Round 1. Russian V John bull 1: Dictatorship/Democracy

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posted on Feb, 20 2004 @ 12:27 AM
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The topic for this debate is "A strong dictatorship is better than a weak democracy."

Russian will be arguing for this proposition and will open the debate.
John Bull 1 will argue against this proposition.

Each debator will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

No post will be longer than 800 words and in the case of the closing statement no longer than 500 words. In the event of a debator posting more than the stated word limit then the excess words will be deleted by me from the bottom. Credits or references at the bottom count as part of the post.

Editing is Strictly forbidden. This means any editing, for any reason. Any edited posts will be completely deleted.

Excluding both the opening and closing statements only one image or link may be included in any post. Opening and Closing statement must not carry either images or links.

As a guide responses should be made within 18 hours. However if the debate is moving forward then I have a relaxed attitude to this. However, if people are consistently late with their replies, they will forfeit the debate.

Judging will be done by an anonymous panel of 11 judges. After each debate is completed it will be locked and the judges will begin making their decision. Results will be posted by me as soon as a majority (6) is reached.

This debate is now open, good luck to both of you.




posted on Feb, 20 2004 @ 02:16 AM
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Well John Bull 1 here we meet. First I would want to wish you good luck with the debate. Also I am honored to have this debate with you thanks to Kano.

I think dictatorship is better than a weak democracy.

First let me briefly describe strong dictatorship and weak democracy. Strong dictatorship is when a country has a ruler that is the only head of the country and almost nobody can tell him what to do. But he can be advised on what people want and dont want. Weak democracy as I understand is a democracy where government has little control over the people. Please If I got it wrong fill me in so I debate the right issue.

A strong dictatorship is good for various reasons. First of all a strong dictatorship can lead a country to power and a wealth economy. Secondly a strong dictatorship can protect its people and offer them comfort in their life. Another way strong dictatorship is better the a weak democracy is people under strong dictatorship dont have to worry about rising prices. Also under strong dictatorship people dont have to worry about having health insurance because the government looks after them.

In the history of this world you can see that a strong dictatorship leads countries to strong nations. For example under communism Russia went up to a status of a world power. Also during communism people had comfort in their lives and even the lower class had money to live, buy food, and even own a car.

Out,
Russian



posted on Feb, 20 2004 @ 06:54 AM
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I too would like to thank Kano for organising this debate tournament and the judges who will eventually decide it's outcome.

I wish to open my side of this debate by looking carefully at the proposition and it's meaning.

"A strong dictatorship is better than a weak democracy."

To me this proposition has been drafted in either general terms, ie, A strong dictatorship is generally better than a weak democracy.

Or in absolute terms, ie, A strong dictatorship is always better than a weak democracy.

Either proposition is false and I will show how and why as the debate progresses.

The other feature of the proposition which could be considered ambiguous is the qualitative nature of the term "better".

Judges and others who follow this debate will be quite right in asking themselves the question,"Better for whom ?"

a) Better for the country (economy,infastructure,standing in the world)

b) Better for the people (Rights,Freedoms,Standards of living)

c) Better for the world (International relations and security)

In truth I think it's fair to say that "better" must be considered the sum of all three.

For me there is no such thing as a "Strong Dictatorship" except in unachievable principle.Dictatorship has all the inherent weaknesses of one man,and one man with the egotism and ambition for power to rule all others at that.

I have often heard the term "benign dictatorship".Surely this is an oxymoron if ever there was one.Benign,relative to what? Not a Liberal Democracy.A dictatorship can only be considered benign when compared to the reigns of terror of Hitler or Stalin (Incidently both were considered by the world to be heads of "Strong Dictatorships").

Finally,Russian seems to be concentrating on the USSR as his main example of Strong Dictatorship but of course he is describing the Utopian Ideal that seduced the intellectual classes of the late 19th century to mid 20th century and not the dark realities of that period of history.

To quote:

"Also during communism people had comfort in their lives and even the lower class had money to live, buy food, and even own a car."

This is almost laughably naive.I will be only too happy to spend this entire debate arguing against this proposition with Communist Russia as it's best example of "better" government.

Now,before I go I would like to ask Russian one question.You've given us an example of Strong Dictatorship could you also give us an example of Weak Democracy?

Look forward to hearing from you Russian.


JB1



posted on Feb, 20 2004 @ 10:29 AM
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Well I would like to start if by saying that a strong dictatorship can be better in the three of the below.


a) Better for the country (economy,infastructure,standing in the world)

b) Better for the people (Rights,Freedoms,Standards of living)

c) Better for the world (International relations and security)


First a strong dictatorship can have good economy and infrastructure.
Lets not get stuck on Russia. So for example look at Chinas economy right now. Is it in a dirt hole? Chinas economy is at this moment hopping forward at a nice steady pace.

Also As you say that democracy has better living standards. Well as I remember in Russia minimum wage got you a house, food, and even a car. Also the prices didnt very on everyday bases. The price stayed the same for years. Government also took care of you health and your medical needs.

Thirdly with a strong dictatorship you can have world security, and international relations. A strong dictatorship can provide security for a lot of people. By spreading throughout the world a strong dictatorship can like a democracy provide people with health services and security.



For me there is no such thing as a "Strong Dictatorship" except in unachievable principle. Dictatorship has all the inherent weaknesses of one man, and one man with the egotism and ambition for power to rule all others at that.


You must understand that a strong dictatorship has advisers that adviser the dictator on what the people want and what the people hate. A dictator with a wicked mind like Stalin is and was not a strong dictator. Strong dictator is not defined by how many people he kills. A strong dictator is defined by how good he can control the country, economy, world status, etc. Also a strong dictator looks after his people because people are his country and with no people there will not be a country.

Also how will a weak democracy provide a the three that you listed above?

As to me defining a weak democracy? I would like to give it to you because you are the expert at that.

Out,
Russian



posted on Feb, 20 2004 @ 12:21 PM
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What you are doing Russian is selectively creating a Dream Dictatorship.Taking China's economy,the USSR's social security,and an unspecified dictatorship with great international relations.

I don't think the proposition that you are arguing for is based on the principle of an imaginary benign dictatorship.Throughout history there are plenty of examples of real dictatorships.I'm asking you to give one example that has been good for any country,it's people,and the world.

You also state that Dictators have advisors.What you fail to say is that that Dictator can also choose which advice he takes.

I think most people would accept that only an Advisor who tells a Dictator what he wants to hear will stay an Advisor for very long.It is a strange system where the Dictator decides what is good advice or bad advice before it has been given.

Now Russian,I didn't ask you to give us a definition of a weak Democracy,I asked you to give us an example of a weak Democracy.I do this so that we can compare your example of a weak Democracy with your example of a strong Dictatorship thus we are able to address the proposition that you are arguing for that "A strong dictatorship is better than a weak democracy."

It is not in my interest to give you examples of weak democracies throughout history.


For what it's worth I believe that people get the Government they deserve in any Democracy.As long as the structure of Democracy remains in place then it is inherently strong.It is only when Government structure deviates from Democratic principles that it weakens but at that point it can no longer be said to be a Democracy and therefore not relevant to this debate.


So I'll end with the same question.

Which real(not made up) example of Dictatorship is better than your real (not made up) example of weak Democracy?

If you do not give me two comparable historical examples then I will just have to spend the rest of the debate giving numerous examples of bad governance by Dictatorships and show how they compare poorly to Democracies throughout the world.Starting with Mugabe's Zimbabwe taking in Idi Amin's Uganda,amoung others, on the way and finishing with Hitler's Germany.

Your choice.


Examples????



posted on Feb, 20 2004 @ 01:24 PM
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It looks like you are saying I am stuck at one country but when I put in another country(China) you are now saying I am creating a dream dictatorship. Well I guess lets then just focus at Russian economy, health, etc, etc. Also Zimbabwe or Uganda is not an example of my strong dictatorship.

Ok if you want to we can go all by Russian economy during dictatorship. The Russian economy during dictatorship was on top of most democratic governments economy. During the late 1980's Russian Ruble exchanged 90 Rubles for 140 Dollars. Also Russia did have good international relations.

And also please it is your side of the story to explain and give an example of a weak democracy. I have now told you of a strong dictatorship but have not heard how a weak democracy is good. It looks like you are only arguing one side of the story.

Also please have an opening where you not just debate my opening but where you open your side of the story and give me an example to go by. It looks like we are debate only one side of the story. So please be kind enough to make an open I can go by.

Out,
Russian



posted on Feb, 20 2004 @ 02:40 PM
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OK,I think that we've agreed that "better" can be defined as the sum of these three categories:

a) Better for the country (economy,infastructure,standing in the world)

b) Better for the people (Rights,Freedoms,Standards of living)

c) Better for the world (International relations and security)

Russian has selected the Russia of the late 1980's as a good example of strong dictatorship.I would disagree with his choice but it's his choice. Of course, it was near economic and political collapse at the time.Satellite states were turning to democracy and the great Soviet military machine was falling into disrepair.Troops,Doctors,Nurses,Teachers,Police,and other public sector workers were no longer being paid on a regular basis.Queues for the most basic staples of comfortable living stretched around the block,and some pensioners who had fought in the Great Patriotic War fought poverty this time.

This was not a) better for the country.Only half of b) is applicable:Standards of living were down generally but rights and freedoms were on the increase.I can except that c) International relations were better.

But was this a strong Dictatorship?

A coup almost saw the end of Gorbachev around this time.

Now if we compare this to Great Britain during the late 1980's.
a)Was very favourable.Economy and infa-structure may have been criticised but in comparison to most countries they were fine.Our standing in the world also high.

b)Was also favourable.Freedoms of Press,Speech,Assembly,and Religion were all freely exercised.Rights to fair trial were also maintained.Standards of living were relatively high also.Free Health care for all existed.

c)Great Britain did not threaten International relations during the late 1980's.

So you see that if you directly compare a strong dictatorship(as proposed by Russian) with a weak Democracy(as selected by me) you find that according to the three tests agreed by us the Democracy comes out on top.


Now Russian,I know you won't agree with my selection of a weak democracy but it is not up to me to choose one.It is not for me to look for an example of an historically comparable weak democracy for whatever Dictatorship you might choose.Mainly because I do not believe that a credible example exists.

Sure,I know of examples that might be a good basis for attacking my own position but I'm not going to make the mistake others do of arguing against myself.

No offence or anything.



posted on Feb, 21 2004 @ 02:59 PM
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Sorry for such a delay. I was pretty busy with work and my family.

Ok thanks for make an opening statement so now I know what to debate about.

First of all in 1980's people in Russia were not getting paid late. In 1980's I was still living in Russia and I know when it started to fall. Russia start to fall under WEAK DEMOCRACY. After May 1991 Russia became a democracy and as you see they lost the status. Under weak democracy Russia was name a 3 world country. Under weak democracy Russian people were not paid or got paid very late.

.Troops,Doctors,Nurses,Teachers,Police,and other public sector workers were no longer being paid on a regular basis.

I cant believe you said this. This all happened under WEAK DEMOCRACY.

This was not a) better for the country.Only half of b) is applicable:Standards of living were down generally but rights and freedoms were on the increase.I can except that c) International relations were better

1980's was much better to Russia they 1990's when democracy came. Also Russia did have freedom people did what they wanted in 1980's and only if you did something stupid did you go to jail. Also in 1980's people had good living standards. As you can see it was democracy that put Russia down.


a)Was very favourable.Economy and infa-structure may have been criticised but in comparison to most countries they were fine.Our standing in the world also high.

b)Was also favourable.Freedoms of Press,Speech,Assembly,and Religion were all freely exercised.Rights to fair trial were also maintained.Standards of living were relatively high also.Free Health care for all existed.

In 1980's Russia had a better economy then UK. Also it was in 1980's when Russian people started to see freedom in religion. And health care was free in Russia in 1980's.

So you see that if you directly compare a strong dictatorship(as proposed by Russian) with a weak Democracy(as selected by me) you find that according to the three tests agreed by us the Democracy comes out on top.

As you can now see when I set your facts straight that Russia was on top and dictatorship was the more prosperous.

Out,
Russian



posted on Feb, 22 2004 @ 03:00 AM
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You have decided to concentrate on the USSR of the late 1980's,the Gorbachev years.

There is no doubt that Gorbachev brought in liberal reforms and he is rightly recognised for this but these reforms only seem impressive when compared with what preceded it.If these reforms are compared to every industrialised democracy of the same time they still fall well short of the rights and freedoms that are generally expected.

Russians never had it so good but then they could hardly of had it worse.

On the economy don't take my word for it.I've quoted generously from a site below.

"Gorbachev's new system bore the characteristics of neither central planning nor a market economy. Instead, the Soviet economy went from stagnation to deterioration. At the end of 1991, when the union officially dissolved, the national economy was in a virtual tailspin. In 1991 the Soviet GDP had declined 17 percent and was declining at an accelerating rate. Overt inflation was becoming a major problem. Between 1990 and 1991, retail prices in the Soviet Union increased 140 percent."

"Under these conditions, the general quality of life for Soviet consumers deteriorated. Consumers traditionally faced shortages of durable goods, but under Gorbachev, food, wearing apparel, and other basic necessities were in short supply. Fueled by the liberalized atmosphere of Gorbachev's glasnost (literally, public voicing--see Glossary) and by the general improvement in information access in the late 1980s, public dissatisfaction with economic conditions was much more overt than ever before in the Soviet period. The foreign-trade sector of the Soviet economy also showed signs of deterioration. The total Soviet hard-currency (see Glossary) debt increased appreciably, and the Soviet Union, which had established an impeccable record for debt repayment in earlier decades, had accumulated sizable arrearages by 1990."

"In sum, the Soviet Union left a legacy of economic inefficiency and deterioration to the fifteen constituent republics after its breakup in December 1991. Arguably, the shortcomings of the Gorbachev reforms had contributed to the economic decline and eventual destruction of the Soviet Union, leaving Russia and the other successor states to pick up the pieces and to try to mold modern, market-driven economies. At the same time, the Gorbachev programs did start Russia on the precarious road to full-scale economic reform. Perestroika broke Soviet taboos against private ownership of some types of business, foreign investment in the Soviet Union, foreign trade, and decentralized economic decision making, all of which made it virtually impossible for later policy makers to turn back the clock."

countrystudies.us...

So reforms were being made yet the economy was in a "tailspin".The Russian Empire was shrinking visibly and with it regional influence.

The Cold War was being conceded.It had effectively been lost.These were the dying days of the Soviet Union and financial mismanagement would dog the new Russia that would follow after.

Is this a good example of a strong Dictatorship?

If it is then Democracy need never fear.

I look forward to reading you closing statement Russian.



posted on Feb, 25 2004 @ 09:24 AM
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It has been over 3 days and Russian has therefore forfeited his Closing statement. John Bull 1 will now make his.



posted on Feb, 25 2004 @ 10:03 AM
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First,I'd like to thank Russian for this debate.


I believe that on the balance of arguments submitted above the judges will decide that there is no basis for the proposition that "A strong dictatorship is better than a weak democracy."

That said many points and issues were left unaddressed.I'd like to use the remainder of this closing statement to address a few.

The best example of a strong dictatorship I can think of was probably Mussolini's Italy from 1922 to 1932.In this decade illiteracy and innumeracy were drastically cut,Much land was reclaimed,and Italians had a better standard of living.Italy,was still strategically aligned with it' WW1 Allies and played a leading role in the League of Nations.It was Fascisms apparent success in Italy that encouraged both Germany and Spain to go along the same route.

Italy compared well not to weak democracies but to the healthy strong democracies that existed in Europe at that time.

Compare this to the post WW2 Governments of Italy where Proportional Representation, Corruption ,and scandel saw Italy have on average over one President per year up until the recent election of Bellusconi and one might think that a good case had been made for the proposition.

Even this apparently clear example is deceiving however.

The idea that anyone can look selectively at a convenient period of any dictatorship(whether it be 1 year,5 years,or even a decade) without considering the whole and it's effects is to be blind to it's inherent weakness.
When they strung Mussolini up he left a country ravished by war.Italians dead,widowed,or orphaned.Anything that he had done that was good was destroyed by his vanity,pride,and lust for power.
These are the weaknesses of every dictator and every dictatorship.

On the other hand if you look at the supposed weak democracy of post war Italy what did it achieve? Nato membership,Founding member of the European Union,and a member of the select G7.

Strength and Weakness are not always black and white but by it's very nature a country that has the confidence to allow it's people to decide it's destiny is strong.



posted on Feb, 25 2004 @ 10:42 AM
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Ok, judges are being unleashed, results should be in in a day or so.



posted on Feb, 26 2004 @ 11:08 AM
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Ok, Results are in, John Bull 1 defeats Russian by a vote of 7-0. John Bull 1 moves onto Round two, where he will meet the winner of Debate 1 between Nephratari and ilovepizza.

Some of the Judges comments:


John Bull1 made his argument clear and Russian was not able to do that. It was an entertaining debate,good job to both debators.



I appreciate Russian's method of thought but John Bull1 on top of this from pretty much start to finish.



JB1 commanded the floor, presented facts and kept Russian off balance.



Whilst I think they both put up a great debate and should be both proud, JB1 just pipped it for me. Good work guys.


Well done to both of you.





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