The Instigator
FourTrouble
Pro (for)
Winning
16 Points
The Contender
InVinoVeritas
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Lying is a justifiable tool of politicians.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
FourTrouble
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/29/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,811 times Debate No: 25910
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (4)

 

FourTrouble

Pro

Round 1 is for acceptance. I will begin debate in Round 2.
InVinoVeritas

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
FourTrouble

Pro

I'd like to begin by thanking InVinoVeritas for taking this debate.

Contention 1: International Relations

The political theorist John Mearsheimer says lying "is an accepted practice in international politics, mainly because there are sometimes compelling reasons for a state's leaders to lie either to other states or their own people. These practical logics almost always override moral arguments against lying." Mearsheimer continues, "most people understand that states sometimes have to lie and cheat in international politics, especially if they are dealing with a dangerous opponent." [1]

To expand on Mearsheimer's argument, consider the case of classic case of World War 2. The United States spread lies and misinformation to advance their war against Nazi Germany. The principle at play here is the following: It is a justifiable to lie to enemies in a time of war. This principle can be extended to include political enemies in general, as long as lying is well-intentioned and ultimately has good consequences.

As another example, consider the existence of the Allies themselves during WW2: the United States and Soviet Union formed a strategic alliance, which required that they conveniently "forget" the opposition between capitalism and communism. Thus, sometimes it can be justifiable for politicians to lie to their enemies, with the intention of forming temporary alliances with them, for the greater purpose of defeating a mutual enemy.

Contention 2: Outcomes are more important than abstract principles.

A realistic politics is a politics that understands, even in democracies, that lying is justified, because what matters most are outcomes and effects, rather than abstract moral principles. The act of truth-telling is only one possible means to bring about a desired and beneficial result, but sometimes, lying is a more effective meas for bringing about certain results.

The point is, there is no intrinsic superiority to telling the truth as opposed to lying - in the world of politics, the value of each action is determined by their outcomes, not by some value that is inherent in the action.

Contention 3: Natural Law

Some evolutionary biologists have argued that the ability to lie is an invaluable tool developed to avoid early extinction, either of the individual or the species. Jean Piaget, a developmental psychologist, noticed that children learn to lie before they learn to tell the truth.

Other psychological studies secretly observed children that were left alone in a room and forbidden to peek at a toy; they repeatedly showed an ability and willingness to lie from as young as three years old. Now, evolutionary biologists and psychologists argue that there are clear biological benefits to lying. [2]

It is not surprising, then, that some political theorists, including both Machiavelli and Leo Strauss, have found a norm for lying in nature law rather than in positive law. Thus, since there is a basis in natural law for lying, why shouldn't it be extended to include politicians? In fact, the norm in nature is that those in power are the one's who MUST tell lies to create the best outcomes for everyone involved.

[1] Why Leaders Lie: The Truth About Lying in International Politics, by John Mearsheimer
[2] http://www.independent.co.uk...
InVinoVeritas

Con

To be honest, I initially accepted thinking that I was taking on the opposite position that I was.

I can't really think of any good Con arguments that I could confidently defend... So instead of wasting your time, I'll just forfeit. Sorry about that.
Debate Round No. 2
FourTrouble

Pro

Well, my opponent has forfeited so I guess vote Pro.
InVinoVeritas

Con

Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 3
InVinoVeritas

Con

I love you, FourTrouble. Marry me?
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by InVinoVeritas 4 years ago
InVinoVeritas
No problem, dude.
Posted by FourTrouble 4 years ago
FourTrouble
@InVinoVeritas

Can you wait out the full 3 days before posting your argument? I'm a bit more busy this week than I expected, so I'd appreciate the time if you don't mind.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
FourTroubleInVinoVeritasTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Dat ff
Vote Placed by socialpinko 4 years ago
socialpinko
FourTroubleInVinoVeritasTied
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Reasons for voting decision: This might have been a good debate. Political pragmatism vs. idealism. Hopefully you guys can try again. FF gives the debate to Pro.
Vote Placed by danjr10 4 years ago
danjr10
FourTroubleInVinoVeritasTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: pro
Vote Placed by OMGJustinBieber 4 years ago
OMGJustinBieber
FourTroubleInVinoVeritasTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: ff.