Western foreign policy should abandon attempts at universializing liberal values
Well, that resolution was a mouthful...
-BOP is on Pro
-Follow the formay
Foreign policy:A government's strategy in dealing with other nations. In this case, we define Western Foreign policy as being made by countries a part of or aligned with groups such as NATO and the EU
Abandon: To give up or renounce completely.
universalizing: To make univerisal, or to be globally recognized and upheld.
Liberal values: Beliefs aligned with Liberalism, this includes classical Liberalism. Beliefs include: Democracy, individualism, secularism and unregulated freedom of speech.
R1: Acceptance only
R2: Opening Arguments
R4: Closing arguments and counter rebuttals.
Thanks to Con for accepting the terms And rules of the debate. Here are my opening arguments.
Arg 1: Hegemony is inherently anti-Liberal
Hegemony is defined as :
“leadership or dominance, especially by one country or social group over others.” (2)
To universalize something, would require it to be internationally upheld. The United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights saw to it a unanimous voting from the initial 48 member states (3). In order for the UN declaration to be declared universal, it required a leading or dominant vote in favour of it. The UN declaration went through varying amends before it’s finalized copy (presented to the 48 member states), made to make sure that these rights could be applied universally. That it can apply despite different cultural or religious barriers. In short, it was made to be applied universally.
To assert liberal values to the same universal degree as the UN would require hegemony, As not all countries are secular, as all countries are not as individualistic as liberal societies. In order to universalize such values, it would require some form of social or cultural homogeny. This inherently goes against Liberalism. For example, in Article 11 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man it states (1):
“The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law.”
Universalizing Liberal values such as Secularism and Individualism would ultimately require the suppression of ideologies that go against it. Which in turn, contradict with values of free speech and political pluralism.
Arg 2: Liberalism developed within the social and political climate of the West.
The development and rise of classical liberalism had grown for the later part of the past 4 centuries. Seeing it’s more influential thinkers (John Locke for example) come to prominence in the late 17th century and farther into the 18th century. Historically speaking, Liberalism is fairly new as an ideology. (1)
Despite the “Whig narrative” to history, Liberalism was not the result of any “natural progression” in society. In came in response to the historical circumstances of Western Europe during the 17th to 18th century. The tumultuous political climate of 18th century France was the primary catalyst for the French Revolution. The “Ancien Regime” in France had grown weak and incompetent at dealing with France’s problems in comparison to their efficiency during the Middle Ages. The Revolution therefore, came in response to dealing with these issues. (2)
Similarly, Liberalism had to change and adapt its values as time went on, and as circumstances required for a change in policy. Hence the transition from Classical Liberalism to Modern Day Liberalism.
In short, Liberalism, just like other political and social systems, came in response to the political and social climate of its time. The situation in France during the late 1700’s was radically different from the problems the Qing Dynasty in China was dealing with in that same time period. To assert the solutions to such different social issues would be hegemonic, and unproductive. As put by Ergodan, Turkey’s 12th President (3):
“According to this view, democracy is the product of Western culture, and it cannot be applied to the Middle East which has a different cultural, religious, sociological and historical background.”
Well, firstly, I don't think Pro demonstrated that Liberal Democracies ought not to convey/abandon attempts to Universalize Liberal Values, he certainly didn't demonstrate that Liberal Values were bad, nor did he demonstrate that the U.N is the only viable way to produce progress in turning anti-liberal or anti-democratic countries towards a more open and liberal country.
Since, these propositions are not challenged.
1. Liberal Values are Bad
2. It is not in the interest of liberal democracies to abandon their foreign policy
3. The U.N is not the only viable means to progress and Universalize Liberal Values.
Then I don't see much of an argument, but let's have a look at the objections before the positive argument anyway.
The first argument is a category error, it conflates the free expression of ideas, with the hegemonic attempt at the legalization of the free expression of ideas. So, when Con says that the Rights of Man, (Also he is being extremely controversial using this as his 'source' of information, due to the contemporary Liberal commentators like Murray Rothbard, Walter Block and Robert Nozick would completely reject this definition.), he simply means to conflate the idea that resolutions to promote Free Speech would ultimately lead to the suppression of ideologies. First and foremost, a political system may put buffers on attempt to create a theocratic or Communist political movement, but the free expression thereof is not necessary banned.
Pro has sort of tied the idea that promoting or universalizing Free expression through the U.N, would prohibit the free expression of Ideologies, or that it would 'ban' attempts to promote it. This doesn't follow, countries I agree whom supposedly espouse Liberal Values sometimes are contradictory. I admit that. The values themselves are not bad nor are the failures. But to say that a country who adopts the Rights of Man article as seen above would 'suppress ideologies' that go against it is patently false. Who would disagree that Free Speech is constantly challenged everyday in speech "Write and print", numerous colleges, think tanks and social justice movements challenge the Liberal Value of Free Speech, and it is their right to.
So, Pro's first argument has a lot of very loose holes in it.
Moving onto to the positive argument
why Freedom of Expression is valuable. Well, it allows the free exchange of ideas, and as Pro put it for me, any attempt as suppressing free speech would contradict values of political pluralism. Since he seems to agree that Free expression is good, I don't necessarily see debate here. Encouraging countries to free and open dialogue is not an anti-liberal value, long gone are the days of believing in the idea that countries are passive or neutral to their own values.
Furthermore, the encouragement of these values safeguards attempts to destroy them from other Theocratic of dangerous groups. Islamic violence against cartoonists or authors in countries that espouse these views, necessarily means we must be defiant in their actions. To uphold this value for ourselves, necessarily means fighting its suppression anywhere it is seen to be a threat to those living under oppression. That can be done simply through U.N. resolutions, public denouncements, refusal to co-operate in trade, all viable and fair actions of a Liberal Democracy that refuses to accept the conditions of Theocrats and violent oppressors.
Thus far, I have established this.
1. Freedom of Expression is not a contradiction of terms.
2. Freedom of Expression is a valuable concept.
3. The promotion of it is viable .
4. The promotion of it in the U.N is necessary for domestic affairs.
5. Liberal democracies ought not to abandon attempts to further its Liberal Values.
I also must say, I do not have to establish every single value as being viable of promotion, only that it would be absurd to abandon all values. Since it is not absurd to abandon all values, we shouldn't abandon the promotion of Freedom of association and expression, a core value.
In conclusion to my positive argument, we have shown why it is viable to promote a core value.
The second argument
Core points. 'Liberalism is a new system/ideology'
Reformulation, as shown Liberalism is a distinct and diverse set of independent ideas. Core values are such that of Free association and expression.
Core points. 'Liberalism adapts'
Yes, but that doesn't mean it had changed so much that it is unrecognizable nor bad.
Core points. 'Encouraging the Middle East to change is unproductive and hegemonic'
My opponent certainly cites sources, the relevance of such, I am unsure of. They don't really place his argument in a practical sphere, which would be the value of such a thing. Again, nothing we've seen here is really a smack down argument against Liberalism. Of course values adapt and countries change, of course the history of an emerging set of ideas have violent pasts, most, if not all do, but as I've clearly pointed out, we can, through peaceful means encourage these values.
Also, the Middle Easts value systems as a diverse as Europes, to believe that Ergodan was correct in two lines about the entire history and culture of an area with hundreds of millions of people is absurd. India has a rich and vibrant secular culture influenced by Liberal Values and the promotion of such through authors and trade.
You still need to establish these propositions.
1. Liberal values are bad
2. Liberal values cannot through any means be established or encouraged
I've shown both are false. Liberal values are good and that they offer strong individual rights to people. Expression is the core value of a Liberal society and that should be preserved. Secondly, through boycotts, sanctions, removal of trade routes, U.N. resolutions and even political unity through International collective interests we can establish a progression. Furthermore, look at the secular Kurdistan, a place that Ergodan ought to have mentioned. They have become a prime example of progress without violence. Secular in their nature and many socialists and communist advocates, this is evidence if anything is.
So, in conclusion I look forward to an argument to prove your case and not a history lesson in the adaption of liberal values.
In this final round, I’ll engage in all of my rebuttals and my closing arguments.
R1:” Well, firstly, I don't think Pro demonstrated that Liberal Democracies ought not to convey/abandon attempts to Universalize Liberal Values, he certainly didn't demonstrate that Liberal Values were bad, nor did he demonstrate that the U.N is the only viable way to produce progress in turning anti-liberal or anti-democratic countries towards a more open and liberal country.”
The demonization of Liberal values was never in my initial assertion. In my argument and in the acceptance round, I had never asserted that Liberal values were inherently wrong. The only assertion was that Western Foreign policy should not universalize said values. To be against the universalization of something does not imply a distaste towards it. I had never asserted that the UN was the only viable means of universalization. Only that it was the most effective. Given that the vast majority of the world’s countries are a part of the UN, regions seeking international recognition most often do so through the UN.
R2:” Since, these propositions are not challenged.
None of these assertions were made in my opening argument, as seen in “R1” I had never argued that the UN was the only viable means of “universalization” only that it was the most effective. I had never argued that Liberal values were bad. And I have never even implied the assertion that the West should abandon all foreign policy in general, I only said they should “abandon attempts” at universalizing liberal values. Con here has made a large misrepresentation of my original assertion and my later arguments.
I cannot rebut Con’s later rebuttals, as they are based off a misrepresentation of my opening arguments. Hence, I cannot rebut to what is in response to what I have never said in the first place.
R3: “I don't necessarily see debate here. Encouraging countries to free and open dialogue is not an anti-liberal value, long gone are the days of believing in the idea that countries are passive or neutral to their own values.”
Remember that the debate is not on whether liberal values are a good thing, but whether such values should be universalized. I never asserted that liberal values were inherently good or not, only that preservation of free speech was in the interests of a liberal democracy. Simply because one civilization finds a law, attribute or policy to be good, it does not justify attempts at asserting said law abroad. As that is culturally hegemonic (which goes against liberal values, as stated in my initial argument).
R4:“To uphold this value for ourselves, necessarily means fighting its suppression anywhere it is seen to be a threat to those living under oppression. That can be done simply through U.N. resolutions, public denouncements, refusal to co-operate in trade, all viable and fair actions of a Liberal Democracy that refuses to accept the conditions of Theocrats and violent oppressors.”
Refusal to engage in trade, and other forms of economic/political isolation would only harm the general population, punishing them for that having the same political values as one’s own. The West has asserted sanctions and embargoes against Cuba, North Korea and Iran. Isolating their economies do little to effect the political regime. If anything, it only achieves in siring more hatred and discontent to the west. Note, when Con brings up “Theocratic oppressors”, the Islamic revolution in Iran was followed by zealot support of the general population. Just a country is not a liberal democracy, that does not make said country inherently oppressive.
Further arguments by Con are rebuttals to my opening argument. As mentioned previously, my opponent had misrepresented the arguments I had made. Hence, I cannot rebut to them sufficiently as they do not accurately represent what I had previously argued.
In conclusion I had argued the following premises:
1. Liberalism developed within the context of the West during the 17th-19th century, hence, one cannot expect to assert such a specific political context to a universal scale.
2. To assert one’s own values on a universal scale is culturally and politically hegemonic, which contradicts Liberal valuing of ideological and political diversity. To assert said values would require suppression of opposing ideologies, which as mentioned previously, is hegemonic hence anti-Liberal.
Thanks to Con for the debate, apologies for my absence in the previous round. Vote Pro.
dannyc forfeited this round.
|Agreed with before the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Agreed with after the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Who had better conduct:||-||-||1 point|
|Had better spelling and grammar:||-||-||1 point|
|Made more convincing arguments:||-||-||3 points|
|Used the most reliable sources:||-||-||2 points|
|Total points awarded:||1||0|