The Instigator
bigbass3000
Pro (for)
Losing
21 Points
The Contender
Patrick_Henry
Con (against)
Winning
32 Points

"The U.S. system of presidential primaries are contrary to democratic values"

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/21/2008 Category: News
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,550 times Debate No: 2847
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (23)
Votes (15)

 

bigbass3000

Pro

system of presidential primaries is contrary to democratic values.
Presidential Primaries-Of or relating to a president or presidency, A preliminary election in which the registered voters of a political party nominate candidates for office.
Contrary-Opposed, as in character or purpose:
Democratic Values-Are composed of ideals of democracy, which are part of the U.S. Constitution.
Overview 1: What is a presidential primary is a question to be answered? Both major political parties (Democratic and Republican) officially nominate their candidate for President at their respective national conventions, usually held during the summer before the election. Depending on state law and state party rules, when voters cast ballots for a candidate in a presidential caucus or primary, they may actually be voting to award delegates "bound" to vote for a candidate at the state or national convention, or they may simply be expressing an opinion that the state party is not bound to follow in selecting delegates to the national convention. In addition to delegates chosen during primaries and caucuses, state delegations to both the (Democratic and Republican) conventions also include "unpledged" delegates. For Republicans, these include top party officials. Democrats have a more expansive group of unpledged delegates called "super delegates", who are party leaders and elected officials.
Con.1 Front Loading
Sub Point A Definition
The definition of front loading is to concentrate costs or benefits in an early period. Front loading has incrementally evolved since the primary system began in earnest in 1968.Each election cycle, more contests have been held earlier as states have tried to outmaneuver each other for attention and influence. In 2000, by March 14, two-thirds of the delegates had been allocated. In 2004, by the second Tuesday in March, 71.4 percent of the delegates were Committed to a candidate.1 to put it another way, in 1980, only one state had a primary or caucus by The end of February; in 2000, nine states did; and in 2004, nineteen states held contests by that time. In addition to the problems presented by bunching many primaries into a small time frame—making it difficult for candidates with relatively less financial support to communicate their messages in a multitude of locations—reaching an early verdict also has downsides. Concluding the nomination process in the winter, for all intents and purposes, leaves the parties, nominees-in waiting, and voters with a vacuum for the many months until the conventions in the late summer. That gap tends to induce the anointed candidates to focus on raising private money while the public's attention subsides, reducing the amount of time that might be more productively devoted to debating the major issues confronting the nation. This messes with equality, because it does not give the little guy a shot and justice to provide adequate ground for.
Sub Point B informing voters
One of the major concerns about the rapid frontloading of the primary schedule is that it will make it more difficult for voters to be exposed to adequate information to make knowledgeable decisions. Commentators have said that requiring candidates to campaign in big states scattered across the country will force them to rely more than ever on "wholesale" campaigning—communicating to the voters primarily through paid ads and whatever scant free media they can manage to draw to themselves. That concern is legitimate, though in the early stages the voters of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina (as well as Nevada for the Democrats) will still have plenty of opportunity to learn more than the sound bites in advertisements. Moreover, as we have seen from the attention paid to the Web-cast announcements of the candidates entering the race, the Internet is likely to play a much greater role in enabling voters to learn more about candidates—in many ways a great deal.
Contention 2-Candidate Choice

Most commentators are arguing that having so many primaries at once and so early—a large portion of which will be in big, delegate rich states—deprives voters of having a real choice among candidates. That is because only candidates with large amounts of money to pay for costly advertising in so many different locations will be able to compete. The early onslaught of contests in far flung states, many in expensive media markets, will mean only the best-funded candidates will have a fighting chance at the outset, perhaps driving a larger proportion of candidates out of the election earlier than ever. This messes with the value of diversity in the race, because of course if it down to one, is that diverse.
Sub Point A- John Kerry/ George Bush
John Kerry, for example, essentially secured his party's nomination in 2004 with his win in the South Carolina primary. The University of Virginia Center for Governmental Studies noted, "In Election 2000, Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore had all but locked up the Republican and Democratic nominations for president by March 7,2000; voters in 33 states had not yet cast their primary ballots. These messes with popular sovereignty or the power of the government comes from the people.

Contention 3-Misrepresentation
The disproportionate influence of the kick-off states of Iowa and New Hampshire, both of which lack large cities and sizeable minority communities, has long raised concerns that the priorities of white voters from rural communities and small towns would become the central focus of the candidates and skew outcomes. According to the U.S. Census Bureau 2004 American Community Survey, 2.2 percent of Iowa's population and 0.8 percent of New Hampshire's population are African American, compared to 12.2 percent for the nation as a whole.14 The 2004 Census data indicate that the Hispanic/Latino population of Iowa was 3.7 percent and that of New Hampshire was 2.1 percent, compared to 14.2 percent for the nation as a whole., this goes with the democratic value of truth, which is to tell things like they are.
Contention 4-Superdelegates
Sub Point-What they are
"The super delegates, who make up 20 percent of the 4,049 delegates, exist to prevent the party from nominating an unelectable outsider — not to stop it from choosing between two mainstream candidates. Obama is ahead by 25 or so in pledged delegates, those chosen by the voters. But Clinton has a lead of slightly more than 100 in super delegates, giving her the overall advantage. All 398 members of the Democratic National Committee are super delegates. So, too, is every Democrat in the House and Senate, as well as every Democratic governor. There's also a category of distinguished party leaders, including former presidents and vice presidents, and 76 add-on delegates (three in Pennsylvania, two in New Jersey, one in Delaware) who haven't been named yet.", The entire idea of representatives, rather than the people choosing a candidate souly because they feel they can win is just not democratic at all.
Sub Point B Joshua Lev
According to Joshua Lev from CNN.com, Super delegates may determine who will be elected. Super Delegates are high profile members of the party, why is it not democratic. Well they don't have to listen to the people, just the members of their other super delegates. Howard Dean said "If we can't find a candidate by April we will have to get the candidates together to make a deal". How is that democratic, you are voting for nothing, one example is the Nevada Caucus. Hillary Clinton got 51% of the vote, but Obama had 1 more delegate than Hillary, is that fair or equal. Also these Super delegates can choose a candidate before the primary even happens. In fact Clinton now has 71 delegates in primaries, that have not even voted yet, how is popular sovereignty happening, how is that fair. As Obama said, "If we go into the convention with more delegates, we can say are constituency has spoken"
Patrick_Henry

Con

Democracy is a word which we borrow from Ionian Greek. Ionian Greek was the primary dialect spoken in Athens through the 7th to the 4th centuries BCE. In Athens during that time period they developed a governmental style that they called "Government of the Demoi." We often translate this as "Government of the People." Demos does not mean people in Ionian Greek.

Attica, the territory and peninsula that Athens controlled was divided into three different geographical political regions. There were those living near the coast, those living in the hills, and those living in Athens. These factions were not necessarily always friendly towards each other, so a compromise was reached by three "great" leaders in Athenian history. They broke down these three geographical regions into thirty sub regions. Ten sub regions to each region. They then grouped a sub region from each region together into a Demos. So that each Demos had one group of men from the hills, one group of men from sea side, and one group of men from the city.

From the total population of each Demos, three hundred were selected at random to be the assembly for that Demos that year. The Athenian year broke down in to effectively ten months. Each Demos was put in charge of Attica or Athens for one month out of the year. From the Demos, thirty men were selected at random to basically act as a governing council, and each day from those thirty men one guy was randomly selected to be in charge that day. They performed the entire function by random lot, because they believed so long as it was random it was being influenced and controlled by the Gods. Therefore, everything that was done was in some way what the gods intended to have done.

General Assembly, or smaller assemblies, or juries, were all again selected at random. Randomness was the basics of their civic functions.

The only people who could be included in this process were citizens. Citizens often had to be native born children of other citizens, women were never included in the process, nor were foreign residents or slaves. It was very unlikely that a foreign resident would ever achieve citizenship, but if they had a good idea they might be able to influence the process. The children of this resident would likewise probably not receive citizenship, unless they were the product between a union of a citizen and a non citizen.

This might seem kind of crazy to you, but it worked for them. They would think you would be insane for letting everyone vote. Why would anyone do such a thing? After all, if your pool of citizens were truly equal, selecting leaders at random would be the only righteous method of enforcing your ideal. The only popular vote that the people of Athens, the only true Democracy to have ever existed, ever participated in was voting to ostracize someone. Ostracism, comes from a word referring to a part of a broken pot. The broken pot was where an individual would write down the name of the person that they thought was the most popular individual, and the majority vote then caused the most popular and influential person to be banished from Attica for a period of ten years so that their popularity didn't threaten the democracy.

There were, however, rare times where the entire citizenry were allowed to participate in a vote, but it was always for policy and never for leadership.

Now we hold popular elections? This is certainly not a democratic value. To hold a national primary to select candidates is also not a democratic value.

The original notion of "Democratic Values", had nothing to do with inclusion. The intention of the original democracy was to limit the amount of involvement the typical person plays, and to make it as non-regionally bias as possible. The effect of the National Convention also limits the amount of involvement that the typical person plays, and the votes proportionally based on population combined with the votes controlled by "super-delegates" also limits the amount of regional bias that could be encountered.

Where on earth did you get your idea of what a "democratic value" is?
Debate Round No. 1
bigbass3000

Pro

This are the democratic values expressed in the constitution according to http://www.classroomhelp.com...
Life: A person's right to life can't be violated except if your life or the lives of others is threatened.

"Liberty: This includes personal freedom, political freedom, and economic freedom. This is the freedom for people to gather in groups. They have their own beliefs, ideas and opinions. People also have the right to express their opinions in public.

Personal Freedom - the right to think and act without government control.
Political Freedom - the right to participate in political process.
Economic Freedom - the right to buy, sell and trade private property and the right to employment without the government interfering.
The Pursuit of Happiness: As long as you don't interfere with others you have the right to seek happiness in your own way.

Common Good: Working together for the welfare of the community or the benefit of all.

Justice: All people should be treated fairly in both the benefits and the obligations of society. No individual or group should be favored over another person or group.

Equality: Everyone has the right to Political, Legal, Social and Economic Equality. Everyone has the right to the same treatment regardless of race, sex, religion, heritage, or economic status.

Diversity: The differences in culture, dress, language, heritage and religion are not just tolerated, but celebrated as a strength.

Truth: They should expect and demand that the government not lie to them and the government should disclose information to the people. The government and its people should not lie.

Popular Sovereignty: The power of the government comes from the people. The people are the ultimate authority over the government.

Patriotism: The people or citizens show a love and devotion for their country and the values. They can show this by words or by actions.

Constitutional Principles
Rule of Law: Both the people and the government must obey all laws.

Separation of Powers: The executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government should be separate institutions so no one branch has all of the power.

Representative Government: People have the right to elect others to represent them in the government.

Checks and Balances: The powers of the three branches of government, executive, legislative and judicial, should be balanced. No one branch should be dominate. Each branch should have powers to check the actions of the other branches.

Individual Rights: Each individual has the fundamental right to life, liberty, economic freedom and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are outlined in the Bill of Rights and the government should protect these rights and not place undo restrictions upon them.

Freedom of Religion: The right to practice any or no religion without persecution by the government.

Federalism: The states and the federal government share power as outlined by the Constitution.

Civilian Control of the Military: The people control the military to preserve democracy."

Now since we are talking about U.S. primaries, the neg must prove that the democratic values of the U.S. expressed in the constitution are contrary. My opponent, keeps talking about Athens, no one cares, Athens never had a primary system known of. In fact the primary system is unique, because it is only in the U.S., so the entire definition of democratic values of my opponent is not what I outlined, and wish he would actually attack my contentions rather than just get int5o a definition debate.
Patrick_Henry

Con

These don't seem like Democratic principles to me at all. They seem to be based off of Liberalism, and have nothing to do with Democracy at all.

Life: A person's right to life can't be violated except if your life or the lives of others is threatened.

This is an interesting concept. I doubt it is practical for a government to adopt this as a value without thoroughly defining how one's right to life can be violated. Is it solely violated by action, or in action? When our government bombed "bunkers" or perhaps bomb shelters, in Iraq during operation shock and awe which were largely full of civilizing hoping to escape the coming attack, did the United States violate this principal? And if so, what consequences did the Government face?

The Pursuit of Happiness:
So, this principal which you allege to be "Democratic," effectively states that a citizen is to be 100% self serving, so long as while they're serving themselves, they don't interfere with others? No human is a vacuum. Seeking happiness in our own way often has consequences on others. I don't see how this value can be adopted by any society, unless it is one in which individuals live in complete isolation from each other. In Athens, the true Democracy, civic responsibility was to the Demos and the nation state. Personal happiness and gratification was not the purpose of the government, virtue was found in sacrifice, not in pleasure.

These personal, political, and economic freedoms also seem to be things that don't exist in absolutes. You've the right to buy, sell, and trade certain private properties not all, you have certain political freedoms, for instance the first amendment does not allow you to form a mob to lynch a politician for betraying his people and nation. What kind of political freedom is that? This personal freedom seems like a give me as well. One can always think and act without control. It the consequences to these actions that is significant. And there are many actions that have consequences that are prorogated by the United States Government.

Common Good: Working together for the welfare of the community or the benefit of all.

This seems to be a good idea, but I don't think the United States has successfully implemented this value. Therefore, it must not be a value of the United States or its people. It is, however, a value that could be found in Athens during its Democratic government. How can an emphasis for the common good coexist with the pursuit of happiness? Look at Handsoff's typical arguments. His pursuit of happiness seems rudely interrupted by this common good notion.

Justice: All people should be treated fairly in both the benefits and the obligations of society. No individual or group should be favored over another person or group.

This certainly cannot be a value of the United States. It also is not a Democratic value. It's a very Liberalist value, however the United States seems to have made little or no effort as a people to try to maintain this value in actuality. If you need one of the scores of examples for this, I will happily provide them.

Equality:

If everyone were truly equal, why do we not select our leaders at random? The Democratic ideal was that since each citizen of Attica was equal, with equal rights, and equal risk in the government, that leaders were selected at random from the citizens. An examination of the current affairs in the United States will clearly show that there are people without the same legal rights as others. People are not treated the same. If this is a value of the United States, it's a value that has always failed.

Diversity: …but celebrated as a strength.

Really?

Truth:

Truth belongs only to Philosophy. And even then, no one agrees on what truth is. The United States lies. The people lie to their government. The politicians lie to their constituents. We do not demand the truth, and we certainly don't expect the truth. If we do, we would likely see several key members of our government jailed our executed for treason.

Popular Sovereignty:

Every government's sovereignty comes from the people. Revolutions used to happen to replace kings and aristocrats with other kings and aristocrats. Popular sovereignty does not exist solely in "representative" governments. It is not a value of Democracy, but a value of all governments.

Patriotism:
This word has its origins in Latin. It is an old idea. Yes, in Athens they had patriots. The United States has them too, but so did the Soviet Union, the Third Reich, and every other government that has ever existed. To claim it as a "core value" is to state that it is undemocratic to not always be proud of your government. Doesn't that contradict your political freedom notion?

Constitutional Principles
Rule of Law:

The Government doesn't obey laws. The Bush Administration has made this very clear. It has flagrantly violated the constitution, and guess what, the government is responsible for enforcing the constitution on itself. The people of the United States have left that responsibility with the government because they've refused to stand up for this constitutional principle, and when no one fights for a principle, it does not exist.

Separation of Powers:
What if all three powers are controlled by one outside force?

Representative Government:

According to the original form of the Constitution, they only had the right to elect representatives to the House of Representatives, and to no other aspect of their government. Also, "people" meant citizens which owned land and were not black.

Checks and Balances:

Executive has failed to follow the constitution, congress has failed to impeach, and the judiciary has failed to rule. The balance must be broken.

Individual Rights:
That stuff's not actually in the Constitution. It's flowery poetry from a different, non-binding document.

I'm not attacking definitions, I'm attacking your argument. The values you think our primary process violates are not, nor have ever actually been values of the United States in practicality. Flowery poetry not based in reality is something different all together. I'm sorry you've been caught up in the poetry.

Those values presented are not the values of the United States. They are perhaps mythical values taught to school children, but when scrutinized, it is clear the United States does not uphold these values. These values are also not "Democratic" values. Calling them such does not erase the fact that Democratic values come from Athens, and that Athens would consider this primary process to be against their democratic values, but not for the reasons you propose.

Because these values are mythical at best, they are not present in your election process, and never will be. Prove to me that these values are actually values, or have ever been values of the United States, and perhaps we can then discuss whether or not the primaries do not reflect the "Democratic Values of the United States."

To me it is clear that these are not the values of the United States. I know you were expecting a debate where your opponent said that the primary process is a reflection of "democratic values," however I'm more concerned with the fact that your argument does not support your conclusion because it's based off of ideas and notions that do not manifest themselves in the reality of your nations government. To me the argument you're making is similar to expecting polytheists to incorporate monotheism into their religious practices.

Also, I believe that if one were to select thirty folks at random, and then from that thirty came the person to lead for that day, it would constitute a primary. However, the randomness is what made it Democratic, not Universal Suffrage.
Debate Round No. 2
bigbass3000

Pro

As, I said before, you are getting away from the main focus of the debate, values, you call it poetry, but that is what values are fluff, but you still don't get the point, if the U.S. does not uphold, these values, you call stupid, then they are contrary. Your hole arguement is Athens, but I am debating if the primary system is contrary to the values that are nation was founded on. These values are expressed through legislation. One example, of equality the 15th amendment was passed to free slaves to make them equal. Two, Federalism is in our government as well, States have their own different laws, just like very other state. You are getting away from the debate fast, I am debating athens democratic values and if you have that info post, so I can see it, but you still have not attacked any of my points, just democratic values, because you, keep saying ity is Athens. No, the resolution as interepreted is are the democratic values that made the U.S., that are expressed in the constitution contrary, so you lose, also, you said yourself, that primaries are contrary to Athens, so they are contrary, thus you lose. You lose, big time, you agreed to it being contrary, so I'm sorry, but your wrong. I did not want to get into a debate about, democratic values, that were not the core of the U.S.'s values. So honestly, voters out there, yes values are not always upheld, because no system is perfect, but my opponent just agreed to it being contrary, so I win.
Patrick_Henry

Con

You would like the focus of the debate to be that the U.S.'s primary system doesn't hold up to "democratic values." Your statements as to why you feel this way depend on a certain criteria for democratic values. I don't find that criteria to be satisfactory. I suspect that your view of what "democratic values" are comes from a light education in the traditional political philosophy of western civilization. For starters, the key philosophies behind the Constitution began in Athens. Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, and a small host of other folks created almost every single concept that is thrown around in political thought these days.

So, find yourself a half way decent translation of Aristotle's On Politics, sit down with it, read it, and then compare and contrast what Aristotle has to say about politics, governments, and human relationships and then examine the laws and constitution of our own country, and examine the current state, and consider that what we started with was a Republic with limited Representation, and what we have now is an Oligarchy with Universal Suffrage.

You can glean the values of Democracy from my argument. The welfare of the state came first, every citizen was truly equal, therefore every citizen could be just as likely randomly selected to be an officer of the government. Mass assemblies were formed for the debate and adoption of policies, not for political rallies for the most popular oligarch. The popular people, also considered to be threats to Democracy, were actually voted out of Athens. A tradition began by Solon, who created this Democratic system, and then promptly took off for ten years so that his own influence wouldn't destroy the Democracy.

Believe it or not, the values of a nation are expressed in the actions of a nation. The primary system follows completely with the values of our nation as expressed by historical action. Our nation began as a nation with limited representation, and our nation now has universal suffrage, but party bosses now call the shots. Large donors, or bundlers and people with political clout and control now call the shots. This is the way it has always been, and because you decided to adopt a view point based off of a fairy tale interpretation of our government told to our school children, you insist that our primary system is contrary to democratic values.

My whole point is, and has been, that the United States is completely contrary to true democratic values, and is operating within many of the values defined by the nations actions in the last couple of centuries. You offer me the 15th amendment as an example of the "values" of American Democracy, well if the 15th amendment actually reflected the values of our nation, that whole reign of terror conducted by folks, like the Red Shirts, during reconstruction where they systematically murdered people who supported the 15th amendment probably wouldn't have been condoned. If the 15th amendment was a true reflection of American values, why did the civil rights movement need to take place and took more than a hundred years before it could be called a success, even though it's just been hailed as one to dismiss the effort?

This nation has never been a nation of the principles that you expect the primary system to maintain. I took the contrary position because of that. I'm not attacking your arguments because I'm attacking the philosophy behind it which is inherently flawed. It's the same as using science to defeat a rhetorical argument based off of poor or incorrect scientific conclusions.

You want to claim that the primary system is contrary to the ideas that this nation was founded on, but you clearly have not bothered educating yourself in those ideas. The founders of our nation, by and large, read in both Greek and Latin the works of Aristotle and Plato. The founders of our nation read in large part the works of Locke, and other political theorists , and when they created a nation, they drafted a constitution which by its very nature was exclusive to the majority of the people. They created a political system more inclined with the Roman Republic than any form of historic Democracy, and although they recognized that they were a Republic in many writings, including your pledge of allegiance, the common thing has been to let the people believe that they have a democracy.

Do you know why the Constitution was exclusive? Compare the first five presidents to the last five, and wonder if any of the last five will ever be considered great men a five or six decades into the future. Popularity is not a part of any true Democracy, nor is popularity a part of any true Republic. Popularity is a defining characteristic of both oligarchies and tyrannies. To create a system that is derived solely by popularity, is to dismiss any democratic value from its existence.
Debate Round No. 3
bigbass3000

Pro

First off Plato was against democracy, Plato (Republic, Book VI) argues that democracy is inferior to various forms of monarchy, aristocracy and even oligarchy on the grounds that democracy tends to undermine the expertise necessary to properly governed societies. http://plato.stanford.edu...
Secondly, you still, keep saying that, the U.S., is not contrary, but you are saying, that everyone on in this country is brainwashed into thinking, they actually have a democracy. It is a oligarchy. I really don't know, what to say. Why would a political party, make primaries, if they did not start them until the 1920's? So they really did not need them, so why did they start them, to brainwash them some more.
Patrick_Henry

Con

The Republic has quite a bit more to it than Plato's opinions of Democracy. I was offering him as an example as to why Athens matters. Aristotle's own work, On Politics is quite worth the read should you ever have the time. Plato himself was quite arrogant, and had many reasons to be unsatisfied with Democracy considering that one of his friends, colleagues and teachers had recently been put to death by a very large Athenian jury. Of course, Plato might not be taking into account that during the sentencing trial, Socrates basically argued that he should be put to death by pointing out how wonderful it would be for the state to continue feeding him. More jurors voted to put him to death than voted to convict him of his crimes against Athens and the Gods.

His opinions on Democracy should not matter much. I also don't think Democracy is the greatest way of conducting government, but for different reasons. I'm often amused when the proponents of Democracy quote people like Winston Churchill, "Democracy is the worst form of government, expect for all those others that have been tried." The idea of asking a head of state of a Democracy about forms of government, and expecting a non-bias answer is pretty humorous.

Plato also introduced to Political Thought the concept described as the "Divine Lie." Its represented in the Republic as the Myth of Metals. "Socrates" offers the excuse to the man who invited him to dinner to explain why people would accept an order of government where certain folks were considered to be of a leadership class, others of a soldier class, and others of a labor class. Obviously, the leadership class had more gold in them, the soldier class more silver, and the laboring class more bronze. These distinctions were to be used to justify the classification to the "common folk." (Those deemed too stupid to be worthy of influencing their own government) Socrates and Plato were both Atheists, so the typical argument that special status is derived by a god didn't sit well on their shoulders. Yet for some reason, most Atheists really like Enlightenment and Liberalist thought that specifically depends on a divine influence to render us all equal by equal creation.

So, the idea of a government system based off of perpetuating an intentional misunderstanding of the way that the government actually works is hardly a new one.

A leadership class will always propagate whatever attitudes that they must in order to remain in control. A talented leadership class will propagate ideas that will allow them to retain control as well. This can be found within our own group as you observe the actions of think tanks over the last thirty years, like the Cato Institute, which have derived may policies and then sold them to politicians. Much of the Neo-Conservative movement was born out of these think thanks.

With the creation of primaries in the early days of the 20th century came on the backs of great advances in technology. Communication became more rapid as the postal service became faster, telephones were incorporated, and radios became very common. At the same time, the rise of organized labor, women's organizations, and the construction of other political groups effectively forced those in power to relinquish a portion of their direct power to the people. If primaries had not been implemented, it is unlikely that "the people" would be satisfied with a candidate. At the time of socialist upheaval in other parts of the world, it'd just be foolish to not give them the pretense of power and influence.

This lie doesn't have to be ill intended. I'm sure many individuals don't even realize how often they propagate a mistruth about their government, nation, and the philosophies behind them. When you learned about these "Democratic Values" in school, I suspect you just soaked them up like a sponge before giving them any thought or analysis. The person who taught them you like wise probably just accepted it, because the thing is… They just sound nice.

Who wouldn't want to live in a society with all of those values? When we're taught them, they sound so nice that we seldom question them. For instance, how many times in a high school government class do you see a teacher making sure that the students understand that the Constitution is not an entitlement to citizens, but a limitation of government powers? How many times do you see a discussion about whether or not the first amendment affords a person any worthwhile rights as none of those actions actually threaten a government?

Blindly accepting any political philosophy is basically to consent to tyranny.
Debate Round No. 4
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
depends how you define "the people"
Posted by bigbass3000 9 years ago
bigbass3000
And there can be a government, without the consent of the people, it is called a dictatorship
Posted by bigbass3000 9 years ago
bigbass3000
http://plato.stanford.edu...

Not all instrumental arguments favor democracy. Plato (Republic, Book VI) argues that democracy is inferior to various forms of monarchy, aristocracy and even oligarchy on the grounds that democracy tends to undermine the expertise necessary to properly governed societies. In a democracy, he argues, those who are expert at winning elections and nothing else will eventually dominate democratic politics. Democracy tends to emphasize this expertise at the expense of the expertise that is necessary to properly governed societies. The reason for this is that most people do not have the kinds of talents that enable them to think well about the difficult issues that politics involves. But in order to win office or get a piece of legislation passed, politicians must appeal to these people's sense of what is right or not right. Hence, the state will be guided by very poorly worked out ideas that experts in manipulation and mass appeal use to help themselves win office.

Hobbes (1651, chap. XIX) argues that democracy is inferior to monarchy because democracy fosters destabilizing dissension among subjects. But his skepticism is not based in a conception that most people are not intellectually fit for politics. On his view, individual citizens and even politicians are apt not to have a sense of responsibility for the quality of legislation because no one makes a significant difference to the outcomes of decision making. As a consequence, citizens' concerns are not focused on politics and politicians succeed only by making loud and manipulative appeals to citizens in order to gain more power, but all lack incentives to consider views that are genuinely for the common good. Hence the sense of lack of responsibility for outcomes undermines politicians' concern for the common good and inclines them to make sectarian and divisive appeals to citizens.
This is from Stanford, not wikipedia
Posted by Patrick_Henry 9 years ago
Patrick_Henry
So, you summarize two incredibly large and detailed works, the Republic and Leviathan without having ever read them yourself into an eight word sentence, counting the two conjunctions, and expect that to be an indication of your understanding of the subject of Political Thought?

I hope you at least read more than the first paragraph of Wikipedia before making such a bold statement.

Reasonable men prefer reasonable government. When you look out into the masses, you see many unreasonable people. The task of educating them, especially when many are unwilling students is daunting compared to governing them while they remain ignorant of the considerations of policies. When you look at what all this voting has gotten the United States, it's not necessarily done great things for us.
Posted by bigbass3000 9 years ago
bigbass3000
hobbes and Plato hated democracy and preferred autocracy.
Posted by Patrick_Henry 9 years ago
Patrick_Henry
Really out there? Thanks I guess. I'd hate to be of limited imagination, especially when it comes to the application of political philosophy. Not everyone is supposed to understand it. When and if you get to college, why don't you take a few classes on political thought, and once you've dug through everyone from Plato, to Machiavelli, and tossed in Hobbs, and then maybe those enlightenment jerks, you can revisit the argument I presented to you and perhaps realize that none of your "democratic values" have ever been values of the United States.

I recommend taking a good strong look at what you think your government stands for and believes and what it actions it actually carries out.

So, my theory's wrong? You should be specific especially since none of those ideas presented are really "my theory."

If we really had a representative Democracy, would we really have such a high incumbency rate?
Posted by Mangani 9 years ago
Mangani
Oh, duhhh... I didn't realize you were the same guy who's arguments I was supporting in the first place... sorry!
Posted by bigbass3000 9 years ago
bigbass3000
No, I am not arguing, you, I am arguing the guy I debated, because he is really out there.
Posted by Mangani 9 years ago
Mangani
Bigbass, are you talking to me??? I don't see how I would be wrong even with YOUR definition of the American political system- representative democracy. In America, a "representative democracy" is the Federal Republic. The US is not a true democracy. You can argue this point ALL you want, but facts are facts, and I don't think anyone in Congress would even argue your point...
Posted by bigbass3000 9 years ago
bigbass3000
Okay, you are wrong, we have a representative democracy. You are talking, abotu elitism. Totally different thing, and also, your theory is wrong, for that.
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