The Instigator
isaac_mathis
Con (against)
Tied
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The Contender
Capitalistslave
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

The Morality of Socialism

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/22/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 641 times Debate No: 98328
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
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isaac_mathis

Con

Last guy I challenged was a troll-

5 Rounds, no BOP, debating as to whether or not socialism is a moral political philosophy, both in theory as well as practice.

Con- Socialism is immoral
Pro- Socialism is moral
Capitalistslave

Pro

Since you didn't post any arguments in the first round, nor will I. I'm just letting you know, for the first argument I do, I may make use of the entire 24 hours, as I don't know if I will be able to respond tonight. I can within the next 3 hours or so, so if you respond within that time and give me sufficient time to respond, then I can tonight. Otherwise, I'll respond tomorrow probably 18-20 hours from now.

I wish my opponent luck and look forward to debating them!
Debate Round No. 1
isaac_mathis

Con

Firstly, thanks for accepting.

I'd like to start with the standard definition of socialism, to clear up any confusion and establish the base of my attacks and points. Socialism is by definition a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. (Copy/pasted) Now there's two important assumptions I'm going to make, in terms of modern and applied socialism vs. socialist theory: In the United States, and the vast majority of socialist countries throughout the world, "the community as a whole" generally refers to the government or a governmentally regulated initiative. Secondly, most socialist societies in the tangible world put the focus on the economic side of things, so social organization shouldn't be a major factor in this debate.

The second half of this debate rests on the definition of morality: the principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior. (Copy/pasted) I dare say that while there are many philosophical takes on morality and even more religious interpretations, most agree that Locke was spot on when he named the big three: Life, Liberty, and Property. Any infringement of these rights takes away a person's freedom and autonomy, violates the moral code, and should therefore be considered immoral.

Socialism is immoral, because, simply put, it violates two of the three natural rights of man. Socialism destroys one's claim to liberty as it dictates that geographic location puts one's fruits in the hands of the government; Socialism bashes the claim to property as it mandates the forced redistribution of wealth, from the poor to the poorer. These two violations to human rights should be considered immoral, regardless of "intent" or "purpose." Stealing is stealing, whether you're pouring the money into some cracked-up affirmative action program or not doesn't change that fact.

When one is not entitled to their labor and property, this is in most cases called slavery. When this slavery is mandated by a government, this is called tyranny. Socialists lay claim to the property of others simply because of proximity-- this is wrong, immoral, and quite fascinating in my opinion-- under no other circumstances would it be considered sane for a person to claim entitlement to another's property.

Socialism in itself is not immoral, but modern day applied socialism, mandated without consent, is nothing but legal theft. No one is entitled to someone else's property, ever. Socialism is cancer.
Capitalistslave

Pro

First, I would like voters and viewers of this debate to look at the comments where I provided a definition of socialism my opponent basically agreed to.

Opponent's concession:

I'd like to point out that my opponent basically conceded that socialism isn't immoral. They said it right here in their second to last sentence in round 2:
"Socialism in itself is not immoral, but modern day applied socialism, mandated without consent, is nothing but legal theft"

Since this is a debate about socialism, which would mean the economic theory, I think they have just given the debate over to me as the winner. They didn't specify earlier that they meant modern-day applied socialism to be immoral. I suppose I will still offer arguments why socialism is moral, even in application.

Agreement and Rebuttal to opponent's arguments
As a libertarian socialist myself, I would completely agree that government-mandated socialism is immoral, however to prove that socialism is not immoral, I just need to provide at least one instance where it can be applied morally.

My opponent would be correct that socialism violates the two rights: liberty and property, but they are not correct in claiming this for all of socialism. This argument seems to only work when we assume socialism is enforced by the government. Socialism does not need to be enforced by the government, and at least one country who did this without government, was Revolutionary Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939. The type of socialism they implemented is known as anarcho-syndicalism, which synidicalism is considered to be "a form of socialism"[1] Under the anarcho-syndicalism of Catalonia, workers were in fact entitled to their labor and private property(as in owning property for your house) was maintained [2]

In addition, socialism doesn't necessarily mean the abolition of private property altogether, that would actually be communism. What socialism does is transfer ownership of the means of production away from the capitalist business owners, to the workers, or the community as a whole. It makes one form of private property owned by the workers themselves, but private property when it comes to having property for your own house, is still maintained under socialism.

Another form of socialism could be argued to be when all businesses are cooperatives. Cooperatives are democratically-run businesses, meaning that the workers control and own the business and there is no person at the top.

First Arguments
I shall argue that socialism is in fact moral, and more moral than capitalism. In general, it is agreed upon that the most moral form of governments are democratic or republican governments(not to be confused with the American political parties, I'm using democratic and republican in the traditional sense, where democratic means of the people, and republican is descriptive of a government that has representatives). So, why is it seen as that the immoral system of economics is the democratic/republican economy? If anything, it should be the oligarchic economy that is seen as immoral, because you have people at the top whom you didn't consent to having there in their positions of power.

My opponent used John Locke as a theorist on what is moral, and I shall do the same since they will likely agree as well. The idea that a moral government is one which has consent of the governed is an idea most promoted by John Locke and we get many of our ideas on the matter from him[3] All socialist thinkers do is apply this idea to economics. Under capitalism, consent of the governed is undermined, since we didn't get to choose or consent to who the business owners of our society are. Business owners, for all intents and purposes, are essentially the leaders of economies much like presidents, congress people, parliament members, etc are the leaders of government. Capitalism is much like an oligarchy, where a few members of society are privileged to lead the economy, and we did not consent to them being there. So, the specific equivalent of a government leader to a business owner, would be an oligarch, as they are not elected to office.

While one can argue that you consent to your specific business owner when you work for the company you do(as you choose which company to work for), this is not entirely true since the way people are, is we will accept the first job that offers enough for us to live comfortably, or as comfortably as possible. Since we will die if we can't provide for ourselves, we are more or less forced to work under someone who has power over us. This person may have outrageous demands from the workers,and in the past, business owners would discriminate against people of color, and tell their workers not to serve people of color. If you disagreed with this, sure you can quit, but then you're out of a job and can't provide for yourself anymore. If you disagreed with the policy, and didn't implement it, well, you would probably be fired. You may be able to find a business owner who is not tyrannical, but you don't ever know for sure until you've started working for them, and since we don't usually know how the business owner is like, we've not actually consented fully to working for them.

What socialism does, is it makes it that the work-place is democratic. Workers self-manage the work place, or at least have a voice over the business, much like how in a republic, the people have a voice over the government or in a democracy where the people are the government. In socialism where cooperatives are the dominant companies, the workers are the business owners of a business, and each one generally get 1 vote for company decisions.

Another form of socialism, syndicalism, which I mentioned before, is essentially much more like a republic when it comes to economics. Workers elect union leaders, and the unions are the ones who control the means of production. Essentially, the union leaders are much like a congress person or parliament member in a republic. This is also moral, since the people are giving consent to who is in control of the businesses.


Therefore, since I have provided two forms of socialism that are moral, syndicalism, and what I shall call "cooperativism" since it is an economy of cooperatives, I have proven how socialism doesn't have to be immoral. I even offered one actual application, Revolutionary Catalonia, where force was not used and government didn't redistribute wealth or land from one person to another in a legalize theft manner.

Sources:
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...;
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org...


Debate Round No. 2
isaac_mathis

Con

Referring back to my initial argument, I made two important assumptions that you did not refute. Both of which stated that in this debate we would be arguing socialist reality rather than theory-- It's all fun and games to debate as to whether or not a utopian society could maintain a moral, socialist system, but in reality the grounds for debate are altered drastically. This distinction is important for several reasons: foremost of which, my concluding statement does not concede the argument, but simply points at fact-- it is of course not immoral to redistribute resources, which is what socialism essentially accomplishes. Since when is charitable exchange immoral? However, in order to apply socialism to the real world, to regulate this, coercion is necessary. There is no physical way to apply socialism to the real world without violating human rights.

A good example of this would, ironically, be the event you referenced, Revolutionary Catalonia. Force was indeed used to maintain this system, as is stated in the very reference you posted. The fall of Catalonia, which occurred a mere two years later, was brought about largely by internal disputes and a resistance to force. Again, this is in your very source. Citing Revolutionary Catalonia is essentially citing the USSR or fascist Germany, as the "revolution" did not last nor was it carried through with peace. Revolutionary Catalonia suffered from what all socialist countries eventually suffer from: a need for force, to maintain socialist ideals.

The only way socialist theory could ever be moral is if participation was optional, as coercion is an obvious breach of rights, which would be an immoral action. Once again, this debate is grounded in socialist reality rather than theory, as stated in the first round of argument. Socialist reality? Coercion is necessary to either remove those who do not wish such a system or to force said system onto any dissenters. There is no getting around the fact that in reality, there will never be any single populated country or community that agrees 100% on a single socialist policy. That is a fantasy, a utopia-- once again, Revolutionary Catalonia goes to prove this.

In your debate, you used democracy repeatedly as a synonym with morality. This is blatantly wrong, as democracy is most certainly not a guarantee to a moral system.

(Via a previously written essay)

Ten children decide one day to take a trip to the local beach; after several hours of play and a rather strange turn of events, they find themselves stranded on an island in the middle of the Pacific. This island is completely deserted, our ten little friends are utterly alone.
Naturally, the ten children decide to form a perfectly democratic government. All issues are now solved via a popular vote, complete with ballots and an election process. These issues range from how to ration food and erect a shelter to the more subtle aspects of survival, such as how to standardize healthcare or construct a border wall (When the Lemurs send their people, they"re not sending their best. They"re sending Lemurs that have lots of problems, and they"re bringing those problems with them. They"re bringing drugs. They"re bringing crime. They"re rapists.)
Soon, however, this beautiful democracy begins to implode. Out of the ten children, six are boys" this means that by popular vote, all females must be banished from the island. This is perfectly fair; after all, the majority voted on it. The four girls are now forced to float into the Pacific on a raft made of bamboo, duct tape, and masculine ideals.
Tyranny of the majority isn"t the only thing our friends must worry about. With only six remaining citizens, the government has a hard time solving the problem of dwindling rations. Two of the boys call for the privatization of the food industry, two speak of a redistribution of wealth, two call for the proletariat to "seize the means of production." The vote is deadlocked, even after a heated debate.
The last straw for our budding government comes in yet another form of tyranny: a tyranny of the minority. Charles one day declares that from now on, he will identify as a Hammerhead Shark, and is therefore entitled to all the fish caught by the boys. Unfortunately, Hammerhead Sharks are carnivores and can therefore survive only on a diet of steady meat. Charles has a valid point" the rest of the boys must now live off of seaweed and gluten-free rolls.
Democracy, in all it"s beauty, has come to be somewhat of a buzzword thrown in whenever Americans speak of liberty or patriotism. Few know of its implications, fewer still know understand its dangers. As our ten little friends now realize, democracy can grow to be a political cancer rather than cure if left to it"s own devices. Don"t take my word for it, take the Romans. Or the Greeks. Or the English. Or the Spanish, French, Austrians, Germans. Et cetera.

Just because our said socialist society is democratic rather than governmentally regulated, does not equate to this said system being moral. Democracy simply means that if fifty-one people decide it is okay to forcefully take the forty-nine's property, it is justified, as this is what the majority wants.

In conclusion, your two main points of morality are both examples of the natural immorality of socialism. Sourcing Revolutionary Catalonia is a great example of socialism's unsustainable nature, citing democratic socialism as a moral form or theory is full of errors and logical fallacies. Just because the majority of a people vote on the redistribution of wealth, this does not change the fact that there will still be those who do not wish such a system be forced upon them. In order to enforce any form of socialism, in the real world, a violation of autonomy and personal choice is necessary.

On a further note, libertarian socialism is an oxymoron-- as a libertarian I assume you adhere to the non-aggression principle, yet as a socialist one would have to call for the eradication of private property. As stated above, utopias do not exist. Taking away an entire nation's private property would require the use of force. This is a violation of the non-aggression principle, how would a libertarian socialist get around this? Once again, we are debating socialism in the real world, not socialist theory.
Capitalistslave

Pro

Well, I'd like to point out that the topic of the debate is "The morality of Socialism"(not "the morality of the application of socialism" and you, yourself, defined socialism as "a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. "

So by definition, we are debating the theory, since you included that in the definition, not the application of socialism. You changed it to the application of socialism mid-debate.

If you want to debate the application of socialism, there are literally dozens of ways to apply socialism which not all of them have been attempted. You can't conclude socialism is immoral in practice when not all of the forms of socialism have been attempted.


I'd like to point out, that just because force is used in some way, doesn't make it immoral. For example, in a capitalist society force is used in order to maintain a capitalist at the top of a company. The state forces people to allow capitalists to own and control their own business.

Socialism is only immoral in practice if you think property is a right. However, what even makes property a right and why do we have such a concept? The native Americans had no concept of property, so why is it necessary for us to have that concept? To have the concept of private property means it puts some people above others. Those who own more property have more access to wealth, and thus purchasing power. How is it moral for people to take property as their own and cause thousands of people to live in poverty? Since there is a finite amount of resources, when someone gains more resources under their control, naturally, someone has to lose resources, often to the point where they can barely survive. Thus, when this happens, it is a violation of the right to life. The right to property conflicts with the right to life in this sense, since someone has a right to a vast amount of property, that means they limit the lives of others.

Force has to be used to protect rights, and when it's used to protect rights, it's not a violation of the non-agression principle. We have to get rid of property in order to protect the right to life. And yes, causing people to live in poverty does take away their right to life, because they cannot afford to have necessary healthcare for diseases or health problems they have, and they then thus die. They may also die from malnutrition.


"A good example of this would, ironically, be the event you referenced, Revolutionary Catalonia. Force was indeed used to maintain this system, as is stated in the very reference you posted. The fall of Catalonia, which occurred a mere two years later, was brought about largely by internal disputes and a resistance to force. Again, this is in your very source. "
I don't see where it mentions force was used in the article. Please quote it or name the section it is under in the wikipedia source. As far as I can see, there wasn't force used in Revolutionary Catalonia. You can't just be vaque in your claims, otherwise they are weak claims.


"In your debate, you used democracy repeatedly as a synonym with morality. This is blatantly wrong, as democracy is most certainly not a guarantee to a moral system."

There is NO system that has a guarantee for a moral system. All we have is a system that is MOST LIKELY to lead to a moral system, and a democratic government generally does. Sometimes it doesn't, but then again, who decides morals? Isn't morality subjective to begin with since there is no objective way to measure morality? Therefore, it's up to society to decide what is moral, so if society decides to vote on something, it's because that is what is considered to be moral in that society. Therefore, a democracy only ever does what is considered moral by majority of people in that society.


As for your example, you do realize that we had immoral things in our government, when we didn't have a democracy, right? We had slavery in our history. In fact, if we had a democracy, slavery probably would have ended sooner since majority of people were against slavery. The only people who wanted slavery were white southerners, who were a minority. The northerners and African-Americans opposed slavery and would have abolished it much sooner than the republic did. In addition, while public opinion is not always what we may consider moral, MAJORITY do consider it moral. What makes our morals more superior to someone else's morals? And why should the morals of the minority be promoted over the morals of the majority?

So, while I said earlier that democracy doesn't have a guarantee for morality, I'm actually now arguing it does. Morality is subjective, so we should go off of what the majority considers to be moral. It is wrong to promote the morality that a minority agree is moral, so we should always strive to promote the morality that a majority agree with. A democracy would do that.

And no, libertarian socialism isn't an oxy-moron. It only depends on what you consider to be rights. The non-aggression principle is not violated when force is used to promote rights. Rights are not something everyone agrees on, for example, some consider it a right for women to be able to choose to have an abortion, but others say this is not a right. Rights all depend on public opinion. If the majority agree that property is not a right, then it's not a right.

And if you say that it's wrong to say rights are dependent on what society agrees to be, then who decides what are rights and why? As it is right now, it's essentially the supreme court of the United States that decides what is a right, as they were the ones who declared abortion a right for women to have a choice in. They're also the ones who decided gay marriage was a right. Is it really better to have a majority of 9 people out of 300 million+ decide what the rights are instead of a majority of the 300 million+ people?

So, I contend that my opponent needs to argue why property is a right before we can determine the morality of the application of socialism. It seems their objections are because of the use of force to prevent private property from forming. Well, if private property is not a right, then it's not a violation of the non-agression principle, and if the right to property does in fact violate the right to life when used in extremity, as I pointed out, then there can be legitimate reason to limit private property with force.
Debate Round No. 3
isaac_mathis

Con

I'm going to go paragraph-by-paragraph and break down each of the claims made in your previous argument.

In my initial argument I did specify that I was referring to the real-world application of socialism. I find it a tad bit strange to debate imaginary concepts, as there will obviously never be such a thing as a utopian socialist society-- any debate on socialism should be grounded in reality rather than theory/fantasy. If socialist theory stands the test of reality then it is of course valid and fair, but stating that according to socialist theory everyone shared and got along and they lived happily ever after is not tangible and will never fly in an intellectual setting.

I am never going to deny that socialism can be applied in inumerable forms, yet I will deny that it is impossible to refute the morality of each and every one of those scenarios. No matter the school of thought, socialism will always hinge on the redistriubtion of resources and eradication of private ownership. It doesn't matter if you're adhereing to collectivism, libertarian socialism, democratic socialism, marxist communism-- if I can prove that the forced removal of private property is in fact immoral, socialism as a whole is discredited.

Native Americans did have a concept of property, just in a different way than modern day Americans. Natives didn't believe in land ownership, but by no means were they against private property as a whole. Even those that monoplized the ownership of land were few and far between. There's a reason Native Americans never got along with white settlers. They saw white settlements as an infringement on Native soil. Even if Native Americans didn't believe in private property, this wouldn't change the course of the debate. Morals don't stem from Native American thoughts/practices.

The concept of private property does not put some people above others, competition does, and naturally so. To say that simply eradicating private ownership will create perfect equality is absurd, once again, there is no such thing as a utopia. People will be born at different levels, physically, mentally, even geographically. There is no way to eliminate competition in the real world, so naturally there is no way to eliminate inequality. This isn't necessarily wrong, it's just the natural order of things, a consequence of biology.

This debate isn't focused on the morality of capitalism. Calling it immoral does nothing to prove the morality of socialism.

The second part of this claim, that when one claims resources it is a violation to another's right to life, needs to be backed up by evidence. Under very few circumstances has one's success meant another's death in the economic world; in fact, most economists agree that the success of business results in an overall improvement in the economy. What you're suggesting is everyone be dragged to the same level of poverty in order to establish equality-- this is insane. Since when has it been immoral for someone to thrive? Claiming that this happens at the expense of others is equally absurd, as slavery is obviously illegal and has been for centuries. The only modern day example of someone being forced to work for the gain of another would be found, ironically, within socialist theory.

You asked to cite where force was used during the creation and maintenance of Revolutionary Catalonia. I have copied and pasted several instances from your original linked article below.

(Before establishment)
"Socialist rule of the region began with the Spanish Revolution of 1936, resulting in workers' control of businesses and factories, collective farming in the countryside, and attacks against Spanish nationalists and the Catholic clergy."

"The growing influence of the Communist Party of Spain's (PCE) Popular Front government and their desire to nationalize revolutionary committees and militias brought it into conflict with the CNT and POUM, resulting in the May Days..."

"During the Second Spanish Republic, anarchists continued to lead uprisings such as the Casas Viejas revolt in 1933 and the Asturian miners' strike of 1934 which was brutally put down by Francisco Franco with the aid of Moorish troops."

"During the Spanish coup of July 1936, anarchist and socialist militias, along with Republican forces including the Assault and Civil Guards, defeated the forces controlled by Nationalist army officers in Catalonia and parts of eastern Aragon."

(During Revolutionary Occupation)
"The CNT and Companys worked together to set up the Central Anti-Fascist Militia Committee, which became the main governing body in the region."

"Just as in the cities, peasant revolutionaries seized land in the countryside and organized collective farms."

"...a larger proportion of them opposed collectivization or joined only after extreme duress.[29] The presence of armed CNT militiamen also had the effect of imposing fear on those who opposed collectivization. Those smallholders who refused collectivization were prevented from hiring any laborers and usually were forced to sell their crops directly to the committees, on their terms. They were also often denied the services of the collectivized businesses such as the barbershops and bakeries, use of communal transport, farm equipment and food supplies from communal warehouses.[29] All of these economic pressures combined caused many tenant farmers and smallholders to give up their land and join the collectives."

"While some joined voluntarily, others, especially in the beginning of the revolution, were forced to join the collectives by anarchist militias."

"According to Ralph Bates: "While there were plenty of abuses, forced collectivization, etc..."

"A number of scholars and writers on the subject of the Spanish Civil War counter that the presence of a "coercive climate" was an unavoidable aspect of the war that the anarchists cannot be fairly blamed for..."

These are all taken from the first portion of the article you cited. If one were to nitpick, nearly every other sentence points to the use of force against those who opposed the revolution and opposed the socialist theory. Once again, I'm curious as to why you chose this as your source, as it goes to further my argument tenfold.

Force does in fact have to be used to protect rights, under certain circumstances. This is the nature of the non-aggression principle? I'm not sure as to what you're getting at here. And claiming that someone's right to life equates to the forced labor of doctors and physicians is also fallacious, as this is slavery. If someone has a right that is not natural, such as a right to healthcare, someone must of course have the designated responsibility to provide that right. This is called forced labor, or, in other words, slavery.

"All we have is a system that is MOST LIKELY to lead to a moral system, and a democratic government generally does." Proof/citation/source needed. This is a very bold claim backed up with zero facts or evidence. And once again, just because the majority decide on a certain path to action does not mean this action becomes moral all of a sudden. Morality is subjective, but violating human rights is widely accepted as immoral. Are you claiming that it is moral to undermine the natural rights of others?

You went on to further your point by claiming democracy would have ended slavery, and that whatever the majority decides is automatically moral. I am not going to break this down, as it should be self-explanatory for any that choose to read this debate.

Once again, the non-aggression principle does not condemn the use of force, it merely dictates the circumstances under which force may be applied. The non-aggression principle is pretty straightforward and is not subjective-- you brought up the example of abortion, so I will apply the principle to abortion. A woman who chooses to abort, or kill, her baby/fetus is applying unprovoked force. Therefore, abortion is considered a violation of the non-aggression principle. This isn't subjective, it's pretty straightforward.

So far your definition of rights have hinged on an appeal to authority and an appeal to the masses, both of which are fallacies in argument and debate. While rights are subjective, they cannot be dismissed because of their subjective nature. Claiming that socialism doesn't violate human rights simply because human rights are subjective is also fallacious-- we both agreed that Locke's three natural rights are in fact rights, socialism violates two of the three, therefore socialism is immoral.

I will now address your final two statements. Property is a right, because everything must be owned by something. Whether this be the community, government, or individual, property cannot simply be neutral. Now, to claim that individual ownership of property is not a right is to say that the individual has no right to do anything, frankly. If the individual does not have the right to lay claim to the fruit of his labors than said individual is owned by the government, corporation, or community that does indeed lay claim to the product of his works.


"...and if the right to property does in fact violate the right to life when used in extremity, as I pointed out, then there can be legitimate reason to limit private property with force."


Once again, to ascertain that other's rights depend on the labor of others is to claim that Person A is responsible for the safety and well-being of Person B. Just because Person A is successful and thrives, this does not make Person B entitled to his labor, time, and resources. This would be known as slavery.

In conclusion, my opponent has declared that socialism is moral, simply put, because if the majority choose to enforce socialist policies on the minority this is fine, simply because the majority's decision is always moral. How is this rational thought? Once again, the entire premise of this argument is hinged upon a fallacy.
Capitalistslave

Pro

I shall first rebut claims by my opponent, in bold will be quotes by my opponent:

"No matter the school of thought, socialism will always hinge on the redistriubtion of resources and eradication of private ownership."
Socialism doesn't get rid of all private property, it only makes it so that businesses are worker-owned or worker-controlled. Private property, such as having land with your house, is still permitted under socialism. Communism has the complete eradication of property.

"This debate isn't focused on the morality of capitalism. Calling it immoral does nothing to prove the morality of socialism."
It is relevant because if I can show that socialism is more moral than capitalism, then it, even if it is immoral to some degree, would be the more moral option because it is less immoral than the other economic systems out there. I believe I have shown that socialism is more moral than capitalism.

"The second part of this claim, that when one claims resources it is a violation to another's right to life, needs to be backed up by evidence."
You only need to look at the percent of the world who is in poverty, and dying from that poverty. In reality, claiming resources has been resulting in these deaths and impoverished people. In fact, 80% of the people in the world today live off of less than $10 a day, and about 50% lives on less than $2.50 a day. [4] Just look at what European imperialism did to Africa, what European colonialism did to Native Americans. All of these deaths were a result of people claiming resources.


As for your claim about the problem with force being used in Revolutionary Catalonia, I'll explain later why force was justified, for I will be arguing that the workers' right to property were violated to begin with, then everything done was justified in order to promote the right to property of workers and everyone.

"If someone has a right that is not natural, such as a right to healthcare, someone must of course have the designated responsibility to provide that right. This is called forced labor, or, in other words, slavery."

That doesn't actually happen though. Doctors are there willingly, if there were no doctors, then it would be forced labor for us to force people to be doctors, but the fact is, we don't need to force people to be doctors. There are always people who are going to be doctors. I'm willingly becoming a specialized doctor actually, a psychiatrist. Just because someone might have a right to healthcare, doesn't mean I'm forced to work. I choose to do so. There will always be some doctors out there who choose to work, and all I'm saying is that we are entitled to be able to use that work in order to have the right of life.

"Proof/citation/source needed. This is a very bold claim backed up with zero facts or evidence. And once again, just because the majority decide on a certain path to action does not mean this action becomes moral all of a sudden. Morality is subjective, but violating human rights is widely accepted as immoral. Are you claiming that it is moral to undermine the natural rights of others?"
Indeed, so no democracy would violate human rights, unless it was NOT accepted widely as immoral. Proof is not needed because, again, you agreed that morality is subjective, so it is determined by what society says is immoral. Why would a democracy choose to do something the majority in that society believes to be immoral? It wouldn't, a democracy naturally leads to doing what majority believe is moral, otherwise the majority wouldn't have voted for that decision. It's just simple logic, when logic is used, I don't see why proof is needed. If anything, YOU should have to show an example of a democracy that did something that majority believed was immoral, because that is counter-intuitive. Plus, if that society does view violation of human rights as immoral, but suddenly voted to violate human rights, then they clearly see it as moral to violate human rights, so they did the morally correct thing.

"You went on to further your point by claiming democracy would have ended slavery, and that whatever the majority decides is automatically moral. I am not going to break this down, as it should be self-explanatory for any that choose to read this debate."
Again, you said yourself that morality is subjective, so it depends on what society a person lives in. When the majority agrees something is immoral or moral in a society, then it is immoral or moral, because morality is subjective, which you conceded it was. So, a democracy naturally would result in people voting on what they believe to be moral or correct, and when the majority agree to it, that means it is moral in that society.


"Once again, the non-aggression principle does not condemn the use of force, it merely dictates the circumstances under which force may be applied. The non-aggression principle is pretty straightforward and is not subjective-- you brought up the example of abortion, so I will apply the principle to abortion. A woman who chooses to abort, or kill, her baby/fetus is applying unprovoked force. Therefore, abortion is considered a violation of the non-aggression principle. This isn't subjective, it's pretty straightforward."
It is subjective. Many people believe we have a right to body autonomy(But not everyone agrees we do, or that it applies in this scenario), which the fetus is violating the mother's right to body autonomy without consent from the mother. Therefore, this is a justified use of force under the non-aggression principle because a right is being violated. The fact you disagree with this, shows that the non-aggression principle is subjective, because Rights are subjective. In fact, the founding fathers didn't name property as a right in the declaration of independence, even though John Locke did. It wasn't technically until the 14th amendment that property was specifically mentioned on a federal level as a right(prior to that property as a right was a states issue).

Moving onto my argument

You originally claimed socialism violates the rights of property and liberty, however, when you claimed it violated liberty, you used one specific form of socialism for this, which is when a government ownseverything essentially. However, there is libertarian socialism and anarcho-syndicalism which are examples of how that is avoided(that was the main reason I provided Revolutionary Catalonia as an example). So I think this debate largely hinges on the idea of private property as a right, since I showed how socialism can be implemented where it doesn't violate the right to liberty.

I shall start with a quote by John Locke, who you seem to look up to:
"Though the Earth, and all inferior Creatures be common to all Men, yet every Man has a Property in his own Person. This no Body has any Right to but himself. The Labour of his Body, and the Work of his Hands, we may say are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the State that Nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his Labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his Property. It being by him removed from the common state nature placed it, it hath by his labour something annexed to it, that excludes the common right of other Men. For this Labour being the unquestionable Property of the Labourer, no Man but he can have a right to what that is once joined to, at least where there is enough, and as good left in common for others." -John Locke, Second Treatise on government

I'd like to point out the last sentence, specifically this part: " at least where there is enough, and as good left in common for others."

So the right to private property depends completely on whether there is enough for other people to have property as well. The fact of the matter is, there is not enough property for everyone to have to themselves because a few people horde large amount of property, only 67.4% of Americans even own property[5] And white people own 98% of all available property in the United States[6], either through their personal property for their home, or businesses owning them. This amount of property owned is excessive, especially since this seems to prevent 33.6% of Americans from owning property, which is a violation of John Locke's ideas on private property, that "there is enough, and as good left in common for others."

Socialism, and the forced redistribution of property is necessary to protect the right to property. The 5 largest land-owning families in America, own more than 9 million acres[6], which is excessive and not necessary for someone to own. To protect the right of others to have access to property, we need to forcefully remove property from these land owners and give them to the workers who own no property. This is, therefore, not a violation of the non-aggression principle since it is protecting the right to property of those who do not own property.

Socialism merely makes it that business property is owned by each worker of that company, which I believe is necessary to protect the right to property for the workers.

I believe I have made my point sufficiently on why property needs to be redistributed, and that this is actually not a violation of the right to private property, but actually protecting the right to private property.


Sources:
[4] http://www.globalissues.org...
[5] https://en.wikipedia.org...;
[6] http://inequality.org...;
Debate Round No. 4
isaac_mathis

Con

I'll start by countering your rebuttals.

Socialism doesn't get rid of all private property, it only makes it so that businesses are worker-owned or worker-controlled. Private property, such as having land with your house, is still permitted under socialism.
I'm very well aware that there are varying degrees of de-privatization between different socialist thoughts, my wording on this statement was a tad bit off. My bad. However, my point still stands-- socialism does hinge on the redistribution and removal of private property.

It is relevant because if I can show that socialism is more moral than capitalism, then it, even if it is immoral to some degree, would be the more moral option because it is less immoral than the other economic systems out there.
Capitalism is not the perfect mirror of socialism. Just because the two are the most widely used economic systems doesn't link the two morality-wise-- proving that capitalism is immoral would do nothing to prove the morality of socialism. This isn't a Is-Socialism-the-Lesser-of-Two-Evils debate. If it were, than your point would be valid. On a further note, if you would like to argue the morality of capitalism I would be more than happy to do so in a separate debate.

You only need to look at the percent of the world who is in poverty, and dying from that poverty. In reality, claiming resources has been resulting in these deaths and impoverished people.
If the CEO of McDonalds were to split his income among every single minmum-wage employee in the business, each employee would get a three cent raise. Fact of the matter is, breaking up the wealthy does much more to cripple an economy than bolster it. Again, this opens up an entirely new debate, but if you take out the pillars holding up an economy, the entire system will collapse. Another statistic: If one were to charge the top 1% wage earners in the United States with feeding Africa, they would possess the resources to feed every other person for a week. Once again, arguing that Person A is immoral simply because they have resources is not logical. They aquired those resources through work, and, of course, the work of others-- who worked willingly for pay. Slavery is of course immoral, but the only instance of someone being forced to work for another person can be found within socialism. There is nothing immoral about success while other's fail. Are you making the claim that the top 1% of Americans are directly responsible for the bottom 1%?

That doesn't actually happen though. Doctors are there willingly, if there were no doctors, then it would be forced labor for us to force people to be doctors, but the fact is, we don't need to force people to be doctors.
This isn't the point I was making. If someone has a natural right to healthcare, and this right comes naturally, which means they don't have to pay for it, then someone must have the natural responsibility to provide this right. If everyone has a natural right to healthcare, then no one should naturally have to pay for it, therefore doctors are essentially slaves who must provide this right. Or, the taxpayer who finances Person A's healthcare is the slave, as he must work to provide this person's right. If the right does not come naturally than someone logically has the natural responsibility to provide this right.

As for your argument that as long as something is democratically chosen it is therefore moral: Three examples prove this theory wrong. Adolf Hitler was elected and enabled democratically, was he moral? Slavery was maintained by democracy in the United States, was this moral? The eradication of Native Americans from the midwest was voted on democratically, was this moral? Again, claiming that the majority is always correct is an Appeal to the Masses fallacy. Society does not determine what is or is not immoral, as society can and is often wrong. This is a strange claim, I'm more than a little confused.

Keep in mind the definition of morals that were agreed upon in the beginning of the debate: the principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.

The non-aggression principle, while not necessarily crucial to the morality of socialism, isn't subjective. You are either applying force or not-- the only tie-up I can think of would be abortion, but as I stated, the fetus has not applied force to the mother. That's equivalent to claiming that the food in your stomach is violating your bodily autonomy, as it is now working against your stomach acids and digestive system. You were the one who chose to eat the food? Just as the mother is the one who chose to have sex, knowing full well the possible outcomes?

Moving onto your arguments.

At this point, I think I have discredited Libertarian Socialism enough, but once again I will give points as to why this is an oxymoron and would never work in the real world.

Socialism requires the use of force to redistribute wealth and resources, pretending that everyone in a given country would participate in a socialist system willingly is living in the dreamworld. Utopias do not exist. Libertarian Socialism does not and cannot work, unless you can prove that it is possible to respect the wishes of the individual while simultaneously forcibly redistributing his property. Your argument as to the morality of redistribution does not change the fact that libertarianism draws roots from individualism while socialism draws roots from collectivism, they are ideologically opposite.

As for anarcho-syndicalism, I'm assuming this is referring to your example of a democratically controlled economy from earlier. Again, this system would rely on the absolute morality of democracy, which I have disproven above.

Your paragraph about property I will break down below.

Your first statistic refers to land ownership only-- this is only one form of property, and as far as this debate is concerned, not the most important. Every single American over the age of eighteen owns at least some form of property. Your second statistic refers to rural land, not land in general. Whites do not own any more land than blacks, yet in rural settings, whites are much more likely to own farmland. So both of your statistics have been misinterpreted, I can venture to say that your final statement is discredited.

In order to prove that it is immoral for some to obtain more property than others, it would have to be true that the higher-ups could provide for the lower classes if necessary. This simply is not true, however. What you are advocating for is everyone be dragged down to the same level of poverty, and then call this moral because everyone is equal in misery. A capitalist society or laissez-faire economy does not curtail development and ownership because there is no need to-- it's not like the United States is running out of land, food, water, anything. There is no need to redistribute property to "protect other's right to life" as there is no threat to the right of life for those with not as much property, no threat, that is, caused by those who have more. The rich do not "steal" from the poor, they simply do not give to the poor. To claim that it is moral to force someone to give up their income is borderline insane.

Moving on to my final argument-- in order to win this debate, you would have to prove that property is not a right, and that the redistribution of said property is moral. As I have stated previously, property is in fact a right, as property is gained through labor. If we do not own the fruits of our labor, we are enslaved to work for whoever does. Whether it be a democratically controlled union, government, or collective doesn't make a difference-- you are still being robbed of what you own. To claim that the forced redistribution of property on a wide scale, that dragging everyone down to the same level of poverty, is a moral decision, is equally fallacious. Person A owning property does not prevent Person B from owning property as well. If Person A works for property, and Person B does not, it is not moral to redistribute this property so that Person A and Person B are equals. This violates Person A's right to his labor, as well as violating the non-aggression principle, which you claim to adhere to as a libertarian. If slavery is immoral, then forcing someone to work for the benefit of another is logically immoral as well.
Capitalistslave

Pro

Rebutal of opponent's arguments
However, my point still stands-- socialism does hinge on the redistribution and removal of private property. -Isaac_Mathis
I'll address this at the bottom, where I will be explaining communal property versus private property.


Just because the two are the most widely used economic systems doesn't link the two morality-wise-- proving that capitalism is immoral would do nothing to prove the morality of socialism. This isn't a Is-Socialism-the-Lesser-of-Two-Evils debate. If it were, than your point would be valid. -Isaac_Mathis
I thought that would slide since I assume you're also American, which means every 4 years we're choosing between the lesser of two evils for president, and doing so seems to be okay to us. Lol But you're right, proving that socialism is less immoral than all other systems doesn't prove it is moral. I've been arguing that it is moral in other ways during this debate, and will show how it is again later in this round.
If the CEO of McDonalds were to split his income among every single minmum-wage employee in the business, each employee would get a three cent raise. -Isaac_Mathis
I don't see what this has to do with my point at all. It seems to be a non sequitur. Regardless, this also needs a citation. Though it does seem believable considering McDonald's just has one CEO and employs probably millions and millions of employees. But, nonetheless, a claim like this would still needs a citation, and even if it's true of McDonald's, it's not true for every business as every business is different.

Another statistic: If one were to charge the top 1% wage earners in the United States with feeding Africa, they would possess the resources to feed every other person for a week. -Isaac_Mathis
Well, I don't know if we can trust this statistic, seeing as there is no citation you provided. Though, I shall refute it right now:
There is between $21 trillion and $31 trillion dollars estimated to be in Off-shore bank accounts by the mega-wealthy.[7] In addition, in these off-shore bank accounts it is possible to earn 17% interest [8] That means every year, $3.57 trillion to $5.27 trillion dollars a year that could be going to Africa, and it wouldn't even make the rich poorer since this is just the interest made off of what they already have in bank accounts. Since Africa has a population of 1.2 billion(you can just google that number, that is what I did) that means every African could be living off of an extra $2,975-4,391. However, it would be more than that if we subtracted the wealthy Africans from that. So let's look at the people living in extreme poverty in Africa, it's 414 million[9]. So, if we gave that money to those living in extreme poverty in Africa, it would be an additional $8,623-12,729 per person to live off of per year. That's actually quite significant and would improve the lives of the starving Africans tremendously. I believe that amount of money would make it that they no longer have to starve at the very least.

The above is not making anyone poorer since, again, we're just taking the interest the super-rich make in off-shore bank accounts, which probably isn't even a majority of their net income anyways. They would likely still put more money in their off-shore banking accounts from other sources of income, thus raising the amount they make on interest, which could then be used to improve the lives of more people over time, perhaps extend it to South America or the people in poverty in Asia.

This isn't the point I was making. If someone has a natural right to healthcare, and this right comes naturally, which means they don't have to pay for it, then someone must have the natural responsibility to provide this right. If everyone has a natural right to healthcare, then no one should naturally have to pay for it, therefore doctors are essentially slaves who must provide this right. Or, the taxpayer who finances Person A's healthcare is the slave, as he must work to provide this person's right. If the right does not come naturally than someone logically has the natural responsibility to provide this right. -Isaac_Mathis

I would say that, like property, this is a right with certain conditions, such as that there must be enough doctors and nurses to provide for everyone, that way it's not slavery. And as for your point that someone else has to provide it for them, well that's just what the society agreed to, assuming they have a democratic government. The society is consenting to it, so I don't see what the problem is.

Adolf Hitler was elected and enabled democratically, was he moral? -Isaac_Mathis
You're still not understanding what I'm saying though. Yes, he was moral according to majority of Germans. In German society of the time, he was considered to be a moral person, if he was considered immoral by society, they likely wouldn't have voted for him. Morality differs from society to society. When someone is elected by majority in that society, or is being approved of by majority in that society, they are, therefore moral according to that society. While he was not moral in terms of American, British, French, etc standards, he was moral for German standards of the time.

Slavery was maintained by democracy in the United States, was this moral? -Isaac_Mathis
Actually, it was maintained because of a gag rule in Congress. That is the opposite of democracy when you say a topic can't be discussed. If we had democracy, as I stated before, slavery would have been removed a lot sooner since African-Americans and white northerners opposed to slavery outnumber the white southerners in favor of slavery. It was because we did NOT have a democracy, that slavery stayed in place. Again, the United States is a republic, not a democracy, and because it was a republic, not a democracy, the people in charge of the government made it rule of congress that slavery could not be discussed. The general populace had nothing to do with that.

The eradication of Native Americans from the midwest was voted on democratically, was this moral? -Isaac_Mathis
But, it wasn't. We have a republic, not a democracy. I don't know that it would have been voted on democratically if we were allowed to vote for it, but if we did, then majority of people considered it moral, therefore it would have been moral according to American standards. Again, you're not listening. Each society has a different standard for what is moral that is set when majority of people in that society decide something is moral or immoral.

As for anarcho-syndicalism, I'm assuming this is referring to your example of a democratically controlled economy from earlier. Again, this system would rely on the absolute morality of democracy, which I have disproven above.
Both what I am for and anarcho-synidicalism is for is democraticly-owned companies. And no, you didn't disprove it since you seemed to have misunderstood what I was saying. As shown above where I point out flaws in each of your examples, shows this.

Your first statistic refers to land ownership only-- this is only one form of property, and as far as this debate is concerned, not the most important. Every single American over the age of eighteen owns at least some form of property. Your second statistic refers to rural land, not land in general. Whites do not own any more land than blacks, yet in rural settings, whites are much more likely to own farmland. So both of your statistics have been misinterpreted, I can venture to say that your final statement is discredited. -Isaac_Mathis

Moving on to my final argument-- in order to win this debate, you would have to prove that property is not a right, and that the redistribution of said property is moral. -Isaac_Mathis

As I just thought about in another debate, the 14th amendment to the United States constitution, nor does John Locke, talk about specifically privately-owned property. Some of the writings of John Locke may imply it, but that is up for debate. Perhaps we could do another debate on the writing's of John Locke or something. So, is private property, specifically even a right? All I've seen is property in general is a right, so technically changing property from privately-owned to communally-owned does not violate the right to property, since the person who originally owned the property still owns it, but just shares it with their workers. You can see more on this in this debate that I'm taking a part in on whether or not private property is a right [10]

Sources:
[7] http://www.forbes.com...;
[8] http://nomadcapitalist.com...;
[9] http://borgenproject.org...
[10] http://www.debate.org...

Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Capitalistslave 1 year ago
Capitalistslave
I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to respond in time, as I've got things to do for the next few hours, then I go to sleep, and then I work tomorrow. We'll see if I'll be able to.
Posted by Capitalistslave 1 year ago
Capitalistslave
Actually, the definitions do kind of differ. Your definition specifies socialism as when the means of production is regulated by the community as a whole. The definition of socialism I provided, would allow a form of socialism where it is not regulated by the community as a whole. For example, one form of socialism is by having companies democratically-controlled by the workers of that company, and this is socialism because it establishes a democratically-controlled means of production. In other words, in this form of socialism, the entire community doesn't dictate what the company does, but the workers of that company do.

I am also opposed to state-mandated socialism in general, and would agree it is immoral. But perhaps I should state that in the debate lol
Posted by isaac_mathis 1 year ago
isaac_mathis
Sorry, already posted my first argument before I noticed this... But our definitions are essentially the same. Should be good to go.
Posted by Capitalistslave 1 year ago
Capitalistslave
Please comment on whether you accept or reject this definition. I don't think we can continue the debate unless we agree upon a definition for socialism.
Posted by Capitalistslave 1 year ago
Capitalistslave
I forgot to include the definition of socialism in the first round. It's actually important for us to agree upon a definition of socialism otherwise we could be arguing for completely different things being moral/immoral. Especially since socialism has several definitions and is implemented in a variety of ways.

Here is the definition I wish to use, and I believe my opponent shouldn't have any reason to reject it since it's a common definition of socialism and is from wikipedia:
"Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production"[1]

Source:
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...
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