The Instigator
Danielle
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
kasmic
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Voluntarism vs. Democracy

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/8/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,191 times Debate No: 68030
Debate Rounds (4)
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Danielle

Pro

Many thanks to my very formidable and esteemed opponent, kasmic, for agreeing to accept this debate.

Voluntaryism (or sometimes voluntarism) is a libertarian philosophy which holds that all forms of human association should be voluntary. The principle most frequently used to support voluntarism is the non-aggression principle (NAP). It is closely associated with the anarcho-capitalist philosophy; however, almost all anarchists and libertarians believe in the NAP. We believe that this moral standard is superior to other forms of statist governance such as democracy.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

In this debate, I will be arguing that voluntarism is the superior moral principle to democracy. Democracy is a form of government in which eligible citizens may participate in government either directly by voting for the passing of specific laws, running for office, or voting indirectly through elected representatives. This stands contrary to voluntarism which does not allow for citizens to legally violate the NAP through voting (even by majority consensus).

http://en.wikipedia.org...

The NAP asserts only two basic rights: the right to one's person and property living free from aggression; no laws can justifiably violate the right to non-aggression. According to the NAP, any violation of one's person or property is always illegitimate when backed through force or violence rather voluntary, non-coerced exchange.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

I very much look forward to an interesting discussion on ethics and political philosophy. Thank you again to my opponent for his time and dialog. I will begin my argument in R2.

Best of luck!

Danielle
kasmic

Con

Thanks to Danielle, a very well recognized and respected debater on this site, for this challenge.

I accept! Good luck!

Debate Round No. 1
Danielle

Pro

Thanks again.

Rights and the Non-Aggression Principle

I'd like to begin this dialog by providing some insight and background on the NAP. Hopefully this will be useful in explaining voluntarism in layman's terms before I get into more formal philosophical propositions.

To start, let's define rights which are the legal, social or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement. In other words, they describe what people should be (legally) allowed to do [1]. Over the course of history, different rights existed for certain people based on a variety of factors. For example, in the 1800s a white man had the right to buy another (black) human being and hold them captive for life, and force work upon them (without pay) while beating them in good conscience of the law.

Consider this:

- the justification for human rights is ambiguous: divine vs. man-made [2]
- humans have a demonstrable inclination toward power and prestige [3]
- human knowledge is limited and our judgment is biased and flawed [4]

Therefore, we will not always make smart or fair choices in determining rights. In many cases our judgment will be drastic. Large groups of people have been persuaded to believe in the right to hold slaves or commit genocide, for example.

As such, what rights we agree to uphold for one another should try to be consistent in consideration of these limitations and variables. Libertarians, ethical Objectivists and other adherents to the NAP believe therefore that the right to self-ownership, and subsequently the rights to have one's person and property (stemming from the concept of self-ownership) live free from the aggression of others are the true fundamental rights that ought to be upheld; no other rights should probably exist, as they would inherently violate the NAP and require non-voluntary force of some kind.

Ideas about what rights should exist are determined by one's individual (and subjective) values and preferences. However without the right to live your life free from the aggression or threat of aggression, one could not exercise or even enjoy their values to begin with. Self-preservation and protection are basic survival instincts and universal rights that should be established and respected for all.

It is presumed that Con agrees with upholding the arguably innate right to life. Indeed if inherent rights can even exist, the right to life is perhaps the only reasonably absolute one. Without it, one could not employ or promote democracy or any other ideology. However what good is the right to life if one could have one's right to liberty (live free from the force of others) be taken away by virtue of the law? In that case, one could simply have the right to kill another on the basis of their religion - i.e. the Holocaust - rendering a Jew's life meaningless and their right to it non-existent according to 1940 German law, for instance.

In other words, the right to live free from aggression and the force of others ought to be absolute and trump democratic principles. I'm assuming Con will not employ the argument that, say, children are limited from certain autonomous decision making and thus the NAP is not absolute, because I would simply point out that likewise children are inhibited from participating in the democratic process for similar reasons, making this an arguably moot point. Hopefully we are on the same page, and clearly arguing from a genuine difference in value rather than trivialities.

((( Depending on the approach Con takes in his response, I will argue through an either fluid discussion of these points, or a reference to justifications according to various philosophical principles. For example, Hans Herman Hoppe argued from the value of Argumentation Ethics, which supposes that arguing for the legitimate use of aggression violates praxeological utility and thus the NAP ought to be upheld [5]. The economist Ludwig von Mises argues from a Consequentionalist perspective, and insists that adhering to the NAP yields the best tangible results [6]. Thus far I have argued more of a Rothbardian proposition regarding the concept of natural rights... but again, I don't want to distract the audience with bulky terminology or references -- I'm looking for a clean debate and valuable discussion about why I simply disagree with democracy being a superior principle to the NAP. However I am prepared to argue ethics from a double Philosophy major's perspective if that's what this comes down to. )))

The Role and Functionality of the State

As I mentioned, libertarians in addition to anarchists support the NAP. Many people support state protection of the NAP. In other words, they believe the sole legitimate role of the state is to defend individuals against the initiation of force against their person or rightfully owned property. This is the *only* system of government consistent with a natural rights ethic, and the right to life I have described above in defending the NAP.

Adhering to the concept of individual rights does not mean that cooperation within society is impossible or even discouraged. Within such a system, individuals may associate with whomever they want on any mutually agreed upon terms, so long as they do not warrant aggression. People are free to engage in trade and other social, political, religious or business affiliations that do not require force or coercion. In other words, people cannot legitimately be held at gun point and have that agreement to trade be considered valid, for example. The threat of force (antagonistic aggression, which is contrary to defense against aggression) disqualifies the NAP.

People within society may freely form their own societies operating on their own rules within the framework the state, provided such rules are agreed upon by the members of their respective communities. The Amish are an example of a group who operate on their own agreed upon rules within the larger framework of the state.

Problems with Democracy

Much like the problem with establishing rights, even more problematic is the concept of democracy.

First and foremost, democracy could easily be compared to tyranny of the majority. The idea that a proposition is necessarily moral, worthwhile or its utility could be determined by majority opinion is both dangerous and unsupported. By adopting the NAP, it would protect against things like legitimate or legal slavery, genocide, fascism, imperialism, institutionalized oppression, etc. On the contrary, with democracy all of those things could be validated by simply having the majority of a given population agree to them.

Second, not many people in a given society are informed enough to make intelligent and valid decisions. Plato addressed this concern by suggesting only philosopher-kings (the wisest men) should rule over the populace as a just form of government. However that brings up other concerns and does not count as democracy anyway.

In addition to being uninformed and irrational, voters also have a huge bias to advance their own interests. This may stand contrary to the greater good, or stand contrary to the individual rights of other people in such a way that is aggressive and inhibits their right to life, autonomy or property. Not only are many in the masses uneducated on particular political and social subjects, but humans have been observed to act greedy, selfish, destructive or otherwise vicious and justify it by the psychology of mob mentality or otherwise [7].

Democracy is also inefficient, and promotes popularity and personal gain amongst representatives compared to its intended goals. People vote for someone they prejudge or feel they "connect to" rather than who would be the most effective and/or moral representative. The qualities that make a good leader and skilled politician do not necessarily coincide. Eliminating representatives would require citizens to participate in government at levels we cannot realistically expect them to, given the mix of both apathetic perspectives and realistic time constraints. Thus democracy caters to the whims of the masses and encourages demagogues to focus on winning elections rather than governing justly.

The ever-changing whims of the masses, based on a plethora of factors, can create an element of instability that affects not only the moral fabric of society but the market. The slippery slope of legislating away people's property rights (eg. the government forcibly demanding your earnings through taxation) should arguably be considered criminal. Some tease: democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding on what's for dinner. Someone with particular capital (or property or anything) can have their rights usurped by others simply on the basis that she has something they want, or has more of it. My opponent must justify legal theft or for the forcible seizing of one's earnings or property for no other reason than they have acquired more than others approve of.

Conclusion

It's fallacious to imply that the threat or initiation of violence (or theft) against peaceful people is justified by numbers.

"Democracy? I want nothing to do with a system which operates on the premise that my rights don't exist simply because I am outnumbered." —R. Lee Wrights

Back to Con for now.

[1] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[2] http://www.learnliberty.org...
[3] http://www.psychologytoday.com...
[4] https://www.nifc.gov...
[5] http://mises.org...
[6] http://wiki.mises.org...
[7] http://source.southuniversity.edu...
kasmic

Con

Issues of comparison:

In round one we find democracy defined as “a form of government…”


While Voluntarism is defined as “a libertarian philosophy….”

This creates issues as this sets us up to compare a form of government to a philosophy. This is much like comparing a shape to number. In fact, the form a government takes is an application of a philosophy. Unless we can compare philosophy to philosophy, or form of government to form of government, this debate will be unintelligible. Never the less I will outline the principles that lead government to take the form of a democracy.

Principles that lead to Democracy:

The United States is a nation that transitioned to a type of democracy known as a republic.(1) Observing the principles that lead to this shift will give a clear view of the underlying principles that produce a democracy.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” (Declaration of Independence)

1: Equality: “that all men are created equal”


At the core of Democracy is equality. Defined equality is “the quality or state of being equal : the quality or state of having the same rights, social status, etc.”(2)

I do not imagine my opponent disputing the merit of equality.

2: Unalienable rights: “
that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”


My opponent has already acknowledge the existence of unalienable rights saying “Self-preservation and protection are basic survival instincts and universal rights that should be established and respected for all.”

3: Role of Government: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”

Pro says “As I mentioned, libertarians in addition to anarchists support the NAP. Many people support state protection of the NAP. In other words, they believe the sole legitimate role of the state is to defend individuals against the initiation of force against their person or rightfully owned property. This is the *only* system of government consistent with a natural rights ethic, and the right to life I have described above in defending the NAP.”

This is also consistent with democratic principles. Governments being instituted to secure these rights…. “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Thus far all the principles that underpin democracy are synonymous with Voluntarism. In fact it is feasible that the application of voluntarism could take the form of a democracy. Pro has yet to propose a form of government that would represent Voluntarism.

Problems with Democracy: Rebuttal

Pro says “First and foremost, democracy could easily be compared to tyranny of the majority.”

This is empirically true. However, this issue is easily addressed with checks and balances. Indeed the concept of a republic was to be a type of democracy that could check the power of the people while the people retain sovereignty.

As mentioned previously, Pro has not provided a counter form of government with which to compare to democracy.

Pro says “Second, not many people in a given society are informed enough to make intelligent and valid decisions.”

Certainly the decisions of how one is to be governed is most valid when coming from those being governed.

Pro says “Democracy is also inefficient”

Though does not provide any reasoning or comparison to substantiate claim. I invite her to do so.

Pro says “Eliminating representatives would require citizens to participate in government at levels we cannot realistically expect them to, given the mix of both apathetic perspectives and realistic time constraints. Thus democracy caters to the whims of the masses and encourages demagogues to focus on winning elections rather than governing justly.”

I’m not sure but it sounds as if pro is against both direct and indirect democracy. In which case, she must provide a feasible alternative that fits the philosophy she is supporting.

The “problems” my opponent has highlighted with democracy are easily addressed. Though real issues, pro has not provided an alternative form of government. Churchill said "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

Voluntarism as a form of government:

From the link Pro provided on Voluntarism there is a list of individuals that contributed to it formulation. What form of government do the founders of voluntarism support?

1: Thomas Jefferson

He is the author of the Declaration of Independence which endorses government in the form of a democracy. “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

2: John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill presented the Harm principle. This principle is mostly synonymous with the NAP. He published “Considerations on Representative Government is a book by John Stuart Mill published in 1861.As the title suggests, it is an argument for representative government, the ideal form of government in Mill's opinion.”(3)

3: John Locke

“Democracy implies that the people are governed by their voluntary consent. The power to govern vests in the people and it is they, by their consent, that constitute government. According to Locke, the individual was naturally free and only became a political subject out of free choice. Without the consent of the people there could not be formed a civil society/ community. From its very definition, democracy is government by consent. Therefore, it is evident that Locke belief in the government by consent forms bedrock for the democratic belief in the same.” (4)

It seems clear that the institutors of voluntarism and the NAP are advocates that government applying the philosophy of NAP would take the form of a democracy.

This is contrary to Pro’s statement that “Democracy is a form of government in which eligible citizens may participate in government either directly by voting for the passing of specific laws, running for office, or voting indirectly through elected representatives. This stands contrary to voluntarism which does not allow for citizens to legally violate the NAP through voting (even by majority consensus).”

Conclusion:

We can no more reasonable compare a form of government to a philosophy then a shape to a number. The principles of democracy and voluntarism are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the institutors of voluntarism and the NAP are advocates that government applying the philosophy of NAP would take the form of a democracy. As such my opponent says she “will be arguing that voluntarism is the superior moral principle to democracy.” No such argument can reasonable be made to compare a moral principle to an organization. In any case, the principles that inspire the form of government known as a democracy often included the NAP. Comparing the philosophy that leads to democracy to the philosophy of voluntarism it is clear they are nearly identical. So unless pro can offer a form of government other than a democracy to compare she cannot “win” this debate.

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(2) http://www.merriam-webster.com...
(3) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(4) http://en.wikipedia.org...


Debate Round No. 2
Danielle

Pro

Thanks, Con.

Re: Issues of Comparison

I used the term voluntarism in this debate instead of its political equivalent - anarchy - because of the visceral reaction and the emotionally charged reaction the word "anarchy" creates. When people think of anarchy, they think of chaos, mayhem, rampant crime and destruction. However that is because the term has been manipulated since its inception, and has become corrupted based on bad examples, much like feminism. The reality is that many political scientists and theorists have favored voluntarism, eg. the elimination of the state or defined as a state in which simply the NAP is recognized, such as I am advocating in this debate. They have explained at length how such a society would function.

Voluntarism has been observed in practice including communities founded by anarchists for social experiments, and successful cooperative businesses. However there are a few instances of mass society "anarchies" that have come about from explicitly anarchist revolutions as well, including the Free Territory of Ukraine and the Shinmin autonomous region in Manchuria [1]. There was also the Paris Commune of 1871, and the observable anarchist movement during the Russian Revolution in 1917 among others [2]. I could cite other examples, but the point is that we have seen successful anarchist and voluntarist societies in practice. It is not just a theory but a legitimate form of government.

There are several types of government: anarchist, communist, monarchy, oligarchy, theocracy, constitutional monarchy, constitutional republic, dictatorship, democracy, etc. Each of these types has a distinct way of creating, defining and enforcing the law . A government is the political administration of a country or state [3]. I am advocating for an anarchist or libertarian government, while Con is arguing for a democratic one (eg. the status quo). I clarified the differences of democracy vs. the NAP in the descriptions of R1.

I do not advocate a state with no governance (I believe government is necessary for society). Libertarians and anarchists believe the purpose of the state is upholding the NAP that I have described. I am arguing in favor of the libertarian ideology of government, while my opponent is arguing in favor of democracy. Indeed democracy does not only have to refer to a political state, but describes a way in which philosophical affairs are determined.

To clarify: I am arguing that protecting and upholding the NAP should be the sole legitimate use and function of government. In layman's terms, I am arguing for libertarianism. My opponent is arguing that the state should be run according to the democratic whims of the people -- that the people should be able to violate the NAP and vote to have the government play an additional role in citizen's affairs, and create other rules and boundaries regarding people's lives, property and the market.

Re: Principles that Lead to Democracy

Con says that he does not imagine I will be disputing the merit of equality. On the contrary, I completely dispute the utility of presumed or pretend measures of equality. In fact, in the last round I specifically argued why people are inept to make certain decisions on the basis of their inequality and/or ignorance. For example, citizens who are 18 and know little to nothing about the market are NOT equal in terms of value to judge economic policy, as say, someone with a PhD in economics. People are not equal and should not be treated as equal in terms of their ability to make reasonable or moral decisions. That is why people should make their own decisions, and not make decisions regarding policy that permits theft, force and aggression against others as democracy allows.

Con adds that because we all have the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, that democracy should prevail. However this is a flawed interpretation and application of these rights. Democracy allows for the legal obliteration of one's right to pursue liberty and happiness. For example, despite the scientific and medicinal validation that smoking pot is less harmful (to the self and society) than drinking alcohol, the latter is legal while marijuana is not. People can have their liberty completely eviscerated and get locked up and thrown in a cage for smoking a plant that makes them happy and is arguably harmless (or at least significantly less harmful than other things that are legal). Under democracy, this illogical inconsistency and arguably tyrannical application of government is legal and valid. In a society that employed the NAP over democracy, people would be allowed to smoke pot if they so choose, so long as they did not infringe on another's person or property.

Con adds that in order to secure rights, people must inherently consent to be governed. I'm arguing that in order to protect one's rights, they must consent to not violate the rights of others. The way to do that is to agree to the NAP - to agree that protecting against aggression is the sole legitimate function of the state, and that the state should not be used to aggress (or legalize aggression) against others. On the contrary, democracy allows for the legal implementation of theft and aggression of all kinds if the majority of people consent to it. In 1939 Germany people were persuaded to allow for the legal genocide of Jews - one example of how democracy could eradicate the rights of others at the whim of the majority.

Finally on this point, my opponent argues that the NAP is consistent with democracy.

This is where I must clarify and repeat the distinctions between the two forms of government: voluntarism vs. democracy, as the two are NOT compatible in application. Indeed Con repeats in the conclusion of his last round that the founding fathers Thomas Jefferson, John Stuart Mill and John Locke would all have supported a voluntarist government. This is an interesting argument, as the founding fathers were infinitely more libertarian than the politicians (and voters) of America today. In fact citing and quoting the founding fathers is one way in which libertarians argue against tyranny thorough democracy, and argue against the policy and political aims of the current times.

Here's an example: Today people who are pro-life are often forced to have their tax dollars go toward pro-choice institutions. Even if they fundamentally disagree with this and consider it murder, pro-lifers are forced to fund it [4]. Interestingly, Thomas Jefferson noted this was a terrible idea: "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical." And yet that is the status quo. Despite not supporting particular programs or aims, Republicans are forced to pay toward things they might vehemently find immoral and vice versa. For instance many anti-war liberals are fundamentally opposed to overseas conflict, yet their taxes and military are forced to fight. Democracy allows for forced theft and aggression. The NAP does not allow for theft, force and aggression and everyone benefits from that protection.

Con notes that Locke writes, "Democracy implies that the people are governed by their voluntary consent... Without the consent of the people there could not be formed a civil society/ community." The thing is that not everybody consents to be oppressed by majority consent, so democracy ignores the rights of the smallest minority: the individual. And further, while I agree that the people could consent to form a civil society by agreeing to have the government uphold certain rights, I believe those rights should be limited to the NAP -- not democratic vote.

It is important to note that these two ideologies and governments are not synonymous or compatible. They are in fact mutually exclusive.

Democracy allows for taxation; voluntarism pretty much does not.
Democracy allows for instigating war; voluntarism does not (without prior aggression or threats).
Democracy allows for laws against victimless crimes (eg. prostitution, smoking) and voluntarism does not, etc.

Voluntarism maximizes liberty and freedom while protecting individuals from aggression. Democracy permits and arguably encourages aggression.

Re: In Defense of Democracy and Conclusion

In the last round, I specified the problems with democracy including: tyranny of the majority, problematic uninformed and biased voters, inefficiency, and inherently flawed incentives regarding mutually exclusive goals of both voters and the politicians who represent them. Con says that tyranny of the majority is addressed through checks and balances. Again, I've argued that those do not account for individual rights. Further checks and balances still allow for atrocities like the ones I've mentioned such as slavery, genocide and theft (eg. socialism). Also, while Con says I have not provided ulterior forms of government for comparison, that is empirically false. I've cited other types of government including voluntarist ones as alternatives.

Extend all of my arguments regarding ignorant, uninformed, biased and otherwise malicious voters who through democracy promote confirmation and other cognitive biases in decision making. Con has not disputed any of my claims regarding the incapacity of most voters to make the best decisions. Furthermore, extend all of my arguments on efficiency. Con did not address my points regarding the incentives of politicians and voters to be contrary to each other and individual rights (liberty). Finally extend my arguments on legislating away property (among other) rights.

I have submitted my counter to democracy (the NAP) as both a more moral and pragmatic function of government.


[1] http://tinyurl.com...
[2] http://tinyurl.com...
[3] http://tinyurl.com...
[4] http://tinyurl.com...
kasmic

Con

C1: Political Ideology:

“In social studies, a political ideology is a certain ethical set of ideals, principles, doctrines, myths or symbols of a social movement, institution, class, and or large group that explains how society should work, and offers some political and cultural blueprint for a certain social order.” (1)

Point A: Defining Liberalism

liberalism, political doctrine that takes protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual to be the central problem of politics. Liberals typically believe that government is necessary to protect individuals from being harmed by others; but they also recognize that government itself can pose a threat to liberty. As the revolutionary American pamphleteer Thomas Paine expressed it in “Common Sense” (1776), government is at best “a necessary evil.” Laws, judges, and police are needed to secure the individual’s life and liberty, but their coercive power may also be turned against him. The problem, then, is to devise a system that gives government the power necessary to protect individual liberty but also prevents those who govern from abusing that power.”(2)

Point B: Libertarians are within this ideology.

Within Liberalism are divisions. Much like within Christianity there are many denominations that agree on most main points, yet disagree on details. Libertarians fall under the political ideology of Liberalism.(3)

Point C: Democracy is a key part of Liberalism

“…some of the key ideas behind liberalism: democracy, equal rights, human rights, the separation between State and religion and freedom of religion, the focus on the individual well-being.”(3)

C1 Conclusion:

Libertarian philosophy stems from liberalism. Liberalism is tied to democracy. Therefore, as I mentioned last round, It seems clear that the institutors of voluntarism and the NAP are advocates that government applying the philosophy of NAP would take the form of a democracy.

Re: Issues of Comparison

Pro provides us with voluntarism “political equivalent – anarchy.” Further stating that “we have seen successful anarchist and voluntarist societies in practice. It is not just a theory but a legitimate form of government.”

Though she then also says “I am arguing in favor of the libertarian ideology of government, while my opponent is arguing in favor of democracy.”

Further confusing this debate she says “ I am advocating for an anarchist or libertarian government, while Con is arguing for a democratic one (eg. the status quo).”

Either Pro is arguing for an Anarchic government as she has indicated, or she is advocating a libertarian government, which as sources show would be a democracy. It cannot be both. Here is why.

Anarchism is a political ideology separate from liberalism. This makes it separate from the branch of liberalism that is libertarianism.(1)

Pro then says “In layman's terms, I am arguing for libertarianism. My opponent is arguing that the state should be run according to the democratic whims of the people..."

Again, my opponent must choose anarchic or libertarian, they are not compatible ideologies. Also, my arguing on behalf of democracy is not endorsing the “whims of the people.” As mentioned already in this debate I am advocating for a republic. Indeed the concept of a republic was to be a type of democracy that could check the power of the people while the people retain sovereignty.

Pro then states that in democracies “the people should be able to violate the NAP and vote to have the government play an additional role in citizen's affairs, and create other rules and boundaries regarding people's lives, property and the market. “

Pro seems to be implying that because a democracy, for example the USA, has in its history allowed the people to violate the NAP that Democracy itself allows such an action. This does not follow. Likewise pro says

“Democracy allows for taxation; voluntarism pretty much does not.
Democracy allows for instigating war; voluntarism does not (without prior aggression or threats).
Democracy allows for laws against victimless crimes (eg. prostitution, smoking) and voluntarism does not, etc. “

Again, some democracies do allow such action. However, it is not inherent to the concept of a democracy. Also, pro leaves room to believe such things are not excluded from voluntarism forms of government. For emphasis again she says ““Democracy allows for taxation; voluntarism pretty much does not.” Pretty… much… does… not. Does this mean that somewhere some voluntarist do? If so then it is clear that these examples apply to specific cases of Democracy and voluntarism, not the ideals themselves.

Re: Principles that Lead to Democracy

Pro says “Con says that he does not imagine I will be disputing the merit of equality. On the contrary, I completely dispute the utility of presumed or pretend measures of equality.” Then stating “That is why people should make their own decisions, and not make decisions regarding policy that permits theft, force and aggression against others as democracy allows.”

Within Liberalism the concepts of Equality and Liberty are indispensable. There is debate over what equality or liberty entails. For example Pro while supposedly arguing against “equality” argues that people should be free. Does pro believe people should be equally free? I hope this proves the point that equality is at the core of libertarianism. Just in case…

Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty (which is especially stressed in classical liberalism) and equality (which is more evident in social liberalism).Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas such as free and fair elections, civil rights, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free trade, and private property.”(5)

Again, Libertarianism is a branch of Liberalism. Equality and liberty are at its crux. As you stated in round 1… “Voluntaryism is a libertarian philosophy….”

Pro says “Con adds that in order to secure rights, people must inherently consent to be governed. I'm arguing that in order to protect one's rights, they must consent to not violate the rights of others.”

This is a strange thought. I did not argue that in order to secure rights people must consent. Rather that government is instituted to secure those rights. As far as consenting not to violate the rights of others, that seems idealistic. After someone “consents” to not violate the rights of others, we are to just expect that they won’t.

Pro says “This is where I must clarify and repeat the distinctions between the two forms of government: voluntarism vs. democracy, as the two are NOT compatible in application.”

I have shown this round and last that they indeed are and stem from the same ideology.

Pro then says “Indeed Con repeats in the conclusion of his last round that the founding fathers Thomas Jefferson, John Stuart Mill and John Locke would all have supported a voluntarist government.” That is not my conclusion. It was that voluntarist’s, listed on your link, supported types of democracies. This is empirically and irrefutable evident.

Pro says “This is an interesting argument, as the founding fathers were infinitely more libertarian than the politicians (and voters) of America today.”

Yes they were. As libertarians, who followed the ideology of liberalism, they established a republic. Which again is a type of democracy.

Pro again states“It is important to note that these two ideologies and governments are not synonymous or compatible. They are in fact mutually exclusive.”

Empirically false as Thomas Jefferson is notably a voluntarist on pro’s link and he helped establish a type of democracy. He was even President of said democracy.

Pro’s contentions are placed on specific examples of democracies however, not on the concept of democracies. Thus these contentions do not support her burden of argument. Again I share from Pro’s round one “I will be arguing that voluntarism is the superior moral principle to democracy.” No such argument has be made on moral grounds. Rather Pro has in a way cherry picked specific democracies that have done things beyond the NAP. However, these examples are not inherent to democracies.

I maintain that this debate has an issue as these to ideals are not at odds with each other. Rather, they stem from the same Ideology, Liberalism.

The principles of democracy and voluntarism are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the institutors of voluntarism and the NAP are advocates that government applying the philosophy of NAP would take the form of a democracy.

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(2) http://www.britannica.com...
(3) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(4) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(5) http://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 3
Danielle

Pro

Thanks, kasmic.

Re: Political Ideology and Issues of Comparison


It is truly unfortunate that this debate has turned into a semantics discussion over definitions. Con argues that libertarianism and anarchism are fundamentally opposed, while libertarianism and liberalism are fundamentally the same. That is entirely false. In a technical context, libertarianism does stem from classical liberalism. However, classical liberalism is nothing like the liberalism of today (which emphasizes democratic principles). Meanwhile, libertarians and anarchists share a MUCH similar ideology [1]. In particular, both of these ideologies fundamentally agree on the NAP [2]. The NAP Wikipedia page (sourced in an earlier round) outlines how the NAP is inherent to both the libertarian and anarchist principles.

One author writes, "I typically describe myself as a libertarian anarchist... Libertarian is a more friendly word; anarchist is generally perceived to be hostile... Yet some people, especially people who are libertarian or anarchists, view the words as essentially the same thing." He explains what I tried to in the last round, though perhaps does a better job of it. He notes libertarianism is an ethical doctrine. It is concerned with rights. Most commonly this right is referred to as the right to self ownership, which includes the right to the product of your labor.

He continues, "The libertarian principle of non-aggression simply is a means of asserting the premise of self ownership. The non-aggression principle states that one may/should not use coercive physical force to violate the self ownership of any other person. The principle clearly understood merely asserts that all actions should be voluntarily untaken... The use of force is illegitimate for libertarians... What is clear is that libertarians oppose government. Government is any actor, individual, or collective that negates the liberty of self ownership - any entity that claims control over another person or persons" [3].

This is where the comparison/correlation with anarchism comes in.

"Anarchism (voluntarism) has nothing to do with rights or ethics. The concept of 'philosophical anarchism' may, but that is very similar if not the same as libertarianism. Anarchism is a political concept that promotes ideas hostile to the State. The State can essentially be viewed as a self enforcing monopoly with power over a specified although possibly indefinite region. Because governing institutions are most effective at depriving individuals of liberty, they are well equipped to claim dominion over and submission to itself, while aiming to protect itself from competition" [3].

In other words, the two are not mutually exclusive, and they are similar.

The NAP stands in direct contrast to principles of democracy. Libertarians are also opposed to democracy. These two things are NOT the same. In the last round, I detailed explicit differences between democracy and libertarianism. While libertarianism and anarchy are not exactly the same, they are very similar and far more similar than libertarianism and democracy. Con is correct that democracy is a much greater part of liberalism than libertarianism. Libertarians oppose democratic principles and support the NAP for the reasons I've outlined in the last round, particularly in reference to the founding fathers.

Matthew Yglesias writes, "Libertarians have always been against democracy (the rapprochement with democracy being one of the key steps in the transition from classical to modern liberalism)" [4]. Libertarian leaning politician Rand Paul agrees that people's fundamental rights should not be up for democratic vote [5].

Re: Democracy vs. Republic

Con says a democratic republic is superior to a democracy, because it could "could check the power of the people while the people retain sovereignty." In a republic, the law is still dictated by the whims of the people or the people they elect. Furthermore, I've explained in the last round that checks and balances not only still allow for atrocities like slavery and genocide, but ignore the rights of the smallest minority: the individual, who may not consent to be governed by a particular institution or set of laws they find fundamentally oppressive and aggressive.

Re: Clarifications on Voluntarism

Con writes, "Pro seems to be implying that because a democracy, for example the USA, has in its history allowed the people to violate the NAP that Democracy itself allows such an action. This does not follow." You'll notice that Con never explains how/why it does not follow, since it absolutely does. Democracy violates the NAP including examples like taxation and establishing victimless, voluntary crimes (prostitution, gambling, etc.). This inhibits liberty, and is encouraged by government policy such as for-profit prisons.

Con notes, "For emphasis again she says 'Democracy allows for taxation; voluntarism pretty much does not.' Pretty" much" does" not. Does this mean that somewhere some voluntarist do?" Sure Con - allow me to clarify. While voluntarists do not support COMPULSORY taxation, that does not mean a group of people within society will not agree to collect funds to pay for particular services fostering efficiency. I used the phrase "pretty much" to explain that while taxation is prohibited in a voluntarist society (as taxes are property and wealth demanded through force), they might set up a similar system as a way to help society function, i.e. pay for things like a local fire department. So while it will not be identical to taxation, it will pretty much resemble a similar system except with a lot more transparency and less waste.

Studies have been done proving the utility of libertarian governments. Research measuring public vs. private sector efficiency shows countries with small public sectors report the "best" economic performance, and countries with small public sectors report significantly higher efficiency. These findings suggest diminishing marginal products of higher public spending would be useful [6]. The NAP inhibits the pubic sector, and functions solely on the productive private (rather than parasitic public) sector.

Re: Principles That Lead to Democracy

People have the equal right to non-aggression. Likewise people should have the liberty to act however they want, so long as it does not aggress against or infringe upon the rights of others. Again, this is the primary distinction of the NAP vs. democracy.

Con says that he didn't say people must consent to secure rights, but that governments are instituted to secure those rights.

Here's a direct quote: "Governments being instituted to secure these rights". 'deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.'" His quote implies that the government derives consent from the people to institute and secure rights, which is just another way of saying exactly what I said. Either way, in a democracy people consent to vote on or have others vote on what rights we allegedly have. For instance, people argue that we have the right to health care, but that is debated. People argue that we have the right to sue people for not serving us, but that is debated. What I'm arguing is that the NAP are the only rights that are seemingly inherent (if inherent rights could exist), and all other so-called rights are just moral fabrications at the whim of the masses.

For instance a few years ago, the majority of the population did not believe people had a right to health care. Now a lot more people do believe in that right. If rights become things we can make up or take away as we please, it creates problematic potential for abuses of power. On the other hand, a government that abides strictly by the NAP as opposed to democracy would prevent legalizing aggression (or state sanctioned aggression) contrary to democracy.

Re: Criticisms of Democracy

It seems Con has forfeited every single criticism of democracy that I have made. To reiterate, I have provided a handful of legitimate points about why democracy is inferior to the NAP. I have also explained ad nauseum why they are not synonymous concepts. Democracy allows you vote to implement or take away rights; the NAP does not. It is too late for Con to introduce any new arguments in the last round.

Once again, problems with democracy include the tyranny of the majority, inefficiency, and inherently flawed incentives regarding the goals of voters vs. the politicians. Also, extend all of my arguments regarding ignorant, uninformed, biased and otherwise malicious voters who through democracy promote confirmation and other cognitive biases in decision making. Con has not disputed any of my claims regarding the incapacity of most voters to make the best decisions. Furthermore, extend all of my arguments on efficiency.

Con did not address my points regarding the incentives of politicians and voters to be contrary to each other and individual rights (liberty). Finally extend my arguments on legislating away property (among other) rights. My opponent never justified legal theft, or the forcible seizing of one's earnings or property for no other reason than they have acquired more than others approve of. In fact he hasn't justified democracy at all outside of saying "that's the way things are and how some philosophers agree it should be." On the contrary, I have submitted my counter to democracy (the NAP) as not only a different form of government, but a more moral and pragmatic function of government.

Thank you.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://nap.univacc.net...
[3] http://www.newkindofmind.com...
[4] http://www.theatlantic.com...
[5] http://blogs.crikey.com.au...
[6] http://beforeitsnews.com...
kasmic

Con

Thanks, Danielle,

Re: Political Ideology and Issues of Comparison


Pro says “Con argues that libertarianism and anarchism are fundamentally opposed, while libertarianism and liberalism are fundamentally the same. That is entirely false.” Further stating “In a technical context, libertarianism does stem from classical liberalism.”

I did not argue that libertarianism and liberalism are fundamentally the same. I argued that Libertarianism thought stems from Liberalism ideology, and it is a branch of that ideology. Much like say the Methodist church is a branch or sect of Christianity, though not synonymous with all other types of Christians.

So the question has become did libertarianism stem from classical liberalism.

“During the 18th century, classical liberal ideas flourished in Europe and North America. Libertarians of various schools were influenced by classical liberal ideas.”

John Locke greatly influenced both libertarianism and the modern world in his writings published before and after the English Revolution of 1688, especially A Letter Concerning Toleration (1667), Two Treatises of Government (1689) and An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). In the latter he established the basis of liberal political theory: that people's rights existed before government; that the purpose of government is to protect personal and property rights; that people may dissolve governments that do not do so; and that representative government is the best form to protect rights.”(1) (this is on a page about Libertarianism)

There you have it. Libertarians were influenced by classical liberal ideology. Again those listed on Pro’s link as libertarian ideologues who helped develop volunteerism includes John Locke and John Stuart Mill. These two are quintessential Liberals. In Fact John Locke is “widely known as the Father of Classical Liberalism.”(2)

“libertarianism as a basic natural rights doctrine, in the spirit of Locke”(3)

In other words, the two (libertarianism and Lberalism) are not mutually exclusive, and they are in fact… indisputable connected.

Pro says “The NAP stands in direct contrast to principles of democracy. Libertarians are also opposed to democracy. These two things are NOT the same. In the last round, I detailed explicit differences between democracy and libertarianism.”

I have already demonstrated quotes from voluntarist listed in Pro’s sources to be largely in favor of democracy. It is reinforced by the quotes above. Again I reiterate that John Stuart Mill presented the Harm principle. This principle is mostly synonymous with the NAP and he is referenced on pro’s link. He published “Considerations on Representative Government is a book by John Stuart Mill published in 1861.As the title suggests, it is an argument for representative government, the ideal form of government in Mill's opinion.”

Pro even said “Indeed Con repeats in the conclusion of his last round that the founding fathers Thomas Jefferson, John Stuart Mill and John Locke would all have supported a voluntarist government. This is an interesting argument, as the founding fathers were infinitely more libertarian than the politicians (and voters) of America today.”


This just proves my point. So called voluntarists who formulated the NAP not only find the concept compatible with democracy, but advocated for such a government.

Pro says “It is truly unfortunate that this debate has turned into a semantics discussion over definitions.”

This is unfortunate. However, it is clear that when pro concludes that “The NAP stands in direct contrast to principles of democracy. Libertarians are also opposed to democracy.” We can know that is entirely untrue.

Re: Democracy vs. Republic

Pro clings to the argument of tyranny of the majority. Again this is easily handled with checks and balances. While Pro seems to feel that is not enough, it is the realistic option that leads the rights of individuals to be respected as much if not more than any other type or form of government.

Re: Clarifications on Voluntarism


Pro says

“Con writes, "Pro seems to be implying that because a democracy, for example the USA, has in its history allowed the people to violate the NAP that Democracy itself allows such an action. This does not follow." You'll notice that Con never explains how/why it does not follow, since it absolutely does. Democracy violates the NAP including examples like taxation and establishing victimless, voluntary crimes (prostitution, gambling, etc.). This inhibits liberty, and is encouraged by government policy such as for-profit prisons. “

(a)The US is a democracy
(b) The US has violated the NAP
If (a) and (b) then Democracies in theroy are necessarily doomed to violation of the NAP

Do you see the jump in logic…

(a) Kasmic is a man
(b) Kasmic is using a syllogism
If (a) and (b) then All men use syllogisms

When I say “it does not follow” I mean logically. Pro is using the USA as an example of All democracies and All democratic theories. The examples given are not inherient to the type of government known as a democracy, rather just examples of what some democracies have done. It is like saying that men are strait. To be man means to be strait. Many/most men are, yet not all. Ergo, to be strait is not inherient to being a man. Likewise, some democracies have violated the NAP. These examples however are not inherient to the form of government known as a democracy. It cannot be concluded that Democracy inheriently allows violation of the NAP.

Conclusion

Pro’s contentions are placed on specific examples of democracies however, not on the concept of democracies. Thus these contentions do not support her burden of argument. Again I share from Pro’s round one “I will be arguing that voluntarism is the superior moral principle to democracy.” No such argument has be made on moral grounds. Rather Pro has in a way cherry picked specific democracies that have done things beyond the NAP. However, these examples are not inherent to democracies.


I maintain that this debate has an issue as these two ideals are not at odds with each other. Rather, they stem from the same Ideology, Liberalism. This clearly being the case, it cannot logically be concluded that “Voluntarism is is the superior moral principle to democracy.” Especially as democracy is a form of government, and voluntarism is a ideology. They can go hand in hand.

I apologize to pro if she found this debate “unfortunate” as I did not intend on a semantical debate. I would be open to debating again in a case where a clear comparison can be made. I.E. a form of government vs a form of government. A political ideology vs political ideology.

Thanks for the debate, and thanks for reading.

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(2) https://www.boundless.com...
(3) http://plato.stanford.edu...

Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Kyle_the_Heretic 2 years ago
Kyle_the_Heretic
Holy cow Danielle. Your first round argument made me so dizzy that when I stepped away from the computer I crashed into the wall.

I can't say I understood everything you presented, but what I was able to understand was well presented. I'm very interested to see Kasmic's argument.
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