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Pro (for)
5 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Democracy: The God That Failed

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/18/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,113 times Debate No: 17952
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (21)
Votes (2)





The Resolution:

This debate will not use the traditional approach of one resolution to be defended by Pro and attacked by Con. Instead, Pro and Con will each argue for separate and opposite resolutions:

Pro: On balance, monarchy is superior overall to democracy as a system of government.

Con: On balance, democracy is superior overall to monarchy as a system of government.

This removes any possible asymmetry from the debate and fits in with the structure of the rounds.


Democracy – a form of government which is run according to the vote of some or all the citizens it governs

Monarchy – a government that is run and controlled by one person

Both sides may specific a more specific form of the system government they are defending in Round 1 and may stipulate any setup that conforms to those definitions and to human nature (eg. "Everyone lovingly obeys the all-knowing, all-loving king" cannot be stipulated as part of the definition of monarchy).

The question of what makes a form of government superior to another will be part of the debate. See "Arguments Vote."

The Structure of the Rounds:

Round 1: Pro posts the rules and details of the debate. Con indicates that he or she has accepted to debate.

Round 2: Both sides present an affirmative argument for the resolution they are supporting. [8000 characters]

Round 3: Both sides present a rebuttal to their opponent's resolution. [8000 characters]

Round 4: Both sides present a defense of their resolution [4000 characters] and a summary of the debate explaining why readers should vote in their favor. [4000 characters] The character limits here do not need to be followed exactly, but the fourth round should be divided roughly in half.

Round 5: An extra round is added in case a debater needs to miss a round due to unforeseen circumstances. Both debaters will post "blank round" in this round if no one misses a round.

Technical Rules:

Under this format, there is no possibility of employing several common unfair tactics, such as dropping arguments and picking them up later. However, a few details still need to be worked out to prevent any issues from arising at the end.

      1. Sources – Information taken from a source must be directly mentioned in the debate in order to count. Posting a link to an essay and adding "read this" is a way to gain extra argumentation outside the round and is therefore unfair. An external citation page is permitted. Sources must be listed either at the end of each round or on the citation page and are to be referenced with brackets [] or parenthesis ().

      1. Frivolous Arguments – Making twenty stand-alone arguments in the first round and then dropping all but three of them when it comes time to defend them is unfair because it prevents your opponent from presenting a focused critique of any of them. Excessive dropping of arguments previously presented as important may result in the loss of the conduct point (voter's discretion, see below).

      1. Forfeiting Rounds – There is no penalty for forfeiting one round provided that the debater notes in the comments prior to the forfeit that it is necessary. Forfeiting without notification is a rule violation, as is forfeiting twice.

      1. Semantics – All statements made during the debate must be interpreted in the most favorable manner possible.

      1. Tagging – Arguments must be tagged so that they are reasonable easy to follow and refer back to.



A violation of one of the rules listed under "Technical Rules" results in a loss of the conduct vote. If bother debaters violate a rule, the conduct vote should be tied. Excessive rude behavior, in either the debate or the comments, results in an automatic lose of the conduct vote regardless of rule violations. Violations of conduct cannot count toward argumentation (this is particularly relevant for rule violations).

Spelling and Grammar:

The use of poor spelling and grammar that detracts from the debate results in the automatic loss of this point. Otherwise, disregard minor typographical errors. This point may be awarded for exceptionally good writing and presentation.


In the first round, each debater will present a criterion for what makes a form of government "superior." This criterion must be defended and is subject to criticism. At the end of the debate, voters will consider whether, in light of criticism, they find each criterion to be valid. They will evaluate the debate according to the valid criteria. If both criteria are invalid, the argument points must be voted a tie. A debater may still win according to his or her opponent's criterion if his or her own is shown to be invalid. It will be the job of the debaters in Round 4 to explain why their arguments better conform the the criteria.


The sources vote goes to whichever debater made better use of external material to defend his or her position. This does not necessarily mean hard data; references to philosophical arguments and the like also count. Voters should consider the number and quality of sources presented. If a debater violates the rules for sources, he or she cannot win the points for sources.

The voting period will last three months.

Votes that do not contain a meaningful evaluation of the debate of at least a few sentences and with direct references to arguments made within the rounds in the RFD may be countervoted.


Before accepting the debate, you must post a comment indicating that you have read and understand the rules and that you wish to accept the debate. You may ask any questions there. The first person to post such a comment will be my opponent. Once an opponent has been decided, I will lower the minimum age to accept the debate (currently 99 years) and challenge that person directly. If someone with his or her age set to 99 years or older accepts the debate, it is an automatic forfeit of all 7 points.

For those of your who remember me, I am sorry to say that I am not fully back. I will be coming back to the site every so often to debate, but I will probably post in the forums even more sparingly than before. I am starting college soon and I don't expect to have a lot of time on my hands, and the recovery in the forums is still very slow.


Good luck on what appears to be the beginning of a promising debate. I have accepted, and await your argument.
Debate Round No. 1


Specifications of the Monarchical System:

The government of a country under monarchy is privately owned by the monarch, who controls it as his estate. He and his agents alone have the right to arbitrate disputes and collect taxes within his domain. He does not necessarily own everything and private property exists. A monarch passes ownership of government on to his heir at death, and traditional monarchies lasted for centuries. See [1].

Criterion: Economic Prosperity

“Economic” is used in the Misesian sense of people acting according to their preferences [2]. A system of government which enables people to fulfill as many of their desires as possible is ideal. We cannot arbitrarily decide for people what their desires should be, so we can only prefer a system that gives people maximal freedom in pursuing their interests. This means that capitalism is preferable to socialism, and we will see that it is always the most damaging aspects of socialism that result from democracy.


We should employ ceteris paribus assumptions when comparing monarchy and democracy. We cannot compare economic prosperity in 14th Century France to 21st Century France or France to Saudi Arabia for obvious reasons. Consider only the cause-effect relationships that monarchy and democracy have had in specific places and times to determine their overall worth.


C1. Public and Private War

War is the most significant and destructive event that can be caused by a government. It is economically ideal that war be avoided entirely because it results only in the production of goods that do not enhance human well-being and destroys people and their property [3]. Under monarchy, wars are fought between two men, not two nations, which drastically reduces their scale and cements the line between combatants and innocents [4,5]. Monarchs bore all the risk and costs of war, so they engaged in more limited conflicts over territory rather than ideology, and they were limited in their ability to raise money for war by taxation (see Legitimacy) [6]. Military spending has doubled or quadrupled since the far more volatile monarchical era as a result of the democratic system [7].

C2. Time Preference

A monarch rules his kingdom for life and passes it on to his heir, so he is interested in both its short-term success and its long-term value [8]. Accordingly, he will not raise taxes when growth would be limited, mobilize costly wars, or deplete capital unless he foresees a major payoff. He can weigh the future value of his kingdom against the present value of depleting its resources[9,10]. Rulers limited by term limits and the risk of losing the next election must use resources now without regard for the future, resulting in capital depletion and economic destruction [11].

C3. Economic Calculation

A caretaker of a publicly-owned good only has access to its current use; he cannot sell it, and without a price system he has no rational way to determine if a good is being used optimally. In a free-market, prices for capital enable it to be allocated far more efficiently than if we merely estimated what it should be used for, as under socialism [12]. Furthermore, without prices the care-taker does not know the value of a good and so he cannot compare the value lost by its depletion through use to the value of the goods he can produce with it [13]. This means that a publicly-owed government of any kind does not know how to use its resources properly; only a monarch who can run his nation like a business can make rational economic decisions.

C4. Legitimacy and Public Relations

A. Legitimacy

A monarch's ownership of his estate is based on the rule of law, and so it is in his interest uphold the laws of old and the rule of law and order [14]. European monarchs did not make laws, they were considered as subject to the rule of law as any other person [15]. Hence, a monarch was severely limited in his ability to encroach on the property of others, living in constant fear that they would encroach on his. A monarch asked his nobility for taxes, he did not force them upon them [16]. Devaluing the currency through coin clipping and assaulting innocent people was viewed with the utmost suspicion, and monarchs never succeeded in switching over to fiat money [17]. The idea of law and order and legitimacy has been so twisted under democracy that it no longer limits government.

B. Public Relations

It is well known that only the monarch and his closest associates have any chance of ruling the government under monarchy. The common man knows that he has no chance of ever controlling the government, and so he is resistant to its every attempt to expand [18]. The government under monarchy was never able to gain the power to legislate morality, restrict free trade, and encroach on the lives of its people the way that democratic governments do ubiquitously [19]. Under democracy, the common man, believing that government is ruled by his agents and could even someday be ruled by him, does not resist its constant growth in power and dominance [20]. The result is the almost totalitarian authority which modern democracies now wield.

C5. Monarchy contra Socialism

A. Monarchy

Under monarchy, the king is concerned primarily with the well-being of himself and the productive members of society. He will permit only the immigration of individuals who improve society and will rule his kingdom so as to facilitate the success of wealth-generating individuals [21]. The king has no interest whatsoever in redistributing his own wealth and resources for the benefit of unproductive members of society. This will result in a systematic incentive to produce and contribute to society [22].

B. Socialism

Unlike monarchy, a publicly owned government will cater to the interests of all the members of society to gain their support. This will include a growing number of worthless individuals that do not produce, but live on the wealth of others [23]. While a king wants to expel a bum from his realm, that bum is likely to be the democratic redistributionist's biggest supporter [24]. The result is a systematic incentive toward consumption and nonproduction and the depletion of wealth [25]. Historically, as the right to vote was expanded, socialism overtook classical liberalism as the electorate's position [26].

C6. Social Degeneracy

As a result of the rise of democracy, people have become less responsible, more hedonistic, and intellectually and morally deficient, and respect for law and order has declined. The regular creation of new law from nothing made law and order, morality and decency, nothing more than the ephemeral opinion of the electorate. Accordingly, crime has increased dramatically and steadily under democracy independent of other factors [27]. Rates of divorce, abortion, illegitimacy, unemployment, dependency, obesity, and other signs of social decay have increased rapidly as a result of egalitarianism and the destruction of traditional social bonds by the welfare state [28].

Overview Economic Consequences:

As a result of the transition from monarchy to democracy, the following effects have resulted:
  1. The tax rate has increased from 5-8% under monarchy to upwards of 50% under democracy [29].
  2. Government employment has increased from 3-5% of the workforce to over 20% [30].
  3. The value of currency has started to fall rather than rise, culminating in the loss of 96% of the value of the US dollar since 1913 [31].
  4. Real interest rates have risen from their historical low of 2.5% to 4-5%, their value in the 15th Century when Western civilization was immeasurably less wealthy [32].
  5. Savings rates, and accordingly the rate of capital accumulation, has not increased since the 17th Century [33].
  6. National debts have increased to levels never before seen in history [34].

This is the economic result of the replacement of monarchy with democracy.



Specifications of the Democratic System:

Democracy is any political system in which the acts of governance (ie. lawmaking, law enforcing, taxing, etc.) are controlled directly or indirectly by the citizenry.

Criterion: Political and Personal Freedom
The role of government is not to facilitate the greatest economic growth, but rather enable the individual to be responsible for his own economic and socio-political circumstances without arbitrary infringement from illegitimate power.


I accept your methodology and therefore have no further contentions to add.



C1. Subjects versus Citizens

In a monarchical political system, the individual (besides the sovereign) is a subject. In a democratic system, the individual (who meets voter criteria) is a citizen [2]. The implication is that by virtue of circumstance, the sovereign inherently possesses ownership over the subjects he rules. Furthermore, ownership is positively a human construction, since it cannot be observed or proved beyond legal (hence human) definition- which means ownership is not a natural entity. Therefore in a monarchy, the relationship between a sovereign and his subjects is unnatural unless the subject can opt out of the relationship, which contradicts the relationship itself. In a democracy, the relationship between the citizenry and the government is contractual [3]. While this relationship too is a human construction, it at least is contractual which allows the individual the freedom to object to his social role. This offers a protection to the sovereignty of the individual that the monarch-subject relationship cannot. This stems from the Lockean argument that since humans existed before governments, governments derive their authority from humans and are born free [4].

C2. Democracy is more Just

Democracy does not always produce the most culturally virtuous societies, most productive economies, nor most peaceful states. It would be hard to argue that monarchy cannot be virtuous in examining Medician Florence, Augustus' Rome, or Peter's Russia. But similarly, monarchical forms of governance were harmful throughout human history as well, with leaders such as Hitler [5], Cesare Borgia, or Ivan the Terrible. As the Papal succession has shown, the virtue of the state under a monarch is usually at the whimsical decision making of the leader. So while Lorenzo il Magnifico could reign over an economically successful Florence while commissioning lovely art and culture, his philistinic son can take over and quickly turn Florence into a petty French possession. This is the nature of succession. In a democracy, because the citizens are able to form their own laws and policies, they are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the state. Freedom and responsibility are, in my opinion, preferable to counting on lucky royal sperm and non-familial intercourse to citizens/subjects being well-fed and safe.

C3: Democracy and War Involvement

War between democracies is a very rare occurrence [6]. "

While a consensus has grown that democracies don't make war on each other,a second consensus has developed in parallel that democracies are neither more nor less likely to make war or commit violence than other types of regimes," wrote Rudolph Rummell, noted expert on conflicts and democracy [7]. This historical precedent of monarchs fighting monarchs needs no mention, and based upon Grape's own statements on the detriments of war, democracy is less likely to lead to these outcomes, especially with the growth of democracy.

C4. The Public Sphere

All debaters on cherish (besides the hypocrites) the public sphere, that is, "an area in social life where individuals can come together to freely discuss and identify societal problems, and through that discussion influence political action"[8]. Democracy is not only the political system in which this right tends to be least infringed upon, but it is also the only type of political system in which the right to free speech is essential. As one can see in modern monarchies such as North Korea, Mubarak's Egypt, Iran, or Saudi Arabia (all ruled under single rule, that is, pro's definition of monarchy), speech is often suppressed due to coercion from the governing forces. The repercussions of dissent are often criminal. A good illustration of how democracy values a public sphere compared to a monarchy is the illustration of the fatwa Ayatollah Khomeini announced in response to Salmon Rushdie' s attack on Islam in The Satanic Verses. Political leaders and citizens alike in the western democracies denounced the book's content but defended Rushdie' s right to publish it. Khomeini also denounced the book's content and also called publicly for Rushdie's murder. Being the Supreme Leader of Iran, a monarchical position which oversees and can override the rest of the government's actions, the monarch simply did not agree with the work and thus banned it. The importance of a public sphere, and thus freedom of speech and intellectual freedom, is a driving force behind literary, philosophical, scientific, and technological advancements- most of which comes from democratic societies. Many monarchs have patronized these pursuits in the past, but the "enlightened despot" is not a consistent political model to guarantee these human rights. His successor may come and eliminate them- and often does- to consolidate and secure his own power. In a democracy, the position of ideas and rhetoric is integral, and therefore more likely to be protected. The irony is you are arguing in favor of a system that probably would not allow this debate or this site in the first place. It is cute to read ideological books like those of Dr. Hoppe, from whom you extensively took your argument, but the reality is that the greatest aspect of this debate is merely the fact that we are allowed to have it, and in a democratic system, this right is allowed. A dictator or monarch may not be so kind.


[1] note: These are my working definitions, and thus I have no reason to cite them. If you wish to contest my definitions do so freely, but as they are part of my argument, and there is no "correct way" to define democracy or personal freedom, I do so for myself.
[4] "John Locke" by Robert A. Goldman in History of Political Philosophy ed. Leo Strauss pgs. 476-480
[5] The most fundamental definition of monarch, and the definition you provided in round 1, is that of single rule. And while common English usage often designates a monarch as a king whose authority is heredically passed down, hereditary monarchy is only one form of monarchy. In your, and Aristotle's, definition, a totalitarian leader, or despot, and a monarch are interchangeable. Hitler, for example, headed a fascist state, with absolute authority. So he, or Stalin, or Franco, or any other "dictator" fits your definition of monarchy.
[6] Rummel, R.J. "Democracies ARE less warlike than other regimes," European Journal of International Relations Vol 1
[7] Ibid
Debate Round No. 2


On the Definition of Democracy:

Con's definition of democracy is invalid because he fiats in the assumption that people will actually control the government. This is equivalent to me stipulating that the monarch will be a nice person. His definition describes monarchy just as well as democracy because the citizens of a monarchy influence government action.


I accept Con's criterion of personal and political freedom as valid. Based on the above round, we can conclude that monarchy accomplishes these objectives better than democracy. However, Con is wrong in criticizing economic prosperity as an objective: ultimately, enhancing the material well-being of each individual is the goal of every society.

Direct Rebuttals:

CA1. Subjects vs. Citizens

Con's social contract argument fails for two reasons:
  1. There is no actual social contract[1]. Con cites the Constitution, but no one alive today agreed to it or had any part in writing it. In both monarchy and democracy, citizens are ruled by the government they are born under whether they agree or not unless they leave. Con says that citizens can opt out of the contract, but this is patently false: in order to opt out you must leave, as under monarchy[2]. Con cannot cite any practical differences; the alleged differences are just rhetoric.
  2. Democracy fails to actually achieve increased freedom. Government authority has only expanded under democracy[3]. Examples of government action that people would not reasonably agree to under a contract that take place often under democracy but seldom under monarchy include the income tax, eminent domain, suspension of habeas corpus, conscription, and the socialization of private services such as mail delivery[4,5,6,7,8].

There is no substance to this argument. I agree that the relationship between monarch and subject is illegitimate (I'm an anarchist, after all), but that does not make the relationship between citizen and state under democracy any better. The democratic state has collected information on us and assigned us numbers at birth, attempting to care for us from cradle to grave while spying on us and deciding what we must and cannot put in our bodies the whole time[9,10,11,12,13]. We are far more the property of the state now under democracy than subjects who nominally belonged to a king who had limited authority over them in practice.

CA2. Democracy is More Just

Con's argument is that the fickle nature of monarchical succession creates uncertainty. However, monarchical succession is overall an advantage because it allows for good or harmlessly incompetent leaders to come to power[14]. A bad monarch is likely to be overthrown and replaced, as happened in the French Revolution after a failed democratic experiment[15]. By contrast, democracy assures that only bad people will rise to power. Election in a democracy is based on demagoguery and making promises to the mob to satisfy their whims, not on actual ability. The leaders in a democracy will always be the most corrupt charlatans in society[16]. Furthermore, because individual votes have a low impact on election outcomes, there is no incentive for them to be responsible and rational. The aggregate effect of each voter's rational ignorance is that democratic leaders will be elected irrationally. See more on this later. As evidence of this, note that democratic leaders have bankrupted their countries into the ground without producing any notable benefits as a result [17]. Con tries to cherry pick a small number of bad “monarchs” (including the democratically elected Hitler) but I can cite bad presidents all day just as easily [18].

CA3. Democracy and War Involvement

Con admits that the correlation between democracy and peacefulness is tenuous at best. The fact that modern democracies do not often go to war is better explained by their economic ties and possession of nuclear weapons[19]. The United States has overthrown democracies to achieve foreign policy objectives, and just because it uses its massive military against people ruled by dictators doesn't make it less warlike [20,21]. Recall also that military spending has increased 2-4 times under democracy [22].

CA4. The Public Sphere

Con's extensive comparison of the socially regressive Ayatollah regime to Western democracies violates the rule of ceteris paribus assumptions. Of course conservative, theocratic governments will be less tolerant of religious blasphemy than liberal, secular governments. Democracies still extensively censor and control freedom of speech: bans on violent movies and video games and pornography are common [23,24,25]. Democracies also enforce ubiquitous intellectual property laws that seldom existed under monarchy and were much less intrusive when they did, a hindrance to public access to information if there ever was one. Democracies also first started to implement extensive propaganda campaigns, which began most notably during World War I [26]. As the saying goes, there is no need to take the books off the selves if no one reads them. Democracies control popular opinion and public discourse just as well or better than monarchies ever did.

General Critiques:

1. Sources

Con does not cite his facts very well and often cites irrelevant sources to back up his contentions (example: citing the Constitution to defend social contract theory when it's actually a random document not on the topic). As a result, he makes numerous factual errors, for instance by asserting that, “[a]s the Papal succession has shown, the virtue of the state under a monarch is usually at the whimsical decision making of the leader,” while we know that the Pope is elected by the College of Cardinals and this argument does not apply at all [27]. There is no reason to take any of his historical references seriously, and indeed I could just flatly deny them for lack of documentation. I will contrast this with my sources in the final round.

2. Ceteris Paribus

Con basically ignores the ceteris paribus rule by using impoverished, Third World dictatorships (not based on tradition or inheritance and indeed ever on the verge of collapse) with wealthy, Western democracies. This would be like comparing England under Elizabeth to Athens and noting the superior technology achieved under monarchy [28,29]. By contrast, I compared the same countries to themselves following the transition from democracy to monarchy. This actually goes in Con's favor because, ceteris paribus, we would expect society to advance as time goes on.

Further Critique of Democracy:

CA5. The Myth of the Rational Voter

Because of the scale of elections, the odds that any voter will influence their outcome is very low [30]. Because of this, the individual's vote is low stakes, and he does not have an incentive to put much effort into making an informed decision when his vote will certainly not influence the result. However, the same incentives apply to everyone, so no one will vote rationally [31]. The irrational votes do not cancel each other out; people will tend to systematically believe things that are easy to believe [32]. For instance, it is easy to believe that Obama is not a US citizen, that protection from foreign companies benefits Americans, or that Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons because these things might validate an opinion or worldview. Many people believe these assertions even though they have been widely refuted, and they vote based on their believes [33,34,35]. People also show willingness to electe officials who believe in nonsense like Creationism or support patently evil policies, such as the persecution of homosexuals [36,37]. As a result of the failure of the system, many people have become so apathetic that countries like Australia have had to make voting compulsory [38]. It seems even the people aren't interested in having democracy.



Specifications of the Monarchical System

Pro's definition of monarchy has very little to do with his given source. Nowhere in the Wikipedia article (which is not the most credulous source, since he can edit it) is there mention of "private property", which is integral to the rest of his argument. His definition is an elementary definition of monarchy, which is merely the "rule by one" [1]. Pro even stated this definition in the opening round. By diverging from the basic definition, asserting falsely that private property exists in a monarchy (which it may, but is certainly not assumed under monarchy), and limiting rule by one to only those which are heredity succession, Pro butchers what monarchy is to limit historical examples unfavorable to his argument.

Criterion: Economic Prosperity

While Pro's anarchist roots show through here, I cannot understand how he can argue for a monarchy and state that "we can only prefer a system that gives people maximal freedom in pursuing their interests". Perhaps a monarch could foster a system giving maximal freedom, but to argue an actual relationship between a monarchical political structure and economic freedom is silly.

C1 Public and Private War

This argument violates the ceteris paribus methodology Pro set the section before. The argument that private wars reduce costs of war is hindered by the fact that wars between two heredity rulers (Pro's definition) is a historically limited example. And while Pro (citing Hoppe) states that military spending has increased since the monarchical era as a result of the democratic system, Pro offers no explanation of this, a controversial claim and not historically accepted claim. I hate to attack sources, but most of Pro's argument relies on Hoppe's ideologically driven, anti-democracy works.

As I understand it, sources are primarily used to validate facts. For example, pro could cite a source validating that "military spending has doubled or quadrupled since the far more volatile monarchical era" because this is an empirical statistical fact. But to casually assert increased military spending is due to democracy (which this history student has never heard in years of military history study) would be equivalent to myself casually asserting that "history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles," and citing the Communist Manifesto as though it a scientifically reviewed statistical fact. If Pro would like to extensively draw his points from one piece of work, just let me debate Hoppe instead and eliminate the middle man. But to cite the conclusions of Hoppe's arguments as though they were historically accepted facts won't work in a serious setting.

And since we are momentarily lifting ceteris paribus, it seems as though monarchs in the twentieth century, that is governments "ruled by one", such as Stalin or Hitler or Hussein, spent quite a sum of money on military ventures.

C2. Time Preference

Again, this is an ahistorical argument. Much of European history is the history of kings and monarchs overextending their armies for short term successes (Charles VIII), taxing citizens to fund incompetent bureaucracies (Louis XVI), and depleting capital to fulfill some distorted personal image. Pro's assertion that a ruler in a democratic system would have no regard for long term successes is true, but in a representative democracy, the citizens have the ability to elect representatives who they feel will implement a long term strategy. If the citizens are tricked by demagoguery into electing a self-preserving despot, then they can only blame their gullibility. But at least they have the freedom to choose someone who represents what they perceive as a long term vision, instead of having one imposed by a king.

C3. Economic Calculation

Yes, I agree with Pro that capitalism is preferable to socialism. Fortunately, this doesn't strengthen his argument. And his assertion that "only a monarch who can run his nation like a business can make rational economic decisions" is unfounded and unsourced. Again, for every shrewd monarch in history that runs "his" nation (one cannot own a nation by the way, only a state) like a business, there is a counter example of a monarch wasting his resources like lottery prize money. There is no guarantee that a monarch will be savvy on running a business. In a democracy, the people can either pass laws that ensure proper allocation of resources or not, but at least there is accountability for their choices.

C4. Legitimacy and Public Relations

C5. Monarchy Contra Socialism

I don't understand Pro's argument here. The debate is not Monarchy versus Socialism, but Monarchy versus Democracy. If a nation would like to limit immigration, ban welfare, and institute a free market which rewards the members of society based upon their productivity, the democracy can institute the policies through deportation, etc. Monarchy and Democracy are structures of government, that is, systems of allocating power in the state. That is what this debate is about: which is the best way to allocate power. Socialism is an ideology that places the means of production and resources under government control. A monarchy can be capitalist, mercantile, corporatist, or fascist. A democracy can be capitalist, socialist, communist, etc. Just because a democracy CAN be socialist doesn't mean it is inherently socialist, which means Pro's arguments against socialism do not strengthen his arguments against democracy.

Social Degeneracy

This is a stupid and baseless argument because Pro uses his own morality to determine the superiority of a structure of government. If I liked divorce, abortion, and unemployment would it mean democracy is better? Moreover, there are not reliable statistics about abortion and obesity in 8th Century France, so how can you make this argument? The historical record is not consistent and you cannot prove an increase in immorality tied to structure of government. Ceteris paribus???

To be honest, I have great respect for Pro and his arguments to date. That being said, I am rather appalled at this "social degeneracy" argument. It is pathetic.

Economic Consequences:

Unfortunately, I am running out of time to finish this round as I went fishing for 2 days arriving home this morning to debate. Therefore, I cannot provide a complete argument against these statistics. All I will argue this that history is a very complex thing. Population has increased exponentially, having over 6 billion more people on earth than when many of Pro's statistics are sourced. We have transitioned to complex nation-states, from decentralized states, interest rates (which were banned as usury by the Church) are now used in a different context than before,etc. Again, I think Pro drawing a simple line from monarchy to democracy and attributing all economic and social causalities to this is simplistic thinking. Social, religious, cultural, economic, technological conditions have changed so much over recent history, that it is simply unscientific to draw these conclusions as cause and effect. A scientist cannot grow one species of peas in Siberia and another species of Peas in California and attribute all the differences to the different species of pea. The climactic conditions invalidate any proper comparison. So when Pro tries to interest rates in the 15th century to the 21st century, so much change has occurred that any comparison is ridiculous.

Again, I would like to apologize for any mistakes in spelling or grammar that have been made during this round. This post is the product of two hours of straight typing. And while I did not have time to make extensive use of sources, I do not believe that it is necessary in refuting these argument. But again, I am sorry for the simplicity here.

[1] Using the first, and most fundamental definition.
Debate Round No. 3


Grape forfeited this round.


waylon.fairbanks forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


Defense of R2:


I referred to a specific type of monarchy (hereditary and based on private property) that historically existed and thus cannot be considered unrealistic. This was specifically permitted in the rules. The Wikipedia page was for supplemental information, not to defend my own stipulation.

Recall that Con's definition is so flawed it describes any political system.


All Con says is that the supposed relationship I am suggesting in my arguments is 'silly'. That is not analysis. There is certainly an inverse relationship between monarchy and freedom vis-a-vis anarchy, and he is correct in this sense, but we are comparing monarchy to democracy.

Con does not actually challenge the criterion.

C1. War

Con oddly asserts that I have violated the ceteris paribus assumption by limiting my analysis of the cost of private wars to wars between hereditary rulers (in other words, to nearly all private wars in history). This is clearly not a fair objection. He cites no example of any other private wars, so we have only mine to go off anyway.

Con provides no alternative explanation for why military spending has quadrupled with the rise of democracy despite increasingly peaceful conditions, so my reasons must be taken as the only option. See my reasons for the correlation in R2.

C2. Time Preference

Con cites no real evidence whatsoever to back his claims that monarchs managed funds irresponsibly. The fact that two people have allegedly been bad rulers is not a counterargument. All the metrics of sound fiscal policy were much stronger under monarchy than they are today [1]. See almost everything I wrote in R2.

Con says that people in a democracy will elected far-sighted leaders. At face value, this is equivalent to my stipulating that all kings will be nice people but adding in a middleman in the form of voters. For why the democratic leaders won't actually behave this way and people won't elect good leaders, see R2, C2 and R3, CA5.

C3. Economic Calculation

Con does not seem to understand what this argument is about. A democrat is in principle incapable of running a country efficiently because he does not have a price mechanism to aid resource allocation; a monarch at least could manage effectively in principle because he has such a tool at his disposal. This argument is not “unsourced” because I explained how it is logically (praxeologically) certain, and Con offered no objections to my deductive reasoning, so it stands. Furthermore, the lottery of getting a monarch who is a sound businessman is preferable to the democratic system that ensures the election of demagogues.

C4. Legitimacy and Public Relations

Dropped and therefore conceded. This is a serious blow for Con, whose own criterion is personal and political freedom. He can lose the debate on this point alone because he has accepted that my system better fulfills his own criterion. It's strange that he would pick person and political freedom as a criterion after seeing this argument and then not address it.

C5. Monarchy Contra Socialism

In R2, I gave reasons why a monarch would tend to implement more capitalistic policies and a democrat would tend to implement more socialistic policies. Con did not challenge my argument that capitalism is better than socialism or that monarchy tends to promote capitalism. All he did was point out that alternatives results are possible, which is true but trivial. The real argument is never addressed.

C6. Social Degeneracy

Con's response to this argument consists of mean words and praise for abortion and unemployment, which are apparently well established as the signs of a successful society. He also claims that it is impossible to get data for societies that existed long in the past, but monarchies existed in Europe as recently as the last 100 years and were very successful (the Austrio-Hungarian empire until its defeat in WW I) [2].

Once again Con says that I cannot prove causation but does not offer an alternative explanation, so my explanation must stand.

Voting Guide:

Conduct: Pro

I have not violated any of the rules in R1, so I am eligible for this point. Throughout the debate and especially in R3, Con was unnecessarily rude in his characterization of my arguments, calling them 'silly', 'pathetic', 'stupid', 'baseless', etc. It would probably not have been too much to ask that he keep his opinion to himself instead of trying to present it as objective fact. My tone has been much more fair and objective even though Con has demonstrated frustrating inability to grasp several of my arguments. His constant criticism of my sources while limiting himself to the dictionary might also strike some as hypocritical.

Spelling and Grammar: Tie

Arguments: Pro

Con dropped my C5, which appeals to his own criterion. He did not present any coherent criticism to my other R2 arguments, instead opting to simply declare them not properly defended, unsourced, or in violation of the ceteris paribus assumption (that he seemed not to properly understand). Despite criticizing my arguments as such, Con offered no alternative explanations or data of his own and routinely ignored the ceteris paribus assumption himself by citing Hitler and Stalin as monarchs. All of my arguments present data and logical arguments explaining the relationship between the data and the theory. Con does not challenge my data or theory with alternatives, he just evaluates it as unconvincing. Absent any alternatives, my explanations must be taken as valid.

Contrast to my response to Con's arguments, in which I cited dozens of real world examples and provided theoretical analysis to better explain the data. For instance, I argued that censorship in the Middle East was linked to cultural conservative rather than monarchy. I also provided examples of the way the democratic state violates the rights of its citizens to counter Con's claim that voters will restrain the government. This use of alternative explanations and opposing evidence seldom appears in Con's counterarguments. All he does is give a negative evaluation of my argument. I don't bother mentioning that Con's argument is weaker than mine in my own opinion because that proves nothing.

Sources: Pro

Con seems discontent at the fact that I cited a book over and over again in a debate that was named after the book. The stated purpose of the debate was to defend a thesis that was not my own using arguments that are not my own, so this approach should basically be expected. I referenced arguments by page number to give proper credit and so that readers could check the data supporting my claims when I said, for instance, that something had “increased” or “decreased” without going into further detail. The book is available online, so this feature could be quite useful for checking my statistics. It also enables readers to check the footnotes and discover that the sources Hoppe himself used are quite credible.

Comparing my sources to Con's, the winner is evident. Nearly all of my sources are from published books or articles in peer-reviewed journals. I used Wikipedia to cite statistics on well established general facts. Wikipedia is unlikely to be wrong about random technical information and is superior to print sources in this regard because it is continuously updated. Con tries to challenge my sources by seriously asserting that I might have altered the Wikipedia article on monarchy and by noting that trivial fact that Hoppe is trying to criticize democracy. Should I use pro-democracy sources in an anti-democracy debate? Con himself uses very few sources and makes historical claims that are not backed by anything. He has a total of seven external citations to back his entire argument, some of which are irrelevant (the Constitution as an example of a social contract, the dictionary) and one of which ironically is Wikipedia.



A Defense of Round 2:

Definition of Democracy:

Pro asserts that my definition of democracy is invalid because it assumes people will "actually" control the government. This is a cynical contention. A democracy is a government where the citizenry control the acts of governance. If a democratic system does not allow the citizenry to control the system, it is undemocratic. It either does this directly (ie. initiatives and voting) or indirectly (through representatives). A monarch can be indirectly influenced by his subjects, but this is not structurally inherent in the system, whereas elections or votes are structurally inherent in democracy. This debate is overwhelmingly structural, so to argue whether or not citizens "actually" control the government is not relevant here.


Pro asserts that monarchy protects political freedom better than democracy, but he failed to show this. A monarch can suspend free speech, slaughter dissidents, or exile political enemies... and it is, as an autocratic ruler, his right to do so. On Pro's assertion that "enhancing the material well being of each individual is the goal of every society" is not provable. Socialist states redistribute the wealth of the wealthy to the poorer, which enhances most individual's wealth, but not those who are wealthy. So not every society holds that goal.

Subjects and Citizens:

The Constitution has an amending process which allows through democratic means, to alter any part of the document according to the citizenry's desire. This is markedly different than a monarchy where the citizens are not allowed to make laws. Democracies also have initiate processes, which allows popular sovereignty, and thus more political freedom than a monarchy. All of the examples Pro cited, like income tax or habeas corpus, can be changed through lawmaking.

Democracy is More Just:

Pro asserts that "a bad monarch is likely to be overthrown and replaced" but this is not true. He cites the French Revolution as example, but I would contend that the French, Bolshevik, or English Revolutions are exceptions to the general rule that bad monarchs tend to keep power. There have been more incompetent kings in history than revolutions.

This is an important point: Pro states that "Election in a democracy is based on demagoguery and making promises to the mob to satisfy their whims, not on actual ability. The leaders in a democracy will always be the most corrupt charlatans in society[16]." I completely agree. If a citizenry is tricked by petty rhetoric and promises, then they deserve bad leadership. That's my point. A democracy doesn't neccesarily produce better leadership, but if a society is virtuous and educated they will more likely elect better representation. If a society is greedy and stupid, they will get what they deserve: a charlatan.

And Hitler wasn't elected democratically. He lost several presidential elections to Hindenburg, finally convinced Hindenburg to appoint him chancellor to calm rioting Nazi supporters, burnt down the Reichsteg, issued martial law, and became a undemocratic absolute dictator (ie. monarch).

Pro attributes peace between democracies to "economic ties and nuclear weapons" and then states "military spending has increased 2-4 times under democracy". I don't see why facts are absolute but mine are historical causes. Maybe military spending has increased because nuclear weapons are expensive! Not because of democracy. Weapons technology has advanced and grown more expensive, and independently, there are more democracies in the modern era than pre-modern. So your argument defeats itself.

Public Sphere:

I agree with pro that democracies often censor information and utilize propaganda. Often however, these actions are illegal- thus violations of democratically made law. So I cannot defend undemocratic practices in a democracy. On the whole, however, democracies tend to respect the public sphere, as it is essential to the public debate over elections or policy.

Voting Guide:

Conduct: Pro

I agree that I was unnecessarily rude at times and I concede this point to Pro. I have a lot of respect for Pro and his extensive debates on this site, and I apologize. Pro and I have different aims on this site I believe. He is a more technical debater and I am more rhetorically minded. When I referred to his "social degeneracy" argument as stupid and baseless, I was being honest because comparing abortion over the centuries and attributing it to a political structure is a stupid and baseless way to argue one's point.

Spelling and Grammar: Tie

Arguments: Con

I dropped Pro's C5 due to time and character limitations. I believe my argument were better than Pro's. I am willing to concede that Pro had better conduct and better sources because I am confident that I argued my case well. Pro thinks he argued better and I think I did, but ultimately it is your job, dear reader, to decided which arguments appealed to you more.

One point I will make though regards pro's assertion that "The stated purpose of the debate was to defend a thesis that was not my own using arguments that are not my own, so this approach should basically be expected". For one, he never stated that the thesis wasn't his own. Nowhere in the opening round, check. I would not have accepted this debate if I knew it was me arguing against Dr. Hoppe's work. And if Pro's arguments were more cogent, it's because they were not his own. I accepted this debate, and argued it honestly trying to rely on my own intellect and not extensive sources to win. I think original thought and creativity must be taken into account when the audience casts their votes.

I hope this debate is not reflective of the direction this site is heading in. Pro's argument was essentially a high school book report- and I don't mean that as an insult, I mean that honestly. I hope self-reliance is considered in voting, as well as the arguments themselves.

Sources: Pro

I don't care much for sources unless they are definitional or citing a statistical study or something. When Pro says "Con tries to cherry pick a small number of bad “monarchs” (including the democratically elected Hitler) but I can cite bad presidents all day just as easily [18]" and just links to wikipedia's list of the US presidents, I guess I don't see the point... But of course pro wins sources... his whole argument was a source.
Debate Round No. 5
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
RFD (Part 3): Continued from below)


Conduct to Pro as both parties were civil while at the same time dismissing, sometimes ridiculing the other's arguments. However, when Con calls Pro's arguments "pathetic" and "stupid", he loses the conduct vote. He also freely admits that Pro should get the conduct vote.


Sources provided are very different and not really comparable. Pro openly states that the majority of his argument will come from one source as indicated by the title, whereas Con follows the more traditional DDO format of drawing from different sources, although it must be noted that Pro had more sources overall. The sources vote is tied for lack of comparison. Also, many sources on both sides were books which I obviously couldn't verify, so it wouldn't be fair if I awarded to the sources point to either side. However, I do have some reservations about Pro's sources since Pro makes a lot of controversial claims about Democracy such as the legitimacy of law and order being twisted, and attributes them to the book in question, not to mention that most of his sources were merely different pages of the same book.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
RFD (Part 2): (continued from below)

Democracy was just: This was Con's strongest contention and this was the one I focussed on to see if it could be upheld. Pro loses this argument when he says that a Monarch could be overthrown through a revolution. Democratic leaders however, can be peacefully removed if they are not competent. Con takes this point.

Free speech was an interesting argument as both sides independently argued for it in their opening.
Con had the stronger argument with regard to wars as he shows that wars happen in all time periods except that under democracy, people have the right to choose the leaders who may lead them into war.

Pro's round 5 defense of round 2 was highly unconvcing, and unfortunately resorts to a few strawmans. For exmaple, Con had adequately pointed out that Monarchs can be bad but Pro just says that two monarchs were bad which was not the core of Con's argument. Another example is how he pushes responsibility on Con for not addressing the capitalism vs socialism issue whereas Con had in fact pointed it out.

Con's round 5 defense on the other hand was very strong accurately addressing the defintion of democracy and pointing out the flaws in Pro's definition. He also points out that Pro did not in fact state that the thesis was not his own. Looking through the debate, I realized that Con was right.
It must be noted that Pro had a much more difficult task trying to prove that Monarchy was superior to democracy whereas Con had the far easier task of proving that democracy is superior which he effectively did to win the arguments and the debate. Keep in mind that the vote was based on absolute terms and I assumed that the difficulty of upholding either resolution would be similar. However, we all know that that is not the case.

Spelling and Grammar:

Both were good. Both Pro and Con had an interesting style and provided an engaging read. In a long four-round debate, it was their writing style that kept me going.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
RFD (Part 1):

I find it interesting that Pro pretty much demanded a detailed RFD from voters and posts rules for voters to follow as well as the debaters. I think that voters have the right to vote as they see fit by following DDO voting criteria and if necessary disregarding "voting rules" posted by the debaters. However, I found this debate very engaging and I am willing to agree with Pro's request for a detailed voting RFD.


Both criteria and definitions have been shown to be valid. Con's definition of democracy assumes what is commonly known to be democracy. It is not analogous to supposing that a Monarch will be benevolent.

Pro does not adequately show how monarchy gives people freedom in pursuing their interests. It was unconvincing that wars between monarchies are between two men and not two nations. Pro also focusses on refuting socialism in his opening statement and associating democracy with socialism whereas democratic capitalism is very common. Pro never states in his opening or in the rules that he specifically intends to compare monarchy with socialism. Con was right in saying that comparing monarchy to socialism did not strengthen Pro's argument at all.

However, an excellent point by Pro showing that businesses are essentially monarchies and usually would not be able to run under a democratic system because financial gain is important. This directly relates to his economic prosperity criterion.

Pro's argument about public relations was a very uncommon interpretation of democracy and comes from an obviously biased source.

Con's argument about subjects and citizens was strong at first. However, it weakened when he emphasized whether citizens can opt out of the relationship. Pro took full advantage and refuted it very well showing that citizens cannot opt out.
Posted by waylon.fairbanks 5 years ago
alright, Grape. I'll just let my round expire and we'll have our "4th round" in the fifth. Good luck
Posted by Grape 5 years ago
I just now am back to my computer. 14 hours in the middle of the night is not enough time to write an argument, so I'll have to miss this round.
Posted by Kinesis 5 years ago
Oh yeah, I missed that.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
This one is definitely on my radar. I'm following it round by round and will certainly vote when it is done.
@Kinesis, they are not going to debate round 5 if no one forfeits a round. They are just going to post "ballanck round." Round 5 is a contingency in case one of them forfeits.
Posted by Kinesis 5 years ago
Looks like a very promising debate. I reckon you'll both be pretty burnt out by round five though. :P
Posted by Grape 5 years ago
1. I will update the sources page latter tonight, at least by 10 pm EST. I have to go pick up a pizza and I'm out of time. If I run out of room on the sources page figure something out.

2. I may have to miss the next round. If I forfeit after you post your response, just wait until the end of the time limit and then post "blank round." Hopefully I will be back in time.
Posted by Grape 5 years ago
Okay, I'm home so you can reply whenever you want if you're done.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by thett3 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to Pro for obvious reasons. C5 drop, which appealed to Cons criterion. That was highly significant, further Con merely asserts that history is complex on most points, with no true analysis as to how democracy outweighs. Pros impacts were much more substantial, and he turned the Public sphere argument.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: See the comments section.