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The Contender
Con (against)
4 Points

Joseph Stalin has made a bigger impact on society as a whole than Oprah

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/18/2014 Category: People
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 792 times Debate No: 61918
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)




In College, We were assigned to debate whether or not a public figure has made more of an impact on society than another public figure. I was assigned the pro side of Joseph Stalin making more of an impact on society as a whole than Oprah. I went up against an annoying girl who had no idea what she was talking about other than that Oprah was the coolest African American woman and gave away cars. Unfortunately, this wasn't a very advanced class in my opinion and I ended up losing the debate, as the board of judges was composed of the girl's best friends and obvious Oprah fans. (plus one of them had no idea who Joseph Stalin was) Anyways, I was talking with my husband about this event and he claims I am still very held up on this, even years later (he may be right). I would just like to have a fair debate with (for lack of a better term) an actual smart person on this topic so I can let go of this grudge.

SO, I argue that Joseph Stalin made a bigger impact on society than Oprah has so far (as of 9/18/2014).


Given the obvious difficulty in undertaking such a position, we've decided to argue the Con side so that,

'While Stalin has impacted the lives of tens of millions (whether it's by cold hearted slaughter under Stalin's regime or by the people who had their lives significantly disrupted), Oprah has, however, impacted the lives of Americans in such a different way that it isn't possible to say that one has a bigger impact than another.'

So in this instance, we will not be arguing that Oprah has a larger impact than Stalin, but that the impact that both has had is incomparable.

Given the Pro hasn't posted much substantive in her speech, we have decided to move straight into the arguments.

1) Oprah influenced American society considerably as we know it.
We observe that Oprah was born in the 1950s, a period of time when Americans are still deeply entrenched into the beliefs that society was still patriarchal, where men are effectively better than women. She was born to an unmarried mother, who, at that time, was just a mere housemaid who struggled to survive. In those circumstances, a sizeable number of people would have no aspirations to rise above the median income in their lives, let alone become a household name like Oprah is today.
Additionally, we observe that Oprah has experienced rural poverty for around 5-8 years in her childhood (The Observer profile, UK) while living with her grandmother, poverty to the extent that everyone made fun of her and she was subjected to ceaseless bullying. These years of abuse takes a significant toll on anyone, and so she ran away from home at the age of 13.
While it is possible for us to elaborate more on the difficulties of Oprah's childhood, it can be seen that she has suffered hefty amounts of physical toll and mental turmoil, which makes her ascent to stardom all that more surprising and influential.
What Oprah has done is show the ordinary/stuck in poverty Americans that they too, can live a dream if they put their hearts and souls to it. What Oprah has done is give these people a piece called hope. What Oprah has done is show these people that life can be worth living, that while you cannot choose where you are born, you can choose where you end up.
It is no mere coincidence that there's an effect dubbed 'the Oprah Effect', where Oprah has the ability to channel beliefs and persuade large numbers of people to make a certain choice, to influence public opinion. During a show about Mad Cattle disease, when Oprah proclaimed that she stopped eating beef due to these health scares, Texas cattlemen decided to begin suing her because of an extraordinary drop in consumer rates, costing beef producers somewhere in the avenue of $11million U.S .
During the presidential election of 2008, Oprah endorsed Barack Obama, and was subsequently quoted by the mayor of Illinois to be the 'most instrumental person in electing Barack Obama president', a true testament to the influence that someone like Oprah possesses, but also how much influence she has managed to gain from her beginning, and how it defies the patriarchal society as most people know it.

2) Why is this different from Stalin's influence on society
-Stalin 'officially' executed 800,000 people, not to mention the number of people that he effectively killed during his Gulag and Kulak resettlement scheme.
This is a direct representation of arguably the most important thing in society- life.
Yes, we concede that Stalin's effect has impacted on millions of people, but it affects them in this way, by removing their lives and their position in this world.
On the other hand, Oprah Winfrey has changed the lives of millions, she has showed these people that they can build their own path, she has showed them that the patriarchal society is not fixed, she has showed them that they too can defy the unspoken rules and regulations in place in society.

One cannot attempt to justify that one person has more of an impact than another based solely on the number or the way that they have affected them. It is comparable, in this instance, to suggest that Stalin has more of an impact because the taking of someone's life is more important than the improvement of someone's life, raising the philosophical question which I'm sure we should not venture into, 'would you rather die early or live in poverty for your life?'

In summary, the Con is proud to oppose this stance because both Stalin and Oprah have made a significant impact on the world and it is not fair nor just to claim that one has more of an impact than another.
Debate Round No. 1


amcneil forfeited this round.


'And shegorao, I'm not sure anyone could REALLY debate con on this and still have a valid argument. My personal opinion though.'

-I'm not quite sure why my argument is invalid since you forfeited your round?

Thanks :)
Debate Round No. 2


amcneil forfeited this round.


Good debate!
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
I agree with you.Murdering upwards of 30,000,000 people and plunging Russia into a communist state would make a greater impact than some dopey woman on tv that raises the emotion level of women.Because of our population,and TV. she may have impacted more people. But that impact was small compared to Stalin, or Mao tse Tung, or Hitler, or Obama.
Posted by Ragnar 2 years ago
Good luck on on your first debate here. An Oprah fan might accept this.
Posted by Mike_10-4 2 years ago
Let's give Oprah a call, she may be the only one who will debate you on this site.
Posted by amcneil 2 years ago
After that day, I felt like I was. I wish I had been just so there'd be an excuse as to why that debate even came to be. And why I had lost to Oprah.

And thank you. I agree the debate is a ridiculous one. However you'd be surprised how many people do not know who Joseph Stalin was or believe Oprah is a major influence and inspiration in the life's of every individual alive today.
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 2 years ago
Were you in a 'special' class?
Posted by Keeyan 2 years ago
This debate is ridiculous. One led the world's largest nation through a quarter of the most tumultuous century in human history. The other had a TV show. I'm sorry good madam/sir, but I would NOT want to have been in your college class. I'd wish you good luck, but you obviously have zero need whatsoever for it.
Posted by amcneil 2 years ago
I mean the impact on society as a whole. Not necessarily a positive or negative effect, just the biggest effect. And I'd have to disagree with you, I can think of many ways Stalin impacted society off the top of my head, whereas I struggle to see much of an impact Oprah has made in society. Maybe in the lives of many people or the American television industry, and maybe I'd go as far as to say America itself, however those are very weak at best and will probably fade tremendously once she passes away anyways.

And shegorao, I'm not sure anyone could REALLY debate con on this and still have a valid argument. My personal opinion though.
Posted by 2Sense 2 years ago
Depends on what type of impact you mean. Stalin probably made the more negative impact, while Oprah has made positive impact. If you're talking about the impact made in totality (regardless whether it's positive or negative), then it will be interesting to see what evidence you use to support the claim that Stalin has made a bigger impact than Oprah.
Posted by Shegorao 2 years ago
Stalin killed 50 million people. This is a one sided debate. I would be glad to debate pro, and you can be con.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture