The Instigator
ADreamOfLiberty
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points
The Contender
luke23
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

The societal wisdom of Socialism is undeniable.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
ADreamOfLiberty
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/4/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 651 times Debate No: 38487
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

ADreamOfLiberty

Con

My opponent said that the societal wisdom of Socialism is undeniable. I deny it. Prove my contradiciton or be yourself disproved.
luke23

Pro

To begin with an evaluation of the debate topic, we have to look at terminology. There are some basic terms that serve as conditions.

1. Socialism. Socialism is the government ownership of capital and the means of production, by which the government, through control of industry, arranges equitable distribution in accordance with Marx's principle 'From each according to ability, to each according to need.'

2. Undeniable. Something that can be proven to be a certain way through demonstration of either a practical or theoretical nature, and be accepted widely. Please note that this is not invalidated by someone denying it. The moon landing is undeniable, the Holocaust is undeniable, and evolution is undeniable, yet people deny all three. Therefore, the frame of judgment is that of an objective and rational person.

To begin the portion of my debate, I will examine the change in society that caused the origins of socialism.

The industrial revolution enabled capitalism to increase at a firm pace. The use of factories and industries largely replaced the artisans and craftsmen, resulting in a reduction of the societal division. The middle class separated into upper and lower divisions, which grew further apart. Continually, the conservation of wealth among the financial elite, who we shall call the capitalists, results in the gap between rich and poor widening, which will inevitably destroy the middle class. So, let us examine the capitalist and the laborer.

The capitalist is so called because he controls capital. Capital is wealth or resources. He uses this to produce more wealth. In order to produce wealth, he needs labor. What the laborer provides is not special or unique. Industry has reduced him to the role of an organic cog in a machine, and he is easily replaced. His task is menial, without expertise, and he is paid merely for his time and sweat. But, there's something called surplus value.

The value of the laborer to the capitalist is greater than what the capitalist pays. To demonstrate this point, what would the capitalist insist on paying himself if he were to take on the job of the laborer? It would be higher certainly. But, to increase the profit and the wealth of the capitalist, the laborer is deliberately given a low salary. When the entire economy is dominated by capitalists who set low salaries, choice becomes irrelevant. The laborer must go and work at an unfair wage, or he will starve.

There is no other option in a capitalist society.

How does socialism change the equation? The state takes control of industry from the capitalist, and guarantees the worker either a fair wage, or meeting his needs. Either way this is an improvement, as it either provides him with the money he needs to have a decent existence, or it eliminates the difficulties of life and frees the mind to think of greater things.

Is it immoral to take away the capitalist's control of industry? One can argue he earned it. Perhaps he did, but perhaps he didn't. It is possible he inherited it, or was given it, and that he never actually had to work for it. But the fundamental conclusion is that socialism punishes greed.

No matter how you try to say it is so, greed is not good. That is an adage of civilized society for thousands of years. Across nations and religions, it was widely known. Buddha spoke of renouncing wealth, Jesus warned it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven, and even some absolute monarchs in Europe realized this and used their wealth and station to help the people.

Capitalism is unique in that it establishes greed as a virtue. Not being content with what you have is good. Wanting more is good. Doing whatever it takes to get more is good. The man who buys a pound of grain for a dollar and sells it for three is hailed as shrewd, when in times past he would have been known as a greedy cheat.

One thing capitalists will often cite is Locke's concept of natural rights, one of which is property.

If it were a natural right, then wouldn't all societies have the same concept? However, they do not. Native Americans didn't have such a concept. In other societies it was believed the Emperor owned everything, or the noble owned everything. The whole idea of natural rights is used as a crutch. Hobbes' Leviathan is still the gold standard for a state of nature. I want to examine it briefly.

"In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently, not culture of the earth, no navigation, nor the use of commodities that may be imported by sea, no commodious building, no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force, no knowledge of the face of the earth, no account of time, no arts, no letters, no society, and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

In nature, there are no rights. Rights are a construct of society, guarantees established for our welfare precisely because we do not have them in nature. In nature, might makes right. Whoever has strength has a natural right to whatever they take. The idea of natural rights and a good state of nature can be easily tested.

Find an area of the country, say a town, and take away all organization and all government. Tell people they may not organize together or make any rules, nor any punishments. If natural rights are true, then the crime rates will not change or will go down. If not...

At best, such a state results in isolated families in tenuous alliance with one another, subject to rivalries and blood feuds, where murder begets murder. At worst, such a state would largely mesh with post-apocalyptic visions brought to us by authors. Chaos, anarchy, a world of murder, theft, rape, and casual violence in the absence of order.

Government is like your mother. As a child, would you have cleaned your room or come to eat dinner on time if not required? Probably not. There are limits on what you can do, and that is as it should be. Liberty is not inherently good or essential, and is further a question of values.

To value capitalism is to value greed, and selfishness, and to be concerned only with competing and rising to the top. To value socialism is to value equality, and to place others before your own needs, and to be concerned with the welfare of society.

The biggest lie of modern times is that capitalism is good and socialism is bad. Considering Jesus himself endorsed primitive socialism and cast money-changers out of the Temple, the very idea that anyone of religious conviction can endorse capitalism is absurd. The idea that greed is moral is so insane that it would be hilarious...

If no one believed it. Yet greed has been wrapped in a flag, and given names like 'liberty.' Those who oppose it are slandered mercilessly and destroyed. They have, historically, been murdered, arrested, invaded, massacred, imprisoned, tortured.

It's time to reexamine our priorities. Do we value greed and inequity, or cooperation and equality?
Debate Round No. 1
ADreamOfLiberty

Con

"2. Undeniable. Something that can be proven to be a certain way through demonstration of either a practical or theoretical nature, and be accepted widely. Please note that this is not invalidated by someone denying it."

Yes it is.

http://oxforddictionaries.com...

undeniable - unable to be denied or disputed

I both deny and dispute the wisdom of socialism.

"To begin the portion of my debate, I will examine the change in society that caused the origins of socialism."
Irrelevant.

"The value of the laborer to the capitalist is greater than what the capitalist pays. To demonstrate this point, what would the capitalist insist on paying himself if he were to take on the job of the laborer? It would be higher certainly. But, to increase the profit and the wealth of the capitalist, the laborer is deliberately given a low salary. When the entire economy is dominated by capitalists who set low salaries, choice becomes irrelevant. The laborer must go and work at an unfair wage, or he will starve."

To the labourer the value of the pay is greater than the value of his labour. If it was not he would not trade a greater value for a lesser one.

The reason that both can recieve more than they give is production, they produced something valuable by their cooperation and the profit is the share of that new value.

The economy is dominated by capitalist because they offer the best deals. It is not your place to say if a wage, or a price is unfair unless you are the one consenting or rejecting it. If a worker accepts a wage over starvation, it seems that a little money is far fairer than death.

"There is no other option in a capitalist society."
There is no other options in life but to work, steal, or die. Capitalism says you can work or die, socialism says you can steal or work, anarchy says you can steal or die.

Theft is immoral so I choose capitalism.

"How does socialism change the equation? The state takes control of industry from the capitalist"

It steals the industry the capitalist built.

"Is it immoral to take away the capitalist's control of industry?"

Yes, as is all theft.

"No matter how you try to say it is so, greed is not good."

The word greed is an anti-concept. In objective terms it means wanting something, but irationally it is considered BAD. Wanting too much? Who are you to tell someone what is too much for them?

"That is an adage of civilized society for thousands of years."
So were systems of slavery and castes. The rest of that junk about Jesus and the Buddha is an appeal to authority.

"Capitalism is unique in that it establishes greed as a virtue. Not being content with what you have is good. Wanting more is good. Doing whatever it takes to get more is good. The man who buys a pound of grain for a dollar and sells it for three is hailed as shrewd, when in times past he would have been known as a greedy cheat."

You have it reversed, people have never been content with what they had. Capitalism gave them the opportunity to get more.

The man who buys and sells by the consent of his trading partners has done nothing immoral. Capitalism is not based on greed but consent. Under capitalism you can be as generous as you want... with your own money and property.

"If it were a natural right, then wouldn't all societies have the same concept?"

No

"Native Americans didn't have such a concept."

They sure killed a lot of people over a concept they didn't have.

"In nature, there are no rights. Rights are a construct of society, guarantees established for our welfare precisely because we do not have them in nature. In nature, might makes right. Whoever has strength has a natural right to whatever they take. The idea of natural rights and a good state of nature can be easily tested."

In nature there are the same rights as there are in civilization. Rights are not a supernatural force which alters reality but a moral concept. If rights were inviolate we wouldn't need governments to protect them.

Thank you for saving me the trouble of pulling it out of you, I was about to point out what the moral root of any collectivist (such as socialism) system of political ethics. Might makes right.

"If natural rights are true, then the crime rates will not change or will go down. If not..."
Why?

"Government is like your mother."
You can build a government to be your mother, I want a security agency first and foremost to secure me against people like you.

"Liberty is not inherently good or essential, and is further a question of values."
Actually it is because to hold any values you must value liberty if only your own. If you did not value your own liberty you must be rejecting your own judgements and values, a contradiction.

The only reason people think they don't value liberty is because they don't value the liberty of others. The premise of capitalism is consent, meaning you everyone's liberty is equally valued and not subject to sacrifice. That is the only equality it is based on and the only equality rationally justified by the operation of the human mind.

"To value capitalism is to value greed, and selfishness, and to be concerned only with competing and rising to the top. To value socialism is to value equality, and to place others before your own needs, and to be concerned with the welfare of society."

To value capitalism is to value freedom. To value socialism is to value economic equality at the cost of rightousness, to pretend the needy have a right to privlidge and the rights of the wealthy are privlidges.

"Yet greed has been wrapped in a flag, and given names like 'liberty.' Those who oppose it are slandered mercilessly and destroyed. They have, historically, been murdered, arrested, invaded, massacred, imprisoned, tortured."

As well they should be they are the source of all human suffering.

"It's time to reexamine our priorities. Do we value greed and inequity, or cooperation and equality?"

Capitalism is cooperation and equality of rights. Hint: it's not cooperation if you have to threaten one side with force or theft.
luke23

Pro

You've already lost points here by proving your best defense is to google the definition of a word and try to point to it as if it invalidates the terminology I have set for my position.

Idiots deny plenty of things on a regular basis. However, those things are still undeniable, because there is no valid argument against them. Only invalid arguments. And since whining about semantics is your very first point, you're already proving yourself inadequate.

Now, let's look at your actual ideology.

"To the labourer the value of the pay is greater than the value of his labour. If it was not he would not trade a greater value for a lesser one."

That assumes the laborer is able to operate fairly in a market and has equal status and options to the person who owns the capital. The fact is that he does not. He makes the trade because he has no choice. There's a term for this. Wage slavery. According to your ideology, this is moral.

"The economy is dominated by capitalist because they offer the best deals. It is not your place to say if a wage, or a price is unfair unless you are the one consenting or rejecting it. If a worker accepts a wage over starvation, it seems that a little money is far fairer than death."

Let's look at the deal then. When I was working at Walmart, I had minimum wage and no benefits, part time, for intensive physical labor. So let's compare that to intensive physical labor for say, the US Army. I would have started at 21,000 a year. Walmart would, at best, pay me 20,000. Now that doesn't sound too different, except...

The US Army also feeds me, gives me housing, clothing, and medical care. Walmart does none of that, and expects me to use my salary for it. So the government provides a more fair deal. As to my 'place,' I worked for Walmart, so I'm more qualified than you are.

"There is no other options in life but to work, steal, or die. Capitalism says you can work or die, socialism says you can steal or work, anarchy says you can steal or die.

Theft is immoral so I choose capitalism."

Theft is immoral you say? That surely explains why Robin Hood and Zorro are heroes.

Capitalism is inherently immoral. I look forward to seeing your replies claiming Jesus is wrong.

"It steals the industry the capitalist built."

The capitalist didn't build it. The People did. The Laborers did. Their effort and their labor built it, and the capitalist merely profits off of it without doing the difficult task himself. In this sense, he is a parasite. If he expects to own the whole industry, then he has to work every part, do every job.

Examining a pair of your statements here.

"So were systems of slavery and castes. The rest of that junk about Jesus and the Buddha is an appeal to authority."

Objectively, slaves throughout history have largely had much better qualities of life than wage laborers under the capitalists. That's because slaves are expensive and valuable, while a laborer is considered disposable and interchangeable.

As to your attack on Jesus and claim that greed is good, you're in the extreme minority there. Principles of charity and sharing are the things we teach our children. The lessons of Jesus guide millions. Others learn from Buddha to forgo the lust of goods. The fact is, one of the earliest adages of man is that greed is bad. Lust is bad. And now you're trying to find a moral reason to support it.

"Under capitalism you can be as generous as you want..."

Except you're penalized for it. You lose a market advantage, and from a dispassionate economic standpoint, there is no value in generosity because it hurts your profits.

"They sure killed a lot of people over a concept they didn't have."

Last I checked, it was the white colonists who were big on murder, while among themselves, there were relatively few conflicts with other tribes. Those were based over access, and not ownership.

"In nature there are the same rights as there are in civilization. Rights are not a supernatural force which alters reality but a moral concept. If rights were inviolate we wouldn't need governments to protect them."

How do you possibly think that? Rights are a construct of society. Without society, they do not exist. Ergo, there are no natural rights. The idea there are is a pathetic and infantile attempt by idealists to justify the idea that everyone is good. The reality is the opposite, which is why capitalism is destructive.

"You can build a government to be your mother, I want a security agency first and foremost to secure me against people like you."

And already you're afraid. You know that the number of people exploited is large, and that they can rise up and swallow their oppressors. Yes, it's happened before. And it can happen again. And that scares you, you don't want to give up your dangerous ideology. Equality scares you. The idea of being the same is just so terrible.

I like that you're afraid. You should be.

"Actually it is because to hold any values you must value liberty if only your own. If you did not value your own liberty you must be rejecting your own judgements and values, a contradiction.

The only reason people think they don't value liberty is because they don't value the liberty of others. The premise of capitalism is consent, meaning you everyone's liberty is equally valued and not subject to sacrifice. That is the only equality it is based on and the only equality rationally justified by the operation of the human mind."

I wonder where you dragged such an absurd idea from. Considering the billions upon billions of humans in history who have valued the monarchy, or the theocracy, or the dictator, or any concentration of power over 'liberty,' that's a large number of values you don't like recognizing.

You see, you have a choice. You can promote 'liberty,' or you can promote public interest. Choosing liberty is placing yourself over others. Choosing public interest is putting others over yourself. However, in your world, selflessness is bad.

" To value capitalism is to value freedom. To value socialism is to value economic equality at the cost of rightousness, to pretend the needy have a right to privlidge and the rights of the wealthy are privlidges."

Now, I'm rather amused here. According to you, the Son of God is a bunch of junk, but hoarding wealth is 'righteous.' How we reconcile this with common sense is unclear to me. But what may be more amusing is claiming socialism takes away the 'rights' of the wealthy to give the needy 'privilege.'

The last time I checked, the goal of state ownership of capital isn't to give starving workers in hovels satellite tv, gold toilets, and fine china. The goal is to give them food, healthcare, a place to live, heat in the winter and cooling in the summer, an education for their children, and the freedom from want required for such things. If the price of that is some oil tycoon being unable to buy another solid gold sofa, then too bad. The needs of the many outweigh the wants of the few. Unless you want to argue that the capitalist really needs opulent mansions and is incapable of living in a normal house.

"... source of all human suffering..."

That's pretty amusing. Actually, very amusing. Go out and read the Jungle. Or try living in Bangladesh and working in the sweatshop. No misery there due to capitalism.

"It's not cooperation if you have to threaten."

You mean like being threatened to be fired? Being fired for Unionizing? Being threatened with pay cuts? Being threatened with losing breaks? And when we campaign for a change for fairness' sake, being threatened with prison or death? Power is derived from wealth, and the capitalists are the source of power. You let them hold us at gunpoint.

Also, I'm curious how old you are and what your life experience is. Right now I'm guessing teenager or senile old man.
Debate Round No. 2
ADreamOfLiberty

Con

"You've already lost points here by proving your best defense is to google the definition of a word and try to point to it as if it invalidates the terminology I have set for my position."

Lol, I've 'lost points' for using the dictionary definition of words many times.... and yes a well-respected dictionary definition does invalidate made up terminology.


"That assumes the laborer is able to operate fairly in a market and has equal status and options to the person who owns the capital. The fact is that he does not. He makes the trade because he has no choice. There's a term for this. Wage slavery. According to your ideology, this is moral."

It assumes the laborer is free to choose the greater value to himself. He is. He has a choice as you yourself pointed out. He can work or die. Status and options are red herrings. Capitalism respects no status but contracts you consented to. Promises no options but those offered to you willingly by others. The rules are the same for the laborer and the capitalist unless they agree to change them with their own signature.

Wage slavery is a contradiction in terms. You can't enslave a man by offering him a job he may refuse, slavery means you do not give someone the choice.

"Let's look at the deal then. When I was working at Walmart..."

Irrelevant, if you did not feel Walmart’s offer was worth it you did not have to take it. The fact that you did means you believed you would get more out of that interaction then you put in.


"Theft is immoral you say? That surely explains why Robin Hood and Zorro are heroes."

Robin Hood stole from the tax collectors... and if he stole from innocent people for the crime of being wealthy he is no hero of mine.

"Capitalism is inherently immoral. I look forward to seeing your replies claiming Jesus is wrong."

Jesus is wrong, only capitalism is moral.

"The capitalist didn't build it. The People did. The Laborers did."

If that were true then why did they give it to the capitalist?

"In this sense, he is a parasite. If he expects to own the whole industry, then he has to work every part, do every job."

In no sense is he a parasite because he paid agreed upon wages to all who helped him. There is a word for a project or endeavor where one man is not simply paying others to help him with his private project, where they are all contributing to a jointly owned entity. The word is corporation.

If laborers are the ones who built an industry all they have to do is incorporate their efforts and capitalism will recognize their shared ownership of that industry. We both know why that doesn't happen, the laborers can't build the industry by themselves. They would need pre-existing resources to do it.


"As to your attack on Jesus and claim that greed is good, you're in the extreme minority there."
I'm used to it. Besides which don't forget that I have wrapped 'greed' up in the term 'liberty' and will not unshroud it any time soon.

"And now you're trying to find a moral reason to support it."
No, I am rejecting your moral condemnation of it.

"Except you're penalized for it. You lose a market advantage, and from a dispassionate economic standpoint, there is no value in generosity because it hurts your profits."

What utter bull @$&*. No you are not penalized for it. When you give something away you don't have it anymore; that is an economic loss in any system under the sun.


"Last I checked, it was the white colonists who were big on murder, while among themselves, there were relatively few conflicts with other tribes. Those were based over access, and not ownership."

Check again, there was continuous fighting amongst the powerful tribes as far back as anyone can tell. They had the idea of ownership just fine, just collective ownership where the collective was personified in the chief or medicine man. No different from any other feudal/monarchist human culture.

They killed the colonist just the same as they kill each other, over land they claimed as their own.

"How do you possibly think that? Rights are a construct of society. Without society, they do not exist. Ergo, there are no natural rights."

They are not a construct of society they are code of behavior logically implied by values universal to self-aware creatures with free will and self-chosen values. They have no dependence on society, or even on species.

Everything else that comes from society or God or what not is an arbitrary imitation.

"And that scares you, you don't want to give up your dangerous ideology."
You're right I'm scared, I am furious at how things are and afraid they will get worse. Fear drives men to do things that should make other men afraid as well.

"Equality scares you."

Not equality of rights, only the mindless belief that economic equality trumps any objective right to freedom.


"Considering the billions upon billions of humans in history who have valued the monarchy, or the theocracy, or the dictator, or any concentration of power over 'liberty,' that's a large number of values you don't like recognizing."

Consider then that they all choose to value monarchy, theocracy, a dictator, or any other concentration of power.

"You see, you have a choice. You can promote 'liberty,' or you can promote public interest. Choosing liberty is placing yourself over others. Choosing public interest is putting others over yourself. However, in your world, selflessness is bad."

In my world liberty is ultimate. I don't care what implications you draw from that.

"The last time I checked, the goal of state ownership of capital isn't to give starving workers in hovels satellite tv, gold toilets, and fine china. The goal is to give them food, healthcare, a place to live, heat in the winter and cooling in the summer, an education for their children, and the freedom from want required for such things."

Food, healthcare, and a place to live are all privileges. What makes them so is the fact that the only moral way to get them is get someone to agree to give them to you. A privilege is a benefit which is only morally had by the consent of those from which it originates.

Food is a privilege extended by farmers. Healthcare by doctors. A place to live by architects, construction workers, and all those professions which acquire building materials.

They are no different in principle gold toilets just because you need them to live but not gold toilets.

"The needs of the many outweigh the wants of the few."
The liberty of the one outweighs the wants of all.


"No misery there due to capitalism."
I agree.

"You mean like being threatened to be fired?"
No like being threatened with imprisonment and having your property and money carted off.

"You let them hold us at gunpoint."
Shouldn't try to steal things if you don't want to be held at gunpoint. As it happens the government is the one with the guns and they hold the capitalist at gun point for protection money, and they don't even protect them from the likes of you.

"Also, I'm curious how old you are and what your life experience is. Right now I'm guessing teenager or senile old man"

I am guessing you are fishing for an ad hominem, appeal to circumstance fallacy.
luke23

Pro

To be honest, I think you've made my argument for me.

I can point to the gilded age, to the squalor of the factories, the burned bodies in Bangladesh, the suicides in China, and no matter what I say, you'll just endorse the people responsible.

You've said greed is good, Jesus is bad, equality is immoral, and that the rich can do whatever they want with the poor.

Really I don't have to say anything else. You've come across as a caricature, like the Monopoly Man came to life in front of everyone. You've just proved me right, very vividly.

Further, you've also done a fantastic deed for me. You've effectively announced that one cannot be a Capitalist and a Christian, and I hope some of the billions of Christians will pay attention to that.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by ADreamOfLiberty 3 years ago
ADreamOfLiberty
"You've just proved me right, very vividly."

I've proved that I can very easily deny the wisdom of socialism. I may have to tolerate liberty (which you confuse for greed), I may have to reject the teachings of the Buddha or Jesus, I may have to find equality of rights infinitely more important than equality of wealth; but I do.

You are right about another thing, anyone who votes pro will be voting based on caricatures.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 2-D 3 years ago
2-D
ADreamOfLibertyluke23Tied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro accepted a difficult position and was not able to support it. He used several obvious logical fallacies: argument to false authority, ad populum and concluded with by straw manning his opponent. Overall Con's explanations for the various hypotheticals they went over were stronger while Pro relied on sweeping generalizations. Pro made personal attacks, "whining about semantics ... proving yourself inadequate," and threats, "I like that you're afraid. You should be," losing conduct.