The Instigator
linate
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
BaruchSpinoza
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points

most self identified political labels have very little meaning

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
BaruchSpinoza
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/29/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 395 times Debate No: 59702
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (1)

 

linate

Pro

most self identified political labels have very little meaning

for most people, they are more a tool for psychological self identification than anything, more an indicator of the biases you've grown up with than a thought out label.

i would bet if you did a study, you would find that there's a significant or even most people, who actually agree with each other more in actual substance than just their self proclaimed label.

for example. if you tested this hypothesis. what i would suppose you would find. if you asked people "what should a person on welfare be able to get...." and then list some things, or ask "should food be a necessity for those who are trying their best and aren't lazy" or "which of the following environmental situations do you most support for environmental purposes... water, air, saving natural parks, etc". and continue giving more concrete specific scenarios.

i would guess there would be a great number of people who say they are conservative when in reality, they agree on just as much or more things than the liberals.... and vise versa. they only disagree with each other in the abstract, where often the ideologies are so basically vague they have very little meaning.
BaruchSpinoza

Con

Hi,

First off, thank you for posting an interesting debate topic.

I will argue that in fact political labels do hold important meaning, and that there are important differences in how ideologies lead people to think and act.

Let me first rephrase your argument. Your thesis is that political labels are arbitrary group distinctions (like cheering for one sports team versus another). You offer two reasons why you think this is the case.

1) There is probably widespread consensus on most issues that conservatives and liberals appear to be arguing about.
2) Abstract differences may exist between ideologies but people will tend to agree on concrete policy recommendations

Both of these points are not supported by the evidence. Let us take the US as a test case. In this country, the two dominant ideologies are liberalism and conservatism. These can be broken down further into sub groups but let us stay on a simpler level of analysis for the moment.

First, American liberals and conservatives do differ on many issues. For example, take a poll from the Pew Research Center (1), liberals strongly prefer ethnic diversity (76%), few conservatives do (20%). On separation of church and state, liberals are almost twice as likely as conservatives to have a problem with violations of this separation (2). Similar polls can show fundamental differences on other major issues such as the role of the military or on how important it is to be patriotic.

This leads to your second point. Actually, it is relatively clear to any follower of politics that substantial differences exist on concrete policy proposals made by liberals and conservatives. There is not just disagreement on abstract ideals. Most conservatives are for example quite clear in their desire for lower taxes and government spending. These are consistently challenged by liberals across multiple domains.

In sum, while I commend your desire to challenge political labels, there is plenty of evidence that people of different political beliefs differ both in their position on key issues and in what concrete policies they support in government.

1- http://atheism.about.com...

2- http://www.pbs.org...
Debate Round No. 1
linate

Pro

linate forfeited this round.
BaruchSpinoza

Con

Unfortunately, my opponent has forfeited his round. I hope he will return for the next round. As such, I will leave this round blank out of good sportsmanship.
Debate Round No. 2
linate

Pro

i commend you for a well argued post.

"First, American liberals and conservatives do differ on many issues. For example, take a poll from the Pew Research Center (1), liberals strongly prefer ethnic diversity (76%), few conservatives do (20%). On separation of church and state, liberals are almost twice as likely as conservatives to have a problem with violations of this separation (2). Similar polls can show fundamental differences on other major issues such as the role of the military or on how important it is to be patriotic.

This leads to your second point. Actually, it is relatively clear to any follower of politics that substantial differences exist on concrete policy proposals made by liberals and conservatives. There is not just disagreement on abstract ideals. Most conservatives are for example quite clear in their desire for lower taxes and government spending. These are consistently challenged by liberals across multiple domains."

most of your poll examples are abstract themselves. they are not concrete examples like i gave as examples. "is ethinic diversity good" is vague. if you were to ask specific scenarios, there would be much more likley agreement. this goes for by far most policy points.

you do have a point, in that to basic questions like 'increase or decrease taxes" there might be disagreement. but, if you edcuated people about how to approach balancing hte budget, most would probably see that it can't be done one way or the other, and their differences would then vary by the person, and not as much by the label. though i couldnt disagree that it probably matters some, the label.
BaruchSpinoza

Con

Hi,

To restate my argument, political labels matter in that they lead to

1) Different positions on abstract issues
2) Different preferences for concrete policies

To point 1, you appear to offer little resistance. You seem to have conceded that conservatives and liberals do hold different beliefs when it comes to more abstract topics.

Against my point 2, you initially claim that there is substantial agreement on concrete policies between liberals and conservatives. However, in the very next paragraph, you backtrack and concede that there would be disagreement on some issues. Given this backtracking, t would appear that you have offered little response to my position and your own argument in favor of your position remains unclear.

You have offered no reason to support the belief that political labels are meaningless. In fact, you concede that they do have at least some meaning in your very last sentence of the final round.

Thank you for your time.



Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by rings48 2 years ago
rings48
linateBaruchSpinozaTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Con shows that self identifiable political labels have a meaning on certain issues and policy decisions. Pro's examples are often over generalized or are incorrect acts that some parties do upon others. Conduct to Con for FF. Sources are not cited/used and S&G are fine with both.