Anarchy is Preferable to Totalitarianism
Resolution: Anarchy is Preferable to Totalitarianism
Note on BOP
Normally PRO would take the full burden of proof in this debate, but since this is a tournament debate, in order to make it fair to both debaters so that potential victory is not biased, the BOP will be shared in this debate. This means that I must present arguments in favor of anarchy over totalitarianism and Lannan must present arguments in favor of totalitarianism over anarchy.
This debate is round 1 of Bsh1's Philosophy/Ethics tournament. Anyone with an Elo of 2500 or higher may vote.
Anarchy - A society without a publicly enforced government which advocates voluntary associations and personal autonomy
Perferable - More desirable, better
Totalitarianism - A society in which the government holds total control over all aspects of public and private life wherever and whenever possible
1. No semantics
2. No kritiks
3. Debaters are expected to abide by standard rules of conduct such as no personal attacks, plagiarizing, etc.
72 hours to post argument. 8000 character limit.
I accept this debate.
Anarchy refers to a society without a publicly enforced government which advocates a stateless society based on voluntary associations. Although there are many sects of anarchy, I will be arguing in favor of anarchy in general, focusing on its common traits such as the lack of public authority, promotion of personal autonomy, and the non-aggression principle.
Anarchism envisages society as an ideal form of personal autonomy. John Locke believed that all men have three natural rights: The right to life, liberty, and property. In general, anarchy operates off of the basic idea that all men share these rights, save for the right to property which may vary among different sects of anarchy. Although anarchy promotes these rights, it specifically focuses on the right to liberty. It is important to note that men only have the right to liberty insofar as they do not impede on others’ rights. This is a basic tenet of anarchy known as the non-aggression principle which will be addressed later. The right to liberty is important because personal autonomy is what makes human beings distinct, moral, and valuable individuals. Distinct in that our free decisions indicate our personal thoughts, feelings, and preferences, and our decisions create the path in which we walk our life. This allows humans to pursue distinct individuality, which is important to the social, economic, technological, and moral development of society. Moral creatures in that ethics is very much based on the intent of the actions we do and the means in which we do it. A forced action does not reflect on the morality of the agent because that agent did not freely choose to commit said action. Valuable in that each free decision allows an individual to better himself and his society as he can best do and as he sees fit. In conclusion, personal autonomy makes human beings, human beings: valuable, individual, and moral agents.
The Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) is a moral stance which asserts that initiated aggression against a person’s rights is illegitimate. Aggression is only justified when it is used as a means of defending one’s rights. NAP specifically refers to our right to personal autonomy and self determination. The NAP is the guiding moral code of anarchy. NAP is an important moral code because it distinguishes civilized anarchy from the idea of anarchy as economic and social chaos. If the NAP is followed then an anarchic society may flourish. The society would allow full personal autonomy, and thus the humanization of its citizens. Anarchy along with the moral code of NAP allows for persons to be respected as individual, independent, moral, and valuable human beings. In other words, humans can be treated as, “adults,” as opposed to the totalitarian idea that citizens are incapable of taking care of themselves and making their own decisions. If NAP is not followed, citizens have the moral right to punish those who violate others rights.
It is important to note that although NAP is the guiding moral rule of libertarianism, it is not necessarily the only moral rule. NAP has a special attachment to libertarian philosophy, and thus it is important that it be covered for the sake of this debate.
Authority is Unnecessary
Authority is defined as, “The power to enforce laws, exact obedience, command, determine, or judge.”  The realization of authority operates under the principle that by controlling the freedom of others, certain ends can be met or avoided. Punishments are dispensed to unwanted actions as a means of controlling actions.
There are two problems with authority:
1. Who determines which actions are unwanted, and how are unwanted actions determined?
Political theories such as democracy and republicanism allow for individual control and consent over such matters. How does this question apply to Totalitarianism though? In a totalitarian state, citizens do not consent to created laws nor do they participate in the creation of such laws. This leaves great potential for the abuse of authority, as totalitarian states had a tendency toward throughout history.  The problem lies in the idea that Totalitarian leaders are superior to citizens, and thus they should have the ability to control the lives of citizens. This supposed superiority however, is for the most part, unfounded and imaginary. Without this superiority then, totalitarian dictators are just as fallible as other humans. To put a fallible person in a position of such immense power thus jeopardizes the overall well being of society.
2. Individuals can create the same results law does without public enforcement
If any social institution is important enough to societal and individual well being, there is no reason to believe man will not take the effort to establish it of his own will. Government is thus unnecessary, for any institution important to society that government enforces, man will also institute regardless of government enforcement. Any institution that is deemed unimportant to man that the government enforces is unjustified because it infringes on man’s right to liberty.
Greater Possibility of Abuse and Greater Negative Effects from Abuse
As mentioned earlier in Authority is Unnecessary, by placing a fallible being in a position of immense power, it is likely that this power will be abused. Citizens do not control law and enforcement and thus the Totalitarian elite can very easily create unjust and abusive laws. If citizens refuse to follow these laws, Totalitarian states use great force to destroy all opposition. The only option then is to go to war and overthrow the Totalitarian elite. It is therefore no surprise that Totalitarian states like the USSR under Stalin killed as many as 60,000,000 people and Nazi Germany killed upwards towards 21,000,000 people.  In contrast, since anarchy lacks an established authority, it is unlikely that people will be overpowered and abused. Provided NAP is followed accordingly, such a problem would never exist at all.
Totalitarianism Undermines Individuality
Individuality allows for the possibility of political, technological, and moral progress. Abiding by social norms halts individuality. Progression comes from “thinking outside of the box.” Totalitarian governments control every aspect of an individual, and originality and creativity are outlawed on the principle that this allows citizens to escape what the government deems to be “the right way to live.” Totalitarian fascist Benito Mussolini stated, “Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state." Totalitarian governments force all people to abide by X, and to fail to abide by X results in punishment. By constricting all people to follow a certain lifestyle, originality and creativity are destroyed, and thus the possibility of progression is halted.
Totalitarianism Undermines Humans as Independent, Individually Valuable, and Moral Agents
This argument is simply the inverse of my argument in Personal Autonomy. In Personal Autonomy I stated that self determination allows humans to be independent, valuable, and moral agents. Since totalitarianism is the complete control over an individual’s liberty, the pursuit of independence, individual value, and the ability to make significant moral decisions is therefore impeded.
Alright, I'm crunched for time so let's get this crazy train moving. I appologize if I drop something as I'm trying to get through this under the time limit.
Contention 1: Humans are Selfish in Nature and thus couldn't work together.
Sigmund Freud has stated that humans are selfishly aggressive. Let me give you an example. Say you're walking down the street and you see a homeless man begging for change. You give the man change. You feel good knowing that now he has money to get some food into his stomach, but Freud has agrued that this was only done, because you want to save the genes of the human race and you want it to continue. Also that you now get a feel good feeling and if you didn't you would feel guilty and ashamed. You could have easily done it just so you can feel good about yourself. Here he is quoted.
"I have found little that is 'good' about human beings on the whole. In my experience most of them are trash, no matter whether they publicly subscribe to this or that ethical doctrine or to none at all. That is something that you cannot say aloud, or perhaps even think."
Thomas Hobbes has also shown that humanity, by nature, is rotten. That we will rape and pillage everything unless we have a threat. This of course being laws and punishment. Otherwise we would end up in chaos and anarchy. (http://www.iep.utm.edu...) I added the raping and pillaging parts as I was, once again, speaking about the Human Nature. (http://oregonstate.edu...) Hobbes has stated that human nature is poor, nasty, brutish, and short. This is how we argued that we have governments via the Social Contract Theory. For an example I would give up my right to kill Pro and Pro would, in turn, give up his right to kill me. If he were to denies it and kill me and say, "Meh, one less Ginger," the government would punish him. See we don't violate the law, because of either religion or pure fear out of the government taking away our rights or the death penalty. (http://philosophypages.com...)
“one, the postulate of human greed by which each man insists upon his own private use of common property; the other, the postulate of natural reason, by which each man strives to avoid violent death” (De Cive, Epistle Dedicatory).
We can see here above that simply we go to avoid death and we all know that one of the leading fears is death. Why do we fear death? What will happen to our families when we die? How will I be remembered? Could I have done better? What's next? Am I going to heaven or hell? These are all questions that we ponder when it comes to the afterlife. We simply fear the unknown.
You can see that Humans are selfish evil creatures by nature and if we are not controlled then the animalistic instincts of humanity would reign and we would see the exact opposite of what Pro is stating. You see It would work in an idealistic society, but not everyone is fitting for that ideals and wth humanity being evil in nature you can see that we need to be controlled or have to face utter destruction as depicted in the Movie Road Warrior. THe problem with NAP as like I stated above can easily turn into an almost popularity contest. Let's say in Philidelphia where there is still firebombings of blacks homes is in this setting. People and minorities could easily be scratched out with the support of the public. We can observe that my opponent had stated that If someone is not following the right moral code then they are to be punished, but under anarchy there is no one to set forth a moral code. We can look at any topic area like Abortion. Abortion doctors would be targetted and killed by anti-abortionists for simply violating this "moral code" in their own eyes. Though Totalitarianism underminds individuality and civil rights it is simply better to be safe and oppressed then free but living everyday in fear.
Contention 2: Authority is problematic?
Under this contention I will show that authroity is needed outside of what was already said in the first contention. Firstly I bring up how the philosophy of Voltaire. THough Voltaire would disagree with NAP as he states that religion is horrendous and using it to determine morals has corrupted humanity and because of that we need a King. (http://www.the-philosophy.com...)
“Men are blind and very unfortunate to prefer one sect absurd, bloody, supported by executioners and surrounded by stakes, a sect that may be approved only by those to whom it gives power and wealth, a sect that n is received in only a small part of the world, a simple and universal religion, by the admission of Christ-was the religion of the human race time of Seth, Enoch and Noah
"Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills."
As you can see by the above quotes that I have given you from Voltaire show that religion is something that one shouldn't follow as he stated that an intelligent person should not accept religious beliefs and that the religious ceremonies should be ignored. Hobbes as I showed in my last contention showed that humans are brutal and that we actually need a strong monarchy to keep us in line. A government's first duty is to protect its people and their freedom's come afterwards. Voltaire believed that generally humans were ignorant and needed an enlightend King in order to control and protect their people. I'll leave you with a small humorous quote to show what I mean.
"The only way to comprehend what mathematicians mean by Infinity is to contemplate the extent of human stupidity."
My opponent brings up the greatness of the United States, but many can actually argue that the US is actually Totalitarian as they control our everyday lives by regulating the media, limits on speech, and invasion of our privacy to control our everyday lives.
Contention 3: The USSR and NAZI Germany
My opponent argues that the USSR and NAZI Germany were terrible as the elite control the system and they killed tons of people, but the funny thing is that they were using NAP to justify their killings. The USSR was cleaning all political enemies while the NAZI GErmany actually applied this same theory to all non-Ayrans. Now if we apply the theory of Realism, which is anarchy on the global scale expect the nations are almost like people and there is no rule elsewhere we can actually see that my opponent is actually attacking himself by using these two as an example as under REalism we can see that these two were only acting under anarchy on the global scale we can see that they were only doing what they thought was morally correct, as applied under NAP, and committed these attrocities to help their nation. (http://en.wikipedia.org...(international_relations))
Since I'm running out of characters I have no choice, but to pass it back off to my opponent.
My opponent dropped quite a few arguments.
He conceded the following:
- That personal autonomy allows human beings to be distinct, moral, and valuable individuals.
- That totalitarian states put flawed humans in positions of immense power.
- That totalitarian states have a greater potential to cause greater harm to citizens.
- That individuals can create the same results law does without public reinforcement.
- That totalitarianism undermines individuality.
- That totalitarianism undermines humans as independent, individually valuable, and moral agents.
My opponent argues in favor of Freud, who believed that human beings were inherently selfish beings. Although Freud did not personally advocate psychological egoism, my opponent puts forth psychological egoism as a rebuttal to show why an anarchic state cannot work. Psychological egoism is the idea that humans are motivated solely by their own welfare.
There are two main problems with this using this argument to discredit anarchy. The argument does nothing to harm an anarchic state, and the idea of psychological egoism applies universally regardless of the society.
A successful anarchic state does not require humans to be altruistic; a successful anarchic state is a state in which human beings can exercise personal autonomy without having their rights violated. Selfishness can then motivate human beings to achieve their own personal goals as long as they do not violate the rights of others. Selfishness can also motivate humans to come together to achieve a greater good. Therefore psychological egoism does not harm the concept of anarchy.
Since psychological egoism universally applies to humans, it also applies to a totalitarian state. In fact, psychological egoism is more dangerously applied to totalitarianism since a totalitarian state requires that citizens give up their individuality for the greater good of the society as a whole. According to CON however, psychological egoism makes this notion unlikely, if not impossible. It is even more dangerous when applied to totalitarian dictators. Dictators who get too caught up in their own personal welfare may very well jeopardize the safety and well being of an entire nation.
Though it should be noted that just because Freud believed that human beings are motivated only by their own selfish desires, does not mean this notion is true. My opponent did little to advance the validity of psychological egoism, so the argument cannot be taken as a serious rebuttal to anarchy.
CON also advances the philosophy of Hobbes, who had a negative take on human nature. He believed that humans required law and punishment in order to keep society from reducing to social and moral chaos.
There are three main problems with this argument. It assumes humans will not abide by NAP or act morally good simply for the sake of societal well being, the social contract is unnecessary, and Hobbes’ negative take on human nature also applies to totalitarian dictators.
CON’s assertion that human beings, unless governed, will commit atrocious acts rests on nothing except a claim. Humans naturally desire peace, justice, and security, which are preserved through upright action. Thus it is logical to believe that in order to preserve these things, humans will generally act morally good. In addition, anarchy should never result in chaos if NAP is properly followed. Since every man seeks to preserve his own rights and doing this means not violating the rights of others, it is also logical to believe that men will be curved from violating others’ rights. If any man violates NAP, then others have the moral right to punish him. NAP allows for “law and punishment” without a publicly enforced government. Thus this moral code keeps an anarchic state from degrading into social chaos.
The social contract is unnecessary because the same principle can be applied to a society without a publicly enforced government. In the social contract, humans possess the liberty to make personal decisions only insofar as they do not violate the rights of others. If a person violates the social contract, then the government may punish that person. NAP is the exact same as this without a publicly enforced government. In NAP, humans have full control over their personal autonomy as long as they do not violate the rights of others. If any person violates NAP, then others have the moral right to punish that person.
Hobbes’ negative take on human nature applies to all humans, including totalitarian dictators. This becomes problematic, because as mentioned earlier, to place a fallible human into a position of immense power jeopardizes the well being of the society. In addition, totalitarian dictators can make themselves exempt from their own laws, which would mean that they can commit atrocities without fear of immediate lawful punishment.
Finally, just because Hobbes believed human nature has a tendency towards evil, does not necessarily make this the case. My opponent offered no arguments supporting this notion, and thus it cannot be taken as a serious argument against anarchy.
Fear of Death and Animalistic Instincts
I did not understand what exactly CON was trying to say here due to poor writing. He started off talking about humans’ fear of death, then somehow connected it to how humans are inherently evil, which he then somehow followed with humans needing to be controlled by the government. Of course, if humans are inherently evil, and the government is made up of humans, then it would logically follow that the government is evil also.
CON is right to state that NAP is only as good as whether it is followed or not. Since NAP is not publicly enforced, every anarchic society runs the risk of NAP being ignored. However, this should be unlikely since humans naturally desire self preservation and freedom, and NAP offers this. At any time where NAP is ignored, human beings still possess the moral right to defend their rights from aggressors.
Idealized and Realistic Society
In an idealized anarchic society, the society would allow both total freedom and security.
In an idealized totalitarian society, the state could only allow total security.
In a realistic anarchic society, individuals may be thrusted into social turmoil, but would still possess the freedom to make personal and moral decisions.
In a realistic totalitarian society, individuals would be completely oppressed and probably abused. Any individual who opposed this oppression would be punished.
In comparison, an idealized anarchic state is preferable to an idealized totalitarian state because it offers both freedom and security. In the realistic version of both societies, both generally incite social turmoil, but only the anarchic state still allows freedom. Personal autonomy is very important because it makes human distinct, valuable, moral agents. In a realistic anarchic society, humans can still achieve an idealized version of an anarchic society through their own voluntary acts, unlike the realistic totalitarian society.
Something About Religion
Again, I am not exactly sure what CON is trying to say here due to poor writing. I do not see how religion is relevant to the topic at hand.
CON argues that the duty of the government is to protect its citizens. This however, ignores my argument that authority is unnecessary; humans are capable of protecting themselves without a government. It also ignores the fact that totalitarian dictators can easily be corrupted and thus harm the citizens of a totalitarian society, which is the exact opposite of protecting the citizens.
USSR and Nazi Germany
These Totalitarian states were not using NAP because they directly violated the rights of others without proper justification.
Realism is not a proper example of anarchy because it includes nations with publicly enforced governments.
I withdraw due to personal matters. My appoliges to my opponent Please vote Pro.
I hope everything turns out alright Lannan.
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