The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

most self identified political labels r meaningless

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/21/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 752 times Debate No: 59317
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (1)




most self identified political labels are meaningless

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 are meaningless.


I accept this debate. This should be an interesting. There is substantial merit to both sides. Good luck, PRO.I am looking forward to the debate.
Debate Round No. 1


duly noted


It would be unfair to engage too much in semantic games, but let us reiterate PRO"s position: "most self-identified political labels are meaningless." PRO even provides concrete scenarios that he postulates would show that labels are more psychological than substantive. However, while Con sympathizes with this position and tends to agree in a limited sense, the position frankly does not hold up to scrutiny. PRO uses the two most dominant political labels in ROUND 1: liberal and conservative. In the following paragraph, CON will outline what appears to be one of the basic flaws in PRO"s argument.

First, PRO states, "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." Thankfully, we do not have to engage in philosophical speculation or rely on metaphysical arguments. America is a heavily polled society, perhaps the most polled country in the world. The ubiquity of polling is both a tool for advertising as well as a way to gauge what voters believe and want to hear from politicians. Moreover, political scientists, think tanks, and research organizations use labels to differentiate significant differences between individuals that subscribed to a particular ideology. At the same time, organizations like PEW RESEARCH also include what could be designated as 'superficial differences' between people with ideological differences. While PRO might ask, "what does this actual tell us about people?" And CON"s position is: it matters quite a bit. Last month PEW (see citation 1) asked very specific questions, very similar the ones PRO mentioned in the introductory round.

As you might expect, individuals who identify as conservative support smaller government, favorable attitudes toward business interests, support a strong foreign policy, possess strong (Christian/Protestant) religious beliefs, and are significantly less likely to favor same-sex marriage. The poll provides a comprehensive data set of differences between conservatives, dividing their attitudes into two camps: STEADFAST conservatives and BUSINESS conservatives. There is a divergence on certain issues, including same-sex marriage, with BUSINESS conservatives (those with more libertarian values) closer to progressives than STEADFAST conservatives are. Liberals similar patterns: See citation 1 for a more comprehensive look.

Second, the labels we use are more than just shallow generalizations, they provide also translate into lifestyle choices and other substantial attitudinal differences. For instance, here is statistically data from another PEW study that looked at differences among liberals and conservatives.
Here are the findings (see citation 2):
Liberals would rather live in cities, while conservatives prefer rural areas and small towns.

Liberals are more likely than conservatives to say racial and ethnic diversity is important in a community.

Conservatives are more likely than liberals to want to live in a place where many people share their religious faith.

15% of Democrats and 17% of Republicans would be unhappy welcoming someone from the other party into their family.

Just 35% of Americans say most of their close friends share their views on government and politics.

36% of Republicans say Democratic policies threaten the nation; 27% of Democrats say the same about GOP policies.

38% of Democrats and 43% of Republicans now view the opposite party in strongly negative terms

Republicans and Democrats with very unfavorable views of the opposing party are more likely to be politically engaged.

Even though PRO will be able to build a very good counterargument, so far suffice to say, the differences separating liberals and conservatives is a very real difference and it is meaningful. Political labels provide meaning, to political scientist, to advertisers, et cetera and so on. Based on labels and polling we can learn quite a bit about a person. The argument PRO is trying to make is similar to this: "dog is an artificial division, a meaningless separation, nothing more than an etymology that speaks to nothing." This would have been a better argument, debating the terminology that separates a dog from other subspecies like a wolf. Labels like that one probably matter little to most people, outside of biologists and academics, but the same is not true for political labels. They are salient and relevant.

Debate Round No. 2


i could form a decent argument, but i don't like that i said 'meaningless' instead of 'little meaning' or something.


My opponent has conceded that the original proposition needed some modifications to mount an argument. Given my workload now, I will simply allow my statements/arguments in Round Two to stand on their own merits. They appear sufficient when weighed against Pro"s case, evidence, and major points. I sympathize with Pro, my first debate three weeks ago posed similar problems, placing unnecessary burden on me. I have found the most difficult or second most difficult part of DDO is trying to word a debate in the exact wording desired. Good luck in the future dairygirl4u2c. I hope that we can have a debate over a similar issue on another occasion. Best to dairygirl4u2c. Voters, please vote Con!
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 7 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Not a vote bomb. Con gets conduct and arguments due to concession. Pro had terrible grammar so Con gets those points and since he was the only one who used sources he also gets those points.

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