore this debate will be concerned with whether or not State or non-State methods are preferable to reach anarchism.
Contention. Marxism-Leninism's analysis of the State.
The method in which Marxism-Leninism supports eliminating the State is to infuse it with enough power so as to eliminate class distinctions between the bourgeois and the proletarian. It does this by abolishing capitalism and with it the class differences which it breeds. After this, according to Marxist-Leninist theory, the State would naturally whither away. This is because M-L conceives the State as primarily an economic entity, one which was created to serve the interests of an economic elite. Once this elite is eliminated from existence, the State withers away as "no longer necessary". There are a few problems with this though and these problems prove to highlight the advantages of anarchism.
The primary problem in Marxist-Leninist theory is that it (A) makes a mistake in identifying the primary function and nature of the State and (B) fails to take into account the incentives provided in the creation of a socialist State. Likewise, these points also serve to show that anarchism is a superior philosophy in that it (A) makes no category error in its power analysis and (B) correctly identifies the inevitable replacement of class types under State socialism.
Counter. Function of the State and Categorical Classes.
Marxism-Leninism identifies the State as originating only in response to the capitalist (or any oppressive class e.g. feudal lords, etc.) class's wish to protect its economic interests. But the problem here is that this analysis fails to identify a broader characteristic of the State; to protect the interests of the general power elite. The mistake M-L makes is to assume that economic interests are the only ones in existence. But this is not the case. M-L fails to identify that the State serves the interests of whoever is in power, not necessarily their economic interests.
For instance, once State socialism was established in the Soviet Union, we saw a new class emerge; the political class. While the State previously served to protect economic interests, the establishment of State socialism created an elite class interested in protecting it's current power. This presents a problem for M-L. It's not the economic system only that creates class divisions, but the economic system in conjunction with the political system. Anarchism focuses on both of these aspects while M-L only serves to replace one class interest (the economic) with another (the political).
 Anti-Duhrinh. Friedrich Engels (Part 3, Chapter 2).
"When at last it becomes the real representative of the whole of society, it renders itself unnecessary. As soon as there is no longer any social class to be held in subjection, as soon as class rule, and the individual struggle for existence based upon our present anarchy in production, with the collisions and excesses arising from these, are removed, nothing more remains to be repressed, and a special repressive force, a state, is no longer necessary."---Stateless communism at the end stage of history is also a major component of the Marxist conception of history."
Hello and I would like to concede the definitions provided by the Affirmative case. These are adequate definition as well as providing insight to someone new to political theory. I would add one.
Totalitarianism: : the political concept that the citizen should be totally subject to an absolute state authority
My opponent has done a predictable means of attack, attacking the transitional state phase. However Pro attacks the straw man and actually his case helps my own. You see the debate of Anarchism versus Marxism-Leninism needn't be actually be the debate on how to achieve anarchism because for all practical purposes as my opponent himself concedes Marxism-Leninism leads to a totalitarianism regime or at least better so than Anarchism. The problem with Anarchism is it fundamentally is contradictory with progressive society or progressivism at all. But I will wait to attack my opponents case till next round. Even though my opponent fundamentally attacked the straw man.
So my argument will have no perceptions about Anarchism except that its aims are as defined in the definition.
My deductive argument is as follows
P1) Marxism-Leninism makes way for Totalitarianism
P2) Totalitarianism is preferable to Anarchy
C1) Marxism-Leninism is preferable to Anarchy.
P1) Marxism-Leninism makes way for Totalitarianism
My opponent points out that Marxism-Leninism creates a political class that is "State previously served to protect economic interests, the establishment of State socialism created an elite class interested in protecting it's current power" and that is the tell tale aspect of totalitarian regimes. The fact is in its creation of the proletarian the state ends up becoming a entity itself. Genuinely interested in protecting its power and helping humanity or at least those under him. The fact is for all practical reasons (as far as we have seen) the Marxist ideology leads to Totalitarian regime. My opponent even concedes the point it creates a politically powerful class that is interested in protecting its own power. It seems like this is the rather obvious that at least considering history and my opponents case that at the very least leads to Totalitarianism more effectively than Anarchy would. If that is simply true and the other main premise holds true than my opponents case falls.
You see if Anarchy is less preferable than Totalitarian regimes and the Marxism better leads to Totalitarian regime than my opponent loses the debate because that means it follows Marxism-Leninism is preferable to Anarchy(better leading to a good form of government, instead of the undesirable lack of government).
P2) Totalitarianism is preferable to Anarchy. Totalitarianism even in an imperfect state is preferable to Anarchy. The simple problem with anarchy is it simply contrary to progressivism. Society is allows individuals to succeed. The only value of an individual is their utility to the state. Individuals only look out for themselves.
"During the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that conditions called war; and such a war, as if of every man, against every man." Thomas Hobbes
This is the reason anarchy can never work it contradicts human nature. Even granting not all humans are inclined to destroy things or enslave other people or violate people's rights regardless there are individuals that aim to do so. The individuals without society or system of consequences(even granting that people at times try to defend people) there is no motivation for resisting the urge to take advantage of people and taking what they want from them when they want it. Cold corpses speak louder than abstract freedoms
Totalitarianism is stability at all costs. Totalitarianism is only interested in maintaining or expanding laws to cover every foreseeable problem within society without compassion or moral judgment. The government in such a regime is advantageous to other forms of government as it shortens political processes while still maintaining the same result. Other advantages include dictators in a fascist reigime can (if they are uncorrupt) concern themselves fully with the best thing for their country, rather than trying to stay in power and not be voted out in the next election. Totalitarian regimes tend to be non-benevolent in nature, however stability is presumed value is much higher than any moral questions raised from such actions.
Totalitarianism maintains a system of governance without giving in to major corruption because it attempts to control social behavior. Also it keeps elements of insured stability (unlike Anarchism) while maintaining a healthy and socially acceptable environment at any costs.
Some people claim that Totalitarian regimes must be either racist or atheistic or both, however, its non-sequitur. The Italian Fascist regime was officially neither. It is necessary that regime is racist or atheistic all it need be is value insistent.
C1) This is a valid argument. It may be complicatedly set but it doesn't contradict itself and does follow.
I turn to my opponent for objections
"Marxism-Leninism Today." Marxism-Leninism Today. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 July 2012. <http://mltoday.com...;.
"Totalitarianism." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 16 July 2012. <http://www.merriam-webster.com...;.
De Felice, Renzo Interpretations of Fascism, translated by Brenda Huff Everett, Cambridge ; London : Harvard University Press, 1977
"Anarchism vs Marxism-Leninism." Debate Topic: Anarchism vs Marxism-Leninism. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 July 2012. <http://www.debate.org...;.
I concede Con's P1 (that Marxism-Leninism leads to totalitarianism) and concede the validity of the argument, meaning if the premises are true then so is the conclusion. I will of course attempt to show in this debate that the premises are in fact not true though.
Totalitarianism- Some problems.
(A) Power structures and Corruption.
Con from what I can see mostly just ignored the concept of a corrupt dictator or totalitarian regime. The problem with this though is that not only would a totalitarian regime create structural incentives which would attract corruption, but there would be no check if a dictator in control of such a regime actually became corrupt. So under totalitarianism, we would see a large likelihood of corruption, coupled with no way to stop or resist it. As far as the structural incentives which I mentioned, the point which I made in arguing against the idea of a State naturally withering away (after it has been infused with so much power) applies just the same. Consider my opponent's contention regarding the baseness of human nature: "without society or system of consequences(even granting that people at times try to defend people) there is no motivation for resisting the urge to take advantage of people and taking what they want from them when they want it."
It's certainly an interesting point and works well in refuting Con's point. For consider the tenets of totalitarianism. Under said system, political power is entrenched with one person (or one small group of people). Where exactly is the "system of consequences" needed to deter the people at the top of a totalitarian dictatorship from abusing their power. That's just it, there are none. Because totalitarianism disarms completely the majority of the population while giving a small number of elites near unlimited power, those in power will inevitably use those resources to exploit those weaker then them. It appears totalitarianism is ironically itself guilty of the argument used to supposedly make anarchy untenable (I will respond to this point below).
(B) Mass Murder and Death.
Con made an interesting note in his round. He claimed that "Cold corpses speak louder than abstract freedoms". Perhaps. I would also say that they speak louder than abstractions on the preferentially of totalitarianism. Consider the empirical evidence from various totalitarian regimes. Around 1.66 million deaths by democide under the current totalitarian regime in N. Korea, almost 4 million under the Khmer Rouge totalitarian regime, and at least 20 million killings by the German Nazi regime. Add on the mass killings under the Maoist, Stalinist, and Leninist regimes and the deaths speak for themselves. Totalitarianism does not lead to more security (unless one refers to those who are themselves wielding the power), instead it leads to mass murder and essentially no security for the citizenry.
Anarchism- A defense.
(A) Utility Contention. One of the claims regarding the tenability of anarchism made by Con was that value of an individual lies only in its utility to the State. The point (while being entirely unsubstantiated and really just an assertion by Con) fallaciously mistakes the State as an entity on its own. But the State is nothing but a group of people with the power to project their edicts on a populace. It is not some separate entity other than the individuals which make it up. So to claim that individuals are only worth what they're worth to the State is essentially to claim that individuals are only what they are worth to other individuals who claim State power. Seeing as this is the case Con has the burden to substantiate this categorical distinction between people part of and separate from the State.
(B) Human nature. Not only does totalitarianism exacerbate the supposed problem which my opponent has pointed out regarding human nature (see Totalitarianism, point A), but a state of anarchy is actually in a special position as the only form of political organization which would be apt to deal with the problem. Under anarchism, there is no institution within society who's relative power over the rest of society is expanded so much as the State. In anarchy, the concept of political power would be abolished. Since political power is simply the most powerful weapon which criminal persons use to extend their will over the weak, abolishing this would also mostly abolish the problem my opponent has pointed out.
(C) Individual safeguards. Now one might still object to anarchism because of the thought that anarchism really would be what Hobbes described as war "against every man". The contention though is hardly supported by anything in my opponent's argument though, short of undefended assertions. Furthermore, research into game theory has produced favorable results on the question of the need for a central authority for society to function. On top of that there have been several points of thought looking into possible stateless and polytheistic forms of law which could exist under anarchism from private law to federative or syndicate community setups. In conclusion, the Hobbesian nightmare of perpetual war is entirely unsupported as the supposed inevitable result of an anarchist society.
 http://www.hawaii.edu... (Statistics of Democide by R.J. Rummel, Chapter 10)
 Ibid (Ch. 4)
 http://www.hawaii.edu... (Figure 1.2)
 http://www.spunk.org... (Anarchism and Game Theory by Doug Newdick)
 https://cis.org.au... (Polycentric Law in a New Century by Tom Bell)
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