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It is Better to Rule Through Fear than Through Love

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/5/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,491 times Debate No: 48438
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)




I will be arguing that it is better to rule through fear exclusively than it is to rule through love exclusively. My opponent should do the opposite.

Please note that neither form is perfect, what we are trying to show is which of the two is nearer to perfect. Note that we're talking about using only love or fear. There can be no mixture, and you can't say 'tough love' counts as a form of love, since it relies on the fear of punishment to guide one's actions. When we talk about effective ruling we're talking about maintaining order and safety for your people.

First Round is for Acceptance.


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


Ruling Through Fear Exclusively
When one rules through fear, and when one makes his subjects fearful of him, he is in greater control than he could be with love. When a leader establishes rules, and follows through with them without exception, he will become feared. If people know that their ruler will punish them without empathy, they are much more likely to stay in line. There are people out there that are extremely selfish, the kind of people who only care about themselves. These kind of people would not be controlled by a ruler who uses love only, because these self-centered people don't care about the ties of affection between them and their ruler, they care only about themselves. Therefore these people will disregard their ruler's wishes. However with a rulership based on fear, the self-centered people will be sure to stay in line, because the will of their leader is not to be trifled with, seeing as it can adversely affect them.

I am not saying that ruling through fear exclusively is the best way to go, but it will lend you more control than if you ruled through love exclusively, reasons for which I will get to later.

Some people may think that fear and hate are the same thing, these people are wrong. A leader who rules through fear does not have to be a jerk. That is a misconception that is often made but it is not true. When I talk about rulers who rule through fear many people may think of oppressive dictators, who bully and propagandize their people. Those people are mis-using fear as a tool for ruling. The best way to rule through fear is to make laws that are in the best interests of the state, provide reasonable punishments for non-compliance to the rules, and then follow and enforce these laws without exception. Your people will not hate you, because you don't hurt or kill them without good reason, they will merely fear you because they know what the consequences of crossing you are.

Even if a ruler fails to separate fear from hatred, he will last far longer than any ruler who relies simply on love to maintain order, as I will now illustrate.

Ruling With Love Exclusively
I've got a gym teacher named Mrs. Jent. I think she's pretty cool, she's very nice to everyone. There is nobody who says she's a b*tch or anything like that. We all like her. However, she never, ever, has backed up anything she's said. She'll threaten to send someone to detention, they won't listen, and she won't follow through. We all know she won't do anything to keep control. There are some people who quiet down when she wants us to quiet down because we want to show her respect.

But there's at least a quarter of my class who won't do that. They'll keep doing whatever they want, because they are the self-centered people I mentioned earlier. These people don't give a crap because they know nothing bad will happen to them if they don't comply.

This is the problem with ruling exclusively through love. You can't enforce any rules. A rule that holds the promise of punishment is an embodiment of fear, and therefore cannot be utilized by a ruler who rules entirely through fear. That leaves the all love ruler hoping that enough people will feel bound by his affection to them. We all know however, that won't happen.

So what does that leave you? In a classroom it just means a very unproductive and rowdy class, but in a country? It means chaos. Therefore a ruler who rules entirely through love will lose control of his state far before a ruler who rules entirely through fear does, because fear implies rules, and the all love has know rules.

Thanks for reading.


My opponent is really confused on this motion....but anyhow, I will present my argument in this round. Then in subsequent rounds, I will rebutt.
DEFINITIONS rule - /ro"0"0ol/
1. one of a set of explicit or understood regulations or principles governing conduct within a particular activity or sphere.
2. a strip of wood or other rigid material used for measuring length or marking straight lines; a ruler.
3. short for Australian Rules (football).
1. exercise ultimate power or authority over (an area and its people).
2. make parallel lines across (paper).. FEAR:1. an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.1. be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or LOVE:a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. 2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, Based on this definition, my opponent still argues that it is better to rule through fear. ARGUMENTS Fear yields resistance and selfishness. Love yields cooperation and altruism. What will a leader stand to gain if he torture the people his ruling? When you rule with love, the people won't even see reason to disobey you because they trust what you are doing.Fear would appear to be more the rude these days in many work places with pschopathic behaviour clearly on display by many in management... negative would be better and more productive.
Fear in the sense of national strength quite likely prevented war between The former Soviet Union and USA,for example,in days past.
Either nation had the ability to cause great damage to each other. The fear resulting from this kept both nations in check with neither able to bully other.....positive use...ruling with fear is like searching for power like the dictators. So ruling with love is better of. If they rule with fear, there won't be democracy because the citizens won't have free mind. So it i better to rule with love
Debate Round No. 2


I'd like to thank my opponent for his arguments and for his condescending remarks about my understanding of the topic.

My opponent's argument doesn't have titles or sections or whatever so I'll just do a title-less, section-less response.

"Fear yields resistance and selfishness."
For starters, hate causes resistance and selfishness far more than fear does. And I have already demonstrated that the two can be separated. I will say however that extremely prideful people may dislike the fact that they are afraid of their ruler, and this may lead to some resistance or selfishness. Even if it does though, resistance is countered by punishments which come from the rules which make said prideful person afraid in the first place. As long as the general populace doesn't feel unjustly treated, only a few of the prideful people will exist. These people are easily dealt with by a ruler who has laws in place.

"Love yields cooperation and altruism."
The exclusive use of love will not yield these things enough. As I have already stated, many people are too self-centered to care if their ruler loves them, and will continue to act in their own interests. And since a ruler who uses love exclusively cannot rely on the fear of punishments to keep order, these people will bring about chaos in the state.

"What will a leader stand to gain if he torture the people his ruling?"
Depends. If the punishment for a particularly heinous crime is torture, he stands to gain a greater sense of order. As long as a punishment is in accordance with a sensible law, the people will fear a ruler without hating him. Being a feared ruler doesn't mean picking people off the streets and torturing them to make them scared. All it needs to mean is laying out sensible ground rules and following through with them without mercy.

"...ruling with fear is like searching for power like the dictators."
For reasons I believe I've expounded on more than enough, this isn't necessarily true. However, let's consider dictators. Do you think a dictator will rule his country longer than a country with a ruler who has no rules?

In the end, neither end of the spectrum is perfect, but fear promotes order amongst those who would otherwise act in their own interests, whereas love puts faith in people, some of whom would abuse that faith, which would lead to chaos within your state. I'm not even saying a ruler who rules through fear will last forever, but given that he has rules and order, he will last significantly longer than the ruler who rules exclusively through love.

Thanks for reading.


judeifeanyi forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


I would ask that my opponent not post an argument for this final round, as his forfeiture leaves that open as an option to respond to my arguments without my ability to respond that I would ordinarily have.


I apologise for the forfeit. It was due to some reasons best known to me. But that's not withstanding, I will still address the motion properly. ' it is better to rule through fear than through love' now in this debate am saying that it is better to rule through love because if the people you are ruling are fearful to you, it then means you are a bad leader. Either you are a dictator or somewhat strict leader who the masses would not like to rule them. If rulers are loved, and they rule by love, there will be peaceful co-existence between the leader and the masses. Readers, read meaning to this motion, and vote
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Kreakin 2 years ago
Another classic judeifeanyi.
Posted by ESocialBookworm 2 years ago
"Is it not better to rule through fear than love" -The Red Queen
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 2 years ago
Thanks Fox. If you'd like to see a debate over it right now, I just finished one with the same resolution, and voting is currently a tie.
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 2 years ago
I've listed all the criteria I could think of. Do you have a question?
Posted by Fox-McCloud 2 years ago
Interesting resolution.
Posted by Pfalcon1318 2 years ago
what criteria do you have for this debate?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Krazzy_Player 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: FF