The Instigator
Daktoria
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
larztheloser
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

Liberals Will Become Libertarians

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
larztheloser
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/13/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,119 times Debate No: 31280
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (16)
Votes (5)

 

Daktoria

Pro

This is an argumentative forecast of the state of politics in the United States and European Union.

My forecast is that social programs, public goods, and redistributive justice in Western civilization lack sustainability. These are expenses which bear growing deficits and debts with no turn around in sight, so eventually, they will need to be downsized and cutback. In turn, liberals will have to make a choice:

1) Either drive their societies and economies into anarchism (which even liberals don't want to do because they have some consideration over the rule of law and preserving their own social status), or

2) Become libertarians and resurrect rugged individualism and personal responsibility in order to victimize the suffering and struggling populations who are abandoned by downsizing and cutting back.

To be clear, this is not a personal judgment. It says nothing about the legitimacy of liberalism, socialism, or libertarianism. It also says nothing about the status of Western civilization. It is merely a forecast that today's political liberals will become libertarians after unsustainability rears its ugly head.
larztheloser

Con

I thank my opponent for the oppertunity to debate this topic. I'm here as a debt-opposing liberal, and a strong believer that not only is liberalism completely sustainable, but also that libertarianism is unsustainable.

"Liberalism" is a term that gets tossed around a lot nowadays. In general it has two principles - liberty and equality. It can be contrasted with "Conservatism" which basically believes existing social institutions ought to be maintained, no matter how bad those institutions might be. Liberalism is a social, not an economic, policy, but it does have economic impacts. See Wikipedia for a more complete discussion of the terms if you're not sure: http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Both of these worldviews can be interpreted in a number of ways. For example, in my country the Green and Labour parties both have broadly liberal aims but disagree on as much policy with each other as they do with the conservative parties. Similarly, our Conservative, National and Act parties are all completely different manifestations of conservatism.

"Libertarianism" is broadly socially liberal but economically conservative, somehow believing that people with vastly different sums of money in their pockets can be social equals, just by letting said society be. It's unsustainable because the moment the rich figure out they can exploit the poor, they usually do, thus the social position of the poor is undermined and the society turns out classist. Such classes are inherently fragile and collapse because nobody likes them.

Liberalism has nothing to do with getting into debt. Since my opponent has the burden of proof, I can't wait for him to justify what he thinks makes a liberal society necessarily collapse. "Spending money" is inadequite - spending money on WHAT, and WHY that debt cannot be recovered is what my opponent needs to show to win this debate.

I wish him very good luck.
Debate Round No. 1
Daktoria

Pro

To be clear, it's a bit insulting that Con suggested a nonsequitur synthesis between conservative and liberal social policy. The proposition is not a synthesis between conservatism and liberalism, nor does it focus on social policy. It analyzes liberal fiscal policy. Con may explain how social policy makes fiscal policy sustainable, but the focus here is on fiscal policy itself.

The point about burden of proof is a bit insulting as well. The proposition here is from negative assumptions, an affirmative conclusion follows. Those negative assumptions are UNsustainability, debt, and deficits which are the ABSENCE of sustenance and matching revenues to expenses. This is not merely a matter of spending money. All governments do that, but liberalism has not proven itself to be sustainable. In turn, we should recall that burden of proof is on the affirmative. After all, something isn't recognizably true until it's proven, and it's nobody's right to enslave another's imagination to justify somebody's argument. If liberalism is sustainable, then BoP is on Con.

If Con doesn't wish to argue this, Con has to argue the policy transition from liberalism to libertarianism due to the necessity of cutbacks and downsizing for sustainability (and even socialists would agree about the "crisis of capitalism" being mitigated by public goods). Again, let us remember that BoP is on the affirmative, yet cutbacks and downsizing are negative conditions, so they're safe assumptions.

To finish, I will go above and beyond for the sake of the audience to clarify the assumption in the OP over debt and deficit, something which I believed was common sense in international political economy current events. However, this should be recognized as a bonus rather than a default expectation. Following are sources that demonstrate the current sovereign debt crisis:

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com...

http://www.ecb.europa.eu... (p.15-17)
larztheloser

Con

I thank pro for explaining his contentions.

Basically he's saying that because liberals spend money they'll become libertarians. He has not shown why libertarianism and not, say, conservatism, which is equally far removed, nor has he shown why liberals will necessarily give up even if they're obviously wrong (the ongoing existance of libertarian fiscal policy proves this point), nor has he shown why not simply another form of liberalism. Primarily pro wants to onus push the BOP on me because "cutbacks and downsizing are negative conditions". That assumes that cutbacks are necessary in liberal fiscal policy, a point he has not shown. However, I am happy to demonstrate numerous examples of liberal policies being fiscally sustainable.

People said that the liberals' abolition of the slave trade would ruin the US southern states. They were wrong.

They said the liberal push to liberate India from Britain would ruin India's export capabilities. They were wrong.

They said unemployment benefits would create mass unemployment. Even conservative economists think unemployment only went up by about 2%, liberal economists contest it's 0%. Meanwhile, wealth disparity has clearly reduced. In short, they were wrong.

They said progressive taxation would ruin economies. Quite the opposite - more progressive tax has led to more equality without compromising economic development. Again, they were wrong.

And so on.

Pro's sources show that government debts exist. They do not link that to liberal policy, nor do they show that all liberals would support such policy. In fact, the debt crisis is largely the result of bad fiscal policy not by liberals but conservatives.

There's no such thing as "the liberal fiscal policy" - there are an infinite number of combinations of government taxing and spending that serve liberal ends. Even some of the above "liberal policies" would be contested by some liberals.

The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 2
Daktoria

Pro

Con's participation is well appreciated.

However, his obsession with conservatism is still baffling. Yes, libertarians and conservatives share concerns over austerity, but liberals want to retain their identity. This debate is over fiscal policy, but in other debates over social policy, libertarians and liberals would be in agreement. As only one facet of politics, it's unclear why liberals would sway in other areas just because of problems here.

His examples of sustainable liberal fiscal policy are also baffling. Conventionally, liberalism is associated with Keynesian economics. The reference to slavery and imperial liberation don't have to do with that at all. In fact, Keynesian thought coincides with import substitution industrialization which runs counter to the ideals of free labor and free trade. On the other hand, the arguments made about successful unemployment benefits and progressive taxation go unsourced, nor do they emphasize long term fiscal sustainability. I suspect they might be sourced in the final round, but that would be bad form due to the lack of opportunity for rebuttal.

Lastly, the point made about liberal fiscal policies actually being conservative faults doesn't make sense. Programs such as education, health care, public pensions, public works, and welfare are explicitly liberal. The only dimension of fiscal policy which is remotely conservative is defense spending [1], but that's neoconservative, not traditionally conservative. Furthermore, defense only contains a quarter of America's federal budget, and was/is hardly a concern of European governments either throughout or since the Cold War.

This neoconservative distinction is especially important since neocons are actually liberals in disguise. [2]

Beyond this conservatives advocate austerity which is the opposite of debt and deficits.

[1] http://www.usfederalbudget.us...

[2] http://www.amconmag.com...
larztheloser

Con

At best, my opponent has proven that Keynesians will become Libertarians. Keynesians usually are liberal, but not all liberals are Keynesians. A liberal is simply somebody who believes in liberty and equality above all. I showed this in R1.

In R2 pro claims debt exists, so therefore obviously the liberals must be to blame. I called him out on this obvious non-sequiter. Now he claims "Keynesian" policies like education spending are to blame. First, policies like this predate Keynesianism. And second, Keynesian economics has nothing to do with maximising spending - indeed in New Zealand we had a Keynesian government before the financial crisis and they were saving like crazy to counter inflation, something Keynes predicted (and which served us very well), rather than spending just because they had the money like the rest of the world did (which Keynes never advocated). And third, free labor and free trade were originally liberal policies, liberating the merchant class from the oppressive taxes of kings. Oh- and the fact that conservatives spend money on education too, you know?

I provided four examples of liberal policies with an economic impact. The first two my opponent dismisses as not Keynesian. In that case the resolution should be Keynesians will become Libertarians, not liberals. The other two he claims are not long-term (why?) and not sourced. My opponent is yet to source his claim that liberal policies have actually led to any economic problems at all, so I don't feel the need to source mine. All he has sourced is that a debt crisis exists, that the US govt. spends money on loads of things (not strictly connected to liberalism) and a blog by somebody who has clearly never picked up a dictionary and looked up "liberal" or "conservative".

Being a liberal doesn't mean you have to support every other liberal, nor a particular economic policy. Pro does not show why Keynes is wrong or created the financial crisis, or why libertarianism is better.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
This was a very strange debate. I will give conduct to CON for defining key terms like "libertarianism", "liberalism", and "conservatism".

However, by CON's own definition of conservatism, libertarian leanings would follow from abandoning economically liberal policies by liberals. After all, they would still champion socially liberal stances, just that they would be devoid of any economic backing. This sounds exactly like libertarianism to me. PRO is clear on this matter: "This debate is over fiscal policy, but in other debates over social policy, libertarians and liberals would be in agreement."

CON also goes on about the "ongoing existance [sic] of libertarian fiscal policy" (which is totally false, at least in America...American fiscal policy is anything BUT libertarian) while at the same time stating that "There's no such thing as "the liberal fiscal policy" - there are an infinite number of combinations of government taxing and spending that serve liberal ends." This latter statement would seem to point to the omnipresent and unlimited capacity by liberals to spend. It is so ubiquitous as to make identifying any single portion of spending as "liberal" to be difficult...outside of defense spending, it is ALL liberal.

I have no idea what PRO is talking about regarding "import substitution industrialization". This could have used some explanation.

After reading the final round, CON really butchered PRO's argument. I don't know what made CON suggest that education spending is "Keynesian". Also, PRO pointed out that defense spending, what is probably the only part of the budget one can pin on conservatives, is only 1/4 of the national budget, and this in America, a country that spends more than the next 26 nations COMBINED.

At this point, PRO more properly defined a conservative stance on spending, so I render conduct neutral again. The preponderance of current spending is liberal in nature. Once cut, liberals will become libertarian. Arguments PRO.
Posted by larztheloser 4 years ago
larztheloser
"Rejoinder would only be necessary if liberalism was proven to be sustainable."
Given that I didn't need to prove this in the resolution I don't see this at all. You started the debate by saying liberalism is unsustainable. Great, now prove it. If you do, I have rejoinder. In some debate styles, I would have rejoinder even if you didn't prove it.

"What does unsustainability (lack of existence) necessarily have to do with harm (pain)?"
Using harm in the more general sense as "something harmful (bad)". IE it's bad that it doesn't exist.
Posted by Daktoria 4 years ago
Daktoria
"It's like if a detective in that murder scene questions one of the guys and says "Did you do it?" - the guy responds "Well the other guy can't prove I did"."

I agree, but the detective still has to figure out who did it.
Posted by Daktoria 4 years ago
Daktoria
"I guess this is the core of our disagreement. In some debate styles I would have a burden of rejoinder, and you would have a burden of proof. I'm used to there just being a burden of proof. I thought of this in R2 which is why I shifted my case to include some examples."

I thought it was the other way around here. Rejoinder would only be necessary if liberalism was proven to be sustainable.

I mean in simple terms, the debate was, "Liberalism = X+Y. Libertarianism = X+Z. Y is unsustainable. Any ideology must have two elements (social and fiscal). Therefore, Y is replaced by Z. Therefore, liberalism becomes libertarianism."

Your rejoinder could have been showing an alternative of Z to replace Y.

"Why should I have to prove them when you aren't claiming they cause a harm?"

What does unsustainability (lack of existence) necessarily have to do with harm (pain)?

"Maybe. A bit busy right now unfortunately, mostly work-stuff. Topic interests me though."

Alright. Maybe in a few days then.
Posted by larztheloser 4 years ago
larztheloser
"but you still have to take a position."
I guess this is the core of our disagreement. In some debate styles I would have a burden of rejoinder, and you would have a burden of proof. I'm used to there just being a burden of proof. I thought of this in R2 which is why I shifted my case to include some examples.

It's like if a detective in that murder scene questions one of the guys and says "Did you do it?" - the guy responds "Well the other guy can't prove I did".

"when did you prove those returns?"
Why should I have to prove them when you aren't claiming they cause a harm?

"Do you want to set up a debate over the history of education?"
Maybe. A bit busy right now unfortunately, mostly work-stuff. Topic interests me though.
Posted by Daktoria 4 years ago
Daktoria
"First you need to prove that you're riding in a car with someone who's driving straight towards a cliff. Right now I'm inclined to believe you're sitting at home staring at a computer screen."

lol... nah, I'm in a limo cruising to the airport to catch a flight. My driver's a little kooky though. You never know what he's going to do next in how he swerves through traffic. I'll be lucky if I get across this bridge alive. (jk)

"If my case had been "liberalism is always right" then that would be true. However, my case was that liberalism isn't necessarily wrong. That's a subtle but important difference."

OK, but you still have to take a position. If it's right, then it has to be proven to be sustained. If it's wrong, then a transition has to happen.

It's like if you have murder scene where someone was shot, and two people in the room where it happened. One of them did it.

"You didn't say in the debate that they were just brutally asserted as fiscally sustainable. You just said a lot of spending goes there. Spending is not necessarily unsustainable if it brings returns."

OK, but when did you prove those returns? You're stating a double negative.

"Actually English charter schools are far older than even this."

Do you want to set up a debate over the history of education?
Posted by larztheloser 4 years ago
larztheloser
"If you're riding in a car with someone who's driving straight towards a cliff"
First you need to prove that you're riding in a car with someone who's driving straight towards a cliff. Right now I'm inclined to believe you're sitting at home staring at a computer screen.

"For starters, "liberalism" is an idea in itself. It needed to be backed up."
If my case had been "liberalism is always right" then that would be true. However, my case was that liberalism isn't necessarily wrong. That's a subtle but important difference.

"you really shouldn't be introducing new arguments here and now."
You didn't say in the debate that they were just brutally asserted as fiscally sustainable. You just said a lot of spending goes there. Spending is not necessarily unsustainable if it brings returns.

"the Progressive Era's Social Gospel built from the Protestant Work Ethic."
Actually English charter schools are far older than even this.
Posted by Daktoria 4 years ago
Daktoria
"Only if the skeptic is making an affirmative claim and can't back it up. The resolution as a negative claim might be something like "There is no evidence that liberals are right" (so basically con needs to show there is some evidence). Even so I wouldn't do it as instigator personally, it's confusing."

That's not really fair. If you're riding in a car with someone who's driving straight towards a cliff, you're entitled to believe you're going to crash and burn because there's no ground up ahead. Therefore, you're entitled to expect someone to turn in order to survive. Perhaps there's an invisible bridge you don't see, but then the driver has to prove it to you.

"Not sure how this is relevant to the burden of proof issue. If an idea can't be backed up, the person proposing the idea is presumed wrong. Your idea was that liberalism is wrong, which does not necessarily mean I have to say liberalism is right."

For starters, "liberalism" is an idea in itself. It needed to be backed up.

Otherwise, I agree. My point was you could argue the transition instead away from liberalism.

"So you're saying no society has had education for a long period of time and survived? Because I think you'll find that you're quite mistaken there. Put it this way - no country has ever overspent on education and had their economy go down as a result. Maybe that case can be made for social welfare (in the Netherlands, strong case there) or for healthcare (a bit of a stretch though), but not for education. Nor was education a liberal thing. England and China both had dynasties that encouraged education long before liberalism was an idea."

Not to cop out, but you really shouldn't be introducing new arguments here and now.

That said, I agree that Anglo-Sino meritocracy has educational precedent, but that's actually the root of modern liberalism - the Progressive Era's Social Gospel built from the Protestant Work Ethic.
Posted by larztheloser 4 years ago
larztheloser
"If we say burden of proof is on whoever's making the claim, that prohibits people from being skeptical."
Only if the skeptic is making an affirmative claim and can't back it up. The resolution as a negative claim might be something like "There is no evidence that liberals are right" (so basically con needs to show there is some evidence). Even so I wouldn't do it as instigator personally, it's confusing.

"In turn, they would be forced to assume the risk of unreliable ideas not necessarily being valid."
Not sure how this is relevant to the burden of proof issue. If an idea can't be backed up, the person proposing the idea is presumed wrong. Your idea was that liberalism is wrong, which does not necessarily mean I have to say liberalism is right.

"If anything, these are areas liberals have taken pride in since the Progressive era in the way of reforming and improving society."
Did you see my response to that in the debate?

"They're just brutally asserted as socially necessary on both political and bureaucratic levels such that quality assurance is ignored."
So you're saying no society has had education for a long period of time and survived? Because I think you'll find that you're quite mistaken there. Put it this way - no country has ever overspent on education and had their economy go down as a result. Maybe that case can be made for social welfare (in the Netherlands, strong case there) or for healthcare (a bit of a stretch though), but not for education. Nor was education a liberal thing. England and China both had dynasties that encouraged education long before liberalism was an idea.
Posted by Daktoria 4 years ago
Daktoria
Also, if you look at my government spending links, you'll see that the spending which has contributed to debt and deficits is primarily in liberal areas such as education, health care, public pensions, etc. as previously described. If anything, these are areas liberals have taken pride in since the Progressive era in the way of reforming and improving society.

The problem is these programs haven't been proven to be fiscally sustainable. They're just brutally asserted as socially necessary on both political and bureaucratic levels such that quality assurance is ignored.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Grantmac18 4 years ago
Grantmac18
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Reasons for voting decision: Largely my RFD is on point with imabench, Pro was indebted with the BOP. Pro did not agree that his claims required evidence, thus the majority of his arguments were bare assertions. A strange debate, with no predetermined and agreed upon definitions -- resulting in confusion and reducing the level of discourse.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
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Reasons for voting decision: see comment
Vote Placed by Lizard 4 years ago
Lizard
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Reasons for voting decision: i was going to vote for Con for pretty much the same reasons the first guy gave, but wolfman didn't give a real RFD so I'm neutralizing my vote as a counter.
Vote Placed by wolfman4711 4 years ago
wolfman4711
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Reasons for voting decision: No proof
Vote Placed by imabench 4 years ago
imabench
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Reasons for voting decision: "Being a liberal doesn't mean you have to support every other liberal, nor a particular economic policy" - That was basically what did it for the con. Just because there are some similarities between liberals and libertarians, it doesnt mean that all liberals will one day become libertarians. Pro had the burden of proof to prove why liberals will become libertarians, and he fell short, so arguments to the con. sources, conduct, and grammar were pretty even