The Instigator
thett3
Pro (for)
Winning
35 Points
The Contender
DanT
Con (against)
Losing
27 Points

Individualism is societally destructive

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 14 votes the winner is...
thett3
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/27/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 16,421 times Debate No: 32977
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (151)
Votes (14)

 

thett3

Pro

I've made this impossible for anyone to accept, if anyone wants to debate this comment or PM me.

Individualism is defined by Merriam Webster as: "a doctrine that the interests of the individual are or ought to be ethically paramount"

Destruction is synonymous with ruinous. My advocacy will essentially be that the individualism that has sweeped the world, particularly the West, since the enlightenment is responsible for many of society's current ills, along with showing sociologically the inevitable effects of such an individualistic state of mind.

No semantics, I have no interest arguing over what societally destructive means. If my opponent tries to make this an issue, they forfeit the debate. First round is for acceptance and no new arguments in the last round.
Debate Round No. 1
thett3

Pro

Many thanks to my opponent for accepting. In this round I will construct my case.


First let it be recognized that every individuals is born and raised with involuntary, necessary, and significant social attachments, the most important of which is the family. It is from these that society springs forth, society is not and cannot be held together by a distant central state, it is instead the community and the authorities which naturally spring up which bind us together and prevent the destruction of civilization. It is self evident that social interactions and obligations are the glue which binds together any society--indeed humans are social animals after all. It is for these reasons that the philosophy of individualism is, and historically has been, so hostile and destructive to society.


Individualism, decivilization, and the rise of the state.

A. Statism

It's quite ironic that the inevitable result of individualism is the ugliest and most deadly form of collectivizism- a totalitarian government. Throughout history, oppressive governments have gained their power through the destruction of old obligations and the family. The most individualistic of all revolutions, that of the French, gave way to the muderous regime of Robespierre and the committee of public safety. The crimes they committed in the name of the revolution and the "rights of man and citizen" are unspeakable. Make no mistake, collectivization is also a moral evil but it is only through individualism that the growth and health of the state is possible. Nazi Germany only gained its power after the essential liquidization of the power of the Junker class after WWI, Soviet Russia after the destruction of the Boyars, ect. All, initially, in the name of individualism and the people. The more an individual attempts to free themselves of traditional, natural authorities such as family, church, and aristocracy the easier it becomes for the state to gain power. As Nisbet explains[1]: "Political collectivism could scarcely exist were it not for the erosion of the social authorities and the consequent release of the masses of individuals." To be sure, the socieites of old with their landed gentry, hereditary obligations, and blatant inequality may seem wildly imperfect but at least when the world was under the influence of local authorities, a natural social order, there were no genocides and total wars. These feats come from the state alone after it has won its war against the natural authorities individuals are subjected to. The state can only grow in earnest once the institutions resisting it are silenced, this is why the power of the divine right "absolute monarchs" of the past pales in comparison to the power wielded by modern democratic governments. The growth of state power is an inevitable result of the philosophy that attempts to "liberate" individuals from their communities.

B. Family

Family is where the socialization of individuals first occurs. The family is the most important, indeed the very foundational unit of society, to deny this is to deny the self-evident, as Hoppe explains[2], the family is "s the most fundamental, natural, essential, ancient, and indispensable social units.", after all it is here where individuals learn how to become a member of society and contribute to civilization. It is with families, the origin of all civilization, where the inevitable and decivilizing destructive effects of individualism are most evident. The great sociologist Robert Nisbet[3] explains that in previous times family was viewed as a: "strong and pervasive kinship community, which counted the unborn and the dead as well as the living, which extended itself into all aspects of and individuals life--economic, political, legal, cultural, psychological, and biological...not the nuclear or conjugal group with husband, wide, and immediate children...but the longitudinal family of generations in time, the family of blood line, of tradition and history, of ancestors and planned-for posterity."

Compare this to the sorry state of the family today, which is almost without exception viewed just in its nuclear, and ever-shrinking core. Due to individuals persuing their own interests rather than acting according the obligations to family and community, the family has become just another means for an individual to advance themselves. The family of today is no longer the family of past days, where ideals like justice, honor, and obligation were the defining values, but rather just another manifestation of the hedonism and present-orientatedness of our era, brought on by individualism. When the goals and interests of the individual and the individual alone (as opposed to their family or community) are placed at the forefront of their every action, of course civilization is going to decline vis-a-vis a society in which kinship relations and obligations take the forefront. Predicably and consequently, the ideals of honor and justice have virtually disappeared in the realm of public opinion, replaced by hedonism and the endless drive for "success" and material wealth that destroys not only society but the moral health of the individual.

This is not to say that individuals do not have rights or are not of intrinsic worth as moral actors, but rather that individuals also in a healthy society often should choose the interests of the community or the family over their own personal interests. The inherent social bonds necessary in a human society indicate strongly how a purely self-centered state of mind would harm society.

C. Communities vs. Cities

Examining rural communities vs. cities is about as close to a controlled experiment as one could hope for, and it's in cities where the effects of individualism are manifested and inescapable. Cities, especially after public housing and urban renewal had broken up the sense of community that did form, are almost completely devoid not only of community, and family, but of civilization as a whole outside of the wealthy, segregated areas. Cities everywhere have vastly higher rates of murder, assault, bulgalry and all kinds of violent crimes than the country-side[4] where community and pockets of civilization can still be found[5], and almost without exception rates of all kinds of societal ills such as familial weakness, hedonism, illegitimacy, unemployment, dependency ect. ect. are all significantly higher in cities. The reason for this is because cities, despite the mass of individuals living in them, are places where there are SO many individuals, that every persons kinship and family is simply lost in the void. There is little community or kinship, instead cities are the perfect reprentation of what individualism leads to and all the hallmarks of a feeble and dying civilization are higher here. Rather than being centers of culture and civilization, cities, the centers of individualism, are instead epicenters of moral corruption, of societal degredation, of hedonism, poverty, crime, and illegitimacy, of moral relativism, cruelty, and loose-morals.

Individualism is the cause of the decivilization that has been sweeping the Western world these past few centuries, for the reasons illuminated above. A society of kinship obligation, of family and community is a far greater, stronger, and healthier society.

The resolution is affirmed.


Citations:

1. Nisbet, Robert. Prejudices: A Philosophical Dictionary. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1982. 187. Print.

2. Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. Democracy: The God That Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy and Natural Order. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2001. USA. 188. Print.

3. Nisbet, Robert. Prejudices: A Philosophical Dictionary. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1982. 111. Print.

4. http://law.jrank.org...

5. Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. Democracy: The God That Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy and Natural Order. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2001. USA. 185. Print.
DanT

Con


I would like to start off by quoting Margret Thatcher


"I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand 'I have a problem, it is the Government’s job to cope with it!' or 'I have a problem, I will go and get a grant to cope with it!' 'I am homeless, the Government must house me!' and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first"


In other words, without individuals, there is no society. Society is just an aggregated group of individuals. By promoting the General Welfare of every individual within the community, you will generate more prosperity than if you focus on the Collective Welfare of the aggregated community.


Relative Individualism


Individualism can be relative. Favoring the local government over the central government is individualist, but favoring the local government over its citizens is collectivist.


(Collective) International < Union State < Member State < Municipality < Citizen (individual)


Collectivism and Individualism can be separated into 3 categories;


1.) The Policy of the State


2.) The Sovereignty of the State


3.) The Sovereignty over the State



In regards to the policy of the state, the most collectivist would be nationalism and socialism, and the most individualist would be classic liberalism and anarchism.



In regards to the sovereignty of the state, the most collectivist would be a unitary state, and the most individualist would be a confederation of states.



In regards to the sovereignty over the state, the most collectivist would be monarchies and tyrannies, and the most individualist would be republics and democracies.



Statism


Tu quoque


Pro makes an appeal to hypocrisy by claiming that since individualist revolutions lead to collectivist regimes, and collectivism is bad, that invidualism is bad.


Slippery Slope Fallacy


Pro claims that individualism is bad because it might cause a chain of events leading to a collectivist state. This is fallacious because the rise of a collectivist state can be prevented.


Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc


Pro claims that because the French Revolution occurred, than the Reign of Terror occurred, that the Reign of Terror was caused by the French Revolution. In reality the Reign of Terror was caused by numerous factors. The 2 largest factors were;


1.) The Jacobins controlled the government.


2.) Most of Europe declared war on France



The Jacobins were Radical (left wing) Unitary Republicans, led by Robespierre. Unlike the Whigs of the American Revolution, the Jacobins favored collectivist sovereignty of the state, and they usually advocated collectivist policies; they were only individualist when it comes to sovereignty over the state. Through the Committee of Public Safety the Jacobins attempted to purge the revolution in order to unify France both morally and politically.





Fascism


Fascism does not advocate individualism, it advocates collectivism. The basis of Fascism is National Syndicalism and/or National Socialism. Nationalism is a collectivist policy, where the good of the nation is put above anything else. A Nation is any aggregate of people sharing a common cultural identity. A Nation could be a race, a religion, or the citizens of a geographical location. National Syndicalism advocates organizing society into National Unions and Guilds; such as the German Labour Front. Through the Unions and Guilds the Fascist state was able to control and direct the economy.


German Labour Front building


Communism


Communism is not individualist. Communism is by definition its very definition a collectivist policy. A communist revolution is not an individualist revolution.


Family


Family > Municipality > State


Pro talks about collectivism as if it was absolute. The more collectivist an organization is, the less it represents its individual members. Parents tend to have different methods for raising their children, and depending on the child’s personality they may require different parenting methods. If the municipality tries to implement communal parenting, they would find that their uniform parenting methods would not be as effective. Likewise, if the state took on the duties of the municipalities, some municipalities may become less efficient, whole others become more efficient. The relativity of collectivism can be demonstrated by the Protective tariffs imposed by Economic Collectivists; while the protective tariffs benefited the industrial north, it hurt the agricultural south.


Clans


When Clans are collectivist, following a family patriarch, the result can be disastrous. One of the best examples would be the feud between the Hatfields and Mccoys. The feud dates back to the civil war, when the Logan Wildcats killed Asa McCoy for joining the Union Army. Asa was the brother of the McCoy Patriarch, Old Ranel McCoy. Devil Anse, the Hatfield patriarch, was a member of the Logan Wildcats; as were many Hatfields. The Hatfield and McCoy feud could have been avoided, if the members did not put their Clan above its individual members. In a way, it could be considered a form of nationalism.


http://www.history.com...


Rural vs Urban


Diversity vs individualism


My opponent tries to claim that rural locations are more collectivist and cities are more individualist, but this is not the case. Pro confuses diversity with individualism. Cities are more diverse than rural areas, with greater variances in wealth, culture, and ethnicity, but rural areas are more individualist. If you look at the agreed upon definition, Individualism is “a doctrine that the interests of the individual are or ought to be ethically paramount". In other words individualists put the needs of each individual within the community over that of the aggregated community, and collectivists put the needs of the aggregated community over that each individual within the community.


The larger and more diverse a population, the more decentralized the government should be. The smaller and less diverse a population, the more centralized the government should be. The reason cities are more corrupt than rural areas is because they are less efficient in representing the individuals within the community. Cities tend to have stricter and more collectivist laws, due to the greater population density, and they tend to have more crime, due to the inefficiency caused by diversity.


http://www.fao.org...


Economics


Macroeconomics vs Microeconomics


If you look at economics, macroeconomics would be impossible without microeconomics. Macroeconomics deals with the study of aggregated economic behavior, while Microeconomics deals with the study of the individual economic behavior. Without understanding microeconomics, you cannot understand macroeconomics. If you don’t understand the economic behavior of the individuals within the community, you cannot hope to understand the behavior of the aggregated community.



The invisible hand


The invisible hand is a great example of this. When each individual acts in their own interest, they inadvertently act in the interest of the entire community; through the invisible hand individuals benefit aggregated community, by maximizing the prosperity of the individuals that make up the community. When macroeconomic policies disregard microeconomics, it results in a deadweight loss to the economy. Price Floors, price ceilings, minimum wage, and over taxation, are all examples of this; each results in a deadweight loss to the economy, in the name of prosperity. The invisible hand does not only apply to economics, but it applies to individualism in general.



http://www.investopedia.com...


Debate Round No. 2
thett3

Pro

Thanks to my opponent. I'll start by countering his arguments in negation, and then rebuilding and clarifying mine.



Neg case


Relative individualism

I assume my opponent was just using this for clarification as he gains no positive advocacy here. I do want to however stress that there is a distinction between an individualist government and an individualist society, and it's foolish to conflate the two. As we are both more or less libertarians if the discussion came down to what the government should be like and should do, my opponent and I would almost be entirely in agreement. It should almost without exception leave people to their own devices. The discussion however is not on what policies ought to be enacted--indeed my most important argument is a scathing rejection of political collectivism! The debate is on the effects and merits of individualism as a philosophical principle, or a state of mind. Not on government actions. Of course society is just an aggregate of individuals, the debate is not about whether people should be viewed as individuals but rather as individuals, should people value individualism over communitarianism.

Clans

My opponent argues that family/clan rivalries can sometimes become deadly. Sure. The first problem with his argument is that he does a really poor job of quantifying/weighing his impacts. Con gives you no way to weigh this, he doesnt explain why the dangers of clan rivalries should be prioritized over my arguments and he doesnt even tell you how many people will die from this. The only example he cited claimed 10 lives, compare this to the death toll following the growth of state power after the liquidization of natural/communal authorities (an inevitable consequence of individualism) which is astronomically greater. Secondly this criticism only follows for collectivism taken to its extreme. Of course when individuals are willing to murder and die for some clan its a bad thing, but this is more the exception than the rule. If it wasnt, it wouldn't be so famous. If you look at my arguments you'll see that I explicitely reject collectivism when taken to its extreme, all I argue is the importance of authorities outside the state that are destroyed by individualism.

Third TURN: Cons argument shows us how loyal people were to their clans and families a mere century and a half ago, strengthening my argument about the decline of the family. As explained extensively in my case, virtues so prevelant in a family-oriented culture such as honor and justice, along with the family unit checking the power of the state have almost completely disappeared after wave upon wave of individualist thought entered the landscape.

Economics

Micro vs. Macro

Con brings up an interesting argument that we cannot study aggregate behavior without first knowing how individual behavior works. This is true, but does absolutely nothing to gain him any ground. At most for Con this argues for individualism in economic policy making (no link to the actual resolution which is all about society), but in reality this is circular reasoning since we're debating individualism as a principle and the principles held by people drive their behavior. Individuals can and do behavior differently when they live in communities with they know closely and/or care about compared to individuals they dont know/who's interests they ignore.

The invisible hand

This, again, is merely an argument for economic policy-making. Moreover it's entirely non-topical. The fact that an economic system which allows people to do what they want with their money is better than one that doesnt allow this is simpl irrelevant to what an individualistic state of mind does to a society. His only attempt to answer the actual resolution is a brief assertion that in all things if everyone acts in their own self interest it will be best for all, but this is on its face absurd. Uncontroversially if the wealthy acted in the interest of their communities instead of themselves the world would be a better place. This is not to say that the government ought to compell them to do so, but if those individuals had the frame of mind to put other interests above their own or at least to consider them (NOT something that occurs under individualism), they would be more likely to help others.


Compare my arguments with Cons shaky analysis and non-topicality.

Aff case


Statism

Con either misunderstands of misrepesents much of this argument. The logic of the argument, that the destruction of natural and local authorities by individualism leads to political collectivization, has been basically untouched. Con accuses me of the tu quoque fallacy, but the problem is that I am not and never have been arguing for the kind of collectivism that individualism leads to. Con accuses me of making a slippery slope fallacy because apparently "the rise of a collectivist state can be prevented." without explaining how. For why the breakdown of communities inevitably leads to the rise of the state, see almost everything I said in R2. Con also misunderstands the argument about the French revolution, the reign of terror was only possible *after* the destruction of natural authorities that checked the power of the state. All these dangerous ideologies I argued against were indeed incredibly collectivist--that was the whole argument! In the name of individualism and natural rights the Jacobins destroyed the power of the nobles, and what happened should be viewed as inevitable.

Despite his extensive analysis of the fascists and communists, this argument should basically be viewed as entirely dropped and therefore conceded since I wasnt arguing that these ideologies were individualist, rather that individualism set up the framework allowing their rise. Con doesnt even attempt to address the logic of the arguments, just arguing against a straw-man.

Family

Con makes no real response to this argument. All Con argues is that communities can't raise children. First of all, pretty much every sociological/psychological analysis will show that raising children is also a communal affair--as the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child (if we want the child to be an upstanding, non-hedonistic citizen that is). Individualism seeks to "liberate" people from their families. The American Conservative writes that inthe 19th century when individualism was being implemented[1]: "All any college student learned of social science and sociology from the nineteenth century to World War I was a theory of social relativism, the linear “evolution” of society through the nineteenth century, the need for challenging all social institutions including the family, and the possibility of continued improvement through the destruction of accepted values."

Con totally drops the argument that individualism has changed the view of the family and hence the societally good obligations and values individuals held in a strong family-oriented society and the negative effects of a self centered state of mind, extend this.

Cities

Con argues that a lot of crime is due to diversity, not a lack of community. Despite not explaining how diversity equates to crime (compare this to my argument where I explicitely explained why cities have such high crime rates) and dropping my argument on why it is the stripping of the individual of their sense of obligation to family and community that causes much of this, Con is still gains no ground. He bizarrely argues that cities filled with individuals who are essentially anonymous are less individualistic than rural areas where everyone knows everyone and long family histories and kinship ties go back generations (societies that have existed both in the past and the present) when this is simply logically incoherent. Con seems to be arguing against political collectivism, but unfortunately when the natural means of authority are destroyed authority can only come from the state. Turn his advocacy against him here.



Vote Pro.


1. http://tinyurl.com...;
DanT

Con


Relative individualism


Yes, I brought up relative individualism to clarify my argument.


Society vs Government


Pro claims that society can exist without government, but this is not true. Society can exist without the state, but it cannot exist without the government. There is a major difference; the State is a government with executive powers, but not all governments are states. A confederation has a central government but lacks a union state; for example, the United States in Congress Assembled was a Confederation.


The Oxford dictionary defines a Society as “the aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community.” In other words, a society requires organization. Additionally, without such organization, individualism is unavoidable. Collectivism requires organization, even if the organizing body lacks executive authority. An anarchist society would have a government, but the executives would be each individual within the community; much like the decentralized executive powers of a confederation.


Communitarianism


Pro clarifies that he is advocating communitarianism, which is an ideology advocating individualist sovereignty of the state, with collectivist state policies. So pro is basically arguing in favor of collectivist policies, rather than collectivist sovereignty.


Economics


Micro vs Macro


Pro cedes my point about Micro vs Macroeconomics, but claims it is only relevant to economic policies. Economics is a study of human behavior patterns, and the principles of economics can be applied to noneconomic situations. For example; an increase in the demand for murder would result in increased murders and an increase in price/consequences. An increase in the supply/opportunity to commit murder would result in increased murders and a decrease in the consequences. A price/consequence floor would result in a decrease in the demand for murders, and an increase in the opportunities to commit murders. A consequence ceiling would be any law designed to increase the consequences of murder.


Wrong direction


Individuals make up the community, so it is individuals who determine the wants and needs of the community. If a majority of the individuals within the community share similar wants and needs, than the minority may or may not be influenced by the majority. The probability that an individual will be influenced is unique to the individual’s personality.


The invisible hand


Again, economic theories are transferable to social science.


“He intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for society that it was no part of his intention. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.” ~ Adam Smith on the invisible hand


http://www.investopedia.com...


The rich would not be rich if they put the community above themselves, and it follows that they would lose their power to benefit society. If a business decided to help their employees by paying higher wages, it would result in an increase in unemployment, a decrease in output, and an increase in prices. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and it is by taking care of ourselves first and the community second, that the general welfare of the community is maximized. If every individual put the community above their own needs, the needs of the individuals would not be met, and it would follow that the community’s welfare would suffer.



Statism


Red Herring


Pro claims I didn’t touch his argument that the destruction of individualist local authorities leads to collectivist centralized authority. This is a red herring, as my arguments indirectly addressed this claim unnecessary. Once again, local authorities are individualist, so I whole heartedly agree, as it supports my stance.


Tu quoque


Pro does not refute the appeal to hypocrisy; he just states that he is not advocating collectivism, which is not only false, but irrelevant to the claim.


Semantics


Pro claims that he is not advocating collectivism, he is advocating communitarianism. This is a semantic argument, as communitarianism is a form of collectivism. If you are arguing against individualism, you are arguing in favor of collectivism. Attacking the words used does not refute the premise.


Slippery Slope


Pro claims I was unclear on how his claim was a slippery slope fallacy. The American Revolution was individualist, but unlike the French revolution, did not result in the reign of terror. Some members of the military urged Washington to overthrow congress, and institute a monarchy, but he chose not to. Hence, the slippery slope fallacy; the rise of dictator can be preventing during the process.


Re Tu quoque


Pro makes another appeal to hypocrisy by claiming that in the name of individualism, the Jacobins instituted collectivist policies. This is not reflective of individualism, it is reflective of collectivism.


Faux strawman


Pro claims that I was straw manning him about the Nazis and Communists being individualists, yet it was Pro who claimed that the rise of the Nazis and Communists were “All, initially, in the name of individualism”.


Family


Clans


As stated before, loyalty to a clan is like loyalty to a nation; the blind loyalty of nationalism is dangerous. A clan is a group of interrelated families. Clans are similar to gangs; which is why the KKK called themselves the Klan and why the Italian mob was organized into families. Clan feuds start the same way gang wars start; the family was threatened or disrespected, and out of loyalty to their family the clan retaliated. Pro claims that the Hatfields and McCoys were famous because it feuds were rare, but in actuality feuds were common after the civil war, because the war pitted neighbor against neighbor. The feud made it all the way to the Supreme Court, which brought media attention to the feud.


Entitlement


Pro claims that the individualism caused people to be self-centered. In reality, it was collectivism. The sense of entitlement, that is so widespread in today’s generation, is due to a collectivist mindset. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.


Parenting


Pro claims that it takes a community to raise a child, but that is not the case. In 1996 there was an incident in Texas where security guards physically disciplined a group of children who broke into the mall; as can be expected, the parents were furious. The security guards justified their actions with the “it takes a village” proverb, but it didn’t fly.


http://www.helium.com...


Communal parenting is a mistake, because every child is different. One parenting technique might be good for one kid, while being counterproductive for another. Parenting should be unique to the child; therefore the best person to raise a child is their parent or guardian, because the parent knows their child best.


http://www.allaboutparenting.org...


Cities


Crime


Pro falsely claims that I did not explain how diversity causes crime. As I have already stated, the more diverse a community the more individualism is required. When a collectivist society is too diverse, the inefficacy hurts the welfare of the community, causing an increase in crime. Pro has mistaken this diversity for individualism.


Rural Areas


Pro claims rural areas are collectivist, but in actuality they are individualist. I live in a rural community, and the main reason I moved here is because it is individualist. People of rural communities are more self-reliant than people in cities. Yes people in rural communities are friendlier, and are more likely to help one another, but they always put themselves before the community. Urban communities have always favored collectivism and rural communities have always favored individualism.


Debate Round No. 3
thett3

Pro

While I appreciate my opponents willingness to debate and his quick replies, I can't help but feel many of his replies were gross misrepresentations of my argument, strawmen or simple misunderstandings. As such as I go through the round and explain why you should vote Pro I'll also be clarifying things, turning first to my case.


Political vs. intellectual collectivism

Before anything else the false dichotomy con tries to force me into needs to be brought up. As anyone reading my arguments can tell, I'm not arguing against individualism in the sense of government actions but rather philosophically. That was the entire point of the debate from the outset, to "[show] sociologically the inevitable effects of such an individualistic state of mind." (R1). That Con repeatedly tries to force the debate into the realm of government actions shows either a complete misunderstanding or a deliberate strawman and either way ought to be ignored.

Aff case

Statism

Con again completely drops this, simply arguing that local authorities are individualist. No. This is his fundamental misunderstanding--I'm not advocating political collectivism, all I'm doing is explaining what happens to a society when its natural authorities are liquidated by individualism. Make no mistake, local aristocracies and family ties and all the other involuntary, compelling and intricate social fabrics that exist are not individualist at all. Indeed a community that forces an individual via social norms and expectations to conform to it is not by any standard individualist. Con has dropped the specific warrants behind this argument throughout the debate--that when people "liberate" themselves from natural authorities and destroy the social fabric that exists there is no check to stop the rise of statism. Irionically ndividualism, so dedicated to the freedom of the individual, unknowingly lays the framework for the rise of an oppressive state. The impact of hundreds of millions dead via government falls firmly onto me, this impact outweighs everything else and you can affirm right here.

Con only responds by bizzarely arguing that a revolution started and fought by aristocratic, wealthy, slave owning men who instituded a republic where only the landed men could vote was individualist and that a government which almost immediately committed genocide against the Native Americans and taxed individuals was not oppressive. The American revolution was only semi-individualist, uncontroversially the main goal was not to tear apart the bonds that tie people together, but rather to break the bonds with England. As such the majority of the social fabric--the landed gentry, the power and influence of the noble families, the communities-- remained intact. Predictably the government that emerged after tearing apart part of the natural social fabric was only semi-oppressive compared to the French. This proves my point, compare the American and French revolutions and you can see clearly the differences in magnitude in individualism and, consequently, the state that emerged.

Family

Con has literally dropped most of this. Extend the decline in civic virtues, and extend the argument that the family is the most important social unit and individualism specifically targets the family.

Cons responses are weak; first he argues that feuds were apparently very common despite not giving any statistics or reasoning other than the patently false claim that most soldiers in the civil war fought against their neighbors. Nevertheless, this impact is vastly outweighed by the positive impacts of the family that Con doesnt dispute--I conceded from the outset that sometims family loyalties can turn deadly and be bad, but con doesnt even attempt to weigh this. He doesnt tell you why this rare occurrence needs to be valued above all the good things coming off of the family unit (probably because its quite obvious it shouldnt be). This argument is more or less a red-herring, it does nothing to refute the majority of my advocacy, and he also makes no response to my turn of th argument. Con then strangely argues that if individuals selfishly put themselves above their families and communities they somehow become less selfish and entitled, but this is plainly false. Individuals with the mindset of "do everything it takes to succeed" and have no obligations outside themselves will have much less of a problem taking the benefits the state offers via theft in political collectivism (something I am arguing against).

That Con seriously asserts that I'm advocating communal parenting shows how much he misunderstoof this argument. The argument was that the community also has a role in raising the child, not that the parents should have no role. This is a strawman.

Cities

Con still makes no explanation for why diversity causes crime despite claiming that he has. Extend my analysis. Con doesnt try to even address this argument at all except to say that since he thinks rural areas are more individualist they are, and to concede that "people in rural communities are friendlier, and are more likely to help one another..."(R3). He doesnt even address the sense of community I explained and again defers to political actions as the means of measuring philosophy.

Individuals in a city are essentially anonymous. They have the absolute freedom to do virtually whatever they want outside of crimes because no one can judge them. There is no sense of community and no obligations..and Con argues that this is anything but indivualistic? How absurd.


I've clearly won each of my arguments. Vote Pro.

Neg case

Society vs government

Con delves into semantics, arguing that somehow if a state is a confederation it isnt a state. Either way he doesnt argue any impact here at all, so ignore this. Ignore also his arguments about communitarianism--I cited communitarianism for its emphasis on the ties an individual has to the community, not its policy recommendations.

Economics

Con simply argues that economics proves human behavior and therefore we need individualism. Con however drops the argument that his reasoning is circular and that principles govern action. Moreover he doesnt impact this at all--how does it possibly outweigh my arguments? He also makes the uncommonly silly argument that "Individuals make up the community, so it is individuals who determine the wants and needs of the community." but we all know that individuals putting themselves before the community in their economic demands would NOT fulfill the wants and needs of the community, just the selfish interests of the people in it--not the same thing. This strengthens my arguments about how individualism tears apart the community.

The Invisible hand argument is also silly. That con seriously asserts that the world is better off because the wealthy hoard money and buy vacation homes while other people are starving to death and losing their property is very telling of just how dangerous the ideology he is advocating is. I disagree with Con that the only way individuals get rich is by ignoring their communities and families and focusing soley on themselves--an individual motivated to gain wealth so he can share it with the community is also acting in his interests, his interests are just different and the motivation to gain wealth is still there. Con doesnt explain at all why individualism is needed for this, in days gone by where the community was a far bigger player in peoples lives business and businessmen still existed. Theres no warrant to the claim that economic production would stagnate if tjhe rich voluntarily decided to help others with their money.



Con has barely any advocacy at all. My rebuttals to his arguments are virtually untouched and he fails to really impact them in any quantifiable way. Compare this to my case where Cons objections fall flat and the impacts are clear. The decivilzation that has been occurring in the Western World is due in a large part to individualism, therefore I urge the readers to vote pro

DanT

Con


False dichotomy


Relative Individualism


Pro claims that I have created a false dichotomy between individualism and collectivism, but this is not the case. If you look at my round 1 argument, I clearly pointed out that individualism and collectivism is relative. This would be like claiming that tall and short are a false dichotomy; tall and short are relative terms, as they require a standard to compare it to.


If-by-Whisky Fallacy


Pro claims that he is not arguing against individualism, yet the resolution he is trying to affirm is that “Individualism is societally destructive”. Pro has continually switched his stance throughout the debate, by using doublespeak. First he claimed he was not advocating collectivism, he was advocating communitarianism, now he is claiming to be pro individualism.


Political vs. intellectual collectivism


SocioPolitics


SocioPolitics is the relation between politics and society. According to the oxford dictionary, politics is the principles relating to or inherent in a sphere, theory, or thing, especially when concerned with power and status in a society. If the definition of individualism is: “a doctrine that the interests of the individual are or ought to be ethically paramount”, than individualism is a sociopolitical doctrine.


False dichotomy


Intellect and Politics are not mutually exclusive.


Government vs Individual mindset


Any and all social organizations involve governance, but do not necessarily involve a state. The management of Corporations conducts corporate governance, and the organizers of clubs and fraternities govern their social group. When people hang out in clichés, they usually have some form of government; it could be democratic, or it could be monarchal. If the group has a leader, it is monarchal, but if everyone has a say, than it is democratic.


Kettle logic


Pro’s arguments are inconsistent. Pro claims that this debate is not about political individualism, yet since round 1 he has made arguments involving political individualism leading to statism. (See Statism)


Statism


False Dichotomy


Once again Pro commits a false dichotomy. Pro claims that a confederation is not more individualist than a unitary state, because a confederation can be a confederation of monarchies or aristocracies. Once again, they are not mutually exclusive. An aristocracy deals with sovereignty over the state, and a confederation deals with the sovereignty of the state.




Slippery slope


Pro once again claims that individualist revolutions lead to collectivist states, due to the lack of checks. Again, this is a slippery slope fallacy. Revolutions don’t always lead to collectivist states; many revolutions do, but this does not ring true for all revolutions. It depends on how the revolution is conducted.


Appeal to Emotion


Pro tries to discredit the American Revolution, by claiming those who fought in the revolution were slave owners, and that the American government committed genocide against Native Americans. First off, the Native Americans were not US citizens, and were considered tantamount to a foreign nation. The relationship between the US and Native Americans is irrelevant. Likewise, slaves were not citizens, and therefore the government did not represent them. Slaves could gain citizenship if they were freed, but until than they were considered livestock. Furthermore, many of the founders condemned slavery, even those who owned slaves. Jefferson outlawed the international slave trade, and prior to the revolution he defended freed slaves pro bono, when they were accused of being runaways.


The American Revolution was fought by Whig proponents of the country party, who believed Government should serve the people. The loyalists were Tory proponents of the Court Party, who believed the Government should serve the interest of the king. 5,000 African American patriots fought in the American Revolution, and most patriots did not own slaves.


Clans


Feuds after the civil war


Con claims that I did not cite a source for feuds being common after the civil war. I did not think I would have to since, he did not cite a source for his claim. Anyhow, here is a source, from a website about the Hatfields and McCoys.


“Several major feuds were fought that never recieved the same kind of national attention as the Hatfield-McCoy conflict. Some much worse. During the decade preceding and for a half-century after the Civil War, a series of feuds swept the hills of Eastern Kentucky like wild-fire. Several times, local government came to a standstill and law enforcement was impossible. State troops were repeatedly called in to protect lives and allow courts to operate. At one point, relations with neighboring West Virginia became so bad over a border dispute, it was feared the two states would fight.”


http://fixit24.tripod.com...


Here is another source about feuds in Texas


“Sometimes these feuds were the result of long-running arguments between two groups of people, especially families or clans, and perhaps may have started decades earlier over the smallest insult.”


http://www.legendsofamerica.com...


When the interests of their families or clans are placed above the interests of the individuals, it leads to feuds and societal collapse. These feuds could be prevented, if they were not perpetuated by family loyalties. Likewise, individualism could prevent feuding communities.


Straw Man


Pro claims that I said he was arguing against parents raising their children. This is a straw man, as I never claimed any such thing. I was not arguing against parents not being able to parent their children, I was arguing against the community having a right to help raise another parent’s child.


Cities


Crime


Pro once again ignored my argument; he denied that I gave an explanation, so he would not have to refute my explanation. Pro has respectively ignored my arguments, choosing to deny their existence rather than refute them. It is extremely poor conduct, and very insulting.


Rural Individualism


According to mental health expert George Doherty, people living in rural areas have a greater sense of “spirituality and individualism”. Doherty states “Individualism, self-reliance and hard work are some of the necessary characteristics for survival in rural areas. In urban environments, reliance on social service organizations, fears of certain groups and corporate organizations is more prevalent. A sense of independence and self-determination is more common among rural than urban or suburban residents” and that “Rural people may not actively seek help or be aware of available services or how to access them. They may think the process is too cumbersome or intrusive.… If a decision is made to apply for assistance, the process may be particularly difficult for someone unaccustomed to admitting need and seeking assistance. Asking for help can be difficult for those who are used to relying on their own resources.”


http://digitaljournal.com...



Economics


Poor Conduct


Pro falsely claims I did not address his argument. Pro has been making these false claims throughout the debate, and it is extremely poor conduct.


Society


Once again, society does not dictate the individual’s beliefs, just as your skin color does not dictate your genes; your genes dictate your skin color. Individuals dictate the beliefs of society; society does not dictate the beliefs of individuals. If every individual within a society improved their own welfare, than the overall welfare of society has been improved.


Appeal to poverty


Pro makes an appeal to poverty, by claiming the rich should be motivated by charity rather than self-interest. It is not by the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. By serving their own interest, they benefit the community.


Onus probandi


As the one making the claim Pro has the BOP. In my opinion, Pro has failed to meet the BOP.


Debate Round No. 4
151 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
@thett3:

"I suppose out of context I can see why you could perceive it as such, but I dont really know why you assign it that meaning..."

I consider myself religious, but don't believe in any religion. I see organized religion as a political phenomenon, and I saw this as a political debate, lol. :)

I don't want to get into that here though...
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
@thett3:

"I guess I can see where you're coming from. I definitely should have pointed out the rarity more..I didbut I fully realize everyone isnt going to catch every line and I only mentioned it briefly. Thanks for the feedback, I do really appreciate it"

Well, I'm just one guy, and it looks like you're going to win this debate anyway, lol. :D

Again, it was well argued on both sides and was a pleasure to read. Good luck with your future debates.
Posted by thett3 4 years ago
thett3
He was contrasting family like mother father sister brother, ect. to the family of ancestry and bloodline. He wasn't talking about religions, I've actually read the book so I can tell you you're wrong in what he's saying. But it's inconsequential, I suppose out of context I can see why you could perceive it as such, but I dont really know why you assign it that meaning when it's clear from the context I was using it in what was being referred to
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
@thett3:

"I honestly can't fathom how you think he the quote can be applied to religions. Nisbet explicitly contrasts the view of the family in previous times with the modern family, he invokes the very phrase "nuclear family" it's exceeding obvious what was being discussed."

---

You are butchering Nisbet here. Yes, Nisbet invoked the very phrase "nuclear family" IN THE NEGATIVE:

The great sociologist Robert Nisbet[3] explains that in previous times family was viewed as a: "strong and pervasive kinship community, which counted the unborn and the dead as well as the living, which extended itself into all aspects of and individuals life--economic, political, legal, cultural, psychological, and biological...NOT THE NUCLEAR OR CONJUGAL GROUP with husband, wide, and immediate children...but the longitudinal family of generations in time, the family of blood line, of tradition and history, of ancestors and planned-for posterity."

Nisbet BROADENED the definition of family into community, which had little to do with what is traditionally called a family, in neither the nuclear nor the extended sense. Most people would also not consider dead ancestors to be "family".

In this sense, I had every reason to broaden "family" to something like Jews and Muslims, because what connects them together are indeed dead ancestors.
Posted by thett3 4 years ago
thett3
I guess I can see where you're coming from. I definitely should have pointed out the rarity more..I didbut I fully realize everyone isnt going to catch every line and I only mentioned it briefly. Thanks for the feedback, I do really appreciate it
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
@thett3:

"Regarding the Feuds point, even if you feel Con won th argument his impacts still dont outweigh my advantages...

"Secondly this criticism only follows for collectivism taken to its extreme. Of course when individuals are willing to murder and die for some clan its a bad thing, but this is more the exception than the rule. If it wasnt, it wouldn't be so famous."

---

Fair points. I addressed this in my point #14, and after rereading my own comments, allow me to clarify what I meant. I remember when I posted it I thought it would lead to some confusion.

"PRO's entire argument lies upon principle, and the principle in the US is individualism, meaning that instances of collectivism in the US may indeed be exceptions to the rule, while still upholding/negating it."

What I meant here was that perhaps, like you say, the Hatfields and McCoys are indeed the exception to the rule, and is thus why they are so famous in the US. But, collectivism itself is also the exception to the rule in the US...we are pretty individualistic (this is my own personal opinion). So, here you have an exceptional situation (collectivism) resulting in something exceptional (feuding families).

Basically, if you took 1,000 individualistic US families, and one of them turned bat-sh!t crazy, you would say, 'wow, that's exceptional!' However, if you took 3 collectivist US families, and one of them turned bat-sh!t crazy, you would say, 'oh, they're collectivist, that's just what they do'.

I hope this clears it up a little. I looked at it as a situation of proportionality, because absent any other countervailing substantiated notion in the debate, my own biases took over, and my own biases would dictate that America is largely individualistic, and thus collectivist societies like the Hatfields and McCoys will do something unusual. It just so happened that this unusual activity was very damaging to PRO's position.
Posted by thett3 4 years ago
thett3
You want me to provide "hard evidence" to show things that DIDNT happen? I argued that Con didnt weigh this, I conceded the harms but stated that theyre so rare (he cites one example) that it shouldnt be weighed as a serious impact
Posted by thett3 4 years ago
thett3
You said "Con disproved this notion via George Washington" or something similar, but thats impossible because as you didn't read Cons R4, my rebuttals to the point have to flow through. But it's inconsequential anyway.

I honestly can't fathom how you think he the quote can be applied to religions. Nisbet explicitly contrasts the view of the family in previous times with the modern family, he invokes the very phrase "nuclear family" it's exceeding obvious what was being discussed.

On the community argument it's again exceedingly obvious that "community" isnt anything specific, but rather the significant associations people make and have, I made this very clear in my opening:

"First let it be recognized that every individuals is born and raised with involuntary, necessary, and significant social attachments, the most important of which is the family. It is from these that society springs forth, society is not and cannot be held together by a distant central state, it is instead the community and the authorities which naturally spring up which bind us together and prevent the destruction of civilization. It is self evident that social interactions and obligations are the glue which binds together any society--indeed humans are social animals after all. It is for these reasons that the philosophy of individualism is, and historically has been, so hostile and destructive to society. "

And on the family point, I made several impacts (that Con didnt dispute at all, his only argument was that they could turn deadly) namely:

1. Families are the source of civilization and socialization
2. Ideals from family based systems like honor and obligation that are socially beneficial

I should have hit on these more but they're still there and easy to see for anyone looking at the family debate.

Finally on the feud point I made the response you just said I should make ("most families are not like this") so I dont know why you give weight to the argument.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
@thett3:

"My arguments: Individuals putting themselves above everyone else is bad and destroys the traditional checks on state power ect.ect.

"Dan's argument: But this is relative, there are different kinds of collectivism

"My argument: Sure, but as a principle individualism has this effect, which is the intention of the debate"

---

Amazingly, this is beginning to demonstrate to me how damaging CON's Hatfields and McCoy's example really was. Here, you have an instance of what you deem to be traditional checks on state power, i.e. the family, the clan, etc., breaking down into petty feuding because of collectivist sentiments.

I'd have to look again at the debate, but I'm pretty sure DanT's sentiment from the comments is in the debate too, that "Blind nationalism to one's family or community results in long standing feuds, like with the Hatfields and McCoys."

It was a very powerful example built on what I thought was a relatively weak set of data. However, it was never contested! Therefore, the Hatfields and McCoys became the operating example of a collectivist family/clan/community for the purposes of this debate. CON set the tempo for PRO's arguments here, IMHO.

Trust me, I was looking hard for evidence to the contrary, because this just seemed to be too damning an example built on rather weak evidence. But, there was no contrary evidence, and no substantiated refutation, I'm guessing because you ran out of room.

This is what led me to conclude that local collectivism and totalitarian collectivism were not all that different, and that whatever points PRO was trying to make to differentiate did not amount to adequate substantiation. Thus, tu quoque, arguments CON.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
One example of how close this debate was on some points:

PRO mentioned multiple times that there is some sort of intrinsic good to family/community values. Exactly what these values were however were not defined. (point #30)

Instead, the only example of family values I had to go by were the Hatfields and the McCoys (points #15, 16). Could this have been refuted? I would think so, and easily...I'm sure most families are not like this...however it was never substantially refuted in the debate - there were just more broad statements regarding positive values, that "Individuals can and do behavior differently when they live in communities with they know closely and/or care about compared to individuals they dont know/who's interests they ignore." (grammar...) This positive sentiment was wholly rebutted by the Hatfields and McCoys.

What was a positive example of familial/communitarian collectivism to offset CON's example? I could not find one, and I was looking.
14 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by RyuuKyuzo 4 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
thett3DanTTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con had some interesting things to say about this topic, no doubt, but a great deal of what he had to say was mis-matched from what Pro was arguing. Perhaps this was just symantical misunderstandings. In any case, I felt that Pro did uphold his burden of proof. He established cases where individualism is societally destructive. As stated, I feel much of what Con had to say missed the mark, but Pro's rebuttals weren't particularly convincing in light of the responses i feel were spot-on. In the end this debate seemed almost like a standoff with neither debater looking to meet in the middle for a more in-depth clash, As such, i'm giving a split-vote 3-2 Pro.
Vote Placed by larztheloser 4 years ago
larztheloser
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Reasons for voting decision: Both sides set up their cases and explained their general worldview well (although con should probably have relied less on really big graphics) before going on to accuse each other of all manner of logical fallacies and misrepresentations. I felt some of the narrative-based analysis that made up the substantive cases should have been applied to rebuttal, although con seemed to take some of this back in the last round. The use of many smaller contentions, especially by con's structural labels, made it difficult to pick a consistent response. Having said that (no better way to say this sorry) pro's responses just weren't that good, particularly on microeconomics and the R3 invisible hand response. When faced with odd logical abstractions it's usually best to ground the debate in reality again. For using narrative in their case rather than a odd bunch of disassociated claims, pro's approach was somewhat stronger and narrowly justified a win. 3:2 aff. Msg me if qns.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's winning theme, I think, was the "invisible hand" argument, that society benefits most by individuals acting in their reasoned self-interest. Pro confuses collectivism done in the name of individualism with actual individualism. The definition of individualism precludes collectivism. There is no doubt that individualism is more likely to prevail in rural areas than in cities, although Con's abstract argument was better than his example.
Vote Placed by Subutai 4 years ago
Subutai
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Reasons for voting decision: Addending to fit Geeki's new vote.
Vote Placed by darkkermit 4 years ago
darkkermit
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering GeekiTheGreat's vote.
Vote Placed by GeekiTheGreat 4 years ago
GeekiTheGreat
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Reasons for voting decision: I just felt that DanT had a better argument in my opinion.
Vote Placed by Pennington 4 years ago
Pennington
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Reasons for voting decision: I really enjoyed this debate from both parties and I do not think my vote shows that enough. I give my vote to Pro for arguments. I really did not have an opinion before the debate. Con offered good counters but attacked Pro on certain forms of society but Pro used them as parts of individualism to explain individualism and where it leads. I think Con was confusing Pros argument there. I honestly feel like Pros second and last round on statism was a clincher. He was right about Russia and Germany and what lead from individualism. I felt like Con brought up uncalled for fallacy claims but by his performance I cannot give conduct away.
Vote Placed by Vulpes_Inculta 4 years ago
Vulpes_Inculta
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Reasons for voting decision: CVB Update: The vote I countered was removed. So no, Pennington, you are not 'countering' me...
Vote Placed by KingDebater 4 years ago
KingDebater
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Reasons for voting decision: I feel the opposite of what GeekiTheGreat feels.
Vote Placed by YYW 4 years ago
YYW
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Reasons for voting decision: see comments.