The Instigator
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The Contender
Con (against)
9 Points

It is possible for a citizen under an authoritarian dictator, to have more freedom then a US citizen

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/17/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,342 times Debate No: 52787
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (29)
Votes (2)




Simple enough, I will be arguing that a citizen under a authoritarian dictator can have more freedom then a United States citizen. My opponent will argue otherwise. No more clarifications should be needed. We will use North Korea for the purpose of the debate.

  1. 1.
    the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
    "we do have some freedom of choice"



I accept. This might be my toughest debate yet, but in the hope of being well-known, this debate is the beginning of my status. BOP is shared and I hope for an invigorating debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Argument 1: Freedom is within you.

It is important to note, that no one has to give you freedom. Freedom is earned within yourself, and is not always subject to ideological government. Marcus Aurellius, adopted Roman Emperor, and only Roman Stoic philosopher, made many arguments relating to the concept of freedom.

It should be noted, that there aree many things a person can do to free himself. Marcus Aurellius argued that human nature often causes us to rely on others to a certain degree. By following a few steps, we can make ourselves free outside the borders of government....

(1) Become independent minded, not influenced by the propaganda of others (A self given freedom)

(2) To set yourself a clear doctrine. Never let others interfere with what is kept sacred within your mind (Self given freedom)

(3) To not wait, and to always act. You can set yourself free by not worrying of death, but engaging in the ambition we all have. Through this philosophy, freedom can be given to ones self.

Argument 2: No government can truly restrict one free within himself

Its important to note, that under Marcus Aurelliius's meditation philosophy, that no limits are restricts on what we can do when were truly free.

- They push aside unhappiness and discontent, and only allow happiness to enter their minds. This is a form of self given freedom.

- They freely choose what to follow. A free man can choose to not fight the system, using his power of choice and freedom to abide to the system.

- They fight for independence within themselves. By removing reliance in others, and stop worrying what they are or what they do, they can be under an autocrat yet never conform.

Marcus Aurellius's main contentions within the "Meditations", is that everyone dies, and by removing your fear, you can achieve a higher degree of freedom. A man can have freedom from fear under an autocrat, while a US citizen can still be effected under a democratic system.

Argument 3: Tying in the Philosophy

The fact of the matter behind Marcus's philosophy, is that people even under the Roman Republic were not free. The Roman Empire had freedom of speech and freedom of media, yet people were not always free. With that said we can assume....

(1) Its possible for a NK citizen to have freedom from conformity, while a US citizen may be controlled by the need to join the flock.

(2) Some US citizens may blindly follow the opinions of others and propaganda, so its possible that a NK citizen may have freedom from this, by removing the bias.

(3) A NK citizen may possibly not fear death, while some US citizens may be controlled by inabillity to act, due to the axiety of death.



[Study on Conformity]


I. Internal Freedom is Affected by Society

1) The Perceptual Set

What was the first thing you saw, when you looked at the centre? Was it 13, or a B? For some it may be a 13, for others a B. But if this is one image, and I assume everybody sees this on a white screen, then why should there be a different in perception? Because of what is known as the perceptual set.

Gordon Allport defined the perceptual set as, ""a perceptual bias or predisposition or readiness to perceive particular features of a stimulus"[1]. Each person has a perceptual set. Factors that affect their perception, factors that change the way the view or see things. Factors that in turn affect your opinions, values and in the end, your life. These factors include[1][2][3]:

(i) bodily needs (e.g. physiological needs)
(ii) reward and punishment
(iii) emotional connotation
(iv) individual values
(v) personality
(vi) the value of objects.

(vii) expectation

(iix) culture

(ix) attitudes
These can vary from person to person and this is why it varies. It is why somebody brought up in a society which appreciates poetry and linguistics is more likely to see B. But expectation, bodily needs, connotation, reward and punishment and value can all be affected by culture, and this is where my point leads to.

If a whole country is ultra-religious, and diversity is scarce, then the next child born will either be religious, affected by religion or have religious principles taught to him, or have values from his parents and friends who have been somehow affected by religion. The simple way you see things are affected by society. Something as basic as the idea that is better to travel long distances by car than walk could be enforced. Yes, it is quicker, but punctuality isn't intrinsically good. It is just one of society's positive connotations. Yes, punctuality shows you are responsible and is more likely to get you a job, which gets money, but all of that again aren't intrinsically good. Society places connotations upon every little thing which is hard to escape.

All of this is extremely evident in death, which is a point of yours I agree with. Once you can escape from the notion that death is intrinsically bad, then fear is no longer existent. But then why is that positive? Because of society's connotations with fear. My premise is that everyone is a slave to their perceptual set. There is no psychological way to escape factors on your perceptual set, because they are what cause perception. So if a country is militant on authoritarian lifestyle, then even if one can be completely astray from all of that, the way you see things, preference and attitudes will all be affected by this.

Freedom is the next step to integrate. True freedom is the ability for one to make choices without restraint, but everyone is restrained to their perceptual set. Somebody can have every political freedom in the world, but the fact that that is a good thing isn't objectively true. The fact that, "good" is a good thing is not objectively true. Everyone is restrained to their perceptual set. Nobody has absolute freedom, because any thoughts they have will be taught. Any method of having thoughts were taught. Somebody can have no regard for life in a society that loves life, but the fact that he has a "view" is not of his own accord. You cannot basically, include any subjectivity, because such a thing does not truly exist. Subjectivity will be tainted by surroundings inevitably, so you can only measure how much of a restrain these surroundings are for a person to actually do something.

2) North Korean Freedom

In short, North Korea does not permit freedom of speech, press and assembly. Only government owned news, television, radio and music are legal. Male students are required to get a Kim-Jong-un haircut. It goes without saying that America has less restrictions. But as I said before it isn't about which restrictions, but how they much they are asserted leaving your choices. Somebody from America may have a profound fear of death, but he is still free because with that fear of death, he is able to do more. Somebody can live in a society which is ultra-conservative, but with that indoctrination, he is able to do more. A North Korean can distance himself from propaganda, but he does not have the freedom to act on that. He cannot say no to it, or leave the country, or not see it. Society still, no matter his situation, is pressuring him, restricting him, indoctrinating his family, forcing his lifestyle in a certain way, and no matter how free he feels, society enslaves him.

It is not possible for somebody to have more freedom if they live in the U.S. than in an authoritarian government, because if everybody is already a slave to their perceptual set and culture, it is the culture which doesn't force itself upon that which is free. If you have two robots who are programmed, they both do not have true freedom in what they are. But the one with more freedom is the one who has an owner who is more happy with the programming doing more what it wants, than the one who wants the programming to do its own wishes. To be extremely succinct, people themselves aren't truly free. So if they, in that not truly free state are allowed to do more, then they are more free.

Debate Round No. 2


Jifpop09 forfeited this round.


Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
29 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Jifpop09 2 years ago
It seems we got two obvious vote bombs
Posted by Jifpop09 2 years ago
It seems we got two obvious vote bombs
Posted by Jifpop09 2 years ago
I'll actually be forfeiting this round. I have to go right now. In my ideal DDO, we would have 4 days.
Posted by Jifpop09 2 years ago
Your welcome. I've seen a lot of source loopholes for people to strategic vote. I don't want to win because you forgot your sources.
Posted by CJKAllstar 2 years ago
I would be grateful if you cited them in your name. Thank you for that.
Posted by Jifpop09 2 years ago
Don't worry, but sourcing them in the comments isn't a good idea. I suggest you move them to the next round, or I can cite yours in mine (In your name of course.)
Posted by Benshapiro 2 years ago
I'd suggest changing "then" to "than" in the topic title while you still can.
Posted by Jifpop09 2 years ago
Thanks for understanding, and I'm a bit curious about where you live. Perhaps we can talk about it further later.
Posted by PeacefulChaos 2 years ago
That is fine.

If possible, however, I would very much enjoy discussing the Baha'i faith and other religions, since it is rare to find someone who even knows about it where I live. I haven't really gotten to talk to many Baha'is out side my local community/cluster (except the youth conference, which I thoroughly enjoyed).

Regardless, if you don't feel comfortable discussing anything, then please don't feel as if I'm intruding on you.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by NiamC 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by RossM 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: FF, plus Con's arguments were better in almost every way.