The Instigator
Jared_BL
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Con (against)
Winning
20 Points

Democratic elections are validated by the use of terrorism

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
RoyLatham
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/12/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,746 times Debate No: 19796
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (5)

 

Jared_BL

Pro

Democratic governments do not derive their authority from democracy, but from inflicting the most terror upon a population than any other organization within the same geographic region. In order to host "democratic elections", an organization must monopolize the right to host elections within their geographic region. This cannot be achieved without initially resorting to the unsanctioned use of violence.

I will use the current example of Egypt to establish my point. It is commonly assumed that the Egyptian population should now vote in democratic elections. The question is, now that the regime has fallen, who has the legitimate authority to HOST the election? This is extremely important, because only a legitimate authority can host a legitimate election in which politicians are legitimately elected into power. Everything else is about as meaningful as a bunch of 12-year-olds in Montana hosting an election for the US Presidency.

The former Egyptian military is not the legitimate authority to do so. In the absence of representative democracy, the former regime was without a doubt a terrorist organization funded by extortion (which it labelled taxation). In other words, every member of the military who voluntarily joined is a leftover terrorist. Assuming the Egyptian population was aware of this, how then would it identify the organization in Egypt that is the legitimate authority for hosting elections?

Who is to say that one election is valid, but another election is not? The only way this is possible is by threatening everyone else with the use of violence. What happens when two large groups of people in Cairo decide to host the election for the next Egyptian Government? The group of people with the most guns, ie those with the most potential to commit violence, would get to host the election.

This is why the leftover terrorists identifying themselves as the "Egyptian military" get to host the election. If anyone else tried, they would be locked up in one of the old terrorist raping pens that they called "prisons". That's terrorism.
RoyLatham

Con

The Resolution

Thanks to Pro for an interesting and timely topic.

Pro gives the full resolution as "Democratic governments do not derive their authority from democracy, but from inflicting the most terror upon a population than any other organization within the same geographic region." We need to understand what is meant by "terror" in the context of the resolution. The debate title gives it as "use of terrorism."

Merriam-Webster defines:

terrorism: the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion http://www.merriam-webster.com...

terror:

violent or destructive acts (as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands terror> http://www.merriam-webster.com...

There are other definitions of terror, Including "a state of intense fear"

Pro then claims, "In order to host "democratic elections", an organization must monopolize the right to host elections within their geographic region. This cannot be achieved without initially resorting to the unsanctioned use of violence."

To defeat the resolution I must show that it a terrorist assertion of power is not necessary for instituting democracy. History shows at least three non-violent paths to democracy.

1. Fair elections by mutual consent

Pro wrongly equates any asserted authority with terrorism. It is vanishingly rare when two opposing parties want to hold free elections that they resort to violence to determine who will hold the election. In fact, it seems logically impossible. If A wants a fair election and B wants a free election, there is no reason to resort to violence o determine who holds the election. A and B will cooperate. It's only when one side does not want democracy that violence would be used to seize power and then hold an unfair or rigged election. It is not true that the power to hold elections must be monopolized. If both sides want democracy hey will cooperate to bring the elections.

In democratic countries there are typically two or more opposing political parties. According to the resolution, one of the parties must terrorize the others in order to seize the power hold elections. That is not the case. Both cooperate in setting up and administering a fair system. For example, in the United States the parties appoint poll watchers who inspect the polling pace and the ballot process to ensure that the agreed-upon rules are obeyed. If the rules are claimed to be violated, the mater is brought to an independent judiciary who resolves the issue. Nothing that could be construed as terrorism takes place.

2. Unelected regimes choosing free elections

Pro is concerned about emerging democracy and cites the example of upcoming elections in Egypt. Pro claims, "only a legitimate authority can host a legitimate election in which politicians are legitimately elected into power." That's not true. An unelected regime may chose to host a free election. There are many examples of this I will cite three:

Military rule in Chile gave way to democracy in process in which power was relinquished incrementally, first by allowing an Assembly to be elected and a Constitution to be instituted, and ultimately full democracy. http://en.wikipedia.org... External as well as internal political forces were at work pressuring the military to surrender power, but they did so without any process of terrorism. The previous dictator, Pinochet, had ruled with a reign of terror, but the subsequent transition from military rule to democracy was peaceful.

Taiwan is another example of dictatorial rule giving way peacefully to democracy. The KMT ruled Taiwan as a single-party state for forty years, until democratic reforms were mandated during the final year of authoritarian rule under Chiang Ching-kuo. The reforms were promulgated under Chiang's successor, Lee Teng-hui, which culminated in the first ever direct presidential election in 1996. , http://en.wikipedia.org...

Spain is yet another example of a peaceful transition from authoritarian rule to democracy. "The willingness of Spain’s political leaders to compromise, plus a growing level of economic development, allowed Spain to near-seamlessly evolve from Franco’s dictatorial state to a democratic monarchy." http://www.e-ir.info... It did take some time, during which a series of elections marked the transition to full democracy.

3. External monitoring of elections

Another method is to use an outside organization to supervise the transition to democracy. Of course, the unelected regime may choose not to set up a fair system, but contrary to the resolution, they clearly may choose to do so.

T
he United Nations Department of Political Affairs, through its Electoral Assistance Division (EAD), aids the transition to democracy. http://www.un.org...

For example, the United Nations provided supervision of fair elections in Cambodia.

A major step towards normalization occurred with the elections of May 1993. Twenty parties took part in the elections. UNTAC oversaw the electoral campaign and registration of voters, as well as the elections. Over 4.2 million people -- nearly 90 per cent of the registered voters -- cast their ballots to elect a Constituent Assembly. The head of UNTAC declared the elections free and fair. In September, the Constitution was proclaimed and an new government, led by two prime ministers, was inaugurated. http://www.un.org...

There is the start of the UN monitoring elections in Libya, though whether it succeeds remains to be seen. http://www.un.org...

Election monitoring has also been provided by the Organization of American States, the British Commonwealth, and the Council of Europe. http://tinyurl.com...
These organizations monitored many transitions to democracy, including in South America, Eastern Europe and Asia.

The United States as monitored elections in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Summary

It's possible that attempts to transition from unelected government to democracy may fail in Egypt or elsewhere, Failure means that some organized force does not want democracy, either the regime in power or one of the emerging political factions. That's not inevitable, and it's clearly false that organizing of elections requires "terror." I have given three peaceful means by which it is possible to accomplish the transition to democracy. I have cited many examples of peaceful transition to democracy being accomplished.

The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 1
Jared_BL

Pro

You, like me, have assumed that the subject of the debate only relates to the relationship between opposing political groups:
Pro Quote: What happens when two large groups of people in Cairo decide to host the election for the next Egyptian Government?
Con Quote: It is vanishingly rare when two opposing parties want to hold free elections that they resort to violence to determine who will hold the election....

However, after some re-thinking of the topic, I realised it is not true that democratic elections are validated without terrorism, because society's definitions of its own moral values are blinded by misconceptions. In general, it can be assumed that in the event such misconceptions are revealed, a society would take progressive action to be consistent with its moral values. For example, if a well-published scientific study in 17th Century Alabama revealed that European prejudices about Africans were in fact prejudices, society would take progressive action to abolish slavery for as long as they remain in a state of miserable hypocrisy.

"Terrorism" is defined as: the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
http://dictionary.reference.com...

"Society" is defined as: a highly structured system of human organization for large-scale community living that normally furnishes protection, continuity, security, and a national identity for its members: American society.
http://dictionary.reference.com...
Note: I refer to "society" in terms of the average human society, in the way a scientist would observe the average ape society.


1. Society provides moral sanction for majority rule in the form of democratic governments. This is because democratic governments have a system of checks and balances to prevent legal discrimination, which means the democratic majority cannot use violence and threats to intimidate or coerce only the democratic minority. In other words, everyone is equally coerced under the law.

2. Society does not provide moral sanction for majority rule under any other circumstances. Example) The population of a neighbourhood is not allowed to use unsanctioned majority rule, in terms of using violence and threats to gain the consent of other neighbours, to host a democratic election for the governance of that neighbourhood. Instead, they have to resort to morally-sanctioned majority rule in the form of a democratic government.

3. All democratic governments are derived from "unelected regimes". Note: the only reason we refer to one particular extortion racket as an "unelected regime" and another as an "extortion racket" is because the former has a monopoly on the use of violence, whereas the latter does not (this is reversed as soon as the latter obtains a monopoly on violence). Thus, the former is in a position to use violence and threats to intimidate or coerce a population in order to get lots of money. So... according to the above definition of terrorism, an unelected regime is committing terrorism. Therefore, it is a terrorist organization. Almost all governments that ever existed used to be terrorist organizations, from monarchies all the way to the thugs-with-clubs that ruled hunter-gatherer societies.

4. No democratic election has ever been morally-sanctioned by society. Society almost never grants identified terrorist organizations any moral sanction, as shown throughout history, from the Thugees of India to the Pirates of the Caribbean. Although it has morally sanctioned monarchies and other dictators, this is due to a case of mistaken identity. Upon being identified as terrorist organizations, they would be shut down and a democratic election would be hosted by an entirely different, more peaceful group of people. Example) If a society discovered through self-reflection that it was being ruled by an extortion racket called the Mafia, they would not seek to host democratic elections in which different mafia bosses competed to run the extortion racket. They would seek to shut the Mafia down entirely and then install a democratic government, where violence and threats to intimidate or coerce would be sugar-coated as morally sanctioned majority rule; where everyone would be equally coerced under the law.

5. In a "state of nature" or anarchy, society is regulated by contract.
"Anarchy" is defined as: a state of society without government or law.
http://dictionary.reference.com...
"Contract" is defined as: an agreement between two or more parties for the doing or not doing of something specified.
http://dictionary.reference.com...
Note: any laws terrorists have passed before are not actually laws; they are threatening notes handed to society at the point of a gun... Hence, the society is in a "state of nature" or anarchy. Whatever rules emerge from this state of nature are the rules that the society abides by in practice. Example) if society under the Egyptian regime was governed by the rule of terrorism, most Egyptians would be dead from constant violence and threats against one another. On the other hand, it seems apparent that Egypt (and most other instances of anarchic human societies) is regulated by contract. That is, no individual has the right to use violence and threats against any peaceful individual. This is exhibited in the exchange of property seen in anarchic societies like Egypt. Property being exchanged (e.g. food shared at a religious festival) demonstrates the keeping of promises, i.e. a promise is a contract and vice versa. In the case of property, two parties make a promise to exchange goods (i.e. to forfeit property rights over the goods they are exchanging).

6. Society has no external exemptions to contracts, therefore unsanctioned majority rule qualifies as terrorism.
Where the actions of terrorists are correctly identified, there are no exemptions to contracts formed by adults in anarchic human societies. Examples) in the anarchic society of China: bank tellers are not allowed to force any customer to sign any contract; no one is allowed to steal directly from the rich and give to the poor; a security firm cannot use violence or threats to intimidate or coerce customers into paying for their own protection; no one can sign any contract on someone else's behalf without their explicit consent; therefore no one can agree upon a particular election host on someone else's behalf without that person's explicit consent.

7. Democratic elections are validated by the use of terrorism. It is impossible to install a democratic government from an anarchic society (from which all human societies are derived) without resorting to terrorism. Example) if a single person disagreed with the majority's choice of election host and decided to host their own election, the majority would use violence and threats to prevent an alternative democratic election taking place, i.e. unsanctioned majority rule would be used to terrorize the minority. This is due to a misconception; society simply does not recognize it is anarchic, that contracts systematically take precedence when resolving disputes, and instances of unsanctioned majority rule (e.g. two men voting on whether or not to rape a woman) are systematically regarded as acts of terrorism, because they are violent and threatening acts. Thus, the majority commits terrorism when it intimidates or coerces the minority to prevent it from establishing its own democratic elections. Hence, the majority's democratic elections are validated by the use of terrorism.

See Freedomainradio.com: www.freedomainradio.com


RoyLatham

Con

I'll do my best to try to parse what my opponent is saying, but I don't know for sure what he's arguing. It's mostly an exercise in abstract ideology. For example, Pro says "It is impossible to install a democratic government from an anarchic society (from which all human societies are derived) without resorting to terrorism." Anarchist ideologues probably knows "anarchic society" means, but I don't. The most primitive tribal societies have rules which are enforced, so there is no ordinary meaning that makes sense. It's for the ideological true believers, and I'm not obliged to know the code.

Transition to democracy can be peaceful

Pro's original contention was that for democratic elections to be held in a region, "an organization must monopolize the right to host elections" and that "cannot be achieved without initially resorting to the unsanctioned use of violence." I gave three methods by which democratic elections can be achieved without any violence whatsoever, and I gave multiple examples of their use. Pro seems to have recognized that his original contention was lost, because he didn't attempt to refute any of my arguments or examples.

The basis for civil society is human nature

His new approach is to argue that any sort of authority, including police enforcing basic laws passed democratically, amounts to terrorism. The original premise was that political organizations only achieved democracy through terror. His new premise is that even if one individual doesn't want democracy, that individual is subjugated by terror to accept democracy. His complaint moves from the way in which elections are organized to the existence of government of any kind. I'll debate that, but my opponent is conceding the debate we agreed to and starting a new one.

Let's first ask why Pro must make a theoretical case of someone who does not want any form of government. Why are there no significant numbers of people who want anarchy? In principle, a democracy could vote itself out of existence to institute the anarchy that Pro argues for, yet the idea is so unappealing that it gets no traction. The reason that anarchy never catches on is that humans are social animals. This was observed in 350 B.C.

“Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god. ” ― Aristotle, Politics http://www.goodreads.com...

A modern academic text, The Social Basis of Human Behavior, summarizes:

"Humans have the most complex society of any creature on earth, which means we extend self-preservation beyond personal physical survival. We live in extremely complex and interdependent societies, where people band together in groups for mutual aid and protection. Such groups include families, friendships, associations, tribes, clans, states, nations. The members of these groups work together to help each other. Also, since the group enhances the members' chances of survival, group survival means personal survival. The individual benefits by supporting the group, because the group reciprocates by supporting the individual." http://public.wsu.edu...

The moral basis for forcing individuals to comply with the rules of society is that human survival as a whole is enhanced by doing so. The reason that anarchy never catches on is that it is an intellectual fantasy contrary to instinct. It is in the same category as the Shakers, http://en.wikipedia.org... who believed in celibacy; they sustained the belief long enough to die out.

One reason authoritarian regimes are sustained is that people fear that democracy equates to anarchy. The ruler provides a clear definition of the society, an people may prefer a harsh society to the threat of having no society at all. We hear popular claims like "at least Saddam kept order" http://tinyurl.com... and popular (though false) "Mussolini made the train run on time." http://answers.yahoo.com...

Law and order is not terror

Enforcing reasonable laws entails the threat of force, but it is not by any means terror. Demonstrators in Syria are shot down by the authoritarian regime, but demonstrators in the U.S. and Europe are not given severe punishments when they violate health laws, block streets, destroy stores, and prevent commerce. Usually nothing whatsoever is done, and if they are arrested they are quickly released to resume illegal activities. http://tinyurl.com... Public officials even apologize for having temporarily enforced laws, but protesters respond with clear threats of violence. http://blogs.sfweekly.com...

So what is the evidence that "terror" is used to maintain democracy? My opponent has given no examples. Terror is used to destroy democracy, not to maintain it. There are plenty of example of that.

Pro claims, "if a single person disagreed with the majority's choice of election host and decided to host their own election, the majority would use violence and threats to prevent an alternative democratic election taking place, i.e. unsanctioned majority rule would be used to terrorize the minority." That's nonsense, It a free society you can organize any kind of election you want, but it's solely for you own amusement. What you cannot do is seize power undemocratically. The only way to attempt to seize power is by threatening violence or carrying out terrorist acts.

Pro never gave a reason why someone who wanted free and fair elections would refuse to cooperate in bring that about. I gave several mechanism for ensuring that election were fair. I understand that a regime might want to fake elections, but that's not the premise. The premise is that people want democracy. Pro argues that democracy cannot be achieved without terror even if it's a common goal.

Pro points to the problem of the tyranny of the majority. In the Middle East, a democratically elected government might, for example, vote democratically to deprive minorities of fundamental rights. That's a problem, but it can be solved, and the solution does not require terrorism. The solution is to have a constitution that guarantees basic rights and an independent judiciary that protects those rights in Court. Of course such a system can fail, and lie all things there will be imperfections. Nonetheless, there is nothing inherent in democracy that requires terrorism to sustain the system.

Pro's errors of kind and degree

Pro makes the fundamental error of equating the exorcise of any type of authority with the extreme violence of terrorism. Thus he implies that if a protester is temporarily detained by an arrest on the way to shutting down bridge that is just like randomly shooting people in the streets. The difference is in the level of fear engendered. Terrorism has the goal of making the population so fearful that they will not resist the imposition of an authoritarian government. Arresting people who block a bridge is done for the purpose of keeping the bridge open. The entire population is not fearful. Even those blocking the bridge are not really fearful. We know that because they casually repeat their acts of intimidation.

Terrorism is different from law enforcement because the aim of terrorism is to keep or install authoritarianism, and the aim of law enforcement is to allow people to go about their business. Terrorism is an extreme designed to provoke fear in the general population. Law enforcement is a deterrent only to criminals.

Summary

Pro has effectively conceded our original debate, and now offers a new debate about an intellectual fantasy. His new contentions do not match reality.

Debate Round No. 2
Jared_BL

Pro

Jared_BL forfeited this round.
RoyLatham

Con

I cited three methods by which democratic elections are validated without use of force of any kind: (1) by mutual consent of all the participants as practiced in established democratic countries, (2) by an authoritarian regime voluntarily ceding to free elections, and (3) by having an outside agency such as the United Nations supervise free elections. I gave successful examples of each. I pointed out that the only reason to dispute the the holding of free and fair elections is when a faction does not want them; otherwise and agreement will be reached.

My opponent did not dispute any of my cited methods of arranging free elections, but rather shifted to a new argument that democracy itself is imposed by "terrorism." That's not the topic of the present debate,and it is a false argument. The grounds by which people organize into societies lies in humans being social animals who organize into societies to achieve a survival advantage. While societies do impose rules, democracy is not remotely comparable to the fear invoked by terrorism in attempts to maintain authoritarian rule.

My opponent forfeited, a conduct violation, and left my arguments unanswered. He provided no sources to substantiate his claims with examples.

The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by royalpaladin 5 years ago
royalpaladin
Part of the Pro's argument actually makes sense. What gives a group of people a right to declare that they are going to create a system of government that everyone else must operate in? Pro's point, from what I skimmed, was that the regime is not actually chosen democratically, even if there are elections, if people are told that they can only operate in a system created by a small group of people.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
Good topic. I'd accept if the voting period were changed from 3 days to a month. You can post the challenge directly to me if you like.
Posted by logicrules 5 years ago
logicrules
LOL oic, you mean in the mid east. Heck I dont know, my guess is representative government is beyond the understanding of the culture so tyrants is what the people seem to want.
Posted by Jared_BL 5 years ago
Jared_BL
Right. I have shortened my post, so those worried about quantity over quality can attempt to debate.
Posted by Jared_BL 5 years ago
Jared_BL
<i>I think you'll find the elections are validated when the winners take office.</i>

Whose election... Safe&Sound's election or Allah-Security's election? Who gets to HOST the election? You, me, a goat?
What percentage of the world is invited to this election... the borders of Egypt are those set by the terrorist squad known as the British Crown, therefore they are invalid and must include all citizens not inside borders defined by a "democratic majority". Therefore, the so-called Libyans next door also have a right to participate in these elections, and God knows who else.

My argument is that the only way anyone can decide the criteria for a "democratic election" is by threatening everyone else with the use of force. Who is to say that your election is valid, and my election is not?
Posted by logicrules 5 years ago
logicrules
I think you'll find the elections are validated when the winners take office.
Posted by DanT 5 years ago
DanT
I mean replace quality with quantity. Or what ever.
Posted by DanT 5 years ago
DanT
I would take this, but I hate debates that substitute quality for quantity.
Posted by Jared_BL 5 years ago
Jared_BL
Well, I suppose this is an unusual format for a first-round of a debate. I see what you mean, whoever contests this is going to have to consider the whole example, but of course the voters get to decide, and if they can't be bothered wading through it, the contester can take advantage of that. Hey, it's not my fault the world is so screwed up.
Posted by imabench 5 years ago
imabench
If no one takes this by 8pm tomorrow ill take it...
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by vmpire321 5 years ago
vmpire321
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct goes to con due to the ff. Con also refuted all of pro's arguments.
Vote Placed by EthanHuOnDebateOrg 5 years ago
EthanHuOnDebateOrg
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Reasons for voting decision: See wiploc's vote. Much the same idea, and PRO mistakes fundamental arguments.
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro claimed that all proto-governments must be terrorists. Con demonstrated alternative ways of forming governments, and gave examples. So Pro tried to simple _define_ all proto-governmental organization as terrorism. Con said, "Pro makes the fundamental error of equating the exorcise of any type of authority with the extreme violence of terrorism." Victory: Con
Vote Placed by InVinoVeritas 5 years ago
InVinoVeritas
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro was unclear, so...if I correctly interpreted what he was stating, his argument was very flawed.
Vote Placed by imabench 5 years ago
imabench
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Reasons for voting decision: Con debunked every argument the pro made in round one, then in round two or felt like I was reading an entirely new debate, which again was debunke by the Con. Pro forfeited the last round, had some spelling errors, and overall arguments that were invalidated by the con...