The Instigator
Mr.Infidel
Pro (for)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
BlackVoid
Con (against)
Winning
19 Points

In a democratic society, term limits are unjust!

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
BlackVoid
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/14/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,044 times Debate No: 19015
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (6)

 

Mr.Infidel

Pro

I affirm: In a democratic society, term limits are unjust!

Because I am affirming, I accepting the ENTIRE burden of proof, though my opponent may present arguments for the negative side.

Term limits ensure that elected public officials cannot remain in power indefinitely. [1]

Rounds

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: 1st Affirmative opening arguments and 1st negative rebuttals.
Round 3: 2n Affimrative rebuttals, 2nd negative rebuttals.
Round 4: Closing/Final rebuttals for each side.

References
[1] Debate.org "Term Limits." http://www.debate.org...;
BlackVoid

Con

Thanks to Mr. Infidel for starting this interesting debate. Though my opponent has accepted the BoP, I will still make independent arguments for my side.


I look forward to his arguments.

Debate Round No. 1
Mr.Infidel

Pro

I would like to thank my partner for accepting this debate. I look forward to a great debate with you, considering you do have an excellent record.

What is a democracy?

Before we begin to discuss whether or not term limits are just within a democratic society, it makes perfect sense to know what a democracy is. A democracy is defined by the Encyclopedia of Philosophy as "a government by the people" and/or "self-government."

Against Term Limits Position

Contention 1: Term limits contradict a democracy.
  1. In a democratic society, the people have the right to elect whom they wish to elect.
  2. Term limits take away/limit that right.
  3. Therefore, in a democratic society, term limits are unjust.
Premise 1 is true by definition.

Premise 2 states that term limits take away the people's rights to elect whom they wish to elect. Term limits, as defined in round 1, are limits on how long a person can stay in office. Therefore, this limits who the people can choose to elect the people whom they wish to elect. Hence, it follows logically that term limits are contradictory to a democratic society.

Contention 2: Term limits prevent the correct person from taking office.

This contention ties in to the previous contention. If there was a person who was perfectly fit for office, led the people well, and the United States citizens (or citizens of any democratic society) wish to have the person in office again, then it is logical that they should be able to keep the good political leader. As the saying goes, "Do not fix what is not broken."

Cross Examination

I would now like to take time to cross examine my partner.
  1. How long should a leader stay in office?
    1. Can you justify that length of time?
  2. If a leader was well-liked and has done lots of great things for his nation, shouldn't he be able to have more than that amount of time that you mentioned above?
  3. If not, why not.

Thank you.

References

[1] Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Democracy. <http://ic.galegroup.com... >
BlackVoid

Con

Thanks for the opening argument.

Definitions:

Just - having a basis in or conforming to fact or reason : reasonable (Webster's)

Incumbent - Person running for reelection

I'll start by giving reasons democracies should have term limits.


C1: They want term limits

Pro operates under the assumption that what the people want should be the end-all-be-all of a democracy. If this is true then you negate. In the United States, 78% of people support term limits (1).

Also note the difference between strong and weak term limits. Strong term limits mean the leader can only have X amount of terms in his career. Weak term limits just prevent the person from running for consecutive terms. 26 democracies worldwide employ strong term limits (2) while many more employ weak ones. Clearly this is something that those countries do want. There are no major protests going on in most of these countries to remove the term limit. I have not heard of an Occupy movement to eliminate them either. So empirically, many countries do have and want a limit on their leaders. To say that they are unjust directly contradicts my opponent's democracy argument.


C2: Fair competition

The official running for reelection is at a huge/unfair advantage against the competition for reasons stated below.

1. The politician running for reelection has already been chosen by the people once. Everyone knows his name and knows he's been elected before. Conversely, whoever is running against him doesn't have the same popularity. The person running for reelection can win based off name recognition alone.

2. Empirics: In the last 46 years, the lowest reelection rate the US has ever seen has been 82%, while the highest was 97% (3).


Based off this you can infer that if there are no term limits, then as long as someone ran a good campaign, they could be reelected an inconceivable number of times. This is a problem. Incumbents being elected at a ridiculously high rate crowds out potentially better candidates.

Historically, politicians are only not reelected if they did a terrible job. So long as no major mistakes are made, they'll retain office. But suppose that we have a mediocre candidate in office, named John. He's not doing a bad job, but he's not doing much to help either. Now assume the person running against him in his reelection campaign (Bob) would, if elected, be phenomenal. He would solve all of the country's problems and bring in a new era of wealth.

He is most likely to lose against John in any reelection campaign simply because people have heard of John but not of Bob. Without term limits it would follow that either Bob would either never get into office or have to wait an excessively long time for the people to get tired of John. But with term limits, it would eventually give Bob a fair chance to run for office since his opponent wouldn't be the current president, but would be someone just as unknown as him. This benefits the democracy because Bob is a superior candidate.


C3: Solves seniority system.

Remember that the resolution doesn't specifically question presidential term limits; it also applies to Senates and congresses.

The seniority system refers to people in Congress getting more benefits and power over everyone else because they've been in office for a long time (4). Their bill proposals are taken much more seriously, they choose their assignments more freely, and are usually the only ones to become chairman. Similar systems exist in other countries.

This is a problem because seniority systems discriminate against newer politicians. The fact that new officials' propositions are rarely taken seriously creates a disincentive to run for office. They know that they will have to wait several years and win reelection campaigns before they join the seniority system and their word actually carries some weight in congress. Creating a disincentive to run for office will crowd out potentially stellar candidates who would otherwise make office and benefit the country.

And term limits solve. When time in office is limited, it ensures that the senate, congress, or whatever, is always full of new officials who have been elected recently. This means there is no seniority system, and thus there is no discrimination based on how many reelection campaigns someone has won.


C4. Legacy incentive

With term limits a politician has a definite amount of time he can be in office. Because of this, he is incentivized to produce positive results as quickly as possible because his tenure isn't indefinite. He can't just say "I don't have to worry about getting the troops home right now, there's always next year". He must act now within his limited tenure if he wants to be remembered as a great president. This encourages politicians to get their platforms enacted immediately and to start working on fixing the country's problems right away, because he knows he doesn't have all the time in the world.



Moving to Pro's case.


Contention 1: Term limits contradict a democracy.


My Public Support argument pretty much turns this. Term limits actually support a democracy moreso than contradicting it because the people want limits on their leaders. At the very least, the lack of an Occupy movement to eliminate term limits shows that people aren't against them.

Also, my opponent brings up this syllogism.

1. In a democratic society, the people have the right to elect whom they wish to elect.
2. Term limits take away/limit that right.


I object to the conclusion drawn that this makes term limits unjust. My opponent has offered no method whatsoever of determining what it means to be just. He hasn't even defined it. So prefer the definition I gave: conforming to fact or reason. We need to ask whether term limits are reasonable for a democratic society.

Term limits reducing the ability to vote for certain candidates doesn't mean they're unreasonable. While they do limit the right to vote, the benefits they produce (4 advantages outlined in Con case) far outweigh this small limitation. Furthermore, because the purpose of a democratic government is to benefit the people, it would not allow the elimination of something that would produce a net harm. Murder would not be legalized even if 51% said so. The same applies to term limits; if they objectively produce a net benefit to the country, they should stay even if they limit rights somewhat.


C2: Term limits prevent the correct person from taking office.

This is non-unique. Having no term limits also keeps mediocre politicians in office for extended periods of time because they have an unfair advantage in reelection campaigns. This is true even if another candidate running against them would do a much better job. As such, this contention and my "crowding out the better candidate" disadvantage should cancel out, and you should vote Con based of my other 3 contentions.


Cross-ex:

Infidel asks me these questions:

1. "How long should a leader stay in office?"

Imo, 4 terms 2 years each.

1. Can you justify that length of time?


8 years is plenty for a president to accomplish his platform. Two year terms encourage him to get stuff done quickly and within that time, otherwise he won't be elected.

2. If a leader was well-liked and has done lots of great things for his nation, shouldn't he be able to have more than that amount of time that you mentioned above?

No. There are situations where it would be good for someone to be reelected again, but we should still enforce term limits because in most situations (on balance), they are beneficial.


I wanted to run agument about the New World Order, but I don't have the space :/ Oh well.


I await my opponent' response.




1. http://www.termlimits.org...
2. http://voxeu.org...
3. http://www.opensecrets.org...
4. http://uspolitics.about.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Mr.Infidel

Pro

Thank you, blackvoid, for your well thought out arguments. You have left me with somethings to think about :D

==REBUTTAL TO CON==

My partner has graciously accepted some of the Burden of Proof for this debate. Because of that, I wish to extend a thank you for being willing to argue your point of view.

Contention 1: They (the people) want term limits.

My partner has made the fallacy argumentum ad populum. To every democracy, no matter which form of democracy the nation uses, there is always a degree of authoritarianism to it. I defined a democracy as "self government" where the people elect the leaders. Because it is a democracy, it is unreasonable (or unjust) to take away the right to elect who the nation wants to elect.

Contention 2: Fair Commpetition

Indeed, the election campaignins do need reformed, but I do not see how term limits help fair competition. My suggestion: If the debt goes over 2% while in office, that person cannot be re-elected. Moreover, if someone has done more harm than good whie in office, that person cannot be in office as well.

Contention 3: Solves seniority

Again, I agree that this needs to be reformed. However, I fail to see the advantage of term limits over reform.

C4. Legacy incentive

With term limits a politician has a definite amount of time he can be in office. Because of this, he is incentivized to produce positive results as quickly as possible because his tenure isn't indefinite. He can't just say "I don't have to worry about getting the troops home right now, there's always next year". He must act now within his limited tenure if he wants to be remembered as a great president. This encourages politicians to get their platforms enacted immediately and to start working on fixing the country's problems right away, because he knows he doesn't have all the time in the world. --Blackvoid

This point is mute because the electors can still vote the politician out.


==DEFENSE OF MY ARGUMENTS==

Contention 2: Term Limits prevents the right person from taking office.

My partner says that having no term limits also keeps mediocre politicians in office for an extended time. While this may be true, I have already given an alternative to term limits which will prevent corrupt politicians.

Contention 1: I will respond in the next round.

Thanks!
BlackVoid

Con

Thanks again for the response.


Con case:


C1: The people want term limits

Lol, my opponent accuses me of appealing to popularity, but when we're talking about what a democratic society should have, that's exactly what we need to do. His definition even said that a democracy is a government by the people, so if the people want term limits then definitionally that's what a democratic society should have. Note that he's dropped and therefore conceded that generally, democracies DO want term limits. So if we're looking to who's best upholding democracy in this debate, the winner is obvious.

He also restates his argument that term limits reduce the right of people to vote for candidates they want, but remember that this is a right that they're voluntarily forfeiting by supporting a term limit.


C2: Fair competition


My opponent suggests reforming the election campaigns to make competition more fair. He suggests not allowing presidents who increase the debt by 2% to run for reelection. But first, this debate isn't only about presidential term limits, its term limits in general, which includes congress and senates. So his reform argument doesn't even apply as a generality. Second, reforms are nontopical. The resolution says "term limits ARE unjust" indicating the present time, not in some hypothetical future with X reforms.

He also says "if someone has done more harm than good while in office, that person cannot be in office as well." But he's offered no method of determining whether an official produced a net benefit or not. How would we even evaluate that?


C3: Solves seniority system


Pro suggests reforming the system again to solve this problem, but never says what reforms we can make. He's basically saying "prefer my counter-proposal" without saying what the counter-proposal is. "Reform" is far too broad an unspecific. What specifically can we do to fix this problem, other than keeping term limits? He hasn't explained. Also remember that reforms are nontopical by the word "are" in the resolution.

Also, he's dropped and therefore conceded that term limits solve this problem. So since you don't have a viable alternative, prefer term limits.


C4: Legacy incentive

The argument is that term limits give a limited amount of time for a president to accomplish his platform, thus he is incentivized to execute it quickly and efficiently if he wants to be remembered as a good president. Pro rebuttal is literally "they can still vote the politician out". Please explain how this responds to my argument.



Pro case:


C2: Term Limits prevents the right person from taking office.

He actually agrees that having no term limits keeps mediocre politicians in office. He thinks his criteria for determining who can be reelected would make sure we always have good president though rather than mediocre ones, but just extend that 1. This debate isn't exclusively about presidents, 2. Reforms aren't topical, and 3. He hasn't explains how to determine whether a president did more harm than good.


C1: Contradict a democracy

Not sure why he wants to wait til next round to address this; he had well over a day left and plenty of space to refute it. But sure, he can refute it next round.



I await his response.



Debate Round No. 3
Mr.Infidel

Pro

Blackvoid has changed some of my views since this debate. Thanks for a fun debate.

Vote con
BlackVoid

Con

Wow, not everyday that this happens. Well, I thank infidel for a fun debate as well, however short lived it was.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
Term limits im undecided. I think people should elect who they want, but term limits enhance democracy be allowing new ideas. It is a trade off.
Posted by Mr.Infidel 5 years ago
Mr.Infidel
Understand :) Thanks for accepting. I am looking forward to a great debate!
Posted by BlackVoid 5 years ago
BlackVoid
I'll accept today. Just let me write up some stuff on my other debate first.
Posted by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
Yeah that was her rebuttal, and the judge supposedly voted on that. But you know we all stretch the truth about losses sometimes (although that crazy one I told you about the other day was 100% fact) so who knows?
Posted by BlackVoid 5 years ago
BlackVoid
What the heck? Didn't aff just say that its grammatically capitalized because its the first word of the sentence?

Funny though. Thats the kind of argument you'll remember for a long time.
Posted by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
void, one of my friends went up against a debater on the animal rights topic who argued that since the word Justice was capitalized the resolution only refers to American justice (somehow)

....and the judge bought it.
Posted by BlackVoid 5 years ago
BlackVoid
Semantics off the exclamation point. xD
Posted by Mr.Infidel 5 years ago
Mr.Infidel
Feel free to accept.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 5 years ago
Maikuru
Mr.InfidelBlackVoidTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.
Vote Placed by cameronl35 5 years ago
cameronl35
Mr.InfidelBlackVoidTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession from Pro, good arguments/rebuttal from Con
Vote Placed by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
Mr.InfidelBlackVoidTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro told me to vote con
Vote Placed by socialpinko 5 years ago
socialpinko
Mr.InfidelBlackVoidTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I'll give Pro conduct for professionally admitting defeat and conceding. But on arguments, Con's point of the people's collective want for term limits wins him the debate right then and there. The scope of the debate was within the framework of a democratic society, meaning that the will of the majority goes. Con showed statistics indicating that most democratic societies with term limits have the support of the people.
Vote Placed by phantom 5 years ago
phantom
Mr.InfidelBlackVoidTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con wins on his first contention alone, but made a number of interesting points. Pro also concedes. Overall con is far more sexy.
Vote Placed by imabench 5 years ago
imabench
Mr.InfidelBlackVoidTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con had some really solid arguments but pro had the nuts to concede the debate honorably rather than troll or do something insane so I gave him conduct. Very interesting debate