The Instigator
crackofdawn_Jr
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
JBlake
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Term Lengths and Limitations

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
JBlake
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/18/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,427 times Debate No: 6567
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (13)
Votes (3)

 

crackofdawn_Jr

Pro

I thank my opponent in advance for accepting this debate.

I am for Term Lengths (we're talking about the U.S.) should be limited as they are presently. I also think that the amount of terms that someone gets to take office should be limited. Both these ideas are already in place and my opponent is arguing against them.

My opponent is arguing that unlimited term lengths and/or amount of terms someone can serve will be a good thing.

I don't like this status quo rule that Pro has to prove his point and Con only has to refute it. In this debate CON has to prove his viewpoint while refuting mine and vice versa. If he and I both fail at proving our points then the debate should be seen as a tie.

As I'm not making any arguments this round or points I ask that my opponent doesn't make any argument in the final part of Round 4 to even it out.

Good luck!
JBlake

Con

Rather than leaving out my final round I will not post an argument for this round, allowing the challenger, Pro, to present the first argument.

I accept Pro's prerequisite for this debate and agree to a 'dual burden'.

Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
crackofdawn_Jr

Pro

I accept CON's proposal for not posting an argument in the first round instead of the last round.

I simple-minded person would say that term lengths and limitations should be in place because the Constitution says so. As me and my opponent know, this is not a good reason to keep it in. So we have to understand why that law was put in place in the first place. Before I do that let me place some definitions:

King-a male sovereign or monarch; a man who holds by life tenure, and usually by hereditary right, the chief authority over a country and people. (http://dictionary.reference.com...)

Dictator-a person exercising absolute power, esp. a ruler who has absolute, unrestricted control in a government without hereditary succession. (http://dictionary.reference.com...)

>It was put in place to stop the rise of a king-like ruler. One who is always in control of the country and will eventually control how the leadership is passed on.

>If term lengths aren't limited someone could stay in office forever. If this happens then they can easily get enough power to change how the government works. We don't want a king and someone who rules a country for life is that or a dictator.

>If term amounts aren't limited we'll end up with getting people elected again and again. For the first guy it will go good until he dies. Then he has a family member that is elected because he acts the same way. Eventually it becomes a monarchy by that one family. As the family line progresses the person in charge will be less and less liked by the people but have more and more power until the people rebel and fail because the "king" has too much power over them.

>The other way it goes is quicker. In this way the person gets control of a larger portion of the military. He will take over the country by force and become a king.

::SUMMARY::

Kings are bad.
Without term lengths or limits that's what we're making.

Right now my argument is short and brief. I mean it as an opening statement of sorts and will go in more details later as necessary.

Good luck.
JBlake

Con

I would like to thank my youthful opponent for providing me the opportunity to debate this most interesting of topics. I wish him good luck in the remaining rounds of debate.

I will begin by providing a brief summary of Pro's position. After offering some brief remarks I will offer an argument of my own. I reserve the right to add new arguments in the third round of debate.

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PRO
Pro's main contention is that term limits stop the rise of a monarch or dictator. He claims that if term limits are not strictly enforced, an elected official could conceivably serve for the remainder of his/her life. This would give the elected official "enough power to change how the government works." Finally, when a long-serving executive dies, according to Pro, he will pass along his position to a chosen heir (likely from his own family).

REBUTTAL
There are several problems with Pro's position. As democratic elections go, without term limits an elected official would only be able to serve by the people's will. Therefore, the only way someone would serve for life is by retaining the good will of the people. Once he oversteps his bounds (for instance, by attempting to "change how government works" or by attepting to install himself as a dictator) he will no longer have the good will of the people and will not be re-elected the following cycle. To simplify my position, an elected official would never have enough power to "change how the government works" because he will always be held accountable by the people.
When a long-serving executive dies, it does not follow that a member of his family, or any other hand-picked heir would inevitably succeed him. If this happened to turn out to be the case, it would be because it was the public will (since the heir would have to be elected in his own right). Additionally, this heir would have to operate under the same principle of serving only as long as he retains the good will of the people.

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I will offer a few arguments in opposition to term limits below.

1. DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES
Term limits place unnecessary restrictions on the public will. Every so often, a competent, popular leader appears. What sense does it make to restrict the will of the people, if that will is to re-elect competent and popular leaders to as many terms as he remains competent and popular? It is inconsistent with democratic principles to enforce such a restriction. Simply put, without term limits an official will not serve beyond his welcome.

2. CORRUPTION
Term limits offer politicians more incentive to take full advantage of their positions for the short duration of their election. At some point, as he nears the end of his term, an official is no longer accountable to the people. The people cannot punish him for incompetence, dishonesty, corruption, or any other negative consequences by the only means at their disposal - at the ballot box. Once no longer accountable to the public will, he is free to plunder the benefits of office or lead the nation to decline.

----------

CONCLUSION

My opponent bases his argument on what he believes to be the inevitable devolution to monarchy or dictatorship if term limits are not enforced. However, he does not offer any evidence to suggest such a course is the only, or even the most likely, outcome. In the next round of debate I hope he will correct this omission.
Debate Round No. 2
crackofdawn_Jr

Pro

Thank you for your quick response.

Here's the summary of what I got from my opponent's rebuttal.

CON
Con's main contention is that with a democratic government this could not work. He says that the people will always have control and change things as they will. He says that because he's held "accountable" by the people an elected official will never have enough power to do anything. He also says that if this long-term serving executive died a "heir" would not be chosen unless by the will of the people.

REBUTTAL
There are several kinks with CON's position.
First off, he claims that nothing will ever happen unless the people want it too. I contend that in the beginning the people will have the power. However, wonder if they like him TOO much? Democracy is a very slow form of government that is very hard on the lower classes. Thinking that he will make it easier for them, isn't it likely that they'll want to give this executive more and more power. They want their lives to get better and they want them better now! How do they do this? Well they got to give the "president" more power. They'll amend the Constitution to give the president more power and the other branches less powerful. If he's a good president, then he won't try and abuse it. However, people have loyalties. He's always going to favor his family, his people, his state, and his region. It's in human nature. It'll start like that and it won't be that bad. Then he dies. The people are sad, and they want another person just like him. Who better to choose than a family member or close acquaintence? This will go on through the generations and eventually you get a dynasty.

Second, people have the power. This means they can also lose the power. If they trust one person too much and decide "Oh, will give him more power. That way he can do things more effectively and help us better and quicker." People have the power in a democracy, but they can easily lose it as well.

Third, my opponent seems to think that the will of the people is the ultimate protection. Sadly, it's the will of the army and upper class that matter most. They have much more power than the lower class. As of now the army and extremely powerful people are mostly on the people's side, but what happens when they split? Like what if the army chooses to support a president over the people because they believe that the president is right and the people wrong? Then you got a problem, and a king/dictator.

Fourth, why are laws put in place in the first place? Most laws are unnecesary for the majority of people. Do most people have to be told not to kill, steal, rape, do drugs, or marry young children? No. Many of those laws are put in place for the stupid people. For things like what I listed the "stupid" people are probably a minority. What happens when the lines become less black and white though? Wonder if even though there's a law against a president serving a certain amount of time, they like him a lot, and want him to do more. They'll totally back this president, but wonder if this president isn't a good person? Wonder if he's just biding his time? If a president makes certain things legal that were previously not, he can then do them without being ridiculed. He'll keep doing it and doing it until he doesn't need the people anymore, he just wants the power.

Example:

An example of a time when this could happen is in STAR WARS. Now I know your thinking I'm crazy, but stay with me. In the series Palpatine gains the support of the majority of the senate through many events. The war is terrible and the people want it to end faster. The problem with a democracy is that it takes time to decide things. They give Palpatine more power so that he can end the war. He then uses his emergency power to get more power by taking out the jedi. He uses the jedi as a ploy to get more power over the clones and more power for his own personal protection. They then win the war and everyone loves him. The Senate supports him and he has an unstoppable army completely loyal to him. Rule after rule, change after change, he takes total control of what was once a totally democratic society.

The war= large war
Palpatine= executive figure
Jedi= political party, one who hasn't done much wrong but can be blamed for problems and used to make the executive look better
Clones=loyal, good-wishing soldiers

<>

Every so often, a clever, and selfish leader appears. What sense does it make for "stupid" people to be allowed to follow him and let him have too much power?

<>

So I'm almost done with my second term of presidency. I guess that means I can kill some people I don't like and invade a bunch of countries illegally right?

<< However, he does not offer any evidence to suggest such a course is the only, or even the most likely, outcome.>>

So you concede that it's a possible outcome. That's why we must stop it. For the average person "such a course [as murdering someone] is [not] the only, or even the most likely outcome." Yet we still make murder against the law.

CONCLUSION

My opponent bases his argument off of the fact the people will never do anything wrong. This is unrealistic and impractical. Humans are not perfect, and thus make mistakes.

I await your response.

*Sarcasm*

CONCLUSION

My
JBlake

Con

My opponent has somewhat mischaracterized my position. It is not my contention that the people will always provide a protection from dictatorship or totalitarianism. There are many instances when the people are indeed powerless to prevent a large-scale coup (although, arguably they how the power to take it back when conditions become too harsh). Additionally, Pro has ignored some important aspects of my position in order to simplify.

---------------
PRO
Pro's position can be summarized as follows:
A popular, competent chief executive will inevitably become a dictator because the people will give him more power as time goes on in order to 'fix' problems. To do this, the people will ammend the constitution. Once this occurs they will elect someone like this copetent executive when he dies. In this way the U.S. would become a dynasty. To back up this claim he cites the fictional film 'Star Wars' (do not adjust your monitor, you read that correctly) in which an elected executive is given dictatorial powers.

RESPONSE
This is in no way the only and inevitable consequence of removing term limits. Pro is forgetting the constitutional, legislative, and judicial checks on executive power.
To begin, the American people jealously guard their republic. It is unlikely that they would reverse this centuries-old tradition. However, if it did become the desire of the people to give an executive dictatorial power, there are many other strong barriers in the way. The constitution of the United States prohibits dictatorship. To amend the constitution requires a two-third majority of the legislature. Even if by some extremely unlikely scenario that the legislature were willing to give up its power to the executive, the Judicial branch still stands in the way. Such an amendment by the legislature to the constitution would be illegal, and the Judicial branch has the ability to veto it.

As we see, it would be a very difficult road to dictatorship. Perhaps more relevent to this debate is the fact that such a hypothetical scenario is just as likely to occur with an executive who IS limited by the twenty-second amendment.

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DISTRUST OF THE PEOPLE
Pro makes repeated refrences to the 'stupidity' of the masses. It is my belief that he overstates the inability of the people to recognize what is in their own interest. Let us imagine for a moment that he is correct, and the people cannot be trusted to guard their own civil liberties; ascertain what is in their best interest; or notice when their chief executive is assuming dictatorial powers. Assuming Pro is correct, there are still other obstacles to dictatorship and totalitarianism written into the constitution and in the form of the legislative and judicial branches.

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LAME DUCK - CORRUPTION
Pro has not addressed this issue, except to offer the sarcastic and snide remark:
>>>"So I'm almost done with my second term of presidency. I guess that means I can kill some people I don't like and invade a bunch of countries illegally right?"<<<

Pro has set up the straw man. No one claimed that anyone would (or could) go around killing or imprisoning dissenters, or that he could illegally invade another nation. It would seem that Pro only offers extreme examples because he cannot come up with a valid argument for my point.

What can, and does, occur with term limits is that politicians take advantage of their position for personal gain while they can. They are not accountable to the people because they cannot be elected to another term. This is particularly true for a chief executive because there is no higher office to which he may aspire. He is free to hand out fat contracts and patronage positions to his friends and supporters.

Since Pro has not addressed this issue with any sort of validity, my argument stands and extends to the final round of debate.

--------------

CONCLUSION
Pro has wasted his second round of debate mischaracterizing my position. He either simplifies my position to attack something I did not claim, or completely ignores them. It is my sincere hope that he can correct these mistakes in the final round.
Debate Round No. 3
crackofdawn_Jr

Pro

crackofdawn_Jr forfeited this round.
JBlake

Con

Out of respect for my young opponent I will not post an argument in this final round. I will, however, offer some things to consider when voting.

Courteous: Pro was sarcastic through most of the debate, then did not bother to post in the final round. His rebuttal consisted of intentional mischaracterization of my position.
Spelling/Grammar: Neither of us had any major mistakes in spelling or grammar. However, my format was clearer and easier to read.
Convincing Argument: Pro either mischaracterized my arguments or ignored them altogether. All of my points remained in tact the entire debate.
Sources: No sources were cited for either side. However, Pro did attempt to pass off a fictional movie as a source for his argument.

For these reasons I urge you to vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
I think Pro overstated the case by supposing authoritarianism could result, and ultimately failed to make a real-world case for that. Had Pro made the case that the name recognition from incumbency leads to entrenchment for unsound reasons, he could have fared better. The strongest case against term limits is that by frequently changing elected officials, the bureaucracy gains power as being the only force that actually knows how to pull the levers of government. That wasn't argued. Con gets the nod both for logic and conduct.
Posted by JBlake 8 years ago
JBlake
First and foremost, fiction is meant as entertainment. If they have an underlying message, good. However, no serious scholar (except scholars of fiction) would ever quote from fiction while trying to prove a real-life scenario.

I agree with you that fiction can be important, entertaining, and can have interesting underlying messages. However, it is not common practice to cite them when you are discussing reality. That is, unless you like getting laughed at for being intellectually lazy. I'm not trying to attack you, I'm giving you advice for future arguments.
Posted by crackofdawn_Jr 8 years ago
crackofdawn_Jr
Some of the greatest literature in the world is fiction. Books are meant to prove a message and to say that message is irrelevant to real life, well my English teacher would paddle you for saying that.
Posted by JBlake 8 years ago
JBlake
Again, works of fiction that, unless your specific topic is related to fiction, are irrelevent.
Posted by crackofdawn_Jr 8 years ago
crackofdawn_Jr
*Meant Romeo and Juliet
lol my bad
Posted by crackofdawn_Jr 8 years ago
crackofdawn_Jr
The Odyssey
Moby Dick
William and Shakespeare
Posted by JBlake 8 years ago
JBlake
Find historical examples, they back up your point better.

Seriously, if you were to attempt to use a fictional book/film in a policy discussion anywhere that mattered you would be laughed out of the room. Try to bring Star Wars up in Congress as a reason why they should not overturn the Twenty-second amendment. Try to use it in a scholarly article. No one will take such a citation seriously. Why should we here?
Posted by crackofdawn_Jr 8 years ago
crackofdawn_Jr
Just because the story is fiction, doesn't mean the morals are.
Posted by JBlake 8 years ago
JBlake
Yes, books and movies both have themes. But when it is a work of fiction it is irrellevent. If you were to get into a debate on the existence of vampires, would you consult fiction literature or film to back up your position?
Posted by crackofdawn_Jr 8 years ago
crackofdawn_Jr
Like books, movies have themes.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by crackofdawn_Jr 8 years ago
crackofdawn_Jr
crackofdawn_JrJBlakeTied
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Vote Placed by JBlake 8 years ago
JBlake
crackofdawn_JrJBlakeTied
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
crackofdawn_JrJBlakeTied
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