The Instigator
Contra
Pro (for)
Losing
8 Points
The Contender
Wallstreetatheist
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points

Resolved: Barack Obama is not a Socialist

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Wallstreetatheist
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/24/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,291 times Debate No: 19465
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (18)
Votes (5)

 

Contra

Pro

I am arguing that Barack Obama is not a Socialist. Round 1 will be intro, and Round 2 will be the main argument.

Definition of Socialism:
Any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

Definition of Socialist:
A person who advocates or practices Socialism.
Wallstreetatheist

Con

I accept this debate.

I would appreciate the description of Round 3's type of argumentation. Will it be comprised of our rebuttals?

I look forward to an exciting and provocative debate with you.
Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
Contra

Pro

Responding to your question about round 3, round 3 will be primarily for rebuttals and closing.

Barack Obama is not a Socialist. Socialism is an economic system that basically gives the means of production of a society to public or state ownership. Socialism is not a permanent form of government either. Socialism is basically the transition phase between Capitalism and Communism;

Capitalism: An economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

Socialism: Any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

Communism: A final stage of society in Marxist theory in which the state has withered away and economic goods are distributed equitably.

Mixed Economy: An economic system that allows the simultaneous operation of publicly and privately owned enterprises.

http://www.merriam-webster.com...
http://thefreedictionary.com...
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Okay, Obama has not implemented "Socialist" policies or politics. He is not saying the government should eliminate private industries, eliminating Wall Street, and making the government hold all of the property correct? Those who say "Obama is a Socialist" are just right wing loons for propaganda purposes.

http://answers.yahoo.com...

Now, if Obama WAS a Socialist, we would see the Government taking over private industries and the wealth being massively redistributed. Here is the scenario that would occur if Obama was a Socialist and implementing Socialist policies:

Obama would brought back all of the troops from Iraq and Afghanistan immediately and close down the Guantanamo Bay camp as well as give back that land to Cuba because "as a fellow Socialist nation to another" that would be the right thing to do.

Then, Socialist Obama would send the I.R.S. and the F.B.I. to raid Wall Street and its institutions and prosecute the CEOs and Presidents of the financial sector to the fullest extent of the law. Then, the U.S. would gain control of Wall Street's assets for the Government and then for redistribution.

Then, instead of just saving G.M. and the Big 3 automakers from bankruptcy, Obama would nationalize these corporations. Then, large scale works programs such as those from the 1930s would be implemented to repair America's infrastructure and create hundreds of thousands, if not millions of jobs.

http://theageofnepotism.com...

In actuality:

Obama and the Democratic Party he is part of has implemented non-Socialistic policies. They have created the Stimulus program to prevent the U.S. economy from collapsing, which also helped Corporate America's incomes and profits reach record levels. Also, the health care mandate in 2010 that doesn't take place until 2014 for the most part is hardly Socialistic, especially compared to the N.H.S. in Britain which gives all people free, Socialized Medicine (Gov't controls Health Care and Insurance). F.D.R.'s New Deal was more Socialistic than Obama's programs, even though that program (New Deal) was not Socialistic either especially compared to world standards of Socialism. Lastly, the top Socialists in America are not calling Obama a Socialist, but a "market guy" who is just altering the current system of Capitalism that the U.S. has, not instituting a Socialist economy. They won't even call him a Socialist.

http://www.politicsdaily.com...
Wallstreetatheist

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for providing a generous definition of socialist.

Definition of Socialist:
A person who advocates or practices Socialism

Observation 1: I do not have to prove that the United States has a Socialist economy in order to win this debate, because the resolution states that the subject is Barack Obama, not the US.

Observation 2: Since a Socialist is someone who advocates or practices socialism, if Barack Obama is not proven to be completely barren of socialist inclinations or completely without a history of advocating socialist policies, Con automatically wins the debate.



Obama is a Socialist.

Obama has maintained, and actually helped strengthen, the Socialist institutions of Previous United States presidents. By doing nothing to shut down or even to diminish the power of these Socialist institutions, he is implicitly advocating the institutions by making a Socialist decision in the continuance of them. He hasn’t eliminated the minimum wage, a socialist policy of centrally-planned and market socialism. He has done nothing to decrease spending as a percentage of GDP, which has increased tremendously under his leadership. The dramatic increase in government spending is in part due to another Socialist institution that has plagued the United States for almost a Century: The Federal Reserve Bank and the System in which it operates. A central bank is a socialist institution that seeks to influence the market artificially, the opposite of capitalism. A central bank is actually a fundamental plank of Communism. Obama has met with Ben Bernanke many times and has asked for advice in issues of macroeconomic policy and other policies. Obama has continued Medicare and Medicaid, and his PPACA (Obamacare) plan is moving the United States closer and closer to socialism. He maintained the nationalization of the banking and mortgage industries that occurred several months before he took office. He supports public schools on the federal level: another plank of Communism. Public schools are just another example of socialist economics in the United States. The fact that water and electric utilities are government subsidized coercive monopolies just exacerbates this far left economic system, no opposition from Obama there. Obama has stood silent against public goods and common ownership of items from roads to bridges to libraries to several corporations. The federal income tax, the estate tax, and the FCC are all socialist institutions which Obama has done little to decrease the power.

Obama is moving the United States toward Socialism on the economic sliding scale. I will concede that the institutions of a country and its people and values cannot change commensurate and consonant with a leader’s will. However, Obama is fighting arduously to bring us closer to Socialism, so much so that we are already beginning to imitate European Nations, notwithstanding that the US government fulfills the ten planks of communism to varying degrees and sometimes almost in uncanny ways. Obama authorized the federal stimulus bill through the federal reserve, authorized quantitative easing (so far two rounds have been done) over the amount of a trillion dollars, and is the chief proponent of his Jobs bill which would artificially raise employment and increase federal spending. Obama is proposing a greater tax on the rich which is a socialist ideological principle: tax the rich to feed the poor, all the while getting closer to wealth equality. The numbers clearly suggest that the United States under Barack Obama is moving in a more socialist direction and that we are beginning to resemble many European countries. Obama has lengthened the time that people can collect unemployment insurance. Almost every shread of evidence not only suggests that he is a socialist, but that he is directly advocating, practicing, and enacting socialist policies based on his European instincts of socialism.

I will rebut your claims and rebuild my case in the next round.
I wish you good luck.
Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
Contra

Pro

Okay, since this is the final round, it is mostly for rebuttals and any last proofs to support your position.

President Barack Obama is not a Socialist. We haven't heard Obama saying, "Let the Federal Government nationalize Best Buy and the rest of private America!"

Obama and the Democratic Party is still incorporating Capitalist, albeit slightly left wing policies. These policies are not to massively redistribute the wealth, to tax the rich of all they earn, to nationalize all private property, and to have collective farming. I looked and found the ten planks of Communism:

1) Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2) A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3) Abolition of all right of inheritance.
4) Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5) Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6) Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
7) Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8) Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9) Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the population over the country.
10) Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labour in its present form and combination of education with industrial production.

Now, America has A CAPITALIST MIXED ECONOMY, which I said earlier in Round 2 is:
An economic system that allows the simultaneous operation of publicly and privately owned enterprises.

Obama has not been a foe of Corporate America. The Stimulus Program resulted in raising Corporate Profits to record highs, and Obama has put many Corporate officials in Government offices to help stimulate economic growth by having Smart Government working with Private America to have the best outcome of all, because, as President Lincoln said "A house divided cannot stand," and having people say "Government is the cause of problems" is taking out a factor that can help improve our nation.

Obama has instituted less new regulations than President Bush up to this point in the presidency. Plus, Obama's regulations have cost less than other Republican presidents', about $8 billion compared to Reagan's 1988 $16 billion.

Also, to help wrap this up:
- Obama has been supportive of Capitalist America, and liberals such as him are supporters of Private Property rights and Capitalism
- Obama has called for a tax of 39.6% on the wealthy (Clinton era levels), not much if you consider how a Progressive tax helps society when implemented the right way
- The estate tax does not "eliminate all inheritance" but allows rich inheritors to need to work some to make the nation more progressive and equal, and prevents us from fully relying on our parents for money
- Obama hasn't called for ending private property rights, liberals and him support individual rights.
- The Federal Reserve maintains the stability of the financial system of private America and is needed to prevent frequent recessions/depressions that occurred before the Fed's creation, helps maintain private banks by setting interest rates/ Fractional Reserve Banking
- The Federal Gov't does regulate environmental protection, this is the most I can think of
- Unions among workers are voluntary
- The government has not interfered with this point at all
- We have banned child labor, and have free education. However, private charter schools exist, and Obama supports them as well to maintain healthy competition in education

As you can see by the points, our nation has not become Socialist. We have a Capitalist Mixed Economy, where both the public and private sectors work together in different ways, but the private sector has more influence in the U.S. economy (Government has only 20-25% of total spending). Obama has not supported Socialism, will not call himself a Socialist, Socialists say he is not a Socialist (why abandon a potential ally? I rest my case). Obama is a Capitalist Mixed Economy supporter, the system that promotes overall a market economy with necessary government intervention. Liberals and Obama support Capitalism with necessary government intervention to maintain the law. They are Democratic Capitalists. Now, Socialists say, "Let's abandon Private America for good," but we don't see anybody doing this (besides real Socialists such as Brian Moore). Lastly, why would Obama put Corporate executives in power in the government if he "was a Socialist", who would eventually eliminate private business??!?

http://www.education.com...
http://thinkprogress.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.ontheissues.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.huppi.com...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
Wallstreetatheist

Con

Intro
I would like to thank my opponent for allowing both of my observations to remain untouched [see observation 1 + 2 above].
I would also like to thank him for arguing several Con points quite effectively.


My first observation regarding the resolution stands; thus, all of the rhetoric my opponent uses describing the current state of the economy without reference to change over time is irrelevant. His rationalization that America isn’t that socialist, it’s only part socialist is irrelevant; although, I do agree with him in that the US economy is partially socialist: 24.0% according to the “Economic Freedom of the World: 2011 Annual Report” and 22.2% according to “The 2011 Index of Economic Freedom.”

My second observation regarding the resolution stands; thus, since the Pro has not proven Obama to be free of all Socialist inclination or advocations, Con has already won. But, Pro helps me so much more than just conceding the win by arguing Con points such as: Obama's Economic Stimulus Package, his Health Care Mandate, estate tax, progressive tax, and the Federal Reserve. I think he may be arguing the Con side better than I am arguing the Con side. Either way, thank you for being kind and lenient to a beginning debater.


Signposting
I will deconstruct my opponent's case;
I will then move on to uphold my case;
and then I will bring up some key voting issues in today's debate.


Deconstruction
In his case, I will refer to each argument by paragraph, after the definitions.

P1: "Obama has not implemented Socialist policies or politics."
Crossify my arguments that demonstrate his socialist policies.

P2: "if Obama WAS a Socialist, we would see the Government taking over private industries and the wealth being massively redistributed."

P3: "Obama would brought back all of the troops from Iraq and Afghanistan immediately and close down the Guantanamo Bay camp as well as give back that land to Cuba because "as a fellow Socialist nation to another" that would be the right thing to do."
P4: "Then, Socialist Obama would send the I.R.S. and the F.B.I. to raid Wall Street and its institutions and prosecute the CEOs and Presidents of the financial sector to the fullest extent of the law."
P5: "Then, instead of just saving G.M. and the Big 3 automakers from bankruptcy, Obama would nationalize these corporations. Then, large scale works programs such as those from the 1930s would be implemented to repair America's infrastructure and create hundreds of thousands, if not millions of jobs."
P2 through P5 are hypotheticals which essentially try demostrate that if Obama was a Socialist, then sweeping reforms of a specific type of Socialism (Centrally-Planned Socialism) would immediately take place. My response to this is three pronged. One: the premise rests upon several fallacies. Irrelevant Conclusion, Irrelevant Reason (a specific non sequitur), and Slippery Slope (albeit a very steep and quick slippery slope). Two: My second contention states that, "the institutions of a country and its people and values cannot change commensurate and consonant with a leader’s will." Thus, showing resistance and a slow transition beween political/economic systems represents reality, and exemplifies our nation's transition to a more socialist economy under Obama. Three: Tacitly conceding Obama's socialist principles. Saving G.M. and the Big 3 automakers is a socialist policy in and of itself. A capitalist principle is perfect competition, not the government rescuing select failing businesses. Obama has partially nationalized these corporations; thus, the resolution is doubly negated with the same point. Obama has proposed and staunchly advocated a Jobs Bill that would be implemented to repair America's infrastructure, thus artificially creating jobs while simultaneously increasing the federal debt and federal spending. Triple negation of the resolution in one paragraph by the Pro side? I think it's a world record! Call up the people at Guinness!

P6: "In actuality: Obama and the Democratic Party he is part of has implemented non-Socialistic policies [e.g. stimulus bill, health care mandate, Obama is a 'market guy]."
Direct contradiction is amply demonstrated in providing an example of how the United State's central bank (a socialist institution) has, with Obama's signature, implemented the stimulus bill (artificial economic stimulation via the government check). Obama's health care mandate: Ronald Reagan once said, "One of the traditional methods of imposing socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It's very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project; most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can't afford it." This was spoken during a campaign against socialized health care programs. Obama is a 'market guy': see [Market Socialism].


He helps support my claim of the ten planks of communism being implemented in the US by kindly providing them. I will now describe each plank’s use in the US:

1. The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (1868)
2. The 16th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, 1913, The Social Security Act of 1936.; Joint House Resolution 192 of 1933.
3. Federal & State estate Tax (1916).
4. Government seizures, tax liens.
5. The Federal Reserve act of 1913.
6. The FCC and DOT mandated through the ICC act of 1887.
7. DOL, DOI, EPA, BLM, USBR, USBM, NPS, and the IRS control of business through regulations.
8. Minimum Wage. Seen in practice via the Social Security Administration and The DOL.
9. Planning Reorganization act of 1949, zoning, and Super Corporate Farms, several Executive orders.
10. Taxation to support 'public' schools. Even private schools are government regulated.

Obama has continued these Socialist policies enacted by former Presidents and Congresses. Thus, by not challenging or decreasing each policy, law, and statute’s power, he is implicitly supporting each. However, Obama is more than just a Socialist by default. He has publicly supported (advocated) several of these institutions/policies: 2,3,5,7,8,10 and carried out (practiced) policies and/or bills to strengthen 2,3,5,8,10.
2 - proposition to increase taxes on the rich
3 - proposition to increase estate tax
5 - increasing federal government’s role in the economy
8 - Obama’s Jobs Bill
10 - Advocates federally funded public schools sometimes even at public schools. A primary feature of his 2011 State of the Union Address.

Uphold
My contentions, obervations, and argumentation have been untouched by the Pro rendering the fortification of my case unecessary.

Voting Issues
I have won an evident victory. It is for all the preceding reasons, arguments, and logic that provide the impetus for a con ballot in today's debate.

Thank you for reading, judging, and debating!

Sources

United States becoming more Socialist under Obama:
http://www.thirdreport.com...
http://www.weeklystandard.com...
http://dailycaller.com...
http://www.foxnews.com...

Obama’s Socialist Policies:
http://articles.businessinsider.com...
http://www.thirdreport.com...
http://www.foxnews.com...
http://purplepeoplevote.com...

Socialist Policies of Previous Presidents + Obama:
http://blog.nj.com...

Socialist Stimulus Bill---http://www.news-leader.com...

US government in agreement with 10 planks of Communism (last stage of Socialism) which Obama continues:
http://www.libertyzone.com...
http://laissez-fairerepublic.com...
Debate Round No. 3
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Contra 3 years ago
Contra
Haha, my arguments have improved since then.
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 3 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
'twas
Posted by 1Historygenius 3 years ago
1Historygenius
Was this back when Contra was liberal?
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 5 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
Thanks for judging.
Posted by Raisor 5 years ago
Raisor
Pro - avoid unsubstantiated/ad hom claims like "Those who say "Obama is a Socialist" are just right wing loons for propaganda purposes." It might well be the case that this claim is true, but it is your job to actually show it is true in round- something which would be very difficult to do and will yield you little to no argumentative leverage.

Since Pro did not refute Con's Observation 2, which is a fairly liberal interpretation of "socialist," and since Con clearly showed Obama to be in support of SOME socialistic policies, this debate is a clear win for Pro.

Con's Observation 2 sets the bar incredibly high for Pro - using Con's interpretation of socialism it would be very difficult to prove almost any U.S. president to be NOT a socialist. But again, this interpretation was not challenged so it stands in round.
Posted by Oryus 5 years ago
Oryus
ah, gotcha. That's good to hear.
Well, take care.
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 5 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
The first sentence was a continuation of my sarcastic comment.

I have a debate tournament on December 10th, I have four college applications due January 1st and the grades I have now will be the last the colleges will see as far as admissions, and lastly I have a girl with whom I enjoy spending time.

Debate is a mutually beneficial learning, researching, rhetoric exercise. I'm looking forward to it, Oryus/Jenny!
Posted by Oryus 5 years ago
Oryus
Sounds good to me. But I don't see why we have to wait til January ;)

Although I have to warn you, I don't have very strong opinions on the three things you say you would like to debate. But I'll gladly debate you on them regardless.

Sorry if I offended. Not my intention in the slightest. I joined this site to AVOID trolling nonsense. And I will look into those fallacies for more clarity. Thanks.

Cheers.
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 5 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
I am unimpeachably offended, but I will learn from the grave errors I have committed.

Appeal to false authority, not appeal to authority. That is what the example (high school teacher agrees, must be true) is.
His high school teacher is not an expert on Socialism, Economics, or even Political Science. He may be a good teacher, but he's not an expert. Even if he was, Contra would still be guilty of Appeal to authority.

Appeal to authority occurs when one uses the authority of an expert as evidence for a claim, rather than a warrant.
Expert X believes A, Expert X speaks from authority, therefore A is true. My claims stand and were warranted by my reasoning, with or without the consensus of experts.

"Con had some ridiculous points which could be reduced to absurdity. For example, Con states that because Obama did not attempt to get rid of minimum wage, he is implicitly advocating socialist policies, and is therefore a Socialist.
This is absurd, because conservative George Bush NOT ONLY did NOT get rid of the minimum wage- he offered to raise it if necessary."
A person opposed to socialist policies would eradicate them from the government, or at least advocate against them. Ron Paul advocates against the federal reserve, progressive tax, and socialized medicine for example. If you had read my source, "Socialist Policies of Previous Presidents + Obama: http://blog.nj.com...; and had read my first contention's asserion, "Obama has maintained, and actually helped strengthen, the Socialist institutions of Previous United States presidents," you would understand that I agree with you. Capitalism is dying a slow death in America.

I would love to debate you on any subject, but principly: welfare, minimum wage, and labor unions.
Subsequently, we can critique each other accordingly. We'll do it in January. Deal?
Posted by Oryus 5 years ago
Oryus
gee someone is a little hurt. I hope you'll keep my username in mind and critique me in the future, wallstreet. I feel like a point of this website is to strengthen your arguing tactics by receiving feedback. Here is your chance to learn. Perhaps you can see my arguments in the future and critique me another time.

I never said Contra's sources were perfect- only that they were better. And, in my defense, I never said that Contra gave good arguments- only that the conclusion is correct. Just as I said you gave a good argument (given the truth of your statements)- but the conclusion drawn is incorrect.

I had considered that Contra was using the fallacy of appeal to authority by saying that Obama is not a socialist because his AP gov. teacher said so. But on second thought, an AP government teacher, presumably a person with a degree in political science, is most definitely an acceptable authority to go to on this topic. However, this is not a good reason to bring up in a debate because it can't be sourced. It is hearsay- but no, I don't think it commits the fallacy of appeal to authority. It would have if he had said his English teacher said so or his science teacher, gym teacher, or principal said so.
However, saying that Obama is a socialist because a journalist said so, commendable as they may be, IS committing the fallacy of appeal to authority. A journalist doesn't necessarily have the authority to make such a distinction.
Also, though I wouldn't use wikipedia myself and yahoo answers is basically a website dedicated to comment sections, using a partisan media outlet which espouses all sorts of myths directly related to the person whose political position is being debated- that might just be the most shady thing you can do. It's a VERY suspicious source, especially in the context of this particular debate. That is why I say you have the worst sources by comparison- not to say that Contras sources were impeccable. They certainly weren't.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by socialpinko 5 years ago
socialpinko
ContraWallstreetatheistTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Arguments go to Con because Pro never contested Con's observation 2, making his entire line of argumentation sidestepping the actual point of debate. Because Pro never contested this or even really mentioned it, the fact that Obama implicitly supports things like the Federal Reserve System and government run public schools helps to strengthen Con's argument.
Vote Placed by ApostateAbe 5 years ago
ApostateAbe
ContraWallstreetatheistTied
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Total points awarded:14 
Reasons for voting decision: The identifying quality of socialism is spectral, every person falls somewhere on that spectrum, and this debate did not reflect that reality. I am awarding conduct points to Con merely for the failure of Pro the instigator to make the resolution useful. Pro argued as though the resolution were that Obama is not 100 explicit socialist. Well, yeah, no shiat. Con argued that Obama's policies are, on balance, de facto socialist, which is a useful rubric. Grammar goes to Pro for better formatting.
Vote Placed by Anarcho 5 years ago
Anarcho
ContraWallstreetatheistTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Obama is not a Socialist at all. Anybody that thinks he is has no idea what Socialism is and it does not equal healthcare believe it or not. Also the Ten Planks were outdated, Marx said so himself, any Socialist would know this.
Vote Placed by Raisor 5 years ago
Raisor
ContraWallstreetatheistTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by vmpire321 5 years ago
vmpire321
ContraWallstreetatheistTied
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Total points awarded:24 
Reasons for voting decision: Hmm.. Love the organization of CON.. Sources goes to PRO for using more...COn made better arguments. Nice debate ;)