The Instigator
artC
Pro (for)
Losing
49 Points
The Contender
Kleptin
Con (against)
Winning
53 Points

Democracy is not an effective ideology in producing a successful society.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/1/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,278 times Debate No: 3018
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (28)
Votes (25)

 

artC

Pro

Democracy not only oppresses the minority, but often times oppresses moral acts, or justifies immoral acts.
Kleptin

Con

My opponent is arguing that Democracy is not an effective ideology in producing a successful society.

She backs this argument up with the following points:

1. Democracy oppresses the minority
2. Democracy oppresses moral acts
3. Democracy justifies immoral acts.

I would argue that every ideology and every society does the preceding to some extent. In my opinion however, Democracy oppresses the least people and hands morality over to the people more so than other types of societies.

In a Democracy, everyone's voice is heard and everyone gets a say in how things should go. I don't believe there is a more efficient system that satisfies my opponent's criteria.

I invite my opponent to respond to my points and to do also the following:

1. Define a successful society
2. Give an example of an ideology that is more effective than democracy
3. Explain why this is the case.
Debate Round No. 1
artC

Pro

Let me start out by saying that I am very pleased with the response my debate has received.

All of my opponents arguments are true.

In response to my opponents points.

Every ideology and every society oppresses minorities, for the most part and helps to justify immoral acts. Democracy does indeed oppress the least number of people and it does hand morality over to the people more so than other types of societies.

"In a Democracy, everyone's voice is heard and everyone gets a say in how things should go. I don't believe there is a more efficient system that satisfies my opponent's criteria."

Agreed.

Now to clarify my stance:

1. I define a successful society in terms of the morality of it's people. This is depicted by the societies policies and acts. This, of course implies that we are working under the idea that absolute or some form of absolute morality exists. In other words, generally speaking, what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong, regardless of people's preferences.

2. "Give an example of an ideology that is more effective than democracy"

In response to this, I don't have one. I am not debating the existence of a more effective, or better ideology, I am merely criticising the ideology of democracy.

3. Explain why this is the case.

Obviously I can't answer this because I don't have a better ideology for you.

Since I agree with your points let me present some more of my own.

Just because democracy represents the majority doesn't make it good and it certainly doesn't make it ideal. Democracy works to suppress the ideas of the minority, which often times are more moral and just plain better than the majority.

Some examples of the majority suppressing a minority who is morally right...
Gay Rights
Separation of Church and State- the word God in the pledge and on money AND polygamy being illegal

When deciding what is moraly right and wrong, and the bases of most of my argument is Mill's harm principle. And the basic idea of not violating human rights.
Kleptin

Con

My opponent has refused to counter any of my points and has also admitted that they are all true, without seeking to modify anything.

"1. I define a successful society in terms of the morality of it's people. This is depicted by the societies policies and acts. This, of course implies that we are working under the idea that absolute or some form of absolute morality exists. In other words, generally speaking, what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong, regardless of people's preferences."

I will not give you absolute morality as a premise. I call that into question, for there is absolutely no proof that morality is absolute or objective. Thus, I reject your definition of a successful society unless you can show that success comes directly from this criteria alone. I myself believe that a successful society is one where there is general improvement in the lives of each member in the fields of emotional, financial, physical, and mental well-being.

"In response to this, I don't have one. I am not debating the existence of a more effective, or better ideology, I am merely criticising the ideology of democracy."

Although I would normally follow this up with Socratic questioning, this is not possible in a three round debate. So instead, I will emphasize that in order for society to exist, one must have some sort of social order. The issue of debate is efficacy, meaning that the thing being analyzed can be done so with a reasonable scale against other things. If you are going to argue against the efficacy of democracy as a social ideology, you MUST compare it to other ideologies or else you forfeit this current debate in its entirety.

So far, the only option you have would be to link absolute morality to other social ideologies, which is dangerous. Anything that comes remotely close to fulfilling your criteria would be a theocracy.

"Just because democracy represents the majority doesn't make it good and it certainly doesn't make it ideal. Democracy works to suppress the ideas of the minority, which often times are more moral and just plain better than the majority."

I must remind you that this debate is not about perfection. This debate is about whether or not democracy is an EFFECTIVE ideology in producing a successful society. I have rejected your definition of a successful society because that would imply that every society is a failure, and that argument is moot.

"Some examples of the majority suppressing a minority who is morally right...
Gay Rights
Separation of Church and State- the word God in the pledge and on money AND polygamy being illegal"

Not only do you need to prove absolute morality, you must also prove that absolute morality incorporates the things you stated up there. Until you do so, your points hold no weight.

"When deciding what is moraly right and wrong, and the bases of most of my argument is Mill's harm principle. And the basic idea of not violating human rights."

Mill's harm principle is essentially "Your right to swing your fist only ends where my face begins". On the most part, I agree with this. However, this does not tie in with my opponent's position at all.

Mill would argue against helmet and seat belt laws because they violate the freedom of a person. Mill would also argue that drug use should be legal and that there should be no age limit for drinking.

Can you imagine what might happen if these things were all legal? After the helmet laws were passed for motorcyclists, deaths for the cyclists were decreased by 30% in just a few years. Drug use of any sort is also extraordinarily harmful to a person's system and I speak as a pharmacy student on this point. To suggest that kids should have free access to alcohol given this country's cultural background would be chaotic. In European countries where alcohol has a more cultural background, the laws are less stringent. But in America, age limits are necessary.

These laws were passed for the good of society and little to no personal freedom is being taken away.

*******

My opponent has essentially argued a whole bunch of nothing. My opponent has conceded each and every single one of my points, making no modifications and verbally agreeing to every one.

My opponent has also failed to meet the requirements of this debate, which is to argue that democracy is not an efficient ideology for sustaining a society.

My opponent cannot offer any system, real or imaginary, that is better than democracy and has no scale or method of comparison to say that democracy is not effective.

My opponent also claims absolute morality as one of the key tenets to a successful society and has yet to objectively prove that point.

********

I argue that democracy IS an effective ideology for society and I define a successful society above. I find that my definition is more applicable because all societies exist to serve the populace and enhance well-being in the ways I have detailed, whereas my opponent's definition applies to no society existing today and has little to no relevance to what a society exists as.

I do not argue that democracy is perfect. I argue that it is effective in comparison to dictatorships, fascist governments, theocracies, etc.
Debate Round No. 2
artC

Pro

"My opponent has refused to counter any of my points and has also admitted that they are all true, without seeking to modify anything."

As a matter of fact, I have not refused to counter anything, I have modified the argument, and yes, I have admitted they are all true, they are also irrelevant.

"I will not give you absolute morality as a premise. I call that into question, for there is absolutely no proof that morality is absolute or objective."

Why can't you accept the argument of at least SOMEWHAT absolute morality? Killing is wrong, stealing is wrong and the like. Always with exceptions of course. There is no real proof of absolute morality because we would need an entity outside of ourselves to prove it. Obviously this is not possible. We can deduce that it is objective however. Most everyone would agree that it is as wrong to murder a person in the United States as it is in Kenya, and everywhere else. This is objective.

"If you are going to argue against the efficacy of democracy as a social ideology, you MUST compare it to other ideologies or else you forfeit this current debate in its entirety."

I do not have to give examples of any other ideologies or societies in order to find fault in and criticise democracy. If you believe that our society, or any other society is successful I would disagree. How can you deem a society a success if it has homeless people and people dying without health care, and people being abused and people who are not free to express unpopular thought without being ridiculed to the point of silence? These things need no comparison to be true. The only comparison needed is that to an ideal society, not an existing one. When these things, among others, cease to exist in our society, I will conceded to it's success, until then I will criticise it.

"I must remind you that this debate is not about perfection. This debate is about whether or not democracy is an EFFECTIVE ideology in producing a successful society. I have rejected your definition of a successful society because that would imply that every society is a failure, and that argument is moot."

EFFECTIVE in producing a SUCCESSFUL society. Yes, virtually every society is a failure. This argument is not moot, give me a reason it is. The society of which you are a part may be successful for you, but it surely is not successful to everyone, It can't be both, so it can not be called successful. You may argue that the majority believes it to be successful, but I will not accept the majority's opinion as the end all be all, or of much validity at all.

"Not only do you need to prove absolute morality, you must also prove that absolute morality incorporates the things you stated up there. Until you do so, your points hold no weight."

I didn't realize I had to convince anyone that it is moral to let everyone marry whoever they like and as many people as they like without interference of the state. Or that people shouldn't have beliefs imposed upon them by the law.

"Mill would argue against helmet and seat belt laws because they violate the freedom of a person. Mill would also argue that drug use should be legal and that there should be no age limit for drinking."

Yes and he would be right. The law shouldn't have a right to do anything you don't conceded to, even to protect you.

"Can you imagine what might happen if these things were all legal? After the helmet laws were passed for motorcyclists, deaths for the cyclists were decreased by 30% in just a few years. Drug use of any sort is also extraordinarily harmful to a person's system and I speak as a pharmacy student on this point. To suggest that kids should have free access to alcohol given this country's cultural background would be chaotic. In European countries where alcohol has a more cultural background, the laws are less stringent. But in America, age limits are necessary."

None of this gives anyone the right to impose on another person, their ideas, even if they are right. If I choose to ride a motorcycle without a helmet I should surely be allowed to.

This is where Mill's harm principle applies. The majority should not be able to make rules for the minority as well as themselves, unless it is a law passed for the protection of RIGHTS not safety.

"I argue that democracy IS an effective ideology for society and I define a successful society above. I find that my definition is more applicable because all societies exist to serve the populace and enhance well-being in the ways I have detailed, whereas my opponent's definition applies to no society existing today and has little to no relevance to what a society exists as.

I do not argue that democracy is perfect. I argue that it is effective in comparison to dictatorships, fascist governments, theocracies, etc."

I agree that democracy is more effective than dictatorships, in most cases, fascist governments and theocracies. I am not comparing one poor ideology to a worse one however, as far as I'm concerned that is not the way to progress. I am comparing a poor ideology to what the ideal is imagined to be. I have stated what the ideal society, or even a successful one would not posses above.

This debate is about the shortcomings of democracy, not the semantics my opponents seems so intent on fixating on.

In order to have a better or more successful society, "majority rule" most cease to be the rule of thumb.
Kleptin

Con

"Why can't you accept the argument of at least SOMEWHAT absolute morality?"

That's absurd. Somewhat absolute morality completely contradicts the "absolute" part. Do you even know what you're saying?

"Killing is wrong, stealing is wrong and the like. Always with exceptions of course."

Always with exceptions. Hence, NOT ABSOLUTE.

"There is no real proof of absolute morality because we would need an entity outside of ourselves to prove it. Obviously this is not possible. "

Which goes along with my point about how morality is determined by society and not as an absolute. In that case, democracy fulfills your moral requirements in the best way possible.

"We can deduce that it is objective however. Most everyone would agree that it is as wrong to murder a person in the United States as it is in Kenya, and everywhere else. This is objective."

No no no. This is not objective. This is logical fallacy. Namely Argumentum Ad Populum. The masses do not dictate truth. However, if you are going to argue by popularity, be my guest, because all it does is strengthen my point about morality being dictated by society.

"I do not have to give examples of any other ideologies or societies in order to find fault in and criticise democracy."

You do if you want to determine whether it is successful or not. Which is a key part to this debate.

"If you believe that our society, or any other society is successful I would disagree. How can you deem a society a success if it has homeless people and people dying without health care, and people being abused and people who are not free to express unpopular thought without being ridiculed to the point of silence?"

So the only way a society can be successful is if everyone is completely happy, healthy, content, respected, and worshiped. Thus, the only successful society is heaven. I'm sorry, but this point is ludicrous. If you're going to define success as perfection, you should have just said "democracy is not perfect" so that everyone in the comment section can criticize you for setting up a rigged debate. As for me, I am not going to allow you to use this definition of success because it is absurd.

"These things need no comparison to be true. The only comparison needed is that to an ideal society, not an existing one. When these things, among others, cease to exist in our society, I will conceded to it's success, until then I will criticise it."

Comparing things to an ideal is the basis for finding flaws, not for detailing success. Success is determined by comparing several imperfect things. For example, asking if a person is successful is not the same as asking a person if he happens to be God.

"EFFECTIVE in producing a SUCCESSFUL society. Yes, virtually every society is a failure. This argument is not moot, give me a reason it is. The society of which you are a part may be successful for you, but it surely is not successful to everyone, It can't be both, so it can not be called successful. You may argue that the majority believes it to be successful, but I will not accept the majority's opinion as the end all be all, or of much validity at all."

If you define something as only being able to exist as an ideal, it is akin to saying it can never exist, making the definition, and thus, the argument moot. Success is not an ideal, it is defined as the attainment of a favorable outcome. Favorable over other things. Success is inherently compared to realistic situations, not only to an ideal. I don't need to appeal to popularity because your definition is invalid.

"I didn't realize I had to convince anyone that it is moral to let everyone marry whoever they like and as many people as they like without interference of the state. Or that people shouldn't have beliefs imposed upon them by the law."

And seeing as how you didn't do that here, you lost your only chance to validate absolute morality.

"None of this gives anyone the right to impose on another person, their ideas, even if they are right. If I choose to ride a motorcycle without a helmet I should surely be allowed to."

I see you have no comment on drinking and drug use. I take your silence as a concession.

"This is where Mill's harm principle applies. The majority should not be able to make rules for the minority as well as themselves, unless it is a law passed for the protection of RIGHTS not safety."

The right to life? The right to live safely and securely in public? Shouting "fire" in a crowded movie theater is an exercise of the first amendment but can result in grievous harm to people. How about bomb threats that aren't carried out? What about the right to privacy of several men carrying large, bomb-shaped packages onto a plane?

"I agree that democracy is more effective than dictatorships, in most cases, fascist governments and theocracies. I am not comparing one poor ideology to a worse one however, as far as I'm concerned that is not the way to progress. I am comparing a poor ideology to what the ideal is imagined to be. I have stated what the ideal society, or even a successful one would not posses above."

And that's why your argument holds no weight. Success is not determined by comparing an existing thing to an ideal that is impossible to reach. Success is determined by comparing a reached state to other states. You are wrong in saying that you have stated what the ideal society is, but right in saying that you have only specified what a successful (perfect) society would not possess. This type of deliberate ambiguity is not going to strengthen your point.

"This debate is about the shortcomings of democracy, not the semantics my opponents seems so intent on fixating on."

Incorrect. If this debate were merely "democracy isn't perfect" then it would be a rigged debate that does not contribute to this forum in any way, shape, or form because nothing is perfect. It would not even be a debate. It would be a blog. This debate is on whether democracy is successful or not, and I have used the LOGICAL definition of success and showed that this definition applies to democracy.
**************

My opponent's argument is essentially this:

Success means perfection.
Democracy is not perfect.
Therefore, Democracy is not successful and I win.

I find it to be ridiculous to define success as complete and total perfection. Yes, democracy is imperfect, but that does not mean it is unsuccessful.

My opponent has failed to respond to any of my points, agreeing to all of them and hinging her entire argument on the notion that something cannot be successful unless it is perfect in every way, shape, and form.

Given the absurdity of this argument, I have defined success as a favorable outcome out of possible outcomes. I have also shown that democracy applies to this.
Debate Round No. 3
28 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by artC 8 years ago
artC
Thank you, C-Match, it went even further back before the founding fathers. I don't know why the system was adopted.
Posted by C-Mach 8 years ago
C-Mach
That is exactly what happens in a democracy, artC. That's why the Founding Fathers openly spoke against it.

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch."

- Benjamin Franklin

"Democracy... while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide."

- John Adams

"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine."

- Thomas Jefferson

"...Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths."

- James Madison

"It has been observed that a pure democracy, if it were practicable, would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies, in which the people themselves deliberated, never possessed one feature of good government. Their very character was tyranny: their figure deformity... Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate government."

- Alexander Hamilton

Also, how many times is the word "democracy" mentioned in the Constitution? Let's see... NONE! We are a republic, as defined by Article IV, Section IV.
Posted by artC 8 years ago
artC
HandsOff- Agreed. I don't especially want to label myself, it's more about aligning with certain ideologies, they are orientative after all, and isn't that what everyone wants?
Posted by HandsOff 8 years ago
HandsOff
ArtC,
Better not to hurry in labeling yourself. You seem intelligent enough to use logic and good reason to arrive at your philosophical destination. Many arrive at their political positions based on emotion. If you use solid reasoning to arrive at your opinions, enthusiasm (emotion) for those opinions will follow. On the other hand, solid reasoning will rarely be there to support opinions based on emotion.
Posted by HandsOff 8 years ago
HandsOff
Sadolite,
Unfortunately, we are a republic which allows the majority to place representatives in office to vote in lockstep with their desires-- again, without regard for right or wrong and with few limits that cannot be overruled by a liberal supreme court. This is far from the constitutional republic our founding fathers intended-- one with firm limits on which matters the majority is even allowed to vote.
Posted by Yraelz 8 years ago
Yraelz
Yucky. I agree with artC on just about everything, and if this debate was about whether Democracy was perfect or not, or even just better than other forms of government then I would have voted for her/him. I would most likely have voted given an alternative also, but I have none of those to vote on. Thus I must vote for Kleptin on semantics. Yuck.
Posted by artC 8 years ago
artC
HandsOff- Don't ask right now, I need to get some thoughts straightened out. I know exactly what I believe but I'm having some trouble consolidating it all.

I believe in the individual rights of people, I am most certainly not a Libertarian however, I am a socialist in a lot of ways, and the whole democracy issue has arisen very recently. I honestly didn't give it enough thought before liek a month ago.
Posted by sadolite 8 years ago
sadolite
If this country was a democracy the entire country would be dictated to by the populations of New York, California and Florida. Thank God for this nations wonderful Republic style of Government. The founding fathers thought of this exact scenario already and that's why the made it a Republic instead of a Democracy.
Posted by HandsOff 8 years ago
HandsOff
BTW, what's up? Your stance here does not gel with your online profile-- Domocratic Socialist Party????
Posted by artC 8 years ago
artC
HnadsOff- Agreed. I must admit I was inclined to insert the word 'democracy' in there to "push the envelope" as it were.
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artC
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