The Instigator
Saberen
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Cobalt
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The state is a faux necessity and should be abolished

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/29/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 366 times Debate No: 80297
Debate Rounds (3)
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Saberen

Pro

I believe the state is a harmful institution with an unjustified monopoly on force and many other services.

I will be arguing against the existence of the state and arguing that it is not needed in a functional society. My arguments will be based off capitalist and communist anarchist arguments.
Cobalt

Con

My opponent claims that "the state is a faux necessity and should be abolished". I will argue points counter to that. Seeing as my opponent is making an affirmative claim, and since he did not clarify burden of proof, it is only natural to assume that he has accepted said burden of proof.

To make clear my position, I will be arguing that the existence of the 'state' (a centralized governing force), should be valued as a societal good above such governments that aren't centralized in any way (no state.).

I assume my opponent is a reasonable one and will not attempt to make semantic arguments. Rather, the main argument in this debate will focus upon the value of a "government of electives" versus a "government by the people".

To fully explain my position, I'll be arguing that a capitalist democracy is preferable to a "zero-centralized" government, often referred to as anarchy or "near-anarchy".

I look forward to my opponent's arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
Saberen

Pro

Let me clarify.

The burden of proof is actually on you. It is your job to prove governments naturally form. That they are intrinsic to humans. I can already refute this claim. For 90% of humanity we have been hunter-gatherer tribes. We lived in stateless societies. Societies without any centralized institute. This already refutes that governments are some how natural in humans.

The burden of proof is on you now to explain why it is needed for a functional society. To me and to many other anarchists, the state is an institute with an unjustified monopoly on Force, violence and many services. The only power the state has to control it's people is the illusion of power. The state has no power without people to govern. Because the people is the only source of state power.

I believe if you are truly a capitalist you would see the government as pernicious and a cancer to the market. I would like you to tell me why, as a capitalist you think the state is needed.

Sources:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com...

https://en.wikipedia.org...
Cobalt

Con

I thank my opponent for responding. Let's get to it.

Burden of Proof

An important part of this debate will concern which side has the burden of proof. Let it be clear that the burden of proof most usually is placed upon the person who makes an affirmative claim. To further expound upon this, an "affirmative claim" is one such that it differs from the status quo. Not just any status quo, of course, but a well establish status quo.

For example, if someone were to claim "humans are not carbon based', the burden of proof would lie upon them, as it is well established that humans *are* carbon based, and claims to the contrary require significant evidence, or proof.

Similarly, we find in today's world that people are almost universally directed by a government of some sort, be it fairly limited, like what we might find in mid-Europe, or dictatorial, like we might find in North Korea. In any case, "the state" is clearly the status quo, and the opponent is arguing counter to that. Given the logic that has preceded this paragraph, it is clear the burden of proof lies upon the opponent.

Now my opponent did make a brief claim that it is my job to prove that "governments naturally form". I accept this, and offer forward examples of any given government on the face of the planet to prove that governments form. The majority, if not all, the societies existent today have naturally formed a government. The proof is in looking at the world as it exists today.

Hunter-Gatherers

My opponent briefly brought up "hunter-gatherer" tribes, claiming that they have existed for 90% of humanity's existence. Seeing as hunter-gatherer tribes rarely recorded historical facts, this will be hard to prove. Beyond that, it's completely irrelevant. Even if humanity spent the majority of its time without government, this does not prove the government is bad or that it is not a societal good.

Onto The Main Argument

Now that clarifications have been made, lets move onto the real meat of the argument. Let us first realize that the opponent made no claims as to why a government-less society is good. They haven't upheld their burden of proof or presented an affirmative argument. Despite this, I will present a negative argument, because I don't believe in wasted rounds.

My opponent asked two things of me. 1) That I explain why government is necessary for society and 2) why governance can exist alongside capitalism.

Why Governance Is Necessary

Why is a government necessary? There are a few ways we can look at it.

ECONOMICALLY: From an economic perspective, a government is necessary to insure that market abuses cannot stand. For example, monopolies. A monopoly is a total control of the output of some good. Monopolies have the ability to charge exorbitant prices for said good, since no other vendor is capable of producing that good at any other price. This creates a problem in the market, which is ultimately driven by competition. If the government can't regular market failures, the market failures will continue, to the detriment of society.

Statement: Governments are necessary to prevent market failures.

SOCIALLY: Everyone seeks the protection of their own life, ultimately. After all, what matters more than you own life? The existence of the government increases actual and perceived safety. Without a government, there are no meaningful laws. Ie, there is no governing force to enforce them. Without laws, we are reduced to our animalistic nature, creating great dangers for all peoples in the society that are not already advantaged toward success. The existence of a government insures that laws are enforced, to a degree necessary, in order to increase actual and perceived safety.

Statement: Governments increase actual and perceived safety.

LEGALLY: There can be no doubt that there exist people who wish to take actions that are not to the benefit of society as a whole. These people are generally referred to as criminals. However, without a government, criminals are not labelled as such. There is no central information repository that tracks these people and no executive force that can put them away. Without governance, no one is held ultimately accountable.

Statement: Governments increase the apprehension of criminals, through uses of databases and region-wide data.

Governance and capitalism

My opponent implies that capitalism better exists without governance than with. I argue that this is untrue. First, let's look at my previous argument regarding "market abuses". It is clear that the government has the power to reduce or eliminiate said market abuses. This allows a better market to prevail, thus bolstering the idea of capitalism. The government is also capable of offering incentives that increase capitalistic success. For instance, the government can offer certain companies tax breaks if they operate in such a way that increases GDP, or economic efficiency. Such tax breaks "push" said company to invest their resources in slightly different ways that that positively effect the economy.

Statement: Some governmental regulation is necessary for capitalism.

Conclusion

For the reasons I have provided, it is clear the government is a societal good, that which we most highly value. In other words, society is better with a government than without.

Again, let us point out the opponent wasted a round by clarifying terms when he should have been making his point. In good faith, I will assume the opponent will make all his arguments in the next round -- the last round he has to say anything.

Thanks for reading.
Debate Round No. 2
Saberen

Pro

I will admit I got a bit off topic on the burden of proof.

Now i will refute your claims on the necessity of the government.

"From an economic perspective, a government is necessary to insure that market abuses cannot stand. For example, monopolies. A monopoly is a total control of the output of some good. Monopolies have the ability to charge exorbitant prices for said good, since no other vendor is capable of producing that good at any other price. This creates a problem in the market, which is ultimately driven by competition. If the government can't regular market failures, the market failures will continue, to the detriment of society."

The MisesInstitute actually debunked the myth of the "natural monopoly". Governments are actually the main cause of monopolies. I will give you the link to the article in the sources because the refutation is very hard to summarise and it would be too long to put in this argument.

"Everyone seeks the protection of their own life, ultimately. After all, what matters more than you own life? The existence of the government increases actual and perceived safety. Without a government, there are no meaningful laws. Ie, there is no governing force to enforce them. Without laws, we are reduced to our animalistic nature, creating great dangers for all peoples in the society that are not already advantaged toward success. The existence of a government insures that laws are enforced, to a degree necessary, in order to increase actual and perceived safety."

You don't need the state to be your protection. For the Anarcho capitalist protection would be given via private security corperations. The anarcho communist will argue we have a majority of crimes due to our commodity fetishism and poverty. There is a large correlation with crime and poverty. People in poverty have a significantly larger chance to commit crimes. Communism abolishes poverty and thus abolishes a large portion of crime. Saying you need the government to enforce laws is asinine. Laws are just arbitrary rules put out to protect the interests of whom control the state. A good example of this is the criminalization of weed. The demonization of the cannabis plant was an extension of the demonization of the Mexican immigrants. In an effort to control and keep tabs on these new citizens, El Paso, TX borrowed a play from San Francisco"s playbook, which had outlawed opium decades earlier in an effort to control Chinese immigrants. The idea was to have an excuse to search, detain and deport Mexican immigrants. You have given no evidence of this "animalistic nature".

Sources:

https://mises.org...
http://www.jacksonfreepress.com...
http://www.drugpolicy.org...
Cobalt

Con

I thank my opponent for his response. I will be defending my arguments this round, but first I'd like to make a few clarifications.

Burden of Proof

My opponent did seem to imply that I was correct in my analysis of the burden of proof, stating that he got "carried away." Despite this, he still failed to make any original arguments supporting his claim. I have already explained why the BoP rests on his shoulders and it is clear that he did not even attempt to uphold this burden in any of the debate rounds. Given this alone, it is clear that he cannot be given this debate, as he hasn't made any arguments.

However, I will still attempt to defend my own arguments.

Monopolies

My opponent briefly attempted to refute my monopolies argument by citing a source, then claiming that the source was far too complicated to summarize in this debate. First, let me point out that a source carries no wait if you don't even bother to explain it. Next, let's point out that the source itself is many pages long, far outstripping the character limit set in this round. If my opponent does not have enough space to summarize the material, how on earth does he think I'll have enough room to argue against it?

However, I will attempt to do that here. The article referenced by my opponent basically argues that current economic thinking regarding monopolies is wrong, saying that there is no "true" natural monopoly, since competition itself is an ongoing and permanent process.

The writer fails to realize that just because a firm cannot dominate the industry permanently does not mean that it shouldn't be defined as a monopoly if it dominates for an adequate period of time. There have been many times in history when a firm was able to monopolize some sort of the industry, for a variety of reasons. Sometmes companes are able to control all the inputs of production, thus insuring other companies cannot produce. Other times, they have unique technology that allows them to produce a good at a much lower price. Sometimes groups of companies will come together and agree to all sell at a high price.

Without a government with the authority to stop these market abuses, they continue at the expense of the consumer. The law of supply and demand insures that market prices are generally near equilibrium price, but monopolies, cartels and other such similar entities throw this equilibrium price off, causing issues in the market.

Safety/Protection

The opponent attempts to counter this point from two perspective: the anarcho capitalist perspective and the anarcho communist persepective. Let us look at each.

First, the opponent claims that in an anarcho capitalist society, the private industry would be able to provide for all protection. This has two problems. First, people would only be able to have protection if they were able to pay for it. This means the impoverished would be unable to afford it. With a proper government in place, basic safety can be extended to all members of society. Looking at net safety alone, it is clear that the government can provide more than private industries.

Additionally, these private firms have no clear direction of rules. For instance, imagine there are two large corporation owners who are rivals (perhaps they are competitors.) Both men, being rich, are able to hire private military contractors (PMCs) and target the other person. This could lead to massive loss of life for innocent bystandards and would certainly lead to the deaths of many of the PMCs. What's worse, the conflict would cause both PMC corporations to be reduced in strength, lowering the nation's aggregate military force. Clearly this is not good for society.

Second, from the anarcho communist perspective, the opponent argues that poverty often increases crime and that communism eliminates poverty, thus providing protection.

This argument is fundementally flawed in many ways. First, while it is true that the impoverished commit crimes at a higher rate than everyone else, it is wrong to assume that all crime is being caused by the impoverished. There are many middle class citizens and rich citizens who commit crime as well, something eliminating poverty would have no effect on. Additionally, there are foreign countries who might wish to attack the US. Without a military, this threat goes unchecked, clearly lowering the actual and perceived safety of the communist country's citizens.

Next, there's no clear evidence that communism itself can eliminate poverty. Since my previous argument still stands even if we assume poverty is eliminated, I won't spend much time on this point. It's simply worth noting that no communist country in history has been able to eliminate poverty.

Laws

Finally, my opponent claims that laws are simply arbitrary rules, then references some arguably bad laws that have been passed throughout history.

First, laws are fairly arbitrary, but they often reflect the will of the people. We must remember, it is our representatives who make these laws and it is we who elect these people in the first place. The notion that some man in a box just flippantly makes whatever laws he pleases is innaccurate. There is a process in law creation, one that is influenced by the people.

It is true that the occasional law is passed that is somewhat silly or unnecessary. For instance, the law that made marijuana illegal. However, the good laws far outstrip the bad laws, in number and scope. A few examples of laws critical to the good of society: You cannot murder people. You cannot steal from people. You cannot destroy things you do not own. You cannot sexually assault people. I can go on and on.

Without a government to create and enforce these rules, people have no real incentive to follow them. After all, if my next door neighbor mows too early in the morning, it would be completely permitabe for me to walk over to him and stick a fork in one of his eyes. So long as he dies, there's really no threat of reprisal. Laws are clearly necessary if we want people behaving in such a way that benefits society as a whole.

Conclusion

So to briefly go over everything that's happened in this debate. (1) It was decided that the burden of proof rests on my opponent's shoulders. (2) The opponent failed to meet this burden, nor did he even attempt to present his own arguments. (3) I've demonstrated that a government is necessary to prevent market abuses and to adequately protect its citizenry.

Because of all this, I urge you to vote for me. Thanks for reading!
Debate Round No. 3
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