Pacifism is a Naive Belief System
I've issued this challenge to Cermank based upon a healthy disagreement located in the forums:
(the relevance of this debate to the forum topic of "self-defense" is that "violence is justifiable", which is another interpretation of the root disagreement between me and Cermank)
Cermank insists that pacifism, in and of itself, with no other significant factors, is a viable political strategy. I argue that it is a moral platform, and that moral platforms are invariably trumped by realist concerns, including economics and force of arms.
I will focus my arguments on one specific quote from Cermank that I do believe succinctly summarizes her position:
"Once you have *cause* on your side, you don't need force."
It is clear in this statement the Cermank believes that with a morally compelling stance, that force (what I label the realist considerations of politico-economy) is simply irrelevant. I argue the opposite, that Cermank has it backwards, and that it is politico-economical considerations that matter, and that a morally compelling stance, while certainly morally compelling, is largely irrelevant as a primary mover in international relations.
I have nothing to hide in regards to how I will argue this as I have been verbose on my views on this topic on multiple threads and debates, so I will simply state exactly how I will go about arguing this now.
I will be taking a realist stance on this issue, one that recognizes that force of arms is the primary instrument through which change occurs in the international system. In our modern industrial economy, economic production directly contributes to the veracity of a military force, and so economy is also extremely important to effectual use of arms. I will label this "hard power".
I am also cognizant of something called "soft power" which entails much of what Cermank is advocating, but is not limited to simple moral persuasion. Any and all forms of persuasion not linked to force of arms would constitute "soft power" - this would include concepts like moral persuasion, cultural superiority, and higher standard of living. I will note that soft power is materially different than Cermank's position, as soft power does take into account economic factors, whereas Cermank's position on pacifism is purely an appeal to morality.
In my view, hard power is primal, soft power is secondary. Without hard power, soft power considerations are irrelevant - one will be impotent in the international arena. Without soft power, one may still (at times very easily) enact change in the international arena. Soft power would then "soften" the innate coercive proclivities of a hard power projection incident, thus making it more palatable to outside observers. This would make power projection more cost effective, as resistance to an outside nation's powers of persuasion would be lessened.
This viewpoint is debatable, I merely post it here to explain the mechanics of whatever constitutes my interpretation of realism, which will be my primary argument going forward.
If Cermank finds this objectionable, that I am arguing in the first round, then I will remove these comments and reserve them for the next round. Or, she is more than welcome to state a brief overview of her own strategy for this debate in her first round.
I will also challenge Cermank's sense of morality. I do believe morality is subjective, and that if it is so, then any position based upon a moral standard will be a false standard.
Pacifism is a Naive Belief System
Pacifism - opposition to war or violence as a means of settling disputes; specifically : refusal to bear arms on moral or religious grounds
Naive - marked by unaffected simplicity; deficient in worldly wisdom or informed judgment
A belief system is a set of mutually supportive beliefs. The beliefs of any such system can be classified as religious, philosophical, ideological, or a combination of these.
Realism is an international relations theory which states that world politics is driven by competitive self-interest.
Hard power is the use of military and economic means to influence the behavior or interests of other political bodies. This form of political power is often aggressive, and is most effective when imposed by one political body upon another of lesser military and/or economic power. Hard power contrasts with soft power, which comes from diplomacy, culture and history.
Soft power is a concept developed by Joseph Nye of Harvard University to describe the ability to attract and co-opt rather than coerce, use force or give money as a means of persuasion.
I welcome any additional definitions Cermank may seek to define before this debate begins (i.e. please notify me in comments or in PM of any you would like to add so that we do not debate over too many semantical interpretations).
I will adhere to my own standard of NO SCORING on debates I initiate. The main purpose of this debate is to encourage and clarify dialogue and discussion on the matter, and of course to see which position is more compelling. I would like to keep horse-trading and fluff RFDs to a minimum, and would also like to encourage further discussion by the audience by any views they may hold on this subject. I've found that people tend to adamantly stick to their RFDs and find them not subject to debate - one of my aims through NO SCORING is to make people more malleable in their beliefs as expressed through their RFD.
1st round acceptance
2/3 rounds arguments and rebuttals
4th round closing, no new arguments or sources
I believe Pacifism has been a field that has simply not been discussed well enough for people to consider it a viable alternative. I hope to address that in this debate, and as wrich said, I welcome questions and queries and possible scenarios (which I'm sure there would be).
I'm going to focus a little more on America, since that is the demographic that would read the debate- and war industry IS pretty huge in America, not without support. During the aforementioned conversation, there was a huge focus on how things happened in history- and how they happened for the good. I'm not sure if we would go into that in the debate, but I might touch upon it if situation arises. The premise remains 'How it happened and how it has always happened doesn't imply it was the right way, or that there was no possible alternative'- although people (esp. elite class) would like you to believe that.
There are basically two approaches to prove that Pacifism is indeed possible AND is more powerful than violence. The pragmatic approach that deals with how Pacifism is better than Violence- objectively, and there's the moral approach. In this debate, I'd go into the definition of power, and look at the debate from a pragmatic point of view rather than a moral point of view. The moral approach to this belief (for me, personally) comes from Gandhi- who got it from Hindu Vedas, although there's Bible that preaches Pacifism too, but I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the teachings of the Bible. I understand that morals would be subjective, hence it would not enough to convince anyone.
I would also go into the blueprint of a non-violent attack, and about how to respond to different possible circumstances, possibly taking on the situations Pro discusses in his contention.
Personally, I'd prefer if we make our cases in the next round, rebuttals in round 3 and conclusions in the last one- since both arguments and rebuttals in a single round curtail the clarity of the case.
That's it. I await arguments by Pro :)
I thank PRO for the interesting introduction. As PRO has chosen not to advocate any moral merits of pacifism (which is unexpected since the operating definition of pacifism is specific to religion or morality), I will put that argument on ice and instead pivot to a discussion on violence in general and bring up a scenario that will encapsulate and demonstrate my arguments.
V1) What exactly is violence? Merriam Webster (http://www.merriam-webster.com...) gives several renditions:
1. exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse
2. injury by or as if by distortion, infringement, or profanation
3. intense, turbulent, or furious and often destructive action or force
4. undue alteration (as of wording or sense in editing a text)
As one can see, violence is quite broad. There is the typical politico-military usage present in #1 where there is some sense of "harm" or "wrong-doing", violence in the natural sense in #3, and then the more commonplace usages that can pervade everyday life as found in #2 and #4 (example: "violent language"). I will argue that there is simply no reason to confine a discussion of violence to physical force, that #1 and #3 are inadequate for this discussion and that #2 and #4 must also be taken into consideration.
Why is such a broadening not only appropriate, but absolutely required for this discussion? Consider any international conflict. Those that are typically found "most guilty" of war crimes and etc typically do not ever fire a gun. They do not ever engage in any "violence" per #1 or #3. Are such people truly "non-violent"? That is where #2 and #4 comes in...these generals, bureaucrats, and politicians do injury by distortion, infringement, and especially in the case of someone like Hitler, profanation.
You may say that these people caused the physical force to come into being, and so they are part of the violence, regardless of whether or not they actually fired a gun. This then creates an exceptionally grey line in regards to separating violent from non-violent behavior. What about auto workers, who manufacture Civics and Cadillacs one day, only to manufacture tanks and humvees the next? Is this not a "distortion" of the auto worker's labor to cause injury? What about the restaurant owners who feed these auto workers? Where do you draw the line between violent and non-violent behavior, once you remove the requisite condition of direct "physical force"?
V2) A more existential analysis reveals even more problems with advocating non-violence. What about breathing? Eating? Drinking? Are these not also, at an extremely basic level, exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse? You may ask, what are they injuring? Even if we were to exclude whatever organisms are being destroyed by the act of consumption and digestion, the answer lies in asking "what about other people who were thus denied food, water, and air due to our selfish needs?" Is their deprivation not injury? Is this not violence?
You may say "this is absolutely absurd, I don't deprive anyone of anything just by eating or drinking or breathing." Is this true? Food markets are global, and food is an absolute necessity - without food, people will die. When the US and other nations manipulate food prices, people on the other side of the world die:
"Oddly, there had been no drought, the usual cause of malnutrition and hunger in southern Africa, and there was plenty of food in the markets. For no obvious reason the price of staple foods such as maize and rice nearly doubled in a few months. Unusually, too, there was no evidence that the local merchants were hoarding food. It was the same story in 100 other developing countries. There were food riots in more than 20 countries and governments had to ban food exports and subsidise staples heavily."
The explanation offered by the UN and food experts was that a "perfect storm" of natural and human factors had combined to hyper-inflate prices. US farmers, UN agencies said, had taken millions of acres of land out of production to grow biofuels for vehicles, oil and fertiliser prices had risen steeply, the Chinese were shifting to meat-eating from a vegetarian diet, and climate-change linked droughts were affecting major crop-growing areas. The UN said that an extra 75m people became malnourished because of the price rises." 
This is violence. Even had these poorer countries not rioted, not even lifted a finger in resistance, the people in these malnourished countries still would have either died of starvation, or would have "voluntarily" reduced their own populations by not having children, since they would not have been able to afford to have them, as they couldn't even feed themselves.
I will now change course from the philosophical mindset into something a bit more practical. I will proffer a simple scenario to illustrate the inevitability of violence:
Imagine two villages situated on two different rivers 50 miles apart; we will call one river Salmon River with the village Salmonville, and the other River O' Plenty with the village called Agri-town. Both are "peaceful" with no military or militias.
Salmon River rarely, if ever, floods; thus the residents of Salmonville live a peaceful and tranquil life. However, the population of Salmonville is restricted by the salmon in the river. River O' Plenty on the other hand floods often. The banks and surrounding lands are perfect for agriculture, and so Agri-town has indeed built intricate levees and irrigation canals to take advantage of the rich soil. This town can grow almost without bound...all they have to do is redirect more water from their river, which seems to be almost bottomless. Thus, Agri-town is 10 times the size of Salmonville.
One day, a massive storm hits the area, which causes unprecedented flooding on River O' Plenty. All of the levees are compromised, the town is destroyed, and most of the irrigation works are destroyed. Furthermore, it was a flash storm, so many of the residents of Agri-town die in the storm and subsequent flooding.
Agri-town is now a gigantic pool of refugees. They have nowhere to go but Salmonville, so they go. The residents of Salmonville cannot support these refugees. They do their best to ration their own food out of generosity, but even this is not enough. People are going to die, no matter what happens at this juncture. The only question is how they will die.
How will we deal with this problem?
1) Libertarianism: The libertarian solution to this problem is that the residents of Salmonville did nothing wrong and are not obligated to support any of the Agri-town refugees, so the refugees slowly but surely die off.
2) Realism: A realist solution is that both sides will see their existence threatened. By advocating for their own respective existences at the expense of the other, they reach a disagreement. They settle this disagreement...but they cannot do it legally since Agri-town is not subject to the laws of Salmonville. There is no law that can determine who is right, so they settle it through some sort of competition, some sort of conflict. This competition, this conflict, is called war.
Some practical considerations are that if all of the denizens of either village completely die off, so will the accumulated knowledge of that village (i.e. fishing and farming). Therefore, it is in the interests of both villages to have some villagers from both villages survive this ordeal. The libertarian solution thus becomes rather impractical, as it would call for the complete and voluntary extermination of Agri-town by starvation and suicide, lest the property rights of Salmonville are infringed.
3) Pacifism: How does pacifism fit in to this scenario? I will challenge my opponent to offer her case. As it stands, I contend that if both sides were pacifistic (given they did not already commit mass suicide per [V3]) , then Agri-town refugees would die off in a libertarian-like solution. If only one side was pacifistic, then that side will get enslaved by the other. If neither are pacifistic, there will be war, per realism.
Pacifism is impractical and naive on at least two levels:
1) Our very natures are violent - to advocate non-violence is to advocate non-existence.
2) If one does not account for the philosophical argument, pacifism still results in enslavement or death.
I await CON's argument and look forward to an interesting case.
I thank Pro for the arguments. In order to prove that Pacifism is not a naive set of believes, I need to prove that it IS effective- and has been so in the past. [And it is more effective than the corresponding alternative of a war.]
What IS pacifism? Pacifism refers to a set of beliefs where people pledge their allegiance to no war and no violence. They resist solely through non violent means. [Here, Pro made an interesting case on the definition of violence, but I'll get to it later. For the purpose of discussion, here, violence refers to violation of the non aggression principal]. Pacifism is not impotency, it is not non action. It is resistance with a caveat. There's going to be no persuance of killing anybody- no war, and no 'strategic killing of your opponents'. Pacifism is a strategic resistance, it is not merely showing the world that the opponent is horrible, it is cutting off the sources of power of the oppressor.
I'll elaborate on this later.
Is this possible? A common refreain is that it sounds too 'theoritical'.
If history sets any precedent, then yes, it is indeed possible. The Indian independence struggle against the Britishers, the toppling of the regime of Marcos, the abolition of apartheid in South Africa, the Danish fooling the Nazis and protecting their Jews, the similar (but different) struggle and success in Norway, all are a legacy to Pacifism. It is, indeed possible, and it has (indeed) happened in the past. An interesting fact about these examples is that these happened across different time periods, across different political conditions. They did topple dictators too, who technically are not answerable to the public and should be able to crush their opponents. [http://www.nonviolenceunited.org...]
Is a non violent struggle more powerful than a violent struggle? What IS power? Power, as Hannah Arendt contends, is not a property of an individual. Even dictators, presumely one of the most powerful people in the country- depend on military, on police, on a beaureucratic system to carry out its whims. Alone, the dictator is powerless. Even Machiavelli, the Godfather of realism agrees that the price of a violent struggle is high and paid for by both the vanquished and the victor. The victor pays in terms of his own power. Power of a head of a country depends on obedience and cooperation of the public. In the long run, government systems cannot be held together by the force of pressure, but they are by belief in the truthfulness with which they represent and promote the interest of the public.
In case the government fails to look at the interests, why would a non violent struggle be more effective than a violent one?
1. Those who threaten based on violence are relying on the fear of people. They need people, and more often than not, they agree that killing everyone is not the option. They want to kill a few, and set a precedent- of what would happen if others continue on the same path. Once this fear is overcome, a pandora box of opportunities opens. Note that this does not means that we are going to be killed, walking unarmed into a grenade mine/ machine gun system is but one of the strategy that Pacifists can use. There are other, often more effective solutions.
2. Government, usually, controls the means of violence. what this means is that usually- people are revolting using the oppressors weapon of choice. Which is ineffective for the obvious reasons.
3. Violence begets violence. It legitimizes further violence. Taking historical examples again, During the Algerian revolution, 1 million out of the total population of around 10 million died during a violent struggle. Just 8,000 of a total population of 350 million were killed in the Indian independence struggle. Some say that this was because Britishers were inherantly more moral than the French. But then the same Britishers killed 11,503 Kenyans out of a total population of around 100,000.
Once the revolters use violence, it is legitimate for the government to use it 'to protect the sanctity of the government'. And the government (oppressor?) is usually better at it. Violence takes away focus from the issue, and focusses it on the violence- which is a big loss to the revolutionaries. They stand to gain nothing, and lose a lot.
4. Violence excludes a lot of people from the struggle, because of the virtue of their method- which means it is not necessary for the violent people to have a cause that resonates with the people. The people who forward their 'issues' are the ones who have the strength, and the one with larger ammunitions win. It sets up a dangerous precedent, the precedent whose effect has been felt time and again in the world power struggles.
What strategy? The strategy to counter an unjust system (very) broadly consists of two steps. First, we identify the source of power in the system. The source might be moral, or economic, or might be a mix of the two. Hitler, for example, relied on his diatrab against the Jews- and used the extermination of Jews as a political tool to stregthen his own power. In case the power source is economic, like in British India, the source was economic strength, among other things. The second step, is to cut off that source. Economic sanctions. Basic level sensitization. Protests. Petitions. Cutting off the source of the power is a multi pronged approach, part of which has been explained in the diagram given below.
Thus, just showing the world that their opponent is terrible is not enough. The opponent isn't going to stop just because of that- you need to *move beyond that*. Spreading information about the injustice is necessary, part of the sensitization, but certainly not sufficient.
> A part of having a successful non-violent revolution is to have a concrete objective in mind. You can't herald a revolution 'bcoz d govt is ebil', even though it might resonate with a lot of people.
> There needs to be a conscious thought of what exactly you want, and how the government laws/ actions are preventing you from achieving the goal.
> What is the source of power of the government legitimacy in the specific sector.
> And how YOU are going to target that particular source of power. [http://www.wri-irg.org...]
> Thus, once you have *cause* on your side, and you successfully resonate with a lot of people- you have a legit revolution in your hands. Harnessing that power and achieving the objective is the obvious next step.
Now, coming back to Pro's case, he gave an interesting definition of violence. According to it, violence is inherant in any being, thus any belief system relying on non violence is self refuting. That, I believe is a rather simplistic belief. Just because our existence is violent, (and according to the definition provided, it is) that doesn't divide the world in a yay or nay revolution strategies. THAT would be rather naive, I should think. Pacifism ensures that their strategies do not kill their opponents, there are no weapons used that'd aim to kill their opponents, or injure them. It aims to cripple the opponent, not kill them. Killing them is easy and counter productive.
Secondly, going over the scenerio, How would a pacifist deal with refugees? An interesting proposition. Pacifism doesn't really relate to economic philosophies, so you can be a Pacifist while simultaneously being a libertarian. IF you are a Libertarian, you have complete property right over Salmon-ville. You aren't required to give any of your Salmons to Agri-town. However, you may, if you are a pacifist and value human life (a moral pacifist, if you will), you might want to give any of your extra produce to the agri-town people- for free OR for future payments, as you wish to. However, given that the Agri town people are 10 times the Salmon-ville people, this should not be enough. It is now that they ask for help from people outside their little bubble. In fact, this is the solution that Pacifist organizations routinely take in case of refugee distress (http://www.jta.org...). They collect funds, and assist people.
This solution is obviously inherantly better than the solution involving deaths, given that people did survive on both sides, and the flood is anyway temporary. Once the water subsides, and they go back to their land and rebuild the ruins, they be better off. Also to note, is that in this case- GIVEN the realist solution, when exactly would the sparring stop? Once the Salmon-ville kills some of the Agri town's people, would the fight still remain about having sufficient food? Would it not transform into a fight for 'revenge'? Living together peacefully with the murderers of their kins and families seems a little far fetched.
I await an interesting case by Pro :)
Not specific, but this interview is interesting, for anyone interested in Pacifism- http://www.utne.com...;
I will dive straight into the rebuttal.
R1) CON's discussion on whether or not pacifism is possible is baseless. CON's 200 page source is ridiculous. I could source the entire New Testament to support the assertion that "Jesus is the Son of God" or the Quran to support "Muhammad is the Last Prophet" and it would be similarly meaningless.
As it stands, a refutation of her examples:
a) The Indian independence of 1947 was much more a result of the British being annihilated in WWII than anything Gandhi did. Gandhi began his moral campaign in 1920, yet there was no abdication of power by the British until 27 years later, whereas independence was achieve less than 2 years after the end of WWII, i.e. pacifism was largely irrelevant to Indian independence. 
b) There were several riots and armed insurrections stemming from Apartheid resistance, so for CON to use this as an example for advocating pacifism is contradictory and actually supports PRO's argument. In fact, Mandela frames Apartheid in the context of violent revolution, as he "described violence as the responsibility of the apartheid regime and said that with democracy there would be no need for violence," thereby justifying the violence of the oppressed.  Mandela clearly knew of the limitations of a pacifistic stance.
c) I'm not sure how Danish Jews fleeing Denmark is a triumph of pacifism. It simply a case of refugees fleeing from death - there was no "Jewish non-violent resistance" in Denmark. This point is irrelevant to pacifism.
R2) CON's discussion of power is simply inaccurate. CON asks "what is power?", yet never defines it. Joseph Nye, who coined the term "soft power," aptly defines it:
"Power is the ability to affect others to get the outcomes one wants, and that can be accomplished in three main ways -- by coercion, payment, [i.e. hard power] or attraction [soft power]." 
CON believes power "might be moral, or economic, or might be a mix of the two." She is describing soft power. Soft power alone is ineffectual in enacting change...it only makes such change more palatable once enacted. For example, America's takeover of Japan following WWII was heavily reliant upon winning over the emperor of Japan in order to placate the populace (soft power). However, the emperor would have had absolutely no reason to accede to US demands had it not been for Japan's defeat in WWII (hard power).
Gandhi advocated a soft power approach in India because he knew that India would lose to Britain in a hard power engagement prior to WWII. It was WWII, when Britain lost most if not all of its hard power capacity, that enabled Gandhi to achieve his goals.
In the accompanying video (just the first 5 minutes), Nye describes "smart power" - an approach that combines the methods of hard power and soft power to achieve goals, and recognizes that one needs the other. As already demonstrated through Japan and India above, this theory is easily supported by historical precedent, and is a complete refutation of pacifistic theories, which eschew hard power.
R3) CON asks "why would a non violent struggle be more effective than a violent one?" and then proffers four answers:
1) CON states that "Those who threaten based on violence are relying on the fear of people," and then readily admits that "walking unarmed into a grenade mine/ machine gun system is but one of the strategy that Pacifists can use. There are other, often more effective solutions."
CON refutes her own point here - people who threaten violence will indeed carry out the threat. If life is not important to you, then by all means use this "tactic".
2) CON believes that "revolting using the oppressors [sic] weapon of choice...is ineffective for the obvious reasons," failing to explain why the American Revolution succeeded, the French Revolution following, the Bolshevik Revolution, etc..., even though they were using the "oppressors [sic] weapon of choice", i.e. force of arms.
3) When CON says "violence begets violence" and that "it legitimates further violence", all she is talking about is setting a precedent. For example, I set a precedent for brushing my teeth in the morning whenever I brush my teeth in the morning. "Brushing my teeth begets further brushing of my teeth".
The real question CON is posing is "is violence immoral?" CON has already unequivocally conceded in her opening that she will lose the moral argument, hence we have absolutely no reason to think that "violence begets violence" is in any way wrong or unacceptable. CON must first demonstrate that violence is immoral for this point to have any validity.
I have already demonstrated that violence is pervasive, and that to abolish violence is to abolish life. Therefore, CON's statement "violence begets violence" is synonymous with the statement "life begets life."
If you think "life is good", then "violence is good", which means that all CON is saying here is that "good begets good".
Now, if you're a pacifist, then you think that "violence is bad", which means that "life is bad". Of course the only solution to such a quandary to life is that we all kill ourselves now and never procreate. This is absolutely and utterly ridiculous, as is the advocacy for pacifism in general.
As I have asked CON countless times, is she advocating mass suicide with her ideology? If she continues to dodge the question, I will answer it myself - of course she is, she and anyone else who holds pacifism as a core belief is just too naive to realize it. I don't mean this to be insulting; this statement is the focal point of this resolution, and it was CON in the forum discussions that challenged me on the point of naivety...I did not bring it up originally.
4) CON believes that "Violence excludes a lot of people from the struggle," which totally ignores my point about auto-workers switching to manufacturing humvees and tanks being intrinsically and definitionally "violent", along with the restaurants that feed them, etc. CON already agrees with PRO that people who do not fire a gun (generals, politicians, etc) are still considered violent. Thus, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to be "excluded" from participatory violence.
a) CON's strategy and chart is reliant upon a definition of power; I addressed this in [R2].
b) CON's use of Hitler's propaganda is an example of German soft power, which would have been totally and utterly ineffectual without the German war machine and the economy that fueled it. One must keep in mind that when Hitler was elected, Germany was at the brink of collapse - it had already experienced hyperinflation, and was looking at 30%+ unemployment rates. Germany was also being economically suffocated by the Treaty of Versailles, and France had invaded parts of Germany in response to German defaults on debt. 
Hitler solved all of these economic problems, rebuilt the German military, and reasserted German national pride during a time when Germany had no pride. Had it not been for the Holocaust, Hitler would have been regarded as someone rivaling FDR in regards to the accomplishments one statesman could do for his or her country.
Indeed JFK for one lauded Hitler despite JFK's awareness of rampant anti-Semitism in Germany. 
c) I already addressed British India in my [R1] and [R2] rebuttals.
R5) On violence, CON even goes so far as to say that "Just because our existence is violent, (and according to the definition provided, it is) that doesn't divide the world in a yay or nay revolution strategies. THAT would be rather naive..." This statement is a direct refutation of CON's own case. I agree that "yay or nay revolution strategies" are inherently naive, and indeed pacifism advocates a firm, unequivocal "nay" on violence. Right here, CON concedes this debate. Pacifism is indeed naive, and this according to CON.
R6) On the scenario, CON does not seem to understand that people are going to die regardless of whether or not pacifism is adopted. There simply isn't enough food to feed everyone. Therefore, it is impossible to "give any of your extra produce" because there is no extra produce to give. To give at all would result in death.
a) PRO/CON agree that libertarianism realizes this predicament and prioritizes the property rights of Salmonville, thus killing off all of Agri-town as well as the farming technology they may have. This is not optimal and is highly impractical.
b) Realism acknowledges that both sides must make impossible decisions, and that these decisions will result in war.
c) The pacifist is oblivious to this reality, and thinks that by giving food that one cannot afford to give, life will turn out just fine. This is naive.
C1) CON's case hinges on whether or not one believes that "violence is wrong". If it is, then her pacifistic solutions would bear closer examination. As it stands, CON does not make a moral case, therefore there's nothing inherently wrong with violence, and so there is no inherent reason to advocate pacifism. To do so would be naive.
C2) CON largely ignores my philosophical assertion that violence is pervasive, and to live is indeed to be violent - the two are inseparable. To insist upon a separation of violent and non-violent behavior through an advocacy of pacifism demonstrates extreme naivety of this simple fact.
C3) PRO does not put a moral qualifier on violence. Realism is bereft of moral judgment. For PRO, it is a simple recognition of force <-> counterforce. It's that simple. Violence is neither "good" nor "bad".
I thank Pro for his arguments.
Regarding WW2, the contention is discussed in R2 (b).
Power, as I explained in the previous round, is not something that can be imposed from above, but is instead a relationship formed by the granting of power from below. And what has been granted can just as surely be withdrawn. Thus the power of any ruler, whether we are talking about a democratically elected official or a tyrant who has seized office, is extremely fragile. His/her power depends on the consent or compliance of the ruled. If the relationship breaks down, the ruler is left with no one to rule. This is starkly visible in the Danish example.
I will first proffer a very quick rebuttal of specific points, and then collapse the rest of my rebuttal into a summary of this debate.
R7) CON's rendition of the American occupation of Japan is incomprehensible. I cannot even analyze her statements to pull out any cogent arguments.
The bottom line in Japan - hard power (bombing Japan) was primary, soft power (co-opting the emperor) was secondary. Both were absolutely necessary to forward US interests in the region.
R8) CON drops that Mandela framed Apartheid as a justifiably violent struggle. Mandela sought to minimize damage to the productive elements of society, namely its people, but recognized that when push comes to shove, you shove back.
CON's source on this point triggers my anti-virus software, so my first (and only) reaction is that the source is dubious. Apologies if I am mistaken, but I will not risk bringing down my firewall for a source in a debate.
R9) CON drops the fact that in India, 27 years of implementing soft power through Gandhi's non-violence campaign failed to accomplish what 2 years of cold, hard power reality accomplished. The British left only because after WWII, they no longer had the requisite hard power to hold a country the size of India.
R10) CON drops the fact that the Jews in Denmark did not resist the Nazis. They fled. Regardless of whatever arguments CON brings up about this point, it is still totally irrelevant to the resolution.
R11) CON thinks that "[PRO] drops the contention of the impact of war on the people- which is the 'realist solution'," failing to realize that PRO has demonstrated the impact of "peace" on the people - peace can easily result in tens of millions of people dying from wholly preventable starvation.
Therefore, especially considering the lack of a moral position by CON, there is nothing uniquely "right" or "good" about a pacifistic position or a platform based on "peace"; CON does not have a case.
R12) Just to note, CON's approach, by thinking she can just ignore my points, is indicative of her "non-violent" resistance paradigm - she seeks to avoid direct confrontation, thinking that her supporting arguments would be enough to win while ceding the primary, substantive point.
In a debate, if you ignore arguments, they are dropped and conceded. It's really that simple. If you drop primary points, then you lose whatever you think you may be supporting.
CON needed to address my arguments portraying very real hard-power concerns before she could even begin to discuss pacifism, which eschews hard power. She failed to do so, and has thus dropped a slew of arguments and examples that make up the bulk of her case.
I thanks Cermank for a spirited defense of her position and for participating in this debate, which has been interesting. Regardless, this debate has saddened me a bit. I'm not certain if CON even realizes that PRO/CON agree on a good amount of CON's case, as woefully incomplete a picture as it paints.
I believe PRO/CON agree that people are inherently productive, and it's generally not in anyone's interest to destroy what is productive. Warfare does prima facie seem to do exactly this, to destroy the productive elements of society. Esteemed writers on warfare, whether it be Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, or modern practitioners like Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf, all, like CON, despise the violence and destruction that unlimited war causes. HOWEVER, all of these figures also are cognizant of the absolute necessity of warfare, and it is here that they demonstrate wisdom. Any position that denies the necessity of violent warfare, such as CON's pacifistic position, is naive.
Keep in mind that PRO's position utilizes both violent and non-violent means to project power. CON's position eschews violent means, and is thus naive.
I have demonstrated why violence is not limited to only warfare. Violence is absolutely necessary for life; violence is inherent in our being and cannot be divorced from any human endeavor, whether it be pulling the trigger of a gun, espousing propaganda through a microphone, assembling a tank instead of a car, or cooking food for factory workers regardless of what they produce.
Violence is also pervasive even in activities that are absolutely basic for survival itself, namely eating, drinking, and breathing.
I have also demonstrated how the inherent violence that fuels our humanity, namely our hunger and how we go about satiating it, makes a seemingly "non violent" endeavor like trading food on a global marketplace extremely violent, in that seemingly harmless market fluctuations will cause death, starvation, and malnutrition for tens of millions even without a single shot being fired. This is violence.
To deny the existence of violence is to deny life. CON does not contest any of this and has even explicitly agreed with PRO's description of violence:
"...our existence is violent, (and according to the definition provided, it is)..."
CON may think such a portrayal of violence may be "vague" - this is the core problem with CON's pacifistic position, not with PRO's realist position. For PRO, sometimes violent behavior is the appropriate solution for a problem; sometimes it is not. CON however unequivocally denounces any and all violent behavior, without really figuring out or communicating what she means by violent behavior.
PRO/CON thus agree with PRO on the nature and definition of violence - violence is integral to life itself and is pervasive. This ends any effective debate on the resolution and completely refutes a pacifistic position. Pacificsm (in CON's words) is a "yay or nay revolution strateg[y]" with a firm "nay" on violence, a position which PRO/CON both agree is "rather naive". It is PRO's opinion that CON has all but conceded her case with such statements.
Regardless of the inherently productive nature of humanity, somewhere, someday, humanity will encounter a problem. My scenario delves into how two peaceful, "non-violent" societies encountered such a problem and were thus met with an impossible choice - kill, or die. Why did these societies face such a choice? It is because they no longer were able to produce enough food to survive. Due to the evils of scarcity, they were not able to be productive; the flood described in the scenario destroyed an entire village's productive capacity. This village could not produce what they needed for survival, and thus their survival was forfeit. The only question remaining was who would survive, and who would die; Agri-town could either die without a fight, or could die fighting for the real hope that some of them may live. That some from Agri-town would live would have been optimal for both villages even if it involved a war with Salmonville, as the highly valuable technology developed by Agri-town would thus survive.
Scarcity is the primary problem for an entire field of social science, namely economics. It is pervasive, as pervasive as violence is to human nature. You cannot ignore scarcity, nor can you ignore its impact on violent conflict. To do so would be naive.
Much of CON's case, especially the strategy and chart that she wants me to address, rests upon a conception of power, a word she does not define and actually leaves it to PRO to define for her.
Power, as defined by the dean of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Joseph Nye:
"Power is the ability to affect others to get the outcomes one wants, and that can be accomplished in three main ways -- by coercion, payment, [i.e. hard power] or attraction [soft power]."
CON has the credulity to say that Nye is only "partially correct" without bothering to bring up any corroborating sources anywhere close to being as credible as the dean of public policy at Harvard; it is CON who is only "partially correct". All of what CON deems to be "power", i.e. "a relationship formed by the granting of power from below," that could be "moral, or economic, or might be a mix of the two," is why Nye terms "soft power", something I defined in round #1.
Soft power is only the bottom board in the 3D chess board described in the first 5 minutes of the video I posted, the top two boards being hard power, i.e. political economy. CON's explanation of power, as well as her strategy and chart, is thus inadequate, incomplete, and totally ignores political economy, and how it can be marshaled to project physical force.
I have not only brought up specific examples (Japan, Germany), but also turned all of CON's examples (India, Apartheid, Denmark) into support of this point, that hard power matters.
Bottom line, you need both hard AND soft power to be effective. CON fails to realize this, and thus CON's position is naive.
CON completely drops the moral position, as "[CON] understand[s] that morals would be subjective, hence it would not enough to convince anyone."
Without the moral position, CON doesn't even have the ability to make a simple statement like "violence is wrong". Therefore, there is nothing inherently wrong with violence, and this according to CON.
Without a moral position, CON's advocacy of pacifism loses "cause". Without a moral position, there is no reason to think pacifism is in any way inherently "good".
CON has not forwarded a compelling case for pacifism - it is rife with critical omissions and does not address or even recognize hard power considerations. Ignorance is not bliss...ignorance is naivety.
PRO has painted a realistic picture of how power works, one that does not dismiss violent alternatives when necessary. Thus:
Pacifism is a Naive Belief System.
I thank CON and everyone who read this debate for participating, and remind all that this is a NO SCORING debate. Feel free to leave an RFD, engage in discussion, and offer feedback and constructive criticism...just don't assign points. Thank you.
I thank Pro for the debate. It was enjoyable for me.
I'll go through the select contentions Pro contested, and then go on to provide a summary of the debate.
R7) I'm sorry Pro couldn't comprehend the argument. In layman terms, the point was that the war relied on dynamics that the Pacifist position already recognizes- and could have achieved without killing the millions of people. And afflicting them with cancer to date. The mechanisms that could have been used to counter Japan had been outlined in all the previous two rounds. Then there was questioning of the entire premise of the war, which could have been easily avoided had people responded to the killing of the archduke in a different way.
Just because something happened in the history in a certain way doesn't mean that was the best course of action.
R8) Mandela was a person. His opinions weren't infallible. Responding to an analysis of the entire dynamics of the Apartheid revolution by forwarding the opinions of a person is just an appeal to authority. It is equivalent to me saying that because Gandhi said independence can be achieved through non violence, it is true. Even when you provide me with the facts to the contrary.
R9) Pro here merely reiterates his point. When British came to India, it was an asset to them. Had there been no non-violent movement, British would have used India as a balancing stick. Pro could have (and I was certainly expecting him to) argue that the same could have been achieved through violence- but violence would have lead to scores of death, brutal clampdowns, and extinguishing of the economic powerhouse of India, making it all the more difficult for India to stand up after British left. It would have left India like Pakistan, to draw a parallel. Pakistan WAS a result of a violent uprising to secure the interests of the Muslim population.
R10) Again, I'm a little let down that Pro resorted to merely repeating his points rather than engaging. One of the defining powers of a non violent movement is that it encompasses a larger population into the struggle. It WASN'T about Jews vs Nazis in Denmark, it was Denmark against the Nazis, which is exactly the power of adding people's conscience into the revolution. Jews were a small minority, they could never have won even a violent revolution. [Something Pro did accept in the discussion which started the debate].
R11) Not sure which starvation Pro is referring to here, but I'm going to assume he is referring to the scenerio. I that, Pacifist solution does NOT lead to killing of people, whereas the realist would. Since the war that started with being a fight for food would almost definitely transform to a fight for revenge. Pacifist solution leads to availing of fuds from a third party and sustaing themselves for a short while till the flood subsides- and then going back to how things were before.
Then he goes on a bit about morality, which I'll address in the summary.
R12) A little pot- kettle thing here, but I'll let the audience decide this one.
The debate started with Pro asserting that since our existence is inherently violent, any belief system based on us eschewing violence is inherantly contradictory and hence, naive. I contended the violence, as described, was all encompassing, and so stating that all types of violence were justified just because our existence it violent (according to a broad definition) was what was naive. It is similar to saying that just because we are omnivores, being against cannibalism is naive. There are different degrees of violence, and Pacifism recognizes that.
Pro also in the last round accuses the defence of not defining violence.Which was perplexing, since I have defined violence in context of Pacifism in both the rounds:
Round 3: "...What violence entails in Pacifism is any action carried out with the intention of killing/ injuring. aka taking up weapons and going on a rampage...",
Round 2: "...Pacifism ensures that their strategies do not kill their opponents, there are no weapons used that'd aim to kill their opponents, or injure them...".
There needs to be a gradation of violent behavior in order to have a rational discussion about Pacifism, something that is severely lacking in Pro's case. Pacifism is a firm NO to the violent strategies that have a negative impact on a revolution. Saying that because we are inherantly violent, we should not be averse to any kind of violence regardless of its impact on the revolution is what is naive. If violence leads to a negative impact on a revolution, and a non violent action could have complemented the power struggle more efectively, it should deinitely be discarded as a possible revolution tool.
This brings me to substantiation of the last line. I explained four reasons why violence (as defined by CON) negatively impacted a revolution. Paraphrasing, the reasons are- Violence being a tool of oppressors choice for the oppressed- thus increasing the chances of failure, violent oppressor relying on fear of people (which when overcame, renders the enemy powerless), violence legitimizing further violence AND a violent struggle being selective, which increses the chances of it being not representative of people's wants and rather just two power blocks fighting. Non violence on the other hand, relies on people power. Pro completely dropped the contentions in the fourth round, (after engaging with them in the third) chosing to go back to the fact that since I am not holding up the immorality of murders, any argument delegitimizing murders is useless. And naive.
Before going over the morality, I'd reiterate that a Pacifist case would be woefully incomplete if we do not recognize the strategies of Pacifism and have a particular objective in mind. The strategies were briely outlined in the second round. The basic reiterating theme remains recognizing the source of the power and weakening it. Why violence is often poor in weakening the source of power was already explained.
Now the morality. The entire premise relies on 'effectiveness' of a belief system. Morality has no role to play in it. Death, even in a realist scenerio, is a collateral damage. As long as the objective is fulfilled, the lesser deaths the better. If killing leads to a worsening of the revolution and delay in attainment of the objective, that is ineffectiveness. And thus is not desirable. There is no reason to bring morality into the picture when we are talking of eectiveness. And I already explained how violence does indeed lead to worsening the revolution. Even explaining it within the context of apartheid and other revolutions.
Pro did address some of the arguments regarding the supporting examples, but almost completely dropped the defence of the examples in this round. The basic premise of the defence is- just because something happened in history in a certain way does not mean it was the most effective way to handle the situation. That IS how an alternative course of action is proposed, we argue why our course of action would have been better with dealing with the situation, rather than the solution used till date. We explain the problems with the present course o action, and go about explaining how our method overcome those problems.
Regarding Power, I really don't understand how bringing up the credentials of a person help with the analysis of a definition. Power IS "the ability to affect others to get the outcomes one wants". I agree. But going about the definition stating HOW to achieve this power is the entire contention of the debate. I explained how my definition collaborated with the first part of his definition. I don't understand how bringing up a person of " ...close to being as credible as the dean of public policy at Harvard" would help the case in any way, credibility being as subjective as it is. Would Mahatma Gandhi count? He was the 'father of the nation' (of India). Would that be credible enough?
In closing, I explained HOW exactly a Pacifist solution is inherantly better than a violent revolution, outlining the deficiencies of violence as a revolution tool, both theoritically and by engaging in examples. Thereby explaining that it is DEFINITELY not Naive.
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