The Instigator
jason_hendirx
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points

"Moderates" That Sympathize With Extremists Are Not Moderates

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/29/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,256 times Debate No: 6365
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)

 

jason_hendirx

Pro

I argue that people who call themselves moderate believers of certain ideologies are not genuine moderates if they tolerate extremists that agree with them.

To clarify my opening sentence, I will give key definitions.

Moderate: professing or characterized by political or social beliefs that are not extreme

Extremist: an advocate of extreme actions or views

Tolerate: to refuse to criticize or take action against

Contention 1: Extremists are not tolerated by society as a whole. The dictionary states that extremists are characterized by non-mainstream views, but the definition of "mainstream" is always relative. In mid 19th Century America, for example, opposition to slavery was something of an extremist belief system even though to believe otherwise now would be considered insane. Therefore, extremism could be defined as possession of viewpoints that are outside of the mainstream of society. Because extremism is outside the mainstream of society, it is by definition not tolerated by society.

Contention 2: To openly sympathize with extremism is to aid it, at least politically. This is because by sympathizing with extremists, they are giving outsiders acceptance, which is something they would not normally have. Without "moderate" sympathizers, there are few in society that would tolerate them.

Contention 3: To aid a group is to be a part of it. People can exist as groups without paper records saying that they do. This is especially true of political movements that form based more on shared belief than on physical factors such as gender or ethnicity. Therefore, it only makes sense to include all those who aid the political group within the political group. The law certainly treats group identity as such, since aiding a crime is in itself considered a crime.

Because extremist sympathizers aid extremists by providing sympathy they would not normally have, and because providing aid to a group plausibly qualifies one to be classified as a member of the group, "moderates" that sympathize with extremists can not logically be considered moderate.
Danielle

Con

Re: Contention 1

This point was void of any actual substance proving the resolution to be true. Pro simply defined the definition of an extremist and noted that by definition an extremist's views would not be tolerated by society. While this observation is indeed very matter-of-fact, unfortunately it has absolutely nothing to do with the support of political Moderates and therefore has zero relevance to the debate.

Re: Contention 2

Pro's second claim is that without moderate sympathizers, people with extreme beliefs would not be tolerated in society. Again, this has absolutely nothing to do with proving that someone can agree with an extreme belief and still be considered a political moderate. I maintain that this is entirely possible.

Someone is considered a political Moderate when they vote based on the candidates in question or certain views in particular, and appreciate the ideologies offered by several political parties instead of letting an idea about one party or issue (such as Pro Life sentiments) dictate their entire political agenda. For instance, one who is mainly socially liberal yet fiscally conservative may identify as a political Moderate (as opposed to a Libertarian, which offers other political sentiments entirely).

Just because one might agree with some politically liberal social ideas - such as the legal implementation and recognition of gay marriage - doesn't mean that they will always be socially liberal, say with the proposed notion of legalized narcotics. Yet another instance where one may identify as a Moderate is if they agree with religious extremists about conservative social views; however, they believe in Christ's message of generosity, love, forgiveness and charity, and don't mind the government redistributing their wealth entirely. This is obviously a political identity with conflicts of clashing liberal and conservative POV.

In all of these cases, individuals have established Moderate political identity in that their views vary across the political spectrum. They may agree with a particularly extremist POV on one issue; however, it doesn't negate the fact that their other views make it hard for them to fall into the category of the typical spectrum: Liberal, Conservative, Libertarian, Socialist. In fact, if such an individual were to take one of several Political Quizzes offered online, they would probably end up with a Centrist or Moderate result given their scattered beliefs.

And again, this contention did nothing to affirm the resolution.

Re: Contention 3

Pro asserts that it only makes sense to include all those who aid the political group within the political group. He notes that Moderates that sympathize with Extremists cannot logically be considered Moderate. This is clearly flawed logic. For instance, during the Civil Rights Movement when many Jewish lawyers from the North aided the black population of the South in their struggle for Civil Rights, did their assistance or beliefs make those Jewish people black? No. Nor did it assert their political identity. It was simply one issue for which they felt a certain way.

Not everyone who holds one view can be so easily pigeon-holed into one group. Thus to be in favor of an extreme political belief (including the notion of equal rights, which Pro himself has mentioned as a former extreme idea) does not 1 - automatically make you a bonafide this or that, or 2 - negate the fact that you have several views somewhere in between two or more extreme ideologies.

Assuming one was an extreme liberal on one issue and an extreme conservative on another, it would make less sense to say that one was both extremely liberal and conservative as opposed to moderate. This is especially true if we view political ideologies as a spectrum (which is often the case). Using a scaling system of 1-10, with 1 being Liberal and 10 being Conservative, if someone rated a 5, it would make them fall under the category of moderate.
Debate Round No. 1
jason_hendirx

Pro

jason_hendirx forfeited this round.
Danielle

Con

Because my opponent has forfeited the round, I'll briefly reiterate or list some main points:

- Someone can be sympathetic to one political issue, either to the hard right or the hard left. It doesn't negate their other political beliefs, which may be on the completely opposite end of the spectrum (making their views all together moderate).

- One does not have to see moderately on every issue in order to be considered a political moderate. Being a Moderate is a political ideolgy; not a poltical party.
Debate Round No. 2
jason_hendirx

Pro

I admit that I structured my argument poorly, or rather, I did a poor job of explicating exactly what the organization of my argument was. My argument could be more accurately seen as "if a is true then b is true, if b is true then c is true, and a is true, so everything else is true". Contentions 1, 2, and 3 were never meant to stand alone, and I am sorry that my labeling them 3 different contentions gave that false but unmistakable impression. I will amend this problem by rephrasing my argument in the form that it should take.

If extremism isn't tolerated by society as a whole, then tolerance of extremists can be considered a form of uncommon support to extremists, since the provision of support that the rest of society does not itself provide is by definition the provision of uncommon support. A good informal criteria to decide whether or not a person is affiliated with a group is if they provide aid to them above and beyond what the rest of society does. Extremism is, by definition, not tolerated by society as a whole, and so tolerating that group can be counted as a form of providing uncommon support for that group. To provide aid to groups that society does not is to be affiliated with those groups. So in a way, to tolerate extremists, to make a social climate in which they can flourish, is to affiliate one's self with them. Because "moderates" that tolerate extremists are a subset of all those who tolerate extremists, said "moderates" are affiliated with extremists.

If one is to include a lack of affiliation with extremists to be part of the definition of a moderate, then one can not include those who tolerate extremists in that definition. In my mind, to include those who do affiliate with extremists within the set of moderates is to erode the very definition of a moderate. And if anything is frowned upon on this site, it's the erosion of definitions.

I would like to thank TheLWerd for allowing me to clarify my formerly poorly articulated position.
Danielle

Con

Welcome back, Jason.

I think I understand your arguments:

1. Those who side with or tolerate extremists are considered Extremists, not Moderates.
2. Just because someone doesn't identity as an Extremist doesn't mean that their views don't label them as such.

My rebuttal:

1. Just because some people are tolerant of others does not automatically affiliate them with a particular group. Taking it a step further and supporting said group doesn't change one's identity either. For example, suppose I identified as a political moderate during the 1960s, in the sense that I was socially liberal but fiscally conservative. The "radicals" that fought in the Civil Rights movement may have made sense to me, and so say I supported their cause and maybe even participated in a march or a rally. Now simply because I sided with the uber-liberal group on the particular issue of racial equality does not 1) Make me black, or 2) Make me a radical or adherent to extremely liberal policies. Instead, I retain my politically moderate beliefs as a whole, and thereby can identify still as a political Moderate.

2. You're right - people can label themselves however they please. Labels, like everything else, are subjective as is one's own perception (especially of themselves). However whether or not one considers themselves a political Moderate, others in society may also consider them moderate based not on one but on several beliefs. The flaw in my opponent's logic is that he feels one particular issue can define one's political identity. I disagree. An otherwise flaming liberal may be completely opposed to abortion, the same way a straight-edge conservative can fully agree with and stand in firm moral support of legalizing gay marriage. However these issues are labeled or regardless of whatever their supporters are called, the fact remains that it takes several opinions to construct a political ideology or conform to a typical political party. That said, even the biggest supporter of the most extreme issue can not easily be identified or automatically pigeonholed or excluded from one label or another.

I thank my opponent for clarifying his case and hope I have shed some light on the reality of the issue at hand. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
Could we have another debate on this subject? This was basically one round, which sucks.
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
And I don't think that one issue could define a person's political identity. It can, however, make one an extremist.
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
>The flaw in my opponent's logic is that he feels one particular issue can define one's political identity.

Actually, one specific belief can very easily make one an extremist.

Imagine a man. Let's call him Bob. He believes the income tax should be low, but not lower than it is now. He doesn't like the drug war, but he also thinks drugs should stay illegal. He thinks kids should stay in school, that the police should be well funded, and that free speech shouldn't be curtailed by the government.

He also hates abortion. He hates it so much that sometimes, when he goes on "hunting trips", the animals that he hunts are abortion clinic doctors.

It's really easy for advocacy for one issue to make someone an extremist. In fact, when people are extremists, 90% of the time, it's for one issue alone. Probably because agitating for just one social issue takes up so much of their energy.
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
Thanks.

My rebuttal's pretty much my OP, but much more clearly organized.

I don't intend this to be an embittered debate like the atheist/Christian ones.
Posted by Danielle 8 years ago
Danielle
Don't give up, Jason! You can still win even if you miss a round. Besides, I'm curious to hear more...
Posted by jason_hendirx 8 years ago
jason_hendirx
Crap, I missed this round. I guess I forfeit this debate. :.(.... (The periods are tears)
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by DiablosChaosBroker 8 years ago
DiablosChaosBroker
jason_hendirxDanielleTied
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Vote Placed by Danielle 8 years ago
Danielle
jason_hendirxDanielleTied
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