Resolved: American democracy best promotes man's most important values.
Debate Rounds (3)
"We hold these truths to be self- evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…" (The Declaration of Independence) I believe that the point our forefathers were trying to convey here is one of which exposes our basic rights. Our basic rights as people, as humans, as Americans. When they initially dampened their quills with the ink; the very blood of this country that defines what it means to be a free person still today, they wanted to constitute a government that would last as one that produces a fair and just society for the people. And so, democracy was born. By definition, democracy is "A form of government exercised either directly by the people or through their elected representatives; rule by the majority; the practice of legal, political, or social equality." The last definition says it all. Democracy in America is established to provide social equality. The principle that the decisions that you make, and the things you do directly affect you and you alone. In a democratic society such as ours, your wealth, your success, your job, and your future are truly only restrained by the ambition you possess. This clearly represents the values of Americans. These rights all circulate around freedom; the most palpable right that we possess. Freedom in American democracy is like no other value to be found. Freedom entails within us the ability to do as we please so long as it is the greater good. It grants us the right to vote for whom we desire to lead us, or it can present us with the right to become these esteemed leaders. It grants us the right to prosper and to retain our wealth and what we can afford. We can also thank freedom for the right to speak our minds and voice our thoughts as we are right now. In order to defeat my present case my opponent will be challenged to disprove that freedom is the most important value and furthermore that no other form of government can provide freedom to the same degree that American democracy does. It is for all these reasons that I argue in affirmation of the resolution, "Resolved: American democracy best promotes man's most important values." Thank you.
->the political orientation of those who favor government by the people or by their elected representatives
->a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them
->majority rule: the doctrine that the numerical majority of an organized group can make decisions binding on the whole group
While this is perhaps lacking descriptive detail regarding the specifics of how this system is enacted in the United States, taken together these three form the essence of our system.
Pro asserts that "legal, political, or social equality" are central to a democratic system; however this is not necessarily the case. The only thing required by the descriptor "democracy" is that every qualified citizen
receives a vote of equal weight to the vote of every other citizen in elections. Equality does not necessarily follow from this. Nor does freedom for that matter, though my opponent claims as much.
He further asserts that freedom is the most important value, and that to win this debate I must devalue it. However, that is not necessary. All I need to do is show how American Democracy does NOT in fact uphold or maximize freedom and I have made my case. I will argue on both theoretical and empirical grounds.
My given definition of Democracy, more so than my opponent's, highlights its most glaring defect: the ability of the majority to oppress, abuse, and indeed, enslave, the minority. In a Democracy without adequate protection of rights, any group sufficiently large can perpetrate any injustice they please on any minority group simply by virtue of their superior numbers. Whites can vote to enslave blacks. Straights can vote to make gay sex illegal. The working and middle class can claim the so called "excess" wealth of the rich to serve their own needs. Indeed, in the history of the US all these things have happened. Whether you believe they are right or not, these are restrictions of freedom imposed on some individuals by others. Thus on theoretical grounds alone, Democracy fails to uphold freedom to the highest degree possible.
Of course, US-style democracy does include many provisions for the protection of individual rights against invasive majorities. So perhaps the pitfalls of the pure theory have been avoided?
There are a disturbing number of examples where individual liberties are curbed by the "will of the majority"- let me give you just a few, ranging from the absurd to the distressing:
Gay Marriage Ban:
Restrictions on Abortion:
Restrictions on manner of dress (or undress :P):
This one especially makes me lol, though I doubt the laws were actually passed:
Note also that these are only social freedoms being restricted currently. Each of these activities potentially harms ONLY the person choosing to engage in the given activity and not anyone who hasn't chosen to accept the risks involved. There are also many additional freedoms in the economic sphere that are severely restricted (see: taxes, anti-trust laws, minimum wage laws...). There were also many more restrictions on freedom in the past (see: women's suffrage movement, slavery, eugenics). All the product of "American Democracy". Clearly, while freedom may be an ideal given much attention in our history and in our rhetoric, in practice our government completely fails in managing to uphold it.
I agree of course, that freedom cannot be entirely unrestricted in order for society to function. Certain restrictions on absolute freedom actually serve to increase the range of options available to every member of the population and thereby increase freedom overall. The restrictions falling under this category are commonly expressed in terms of the "Harm Principle" advocated by John Stuart Mill:
"That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others." 
Now, very few people would actually disagree with this statement; however "harm" can be (and is) construed in many ways to suit many purposes. If two people disagree on what constitutes harm (and what constitutes an acceptance of risk) then they will come to different conclusions regarding the propriety of a given law. I find that a more concise and descriptive version of the above principle (or at least a strict interpretation of it) is to be found in the non-aggression principle. As advocated by Murray Rothbard:
"To paraphrase, the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) is usually stated as "do not initiate force or fraud", or "if it harms none, do what you will", or "treat others as you'd like to be treated", or "live and let live". In more detail, "Do not initiate force or fraud against anyone else's person or property." In other words, except for self-defense, don't harm others, don't harm or steal their property, don't break your word, don't try to coerce anyone by threatening to do any of these things, and don't delegate or encourage anyone to do any of these things." 
The US government is guilty on many counts of initiating force against citizens against their will, in addition to seizing property and restricting people from freely chosen actions that do not themselves commit force or fraud against anyone else. In this light it is clear that "American Democracy" has failed to uphold freedom to the degree which it could; therefore it does not best promote the value of freedom.
JacobD forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by belle 6 years ago
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