Democracy is not the Best Form of Government
Debate Rounds (5)
I define best as:
The most successful and superior form of government. In other words the best form of government is the government that is most capable of improving the economic, technological, and developmental situations of a state.
The inherent flaw of democracy is that equal voting power is given to people who are significantly less intelligent and/or less knowledgeable about important political issues which, due to the fact that a majority of the population is less knowledgeable about these issues, severely damages the national interests of the nation. From a social standpoint, it is logical to prevent less capable citizens from voting simply because they do not understand politics enough to know what is good for themselves or the nation.
Con can feel free to rebut me and create his own arguments in his acceptance response, but if Con would rather just accept only, that is equally okay.
Two forfeits is an automatic loss.
Because of Christmas and New Years, I've been busier than I thought I would be, and I havent had time to thoroughly lay out my position on this issue. I made this argument five rounds partly for this reason, and I hope you can willingly forfeit round 2 (as I am) so we can pick up the argument in round 3. I think thats rounds 3, 4, and 5 should be adequate for each of us to lay out and defend our arguments.
Sorry about this, it was a mistake on my part to start a debate between Christmas and New Years.
Firstly, I need to define democracy, to do so I will take the definition provided by Merriam-Webster dictionary - "A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives."
At the same time, I need to define aristocracy - From Wikipedia, it says "A form of government that places power in the hands of a small, privileged ruling class. The term derives from the Greek aristokratia, meaning rule of the best".
This distinction is important because if there is a group of people who is left out of voting, such as women, or slaves, etc. then the form of government is not a democracy, because a sub-group of the population has been determined to be the privileged ruling class.
Argument 1 - Democracy, in its true form, has never been succesfully employed in history
Up until recently (as far as I know), there has never been a country that has succesfully employed a true democracy. For example, the first 'pseudo-democracy', in Athens, only male citizens who were not slaves were allowed to have any political vote. Ancient empires such as Athens and Rome were all like this, and this form of government is more similar to an aristocracy than a democracy. Furthermore, the staple democracy, USA, was never even a democracy until 1969, when all people were given an equal right to vote, prior to the 1900s, the government system of America was extremely similar to the governments of ancient Greece and Rome: A perceived elite group (male citizens who were natives and not slaves), that had exclusive voting power.
In modern days, rapidly developing countries such as China are practicing aristocratic government ideologies. Membership to the Chinese Communist Party is only available to graduates of elite college programs, or to people who have connections in said parties. Only 83 million people in China are even members of the party, and it is the most powerful political party in China.
Argument 2 - The average person in the population is too uninformed
This argument is simple enough. A vast majority of people are simply not well-informed and not well-researched on political issues. They do not know enough about fiscal or foreign policy to accurately assess a candidate's position. There is a recurring problem (every election) of people who vote for candidates based on 1 or 2 social issues, this persists even in the coming up 2016 election.
For example, in the 2008 election, there were celebrities who openly stated they only voted for Barack Obama because of his skin color. And, from personal experience, I can't even begin to count the number of people who are voting in the coming up election simply because of their stance on Syria, illegal immigrants, gun rights, or religious beliefs. The people who are choosing the president should not be focused on just one or two issues, they should be well educated in ALL the issues that are pertinent at the time.
As I stated in argument 1, modern day democracy is unprecedented, we have never before had the technological ability to create such a powerful media and make voting become so easy. Up until recent times, there has never been a country, where through technology and social opinion, every person has had the ability to vote.
In older times, this was never a problem. Due to the lack of technology and the inefficiency of transportation, even if a government claimed that every male citizen had the right to vote, it was predominantly the rich and the educated who actually DID vote.
Argument 3 - As a result of A2, the average person is more susceptible to manipulation
People who do not understand the complexities of politics and economics are simply more capable of being tricked by politicians who are trying to get into office. All a politician has to do is convince a person (who knows nothing about the topic) that they are right, and what they say is the most beneficial thing for the voter. This is an extremely big deal, because if the pesron is not willing to do his/her own research into the issue, they can be thoroughly tricked by their ignorance.
My ultimate point is that the reason why the 'pseudo-democracies' of the past and present have been so successful is because they were never really democracies. They were simply very large aristocracies whose governments were/are run by an intelligent and educated elite.
To build on that, there is simply no historical evidence that a true democracy would be an effective government (let alone the best), because it has never happened until recently. And logically, it does not make sense as to how it could be the best. A majority of people do not understand politics, economics, or foreign policy, so how does it make sense that they should be picking the person who will be making decisions over these issues?
On this matter, democratic nations are generally more successful than other countries. Some of the most successful countries do have at least a degree of democracy, including the United States, the UK, Germany, and even, to a degree, China, which has albeit very few aspects of democracy. Your point that democracy has never been successfully employed is completely ridiculous.
Also, the ignorance of the governed is no reason to refuse them the right to have a say in the government. Now, if we were putting these morons in government positions, then problems would arise, but since they are only expressing which candidate they prefer, the Electoral College mostly weeds out the stupid people.
Yes, we are susceptible to manipulation, but at least in democracy, we have the option to research options and choose the best for our country. Aristocracies remove this option and puts the manipulators directly into power without the say of the people.
The most successful societies grew out of democracy. Athens, Rome, most of European history, there is a call for democracy. Why, look at the greatest example of aristocracy: France, circa 1780 AD. Do ya know what happened? The French Revolution, in which the people overthrew the oppressive upper class and established (you guessed it) a republic. From this point, France grew into the democratic and strong country that it now is. I therefore propose that an aristocracy would bring about issues over social inequality, as it has done in China, and that democracy is by far the most beneficial.
3. government by those considered to be the best or most able people in the state
4. a governing body composed of those considered to be the best or most able people in the state.
5. any class or group considered to be superior, as through education, ability, wealth, or social prestige.
A democracy, on the other hand:
1. A system of government by the whole population or all eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives
2.government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people".
To clarify definition 1, "all eligible members of a state" is addressing the fact that some people living in a state are not eligible members of the state. In other words, people who are foreign nationals who are in the state for whatever purpose do not get the right to vote, and people who have legally lost voting rights for things such as criminal activity.
Simply based off of the two definitions I have provided, it becomes clear that if a nation CHOOSES to not give a group of people voting rights or governmental power, (such as women, blacks, etc), it is because of the ideology that there is a certain superior group of people, that only this group is allowed to make political decisions, and that anyone not inside of this group is not fit to have political or voting power, which makes it by definitions 3 and 5 - a government by those considered to be the best or most able people in the state.
This is only a slight variation from a monarchy (governing power bestowed on birthright), or a traditional aristocracy (governing power based on wealth). In case 1, it is your birth right that determines if you are the best able to rule, in case 2, it is your wealth and social status that determines if you are best able to rule. Varying this to race and gender only slightly enlarges the aristocracy, but it certainly does not make it a democracy. And furthermore, even though these governments claimed that only native born males who owned property and weren't slaves had the right to vote, they were still inadvertently creating an aristocracy based on wealth.
I do agree with Con in the sense that Athens and Rome both had democratic elements to the way they governed, as they made the governing pool larger than in a totalitarian regime or monarchy, but that does not make them a democracy because they are violating one of the most important principles of democracy " it is not a government by the people; it is a government by a group of people who are deemed superior (even if that group of people is larger than it would be in a monarchy).
Con also misrepresents my argument. I did not say "no facet of democracy has ever been successfully employed". What I said was "Democracy, in its true form, has never been successfully employed". And as I stated earlier, while Athens, Rome, and pre-modern America had democratic aspects to them (I.E. the increased governing pool), the electoral system, checks and balances, representatives, and other facets commonly associated with democracy are NOT inherent to democracy, as an aristocracy can implement them as well (however, it does not HAVE to implement them, while a democracy is practically required to). The important fact is that all of the governing power was completely controlled by the perceived superior group that was best able to rule, thus making them aristocracies.
If you start reading from paragraph 8, it openly states that pre-modern America was "NOT- a democracy and explains why. Only certain people had the right to vote based on gender, race, and land owned (wealth, in other words).
The successes of these nations cannot be accredited to democracy, because they never were democracies.
An incredibly important aspect of my argument that Con ignored was my argument about technological advances. Historically, even if a country or nation claimed to be a democracy, it has been virtually impossible to implement until fairly modern times. As I stated earlier, over the past century, it has been growing easier and cheaper to stay up to date on politics and get access to the voting booths. This is something that is utterly unprecedented in history. After all, the first radio was invented in 1895, the first TV was invented in 1927, and the internet was invented in 1969! My parents told me that the internet wasn"t even really usable until 1995, that"s only 20 years ago! 10 years ago, smart phones hardly existed, and now they are used by practically everyone. This is an incredibly important point, because it shows that for the layman, information has never been so easy to access, while in the past it could only be accessed through legitimate interest in the politics and the motivation and ability to participate, which was typically only available to the wealthy and the educated. Therefore it was fundamentally impossible, simply because of technological restraints, for historical democracies to truly be democracies (even if they HAD allowed everyone to vote, the wealthy and educated would still have had almost exclusive political power). While this seems like a good thing, it is not, because it has made it so easy for people to become brainwashed, which will negatively influence their voting opinions.
A vast majority of times, the electoral college will (and in many cases it is required) vote for the winner of the popular vote. So nowadays, the uneducated have more of a say than ever.
As for France, it was a kind of aristocracy, but not the kind of aristocracy that I"ve described that made America, Athens, China, and Rome so powerful and successful. France in the 1700s was more of a monarchy (which, yes, by definition is an aristocracy, but a very small and exclusive one). Essentially I think, in contrast to a monarchy, the size of these aristocracies and the way they operated is what gave them such an advantage. In the past, as I said, it was only the educated and the wealthy who could vote (even in ancient democracies), in the present, the voting power of the educated and the wealthy has dropped considerably since so many more uninformed people have the ability to vote. The best analogy I can think of is this. In the past, voters wouldn't necessarily vote for someone whose ideas looked good on the outside, because they would understood if the internal mechanics were flawed. Nowadays, it is far more likely for the internal mechanics to go unnoticed because of a lack of understanding of the internal mechanics.
As for social inequality in China, it has less to do with the system of government, and more to do with China"s rapid development from a third world country and the fact that it has 1.4 billion people. Even now, its government is actively trying to tackle the situation, and its income inequality is only slightly higher than modern day USA.
the_banjo_sender forfeited this round.
For my closing argument, I will reiterate my position. Democracy is not the best form of government. Allowing everybody in a population to vote for representatives and/or policies floods the voting pool with people who do not know enough about the issues at hand, which devalues the vote of the minority who does know about it. It is a form of government, that in truth, has never even been implemented in society until recently. Historical democracies have always had social bigotry with laws requiring voters to be of a certain race, gender, and own a certain amount of land, which essentially assured that it was predominantly the aristocracy that was voting. On top of that, technological differences made it even harder for the average person to vote.
In the technology era, it is impossible to argue that a democracy that gives everyone the right to vote is the best form of government. As said in this CBS article and the article I posted in the last round:
Un-Educated voters have a serious effect on elections, often voting off of pure ignorance, and sadly they far outnumber the voters who actually understand politics and are educated about the issues at hand. It goes without saying that an aristocracy that requires politicians to be appointed by the intellectual elite and the politcally savvy would be better than a traditional democracy.
Alas, my business pervades this particular point in the Universal Time line, so I'm afraid I shan't be making any more cases. Yes, this means you probably will win.
Kudos to you.
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