Commentator's Choice - Democracy is a good system of government
Debate Rounds (4)
I thank inaudita for her participation! :)
This first round is dedicated to rules and parameters only, so if there is anything you feel is missing, feel free to add it. Oh and.. don't troll me. TToTT
Anywho, here are some definitions and parameters
- a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives
- control of an organization or group by the majority of its members
- to be desired and approved of
- a set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organized scheme or method.
I will be taking the PRO position on this resolution, meaning I must show, in some way, that democracy is a good system of government
My opponent is CON. CON's job is to show that democracy is not a good system of government.
Let's GOOO! :D
note: I am a male not a female
Ignorant people have a very marginal chance at selecting good leaders. This can be seen in modern examples, where the masses select a leader that represents a polarized point of view. In a representative system, particularly in 2 party systems, this can be a bad thing, as it leads to a lack of productivity in the government and overbearing partisanship.
In multiparty systems their exists the terrifying problem of massive amounts of runoff elections and other general issues due to the fact that it does not have a unified political assembly.
Their also exists the problem that most democracies aren't successful. Most of the time when a democracies creation is attempted the process fails. Taking the odds of creating a democracy could in fact be more dangerous than directly creating a dictatorship, because in fact the end result could be more oppressive than a planned dictatorship or imperial system would be.
For these reasons I say democracy should not even be attempted because the chances of success are extremely slim.
I will begin (a reference to my name!! :D) with a disclaimer. I am not going to argue that democracy is perfect. Every system of government has its strengths and weaknesses. Unilateral governmental systems, for example, sacrifice the majority’s freedoms for relative efficiency; the unilateral group or person does not need to confer with any other faction in deciding governmental policies. Democracies generally sacrifice policy-making efficiency to give the majority both more liberties and greater power in government.
Some points in favor of democracy:
1: Democracy gives its constituents greater individual liberties and power in government
This is democracy’s greatest strength. The majority populace decides the governments policies and/or policymakers. Democratic societies’ policies are made to benefit the majority populace since either the populace itself decides policies or its elected policymakers do (usually the latter case, since the former is incredibly inefficient and time consuming)..The ability of the majority to choose who or what policies it wants is what makes a democracy good. As someone once said, democracy is power ‘by the people, for the people’.. literally. Anything less would not be a democracy.
2: Democracy is micro-economically efficient
Democracies generally excel in microeconomics; for every market there exists a supply and demand. Suppliers must account for the demands of the general populace (i.e. a supplier sets outrageous prices and loses all its customers and makes a net loss due to production costs). This means that, while the supplier wants to make as much money as possible, it literally has to accommodate people’s demanded prices and standards. This is another one of democracy’s strengths. Suppliers ultimately work for the people.
3: Opportunity to succeed.
Democratic societies often reward hard work and/or good performance. I like to think of democratic society as an immense cluster of hierarchical ladders toward economic success. (My favorite ladder is the one which most people start on: the educational system).
I argue that democracy’s strengths outweigh its weaknesses and makes it stronger than others; democracy is therefore good.
2. The idea of beign micro-economically efficient and the prctice of capitalism is not independent to democracies. It can be seen in all variaties of governments, including monarchies and dictatorships, which generally conflict with the political ideas of democracy.
I believe we shouldn't be debating whether a capitalist democracy is good, but whether the political structure of it is sound.
- "Ignorant people have a very marginal chance at selecting good leaders. This can be seen in modern examples, where the masses select a leader that represents a polarized point of view. In a representative system, particularly in 2 party systems, this can be a bad thing, as it leads to a lack of productivity in the government and overbearing partisanship."
This may or may not be true. What does it mean to be corrupt? Past what point must an elected citizen be deemed partisan? My opponent assumes the burden of proving that categorical democracy is corrupt and that partisanship is ultimately a weakness to democracy. I have a couple of arguments to this statement.
1) I am going to argue that partisanship is actually good. Partisanship is the way a democratic nation accommodates its many opposing viewpoints; democracy inherently cater to its constituents. While this may create some inefficiency in policy-making (the process is considerably lengthened), partisanship forces policies to undergo change to suit the needs of as many sides as possible. The democratic partisan system guarantees that policies go through great scrutiny (its harms, its benefits, its effects on the people, etc.) before they are passed. I believe well thought-out policies are better than those which do not go through the same process; the populace matters.
2) A system of government in which policymakers are not pressured by or accounting for its constituents is no democracy; it is an oligarchy. There are governmental systems which call themselves democracies, but are really oligarchies.
"The ability of the majority to choose who or what policies it wants is what makes a democracy good. As someone once said, democracy is power ‘by the people, for the people’.. literally. Anything less would not be a democracy."
If my opponent seeks to argue that oligarchies are bad, I will unilaterally agree with him. However, the resolution pertains only to democracies. If it fails, it is not a democracy. It is only a democracy in success, meaning we are arguing only whether or not successful democracies are good, not whether or not democracy is worth attempting. If a governmental system is graded by its success, a democracy is not only good, but one of the best.
- "the chances of [democracy's] success are extremely slim."
This statement is irrelevant unless my opponent can show that democracy's rate of failure and its consequences are worse than those of other governmental systems. Democracy is good because it succeeds in bringing about much greater total happiness than other systems of government.
I'm quite curious as to how my opponent defines a governmental system's success. What does it mean for a system to be successful?
- "The idea of beign micro-economically efficient and the prctice of capitalism is not independent to democracies. It can be seen in all variaties of governments"
Democracy is micro-economically efficient. That there exists other systems of government which employ capitalism doesn't mean this point is moot. Capitalism differs, is oftentimes nonexistent even, across various systems of government. A democratic capitalist system is superior to, say, a dictatorial capitalist system because while there are some limitations as to what suppliers can do (i.e. there are usual codified laws by the people-elected government which forbid unfair market manipulation such as forming monopolistic coalitions), suppliers are generally free to set the bar for themselves. It is the suppliers who know the in and outs of their market product through many instances of trial and error or acquired knowledge. Forcing suppliers to unnatural lows, for example, would cause the supplier to lose its ability to maintain its supply (it costs money to produce supplies), and can destroy the supply itself (lowering living standards). In terms of jobs, the supplier may be forced to fire all its workers, cutting off people's revenue, decreasing the total market income and cyclically destroy the economy. This is why totalitarian economic systems have never been successful: It is impossible for the government to account for each and every business or market in its nation's immeasurable numbers of localities. Allowing the suppliers greater freedom is one of democracy's strengths. Democratic capitalist systems are among the few which don't have its state assume control its suppliers/supplies.
- My opponent continues to point out potential weaknesses of democracy, but I've already admitted that democracy (and all systems of government) has weaknesses. I am arguing that democracy's strengths offset its weaknesses; trading efficiency of unilateral decision-making for better scrutinized policies/decisions and greater liberties and opportunities for a greater number of people makes a democracy one of the better systems of government. Under this, my greater liberties/powers argument still stands. My opponent completely drops this point and has not shown, in any way, why democracy is not good. (Ten points for House Democracy!!)
- My economic argument in favor of democracy still stands. My opponent only points out that other systems of governments can employ capitalism, but made no attempts to refute that democracy's economic system is good.
- Dmocratic societies provide greater opportunities for success. My opponent drops this point. (Five points for House Democracy!!)
- For the purposes of his arguments, my opponent should define what he thinks it means for a system of government to be successful or good.
I define a succesful government as one in which the governmnet is stable and the people are happy.
"My economic argument in favor of democracy still stands. My opponent only points out that other systems of governments can employ capitalism, but made no attempts to refute that democracy's economic system is good."
What I said earlier is that democratic societies are not strictly capitalistic. A democracy is simply
a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. This is not particularly capitalistic, a democracy can enforce any variety of economy it chooses.
"D[e]mocratic societies provide greater opportunities for success. My opponent drops this point. (Five points for House Democracy!!)"
Capitalist societies provide the ability for individuals to seek greater success, a communist democracy could do otherwise. Also, individual success is not necessarilly superior to societal success in general, which though being possible to occur in a capitalist society is much less likely than within a communist or socialist society.
I could not find hard statistics on the success/failure rate of democracies, nor could I find any statistics on the success/failure rate of other forms of government.
The public is ignorant about politics and lacks even the basic facts that it would need to make sound judgments about political issues. A poll by Ipsos-MORI shows just how deep this ignorance is. Among other things, the poll found that:
These are not just little mistakes, they’re absolute howlers.
This ignorance is perfectly rational and understandable. The problem is that these are the people who decide who runs the country. How can you choose the best set of welfare policies – ‘the best’ being what you would choose if you had all the information available – when you know absolutely nothing about welfare? How can you choose which of the two main parties is offering the best immigration policy if you haven’t got a clue about immigration?
(A little parody of mysticegg :)) - instead of quoting my opponent's passages in the inevitable rebuttal that will follow, I will rely on the reader's short term memory in aligning my responses to the content of my opponent's previous round.
The Rebuttal Round:
The economic argument
My opponent completely drops my economic argument in favor of pointing out that there is no mutual exclusivity of capitalism to democracies. That is true: capitalism differs across different governmental systems. However, democracies inherently incorporate market-based economic systems, and are exclusively never command economies (economic system in which government assumes absolute control over the economy). The point is, there is a distinction in the type of economic system democracy employs which makes it relevantly noteworthy for the purposes of this debate.
Democracy -> Heavy market-based economic elements -> microeconomically efficient.
Since no other arguments were substantiated against my economic argument, this point is effectively conceded.
The opportunity argument
"societal success...is much less likely [in a democratic society] than within a communist or socialist society" - inaudita
"I could not find hard statistics on the success/failure rate of democracies, nor could I find any statistics on the success/failure rate of other forms of government."
I will be pointing out several things to uphold my argument. First, my opponent concedes that democratic societies do provide more individual opportunities, thus the crux of my argument stands. Second, what defines societal success and how does my opponent know that communistic/socialistic societies are more likely to achieve it? Third, individuals make up the society. If the totality of individuals in a society succeed, then does the society itself not succeed? Put another way, if the totality of individuals have less opportunity for success (less success for individuals in general), then the society, which is made of individuals, does not succeed as well as if the totality of individuals have more opportunities for success. What does it mean for a society to succeed otherwise?
My opponent's anti-democracy statistics
I will also have more than a couple things to say about this data and its conclusions. I clicked into the site which my opponent cites for his 'democracy is bad' evidence. Here are a few points:
1) The data is likely inaccurate. The methodology note provided alongside the survey notes that the survey and its data were conducted on 1015 British citizens who constitute a whopping 0.0016% portion of the 63 million British population. The sample size is too small to be an accurate representation of the either British public or Democracy in general.
2) These people were asked on random online interviews to give their estimate to a large set of data, some of which my opponent sources as democracy's fault. Unless my opponent can show that this has any real impact on democracy's proceedings, the misconceptions of these 1015 people who should not reasonably be able to correctly estimate/know this large data set anyway can be dismissed as irrelevant.
3) How does this data detract from the fact that the public elects policymakers who work for them? So what if a quarter of the public aren't as informed as they could be? Policymakers' achievements may sometimes go unnoticed by some of the public, but that doesn't make the achievements nonexistent.
4) How do these numbers correlate in reality to democracy's performance?
The point my opponent is trying to make, that ignorance is a problem in democracy, holds no grounds.
"I define a succesful government as one in which the governmnet is stable and the people are happy." - inaudita
I will go one step further to define a stable government as one which endures. A system of government that endures longer than another system of government is, by definition, more stable.
- The Nazi governmental system was in control from 1933-1945; it lasted 12 years
- Italy's fascists took power in 1922 and started to crumble in 1943; it lasted about 21 years
- The USSR takes control from about 1920-1991; it lasted 70 years
- Chinese communism has been around for about 60 years. It has authored programs which have killed produced more death than any one nation has suffered in WWI or WWII combined (It's what happens when you have one man deciding policies while ignoring every other PoV).
The list goes on: http://en.wikipedia.org...;
Notice that no socialist nation has lasted more than 100 years.
Here's the list for democratic nations and the list of fallen socialist nations: http://www.scaruffi.com...;
The numbers are telling. Democracies are more stable. In terms of stability, my opponent's proposed 'better' systems are less stable than the one which he is arguing against (so the rate of democracy's success is actually higher in comparison, empirically contradicting my opponent's claim.. sweet!)
In terms of happiness?
Theoretically, based on my the quote on my opponent's profile, killing all the unhappy would indeed increase the proportion of happy. Killing people, however, will make more people unhappy, requiring you to kill more people which will make more people unhappy. In the end, the level of happiness isn't really high. The labor lost and the resources spent on such a massive military campaign will drain the nation completely of its economy. Democracies, which are inherently utilitarian, are better in that, with less people dead, there are more people to be happy. Quantitatively and proportionally, democracies are able to sustain higher populations of happy than, say, socialistic governmental systems. Let's take China for example. In USD, Chinese people earn about $6000 of GDP per capita (there are 1.3 billion people in China, most of them are poor: that's a lot of unhappy people). In the U.S. the GDP per capita is about $50,000.
I posit that people with very little money and low living standards are much more unhappy then those with more money and higher standards of living. In terms of happiness, democratic governmental systems are statistically more happy.
- My argument for democracy is that its strengths outweigh its weaknesses. All my strength arguments remain intact.
- My opponent attempts to point out some of democracy's weaknesses but fails to correlate it to democracy's general performance and well-being
- My opponent fails to mention and therefore drops my point on partisanship.
- My opponent drops his initial statement on corruption, probably in light of my oligarchy =/= democracy argument which he also drops
- My opponent never really addresses my economic argument
I pass the final baton to CON.
1.Democracy means that the people rule over themselves. Democracy really has nothing to do with capitalism. In the U.S. the two terms have been colluded because Capitalism is such a large part of our society. But democracy in it's purest sense does not rely on money or ownership of resources.
2. Democracies always fall eventually, the average is about 200 years. When the people find out they can vote themselves money from the public purse, the course of decline has begun. Add to this groups of scheming persons who hasten this dependency as well as moral decline in all other areas so they enslave the people through manufactured debt and laws to protect them from imaginary enemies which require them to surrender their rights, and you have the tried and true formula for bringing down a free nation. This in fact results in an Autocracy, the philosophical opposite of democracy.
3."- The Nazi governmental system was in control from 1933-1945; it lasted 12 years- Italy's fascists took power in 1922 and started to crumble in 1943; it lasted about 21 years- The USSR takes control from about 1920-1991; it lasted 70 years- Chinese communism has been around for about 60 years. It has authored programs which have killed produced more death than any one nation has suffered in WWI or WWII combined (It's what happens when you have one man deciding policies while ignoring every other PoV)."This list is very limited. It doesn't even hold such non-democracies that have existed for long periods of time such as China which lasted for thousand of years, Ethipoia which had lasted for thousands of years as a monarchy, and Morocco which has had a monarchy for a thousand years. The data you selected didn't cover the entirety of all nondemocratic regimes, it only showed the shortest lasting of them.
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