The Instigator
HandsOff
Pro (for)
Losing
43 Points
The Contender
Patrick_Henry
Con (against)
Winning
45 Points

Democracy without constraint eventually leads to more socialism. We are well on our way.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/11/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,903 times Debate No: 2552
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (37)
Votes (21)

 

HandsOff

Pro

Since a literal interpretation of the constitution has gone out the window, there is no concrete protection against the have-nots (or work-nots as I call them) voting in large numbers to confiscate property from its rightful owners and redistibute it in the name of public welfare. As the spoils(welfare, free healthcare, government housing, etc.) from voting democrat (or even republican these days) become more apparent, more and more will be tempted to try and vote their way to prosperity rather than earn it. It's only human nature to take the path of least resistance, even if the reward is not as great as that produced by hard work. It's just a matter of time before our system will resemble that of your average socialist European county. Look back over the last 200 years, and you will see how the government's roll has devolved from protector to provider.
Patrick_Henry

Con

1.)The Constitution is not a dictation of the rights of the people, it is a limitation of the powers of our Government.

2.)There was never a literal interpretation of the Constitution. This is a myth created by opponents of the strength of the 9th Amendment, which states, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." Cannot be interpreted literally because of the intrinsic broadness of the statement.

The Constitution itself states that we have more rights than the Constitution dictates. Therefore, to follow the Constitution literally is to understand that the constitution is not a statement of our rights, and the Constitution gives no ground to deny social programs, whether they be to provide charity, education, or a number of other things that the society as a whole benefits from.

3.)The Preamble to the Constitution, which states the reason and intent behind the formation of the Constitution states;

" We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, [b]insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, [b]promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America

A part of insuring domestic tranquility is providing housing assistance to help keep contributing citizens from becoming vagrants. A part of it is to provide food to those who might go hungry, to insure that they do not pursue criminal means to provide food for themselves, and for their family. Hunger is a basic instinct, law and order is a part of a social covenant.

Promoting general welfare is achieved by a government that provides the road of Enlightenment to all people. We have expanded the voting franchise dramatically so that now almost all individuals who are of 18 years of age are able to participate in the direct representation of our nation. To promote the general welfare of a Democracy with Universal Suffrage, the government must provide education to all individuals. A body politic that is ignorant is not capable of selecting the best leaders for their own nation. Leaders should be more than popular individuals with pockets deep enough to run for office, they should also be individuals capable of deriving the best policies which means the voting bloc must be able to compare and contrast the best policies.

Also, in the modern age where so few individuals are involved in day to day manual labor, an education which provides the basic ability to step into a white collar job is fundamental. Even farming, the way in which most of humanity sustained themselves for most of human history has gone from being a practice of labor to a practice of technology as even the simplest family farms now operate assets worth millions of dollars and participate in a global economy.

4.)Human nature is not defined by the path of least resistance.

This is something that has been alleged by punditry on television, and likewise remains unsupported. Given that the path of least resistance would be to remain hunter gatherers, living off the land and putting forth little or no effort in agriculture and just taking what is provided. The very birth of civilization was only possible as people put effort into thing which initially they didn't have to do. Agriculture as opposed to gathering required the creation of tools, the development of pottery and other methods of storing the harvests, the development of olive presses, the time put forth to ferment early wines and beers to allow for long storing.

The path of least resistance cannot explain the Inuit people of Canada's most northern reaches, as they continue their very tough lifestyle. Where their diets still consist almost completely of meat which is still eaten raw in the right circumstances.

Ironically, the least effort in the modern age is typically put forth by the wealthiest individuals, not the poorest. To use wealth to make wealth by "investing" in funding someone else's efforts. While it does represent a risk, I am uncertain how it represents much effort. Yes, the lives of multi-millionaires and billionaires often include a full schedule, but much of their work doesn't represent much in the way of toil.

5.)Human nature is more actually defined by survival.

We tend to do what we have to do to survive and maintain ourselves. This is why we're often self interested. Ironically we seldom look at all that we have and consider all of the ways in which we could survive even if we lose it. So, we see people worth millions of dollars acting as if a 2 or 3% tax increase is going to end their prosperity when they have never known hunger, or despair, and even with an 80% tax rate they'd still never know hunger or despair. What a terrible travesty it must be to take away someone's second vacation home. I don't know how that family could survive without their lake house.

6.)If you actually focus on a detailed study of the last two hundred years, the government is protecting the lower and middle class from the wealthy and their abuse of the government when they fund domestic programs to promote domestic tranquility and the general welfare.

At the inception of the Republic and the adoption of our Constitution, the wage disparity between the poorest, and the richest was not as significant as it is today. A larger share of the nation's wealth was held by a much larger share of the nation, and one simply had to move west to escape debt, bondage, and to start fresh within the wilderness. (Again, if human nature were the path of least resistance, I doubt we'd have ever had colonies, or frontiers)

To give you solid information expanding on the effects of this in just the last twenty years; http://sociology.ucsc.edu...

To summarize that data, federal policies are saddling the lower and middle class with debt while handing the nations wealth to the richest. It's impossible for a middle class American to pay for their education without saddling themselves with tremendous debt.

To bring Thomas Jefferson into this,
"There [is a measure] which if not taken we are undone...[It is] to cease borrowing money and to pay off the national debt. If this cannot be done without dismissing the army and putting the ships out of commission, haul them up high and dry and reduce the army to the lowest point at which it was ever established. There does not exist an engine so corruptive of the government and so demoralizing of the nation as a public debt. It will bring on us more ruin at home than all the enemies from abroad against whom this army and navy are to protect us." --Thomas Jefferson to Nathaniel Macon, 1821. (*) FE 10:193 (http://etext.virginia.edu... )

7.) Domestic policies which promote the general welfare and domestic tranquility are not the steps towards socialism, they are a security to ensure that private ownership can exist by limiting the ability of the wealthy to completely disenfranchise the lower and middle class, which would eventually lead to a social disorder that promoted government owned industries, utilities, and other "private assets."
Debate Round No. 1
HandsOff

Pro

Wow! I hope you cut an pasted most of that. Let's see if I can respond in 100 words or less. You are a proponent of socialism, so don't bother masking it or calling by any other name. And please don't use the constitution to defend it. A socialist society is the last thing the founding fathers had in mind when they started this once-great country. But, hey, don't be embarrased about the fact they you're a socialist. Socialism, in theory, sounds like a wonderful idea. Unfortunately its effects are counterintuitive. Socialism rewards laziness, and that concept can only grow in its appeal over time. Do you honestly think this country is going to be less socialist in 100 years?
Patrick_Henry

Con

I could have replied to you with two words, "You're wrong", however I realized that I was posting at debate.org, and not idisagreewithyou.com

The point of the whole exercise is to support your position. I read through your "argument", which consisted of a poorly constructed paragraph and lifted some of the points you made, and came up with a position counter to those points. In the second round, you've elected to respond with another paragraph which restates some of the same things you claimed in your first paragraph without expanding your argument in any fashion, or actually responding to any of my claims.

While I expect that you have a great amount of admiration for pundits that treat debates in the same fashion, all that you've managed to prove to me is that I ought to question your level of literacy and reading comprehension.

I am not a proponent of socialism. I am a pragmatist. If you support a government that is going to have no polices that feed the hungry, they had better have polices to kill the hungry. Starving people have an amazing ability to cause political upheaval and disability. So, if you're going to insist on letting people starve, I hope that you will be mature enough to have them eliminated.

Pragmatism is concerned with getting the job done. If feeding the hungry stops a problem, or prevents a problem it's a good solution. Even the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire was clever enough to provide a grain dole for all citizens to avoid riots, and they had no problem defining ownership.

Your opinion of what the founding fathers intended for this country likely doesn't include the fact that you would have never been able to vote for a Senator or for a President. I also suspect that you have failed to consider that most of the men who played a crucial role in developing our country were able to read Latin, and that's why they used the word "Republic", which is derived from the latin "Res Publica" which literally translated means "The Public Thing." They wrote a lovely little preamble to the Constitution which reflected the thoughts and feelings of the framers of the Constitution as to why they were creating the government that they created. However, I will accept any references that you can provide from their writings.

I suspect you are confused by the Declaration of Independence, a document that was plagiarized in the first place, and has no actual baring on the impact or interpretation of the Constitution?

I also have no reason to assume that the United States will be around in a hundred years. We've done nothing as a nation to ensure prosperity for our posterity.

In round three, I would appreciate it if you could support yourself instead of hurtling personal attacks from your den of ignorance.
Debate Round No. 2
HandsOff

Pro

The original point, which has not been contested successfully in any way, is that people in a democracy will vote for more taxes, more services, and less control (over their money) as time goes by. It is inevitable human nature. And not because they want less control of their money, but because they want control over other people's money- who they obviously think have more of it to spare. That is the natural course of things in a democracy. None of your points successfully disproved my original claim, so there was no need to address them.

My pointing to how this country has devolved more and more toward socialism over time is a nasty fact you are unable to explain away. Your lengthy worn out aguments simply distract from that fact and threaten to bore the reader. You discredit my argument that human nature leads one to pursue the path of least resistance by simply renaming that tenancy as the will to survive. That argument is just another distraction, and if true, does not excuse or change the resulting behavior. Socialism is inevitable with a democratic society because the majority can, does and will continue to impose its will regardless of virtue. There is no mechanism in our laws to stop it.
Patrick_Henry

Con

Then your original point must not have been supported by your opening statement, nor any of you claims. Obviously your first sentence about how we're becoming more socialist because of not interpreting the Constitution literally was not in any way disagreed with, nor were any of your lofty unsupported generalizations supported. Take a class on history, you might learn that if you provide a statement that relies on some historical perspective, no one takes you seriously unless you provide examples.

You never pointed out how this country has "devolved towards socialism."

This statement, "Look back over the last 200 years, and you will see how the government's roll has devolved from protector to provider." Might prove something to you, however without an argument detailing specific historical references as to why you think that statement is true it's just a load of crap. If it were being graded as a historical argument, it would receive 0% Until you learn to write a historical argument, I'm going to suggest you refrain from trying to use them.

In the United States, three out of the last four Presidents reduced services while dramatically increasing spending. Three of them pretended to be interested in "small government", while their polices effectively eroded civil liberties and created new layers of surveillance. Out of the last four Presidents, the only President that did not receive a second term is the one that said "Read my lips, no new taxes" and then passed new taxes. This may be an indication that people do not vote for more taxes, more services, and less control over their money as "time goes by."

During eight years of the Reagan administration, and the last seven years of George W. Bush's administration, taxes have been decreased while spending has dramatically increased. The percentage spent on "domestic programs", and on our entitlements (not including interest) has also shrunk. These facts do not support your view, they contradict it. And they actually are facts as opposed to me just claiming that a belief I have is a fact.

I yet to meet a single solitary person who votes based off of the desire to have more control over other people's money. These people must be figments of your imagination. I seldom even meet people with the opinion that those who benefit the most from our nation, owe the most to our nation. Millionaires cheat on their taxes when they don't need to. They spend thousands of dollars to hire accountants and utilize loopholes in the tax code out of no other reason than self greed, and a refusal to pay to support the system which has enriched them. When people talk about closing loopholes in the tax code, they don't mean "I want to control this person's money" they're saying, "I think this person is being a criminal, and robbing from their government and their people." It's not very patriotic.

The idea that this nation has become more socialist is not a fact. See the previous data I provided showing how the top 1% earners of this nation have been earning more and more, or the wage disparity between CEOs and their employees, and how dramatically it has increased in the last three decades is a pretty solid indication that we're not moving towards socialism. The dramatic increase in consumer debt among the lower and middle class is a pretty solid indication that you're wrong.

You're so afraid about our nation becoming a socialist nation when most of our Representatives and Senators are in the top 1% of earners? That's like being afraid of Santa Claus.

I didn't rename your argument that human nature is the path of least resistance, I told you it was wrong. Read 4.) from the first round.I provided you several examples as to why it was wrong. If you believe that "Least resistance" is the same as the "will to surivive", then why didn't those Inuit people all relocate to the tropics 5,000 years ago instead of staying put in the arctic circle? The will to survive is why a starving person will steal and kill to eat, which is why ignoring the problem out of ideology or greed has worse consequences than just feeding the hungry. You can even pretend to be a Christian while you do it.

Do you always take the path of least resistance? Because any time you don't do the easiest thing possible, according to your own argument you're being "inhuman." A good philosopher usually doesn't define human nature in such a way that they become inhuman.

The only thing that is historically inevitable about democracies is that every democracy has failed because it's a democracy. Other forms of government usually collapse due to outside pressures, Democracies collapse because eventually to voting bloc will do something incredibly incompetent, like support a government with a 500,000,000,000 dollar budget deficit for seven years and then not understand why their economy is tanking. Look at Athens for example, conquered by Sparta because some idiot convinced the people to support a military strategy that bankrupted the city, and lost its entire fleet and army on some ill-fated expedition to Sicily when they could have won the war if they had just continued to follow the original strategy laid forth by Pericles before the Peloponnesian war began.

So, in closing; you're wrong. You don't become right by pretending as if my statements that contradict yours never happened, or don't disprove anything so they're not worthy of a response. I'm sorry that you cannot defend or further support any of your views. I know this doesn't mean you'll change your mind, but I was honestly hoping to have a debate with a person who had some substance to their viewpoint.
Debate Round No. 3
37 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
The solution to the problem the resolution suggests is the constitution, and objective enforcement of it.... So, there is no solution.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Patrick. One more thig. Can you help me with this? I've always wondered why dems and libs cite fear that "people will not give freely if they are not required to" when they defend government-legislated morality or altruism. Giving is one of the most rewarding human pleasures. People love to give, even if is for their own selfish pleasure. It might be one of the few things wealthy people can do with their money that gives them true pleasure. Look at Gates and Buffet for example. I see them as the rule, not the exception. Can you shed some light on that belief?
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
"You can't really compare an industrialist society, or a post-industrialist society to a pre-industrial society"

This frutstrates me. I think it is lazy thinking to dismiss all the benefits of limited government with this type of vague statement.

"Most small towns that dotted the country 200 years ago had a much tighter sense of community, and usually members of the community saw to it that other members did not fail."

There were many large cities as well. And their citizens did all right.

The bottom line is this. Government interference with capitalism aside, we can cut back on many government programs without stripping anyone of their basic rights. All we have to do is look back to a time when they weren't so rampant and people still had their rights in tact.
The size of our population or the fact we are in a post-industrial society, has absolutely nothing to do with matter.
Posted by Patrick_Henry 9 years ago
Patrick_Henry
You can't really compare an industrialist society, or a post-industrialist society to a pre-industrial society which is what most of the nation consisted of 200 years ago.

Most small towns that dotted the country 200 years ago had a much tighter sense of community, and usually members of the community saw to it that other members did not fail. While it might not be government induced, it is certainly an aspect of sharing. The government was not large enough, or well enough developed to have a way of sharing the nations success well.

A hundred years ago, you see the attempts of many companies to maintain the workers within their walls to a state of near slavery for fixed wages which did not directly correspond to their labor because there were always more people to hire. A bout a hundred years ago was when capitalism started being less pure in this country, because it was causing grave problems for our industrialized cities and creating massive labor disputes. A person will only kill himself slowly for so long while his toils make another man rich.

Before you turn that into a comparison about how you're toils would support someone lazy, realize that feeding someone hardly makes them rich.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
I disagree, but this will make my point without the argument: How about 100 years ago, or better yet 200 years ago. Are we less socialist than then?
Posted by Patrick_Henry 9 years ago
Patrick_Henry
Yes, the government is much less socialist now than 70 years ago. For example, 70 years ago we still had the military draft. Conscription is typically a part of a more socialist government. Also, FDR still had that whole score of federal work programs for everything from ditch diggers to Artists. Grant Wood, and Iowa based artist did some his best work in the 1930s, all of it government funded, and publicly owned. You can visit Iowa State University's Library, and find his murals still painted on the walls.

Those programs have been ended, and we have a much smaller endowment for the arts, and even smaller endowment for public works projects, like swimming pools, national parks, and other things that were developed in the 1930s.

A pendulum is not a good way of describing political trends. In physics, a pendulum follows certain defined properties, and folks, specifically television pundits are trying to apply some sort of pattern to something that's only happened once. Our government has been bankrupted in the last three decades, Reagan started it off, and George W. Bush dealt the death blows. Our government wasn't bankrupted by social programs. It was bankrupted by war, tax cuts for the wealthy, a reduction in infrastructure and an investment in privatization.

That's not socialism. It's just F'd up.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Patrick,
Do believe that the U.S. is less socialist now than 70 years ago? In the 70s the democrats got a little out o hand, and the pendulem swung back a bit. So I can see there would be a good argument for the last 30 years. We have out swings back and forth, but I think the overall trend has definitely been toward more socialism.
Posted by Patrick_Henry 9 years ago
Patrick_Henry
Sure, they could do that. They could also support measures to strip themselves of the bill of rights, and have the Constitution be completely redrafted, if they wanted to.

The problem is, C-Mach, that they haven't.

There's a lot of things that the people could do. This county is not stepping closer towards socialism, if you want to take a look at some of the data I've offered, in the last thirty years it has in fact moved farther from socialism. The wealthy are controlling more of the wealth, and the poor are controlling more of the debt.

The only way that leads towards socialism is if you believe it's going to spark some glorious revolution of the proletariat.

Even if we passed a universal health care program in the country, every plan intends on using privately owned insurance companies, thus increasing the revenue and customer base that the private insurance companies get.
Posted by C-Mach 9 years ago
C-Mach
Patrick_Henry, democracy actually fosters socialism: People can vote themselves money from the public purse (AHEM!).
Posted by Patrick_Henry 9 years ago
Patrick_Henry
Oh boy it must be fun to have your perception of reality.
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