On balance, Collectivism is preferable to Individualism
Debate Rounds (4)
18Karl and I tried doing this debate before, but I accidentally forfeited, so here we are again....
== Rules ==
1. First round for acceptance
2. No new arguments in the final round
3. By accepting the debate, Con agrees to the following definitions...
Collectivism- the philosophy that the interests of society as a whole should be considered ethically paramount.
Individualism- the philosophy that the interests of the individual should be considered ethically paramount.
4. The definition of "preferable" is up for debate, but Con may not make the argument that there is no objective framework for deciding which philosophy is preferable.
5. Burden of Proof is shared. I must show the Collectivism is preferable to Individualism, and Con must show that Individualism is preferable to Collectivism.
Good luck, 18Karl !!!
gud luck hab fun
Tank yoo, 18Karl. I vill hab lots of fun.
I will be using rationality as the main criterion for evaluating which philosophy is preferable, so the resolution can basically be re-stated as "belief in collectivism is more rational than belief in individualism". My case revolves around 3 independently functioning reasons for why this resolution is true.
Collectivism increases the chances of individual success
The logic underlying this is simple. A society, by definition, is a group of individuals. So when we "value the interests of society", we are really just valuing the interests of the largest possible number of individuals within that society-- we are valuing the interests of the majority. And since an individual is statistically more likely to part of the majority than the minority, collectivism ensures that any given individual is more likely to have their interests protected than not. Thus, theoretically, collectivism increases the probability of individual prosperity.
However, this is not only demonstrable in theory; we can see empirical examples of this holding true in practice as well. Just take a look at nature -- we can easily observe a large variety of species that instinctively live in large, interactive groups in which collective welfare is valued over individual welfare -- wolves, elephants, lions, chimpanzees, meerkats, bison, sheep, antelopes, ants, bees, ducks, small fish, and many more fall into this category. There is a reason why such a behavior has become so widely adapted: living in such 'societies', where the group as a whole is valued over each individual animal, has proven to be an evolutionary advantage to the individual animals themselves, as it ensures them a greater chance of their survival and thus gives them more time to pass on their genes. Moreover, these collectivist species tend to be far, far more abundant and prosperous than solitary ones. Thus, the completely selfishness-oriented mechanism of evolution by natural selection clearly indicates that the collectivist lifestyle is beneficial to individuals.
For humans specifically, this is all the more true because we are fundamentally social animals. According to anthropologist Paula Grey: "Human beings are social animals. Our lives depend on other humans... We develop and learn about the world around us through the filter of other people. Our connections to others are key to not only our survival, but also to our happiness and the success of our careers... our social networks have [an enormous impact] on our lives. The bottom line is that we are influenced by, and we are able to influence, people up to three degrees removed from us." . In other words, we derive happiness and personal fulfillment from other people, and our social structures require us to directly and indirectly interact with thousands of other people every day in order to prosper. As the socially complex and emotional beings that we are, we *need* to value the welfare of those around us -- the welfare of our society. From all this, we conclude that even under individualism we have to prefer collectivism, essentially making the resolution impossible to negate.
Individualism has negative social repercussions in practice
Whenever we observe an increase in individualistic values in society, we always see it accompanied with an increase in destructive societal tendencies. The first time we can see this happening in human history is right at its dawn, with the Neolithic Revolution. Prior to it, human societies were largely egalitarian, with the social bonds between family members holding together large clans in which every individual was cared for and provided with a roughly equal distribution of resources; conflict between clans was also minimal by virtue of social bonds between clans developed through inter-marriage and trade . But with the advent of the Neolithic Revolution and its associated innovations, this collectivist way of life was greatly diminished, and individualistic social phenomena such as private property ownership, social stratification, and wealth inequality became the centerpieces of human societies . From that point onwards, human history has been notably more violent, with wars, slavery, tension between classes, and crime becoming commonplace.
This trend has continued throughout history, with events motivated by the pursuit of individual interests always resulting in a society which is worse off than before. This is most notably evident in the French Revolution, with the bourgeoisie and their desire for greater personal liberties coming at the grave expense of social stability. Even today in Western countries, we witness that trend manifest itself in the contrast between urban centers (the hubs of modern ideals such as individuality) and rural areas (where collectivist communities as described previously still exist to some extent). Signs of social decay are far more prevalent in urban centers than rural areas, with rates of violent crime and poverty levels being 3 to 4 times higher in cities than in the countryside . Individualism simply does not work out in practice, as it attempts to simultaneously promote everyone's conflicting self-interests at once, which inevitably leads to tension, violence, and the degeneration of the social fabric that bonds people together. In this way, Individualism (ironically) tends to hurt the average individual's chance of success, thus rendering it to be self-refuting.
Collectivism is an ethically sounder version of Individualism
Individualism posits that everyone should place paramount ethical value on their own interests. However, this only takes into account the subjective viewpoint of each individual. From an objective point of view, all humans beings are fundamentally the same (from an ethical viewpoint), and no one person is inherently superior to another. Therefore, *every* individual's interests have equal value, objectively; intellectual honesty requires that if I value my own interests, then I also have to value everyone else's just as much -- it is this concept which forms the basis for collectivism. In other words, Collectivism is essentially just an objective version of Individualism, effectively rendering it to be the more rational philosophy.
Three independently functioning reasons to prefer collectivism over individualism have been presented.
The resolution is affirmed!
And with that, I eagerly await Con's constructive case :D
I would like to start with a framework of the debate, then with some opening arguments, before going on to the rebuttals.
This is a value debate. We are trying to see which paradigm would be “more preferable.” But what is “more preferable?” A criterion for more preferable, in this case, would necessarily have a theoretic and pragmatic value: hence, the debate ultimately boils down to (a.) “how theoretically justified is one paradigm over another” and (b.) “how pragmatically justified is one paradigm over another.” Condition (b.) is straightforward. Condition (a.) is more ambiguous. Nevertheless, (a.) should be conceived in terms of coherence and soundness. (a.) and (b.) should also be coherent. This is NOT a ethics debate, but rather a political philosophy debate. The phrase “that the interest of x be considered “ethically paramount” assumes that if one side were to be affirmed, then necessarily, that side (in a perfect world) would have the authority to impose it. This is political philosophy. Contrawise, morality concerns personal issues, such as “if x happens, would it be moral to do y?” If morality was at debate today, we’d see “egoism vs. altruism.”
Hence, the burden of side-proposition is to affirm that “collectivism” is (a.) more theoretically and (b.) pragmatically justified than individualism. The burden of side-opposition, on the other hand, is to do the vice-versa for individualism.
1.) Essence vs. Existence
Collectivism implies essentialism. It assumes that individuals are pre-destined to serve society. This is basically summed up by many fascists, who were themselves collectivists of the radical kind. Italian fascist jurist Alfredo Rocco attempts to present the view in which “Society becomes a sum of determined individuals” (the individualist view) as “[an] anti-historical [view which] under a concealing cloak [of] a strongly materialistic nature.”  Collectivism assumes individuals exist for the sake of society. This henceforth implies that, for the human condition, “essence precedes existence.” i.e. the essence of man is necessarily pre-determined before his existence (or birth). This is ultimately false-for if we observe in newborn children, they function independently and is cared for only by a voluntary affection. The independence of man is ultimate. This also false via the fact that the death of someone does not necessarily depend on the death of another person.
Hence, if man is independent, then his “existence” necessarily precedes his “essence.” For if man is independent, then nothing (except for his moral persuasions and coercion) impels him to service his “society.” Some may say that this is a basis of amoralism. For example, one can easily raise the example of Ayn Rand. A radical individualist herself, she advocated an amoral vision of ethics-“rational egoism.” But there must be a noted difference between “egoism” and “individualism.” Often, there are two senses in which individualism is used in: as (a.) opposition to collectivism and (b.) opposition to altruism. In sense (b.), we have the synonyms of selfish and egoistic. The individualism that we are debating here is in sense of (a.), and to be sense (a.) individualistic and an altruist is no contradiction. Karl Popper notes that “one of the best examples of this attitude is perhaps [Charles] Dickens. It would be difficult to say which is the stronger, his passionate hatred of selfishness or his passionate interest in individuals with all their human weaknesses.” 
2.) Relativism and Human Rights
Individualism is the only way in which rights are affirmed in the normal sense. Under collectivism, the individual exists for society. Before we go, on we must agree that human rights form a fundamental part of today’s society: indeed, an open society depends upon the recognition of human rights. In collectivism, the only way in which man is understood is as a part of society. Societies are different; if societies are different, then some societies are freer than others. The natural corollary of that is that if some societies are freer than others, then the rights of man are ultimately different from each society. But this would ultimately be a contradiction to the inherent equality of man-for how could some men have some rights and others not? Ultimately, collectivism results in some type of an understanding of rights based upon the society, not the individual. A great example of this is the noted differences between the role of the women in traditional societies. In Neolithic societies, women were worshipped as gods. In other societies, however, women are seen in an inferior trace. In Persian society, “sigheh” desensitizes women as objects of lust. These differences arise because of a false understanding of rights; an understanding of rights based upon society.
Collectivism also implies that human beings are merely tools for society. For if the interests of the collective are “paramount,” then total devotion to society is required from the citizens. But humans have intrinsic value-and this intrinsic value amounts to the inherent (or potential) rationality that man necessarily has. As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proudly declares, rights are universal. This grounding would be impossible under a paradigm where the rights of man are grounded within the realms of society. The only possible grounding of human rights can come only from an understanding of the individual human being. For ultimately, if x has the ultimate fundamental right to y, then everyone has the ultimate fundamental right to y, for man is equal. Ultimately, it is not through the analysis of man’s connection to the “whole” which serves as a justification for what freedoms he receive, for that would necessarily be a relativist stance which prevents some men from having freedom. Man’s intrinsic value must be recognized before society’s.
3.) The Case of Iran
“Vali-ye faqih (abbreviated Faqih)” is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s governing system. Based upon principles in which Ayatollah Khomeini, the architect of the Iranian Islamic Revolution gave in 1970, it was partly based on a collectivist interpretation of Plato’s philosopher-king and Islamic law. The Faqih demanded a “alī-yi amr” be the executor of Islamic law. Accordingly to Khomeini, “[it is obvious from the regulations of the Qu’ran] how much care Islam devotes to government and the political and economic relations of society, with goal of creating conditions conducive to the production of morally upright and virtuous human beings.”  Should this attitude be considered collectivism? The Faqih demands “the rulers of the Muslim countries truly [represent] the believers and enact God’s ordinances.” Islam means the submission to the will of God. In the philosophy of Faqih, we see whole societies coerced into submitting to the will of God-the individual exists for society, which exists for God.
The human rights situation in Iran is deplorable. In May, an Islamic Revolutionary Court sentenced eight Facebook users “a total of 127 years in prison for allegedly posting messages deemed to insult government officials and “religious sanctities.” Executions are common, with at least 200 executions as of October ‘14. Crimes liable for execution include “insulting the Prophet, apostasy, same-sex relations, adultery, and drug-related offenses.”  Is this so because of the set of laws, or because of collectivism? The two questions are tautologies of each other: the set of laws that the Faqih presents necessarily implies collectivism. The philosophy of the Faqih necessarily regulates the lives of the individuals for the sake of society. As Khomeini notes, “it is impossible to fulfill the duty of executing God’s commands without there being established properly comprehensive administrative and executive [institutions].”  The Faqih society henceforth cultivates individuals for the service of the Islamic government, which is seen as a bridge between the individual and God’s true words. Why is this collectivism responsible for such a horrendous human rights records? Because collectivism assumes that since society is paramount, any deviations and threats to society would be objectionable-ultimately destructive for society itself. Hence, with regards to the “societal good,” each execution is wholly justified by, in the case of the Faqih, God’s will.
1.) Negative Social Repercussions and Individualism
The opposition here attempts an attack of individualism upon a misunderstanding of the term. By "placing the interests of individuals" over the interests of society, we do not necessarily mean that individualism attempt to "simultaneously promote everyone's conflicting self-interests at once." Individualism attempts to hold the individual as the controller of their lives-as a rational and independent actor. The opposition says that "rates of violent crime and poverty levels being 3 to 4 times higher in cities than in the countryside" is a valid case for collectivism. This is not because of the increased individualism, but rather because of other socio-economic factors. More of this will be discussed later on. The opposition says that "[after the Neolithic Revolution], human history has been notably more violent, with wars, slavery, tension between classes, and crime becoming commonplace." However, violence, tension, and crime have always been part of human history-in fact, "there is no evidence that the Mesolithic was either more or less violent than other periods of human (pre)history."  More on this on the next round-ultimately, we cannot leave with several correlations (but not sufficient causation).
ciao, ayy lmao
 http://tinyurl.com...(pg. 173)
Lamentably, I did not manage my time well, and, as a result, do not have enough time to write an argument this round... I request that my opponent allow the debate continue anyhow, in the following format:
Con R3: Rebuttals
Pro R4: Rebuttals & Counter-Rebuttals
Con R4: Crystallize
I apologize for the inconvenience...
1.) Collectivism and Individual Success
This case asserts three things. This case asserts that (1.) utilitarianism is a sound ethical system. This case also asserts that (2.) because of examples of other communal species and (3.) the sociality of human nature, collectivism is hence seen as the "rational way." I would like to respond to these assertions.
The opposition says "individuals [are] statistically more likely to part of the majority than the minority [hence] collectivism ensures that any given individual is more likely to have their interests protected." Is this ideal? Let us consider two parables. Imagine you and a cookie monster are stranded on an island. You have one crate of cookies left. The cookie monster gets infinitely more pleasure than a normal person (you) eating cookies. Utilitarianism would hence lead you to let the cookie monster have all the cookies, leading to death. Let us put this on a macro-scale: say you were a sheep, and you live in a utilitarian society with two wolves. The wolves love to eat sheep. One day, they vote for lunch. They have two choices: the sheep or broccoli. Naturally, the wolves would choose the sheep-and the sheep would choose broccoli. Would it be morally justified that the wolves eat the sheep? Both parables are applicable to real-life. The first one can be applied to the Dekulakization Policies in Stalinist Russia, in which Kulaks were seen "[promoting] capitalist elements in the countryside," and "[society must] restrict the exploiting tendencies of the kulaks" only by "eliminating the kulaks as a class," for Kulak property was rightly public property.  This led to the Holodomir which killed at least 1.2 million people. The second one was the case of the Holocaust, in which the German public voted for the extermination of the Jewish race. Although Benthamite Utilitarianism would never have allowed that, unfettered radical collectivist utilitarianism would have seen such acts as justifiable.
The opposition then says that "we can easily observe a large variety of species that instinctively live in large, interactive groups in which collective welfare is valued over individual welfare." However, in many cases, animal societies are the only choice. I will use a human example. In Christopher Boehm's book "Moral Origins," he tells us a story about a Pygmy hunter called Cephu. Cephu was caught taken excess meat from the latest hunt. Pygmy societies were egalitarian and followed a altruistic set of mores. After he was ashamed by members of his group, he apologized and attempted to reintegrate himself into society. Why did he do this? Boehm argues that it was because of the need to belong in society. Accordingly, he was given a choice via this punishment-either he was to abandon his community and be self-sufficient, or he was to reintegrate into society and follow the community's mores. To choose self-sufficiency was de facto suicide in such conditions-he voluntarily chose the need to be in society.  This ultimately leads to the conclusion that societies exists to further the protection of interests for the individuals. If the interests of individuals is the main aim of society, then individualism is more rational. Humans can choose what society or community they belong to-they have a rational choice, and this rational choice is neutralized via collectivism, although humans can still make it.
The opposition lastly says that "humans specifically...are fundamentally social animals." However, the fact that we are a social animal does not necessitate the fact that we *need* others to survive. In fact, human sociality is actually a product of society. Since primates were more easily seen in the light than dark, they grouped together as a band of society, and from then, started developing social relations. A study by Susanne Shultz seems to demonstrate this. Since "the nocturnal ancestors of today’s primates became more active during the day" because of evolutionary factors, the primates had to bond into groups to avoid disturbance.  This proves that (a.) we do not need others to survive (by others I mean unrelated blood relationships) because clearly, pre-social primates were able to survive (although with less welfare than post-social ones), and (b.) that human sociality seems to be another consequence of the individuality of primate nature.
2.) Individualism and Negative Social Repercussions
The opposition says "[an increase in individualism is always] accompanied with an increase in destructive societal tendencies." In making this claim, he draws upon two major events: the (1.) Neolithic Revolution and (2.) the French Revolution, two revolutions that revolutionized human nature. He then (3.) draws supports his conclusions further using modern criminal statistics. I would like to respond to these.
The opposition says the Neolithic Revolution led to "wars, slavery, tension between classes, and crime." He hence assumes that we should all go "back to nature!" But the diaspora to nature is often hard, especially when we regard that pre-Neolithic life was much harder than post-Neolithic life. As Jacob L. Weisdorf notes, "procurement [after the Neolithic Revolution] of material wealth beyond the wildest dreams of the Neolithic hunter and gatherer."  Although the opposition may assume that the rise of material wealth (and hence individualism) led to "wars, slavery" etc., there are other factors. The relative disparity between groups of people on the Paleolithic led to a reduction in warfare. According to R.C. Kelly, "When group territories are extensive and population densities are low, the percentage of territorial area rendered unexploitable by border avoidance is correspondingly reduced and the cost of hostile relations with neighbors would be less." He uses the example of Andaman tribes, who live in a primitive pre-Neolithic society. He notes that when a 1.3 mile "buffer-zone" between two groups was observed, the tribes experience a 8.1% reduction in effective territory, but he also notes that this allows for less contact between the groups and ultimately leads to less conflicts occurring.  Ultimately, all human suffering and conflicts only seem to appear after the Neolithic because human density rose incomparably, allowing men to focus on other things apart from livelihood.
The opposition then affirms that the French Revolution had achieved liberty "at the grave expense of social stability." Although it is ultimately true that the French Revolution was rough, I would argue that this was not necessarily because of the ideology of the revolution but because of the revolution itself. For when the French Nation established itself on firm origins, was it not Napoleon, whose individualism and love for humanity was noted, who graciously created the French Empire upon the values of liberty? The French Revolution itself was violent because it was done partly of a need to completely destroy society and rebuild it again, a flaw in the Revolutionary theory, but not a flaw in the ideology of the Revolution. Edmund Burke, for example, declared that "the first thing that struck me [about the States General meeting] was a great departure from the ancient course." He notes that "the general composition was of obscure provincial advocates, of stewards of petty local jurisdictions...and the whole train of the ministers of municipal litigation, the fomenters and conductors of the petty war of village vexation. From the moment I read the list, I saw distinctly all that was to follow."  The opposition cannot blame individualism for the failures of the French Revolution. For if it were, then why did the American Revolution and the Glorious Revolution not fail when it espoused the same liberty that the French Revolution attempted to?
The opposition then goes on to say "rates of violent crime and poverty levels [are] 3 to 4 times higher in cities than in the countryside." The opposition seems to put the blame on this on the values and mores of highly dense cities. However, the reality of the situation is much more complicated than that. For example, people who come from poorer backgrounds are more likely to commit a crime (regardless of how collectivistic and individualistic that person is) than people who hail from richer backgrounds. The opposition says that "urban centers are hubs of individuality." But cities are also hubs of prosperity and advancement. Does prosperity and advancement henceforth cause crime? Crime is indeed more prevalent in cities. However, 38% of this is explainable to the fact that cities house more opportunities to commit crimes and that cities have more policing agencies.  The opposition then affirms that "Individualism simply does not work out in practice, as it attempts to simultaneously promote everyone's conflicting self-interests at once." However, individualism is the act of holding the individuals as rational actors, as individuals with intrinsic value-i.e. individualism asserts that humans are fundamentally more rational than not.
3.) Collectivism as Individualism
P1. Collectivism is individualism ("Collectivism is essentially just an objective version of Individualism")
P2. Collectivism is "more sound" than individualism
P3. Via P1, individualism is more rational than individualism (substitution)
This is basically the logical conclusions of the opposition-if collectivism is proven to be more sound than individualism, although it is individualism, then how can something be more sound than itself? More on this next round ayyy lmao ciao!
 http://tinyurl.com... (pg.42-43)
Romanii forfeited this round.
1. The opposition says that "Collectivism is essentially just an objective version of Individualism," which ultimately means even if he has affirmed his BoP, individualism will still stand sound in the face of collectivism.
2. The opposition makes many "correlation-causation" errors, especially in dealing with the French Revolution, urban crime, and the Neolithic Revolution.
3. The opposition has presented an engaging case for collectivism and benefits to society, but fails to defend the case properly in an empirical and theoretical manner.
plz vote for me am poor dude kthnxbai
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by tejretics 1 year ago
|Who won the debate:||-|
Reasons for voting decision: Double forfeit, and Pro fails to address *any* part of Con's case. Merely presenting a constructive case without any refutation is never sufficient to affirm, and, as such, I am forced to award the victory to Con, since Con managed to rebut Pro's arguments from individual success, negative social repercussions, and ethics, and also justified that individualism is theoretically and pragmatically justified further than collectivism, ergo is "more preferable". Pro fails to refute Con's framework or constructive case, and forfeits two rounds, thus I award the victory to Con.
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