The Instigator
constitutionfirst
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
brian_eggleston
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points

Revolution is a neccessity for "evolution" of society

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/15/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,309 times Debate No: 5726
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (26)
Votes (5)

 

constitutionfirst

Pro

"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."

"Every Generation needs a new revolution"

- T. Jefferson

I will let my opponent go first
brian_eggleston

Con

Many thanks to my opponent for posting this interesting debate, I wish him well.

He started his arguments by quoting Thomas Jefferson as follows:

"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent," and "Every Generation needs a new revolution".

The former American President could appear, to some people, to contradict himself in these two statements, if they were to be quoted in historical isolation.

Although the average American would probably place the two quotes in the context of their own national history and think of the uprising that led to their former colonial masters being overthrown, and thus consider a revolution a good thing, a Russian may think of their own revolution, which led to a tyrannical regime being installed in their country and would be unlikely to view a popular uprising in such a positive light.

Furthermore, one man's meat is another man's poison. Take the current situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories, for instance.

The Palestinian people have formed armed militias that have risen up in an effort to liberate their land from the military forces that occupy it. To many people, especially in the Middle East, these gunmen are thought of as freedom fighters, yet the Israelis and their allies in the West describe them as terrorists.

Let's say that the Palestinian uprising was successful in overthrowing their tyrannical Israeli rulers (and since the occupation is illegal under international law, it cannot be considered anything else). In this case a revolution would be a good thing, at least from the point the Arab population that has been oppressed and persecuted for so long. To Israelis, however, especially those who live in illegal settlements on Palestinian land, the revolution would not be such a good thing.

Now, in Europe, where a patchwork of nations with long and turbulent histories coexist alongside one another, there are some countries, such as France, whose society evolved to be what it is today as the result of a revolution, and there are others, such as Britain, whose society has never experienced a revolution, yet who seem to plod along at least as nicely as their Continental cousins.

So, we can see that a revolution may, or may not, facilitate the evolution of society, but it certainly cannot be said that such an insurgency is a necessity.
Debate Round No. 1
constitutionfirst

Pro

Thank you to my opponent for taking up the debate I look forward to the opportunity to illustrate my point further.

Deffinition:

Evolution - a process in which something passes by degrees to a different stage (especially a more advanced or mature stage) (http://wordnet.princeton.edu...)

Revolution - a drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and behaving (same source)

I would agree with my opponent that in the context of history definition of whether or not a revolution creates a "better" society depends on what part of the world you are standing in, but I must clarify that what is being debated here is whether or not it is a neccessity for change. Certainly my opponent would agree that even though England has not experienced an innerrevolt as many countries have that he has mentioned they were revolted against by the colonists, English citizens, and experienced a change in governance even further back with the creation of the Magna Carta thus creating a change in peoples understanding of the way they should be governed. In addition the evolution of the English governance into a Parlimentary government came through self preservation that if a semblance of percieved control was not given to the people than it would most certainly revolt, eventually. The British empire also had the "luxury" of maintaining an empire that was world wide and thereby if you did not like the way your government was run you could leave and go to one of thier countless provinces, thus difusing revolution by means of options. Reduce the options and it is much like backing a dog into a corner.

While it is true that certain revolutions lead oppressive and dangerous regimes this only serves to clarify my quotes further. If a society becomes complacent than they are easily subdued and controlled. One of my beliefs as to why it is so difficult for the U.S. to establish a democracy in Iraq is because it was not created through revolution of its own people and people who are not willing to lay down thier life and say I would rather die free than to live as a slave are those who are not ready or willing to create a better life for themselves. Spreading democracy is no different than spreading communism, but that is for another debate. In a war or revolution there has to be a loser and the losing side would no doubt complain at thier reversal of fortune but thus is life.

I will say that revolution creates an instability that can seem uncomfortable and the societies that have longest stable governments and civilizations went thousands of years without revolt, such as Egypt, China, Rome, Greece etc. However the greatest advancements have happened when in an unstable environment. As a global society we are evolving to changing conditions however the conditions always over time without revolt lead to a seperation between those with money and those without and usually on a level that the very few control the majority. (In this country 1% control 20% of the wealth and the top 20% control 80% of the wealth) This is a powder keg waiting for a spark of disenfranchisement to create a catalyst for revolution.

With the current condition of the economy that spark may have arrived as the curtain has dropped on how little control we have on our own lives. Complacency and living well has been the norm for the majority so the divide has been acceptable as we were able to progress. Now that those with the power (wealth) have destroyed that people are angry and that anger can turn to a radical movement that will precipitate a revolution whether violent or through civil disobedience.
brian_eggleston

Con

Now I see what my opponent was driving at – the wealth of nations such as the United States is not distributed even remotely evenly amongst the population – a huge proportion of the country's assets are owned by a tiny number of incredibly rich people and this imbalance between rich and poor can destabilise society to the point where a revolution may ensue.

To a point, I agree with this analysis. Indeed, I recently made a similar argument myself.

http://www.debate.org...

However, I am losing this debate because, in the case of developed countries, it would be difficult to muster sufficient support to affect such a coup d'�tat. The reason is that, while people can see the moral injustice of so few owning so much, the majority of people would feel they have too much to lose if the revolution was either unsuccessful, or the redistribution of wealth caused major economic problems.

In the US, for example, even the blue-collar workers lead comfortable lives, even compared to their cousins in Western Europe. Since the 1960's the average factory worker in America has been able to afford to live in a relatively large, well-equipped house and keep a decent car on the road.

Contrast that to my own experience of growing up in the industrial north east of England. Our first family home was the ground floor of a terraced house. It had two rooms – a bedroom and a living room with a small scullery. There was no bathroom or kitchen, no hot running water and we had to share an outside toilet with our neighbours upstairs.

Then the government closed down the shipyards that my father and tens of thousands of other people worked in and things got even worse. However, instead of rebelling, my family, along with countless others, simply moved away in search of a better life.

In reality, only the most dispossessed members of society would take an active role in deposing a democratically elected government and that would not be sufficient to make the venture a success.

However, that is not to say the country will not evolve. I believe that in America and Europe, given the current economic situation and meltdown of the finance industry, capitalism in its present form has become discredited.

Ordinary people in the street are asking why, in a laissez-faire system of governance, are trillions of dollars of taxpayers' money being used to bail out private financial institutions that have failed as a result of the greed and incompetence of their management? Why aren't they allowed to go bust so that more reputable and prudent banks can take over their business? Why capitalise the profits but nationalise the losses?

This sea-change in the public mood could lead either way – towards libertarianism or towards socialism, but whichever is the case, society will have evolved, and although the global financial crisis is dramatic, it cannot be called a revolution.
Debate Round No. 2
constitutionfirst

Pro

I have to disagree with your last statement that we will move toward socialism. Even though our government is buying up the banks and spending like a drunken sailor at the same time and has increased government size significantly under this president who claims he is a conservative, the new president (most likely Obama) will move toward the center in an attempt to bring the country together. We have such a fear here of going toward socialism and the redistribution of wealth because for some reason, the majority of the public believe that if you raise the taxes on the top 5% that somehow it is raising taxes on them, it is assinine to say the least but yet that is what you get when you have a nation has such a declining education system and where only 40% of our population believe in evolution. (http://services.alphaworks.ibm.com...-)

Your other point about complacency is refutable on the basis that when we had our first revolution it was the decision of a very few brilliant men (approx 27%) against the majority (http://www.redcoat.me.uk...). We employed pirates as our navy, drug up those willing to fight for a price and created a situation that forced others into action. By Creating alliances with France (whom many of us Americans shun today again ridiculous) and working through diplomatic means to establish this overthrow of rule by the crown we were able to gain a sypathetic ear in the world. These few were all it took to create the revolution that soon spread itself to France and servend as a changing factor in a great many countries. We did not win through overwhelming force and were considered dishonorable by many British soldiers for our hit and run tactics and use of camoflauge. By creating this war of attrition it is easy to break to economic spine of a greater army by siphoning money overseas and disheartening the soldiers and nations will to fight by not actually winning any decisive battles. (wow how familiar does this sound!) Sun Tsu's "Art of War" covers this in vast detail when it comes to engaging in long lasting wars. Paraphrasing it states basically that if if you are constantly winning it is always going to end in failure if your resources are tied up in the army. (how I wish it was a requirement for EVERY politician to read this book)

So I illustrate that even though the majority may feel complacent to rise up and say enough is enough, a very few who understand that governance is more about philosophy than it is about enforcing laws and dominance can in fact create a revolution. Our hippie movement of the 60's is a good example of the few creating such an uneasyness throughout the country that change was neccessary to ease the divide and bring us back together.
brian_eggleston

Con

Well, I must accept my opponent's point that the majority of United States citizens have an irrational fear of socialist principles – it seems to me that many Americans have come to associate socialism with tyranny and poverty. Indeed, some right-wingers disingenuously link socialism with fascism, pointing out that "nazi" is an acronym for "national socialist". In fact, socialists are diametrically opposed to political parties such as the BNP who have adopted Hitler's ideological mantle. http://www.socialistparty.org.uk...

Neither do socialists want to oppress the people or inhibit creativity and private enterprise, but that is for another debate.

Moving on, it is difficult, to say the least, to credit my opponent's claim that only 40% of Americans accept the theory of evolution. Come on, America is the most scientifically advanced country in the world, who does my opponent think he's kidding? What do the remaining 60% think then? That the Earth and all it's fauna and flora came into existence as if by magic a few thousand years ago? Ha-ha-ha-ha! Still, my opponent provided a link in order to support his outrageous slur on the people of America. However, when I clicked it the page read: "Sorry, couldn't find a resource with id ThgcEsOtha6wUUnJ_hkE2" Hmmm, thought so!

Regarding my opponent's assertion that revolutions are achievable with the active support of a minority of the population, provided they employ guile and cunning and enlist the support of a treacherous truffle-munching, wine-guzzling, Citroen-driving militia. This is probably accurate, but it assumes the remainder of the population would remain passive. In the United States, the people have the constitutional right to bear arms (by which I mean keep a gun at home, not roll up their sleeves) and it is likely that many would exercise this right. The net result of this would be civil war, not revolution.
Debate Round No. 3
constitutionfirst

Pro

http://news.nationalgeographic.com...

Here is the link to the national geographic story on the article you seem to disagree with me on.

I think that looking back on history that pretty much all revolutions were fought by a minority. There is about 25% who control, 25% who revolt and the remaining 50% are just complacent. This would probably be because that 50% have families and jobs and are able to get by and do not have time to contemplate such things. I mean if you chose the wrong side you could be killed leaving your family without a father or mother or worse they kill your entire family.

So to say that just because we have the rights to bare arms would lead to civil war is not the case, the hippies managed a peaceful revolution that eventually led into earth day and the modern environmental movement, computers with Steve Jobs, creators of Google all people with those hippie ideals. I mean they give you massages free of charge at work and have worker ownership and are one of the most successful business models in the world!!

While we have had a civil war it would be nearly improbable today because it lacks the geographical boundry of North v. South and these ideas are dispersed throughout the country. Unless everyone came together and bought up South Dakota or some other sparsely populated state and declared itself independant the likelyhood of all out civil war is not likeley.

I believe you guys across the pond have that gentleman that founded Sealand and declared himself indipendant on the sea fortress. Props to him, I suspect Britain allowed it because he isnt causing any harm and he has been there for 40 years now. (http://www.sealandgov.org...)

I have made my case and provided examples, and though my opponent and I disagree on some points we find agreeance in others. We live in a complacent world that has grown fat and sassy while becoming further divided underneath. Seperation of wealth and power from the majority of the minority is taking place around the world from Zimbabwe to Washington, Europe and South America and everywhere where people are affected by the global economy. Lives do not get better and though it affects a majority of the people they feel helpless. Unless they revolt, those with money will not willingly transfer it back for the good of the world, they will force you to feel complacent. Until we realize that wealth means nothing and is only a speculation of value from what THEY say it is worth, no change can be made or will because it is THEY who decide whether to change.

"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation." - Declaration of Independance - July 4, 1776
brian_eggleston

Con

First of all, let me concede that acceptance of Darwin's Theory of Evolution in the US is the lowest amongst all Western nations except for Turkey, where, as it happens, a group of more than 80 people are currently due to stand trial for attempting to provoke a coup.

http://news.bbc.co.uk...

Like many people in Turkey, especially in Istanbul and the Aegean region, these would-be revolutionaries were unhappy with the Islamist government, but rather than rely on the ballot box they decided to take matters into their own hands. They believed they were justified in trying to overthrow what is widely accepted to be a socially backward-looking regime as they considered the removal of the present government would be in the long-term interests of the country.

Their plot came undone, however, when they failed to get the military on their side. Similarly, in a country such as the United States of America, any revolution would need the support of the armed forces. Since all military personnel are ultimately responsible to the Commander in Chief, i.e. the President, the generals would have to support the cause and defy the President's orders.

This is almost unthinkable. Unless McCain gets elected and dies and that frothing nutjob Sarah Palin becomes President and, on hearing Russian troops have occupied the capital of Georgia, gets confused and orders the Air Force to bomb Atlanta instead of Tbilisi, I can't envisage a situation whereby the military would expressly disobey orders.

Nevertheless, I can see that the disparity between rich and poor must be e real cause for popular discontentment, yet the concept of re-distribution of wealth is alien to most Americans. Whereas in Britain, much of the wealth of the mega-rich is inherited, in the States it is more often earned, as was the case of Microsoft and Google's founders. For this reason, the super-rich in America are often admired and people try to emulate them, whereas in Britain they are resented and despised.

For this reason, a second revolution in the US is very unlikely because the military would not support it and the people recognise that it is possible for society to evolve under the direction of democratically elected politicians.
Debate Round No. 4
26 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
Conduct: Tie.
Spelling and Grammar: Tie.
Convincing Argument: Tie.
Sources: Tie.

I simply was not convinced by either side. Pro made a good point that evolution need not be positive, but failed to convince me that revolution was necessary given Con's counter points.

I'd like to offer a suggestion. As tempting as it is, avoid 5 round debates. I understand the desire, since 3 rounds does not seem like enough to cover all the points. However, most voters have limited time, and I personally begin to lose focus by round 4 and beyond--especially when I've just finished reading and voting on three other debates. An exception, of course, would be when the first round or two are used to "set up" the debate, but I think you get the idea. This is just my opinion, but it sometimes helps to know what your voters are thinking.
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
brian_eggleston
Yes, thanks Kleptin, harsh but fair, harsh but fair!
Posted by constitutionfirst 8 years ago
constitutionfirst
thanx for the critique - being my second debate topic it gives me hope for improvement. thank you for the respect.
Posted by Kleptin 8 years ago
Kleptin
Kleptin- Voting as a Cleaner

Conduct- Tie. Both debaters conducted themselves very well. They were respectful both in conceding points and in expressing disagreement with their opponents.

Spelling and grammar- Tie. Both debaters had impeccable writing skills, I am pleased to see that both were such good writers.

Strength of Argument- Tie. This debate started off fairly well, and both parties started to digress from the main point, which is whether Revolution is a necessity for the "evolution" of society. PRO did not fulfill the burden of proof, but CON did not provide any straightforward arguments against the resolution either. It ended up more like a discussion than a debate.

Sources- Tie. Both sides offered some interesting articles. Although PRO offered more, I found that not all of his sources were very relevant/important. Really, a chart on the % of Americans who believe in evolution? This is quite the digression from the resolution.

Promising topic, poorly carried out. No points to anyone, sorry :P
Posted by constitutionfirst 8 years ago
constitutionfirst
I have not been to the Undertow - though I have heard of it, it is not too far away from me. If I am ever in there I shall buy your cousin in law a beer - sounds like he has a pretty kicka** piratical life.

My particular "taboo" food of choice has to be the Cuy in Peru - a nice barbequed guinea pig that taste a lot like rabbit but very succulent if cooked right. I haven't had the stomach to try dog though, don't reckon i ever will but maybe cat...not a big fan of cats, though I suspect they contain many a disease since they consume rodents and i would hate to die of plague
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
brian_eggleston
Hi Constitutionfirst.

It would be a pleasure to see you in London and although it is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in, you will find that your money will go a little further than it used to as a Pound now only buys $1.70, against the $2.10 it did a few weeks ago.

As I mentioned in my other debate, I have lots of family in the Bay area and visit Florida often. My favourite bar is the Undertow on Gulf Blvd., St Pete Beach. Do you know it? It is a textbook pub. Situated right on the beach, it has stunning barmaids dressed in skimpy red bikinis that serve wicked cocktails and great food and it even has a room with pool tables, pinball machines and arcade games. If you are ever down there and see a bloke with blond hair rock up on a red bicycle with a huge parrot called Captain perched on the handlebars, say "hello" from me, that's my cousin-in-law and one of the Undertow's best customers!

I'm normally in your neck of the wood at this time of year, actually, helping my auntie and uncle cut down all the trees that have been damaged in the hurricane season, but I have had too much on here to go so far.

Regarding your point about debates being worthwhile, I concur. You can learn a lot, challenge your own opinions and, best of all, use your skill to argue for something you disagree with.

I'm not sure that Americans are as universally disliked as you maintain, however. At least they are not the most unpopular tourists – that accolade belongs to the Brits. Unfortunately, we often deserve it, which is why, like you, I avoid destinations that are popular with tourists, particularly British ones. For example, Spanish seaside resorts and islands are is really popular with Brits, so much so that if it weren't for the sun you would never know you weren't in the UK. The type of people that go there insist on eating "proper British food, "none of your greasy-Diego muck" and on drinking "a decent pint, not a bottle of Pedro's piss".
Posted by constitutionfirst 8 years ago
constitutionfirst
Hey Brian, it would appear we agree moreso than disagree and that is what is good about a debate forum such as this. It challenges you to challenge yourself many times. I feel that the art of debate is more so about being able to deconstruct your own arguments and force yourself to either more logically debate them or believe a different point of view. Too many people choose sides like a football game and want to win at all cost. I am hoping that in the next election cycle you will see a split in the republican party (and possibly the democrats) that are fed up with the hypocracy they both have been foced to swallow and possibly see a viable third party candidate. Before being for Obama I voted for Ron Paul (since I am still registered Republican) in the primaries. Unfortunately I think for too long we Americans have been to arrogant in the belief that we are the best. It is because of our hypocracy that the world has lost respect for us, not our freedoms and until we are willing to accept that than we will be frowned on.

Nothing is more disheartening to me when traveling abroad than to be looked down upon because I am associated with my country. Due to my slight accent they assume i am some billy bob from the south that is a gun toting bible thumping racist. The good thing is that I have enough eloquance and knowledge to where by the time I am done with explaining my views on life, we have a mutual respect. Sadly I am the anomoly not the norm, I prefer to travel into the depths of a country rather than the tourist spots so I have the opportunity to learn from different cultures. Most of us are more into traveling in tour groups and wearing god aweful vacation clothes and believing that somehow that country lives to service them.

If I am ever in London we need to grab a pint. I think we would have a lot to converse about. Well maybe in a less expensive city...a dollar wont go that far there from what I hear!
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
brian_eggleston
Good point Constitionfirst.

I privately agree with many of the points you made (although obviously I couldn't concede too many points in the debate itself) and certainly the political situation in Zimbabwe is laughable – Prime Minister-designate Tsvangirai wasn't able to travel to an international summit yesterday because President Mugabe claimed there wasn't enough paper in the country to print a passport for him!

In this case, South Africa should fund and arm an uprising, but they won't for fear of damaging African unity (for what it's worth).

Britain can't intervene because she would be accused of trying to re-exert control over a former colony. Furthermore, as it's a land-locked country, the options for third-party military action is limited.
Posted by constitutionfirst 8 years ago
constitutionfirst
"Like many people in Turkey, especially in Istanbul and the Aegean region, these would-be revolutionaries were unhappy with the Islamist government, but rather than rely on the ballot box they decided to take matters into their own hands. They believed they were justified in trying to overthrow what is widely accepted to be a socially backward-looking regime as they considered the removal of the present government would be in the long-term interests of the country."

your right ballots TOTALLY work in places like Zimbabwe
Posted by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
Rezzealaux
"democracy does not evolve into a better democracy it evolves into fascism."

ditto.
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Vote Placed by JBlake 8 years ago
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