The Instigator
Yvette
Pro (for)
Winning
11 Points
The Contender
Strikeeagle84015
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Impromptu Debate

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/9/2010 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,346 times Debate No: 12295
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (4)

 

Yvette

Pro

I enjoyed my last debate of this type and would like to have another one. Please no semantics or wordplay, be respectful, and have fun. I ask that my opponent find options that are equal in difficulty/complexity to the ones I have offered.

ROUND 1:
I propose three options for CON to argue for or against.
CON proposes three options for me.
ROUND 2:
We each provide our argument.
ROUND 3:
We argue against our opponent's argument.

This way, each party has an opportunity to point out any flaws in their opponent's logic.

My opponent may choose one of the following statements to argue for or against:

1. President Obama is a better president than President Bush.
2. The BP oil leak will result in environmentally-friendly policy changes.
3. Sexist and racist portrayals should be removed from television and other media.
Strikeeagle84015

Con

Hello,
I would like to thank my opponent for offering a chance to debate such complex issues and wish her good luck.
My three options for my opponent to debate are
1.American Capitalism as practiced was superior to Soviet Communism/Socialism
2.Marxist dialectical materialism is superior to Christianity
3.Failed nations are a greater threat to the United States than stable nations
As for me I will choose to argue against my opponents third choice, that is
I take the position that sexist and racist portrayals should NOT be removed from television and other media
Thank you again for the opportunity for this debate
Debate Round No. 1
Yvette

Pro

I will be arguing for my opponent's first option, that is, I will be arguing that American Capitalism as practiced was superior to Soviet-style socialism as practiced. My opponent did not explicitly specify "Soviet socialism as practiced", but if this were a contest between a practiced system and an ideology the ideology would automatically be superior (and I would argue for the ideology), so I have assumed he meant both as practiced as this seems the fairer choice.

Let me begin by clarifying my position. "Was" implies we are speaking about the past, and with the use of "Soviet" my opponent has implied a time frame, that is, American capitalism vs. Soviet socialism while the USSR was active. This is a broad timeframe but comparisons can still be made.

Superior, is, of course, subjective. The applicable dictionary definition is "of greater excellence", to be excellent is "to surpass", etc. How do you judge an economic and political system? Most of us can agree that the superior system is more moral, lasts longer and is more stable, and produces better results. The last one is a little vague and tricky, but I think we can agree on it.

Now, don't mistake me for arguing that American capitalism is, in general, a superior system. I am simply arguing that it is superior to the Soviet Union's system. For Americans, the information I present is generally common knowledge if not exaggerated to be worse than I've described it.

WHAT ARE WE LOOKING AT?
Let's be clear what we're looking at with each of these systems, especially since my opponent seems a little unclear. The Soviet Union existed from 1922 to 1991 as a socialist state under various (and variously held to) Marxist ideologies. Each of these had their own effect on the country, but we will look at the USSR in broad terms. The USSR had a nationalized, federally run economy and state ownership of the means of production. This was carried out through draconian measures, from gulags to other forms of forced labor. The system was corrupt and authoritarian at best.

The United States' system was not too terribly different from the system which we have today, if unfortunately less egalitarian but fortunately less corporate as well. WWII boosted its economy, fueling consumerism and fast-paced production. It was not laissez-faire, however, as subsidies and investment in science research and development was a clear goal of the time due to the Cold War. As the American capitalist system during the time was overall the same as our system today, I will focus on the Soviet system and its problems.

LONGER-LASTING STABILITY
This is simple. The Soviet Union collapsed, the American system is still running--having problems, but running. This does not necessarily mean socialism was responsible for the USSR's collapse, even if this is a common argument by anti-socialists. The USSR's collapse was due, directly at least, to a growing desire for independence within the countries it had captured. However, let us consider that the United States has captured territories as well, and had no problem holding them. Judging by the large amount of discontent with the country's economic system in the nation's citizens, there is reason to believe that having an authoritarian system imposed on them only contributed to the conquered nations' discontent.

EFFECTIVENESS
The Soviet system could not compete with the American system. While both governments made similar leaps and bounds in the scientific field--helped along by the USSR stealing plans for the atomic bomb, for example--American capitalism allowed the country to advance scientifically outside of the military sector. Not only did the American system at least if not better scientific achievements as the USSR, it was able to produce enough to satisfy a ravenous consumer hunger. The Soviet system, on the other hand, was often haphazard and impotent. Even when necessities such as food and clothing were terribly needed, other items such as cigarettes and alchohol were produced despite little demand.

MORALITY
Which was the more moral system? Despite my dislike of the American system, there seems little reason to revere the USSR in this respect and only reason to despise it. The Soviet system did it's citizens no justice. Despite ideologically being all about egalitarianism, and referring to each other as "comrades", in practice the Soviet Union had just as much inequality as the United States and far more poverty.

Soviet authoritarianism, actual inequality, and lack of power for individual citizens is evident in a number of ways.

Despite the goal of socialism being worker-run government and worker-owned means of production, workers made up only three percent of the Soviet Union's governing body--after an extensive campaign to increase their already low power. At the height of the USSR's power workers only made up between 20 and 35% of various administrative positions. [1]

The USSR's nationally run economy left little room for its citizens and workers to make their own choices. The decisions were simply made for them. Many were moved from their homes to work in fields, others were sent to a total of 476 forced labor camps to be worked to death. [2]

SIMILAR SYSTEMS
I will point out that the Soviet Union, was the only Marxist-style socialist superpower to exist, while Great Britain has also been called a superpower and has a system similar to American-style capitalism.

CONCLUSION
The United States clearly surpassed the Soviet Union economically and in every respect that it's economy had an effect on. Despite being not at all perfect, the Soviet Union's authoritarianism and ineffectiveness can hardly be considered superior in the face of the longer-lasting and more potent American capitalism.

SOURCES
Common knowledge as well as some more specific sources.
1) http://www.jstor.org...
2) http://en.wikipedia.org...
Strikeeagle84015

Con

As mentioned earlier I will be arguing against the idea that sexist and racist portrayals should be removed from television and other media. I would like it to be noted that I do not approve of Racism or Sexism.
My arguements will be as follows,
First contention: Definitions
Second contention: It is illegal
Third contention:It is quite impossible to carry out

Contention 1:Definitions
Now I know that usually definitions are not considered an argument in and of itself however in this case it is. Why? it is because in this situation who is to define what is considered sexist and what is not. For example my Debate teacher considers the Disney movie Hercules to be incredibly sexist and degrading towards women, I on the other hand think it is a good kids movie. So the first problem with this resolution is that of, "Who decides when something is racist or sexist?"

Contention 2:It is illegal
Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson[1] This was a case argued before the Supreme Court. In this case the Supreme Court overturned a New York Law that would not allow the commercial showing of films that were considered sacrilegious (I am paraphrasing a bit here) saying that it violated the First Amendment.
A Book Named "John Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure" v. Attorney General of Massachusetts[2] The Attorney General of Massachusetts sought to prevent the continued publishing and distribution of the book "John Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure" due to the fact it contained obscene content, the Supreme Court held that the book could continue to be published and distributed as it was protected by the first amendment Freedom of Speech.
Yates v. United States[1] In this case before the Supreme Court it was ruled that the First Amendment protected Radical and Reactionary speech unless it presents a "clear and present danger."
Marsh v. Alabama[1] In this case brought to the Supreme Court it ruled that a person could distribute religious material even on privately owned property.
Near v. Minnesota: In this case a newspaper owner who published anti-black anti-sematic anti-labor newspaper sued because he was forced to stop publication the court found in favor of the newspaper owner and held that except in rare cases censorship is unconstitutional.
Board of Education v. Pico[1] In this case students of a High School brought suit against their school board when the board tried to remove books it classified as anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-[Semitic], and just plain filthy. The Supreme Court found in favor of the students and ruled that a board could not restrict accesses to ideas simply because they found them distasteful.
I have just presented six supreme court cases that all held that materials could not be presented simply because they are found to be distasteful or offensive towards others. The Supreme Court is the interprets the constitution which is the supreme law of the land in the United States, and therefore on six separate occasions that I have presented the Supreme Court has upheld that people are allowed to distribute material that others find obscene, blasphemous, offensive, or distasteful. Therefore the resolution which holds we should ban sexist and racist content in the media is not legal.

Contention 3:It is impossible to carry out
This resolution is quite frankly impossible, due to one simple reason. The internet. The resolution calls for the banning of all sexist and racist material on all media, this is an impossible task to carry out because you cannot control the internet. It is something that cannot be achieved as of December 2009 there have been 234 million websites and there are 187 million registered domain names.[3] The government simply cannot monitor and control that much information.
Now i know there will be some people who would respond to that argument by saying "in China they manage to do it" this is not true the Great Firewall of China as it has been dubbed as many workaround and many more are being developed each day[4].

Therefore for these reasons that it is 1)Much to ambiguous to be able to be applied 2)It is highly illegal 3)It is simply impossible I stand firmly in negation to this resolution

Thank you again to my opponent for allowing this chance at debate
Debate Round No. 2
Yvette

Pro

I thank my opponent for the continued debate.

FIRST CONTENTION
Just because a subject is difficult to define does not mean action shouldn't be taken against it. The "war on terror", for example, is a prime example of a goal far too vague and subjective to mean anything at all. But while people may differ agreeing on where the edges of racism and sexism lie, these are just the edges. Disagreements will occur there in any topic. I challenge readers, however, to see Source #1, below, and view a collection of critically discussed but nevertheless disturbing racist images. Here, the answer to the question of whether it is racist is clear.

SECOND CONTENTION
My opponent's examples are a bit misleading. There are many examples to refute so I'll separate them a bit.

"Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson[1] In this case the Supreme Court overturned a New York Law that would not allow the commercial showing of films that were considered sacrilegious...saying that it violated the First Amendment."

While this is comparable, blasphemy is neither sexist nor racist.

"A Book Named "John Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure" v. Attorney General of Massachusetts[2] The Attorney General of Massachusetts sought to prevent the continued publishing and distribution of the book "John Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure" due to the fact it contained obscene content, the Supreme Court held that the book could continue to be published and distributed as it was protected by the first amendment Freedom of Speech."

This is less comparable, and still neither sexist nor racist. The ruling simply clarified whether an obscene publication needed to hold social value to be allowed publishing.

"Yates v. United States[1]In this case before the Supreme Court it was ruled that the First Amendment protected Radical and Reactionary speech unless it presents a "clear and present danger."

The only example which is relevant, and a good one at that. However, as I will argue below, sexist and racist portrayals cause harm. And, of course, I remind my opponent that the law is not necessarily a guideline for what is right.

"Marsh v. Alabama[1] In this case brought to the Supreme Court it ruled that a person could distribute religious material even on privately owned property."

Compeltely irrelevant.

According to Wikipedia this declared unconstitutional a law which "imposed permanent injunctions against the publication of newspapers with 'malicious, scandalous, and defamatory' content". The decision on the case was never about the racist content of the newspaper but about the possibly libelous accusations against public officials. The reasoning for the decision, it says, was declared:

"...the fact that the public officers named in this case, and those associated with the charges of official dereliction, may be deemed to be impeccable cannot affect the conclusion that the statute imposes an unconstitutional restraint upon publication."

I repeat: racism and sexism had nothing to do with this early '30s case. It applied to libel law.

"Board of Education v. Pico[1] In this case students of a High School brought suit against their school board when the board tried to remove books it classified as anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-[Semitic], and just plain filthy. The Supreme Court found in favor of the students and ruled that a board could not restrict accesses to ideas simply because they found them distasteful."

The key thing to note here is "suppression of ideas" and what the court rightfully perceived as trying to prescribe an orthodox , in the court's own wording.

THIRD CONTENTION
First: My opponent has inserted his own words into the resolution, which makes no mention of a ban. There is nothing which prevents companies from removing sexist and racist images of their own accord. Neither does the resolution mention "all" racist and sexist material--my opinion is that racist and sexist images should only be shown critically. This borders on semantics, however, so I won't dwell long on it. However, whether or not it is possible to completely purge our media of sexist and racist images is irrelevant--child pornography, for example, can be found online but is banned firmly. Even the reduction of such images from a daily and constant barrage to something that must be thought out eases the harmful effects.

CONCLUSION
Racist and sexist images are not "ideas" in the sense meant in Board of Education v. Pico. They are stubbornly held beliefs which, when spread and acted on, attack the very humanity of those they target. They are inherently libelous and slanderous, which is the problem. It is not that they offend, it is not that they are uncomfortable. It is that they are active defamation of entire races and genders. The difference between the examples in the cases presented and systematic racist/sexist portrayals is as vast as the difference between a fist fight and genocide. When one considers the power of cultivated expectations (see sources #2 and #3, below), such images can only be considered a form of oppression.

1) http://www.ferris.edu...
2) http://psychology.about.com...
3) http://scholar.google.com... fulfilling prophecy education
Strikeeagle84015

Con

I would one last time like to thank my opponent for this wonderful debate and applaud her for her superb debating abilities

So without further ado I would like to point out some of the weakness in my opponent's case

MORALITY
I would like to say that this entire point falls for one simple fact. There is no Morality under the communist doctrines that the USSR followed. It simply did not exist, in Communism that which furthers the goal of Communism is good all other things are bad. Therefore all things were done with the belief that it would aid the worldwide Communist revolution. Therefore the entire point falls because the USSR practiced the morality that they believed to be correct

SIMILAR SYSTEMS
Just a technical matter here but the Soviet Union was not the only Marxist style superpower as China laid claim to that title as well when its economy was Communist as well

Again thank you for this excellent debate Yvette
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by ravenwaen 6 years ago
ravenwaen
You both did an excellent job. This was a fascinating read.
Posted by Yvette 6 years ago
Yvette
No problem, I didn't notice until now though. I messed up on my sources too it seems. :)

http://scholar.google.com...

If that doesn't work for some reason, here's one of the articles I'm trying to link to (they're all fine and it's a well documented phenomenon):

http://psycnet.apa.org...
Posted by Strikeeagle84015 6 years ago
Strikeeagle84015
I apologize if forgot to put my sources in the Debate I will do it in the last round but just to be safe I will do it here as well
[1]http://www.anarchytv.com...
[2]http://www.law.cornell.edu...
[3]http://royal.pingdom.com...
[4]http://www.greatfirewallofchina.org...
Sorry again about that
Posted by Yvette 6 years ago
Yvette
By the way, thank you for accepting the debate. :)

If you need any clarification just let me know, I'd be happy to.
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Vote Placed by Atheism 6 years ago
Atheism
YvetteStrikeeagle84015Tied
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Vote Placed by ravenwaen 6 years ago
ravenwaen
YvetteStrikeeagle84015Tied
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Vote Placed by Strikeeagle84015 6 years ago
Strikeeagle84015
YvetteStrikeeagle84015Tied
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Vote Placed by Yvette 6 years ago
Yvette
YvetteStrikeeagle84015Tied
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