The Instigator
Corneliuss
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Oromagi
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

Should we abolish GOVERNMENT?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Oromagi
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/21/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,069 times Debate No: 37985
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (12)
Votes (2)

 

Corneliuss

Pro

Should we abolish GOVERNMENT? An Earth-shattering question that most people don't hear in the course of their lifetime, and would grant a curious student a collective burst of laughter in the confines of a public school... luckily, anarchists have come to be widespread because of the internet. We are the group whose answer is YES.

First, a definition. A government is a group of people holding the legal right to use force within a geographical area.

By definition, it spits in the face of the non-aggression principle. The taxation that feeds government is done with the use of implicit death threats against citizens: If you don't pay us, we're going to come to your house and put the cuffs on you. If you resist and attempt to escape, we're going to immobilize you. If you resist being immobilized, we're going to shoot you, a crime that must be outlawed when the common citizen is concerned. It is moral to request due payment for a service that was provided, as long as the service was voluntarily asked for. However, the so-called social contract of Statism HAS NEVER BEEN SIGNED BY ANYBODY. Statism condems all individuals unlucky enough to be born inside one of its countries to risk being constrained to stay, endure the inflation of the money supply which has nothing to do with them, comply to invasive policies, and see their chance of creating an independent community dramatically reduced, especially if the entire world is a tax farm.

The involuntary nature of the relationship removes from the State the right to order anything from us. But it does and affects every part of your life in the process, reducing your happiness and life expectancy. And it's been a violent, highly manipulative gang of sociopaths for quite a while by now.

The government comes from a past of slavery, a past of intelligence used for primitive ends of power and control. Uga buga. Is money a reason to stay with Statism? Or survival, order? Is anarchy chaos? To me, it seems counter-intuitive that coerced human beings fare better in any sense whatsoever.

I don't think that Statism is a matter of survival or order.
Oromagi

Con

Thanks, Pro

I.

Anarchy is a romantic ideal without much application to the problems of civilization.

Although Pro might consider Anarchy a radical new idea that most people don't hear in the course of their lifetimes, the principles of Anarchy have been around for as long as there have been governments. Much focus and debate about Anarchy arose in the late 19th and early 20th century in the wake of acts of Anarchical terrorism such as the Wall Street Bombing of 1920, the assassinations of Tsar Alexander II, French President Carnot, U.S. President William McKinley, and, of course, Archduke Franz Ferdinand (which initiated the First World War, which in turn set the stage for the Second World War, the most violent event in human history.... thanks, Anarchy!)

I remember when I was Pro's age I worked as a restaurant line cook, where one day the sous chef offered a 30-minute treatise on the advantages of Anarchy. When the sous chef finished, the baker offered his retort in one sentence: "On the first day of Anarchy, I'm going to shoot you in the face." A fairly succinct condemnation of the limitations of Anarchy. Unfortunately, I am naturally inclined towards a more long winded response.

II.

I take exception to Pro's definition of government as overly narrow. Here is Merriam-Webster's definition:

government

: the group of people who control and make decisions for a country, state, etc.

: a particular system used for controlling a country, state, etc.

: the process or manner of controlling a country, state, etc.

Note that control includes a much wider range of tactics than simply force. For most governments, force is neither the first nor the favored method of control. Governments are far more likely to control by persuasion, reward, expertise, legitimacy, reverence, coercion, influence, etc than by means of force. Furthermore, Pro defines force as a legal right. Since the recognition and enforcement of law is a function of government, no legal rights exist outside of government and Pro's definition is circular.

III.

Pro's argument for the abolition of all government hinges exclusively on two of the rather ordinary complaints of every individual living in a community: collective property (taxation) and law enforcement.

Pro has failed to acknowledge any of the benefits of government, although those benefits are manifest even in the text of his argument: public schools, for example, are institutions of government; the Internet is an institution created, defined, regulated, and protected by the government.

Any would be revolutionary has the responsibility to define the means of revolution. Does Pro advocate the violent overthrow of governments or non-violent resistance to government? As a critic of force and coercion, what means absent of force or coercion would Pro resort to in order to abolish all governments?

Any would be revolutionary has a responsibility to define the order of community to be established after revolution. Clearly, Pro would like to do away with taxation and law enforcement, but demonstrates little insight into what life would look like without these institutions. Complaining about government is easy. Constructing a desirable society in the absence of government is hard. Pro sticks to the easy portion of the equation.

Mahatma Gandhi thought about both sides of the equation. So while he described himself as a philosophical anarchist in the sense of the primacy of self-rule, he also advocated for democracy as the most practical means for promoting individuality and self-discipline in the community. Gandhi wisely asked,

"Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control over his own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions?"[2]

Would anarchy, then, restore control to an 85 year old too weak to work? Would anarchy ensure an improved quality of life for a newborn infant? The hypothetical answer must be the same as the historic answer: no.

IV.

Government is correctly understood to be a human adaptation to agriculture. As hunter-gatherer societies begin to domesticate animals and irrigate fields, long-term planning becomes necessary. As nomads start to build houses, protections and defenses must be considered. As villages begin to create surplus goods for trade, property must be managed. As people start to live in larger communities, laws must be laid down to preserve the civil order. Most of these provisions have their ugly side and grate against the human impulse to resist domination. Nevertheless, these provisions have proven necessary to the preservation of civilization. On any scale larger than about 50 individuals, the choice between government and anarchy is the same as the choice between civilization and civil disorder.

"Several archaeologists and anthropologists now argue that violence was much more pervasive in hunter-gatherer society than in more recent eras. From the !Kung in the Kalahari to the Inuit in the Arctic and the aborigines in Australia, two-thirds of modern hunter-gatherers are in a state of almost constant tribal warfare, and nearly 90% go to war at least once a year. War is a big word for dawn raids, skirmishes and lots of posturing, but death rates are high—usually around 25-30% of adult males die from homicide. The warfare death rate of 0.5% of the population per year that Lawrence Keeley of the University of Illinois calculates as typical of hunter-gatherer societies would equate to 2 billion people dying during the 20th century."[3]

Although hunter-gatherer societies did not employ taxation, wealth was distributed on a egalitarian principle: from each according to their ability, to each according to their need. In a modern government, a male teenager such as Pro might reasonably expect to contribute 25-45% of his wealth to the community. In a nomadic tribe, a young male's contribution would have been much higher. A study by Rabindra Chakrborty estimated that a relative tax rate of >76% was required to sustain hunter-gatherer societies through feast and famine. [4]

When we look at experiments in anarchical systems in the wake of collapsed states, we see rapid returns to high violence and high effective tax rates of tribalism. The French Revolution, the Anarchist Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine, Spain in the 1930s, Somalia in 1990s all follow similar patterns of violence and violent redistribution of wealth, followed by invasion, mass killing, and subjugation.

Pro has offered the abolition of all governments as a means of relief from taxation and violence. Unfortunately, in every known large scale experiment with Anarchy, taxation goes up and violence multiplies ten-fold.

V.

Regarding the social contract: the social contract is a political theory, not a paper document, so of course it has not been signed by anybody. Hobbes theorized in his 1651 seminal work, Leviathan, that the natural state of Anarchy was "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short", a state in which self-interest and the absence of rights and contracts prevented the benefits of civilization. The social contract is a theoretical agreement through which individuals come together and cede some of their individual rights so that others would cede theirs. For example, if I refrain from stealing from you, you will refrain from stealing from me. Every time you drive or use the Internet or a use a thousand other examples of Government infrastructure, you voluntarily "sign" a contract with the state to follow the rules in exchange for Govt. benefits.



[1]
http://www.merriam-webster.com...

[2]
http://www.mkgandhi.org...

[3]
http://www.mkgandhi.org...

[4]
http://www.economist.com...












Debate Round No. 1
Corneliuss

Pro

(1) http://www.hawaii.edu...

(2) http://www.peterleeson.com...

With all due apologies for my assumptions in the comment section, I'll start by reaffirming the Pro position on the matter of government. I stand by my support for anarchy. I was short of time for this.

1. Rebutting Con

1) The price of anarchy… versus the price of statism

I'd like to negate the pretension that I would have claimed Anarchy to be a new idea. I was aware in the first place of some of Anarchist history, and I would never deny any part of it; anyway, there wouldn't be a single reason to do so. Con condemns anarchy by bringing up "Anarchical" terrorism without defining how the various acts have anything to do with "the absence of rulers". In case Con isn't as educated about anarchy as he pretends, there's multiple types of theoretical anarchists to counterweight those who dream of blowing stuff up and assassinating aristocrats, including anarcho-capitalists, who strive to advance ideals of complete freedom and voluntaryism. Plus, there is always the event of people using the Anarchist title as a misleading label for themselves. Therefore, to say that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand means that anarchists caused the Second World War is without justification, no matter how many of the perpetrators claimed themselves to be anarchists. What's more, it is a fatal omission to ignore the system under which the Second World War was waged. Statism. Government. I have found an article titled 20th century democide (genocide and mass murder). The author made a compilation of the killings announced by the title itself. You can look up his sources. "Putting the human cost of war and democide together, Power has killed over 203,000,000 people in this century." (1) Perhaps those deaths can be seen as the greatest price ever paid for the proliferation of statism in the world, and things that no Anarchists ever willfully initiated, or conducted. Not by a million.

2) Use of force

I defend my definition of government as being an integral part of my case. I don't understand Con's condemnation of the definition as being circular. The point is that government creates law and uses it to make its use of force legal instead of justifying it under a rational moral examination. Instead of the saying "government has the legal right to use force", perhaps it would be more illuminating to say that government keeps the right to use force for itself. But does government imply the use of force? Let me simply fill you in with why it does. Law makes the state. Since its mandate is enforcement, any individual within its borders who avoids a sentence will be charged with a heavier charge every time, until death needs to be administered, so as to ensure that the enforcement process is consistent, meaning that citizens won't assume that at some point the state just gives up trying to subdue said suspect or offender. Therefore, wherever there is a government, there is a system of law which implies that those who break it be threatened with death, be it implicitly. That supports my definition that government is a group of people holding the legal right to use force; in other words, a hypocritical monopoly of violence. A downside for all of humanity.

3) ?!

Con argues that I did not in my first affirmative does not touch on the benefits of government, before omitting to do so himself. He holds public school as a benefit created by government, ignoring what schooling could be if it wasn't a government controlled entity, and what government actually provides in terms of such a service, or any service whatsoever, which is nothing but enforcing its views. As for the Internet, Con does not realize that people have created it (and that ultimately, government is a conceptual entity), and that it is actually run by the private sector who creates the websites and runs the service providers. Protected and defined by are a meaningless claims.

I am not a revolutionary. I never implied an over throw of government. I simply advocate the abolition of government, meaning that I regard its death as a net positive to benefit from. The question of how goods and services would be provided in an world without government is unnecessary to come justify its abolishment. The simple fact that government is an immoral use of violence initiated by a minority acting in impunity makes it unjustifiable once you come to terms with it. But Con condemns the actual virtue of anarchy by pointing out the fact that it would not improve the life of everyone. First of all, does statism restore control to an 85 year old too weak to work? No, at the very least, not necessarily. Second of all, arguments are often made about the possibility of entirely free market solutions to the problem of providing goods and services, of which security is addressed by the theory of Dispute Resolution Organizations that can work on the principle of insurance. Con misses the mark to justify government on every occasion.

4)

Con starts by falsely implying that government is the only possible system available to manage the trade of surplus goods for trade, and establishes a dichotomy between government and civilization, and anarchy and civil disorder that his faulty argument from effect fails to support, for very simple reasons, regardless of the lengths of text that he put out to make his case. He identifies the state of well-researched hunter-gatherer societies as an indicator of what anarchy entails. He also brings up The French Revolution, an event that did not bring upon a state of anarchy, as well as the Anarchist Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine and Spain in the 1930s, probably pointing at yet more people simply defining themselves as anarchists. The fatal mention is Somalia from the 1990s to this day. The parallel between Somalia's troubles and anarchy is simply not drawn here. What's more, the standards of living have dramatically increased since the beginning of near-Anarchy in 1990 in Somalia. I consulted a publishing written by Peter T. Leeson titled Better off stateless: Somalia before and after government collapse (2) where I found a chart of reliable sources identifying 18 key development indicator findings between 1985-1990 and 2000-2005. It happens that 14 of the 18 indicators showed marked improvement over time. Notable examples include a 21/2 year increase in life expectancy. The data comparing Somalia's progression under the same indicator to neighboring countries does not support the hypothesis that Statism would have made for greater development for Somalia. Those comparisons were essential to assess the true situation. Cases like Somalia and the massive case of Ireland's past thousand year experiment with anarchy, which didn't result in a comparatively worse social order. Ireland sustained itself reasonably peacefully for that period. Con's use of real world examples to show that anarchy can go off the rails is therefore entirely disarmed by the proof that anarchy can also work.

5) ?
Oromagi

Con


Thanks, Pro

Pro has offered the abolition of all governments as a means of relief from taxation and violence. I countered that when we evaluate any historic group of people living without government, the effective rate of tax goes up and violence increases ten-fold.

In his second round of arguments, Pro offered no rebuttal on the question of taxes. Perhaps he has conceded the point. On the issue of violence, Pro did not defend Anarchy as less violent than civilization. He did point out that civilization is also violent. This is not in contention, the argument is a question of scale. I contend that humans prefer to live in a civilization with a 3% rate of violent death (20th Century civilization) vs. a 30% rate of violent death (hunter-gatherer societies, collapsed civilizations).

In the first round, I asked Pro to describe the means by which he would effect the abolition of governments. Pro ignored this. Stating that he merely desires Anarchy as an outcome, Pro skips any consideration of the violence and destruction that outcome implies.

I also asked Pro to describe how a desirable society will function in the absence of government. Pro dodged this question entirely in the second round.

The necessity for Pro's evasion is obvious: Pro is arguing in favor of an abstraction without any desirable antecedents. He can't offer examples of government-free societies that are less expensive or less violent than most governed societies. Civilization requires management and protection, planning and law to function. With these in place, governed societies are typically more efficient than ungoverned societies, so anarchy is quickly replaced.

Pro has not given much thought to the consequences inherent to the abolition of all government. I suspect that he is less interested in establishing Anarchy and more interested in expressing his frustrations with government. We all share in his frustrations, but the burden in this debate is on Pro to demonstrate that a society without government can be free, sustainable, peaceful, productive, and desirable. What are the advantages of Anarchy? Is there a realistic scenario in which Anarchy might be achieved?

I

I raised the point of historical acts of terrorism in the name of Anarchy to refute the Pro's statement "that most people don't hear in the course of their lifetime, and would grant a curious student a collective burst of laughter." People have heard of Anarchy and associate Anarchy with chaos. Like Pro, I consider those individuals to be unrepresentative of most Anarchical ideology. Nevertheless, Pro's persistent arguments against the violence of the state implies that Anarchy is less violent. Ideology aside, history shows that society without government is more violent. In round 1, I quote Lawrence Keely's estimate that the warfare death rate of .5% per year would equate to 2 billion deaths during the 20th century.[1] I also suggested that violence in Anarchy increases ten-fold. Pro counters by crediting 203 million deaths in the 20th century to state warfare: a figure precisely in sync with Keely's estimates. Pro and Con agree that governments are violent. I argued that Anarchy is ten times more violent, a point which Pro does not seem to dispute.

II

I objected to Pro's making up his own, convenient definition of the word Government and offered Mirriam-Webster's definition for the sake of impartiality. Pro responds no, he stands by his fake definition. I guess we'll let the voters judge that one. Pro's definition asserts that all governments only ever use force, including say, the Dalai Lama's government in exile, or the Vancouver Board of Education, or the International Tennis Federation.

III.

Pro states that I omitted the benefits of government. Firstly, my job here is to refute the value abolishing government, not to endorse all governing. After all, I can oppose murder in principle without endorsing potential victims. Secondly, the benefits of government I mentioned so far were civilization, civil rights, agriculture, protection, trade, property rights, planning, management, and laws. Hardly a complete list, but I refute Pro's statement that no advantages were mentioned....what are some of the advantages of Anarchy, Pro?

Pro refutes the value of public education as "nothing but enforcing its views." So, Algebra is merely state propaganda?

Pro refutes that the Internet is a government benefit. The US Military ARPANET network was the primary prototype for all networked systems. TCP/IP (Internet protocol) was originally known as the Department of Defense model. Domain naming and IP address distribution were exclusively functions of the U.S. Govt until the Clinton Administration privatized these jobs in 1998. The World Wide Web was developed at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, a lab built by 12 European countries. Al Gore famously championed the standardization and free distribution of these protocols as a Senator in the '80's. The Internet was the product of government research and inv vestment. . Without regulation and standardization by Western governments, especially the U.S. the Internet would quickly break back down into islands of networks refusing to communicate with other islands of networks. Chinese censorship is a good example of how effectively government can control the infrastructure and policy of the Internet. When an ISP is shut down by a denial of service attack, they don't look to the private sector for relief, they report it to the FBI. The Internet is as much a quasi-governmental public utility as any water provider or energy provider.

IV.

Yes, free markets are institutions guaranteed by the state. Trades outside of state guarantees are typically described using other terms: smuggling, piracy, black markets. These trades often have negative associations because they are rarely free or fair.

Since we are considering the worthiness of Anarchy as a principle of organizing society, we are looking for examples of large scale Anarchy success stories. Hunter-gatherers are sustainable enough in small groups, but we like our technology and hunter-gather ring groups fracture above about 50 individuals. The French Revolution was the birthplace of Anarchical philosophy, but most of its proponents eventually joined government and redefined themselves as libertarians after the bloodshed was over. The Ukraine and Spain are examples of large scale, self-defined Anarchists who quickly fell to squabbling over the means of production until Lenin and Franco respectively overran the experiment. Pro argues that Somalia is in fact an Anarchy success story based on the conclusions of Lesson. Setting aside the rather non-rigorous methodology in the absence of any census data, I would not argue that every government is always better than anarchy. 19th century Sioux were far better off on the plains than on government reservations. It is possible, even likely that Somalia was better off in bands of goatherds and pirates than under the predatory regime of Barre. But if everybody lived as pirates, there would be no merchant ships to raid. And if Anarchy's slogan is "Let's be more like Somalia," I don't many will be persuaded to join in the abolition of government.

Pro suggests Ireland, then, as a thousand year old peaceful and self-sustaining Anarchy. As the scion of an Irish Republican family, some of who fought English rule and died to establish the Republic of Ireland, I find Pro's suggestion a little strange. Ptolemy records that by 100 A.D., the whole of Ireland was divided into 16 nations. I think it can be fairly said that in spite of war, insurrection, and famine all of Ireland has been under some form of government since that time. Furthermore, few Irishmen think of their history as particularly peaceful.

V.

I suspect that pro has given up his argument that social contracts are involuntary.









[1]http://www.economist.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Corneliuss

Pro

Do what you want voters. I'm pulling from this site.

I'm not sorry for pulling out after the debate was initiated. You should be sorry for viciously propagandizing people.

I'm pulling from this debate because I consider this not as a debate, but as an argument with someone who long ago secured the parents and teachers who traumatized him as a child, by extending their propaganda.



Please don't generalize anarchists as avoiders.

To see the farm. Is to leave it.
Oromagi

Con

In an act bordering on self-parody, Pro has absconded and deleted his account. Pro's illustrates my conclusion by way of allegory: like Pro, anarchy begins with idealism, fractures under increased disorder and finally implodes. Continue my arguments from previous rounds, and...

VOTE CON!
Debate Round No. 3
Corneliuss

Pro

Corneliuss forfeited this round.
Oromagi

Con

Con
In an act bordering on self-parody, Pro has absconded and deleted his account. Pro's illustrates my conclusion by way of allegory: like Pro, anarchy begins with idealism, fractures under increased disorder and finally implodes. Continue my arguments from previous rounds, and...

VOTE CON!
Report this Argument
Debate Round No. 4
Corneliuss

Pro

Corneliuss forfeited this round.
Oromagi

Con

Con
Con
In an act bordering on self-parody, Pro has absconded and deleted his account. Pro's illustrates my conclusion by way of allegory: like Pro, anarchy begins with idealism, fractures under increased disorder and finally implodes. Continue my arguments from previous rounds, and...

VOTE CON!
Debate Round No. 5
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by funwiththoughts 3 years ago
funwiththoughts
"Never said that".

Dude, it's right there in the comments section, it's not hidden. Flat-out denying what anyone can clearly see just makes you look like an idiot.
Posted by Corneliuss 3 years ago
Corneliuss
I got squeezed in at the last minute, so my 2nd affirmative really isn't the greatest thing. I guess I've performed somewhat well, but I think I'll be relying on further rounds a lot more than the first two, so if you're having a hard time finding much to put forward aside from your own contentions, note that we have two rounds to catch up. Sorry.
Posted by Corneliuss 3 years ago
Corneliuss
Never said that
Posted by funwiththoughts 3 years ago
funwiththoughts
LIES!

"If you wanted to occupy my debate until the timer blows over so as to avoid the issue, you know I can repost the debate and block you."

Sounds like a threat to me.

Also, how were you "bullied"?

I find it hilarious that you think anarchism is something most people don't know about.
Posted by Corneliuss 3 years ago
Corneliuss
I know I emitted no threats, even though I tend to be paranoid about nastiness.

But don't you try to get inside my head. I'm keeping my eye open.
Posted by Oromagi 3 years ago
Oromagi
Jeez, for a guy so opposed to coercion, you're pretty quick to resort to threats.
Posted by Corneliuss 3 years ago
Corneliuss
If you wanted to occupy my debate until the timer blows over so as to avoid the issue, you know I can repost the debate and block you.

Statism is important to question.
Posted by Corneliuss 3 years ago
Corneliuss
Why did you say that?

I was just wondering if you were still onboard.
Posted by Oromagi 3 years ago
Oromagi
By way of reply, I will quote the wisdom of Corneliuss, taken from a comment posted to this very debate just 18 hours ago:

"Don't bully me."
Posted by Corneliuss 3 years ago
Corneliuss
Are you taking your time knitting your argument piece by piece?
Just letting you know that the clock is ticking and I might have set it too hastily.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by funwiththoughts 3 years ago
funwiththoughts
CorneliussOromagiTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro melted down and hurled accusations with no good justification, then pulled from the site.
Vote Placed by Chrysippus 3 years ago
Chrysippus
CorneliussOromagiTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro was doing reasonably well until he imploded. He did this in his other anarchy debate; I would lecture him on the evils of debate-throwing, but he's gone now. I think the proper vote is obvious under the circumstances.