The Instigator
HandsOff
Pro (for)
Winning
31 Points
The Contender
MoonDragon613
Con (against)
Losing
15 Points

Republicans are inconstant in their defense of individual liberties.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/29/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,087 times Debate No: 3003
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (14)
Votes (14)

 

HandsOff

Pro

Republicans do a decent job championing the philosophy that people should be entitled to keep as much of their own money as possible. They also assert that government should stay out of our business affairs. These two beliefs demonstrate a high regard for personal freedoms. Republicans are for low taxes and against wealth redistribution (or socialism as I call it). They are for letting businesses decide what they want to offer the public, and letting the public decide which businesses they want to patronize. These principles are in perfect harmony with one another. All seems kosher.

But then, suddenly and inexplicably, when the topic changes to freedom of personal behavior or lifestyle, the Republicans lose all consistency in their quest to keep government off our backs. They have no problem telling people what they can and can't do with their personal lives. For instance, Republicans are against the legalization of prostitution, gay marriage, and drug use. They are for the criminalization of abortion. In defending their positions on these topics they set aside their objectivity and point to moral or religious dogma to support their positions. While citing their effort to stave off the "moral decay of society," they are perfectly happy to restrict or ban an array of individual liberties.

If one holds individual liberty to be sacred in principle, his defense of liberty should be applied consistently across the entire spectrum of political issues, and not just those having to do with business and personal finance. I submit that it is wrong for the Republicans to abandon their principles of individual freedom so that they may legislate personal behavior for the sake of morality or public safety.
MoonDragon613

Con

Republicans are not inconsistent in their defense of individual liberties. Now that means I could either argue Republicans are always in support of individual liberties, or they're always against individual liberties. And since they are always against individual liberties, I choose the argue the latter.

Now we both agree that the Republicans, in staving off the moral decay of society, are perfectly happy to restrict or ban an array of individual liberties. They actually do want to go into our bed rooms and tell us what we can or cannot do. So as to life style choices, the Republicans are certainly not in defense of individual liberties.

The question now is whether or not the Republican philosophy towards economics actually a step forward towards individual liberty. And the simple fact of the matter is, Republican philosophy, in regards to economics, does not promote individual liberty. It promotes a rigid class system which actually significantly restricts the liberty of individuals.

As evidence, let's for a moment take the Republican economic agenda and imagine it fulfilled. All social services would be privatized of course. Education would be privatized so only the children of wealthy are privy to quality education, giving them the opportunity to become wealthy. Police would be privatized so only the wealthy would live in communities that are safe. The end consequence?

Well it's true that perhaps the wealthy would have the personal liberty to do what they desire, but the economically impoverished would be trapped by their economic circumstance. A child of factory workers would be effectively condemned to factory work. The Republican agenda, if implemented without moderation, effectively destroys social mobility. And without social mobility, there is no freedom for people to do what they aspire to do.

Therefore the Republicans are indeed consistent. They want all people to behave as they should. Men should only sleep with women. And the poor should live with and interact with the poor. Thus they consistently restrict the individual liberty of people to be and do what they want.
Debate Round No. 1
HandsOff

Pro

You've made this too easy. Where to I start? I'm going to run this topic again to debate a republican on this, but I do like your creativity.

"The question now is whether or not the Republican philosophy towards economics actually a step forward towards individual liberty."

I think you have individual liberty confused with a guaranty of prosperity or favorable outcome. I'll get further into that later.

"Republican philosophy, in regards to economics, does not promote individual liberty."

This is simply a false statement, bordering on an oxymoron. You falsely claim that promoting individual freedom with regard to one's earnings (i.e. his time and therefore his life) does not promote individual freedom. Quite literally, it does just that. What you are unhappy about are the unfounded consequences you claim would RESULT from such individual freedom.

"take the Republican economic agenda and imagine it fulfilled. All social services would be privatized of course. Education would be privatized so only the children of wealthy are privy to quality education, giving them the opportunity to become wealthy. Police would be privatized so only the wealthy would live in communities that are safe."

Unfortunately, the remainder of your argument is based on the false premise that Republicans want to privatize all social services including the police. Not even libertarians want to privatize the police. Also, republicans are not universally in favor of privatizing the public school system. You must have read my diary on that one. Republicans are in favor of school choice vouchers, which do not call for the privatization of public schools. Even if you had been correct about Republicans wanting rampant privatization of everything, you still provided no evidence that privatized services would be less available or less effective than those currently provided by the government. I personally would argue that private charities would provide BETTER services, and to those who REALLY need the help. But that's another debate.

"It promotes a rigid class system which actually significantly restricts the liberty of individuals. ...without social mobility, there is no freedom for people to do what they aspire to do."

Unfortunately you gave no evidence that libertarian policies, much less Republican policies, would create a rigid class system. Had you been able to, you would have still needed to prove that people would be "locked in" to those classes.

"...the economically impoverished would be trapped by their economic circumstance. A child of factory workers would be effectively condemned to factory work."

This remark redundant to the previous, but it is valuable in that it demonstrates how outcome-inspired and emotion-driven you are in your thinking. You come to your conclusions with no regard for right or wrong, truth or principle, or sound reasoning. You are guided only by your own hysteria and unfounded fears.

In closing, your argument is weak at every level. Your are wrong about republicans being in favor of unbridled privatization. Your claim that privatization would reduce the adequacy of social services is unfounded. And you are wrong to imply that any such reduction would be tantamount to a loss of individual liberty.
MoonDragon613

Con

1. What is individual liberty?
2. What is Republican Economic Philosophy?
3. What kind of a society results from the fulfillment of the Republican Philosophy?

Correct me if I'm wrong (which I'm not), but these 3 questions represent the essence of this debate.

(1)
Beginning with the first, what is Individual liberty?
Well since you haven't offered a definition of your own, I'll offer one of mine.
Liberty is the condition where individuals have the ability to act in according to his or her own free will.
Now my opponent has accused me of confusion. Apparently he doesn't believe that economic constraints could interfere with freedom. But the fact of the matter is, throughout history, economic constraint has always been the single, largest impediment to individual liberty.

Evidence / Example: Thinking about this reminded me of Sicko by Michael Moore. Let's take two individuals, one wealthy and one not. Both of them receive health coverage from their employment. Which one has the freedom to walk away if he chooses? We talk a lot in America about "at will" employment where the employee can just walk away any time .... but if your Life depends on the medical insurance you get from your job, do you really have that freedom? If your wealthy, and can afford your own health insurance, then of course. But if you're not, then in reality you are constrained by economic circumstances to stay at your job, even if it is undesirable.

(2)
What is Republican economic philosophy?
Republican economic philosophy is the free market. Free market means the privatization of everything. That is what it means to be economically conservative right? Republican economic philosophy is not about freedom of the individual, it is about freedom of the market. And your right, I am very unhappy about the consequences I claim would result from a free market. Results which curtail the liberty of individuals, which comes next.

(3)
What kind of a society results from the fulfillment of the Republican Philosophy?

What Republicans are in favor of and what the Republican ideology is are two different things. If we're talking about what specific Republicans here and there support, then this would be a meaningless topic. Some Republicans are probably constant in their support of individual liberties. And Some Republicans are not. You would probably agree that the Libertarians in the Republican Party are probably constant in their support of individual liberties. But what we're discussing here is the central agenda of the Republican party. What we're discussing is if there was no Democratic party, or any other party. The Paradigm of Republican philosophy. And in their perfect world, everything should be privatized. And once that takes place, we will have a rigid class system.

Evidence:
There are many general prerequisites for success. The most prominent of which is an education. In general you cannot enter into the middle class without a good education. And if education is privatized, then only the wealthy can afford to give their children a good education.

Now my opponent claims I am being guided by "hysteria and unfounded fears". He has the audacity to claim "you still provided no evidence that privatized services would be less available or less effective than those currently provided by the government." Well, to the readers, I pose 3 questions to think about.

1. In a perfect Republican world, would there be privatization?

2. Would schools for the poor be better or worse without funding?
After all, how much money would schools for the poor have in the free market?

3. If there is a rigid class system, would people be "locked in" to those classes?
Because as my opponent said that if Republican policies would create a rigid class system, I would "have still needed to prove that people would be "locked in" to those classes." Personally I think that "locked in" is the definition of rigid class system. I hope my audience agrees.

Consider these three questions as you decide whether or not Republicans are consistent in their fight against personal liberty.
Debate Round No. 2
HandsOff

Pro

"Apparently he doesn't believe that economic constraints could interfere with freedom."

We all have economic constraints. But they do not interfere with our liberty, because we are free to change them if we choose to put forth the effort. Individuals are free to pursue various methods of self-improvement to make themselves more valuable to their employer, other employers, or their customers.

"Let's take two individuals, one wealthy and one not. Both of them receive health coverage from their employment. Which one has the freedom to walk away if he chooses?"

Both have the freedom to walk away, hopefully (for the individual who is not wealthy) to another employer who also offers benefits. Also, since it is difficult to get wealthy working for others, the wealthy person probably walked away from several undesirable jobs in the past to pursue more lucrative options. He may have even gone without a health plan for a while.

"Republican economic philosophy is the free market. Free market means the privatization of everything."

Wrong. I have a t-shirt that says "PRIVATISE $ EVERYTHING," but again, I'm a libertarian. And even I don't want to privatise everything- just those services which are not absolutely necessary for the government to provide-- military, police, and national defense. But as far as republicans go, they are open to significantly more government control. Most would rather fix the social security system than scrap it. Most would rather reduce the federal income tax than abolish it. They want school choice vouchers, not a privatized school system. Republicans do not want to privatise EVERYTHING. Having to respond to your repeated exaggerations is distracting.

"You would probably agree that the Libertarians in the Republican Party are probably constant in their support of individual liberties."

Yes. Because we want to keep government out of our wallets AND out of our bedrooms. We believe people are entitled to nothing but their freedom to live in safety, work toward what they want, and keep the lions share of what they earn. We believe that no truly free individual is responsible for guarantying a favorable outcome for another. But we are in the minority of republicans, and consider ourselves republicans only by party, and not by ideology.

"The Paradigm of Republican philosophy. And in their perfect world, everything should be privatized."

Where is you evidence of that, even on a philosophical level? The conservative philosophy espouses minimal government, not anarchy. There were times in history when this country was once representative of "their perfect world"-- when government was limited to it's original purpose (the purpose our founding fathers had in mind). Was EVERYTHING privatized? Absolutely not.

"He has the audacity to claim 'you still provided no evidence that privatized services would be less available or less effective than those currently provided by the government.' Well, to the readers, I pose 3 questions to think about."

And again you STILL did not provide any evidence that privatization would be less effective than government. You just asked some questions, the answers to which could be argued either way (and probably more persuasively in favor of privatization). Your opinion might be popular, but it cannot be proved. But this point is of no consequence, because extreme privatization is not an aim of the republicans or their philosophy.

In closing, I will submit that Republicans ARE on the side of personal liberty when it comes to defending our right to keep and spend as much of our own money as possible. This is evidenced by their support of minimum taxation to fund government in its defense of our basic liberties. Republicans also support additional government services (education, welfare, social security), but only for U.S. CITIZENS, and only to those who are truly in need. However, such government-legislated altruism has nothing to do with the principles of individual liberty in its strictest sense. The more blatant inconsistency is seen in the republicans' willingness to toss aside even the most elementary principles of liberty in their efforts to intrude into our personal lives and impose their morality on the rest of society.
MoonDragon613

Con

1. What is a constraint on individual liberty?

"economic constraints could interfere with freedom" (Me)
"they (economic constraints) do not interfere with our liberty because we are free to change them if we choose to put forth the effort." (Handsoff)

The belief that anyone can become a millionaire is what separates Americans from the rest of the world. And I agree, with sufficient effort, most Americans can achieve some economic freedom ....
Now ponder this situation:
You have Bob who is trapped in a perimeter with a fence 6 feet high. Bob, with sufficient effort could overcome this obstacle. If the fence is raised to 12 feet, Bob will require greater effort, but with sufficient effort, could still overcome this obstacle.

In this easily applicable analogy, the Fence inhibits Bob's freedom. The Fence, if raised, further restricts Bob's freedom. But replace the word Fence with Economic Constraints. Yes, with sufficient effort you could overcome economic constraints, but do economic constraints interfere with freedom? Yes, in the same way the Fence does. This responds to the first 2 paragraphs.

2. Does Republican economic philosophy discourages social mobility?

The answer to this is yes. The example I focused on was education. My opponent claims Republicans are in support of school vouchers to send children to private schools. But that's silly.

If we send some of our students to private institutions, then we're drawing money away from the public schools. This then decreases the education of people remaining in public schools. Those who are stuck in public schools with declining resources then face decreased social mobility.

But it's also silly because it misses the point. Education is not the only field. The elimination of the Estate Tax, the decrease in income tax for the wealthy, all these initiatives, for good or ill, decreases social mobility.

(For Estate Tax, see the link: http://papers.ssrn.com...
It's an abstract from MIT's department of economics which modeled different forms of taxation and noted that a progressive estate tax is best for social mobility)

My opponent accuses me of exaggeration, but the simple truth is, the Republican philosophy of lazier-faire capitalism leads to a decline in social mobility.

3. Is a decline in social mobility a constraint on individual liberty?

And the answer to that is Yes. Less social mobility means individuals have less freedom to act "in according to his or her own free will". Is it possible for them to be free through substantial effort? Yes of course. But just because the fence can be climbed does not preclude the fence from being a barrier to freedom. And if Republican economic ideology raises the fence, then it makes attaining freedom more difficult. Therefore they are consistent in their defense of individual liberties. Or rather they are consistent in opposing the defense of individual liberties.
Debate Round No. 3
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
ig two,
Your instructor is correct. A graph provides an easy way to visualize the truth. The libertarian philosophy represents the best of both worlds. Libertarian philosophy incorporates all the good (freedoms) espoused by in each party. Unsubstantiated fear is the culprit in each party's downfalls.

I honestly believe that if libertarians, fiscally conservative democrats and socially liberal republicans got together, we would outnumber the rest. Purge the fringe!!!!
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
ig two,
Your instructor is correct. A graph provides an easy way to visualize the truth. The libertarian philosop is the best of both worlds. Libertarian philosopy incorporates all the good (freedom) espoused by in each party's downfalls.

I honestly believe that if libertarians, fiscally conservative democrats and socially liberal republicans got together, we would outnumber the rest. Purge the fringe!!!!
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Moon,
You make excellent sense when working form the premise I assume you hold. Am I wrong to assume that your arguments are based on the premise that social mobility is a right to which all citizens are entitled? Or can one lack social mobility (because of misfortune or lack of effort) even though his natural rights are intact?
Posted by MoonDragon613 9 years ago
MoonDragon613
To Handsoff

In the context of this debate (although as you said this is not a continuation), I linked freedom to social mobility. Or how much effort it requires for a person to increase his or her earning potential, and therefore ability to act in accordance to free will which comes with increased money or resources.

In some societies it takes a tremendous amount of luck and of course effort to move to a higher social class. And in some societies it takes less. An optimal level of freedom requires a balance of free market that maximizes social mobility while maintaining the motivation to move upwards.
Posted by iq_two 9 years ago
iq_two
HandsOff, your ideological scale is interesting. In my history class, we discussed this topic and my teacher mad a chart with two axises, the x-axis economic freedom with less freedom on the left and more on the right, and the y-axis, social freedom, with less freedom on the bottom and moe on the top. Libertarians would be on the top right, communists would be on the bottom left, Republicans in general somewhere towards the bottom right and Democrats somewhere toward the bottom left.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Moondragon,
This is not a continuation of the debate. I just like want to clarify your position, as to learn something about your mindset.

We all realize that a person with more money or resources has more freedom to act "in according to his or her own free will." It is a result of successfully acquiring wealth, whether by good fortune or hard work. But this is not the same "freedom" we speak of when we speak of freedoms to which people are naturally entitled. If so, it follow that we all must have the same amount of resources if we are all to be equally free. How would you respond to this dilemma?
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
My ideological scale from right to left starting from center. The closer to the center, the higher the regard for individual liberty, tolerance, and self-reliance.

5. Religious Right
4. Conservative Republican
3. Republican (garden variety)
2. Socially liberal Republican
1. Libertarian
2. Fiscally conservative Democrat
3. Democrat (garden variety)
4. Liberal Democrat
5. Socialist
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Fiscally conservative Dems, socially liberal Reps and libertarians should form a third party. What do you think it should be called?
Posted by acas 9 years ago
acas
It is odd to try to define each party's political philosophy as it seems to get muddied along the way, giving way to the inconsistencies.

Dom's like to imagine the government can care better for people than people themselves and Rep's think we can completely sustain ourselves without help. The truth is we do help each other and our accomplishments whether we are bill gates or mother theresa have been attained with help. Now sometimes there is too much help which evenutally stifles growth and development.
I guess both parties are in it for something else, it must be a necessity to survive to keep the myth that they are each unique. Most of us are more alike than different. God forbid that get out in the open. Nothing makes me laugh more than my wealthy democratic friends throwing their kids in 10k-25k a year schools cuz they know the government cant do it. What they say is, "the schools don't get enough money" so they are forced to pay. ha ha
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Another great angle. That is definitely outside-the-box, orignal thinking.

I think that position (giving up immediate liberty to get long-term happiness) is something both the religious and liberal are guilty of taking. And they both want everyone else to be part of their big ideas. The religious want EVERYONE stipped of their behavioral freedom, and the Libs want EVERYONE to contribute monetarily to their ideal society.

I, and my fellow libertarians, do not believe in unnecessarily giving up short-term liberty (beyong the absolute minimum required)for long-term anything. Freedom stays in tact, and the cards fall where they may. Fear of an unknown outcome has no influence on decisions made on unwaivering principle.
14 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
HandsOffMoonDragon613Tied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by Jamcke 9 years ago
Jamcke
HandsOffMoonDragon613Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by C4747500 9 years ago
C4747500
HandsOffMoonDragon613Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Oolon_Colluphid 9 years ago
Oolon_Colluphid
HandsOffMoonDragon613Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Handout 9 years ago
Handout
HandsOffMoonDragon613Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Araku 9 years ago
Araku
HandsOffMoonDragon613Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by SolaGratia 9 years ago
SolaGratia
HandsOffMoonDragon613Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by Patrick_Henry 9 years ago
Patrick_Henry
HandsOffMoonDragon613Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by liber-t 9 years ago
liber-t
HandsOffMoonDragon613Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by goldspurs 9 years ago
goldspurs
HandsOffMoonDragon613Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03