The Instigator
FREEDO
Pro (for)
Losing
8 Points
The Contender
J.Kenyon
Con (against)
Winning
42 Points

Pacifism

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 9 votes the winner is...
J.Kenyon
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/12/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 9,551 times Debate No: 13130
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (36)
Votes (9)

 

FREEDO

Pro

My first debate after getting back from my suspension! =D Oh Joy!

I thank J.Kenyon for suggesting we debate this topic and I'm really looking forward to it. I'll probably lose seeing as I'm in a very small minority on this one.

I gladly accept the burden of proof in this debate.

I am arguing in favor of Pacifism and my opponent is arguing against it.

I'm going to go right ahead and start.

=== DEFINITIONS ===

1.
Pacifism:

paci�fism . noun
Opposition to war or violence as a means of resolving disputes. [1]

2.
Violence:

vi�o�lence . noun
Physical force exerted for the purpose of violating, damaging, or abusing: crimes of violence. [2]

Note: I shall also add that this is violence specifically towards humans. Not in-animate objects or animals. The "why" shall not be a discussion point.

=== ARGUMENTS ===

1.
Violence usually causes more violence.

Whether you believe a certain act of violence to be propagated righteously or not, there is no denying that it is likely to be both caused by aggression from at-least one party and also to in-sight more of such on both sides. I contend that this anger, more often than not, leads to further violence and it would be better to institute pacifism in such a scenario in-order to prevent this disastrous chain-effect which is so often repeated.

I have come to the realization that cool-headed and rational negotiation is a more effective tool in disputes that would other-wise unfold into such a mess. Which leads into my next argument.

2.
Negotiation would be more effective at solving disputes than violence.

It's more effective for a few reasons. Firstly, as I've described, it would be less likely to lead to an outcome that would increase the harm done to both sides than would other-wise be if no violence(or no further violence) was inflicted. If violence is initiated and someone does not stop escalating the violence then we will have exactly that; a continued escalation of violence and thus more harm to everyone involved.

Secondly, it should actually be more effective at resolving the conflict. I think it's fair to assume that this debate will be largely about whether there is larger justification for retaliatory violence than Pacifism. So lets assume you're being attacked by someone; a mugger. If this mugger has consciously chosen to to attack you then the chances are they are larger, stronger and/or better armed. This means it is more likely that they will win in a fight. So let me ask; what is your best bet for resisting the mugging? Violence or negotiation?

3.
Compassion can turn an enemy into a friend.

Your enemy is usually expecting you to fight back. To meet them with compassion would be shocking. And the shock value is part of what can get them. To decide not stoop down to their level by returning the mindless violence they perpetuate toward you and rather meet them with soft words or even an act of kindness will be very likely to change most people. There are few who would continue to harm someone who meets them with kindness and make themselves a villain in their own minds. You see, the average criminal does not see themselves as the bad-guy, as any criminal-psychologist will tell you. They just see themselves as someone trying to get by, like everyone else, possibly trying to sustain a family. Sure, this may be a very distorted view, but it matters what they think. Because once you open their eyes to their own evil, they will be very open to having mercy on you. Fighting back will actually only justify their actions in their own minds. They will think "it's just survival of the fittest". And this feeds into the never ending cycle of self-perpetuating violence in the pathetic social order we seem to have.

4.
The attitude of Pacifism brings happiness.

Since I've became a pacifist I've felt really good about myself, better than usual. And I'm not the only one, nor is this by any off chance. It is because becoming Pacifist has pumped my brain full of awesome stuff, one of the most important things being Oxytocin. Oxytocin is "the togetherness hormone". Which neurologists believe promotes trust, social-bonding, nurturing, relaxation, comfort and feelings of love. I contend that if Pacifism became a larger social-movement we would see a lot less crime. We are now discovering that are brains are hard-wired for Altruism. We are definitely social animals and the act of changing you're attitude to say you shall harm no one will really make a positive mark on how you feel, I assure you.
And lets face it, chances are you're actually NOT going to run into a mugger. Most people don't. I'd say it's definitely in your rational self-interest to be a pacifist.
[3,4,5,6,7,8,9]

Please see sources.
=== SOURCES ===

1. http://education.yahoo.com...
2. http://education.yahoo.com...
3. http://www.psychologytoday.com...
4. http://www.psychologytoday.com...
5. http://www.psychologytoday.com...
6. http://www.psychologytoday.com...
7. http://www.psychologytoday.com...
8. http://en.wikipedia.org...
9. http://www.moodraiser.com...
J.Kenyon

Con

I thank PRO for issuing this debate challenge. Before I enter into my constructive case, I'd like to point out a flaw in PRO's definition of "violence." I am not an advocate of violence, or at least not as my opponent construes it. Retaliatory force is not intended to "violate, damage, or abuse" any more than is necessary to defend oneself from attack or to justly punish as befits the law.

My opponent's claims are all of a similar nature, so I will group them together as Contention 1. Contentions 2- 5 will be used for the negative constructive.

1.) Most of PRO's arguments rest on the fact that violence is not needed in certain situations, which is certainly true. Negotiation should always be tried first. Wherever it can be avoided, violence should be avoided. We can agree to that much. In these instances, there *is no* substantive difference between pacifism and libertarian non-aggression. What I intend to focus on are situations where negotiation fails and force *is* called for. If even one of these cases exists, it is sufficient to refute my opponent's point.

1b. - Violence may sometimes cause more violence, but not when administered fairly and judiciously. I'll expand on this in C2. Even if the net total of violence increases, you ignore the point that aggressors *ought* to be punished. If "violence" is carried out justly, there is no reason to lament the results.

1c. - Being compassionate to a mugger is unlikely to invoke a sympathetic response. Most people actually *do* choose to hand over whatever it is the robber wants for the simple reason that your wallet is not worth dying for. I have yet to hear of an instance where the mugger experiences a sudden change of heart and refuses to take the money. I also seriously doubt that a woman showing compassion to her rapist would achieve the desired result.

1d. - Even if our brains *are* hard wired for altruism, this has nothing to do with pacifism. One could be an egoist pacifist, just as one could be altruistic proponent of the non-aggression principle. This argument is completely irrelevant to the debate. Additionally, while pacifism may bring happiness to my opponent, it is important to realize that he is a free rider on the positive efforts of non-pacifists to stem violence and create a better society. Finally, none of the articles he cites establish any link between pacifism and happiness. They establish links between friendliness, trust, altruism, compassion, etc. and happiness, but again, this is irrelevant to the discussion.

2.) It's a well established fact that gun ownership rights are proven to decrease crime.[1] Women carrying pepper spray are obviously significantly less likely to be raped. In these instances, the use of force *does not* lead to escalation. On the contrary, not only does this *prevent* violence from taking place, it creates a positive externality by deterring would-be aggressors in the future.

2b. - The iterated prisoner's dilemma illustrates this perfectly (if you're unfamiliar with this, see here: http://plato.stanford.edu...) Players who unconditionally cooperate generally do poorly. The tit-for-tat (TFT) method, which combines initial cooperation with a negative response to defection is proven to be the most effective strategy.[2] If *both* players adopt TFT, they will achieve the optimum result -- the same score that two players who unconditionally cooperate get, again highlighting my point that in situations where the use of force isn't called for, there is no difference between non-aggression and pacifism.

The success of TFT is attributable to four properties: it is *nice,* meaning that is never the first to defect; it is *retaliatory* which makes it difficult to exploit; it is *forgiving* in that in that it is willing to cooperate even against defectors, assuming that the defection didn't occur in the immediately preceding round; finally, it is *clear,* other players can readily predict its behavior so as to enable mutually beneficial interaction. Beyond mere hypothetical game theory scenarios, these four properties can be applies to real interpersonal relationships.

3.) In instances of rape, women are taught to yell loudly and try to run. If running isn't an option, fighting back is the best alternative. Pleading, stalling, reasoning, and crying are empirically proven to be ineffective.[3] Even if we assume that the potential rapist is a rational agent (doubtful) he is not necessarily in a rational state of mind. In 45% of all rape cases, the attacker is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.[4] Such persons are clearly not capable of or interested in peaceful negotiation.

4.) Individuals have a positive moral duty toward one another. If you see a thug brutally beating and raping a woman, is the right thing to do really to stand by and do nothing? Suppose you try at first to negotiate and he is not interested. What then? Do you still stand idly by? Is it really more unjust to stop the aggressor than to allow him to have his way with an innocent victim? Even if one is a *true* egoist, unlike my opponent, it is not difficult to argue that one still ought to come to her aid, provided you have the means to do so.

5.) Pacifism is inherently self contradictory. The philosopher Jan Narveson argues that pacifism is rooted in the view that everyone has certain rights. What it means to say that one has a "right" is that he is justified in preventing any infractions of that right. But pacifists surrender their ability to defend against infractions, thus creating a paradox and rendering the fundamental premise of pacifism meaningless.[5]

5b. - Inaction leads to a total net increase in violence, thus negating the primary goal in pacifism. I explained this more in depth in C2. Edmunde Burke wrote in 1770 that "when bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."[6] This is exactly what would happen if pacifism were widely adopted. The "good" sort of person would acquiesce while criminals commit atrocities. This would lead to a tremendous proliferation of crime.

== Conclusion ==

Again, in situations where there has been no initial act of violence or where retaliation would be unjust or unwise, pacifism and libertarian non-aggression are functionally identical. The odds of being mugged or raped aren't as slim as my opponent would like to believe. In 2002, there were 1.4 million violent crimes.[7] Moreover, the fact that a *single* instance exists where the use of retaliatory force is both justified and practical is sufficient to negate the resolution.

-- References --

1. http://www.justfacts.com...

2. http://plato.stanford.edu...

3. http://www.womenshooters.com...

4. "Violence against Women." Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Justice. (1994).

5. Narveson, Jan. "Pacifism: A Philosophical Analysis." Ethics, LXXV: 4, pp. 259-271. (January 1965).

6. Burke, Edmunde. "Thoughts on the cause of the present discontents." p. 106. (1770).

7. http://www.libraryindex.com...
Debate Round No. 1
FREEDO

Pro

=== RESPONSES ===

//Violence may sometimes cause more violence, but not when administered fairly and judiciously. I'll expand on this in C2. Even if the net total of violence increases, you ignore the point that aggressors *ought* to be punished. If "violence" is carried out justly, there is no reason to lament the results.//

By what standard "ought" someone to be punished?

This mentality stems from the contorted view that we have free-will. We do not. Every action we make is inspired by a thought, every thought is inspired by chemical reactions, all of which were inspired by our biology and our environment. Neither our biology nor our environment is given to us by any fault of our own. If it's true that certain things would be irrational for an individual to do, including the initiation of force, then it is true that those who do it are merely a victim themselves of these uncontrolled factors.

In old times women used to be punished for having been raped, since they have lost their purity. You must obviously see the shame in that. But I see the same shame in punishing anyone.

//Being compassionate to a mugger is unlikely to invoke a sympathetic response.//

Have you ever heard of it being tried? We don't see it working because people aren't trying it. Imagine if some thug was only met with compassion when he was brutal, would it not invoke changing thoughts? Would this person even be so brutal if they had grown up in a more compassionate atmosphere?

//I have yet to hear of an instance where the mugger experiences a sudden change of heart and refuses to take the money.//

Have you heard of an instance in which a mugger was only met with kindness?

//Additionally, while pacifism may bring happiness to my opponent, it is important to realize that he is a free rider on the positive efforts of non-pacifists to stem violence and create a better society.//

Violence does not create a better society. It crafts an anti-social personality into society. Most people who go to jail return right back to their old ways once they get out; they have been taught nothing except that violence is power.

//Finally, none of the articles he cites establish any link between pacifism and happiness. They establish links between friendliness, trust, altruism, compassion, etc. and happiness, but again, this is irrelevant to the discussion.//

Pacifism is a form of compassion. To love your neighbor strongly implies that you not kill them.

//It's a well established fact that gun ownership rights are proven to decrease crime.[1] Women carrying pepper spray are obviously significantly less likely to be raped. In these instances, the use of force *does not* lead to escalation. On the contrary, not only does this *prevent* violence from taking place, it creates a positive externality by deterring would-be aggressors in the future.//

I'll get to that in the extension of my arguments.

//In instances of rape, women are taught to yell loudly and try to run. If running isn't an option, fighting back is the best alternative. Pleading, stalling, reasoning, and crying are empirically proven to be ineffective.[3] Even if we assume that the potential rapist is a rational agent (doubtful) he is not necessarily in a rational state of mind. In 45% of all rape cases, the attacker is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.[4] Such persons are clearly not capable of or interested in peaceful negotiation.//

Someone does not need to be a rational person to be convinced not to harm you. In-fact, quite the opposite, it may be easier to do with someone that has a lower intelligence. The number one rule you've got to know about human beings is that we are easily manipulatable. Look at religion, look at every other social dogma. Our minds our like balls of clay. If one is unable to stop someone from harming them through negotiation that doesn't prove Pacifism has failed, it only proves that their ability to negotiate has failed. People are much easier to control than you think. This may be my biggest reason I'm Pacifist; violence is unnecessary when people can be controlled just fine without it.

I'd put some external material here to back this up but I'm running out of time to post my argument, maybe next round.

//Individuals have a positive moral duty toward one another.//

Ha. I have no duty to anyone but myself. My compassion is for MY rational self-interest.

//If you see a thug brutally beating and raping a woman, is the right thing to do really to stand by and do nothing? Suppose you try at first to negotiate and he is not interested. What then? Do you still stand idly by? Is it really more unjust to stop the aggressor than to allow him to have his way with an innocent victim?//

Can a problem only be solved by creating one? There is always another way. It's a matter of one's ability.

You make criticize me for saying that Pacifism hasn't failed if I am unable to negotiate. But now it's time for you to be entertained with a hypothetical. Suppose you do use violence to try and stop this person..but then you discover you are too weak to do so. Does this disprove your non-aggression way? Of course not. It only disproves you had the ability to carry it out.

//Even if one is a *true* egoist, unlike my opponent,//

That's uncalled for and untrue. Just leave things to what we're arguing about here instead of attacking me, please.

//Pacifism is inherently self contradictory.//

Pacifism is contradictory? You would have it that the more violence there is then the more violence we need. I've never seen anything more self-defeating.

//The philosopher Jan Narveson argues that pacifism is rooted in the view that everyone has certain rights. What it means to say that one has a "right" is that he is justified in preventing any infractions of that right. But pacifists surrender their ability to defend against infractions, thus creating a paradox and rendering the fundamental premise of pacifism meaningless.[5]//

Incorrect. The biggest slander reported over and over again about Pacifism is that you're surrendering your ability to defend yourself. Violence is not the only way to defend yourself.

//Inaction leads to a total net increase in violence, thus negating the primary goal in pacifism. I explained this more in depth in C2. Edmunde Burke wrote in 1770 that "when bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."[6] This is exactly what would happen if pacifism were widely adopted. The "good" sort of person would acquiesce while criminals commit atrocities. This would lead to a tremendous proliferation of crime.//

I'll get into this in the extension of my arguments.

=== CONTINUATION OF ARGUMENTS ===

5.
Non-harmful force.

If one's ability at reaching a different mindset for the aggressor is inadequate then there is a another option. It is possible to use force without using violence. Indeed, this is how I would plan to rehabilitate criminals, keeping them in a facility where they can be helped instead of being further harmed. There are various ways to do this such as certain kinds of martial arts or any other means of non-harmful incapacitation including sleep-darts.

6.
Social conditioning.

I contend that a society which highly values Pacifism would be much more adept at producing non-aggressive individuals than one which doesn't. Like I've described, violent individual are themselves victims. They are victims of poor social conditioning. Society is reinforcing it's crime by protecting the institution of violence; it just keeps making more violent people. Your way may be of temporary comfort to an individual but it is not preventing the problem from arising in the first place, only attempting to counter it after it appears.

=== NOTE ===

I wasn't able to address everything because I ran out of both room and time.
J.Kenyon

Con

Unfortunately, in his haste my opponent has left many of my contentions unanswered. While I applaud his earnest desire to win, he has resorted to desperate tactics and has put forth several fallacious arguments.

My opponent has introduced two new contentions which I will include as 1E and 1F.

1.) PRO has not bothered to respond to this. It is crucial to point out that many - if not all of the advantages - he claims for pacifism are equally present in a system in a system of libertarian non-aggression.

1b. - PRO's determinism defence assumes either a retributive or restorative stance on justice and is totally irrelevent to consequentialist deterrence theories. Moreover, even in the restorative view which I espouse, PRO's argument still fails. Rather than going into a lengthy and unnecessary digression on free will (which I think does exist), I'll simply sidestep the problem by showing how it is irrelevant to the question of moral responsibility.

PRO holds an antiquated view that a person is morally responsible for what he has done if and only if he could have done otherwise. This is known as the Principle of Alternate Possibilities, or PAP.[1] Harry Frankfurt tears this notion down using a thought experiment. Suppose John has decided to shoot Bob. A third agent, Phil, has discovered John's plan and also wants John to shoot Bob. Phil would *prefer* that John shoot Bob on his own, however, worried that John might get cold feet and fail to go through with it, Phil arranges things so that, if John shows any signs that he will *not* shoot Bob, Phil will be able to manipulate him in such a way as to guarantee that John *will* carry out the shooting. As the events play out, John actually does follow through with his plan and shoots Bob on his own.[2] Although Phil never intervened and John shot Bob of his own accord, no alternate possibility actually existed. Nonetheless, we would still assign John full moral responsibility for his act.

1c. - I thought I expressed myself quite clearly. Most people *do* hand over their wallet to the mugger. Fighting back is often not worth the risk.

1d. - This hardly even merits a response. One need not be a pacifist to be compassionate or to refrain from killing his neighbors. In instances where failure to resist could result in significant physical harm (or death), it seems quite clear that pacifism would not be conducive to happiness or general wellbeing. PRO's objection to my claim that he is a free rider on the positive efforts of non-pacifists is unfounded and circular as he has not addressed any of the objections I raised in C2 and C2b.

1e. - I stated clearly in the first round that I do not advocate the use of force any more than is necessary to defend oneself or others from attack and to justly punish. This is a desperate attempt by my opponent to salvage his case. All he has succeeded in doing, however, is contradicting himself by admitting that in some circumstances, the minimal use of force might be necessary.

1f. - My opponent argues that a pacifist society would be better at producing non-aggressive individuals. I strongly attacked this in C2, C2b, C3, and C5b. I have argued in several places that where force is not called for, pacifism and non-aggression are indistinguishable. PRO's argument is again circular in that he pre-supposes pacifism to be an effective way of dealing with crime.

2 & 2b.) This is really the cornerstone of my case and PRO has not even touched it. I'll wait for him to respond in the latter rounds, but should he fail to do so, that would essentially constitute a forfeiture of the entire debate.

3.) It's telling that my opponent has offered no real response to my empirical claims. PRO's counterexamples are completely irrelevant. The instances he shows of people being easily manipulated - religion and social dogma - generally require years of conditioning to do. Imagine trying to convert a firm atheist to orthodox Christianity in the space of a minute. Now imagine trying to convince an angry alcoholic who's just lost his job that it's not in his rational self interest to rape and kill you.

PRO's counterexample of person trying and failing to defend himself is not at all analogous. Had I instigated the debate and accepted the burden of proof for the resolution "All problems can be solved through violence," then it would be applicable. PRO's claim that a failure of negotiation is not failure of pacifism is incredibly weak. My view is pragmatic: if one lacks the sufficient ability to negotiate his way out of an ugly situation, then it is not wise for him to attempt to do so while other options are available at his disposal. As things stand, my opponent must affirm that there are never any circumstances, even if negotiation fails, where it is necessary to use force.

4.) Red herring. PRO has stated several times that compassion *IS* in his self interest. Whatever reasons we have to act compassionately are irrelevant provided we arrive at the same conclusion. This point remains wholly unrefuted.

5 & 5b.) Again, PRO's defense is circular. I have shown several examples where the use of force is necessary to defend oneself. Until he responds to these, his point is moot. Pacifism remains self-defeating and self-contradictory.

== CONCLUSION ==

PRO's objections are weak at best, fallacious and irrelevant at worst. The bulk of my case he has not even addressed, let alone refuted.

The resolution is negated.

-- References --

1. http://www.informationphilosopher.com...

2. http://plato.stanford.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
FREEDO

Pro

FREEDO forfeited this round.
J.Kenyon

Con

Extend my arguments. Vote CON.
Debate Round No. 3
36 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by FREEDO 6 years ago
FREEDO
Yeah, this wasn't a good debate. I'm sorry. Maybe I'll redo it.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
"You should feel ashamed to even post that round."

I think I was justifiably irked when I put a lot of effort into this ,expecting it to a be a serious debate and Freedo waited 'til the last minute to post half-hearted rebuttal and then forfeited the last round.
Posted by Shtookah 6 years ago
Shtookah
J.Kenyon
"You should feel ashamed to even post that round."

"Explain your vote, please, Mongoosecake."

dick much?
Posted by FREEDO 6 years ago
FREEDO
Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu-

I wasn't paying attention to the timer.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
Explain your vote, please, Mongoosecake.
Posted by Volkov 6 years ago
Volkov
RFD

B & A: Con
Conduct: Con; for Pro's forfeited round
S & G: Tied; no major errors on either side
Argument: Con; had a more convincing argument, though had Freedo responded in the last round, we could have seen a turnaround. Alas...
Sources: Tied
Posted by FREEDO 6 years ago
FREEDO
I already know who's winning this debate. No need for the insults.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
You should feel ashamed to even post that round.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
Free will? Seriously? This should be lulzy.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
Ya'll best get typin'
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by FREEDO 6 years ago
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