The Instigator
RonPaulConservative
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
saltzr
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The ideas of communism are incredibly stupid and immoral

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/20/2016 Category: Economics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,355 times Debate No: 98262
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
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RonPaulConservative

Pro

I will be challenging the basic principles of communism set up by Karl Marx (the mooch), and explain why they are incredibly stupid and immoral. Google Docs are not a violation of conduct, character limit is 20,000, we will be analyzing economic theory, practicality, morality, and comon sense.
Please have an opening argument to defend Marxist Communism in the first round.
saltzr

Con

Unless otherwise specified my defense is aimed at defeating the following two allegations against communism delimited in the writings of Marx; specifically, I aim to show that communism is neither (a) incredibly stupid nor (b) immoral. I will count my efforts a success if I can convincingly maintain to myself and others a position that defeats the allegations of (a) and (b).

Let me define some key terms here:

stupidity: lacking in some basic quality of judgement widely possessed by others
immoral: acting contrary to reason when in conformity with just consideration for the relative standing of others as in some sense equal biological and metaphysical beings
communism (for the purposes of this debate): the coherent theory of capital, class struggle, and labor as set forth from the writings of Marx (but not as embodied necessarily in subsequent political practice).

I will argue three points in particular that I think individually defeat (a) and when in combination, defeat (b).

These are:

1: Marx in his writings (attempted) melding the empirical pursuit of knowledge to implementing social reform most on either sides of the aisle today would recognize as "liberal" (small "L" and the tradition from which both the French and American revolutions were born).

2: Marx re-envisioned society not as an instrument of conformity-enforcement but as a potential vehicle of change for the benefit of all, and located, critically, within the minds of each citizen.

3: Marx, rather than destroying the concept of telos--or one's natural place in a social order--redefined it, creating as much purposive content (a socialist"s "new man" metaphysics) as he destroyed.

To the best judgement of many mid-19th century liberal intellectuals (especially on the continent), the unfettered free market locked up rather than liberated productive assets, "flexible" financial markets were still defined by usurious rates of borrowing and lending, and conservative orthodoxies were posing a threat not simply against Marx"s catchall group of labor, but also against the broader aspirations of the liberal (small "L") intelligentsia as a whole.

Was Marx stupid in the sense above in a situation so described for inventing his system of resource allocation? Not if we incorporate reasonable, conservative (small "C") consideration of the moral. Any liberal--from Ronald Reagan, to Bernie Sanders--would agree that man harbors certain potential in respect to reason, psychology , and spiritual essence.

Marx simply expounded on an extreme interpretation of this tradition, such that communism and libertarianism hardly seem to exist in the same tradition; in the aftermath of America's and France's republican experiments, the crucible of politics made these two diverse poles hug close to each other than we would otherwise think.
Debate Round No. 1
RonPaulConservative

Pro

Communism consists of the idea that we should violently usurp others property and "redistribute" it, stealing is normally considered immoral so.
This iea is also increibly stupid because capitalism has lifted millions out of poverty and has probven to bring a better quality of living for all, so abolishing individual liberty to create a despotic regime founded on the equal sharing of the misery produced thereof, is incredibly stupid.
saltzr

Con

My interlocutor makes the keen point that violence or struggle is an essential part of Marx's theory of communism. The tough question to answer is, it seems, how one can morally justify violent redistribution of property.

It seems further that I am committed to say that, for Marx, employing such violence through revolution is consistent with reason when and if the target society refuses to recognize the condition of equality between all humans in a biological and metaphysical sense.

Can we ascertain that this argument for revolution is compelling in the context of the turbulent 19th century? Maybe, maybe not.

I only need to defend a view of Marx that acquits him from allegations of stupidity and immorality. I need not argue or concern myself with whether his theory is actually morally justifiable, only whether his initial observations and a priori argument could be discerned by a reasonable liberal in the 19th century.

My interlocutor would be surprised perhaps to hear that Marx in all likelihood would agree with the view that theft is immoral, but this is neither here nor there on the question of who is guilty of the "theft" in the first place. Is capital's tight connection to a ruling aristocracy that squeezes value out of penurious inhabitants still morally entitled to legitimate ownership rights?

On intuition pumps like these, we can at least grant that there is room for serious debate that Marx could cite revolution as a legitimate tool in these circumstances in such a way where it does not run afoul of conventional moral thought.

Capitalism has indeed lifted millions out of poverty. I would go so far even to say that the free-market is far superior to communism in terms of long-term prosperity and growth potential. But this falls outside of our discussion.

I would also reminder my interlocutor that this debate is about the theoretical writings of Marx, not the practice, whether accurate or not, of his theory in actual political contexts.

I believe my argument still sustains a view of Marx as being neither stupid nor immoral in his articulation of communism.
Debate Round No. 2
RonPaulConservative

Pro

"It seems further that I am committed to say that, for Marx, employing such violence through revolution is consistent with reason when and if the target society refuses to recognize the condition of equality between all humans in a biological and metaphysical sense."
No, income inequality is entirely different from actual inequality, if one person creates more wealth than another, and is thus entitled to what he has produced as per common sense and common decency, this is in noway a violation against some other person.


saltzr

Con

"It seems further that I am committed to say that, for Marx, employing such violence through revolution is consistent with reason when and if the target society refuses to recognize the condition of equality between all humans in a biological and metaphysical sense."

The counter on the above point seems to be that if income equality is substantively different from-- and in no way connected with-- actual inequality (even from the standpoint of the 19th century, remember), then Marx could not sensibly, nor morally invoke revolution in a way that would escape the original charges against him.

Let us assume, generously and inaccurately, that Marx’s social critique can be limited just to the inequality of income distribution. (This is inaccurate because Marx viewed income inequality as symptomatic of power inequality arising from the exploitation of society by a capitalist elite, hence again, income inequality implies deeper inequalities-- but I will abstain from rejecting my opponents concern merely on this point). However, when analyzing from the standpoint of a liberal continental intellectual of the 19th century, how could income distribution fall outside the pale of concern for societal justice?

The majority of land and assets were still owned by rentiers—strangers themselves to the modern world of business. Income was not at this time viewed as money earned but, from the standpoint of the elite, money they were entitled to, irrespective of business success or failure, and from the standpoint of the poor, means by which they could survive.

Money and its generation were not situated in a direct relationship to the 20th century idea of personalistic entrepeneurial struggle—at least not for the majority of people on the planet. Now there ARE a few exceptions to this rule (certain parts of Britain, Germany and the United States), but again, we don’t need to claim Marx was accurate, only that he displayed a certain quality of intelligence and morality in his theory of communism.

Debate Round No. 3
RonPaulConservative

Pro

This debate is regarding Communism- I stated that stealing everyone's stuff and brutally usurping the means of production is called murder, and stealing, which are immoral. Communism is thus immoral, but now my opponent is trying to state that this is OK- some how or another, because rich people produce more wealth than poor people, and benefit more people than poor people.
Incredibly stupid, and immoral.
saltzr

Con


If I am challenged on account of definition, we should remember to look to the terms, above. Communism is “the coherent theory of capital, class struggle, and labor as set forth from the writings of Marx (but not as embodied necessarily in subsequent political practice).


We are approaching consideration of Marx from a theoretical perspective; we cannot ascribe to him responsibility for the actions of those who proceeded him and averred his cause if they were unfaithful to his tenets. My opponent is right to push me on the “violence” accusation. Indeed many leaders of the communist world hewed quite closely— at least at the outset—to Marx’s vision. We must be careful to appropriately situate, in accordance with Marx’s views, the relationship between violence and normative standards in communism.


For Marx, without violence (let’s not pretend revolution is other than this) something that was so important for him as obtaining the aspirations of communism could not ever occur.


There is established precedent for liberals across traditions to generally sanction revolution--i.e. political violence--in select cases. Just look at the U.S. Constitution. If a leader impedes on the rights of citizens, it is their duty--identical to that duty expected by communists-- to rise up against the government. American Republicanism was simply a defensive twist to the use of political violence whereas Communism took on a more offensive focus.


Returning to the claim however, we can readily allow for the fact that communism as practiced was a viscerally disastrous experiment as my opponent claims—or we may not. Again this is not in dispute for the intents of this debate. What matters is Marx. Nothing yet delivered has caused me to relinquish my claim of Marx’s mental competence nor viewing him as extending legitimate moral concern to the betterment of individuals in society. I am however suitably well advised that in Marx's writings, sausage is indeed being made.


Debate Round No. 4
RonPaulConservative

Pro

"I will be challenging the basic principles of communism set up by Karl Marx (the mooch), and explain why they are incredibly stupid and immoral." Round 1.
Oh, you mean that I have to prove that Karl Marx's ideas, which he described as communism, are stupid and immoral? Yes, that's right- and Marx said thatwe should just go steal everything we need and violently usurp the means of production, which is both stupid and immoral.
saltzr

Con

I don't think my opponent has taken any specific consideration of the points above. I rest my case, and refer viewers to considering the merits of the above. I heartily thank my interlocutor and those who will weigh the merits of the debate.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
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>Reported vote: RyuuKyuzo// Mod action: Removed<

3 points to Con (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: It's clear that Con put a great deal more into his arguments than Pro. The entirely of Pro's arguments amount to asserting his opinion and stating empirical facts without actually sourcing any of it. Con also didn't use any direct sources, but at least rooted his arguments in the works of Karl Marx.

[*Reason for removal*] The voter is required to specifically assess arguments made by both debaters. Merely stating that one side put "more into his arguments" and "rooted his arguments in the works of Karl Marx" is not an assessment of any specific points Con made, nor is stating that Pro"s arguments were wholly assertion and opinion.
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Posted by saltzr 1 year ago
saltzr
Dear Sir/Madam,

I would like to request the privilege of debating your position. I take it you wish me simply to argue that communism, delimited only by Marx"s writings, is neither (a) incredibly stupid nor (b) immoral?

If so, I think you will find in my arguments formidable defenses of Marx"s major theoretical moves, including: the melding of empirical knowledge to political action, the utilization of society as a vehicle through which "improvement" to individuals may occur, and the grounding of meaning onto of a distinct brand of teleology. Please invite me in!
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