The Instigator
alto2osu
Pro (for)
Winning
22 Points
The Contender
Clockwork
Con (against)
Losing
9 Points

Promoting world wide democratic principles should be a higher priority than promoting sovereignty.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/4/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,967 times Debate No: 11333
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (6)

 

alto2osu

Pro

I affirm: Promoting world-wide democratic principles should be a higher priority than promoting sovereignty.

To promote: to contribute to the growth or prosperity of : further (Merriam-Webster)

Some brief resolutional analysis:

1. Pro is under no obligation to promote via militaristic action. I simply have the burden to prove that, with regards to priority, there should be some sort of effort to instill democratic ideals prior to national sovereignty. Nor do I need to prove that one should categorically replace the other.

2. Furthermore, Pro is under no obligation to argue pure democratic principles (i.e. a direct democratic system). Democratic principles, in this case, are simply those adopted by representative democracies, such as the U.S. or U.K. systems (and any number of other democratic nations).

The primary pro argument is simply that national sovereignty is clearly precluded by that nation being governed by its citizenry. Human rights, which are quintessential to the formation of any just state, must be guaranteed (assuming we look to multi-national declarations and documents, as well as to just about any political philosopher worth our time). In order to ensure this, or at least maximize the recognition of such fundamental rights, democratic ideals must be in place prior to a nation being able to label itself as a sovereign power.

Look to John Locke to begin:

"The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions…" [1]

This is one of several political philosophies which have not only informed just about every democratic nation in the world, but also the UN Declaration of Human Rights, which states similarly:

"Article III: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person."

Though security of person replaces Locke's more defined "possessions," the concept still remains intact. Human beings are entitled to these specific rights, and 192 nations of 203 have affirmed this document as a piece of the world's paramount political guide. [2] [3] Furthermore, being secure in one's person encompasses the original concept of "possessions" as expressed by Locke.

More important than Article III, however, is Article II:

"Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind...no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty." [1]

The point of this is simply that a nation's government cannot claim sovereignty in order to reify its oppressive regime, as sovereignty is not just, and cannot exist, unless it is born of a rule of the citizenry. To claim otherwise would be to support every genocide ever conducted, so long as it only took place within a single "sovereign" entity. It would allow nations that hold the principles of human rights and political self-actualization paramount (like the U.S.) to ignore oppressive and dictatorial regimes, rather than using means to allow citizens of every nation to enjoy the rights guaranteed to them as members of the human race.

Hence, while sovereignty is an important cog in the machine that is the international geopolitical system, human rights are the lifeblood of that machine, and those rights cannot be realized if sovereignty is held above the pursuit of political self-actualization within a democratic state.

Thank you, and I look forward to my opponent's response.

[1] http://www.constitution.org...
[2] http://www.un.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Clockwork

Con

DEFINITIONS

1. The only article requiring definition within the resolution is that of sovereignty. Sovereignty is by definition a possession of all sovereign states. Accordingly sovereignty shall be defined as the possession of a sovereign, or a supreme lawmaking authority with a monopoly on force. Notice that sovereignty need not reside in any specific individual, and can reside in a group of people, as is the case with the democratic sovereign states listed by my opponent.

OBSERVATION

1. The points of advocacy within the resolution are not necessarily exclusive. You will notice that in my opponent's cited list of sovereign states, both the US and the UK are listed, and both of them are considered nations under "democratic principles", as cited by my opponent in her second point of analysis. Sovereignty and democracy are, under most conceivable circumstances, neither exclusive to one another nor in conflict.

ANALYSIS

1. The "worldwide" clause in the resolution stipulates an interesting point of advocacy for the Affirmative. While it is widely held that democracy is the "best" form of government, situations exist where the establishment of democracy would either exacerbate existing conflicts or fail due to logistical obstacles.

WHAT CONSTITUTES A DEMOCRACY?

Democracies are literally governments "by the people." However (to my knowledge,) no democratic system of governance has spontaneously existed in the absence of a state. That is, there has never been a concrete example of a democracy arising through mutual agreement of all members of society, because there must be some power with recognized authority to use force against those who would infringe on the citizen's rights.

SOVEREIGNTY AND THE CONSTITUTION OF A STATE

A government without a method of governance isn't really a government at at all. As seen above, democracy cannot gain holding without having some organization or method in place to regulate the system. That is, any state wishing to establish any system of government, must have the necessary authority and use of force that is necessary in the establishment of the state. What separates myself from the state is that that state holds the firepower necessary to incarcerate me should I pose a significant harm to my neighbors.

POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY

In the specific case of democracy, sovereignty is held in the hands of the people, who then use their sovereign power to elect or acknowledge other people or groups of people to create legal regulations and monopolize force. Were a democracy to rise of its own accord, it would arrive side by side with sovereignty, with neither in priority. However, such an occurrence has, to my knowledge, never actually happened, as there usually must be some individual or group of individuals to put the plans for democracy into motion.

IN RESPONSE

My opponent would suggest to you that democratic principles necessarily preclude sovereignty in a state. This is easily countered by the fact that most scholars agree that the first democracy was established c. 500 BC by the Athenians, while the idea of the nation, including cases such as Israel and Babylon, clearly predate the establishment of democracy.

The remainder of my opponent's points can be countered through two aforementioned facts:

1. Large masses of people (states) have, in the past, existed together in absence of democratic systems, but

2. Large masses of people (states) have always required a body with recognized authority to utilize force and create laws.

The alternative to sovereignty is anarchy, and ultimately sovereignty, democratic or otherwise, must be established in order for stability to arise.

I have reached my character limit. I look forward to my opponent's response.

http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://plato.stanford.edu...
Debate Round No. 1
alto2osu

Pro

I thank my opponent for his organized and speedy response. I've used his order from RD 1.

---------Con Advocacy---------

On Con's "Observation":

They come into conflict at the point where people don't have the right to self-determination or political actualization, which is a guaranteed right under the UN Declaration of Rights and most conceptions of political natural rights in existence.

On Con's "Analysis":

The point? This is true of any government, but I would argue that political self-actualization is a guaranteed right, as it achieves other natural rights, while other forms of government tend far more often to lead to rights abuses (socialist governments, neo-communist governments, totalitarian regimes, etc.)

On "What Constitutes a Democracy":

Sure. But at the point where we don't have spontaneously generated societies anymore, you can't argue that totalitarianism or absolute power consolidation is necessary for democratic principles to come about. Governments are already established in the world-- hence we are talking about when governments meet or when the UN or another world organization get's involved in a national conflict.

On "Constitution of the State":

Sure. But democratic principles are not the same as a pure democracy. As stated in my resolutional analysis, I'm not required to argue pure democracies, because they don't, in practice, exist. At all. Furthermore, democratic principles are the only thing that gives the government the power to wield such force. A totalitarian government wields this force, but without the consent or regulation of the general populous, we see rampant human rights abuses.

On "Popular Sovereignty":

In the case of the current status of world politics, this isn't a spontaneous process. Framer's intent suggests that the debate is over whether foreign policy actions should lean more toward encouraging democratic principles or straight up sovereignty. At the point where totalitarian governments already exist, our debate lies in that ground, and not in a hypothetical tabula rasa in which no one has this monopoly over power.

---------Pro Advocacy---------

On "Democracy Doesn't Preclude":

I argue that it philosophically precludes, not that it historically precludes. My opponent fundamentally misunderstands the crux of my case. Of course the first government was probably not a pure democracy, or a democratic republic. Granted, we have no clue how authority was centralized in caveman times, but recorded history doesn't help his argument.

On Anarchy and the "Two Aforementioned Facts":

1. Apply my resolutional analysis #1 here. I am not required to abandon sovereignty, just to argue that democratic principles should be prioritized higher than sovereignty. My opponent gains no anarchy impacts off of this argument, because we aren't living in an absence of the monopoly of power in a Pro world.

2. Just because states existed without a democratic system does not mean that they existed with maximum protection of human rights. Note the ground of this debate: since we are discussing priority and cost/benefit analysis, if you don't buy that anarchy will ensue from a simple preference, then you will vote Pro based on the fact that I am the only one in the round that maximizes human rights.

Finally: please extend all of the Locke evidence and Article II of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, as the impacts here go entirely unaddressed (essentially, the political philosophy portion of this debate has been disregarded entirely by Con). The nature of this debate is directly based on a cost/benefit analysis of priority, not on a world in which sovereignty is sacrificed in order to achieve pure democracies. Bottom line: political self-actualization is a fundamental right (see Article II). Sovereignty is not at the point where it can easily lead to power abuses, which it obviously can in the real, current world.
Clockwork

Con

I'm under serious time contraints so I'll try to make this as consise as possible:

My advocacy rests upon two main points:

1. Sovereignty must necessarily established to uphold the validity of the state and to keep the peace, and

2. Sovereignty cannot be partially upheld.

By definition, sovereigns have "supreme, independent authority over a territory." Through this we realize that sovereignty is an all-or-nothing game. Only once sovereignty is established, in full, can democracy be institutionalized. This refutes the Affirmative's philosphical arguments through pragmatic reasoning: although citizens should be represented under a just form of government, certain prerequisites must be made before such a government can develop. Sovereignty is one of these prerequisites.

Disregard my opponent's assertion that her advocacy maximizes human rights, as I have already stated that sovereignty and democracy are not in direct conflict, under the theory of popular sovereignty. This lack of conflict was not addressed by my opponent.

In summary, sovereignty must be constantly upheld, it its full, to prevent the dissoltion of the state. Only once sovereignty is established can democracy take root. Previous contentions addressing the issue that democracy has never spontaneously arisen served to illustrate the point that a sovereign power must be able to keep the peace and regulate the democratic process before democracy can take root. If sovereignty is not upheld, democracy will collapse.

Because there is no variant degrees in which sovereignty can be upheld, sovereignty must always be upheld to its fullest, while varying degrees of democracy can produce a stable state (pure democracy, representative democracy, etc). Sovereignty nessecarily takes precedence.
Debate Round No. 2
alto2osu

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response. RD 2 order.

Con's 1:

First of all, what keeps the peace in the case of a democratic state is the social contract. While the government has a monopoly on violence it only possesses that monopoly because the people gave it power to do so. Sovereign non-democratic states can't keep peace for 2 reasons:

1. If the state is unjust, then most of the time there is internal conflict, like civil wars and genocide.
2. If the state is unjust, then it keeps the peace through fear mongering. That clearly violates a number of fundamental human rights.

Con's 2:

In my still unrefuted resolutional analysis, I state that I am not required to advocate only one concept. The resolution specifically limits the debate to prioritization. While I acknowledge the importance of sovereignty, I am arguing that the promotion of democratic ideals is *more* important to a healthy, just state.

On Sovereignty As Prerequisite:

Sovereignty might have been a prerequisite of a democratic state when no governments existed (and I say this loosely, insofar as some guy had to "take charge" and suggest democratic rule), but if my opponent wants to examine the pragmatics of the issue, then he can't claim that sovereignty is prerequisite. Extend my arguments about framer's intent and the current state of the world. This resolution is meant to specifically address nations that do not operate under the notion of a democracy, but that know democratic ideals exist. This is where the two concepts come into direct conflict. Sovereigns are choosing not to allow citizens to participate in the political process. At the point where my opponent doesn't refute this, he admits that sovereignty can easily lead to a despotic state. Hence, you will always prefer a priority of democratic ideals, as they don't have a long history of continuous and severe rights abuses, and my opponent concedes this point.

On Human Rights:

Just because my opponent states that democracy and sovereignty aren't in conflict doesn't mean that all sovereign states are democratic states. This is the ground of the debate, and I responded to this analysis in RD 2. The debate is not about whether states employing democratic ideals rampantly abuse human rights. They generally don't, although no state is perfect. However, in a situation in which democratic ideals or sovereignty must be prioritized, such as in the rebuilding of a given state in turmoil, I am arguing that democratic ideals, political self-actualization, should be preferred, as sovereignty can only be just if it is possessed by the citizens. My opponent mishandles this point numerous times.

Some brief voting issues:

1. Extend Locke & the UN Declaration of Rights analysis I provide coming out of RD 1. My opponent admits not only to the validity of these sources, but to the fact that international law and norms requires us to hold democratic ideals and human rights paramount to claims of sovereignty by a nation.
2. Democratic ideals and sovereignty do come into conflict at the moment where we can observe a sovereign nation that does not allow democratic ideals to flourish within its borders. That is a hefty chunk of nations in the world, hence the resolution.
3. Though my opponent argues that sovereignty is a prerequisite of democracy, this is untrue if we are examining this resolution in terms of pragmatism, which is what he wants to do. If we really want to analyze the origins of democracy, we'd probably find that, in an overwhelming number of cases, such ideals and philosophy was born from oppressive sovereignty. So, in that sense, sure, a "sovereign" regime was needed to make people realize that self-governance was a better option. However, at this point, democratic ideals are well articulated. Since we exist in a world in which democratic ideals are well articulated *and* sovereign states that oppress people exist, prioritizing democratic ideals gives us maximum human rights.
Clockwork

Con

I seem to have a knack for having my responses due at the worst possible time. I'll make this brief.

To restate the definition of sovereignty referenced in R1 ad quoted in R2:

From the Wiki, "Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a territory". Basically, sovereign bodies are those with the ability to create laws and keep the peace through a monopoly on force. The USA, Canada, the UK, and other democracies, as well as

The main issue is today's debate is the fact that sovereignty must necessarily be established in order or a government to gain legitimacy. For this reason, sovereignty is a prerequisite for democratic government and thus must be prioritized above democracy on the same philosophical grounds that democracy is key to a just society.

Voting Issues:

1. Sovereignty and government. Sovereignty must be established in order for any government to have legitimacy, and democratic governments must have recognized authority to alter the law in order to represent the voice of the public.

2. Sovereignty and democracy. Sovereignty is always present within the system of democracy itself, and thus, democracy cannot be upheld above sovereignty even within a democratic system. Democracy holds no legitimate authority without sovereignty, and democracies can not apply the will of the people if they do not have a recognized authority to create and enforce laws.

3. Sovereignty "degrees". As sovereignty is "supreme, independent authority over a territory", states are either sovereign or lacking government. Sovereignty must ALWAYS be maintained and promoted to its full if democracy has any chance of taking hold. Pro's analysis in respects to this aspect of the resolution is flawed. The resolution specifically deals with sovereignty, and as sovereignty cannot be upheld partially, it naturally takes precedence in today's debate. While justice can be maintained through any number of varying degrees of democracy or other forms of government, sovereignty must always be upheld to its highest and only capacity.

Thank you for your time.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by alto2osu 7 years ago
alto2osu
I do tend to tell people to read stuff on this website :) However, I never tell them to vote for me specifically. I'm not particularly happy that they aren't leaving RFD's though :\ I find that not leaving one is an illegit way to vote.
Posted by Clockwork 7 years ago
Clockwork
There are quite a few Oregonites voting on this debate =)
Posted by alto2osu 7 years ago
alto2osu
I agree on the 4K thing. I suppose it's an exercise in word economy and all, but it's hard to make a really good debate out of this topic in that amount of characters.
Posted by Clockwork 7 years ago
Clockwork
The 4K character limit is extremely frustrating. I intend to give my points a better focus next round, but I needed to introduce my stance on the issue R1.
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Vote Placed by Nathan.fraly 7 years ago
Nathan.fraly
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LadyHavok13
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Clockwork
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