Round 4: Ian McLean v chissler: All For One Or One For All?

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posted on Oct, 13 2008 @ 05:14 PM
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The topic for this debate is ”Communism Is Superior To A Democratic Republic."

Ian McLean will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
chissler will argue the con position.

Each debater 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.

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posted on Oct, 14 2008 @ 04:26 PM
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Ladies and gentlemen, let us consider:

Is a medical system that guarantees universal health and freedom from serious illness superior to one that does not?
Obviously, yes. We have not yet, in our history, achieved such a thing, but I have faith that it will one day be possible.

Is a justice system that provides the fairest and most harmonious resolution to conflict superior to one that does not?
Obviously, yes. We have not yet, in our history, achieved such a thing, but I have faith that it will one day be possible.

Is an economic system that eliminates scarcity, exploitation, and oppression superior to one that does not?
Obviously, yes. We have not yet, in our history, achieved such a thing, but I have faith that it will one day be possible.

Is a government free from coercion, that works fairly to the common advantage of all members, superior to one that does not?
Obviously, yes. We have not yet, in our history, achieved such a thing, but I have faith that it will one day be possible.


 
 


We have been given a topic that contains a Dirty Word. That word is Communism.

The connotations that spring to mind may not be pretty. Generations of Americans have been exposed to political rhetoric that paints 'Communism' as oppressive, ungodly, and unfair: freedom's greatest enemy.

At the same time that it is painted as a lurking evil against which we must be ever-vigilant, 'Communism' is dismissed as failed and discredited, an impractical relic from the last century.

This contradiction shows the truth: for decades, the belittling label 'Commie' has been applied indiscriminately to a great range of evils, biasing opinion, obscuring ideology, and suppressing honest inquiry.

Similar to how most Americans do not understand the distinction between a 'Democracy' and a 'Republic', most could not tell you the difference between Communism, Socialism, Authoritarian Dictatorship, and Fascism.

They just think they're all 'bad'.

That is a sorry state of affairs.

In the course of this discussion, let's attempt to move beyond these past prejudices and ambiguities. Let's see what Marx was really talking about. Let's examine Capitalism and Democracy, as practiced, versus as portrayed. Let's recognize bias, without blame. Let's open our minds, without fear.


 
 


It is important to understand the distinction between socialism and communism. Socialism is, in Marxist-Leninist theory, an intermediate government and economic system, which it was hoped might one day lead to true communism:


socialism
1. a political theory advocating state ownership of industry
2. an economic system based on state ownership of capital

[1] socialism. Dictionary.com. WordNet® 3.0. Princeton University. dictionary.reference.com...

That is quite different than communism, in the following manner:


communism
A theoretical economic system characterized by the collective ownership of property and by the organization of labor for the common advantage of all members.

[2] communism. Dictionary.com. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. dictionary.reference.com...

The ideal of Communism replaces unfair rule by a self-interested few with complete egalitarianism: a society without classes, without need of classes, and the accompanying exploitation:


Communism attempts to offer an alternative to the problems believed to be inherent with capitalist economies and the legacy of imperialism and nationalism. Communism states that the only way to solve these problems is for the working class, or proletariat, to replace the wealthy bourgeoisie, which is currently the ruling class, in order to establish a peaceful, free society, without classes, or government.

[3] Wikipedia contributors, "Communism," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, en.wikipedia.org...

What was commonly called 'Communism' in the 20th century was, in fact, Authoritarian Socialism. In fact, true Communism, if ever achieved, displaces Authoritarianism and class-based Capitalism.


 
 


There are few who would dispute that the United States is, or is becoming, a Socialist country. In this debate we will examine the evidence thereof, and speculate on where the future may lead.

The topic of this debate uses the term "Democratic Republic". In fact, although the vast majority of its citizens are ignorant of this, the United States is not a Democratic Republic.

It is, in legal structure, a Constitutional Republic, which we shall see, was founded on the just basis of Communist principals.

In the United States, 'Democracy' is not used to enact the will of the people, but rather to divide, subvert, and control their will, to the primary benefit of others.

By manipulating the field of public opinion, and offering the illusion of significant choice, the master-class of the United States has created a veil of 'false representation'.

Behind this veil, they perpetuate the illusion of 'freedom' -- freedom to choose as they would have you choose. Freedom to work within a system they approve and control. Freedom to live the 'dream' they spin for you to desire. Above all, freedom to benefit them.

We need not even label this as conspiracy, or reveal the specific mechanisms. The evidence is obvious to any who would view the results of American Democracy, without the lenses of bias created by their masters for them to wear.

In this debate, we will examine why this is so, and why the path of 'Democratic Republicanism' inevitably leads to such results. In contrast, we will examine the ideals of Communism, its true fundamental role in the American ideals of freedom and fairness, and we shall certainly see:

Communism Is Superior To A Democratic Republic


 
 


Ladies and gentlemen, if my arguments so far in any way seem 'outrageous' or 'radical', let us take the opportunity for pause.

Does it seem like I am using 'loaded' terms? Does what I say seem like an affront? Is there any anger, or questioning of my sanity?

If so, please take a moment to look at that, objectively. Recognize any triggered reaction to my words, that may have previously gone unnoticed.

And ask: Who might benefit, from an almost century-long drumbeat of emotionally polarized rhetoric and propaganda? Why build barriers against understanding and communication, to which even we in this day and age might still be susceptible?

Who is served by such an off-handed devaluation of reason? And by its effect, who may be forced, unwitting, to serve?

Thank you.



posted on Oct, 14 2008 @ 05:18 PM
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”Communism Is Superior To A Democratic Republic."

What we have before us is a simple concept that is complicated by these terms that nobody ever uses in day to day conversation, and refuted with the use of over-the-top rhetoric of conspiracies. None of which do I truly care for, and I hope our readers can look past these smoke and light shows as well.

Without hesitating, we're going to get into the nitty gritty. (Gratuities after the show)


My opponent has come out of the gate running and has made a bold stand. However, something has caught my attention and it must be acknowledged. In his opening reply we have heard of communism and we have heard of the democratic republic, among other things. What our readers are asked to do is view communism as it is in theory, and not in practical terms. My opponent has conceded multiple times that true communism has never been achieved, however asks that we overlook the countless failed attempts and view this concept in theory. However, with the other terms that he attempts to refute, we are not to consider them in theory, no.. we are to consider them in the practical terms of which some degree of failure has been evident. My opponent wants it both ways, however it will not be the case.

Discussing each concept under the light that suits his side of the debate is what we get from politicians, and frankly it wears me out having to listen to it all day when following any election coverage. Hopefully we can bypass this smoke and lights and truly get to the meat of the issue.

What I intend to do throughout this debate is openly and honestly examine both concepts and weigh the pros and cons of each. Through this honest and open approach I will allow for our readers to decide for themselves what they think is best. What we have before us is a subjective issue that really doesn't come down to it is or isn't. So rather than dictate what is and is not, I will merely present the facts and allow our readers to decide for themselves. With that said however, I am confident that once considering all of the facts, our readers will agree with me that communism is not superior to a democratic republic.

 
 


Throughout history we have seen many come and go. Very little has been a constant throughout history, but one thing has. It is human nature to exploit the power that we are offered. It is for this reason that worldwide our world leaders are offered limited power and countless men, women, and children have fought for accountability within their governments. Wars are fought to this day to instill accountable governments throughout the world as without this accountability the power that is bestowed upon individuals will be exploited. If one is to read any part of history, this is a simple fact that is going to be agreed upon.

Communism goes against the manner in which we as humans are built.

It is human nature for us to aspire to be better, to do better, and to make a difference. Through this, classes are going to be formed and a social hierarchy is inevitable. Egalitarianism is noble in theory but completely impractical. Because these concepts are impractical, they are inferior.

Communism tells us that we will live in equality and everyone will have the same. This is true to a certain extent, we will live as equals. But we will live as equals with nothing. Are we to believe that this notion is superior to that of one that allows for a free market for men and women to grow and be better? It might be better for the select few that are offered the power, however for the rest of us who are left to rot with nothing.. we can be comforted by the fact that at least our peers around us can empathize.

In a communist state, we the citizens are not consulted on who is in power and how long they will remain in power. The powers that be are feared, not respected, and remain in power through use of propaganda and secret police forces that know no limits. Freedoms of all kind are limited and mass surveillance is engaged with no permission required. So we give up our civil liberties as a means of living in a state of equality? Hell, even if we didn't have to live in poverty as equals; to part with our civil liberties has to ring a bell or two and tell us that this approach might not be the best. 1

Society has laws and we as citizens are expected to abide by that. Nobody is above the law, not even those that write them. Once you allow someone to rise above the law, your society will begin to crumble. Accountability is a must, there are no two ways about it. As my opponent has already informed us, this is a concept that is only feasible in theory.

A quote from my opponent regarding this concept...



We have not yet, in our history, achieved such a thing, but I have faith that it will one day be possible


A history that has us exploring the deepest oceans and the depths of space, cloning living beings, etc., yet we have not been able to deny the simple fact that human beings will exploit the power they are offered if it is done so without limitation. Some things are just not going to happen. If you are to ask ten people if they would break the law if they knew they would never be caught, most would. It is not the moral obligation we have to follow the law, it is the fear of getting caught and the consequences we face. Remove those consequences, remove the need to abide by these norms. If someone wants to refute this simple fact, I direct you to the thousands of years of history that we have jotted down throughout time. All of this will reinforce my assertion here.

My opponent wants us to "get past" all of these impressions we have of the concept and really get down to what communism is all about. But I just don't see how we are going to do that if we are to consider every example of it. We can not discuss the theory of communism without citing it's examples, and when you consider specific examples of communist states, it is a tough case to make to say that it is superior. Tough being the understatement of the evening.

Let's take a moment to examine the definition of a democratic republic.

  • Democratic Republic:
    - A political system in which a country is ruled by law, has representative government, and is democratic in nature.
    - A system of government in which the people hold the majority of the power; this is done through elected officials chosen by people who are eligible. 2

     


    Now let's take a look at the definition of communism.

  • Communism:
    - A political structure that on the surface promotes equality, but historically has resulted in a stronghold by a single individual who recruits an elite circle of supporters. 3

    Even in theory, the democratic republic is a much more appealing approach. Considering history and how practical each is, if approached in an honest and open manner, this really isn't much of a choice that one has to make. Would you rather a dictator who has no limits or a governing body that is not above the law? Would you rather be told who is in charge or inform somebody that they are in charge by casting a vote? Would you rather live in an impoverished state of equality or reside in an open and free market where you can succeed as your own abilities permit?

    The underlying theme in this debate is; Do you want a voice? If you do not, than communism is something that might work for you. But if you want to be heard, if you want to make a stance, and you want to make a difference, than communism is something that you are not going to even look twice at.

    Humans who are offered unlimited power will exploit it to their own advantage. It will ruin honest people and we will explore specifics of this as we progress through the debate.

    I will now pose my Socratic questions to my opponent.

    1. Does unlimited power corrupt?
    2. In a communist state, is the governing body above the law? If no, who is to hold them accountable?
    3. Can you cite a specific example of a communist state that succeeded and would deem superior to that of a democratic republic?
    4. Would you personally prefer to live in a communist state or a democratic republic?
    5. If you could place your own new born child into either one of these systems, which would you select?

     


    Thank you.



  • posted on Oct, 15 2008 @ 10:30 AM
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    Thank you chissler. It is an honor to finally be able to meet you over the debate table, and I thank our moderator MemoryShock, and the readers and judges for making this possible. Thank you ATS!


     
     



    What our readers are asked to do is view communism as it is in theory.... My opponent wants it both ways

    And you, sir, have yet to show, and must show, that a 'democratic republic', as an accurate description of a State, is anything more than a theory.

    The fact is, so-called 'democratic republics' are shams. Illusions, cast by the powerful and wealthy to keep the people in line, playing their game. Do you really think the political system in such a country somehow 'represents' the peoples' actual best interests? Or does it serve the status quo and elite agenda by manufacturing the desired consensus?

    However, I agree with you in this: let's clearly distinguish ideologies and theory, and not muddy the issues.



    It is human nature to exploit the power that we are offered.

    Is that so? Or is it a response to scarcity, oppression, and external pressures and influences?

    SQ1: Do all humans exploit and pursue power, and why?



    Egalitarianism is noble in theory but completely impractical.

    If that is so, it certainly undermines the rationale of current 'Democracies'. One citizen, one vote? What then, is the purpose of the charade, as it is being practiced?

    You claim Communism 'impractical', inferior by not require a social hierarchy of control. I claim that the state of human mastery of sociology, economics, and management has nothing to do with the validity of Communist ideology. Look at the advances in communications, computation, and analysis technologies in the last 20 years alone! Is it so unbelievable that the same advances currently allowing a capitalist elite to monopolize and dominate will one day make a Communist society not only practical, but inevitable?



    Communism tells us that we will live in equality and everyone will have the same. This is true to a certain extent, we will live as equals. But we will live as equals with nothing.

    Ah my friend, you are thinking in terms of 'scarcity'! A primary attribute of capitalism: continuous profit and exploitation is possible only so long as need and want is maintained. Did you know that the capacity exists to feed all the world's hungry? Today, right now? Why does that not happen? Sadly, because desperation is profitable.



    In a communist state, we the citizens are not consulted on who is in power and how long they will remain in power...

    Again, you blur the line between Communism and Authoritarian Socialism. You quote horror stories from the USSR. The 'Communist Party' of the USSR claimed communism as their eventual goal, and socialism as their practice. As we see from the United States, labels often bear little resemblance to reality.



    ...rather than dictate what is and is not, I will merely present the facts and allow our readers to decide for themselves.

    A laudable goal, and I agree. You won't object, then, if I hold you to your own standard?

    Consider the definition of communism my opponent has provided: "a political structure that on the surface promotes equality, but historically has resulted in..."

    Looking closer at his citation link, we see that rather than research an actual definition, he has simply googled the phrase "communism" and cherry-picked a usefully evil-sounding snippet of text. His actual quote, according to google, came from "www.candidates.org". Where is the source? That link is dead, and in fact appears to have been part of some political platform or stump-speech.

    Is that honestly "presenting the facts"?

    And to what end, this bias? Indeed, my opponent agrees:


    true communism has never been achieved

    How then, can one define Communism by historical results that, we both agree, were not true Communism? My opponent contradicts himself, by the very words he would put forth as a 'definition'.


    Though this format may cast us as biased and opinionated advocates for our opposing positions, let us both place honesty and fairness above any 'rhetorical advantage'.


     
     



    1. Does unlimited power corrupt?

    I don't know. I'm familiar with the maxim, "power corrupts", but the concept of 'unlimited' power? In my mind, that also implies unlimited knowledge and understanding, as any broad definition of power yields such access. With such, is 'corruption' truly possible, or would that lead only to implicit self-defeat? It's an interesting theoretical puzzle, possibly beyond human capacity to answer.

    With regard to Lord Acton's quote: "power tends to corrupt", I believe that is a partial truth: also, corrupt people seek power. This is evident, especially, in so-called representative democracies, where the political process has been distilled to a power-game, a constant struggle between individuals and groups, always winners and losers competing for selfish advantage and preference over one another. This inherent systemic inequality caused Engles to write:


    Democracy is, as I take all forms of government to be, a contradiction in itself, an untruth, nothing but hypocrisy (theology, as we Germans call it), at the bottom. Political liberty is sham-liberty, the worst possible slavery; the appearance of liberty, and therefore the reality of servitude. Political equality is the same; therefore democracy, as well as every other form of government, must ultimately break to pieces: hypocrisy cannot subsist, the contradiction hidden in it must come out; we must have either a regular slavery — that is, an undisguised despotism, or real liberty, and real equality — that is, Communism.

    [1] Marx and Engels, Collected Works, Vol. III, pg. 393. Transcription: www.marxists.org...


    SQ2: How many citizens does each member of the US House represent, and how do they ensure equality in their representation?

    SQ3: In democratic republics (both theoretical and 'in progress'), do the wealthy and powerful influence and benefit from the government more than the average citizen?


     
     



    2. In a communist state, is the governing body above the law? If no, who is to hold them accountable?

    No, of course not. In any State, the same power that establishes any necessary governing bodies also establishes the law which governs their operations. In a Communist state, that legitimacy derives directly from the People, and by them they are held accountable. A Communist state reduces the necessity of any 'governing bodies' to an absolute minimum, as classes, privilege (literally, 'private law', from the Latin), and inequality are eliminated.

    But people will, perhaps, still need avenues to resolve whatever conflict may remain. For this, let us look at a wonderful example of Communist principal: the American Jury system. In this structure, the proletariat themselves judge and rule, not only on the specifics of particular issues, but upon the law itself. The People are the highest power to which State laws and institutions must account.

    But speaking of 'Above The Law', can you guess who the self-styled 'Democratic Republics' have placed above the law? The banker-capitalists of the International Monetary Fund:


    Section 3. Immunity from judicial process
    The Fund, its property and its assets, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall enjoy immunity from every form of judicial process except to the extent that it expressly waives its immunity for the purpose of any proceedings or by the terms of any contract.

    Section 4. Immunity from other action
    Property and assets of the Fund, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation, or any other form of seizure by executive or legislative action.

    Section 8. Immunities and privileges of officers and employees
    All Governors, Executive Directors, Alternates, members of committees, representatives appointed under Article XII, Section 3(j), advisors of any of the foregoing persons, officers, and employees of the Fund:
    (i) shall be immune from legal process with respect to acts performed by them in their official capacity except when the Fund waives this immunity

    [2] United States Code, Title 22 Section 286h. caselaw.lp.findlaw.com...
    [3] The International Monetary Fund, Articles of Agreement of the Fund. www.imf.org...


    SQ4: Do you believe it represents the democratic will of the People of the United State and Canada that the IMF is above the law?


     
     



    3. Can you cite a specific example of a communist state that succeeded and would deem superior to that of a democratic republic?

    No. As we have discussed, no nation has yet completed the transition to a Communist state. I ask you a similar question:

    SQ4: Can you cite a specific example of a truly superior democratic republic?

    Come to think of it, can you think of any examples of States that would be best described as 'Democratic Republics'? The one or two prominent ones I'm thinking of would probably be better described as crypto-fascist pseudo-democratic oligarchies (although that 'crypto' prefix has become less necessary recently).



    4. Would you personally prefer to live in a communist state or a democratic republic?
    5. If you could place your own new born child into either one of these systems, which would you select?

    The ideal of a Communist state, as described in the source cited in my opening: "a peaceful, free society, without classes, or government". Oh, for a world free from coercion and exploitation! I truly believe such a thing may one day be possible.



    posted on Oct, 15 2008 @ 08:31 PM
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    In an attempt to keep my opponent from muddying the waters and trying to earn points on off-topic issues, I'm going to begin with yet another definition of communism.



  • Communism: the political and economic doctrine that aims to replace private property and a profit-based economy with public ownership and communal control of at least the major means of production (e.g., mines, mills, and factories) and the natural resources of a society. Communism is thus a form of socialism—a higher and more advanced form, according to its advocates. 1


  • In an attempt to get my response up in the limited time that I did have, I was forced to rush somewhat and did not research for appropriate citations. It will not happen again.

    What I am confused on with our topic is that my opponent concedes the fact that what he is referring to as a superior system is something that has never been attained. However, it is a far fetched dream and ideal that he feels we can some day achieve. Regardless of anything else he has to say, right here on this simple fact it should be deemed that the premise itself is inferior until proven. Since it is unproven, how can he undermine our readers by saying it is superior?

    My opponent also tries to confuse the technological advances that our society has witnessed in our generations with the societal stagnation we've seen for centuries. Somehow the human race is somehow going to overcome our flaws overnight? Humans are judgmental and we prejudge. We are selfish and we are greedy. If you give most of us an inch, we will look for a mile. Yet because technological advancements have been made, this translates into humans being completely altruistic for the greater good of our society.

    Unfortunately for my opponent, our readers, and this debate, my opponent continues to rest on this over-the-top rhetoric as a means of defending this concept that we are supposed to believe that is superior, even though it has never been achieved in the history of mankind. Think about that, never been achieved in the history of mankind, yet we are to believe it is a superior approach.

    Actually at this point I have a direct request to my opponent. If you are going to quote my text, please do so verbatim. I do not appreciate you editing my text and then quoting it in a manner that I did not intend. If you edit it, please use separate quote boxes. Thank you.

     
     




    Did you know that the capacity exists to feed all the world's hungry? Today, right now? Why does that not happen? Sadly, because desperation is profitable.


    What does any of that have to do with communism being superior? You choose to lecture your opponent on the world's food supply, I appreciate it. But what purpose does it serve?

    My opponent has tried to separate the concept of communism from scarcity, but I have always understood them to be one in the same. If we live as equals, we are not going to live as kings. We will live as equals with fractions, as a means of ensuring that we all have the same. Well what of the left overs? To the rich go the spoiled. The inner-circle of those with any power will enjoy our "leftovers", which will oddly enough represent the vast majority of resources. Yet the citizens who "have the power" rest with next to nothing. The beauty of communism at work.

    Communism relies on the inner good of people to do the right thing for the greater good of everyone, without putting their own interests ahead of everyone else. The problem that arises is that this decision is made without any accountability. Whether they decide to be fair or corrupt, nobody is going to do anything. So why not pad their own pocket a little bit? I'm not speaking of rhetoric, I'm merely quoting the history of any example of communism that we've seen throughout history. Well, an attempt at what communism should represent; as we've already agreed that communism is an unattainable goal.

    An unattainable goal that is completely unrealistic and an inferior ideology.

    My opponent's goal in this debate appears to be the fact that since communism has never been achieved, that it can not be proven that it is an inferior system. However, we're not going to accept the argument that it is never been proven, thus is. If we are to accept this notion, then it must be proven first. I can, have, and will continue to prove where and when it has failed.. yet you've conceded that you can not prove where it has succeeded.

     


    I will now respond generally to the answers that my opponent has attempted to provide to my initial Socratic questions. I will admit that I find some of them to be quite indirect.

    I asked my opponent if unlimited power corrupts. With this system that he is defending, an unlimited power exists. Does it corrupt? Well he's admitted that he doesn't know. If he doesn't know and he is the one to sell us on this stance, it doesn't seem like a winning argument from my point of view.

    When asked of a specific example of a successful communist nation, my opponent had the following to say:



    No. As we have discussed, no nation has yet completed the transition to a Communist state.


    I also asked my opponent where he and his children would prefer to live. His response was:



    The ideal of a Communist state, as described in the source cited in my opening: "a peaceful, free society, without classes, or government". Oh, for a world free from coercion and exploitation! I truly believe such a thing may one day be possible.


    Conveniently he chose to not answer either of my questions, just do a song and dance about the wonders that are this myth. I would have hoped for a more direct answer in some of these questions.

     


    I will now answer the Socratic questions posed by my opponent.

    SQ1: Do all humans exploit and pursue power, and why?

    - I don't believe they do. I believe we are born as leaders or followers. Those that are born followers will not pursue power. Those that are born leaders will pursue power and if offered an unlimited supply of power, they will abuse it.

    SQ2: How many citizens does each member of the US House represent, and how do they ensure equality in their representation?

    - From what I've read, on average of about 600,000. They ensure equality in their representation through open lines of communication, elections, plebiscites, etc. The superior systems that I am here to discuss have introduced measures so that their citizens have a voice.

    Just to go one step further so we are all on the same page, our readers included, I want to take a moment to expand on these plebiscites.

  • Plebiscites: In a plebiscite, voters are asked not to choose between alternate regimes or proposals but to confirm or reject the legitimacy of a certain form of government or course of action. Plebiscites are seen as a way for a government to go directly to the people, bypassing intermediaries such as political parties. 2

    SQ3: In democratic republics (both theoretical and 'in progress'), do the wealthy and powerful influence and benefit from the government more than the average citizen?

    - No, they do not. In the rhetoric that we are forced to endure, some may say they do. However, the simple fact remains that each citizen has one voice and all voices are created equal in this system that is our electoral process. All votes are created equal.

    SQ4: Do you believe it represents the democratic will of the People of the United State and Canada that the IMF is above the law?

    - No, I do not. I think it is a flaw within the system that can be explained, not justified. However, this flaw does not equate to the inferiority of the overall system when contrasted with communism. What in life is perfect?

    SQ4: Can you cite a specific example of a truly superior democratic republic?

    - When I asked you this question, your response was no. Now that you've asked me this same question, I would like to respond that yes.. I can.

    We are contrasting an existing democratic republic with that of the existing attempts at communism in our history. While not the shining beacon of a successful system, it is superior to that of a communist system. The Democratic Republic of Congo is a system that has it's problems, however it is a system that utilizes an electoral process. This fact alone creates a sense of superiority when contrasted with communism. Further reasons for why this system is superior will be examined as we progress through this debate.



    The historic presidential election was intended to bring a new era of stability after years of war, dictatorship and chaos. The vote was generally praised by international monitors.
    Mr Kabila has enjoyed the clear support of western governments such as the US and France, regional allies such as South Africa and Angola and businessmen and mining magnates who have signed multi-million dollar deals under his rule. 3


     
     


    I will now pose my Socratic questions to my opponent.

    1. How does scientific and technological advancements translate into the ability of a communist state suddenly being able to exist? Humans are still greedy and selfish, even with all of our new flashy gadgets.
    2. In a court of law, is it a realistic argument to say that something is a reality because it has never existed and thus can not be discounted?
    3. If something can not be proven, how can it be considered superior?

    Thank you.



  • posted on Oct, 16 2008 @ 10:56 AM
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    I thank my opponent for his honesty, and applaud his forthright correction of his definitions.


     
     



    We can not discuss the theory of communism without citing it's examples

    Then let us begin. It is quite true that no State has yet completed a transition to Communist ideals. However, where in the topic is this debate limited to 'States' or 'Nations'?

    From the kibbutzim of Israel to the Apostles of Christ, Communist ideals have a long history of success, both in theory and in practice:


    32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

    [1] The Holy Bible, King James Version, Acts 4

    Indeed, for millenia this philosophy from Acts has inspired: "distribution was made unto every man according as he had need." (Ibid.)

    We see that same spirit and ideal alive today, thriving in communities throughout the world, as indicated by the Intentional Community Movement. Previously known as 'communes', and renamed to avoid the pejorative connotations of anti-Communist propaganda, intentional communities implement a level of egalitarianism unseen elsewhere in the world.

    The primary principals of intentional communities? From the website of the FEC:


    Each of the FEC communities:

    1. Holds its land, labor, income and other resources in common.
    2. Assumes responsibility for the needs of its members, receiving the products of their labor and distributing these and all other goods equally, or according to need.

    [2] Federation of Egalitarian Communities, About Us. www.thefec.org...


    Let us now look closer at one of these communities. Communism in practice:


     
     


    East Wind Community




    East Wind Community is an egalitarian intentional community that was founded in 1973 and is located on 1045 acres of woods, hills and meadows in the Missouri Ozarks.

    Our land, residences, domestic facilities, businesses and labor are all held in common by the membership. All income received is regarded as communal income. Expenses are communal obligations. The community provides food, clothes, child care, health care, transportation and whatever else the membership deems appropriate. These entitlements are distributed among the members in a fair and equitable manner.

    [3] East Wind Community, About Our Community. eastwind.org...

    A photo-gallery tour of East Wind is available here:
    [4] Federation of Egalitarian Communities, East Wind Photo Gallery. www.thefec.org...


    My esteemed opponent, please browse and explore this information, and I ask you the following Socratic Question:

    SQ1: Would you rather live in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or at East Wind?


    Interested readers may find more information on intentional communities, as well as a huge list of active and forming communities, at the website of the FIC:
    [5] Fellowship for Intentional Community, Communities Directory Online. directory.ic.org...


     
     


    Rebuttal



    The Democratic Republic of Congo....
    Further reasons for why this system is superior will be examined as we progress through this debate.

    Thank you; I look forward to hearing more of this, um, unorthodox and courageous argument.




    Do you believe it represents the democratic will of the People of the United State and Canada that the IMF is above the law?

    No, I do not. I think it is a flaw within the system that can be explained, not justified.

    SQ2: What are the systemic flaws of Democracy that led to the IMF (and The World Bank, too, by the way) being placed 'above the law'?



    my opponent continues to rest on this over-the-top rhetoric

    In what specific ways is my rhetoric 'over-the-top'? Is it because I am claiming that 'Democracy', as practiced, is a sham that allows the powerful and wealthy to maintain and manipulate a divided society, enslaving the common people to their paradigm? Is it because I am claiming that even the 'ideal theory' of 'Democracy' accepts an unfair tyranny of the majority, in which oppression will always exist?

    If so, can you show otherwise, rather than just labeling my rhetoric "over-the-top"?




    Did you know that the capacity exists to feed all the world's hungry? Today, right now? Why does that not happen? Sadly, because desperation is profitable.

    What does any of that have to do with communism being superior?

    Simply and obviously, because Communism aims for a fair and equitable distribution of economic resources, a goal superior to the capitalist requirement of manufactured scarcity. The best, as possible, for all, in contrast to the democratic 'ideal' of the best for the tyrannical majority, ignoring and disenfranchising the uninfluential minority.



    The inner-circle of those with any power will enjoy our "leftovers", which will oddly enough represent the vast majority of resources. Yet the citizens who "have the power" rest with next to nothing. The beauty of communism at work.

    SQ3: Do the 'Democratic Republics' of the world enjoy an equitable distribution of wealth within their societies? Please provide statistics, if necessary.




    In democratic republics (both theoretical and 'in progress'), do the wealthy and powerful influence and benefit from the government more than the average citizen?

    No, they do not.

    I will respond with an emoticon:


    Forgive my terse response, I have reached the limits enforced by the rules for providing links and references. If you would care to back up your assertion with data, or further reasoning, that would be interesting. Thank you.


     
     


    Answers to Socratic Questions



    1. How does scientific and technological advancements translate into the ability of a communist state suddenly being able to exist?

    This is an important question, and I'm glad you asked. First, I disagree with the term 'suddenly': I believe significant social progress in the world must develop intentionally, from understanding and deliberate intent of the people at large, not via happenstance or secret agenda. This path, it seems, is not a 'sudden' one.

    And scientific and technological advancement goes well beyond "flashy gadgets", as you say. It encompasses a deeper understanding of ourselves: our deficiencies and our strengths, the behavior and motivations of individuals and societies, the possibilities of this world as it exists and as it can be, seen in the light of reason, free from propaganda.

    Specifically, I am referring to the sciences of sociology, psychology, political science, media studies, and the lessons of economics. Additionally, the possibilities offered by information technology should be considered, in light of these goals.

    To move forward, we must know where we are now, and how we got there. Consider the advances in the study of how the mass media operates to form and effect the public psychology. Consider economic theory that encodes the blueprint for capitalist dominance. Consider sociological models that form and maintain divided societies, enthralled and trapped in the amber of elite-crafted dichotomies.

    See how information technology has enabled practice. Have you looked at Google Trends? Advances in context-free mathematical modeling have allowed prediction and shaping of the dynamic behavior of public opinion, economic flow, and consensus change. We must ask: is the public in control? How could this world improve, if such capabilities were directed to the common benefit, rather than elite control?

    To understand past failures of implementation of the Communist ideal, and the current ongoing-subversion parading under the banner of 'Democracy', we must examine how such thing occurred, and are occurring.

    Thus, it is by advancing the Public's rational understanding of such science and technologies, that shape their very lives, that we may move forward. The science of knowledge is understanding, and that goes far beyond "flashy gadgets".



    2. In a court of law, is it a realistic argument to say that something is a reality because it has never existed and thus can not be discounted?

    I do not believe it is rational to say something is a reality because it has never existed. That is a logical contradiction, except, perhaps, when discussing semantics, where a label can 'exist' merely because one can consider whether the thing it labels exists or not. Things can be a reality although their existence cannot be physically proven. To say otherwise would be like saying "love doesn't exist, because you cannot prove to me how much a litre of love weighs".



    3. If something can not be proven, how can it be considered superior?

    That a thing is superior to another is a judgment of quality. Overall 'quality' is a subjective measure, and as such, is beyond objective 'proof'. Specific arguments in support of an expression of quality, however, can often be proven or disproven, logically or by consistency of supporting evidence.

    Labeling such evidence as logical 'proof' of superiority, however, is incorrect. For example, the Fallacy of Democracy: just because 51 out of 100 people decide that a particular opinion is correct, that in no way 'proves' the opinion of the other 49 people to be inferior.



    posted on Oct, 16 2008 @ 04:03 PM
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    My opponent certainly has his way with the English language. Very eloquent and well-written responses are being fed my way each time I log in. I've even had to re-read a few paragraphs to truly grasp what it is my opponent is saying, frankly because I'm not really sure what it has to do with the topic. My opponent gets going on a thought and it's three paragraphs later before he finds himself back on-topic. However, an interesting read for sure.

     
     


    I will begin this response with a direct rebuttal of my opponent's recent post, answers and questions in the Socratic format, and then conclude this post with a continuation of what I am presenting throughout this debate.

    Away we go.

    I would like to remind our readers of the definition of communism that my opponent began this debate with.



    communism

    A theoretical economic system characterized by the collective ownership of property and by the organization of labor for the common advantage of all members.


    This is a definition that he chose to represent this concept in our debate. However, in his recent response he tries to wiggle out of this and ask why I think we are restricted to systems, nations, or states. Seems he can not make up his mind on what exactly it is he is trying to present. He is jumping back and forth on presenting this concept as a means of an economic system or an ideology. He doesn't really expand on the concept as an ideology or connect the dots here on how it is superior than a democratic republic, however as I've previously said.. it was interesting.

    Now my opponent moves ahead and attempts to cite a specific community that is practicing communist ideals. However, my opponent has conceded numerous times that true communism has never been attained. I won't go ahead and quote the umpteen times this was displayed as I am binded to a character restriction, however anyone who has read the debate thus far can venture a guess on how many times my opponent has reminded us of this. So this small community located in the middle of the woods with what they've quoted as 55 people. Most of the links on the site my opponent lists is not even in English. A small community of 55 people is what my opponent cites as a prime example of how it is superior? Please, take the time to read this site and read of the conflicts and how people depart the community and how they can not get anybody to live there and they lack the specialized skills to develop. This is really your example of how a communist ideology is superior?

    After constantly telling us that no such thing exists, you know try to show us one that does, and it is from a site that is mostly written in a foreign language that we can not read and has been updated once in almost five years. I apologized for my lack of research and poor choice initially, shall you do the same?

     


    I will now respond to the Socratic questions that were posed by my opponent.

    SQ1: Would you rather live in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or at East Wind?

    - I am an idealistic person who listens to John Lennon and envisions beautiful things, however I'm also a member of reality. Without hesitation, I would prefer to live in the DR of Congo. If you read the site you reference in it's entirety and hear of their short falls, I feel you will agree with me. The DR of Congo has certainly had it's fair share of troubled times, but they have turned a corner and the future I believe is bright. It all stems from accountable governments, something that leaves the communist ideology as an unattainable goal.

    SQ2: What are the systemic flaws of Democracy that led to the IMF (and The World Bank, too, by the way) being placed 'above the law'?

    - The question you posed is answered in the question itself. The systemic flaw of this system is the very principle that it allows anyone or anything to position itself above the law.

    SQ3: Do the 'Democratic Republics' of the world enjoy an equitable distribution of wealth within their societies? Please provide statistics, if necessary.

    - In free market systems, is there ever a true even distribution of wealth? The gap between rich and poor is one that will always exist in these systems, however it is the responsibility of any governing body to support those who are in financial trouble with resources to keep them afloat. So no, I don't believe an equitable distribution of wealth does exist. However, I don't think this was ever a secret.

     


    I would now like to respond to some of the answers that my opponent has offered in his previous response.



    I do not believe it is rational to say something is a reality because it has never existed.


    If something has never existed, than how can you say it is superior to an ideology that does exist and is succeeding? I will agree with you that success and superiority is a subjective path to travel and one that will not always be agreed upon by participants examining the same facts. However, when communism has never existed and a democratic republic has; and the democratic republic has succeeded.. how can one possibly make the argument that something that has never existed is still superior?

    The fact remains that through all of the technological advancements that our generations have witnessed, human beings are not capable of existing in a communist state. This little cult of 55 people that my opponent cites is hardly an example that carries any substance. The site itself is a joke and they fully concede on the site all of their shortfalls and hardships that they face.

     


    The Democratic Republic of Congo is a sad story. It is one of warfare and the tremendous loss of innocent lives. These lives were lost at the hand of human corruption. Humans were offered power and this power was exploited for the greater good of the individual, not the community. However, through time a corner was turned and democracy prevailed. Good defeated evil and these people are reaping the benefits of a successful democratic republic. They have elections where they select their governing body, and these public officials are restricted to specific terms. It is one thing to simply have elections, however it is another to install restrictions on how long someone can remain in power. It is through this limited power and accountability within this democratic republic that it is a superior ideology for the citizens that reside.

    Here is a simple overview of the current governing body within the DR of Congo.



    The Democratic Republic of the Congo is governed under the constitution of 2006. The president, who is the head of state, is popularly elected and may serve two five-year terms. There is a bicameral legislature. The National Assembly has 500 members, who serve five-year terms; the majority (439) of the members are elected proportionally, the rest directly. The prime minister is chosen from the party or coalition that controls the assembly. The Senate has 108 indirectly elected members, who also serve for five years. Administratively, the country is divided into ten provinces (Bandundu, Bas-Congo, Équateur, Kasai -Occidental, Kasai-Oriental, Katanga , Maniema, Nord- Kivu , Orientale , and Sud-Kivu) and the federal district (which includes Kinshasa). Each province also has an elected assembly. 1


    Contrast these elections and strict terms of how long one can attain power for with the communistic ideals of no elections, no voices, and no accountability; and then decide for yourself what is a superior approach to form a society.

    I won't undermine our readers and present this society as a paradise. It is not. It is a system with it's problems and it is still trying to overcome the corruption and wars it has suffered from for so long. But it is a story of victory for its people and it is a story that allows its people to have a voice.

    Is it a paradise? No, it is not. Is it better than a communist state? Yes, without a doubt.

     


    I will now pose my Socratic questions to my opponent.

    1. Do you actually consider this example of 55 random people living in the woods as a means of saying that communism is superior?
    2. Is this community an example of true communism? If it is, than why have you told us numerous times that one has never existed. If it is not, then why bother to even quote it?
    3. Do you consider the ability to vote as a right or a privilege?
    4. When do you foresee a "true" communist state actually existing?

    Thank you.



    posted on Oct, 17 2008 @ 02:44 PM
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    At this time, work beckons, and I shall take my 24-hour extension. With luck, we can finish things up this weekend. Thanks.



    posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 02:05 PM
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    Thank you for your patience, Chissler.

    I'll begin by directly answering your first Socratic Question: yes; I believe the examples I've cited are evidence that the ideals of Communism are a superior ideology. I did ask for your 'opinion', so I really can't complain of any attempts to denigrate or belittle. I note that the East Wind website quite clearly claims that they are not a Utopia and, like all societies, do still have their problems. I find that refreshingly honest.

    I take objection to your statement "mostly written in a foreign language". Where do you see this? If you are referring to the directory of Intentional Communities I linked to, please realize that this is a world-wide movement. Of the thousands of communities listed, only 1500 or so are located in the United States.

    As to your second question, yes, I do believe this and many other instances exemplify true Communism. At its core, Communism is about community: it is about true equality and egalitarianism. It is about eliminating class dominance and mechanisms of oppression. We see examples of Communism succeeding in the world today, and that gives me hope that one day, entire nations will be built on such principles, rather than embracing power-hierarchies that exploit the divided and deceived will of the oppressed masses.

    Let's continue examining Communism in action:

     
     


    Free Software and the Liberation of the Digital Proletariat

    Perhaps one of the most compelling examples of Communism today is the meteoric rise and success of the Free Software Movement.

    Computer software is a commodity immune from the effects of scarcity. Once written, the marginal cost of software is zero. That is, it cost nothing more to make thousands, or millions, of copies of a program, than is does to make just one. The Internet is heralding the advent of a true post-scarcity economy.

    As Marx said:


    For many a decade past, the history of industry and commerce is but the history of the revolt of modern productive forces against modern conditions of production, against the property relations that are the conditions for the existence of the bourgeois and of its rule.

    [1] Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto, Chapter VI

    And here, today, is evidence of the "productive forces" -- software engineers -- rebelling against outmoded capitalist practices of enforced scarcity and control: practices that deny freedoms and stifle creativity and innovation.

    A cornerstone of the Free Software Movement is the "GPL" - the General Public License, under which free software is distributed. It is a paragon of Communist ideal:


    The licenses for most software are designed to take away your freedom to share and change it. By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change free software--to make sure the software is free for all its users.

    [2] The Free Software Foundation, The GNU GPL, Preamble.

    The computer I am composing this reply on is running the Linux operating system, free software. I have available thousands of applications available for download and installation: word processing, graphics software, internet tools, programming, sound and video, games. All available freely and legally, without capitalist restrictions.

    In contrast to Capitalism and Democracy, the Free Software Movement is anarchistic. Not anarchy, as in chaos, but anarchy as in emergently self-governed: eliminating unnecessary and obsolete mechanisms of control, outmoded systems of power and oppression. We are, quite simply, growing beyond such things.

    No one voted the Free Software Movement into existence. It did not come about via 'majority-demand' of the public. It came about via the real-world superiority of its economic model. A true benefit to the community, transcending greed and selfish divisiveness.

    More information on Communism and the Free Software Movement is available here.


     
     


    The Gift Economy of Communism

    The Free Software Movement is by no means the only example of the generosity of Communism in action.

    Consider the blood bank and organ donation systems. Enabled by human generosity, not coercion. Should we 'democratically decide' who must be forced to donate blood? It is said that Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner. I don't think we want that.

    Consider the community of scientific research and publication. Papers are freely made available in journals and on the Internet, for peer review and public benefit. Do we 'vote' on whether the masses believe a scientific theory is correct or useful? No, we freely encourage unfettered response: from each who would voice an opinion, according to their ability, to the benefit of all.

    Look at ATS, this very forum. Is this like the television show 'Survivor', where we vote the unpopular off the island? No, we are all members here, with an equal voice, and we freely share and express our opinions within this context. Rather than voting what is popular and should be seen, through some threshold of majority, every member is free to individually star and flag what they consider important. Even our moderators are, first and foremost, members, volunteers from our own ranks.

    It is quite clear that Communism has not failed, and is in fact alive and thriving. What has failed, and is failing, is the archaic paradigm of land-based hierarchical consolidation of power: the very concept of the State itself.


     
     


    Rebuttal




    SQ2: What are the systemic flaws of Democracy that led to the IMF (and The World Bank, too, by the way) being placed 'above the law'?

    The question you posed is answered in the question itself. The systemic flaw of this system is the very principle that it allows anyone or anything to position itself above the law.

    Not exactly an in-depth explanation, as you claimed you could provide. Why do you not want to directly answer my question? Is it because this specific and frightening example quite clearly shows that Democracy, in practice, does not result in the will of the people being expressed? Is it because this clearly shows that Democratic Republics world-wide have been subverted, subjugated to a system of 'private law' (privilege)?



    The DR of Congo has certainly had it's fair share of troubled times

    Yes indeed. And for a country who's Constitution is barely two years old, the DRC has its fair share of controversy:


    ...constitutional matters were again at the forefront of legal developments in the DRC in 2007.

    ...In particular, the Congolese Supreme Court of Justice issued rulings on a number of important constitutional matters. Based on those rulings, some Congolese commentators have accused the Court of overreaching or blatantly misinterpreting the Constitution.

    [3] Yeshimebet Abebe, et al, Africa, The International Lawyer, vol 42 no 2, pg 888

    And, my friend, please consider safety before you move your family and children:


    The killing and rape of civilians in the eastern province of North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo continues at a horrifying rate despite the signing of a peace accord six months ago, Human Rights Watch said today. The agreement was supposed to stop such attacks.

    ...Human Rights Watch researchers documented more than 200 killings of civilians and the rape of hundreds of women and girls since January by all armed groups, including Congolese army soldiers.

    [4] Human Rights Watch, DR Congo: Peace Accord Fails to End Killing of Civilians. hrw.org...




    when communism has never existed and a democratic republic has...

    Sigh. I again challenge you: I have described the ideals, philosophy, and reality of Communism. Yet, we have not heard clear evidence from you that true Democratic Republics actually exist, or that Democracy is being practiced, at a State level, as anything more than a mechanism of deceit and control. Why is that?


    I will now answer my opponent's remaining Socratic Questions:


    3. Do you consider the ability to vote as a right or a privilege?

    I believe that is a legal question, answered by the laws defining the context under which it is asked. Different states proclaim different things. However, I believe it is a fundamental human right to be able to express one's will and contribute to society, without oppression from either the voting majority or the powerful minority.



    4. When do you foresee a "true" communist state actually existing?

    Ah, here we have cause for hope. I have previously expressed my opinion that the current concept of a 'State' is flawed, a relic of the past. I hope that generations of the future will never have to experience such institutionalized oppression. Let us leave Leviathan in the second millennium.

    As shown, the superior philosophy of Communism is proving itself, every day, as the world grows more connected and lines of human-to-human communication increase, permeating though and around decaying State-imposed boundaries.

    Evidence the great technological leap of the past hundred years: contrast the telegraph with the Internet. What will another hundred years of progress bring? My hopes are high.

    Around the world, every day, thousands of minds are awakening. The veil of illusory 'Democracy' is being lifted, and her citizens are recoiling in horror from the corpse-bride of crypto-fascist capitalism that lurks beneath. The future is free, and ready to be writ.



    posted on Oct, 19 2008 @ 05:34 PM
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    As it has been more than 72 hours since my opponent's last post, and he has exceeded the time limits of this debate without extension, I will now post my Closing Statement.


     

    A hearty thank-you, Chissler, for an engaging debate and discussion. And my thanks as always to the judges, readers, and of course our noble moderator MemoryShock. I have greatly enjoyed this debate, and I hope you will excuse my occasionally effusive rhetoric -- it's been fun.


     

    Daily, it seems, we hear new speeches from politicians and commentators claiming "Democracy" as the obvious ideal, the most unquestionably desirable form of governance possible.

    We're not allowed to question that. If one does, in the public sphere, they're almost immediately labeled as 'unpatriotic', 'subversive', 'a socialist', or -- more recently -- a possible 'terrorist'.

    When that happens, I think: propaganda.

    If we truly value freedom, and believe in our ideals, we need never fear questioning them, or having them questioned. In fact, we honor their strength, and vindicate truth, by so allowing.

    So when our leaders refuse to even define what a 'Democratic Republic' is, or clarify the ideals that define it without invoking apple-pie and belittling all dissent, I start to think: something may be rotten here.

    And indeed, when stripped of meaningless vapid jingoism, Democracy, as it is practiced by States who claim to hold its name so dear, is revealed as a masquerade, a wolf in sheep's clothing.

     

    It has long been recognized, in elite circles, that the results of Democracy can be skewed to control and stupefy the People, rather than benefit:


    ...It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

    [1]Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Volume II, pg 337


    Indeed, perhaps one of the reasons de Tocqueville is often mentioned but rarely read is that he saw the future a little too well:


    I have shown how the dread of disturbance and the love of well-being insensibly lead democratic nations to increase the functions of central government as the only power which appears to be intrinsically sufficiently strong, enlightened, and secure to protect them from anarchy, I would now add that all the particular circumstances which tend to make the state of a democratic community agitated and precarious enhances this general propensity and lead private persons more and more to sacrifice their rights to the tranquility.

    [2]Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Volume II, pg 318


    I would even contend that the majority political party in America, the standard-bearer of 'Democracy', is not Republican or Democratic, but Disaffected -- those citizens who feel that the political process does not represent their views, and the system is broken, subverted to the interests of the powerful, and acts more to manipulate the public than represent them. Voter turnout and politician approval ratings support this. Rather than seeking and expressing truth, Democracy has shattered it, scattered and buried the fragments far and wide in a tangled morass of populist lies.

    In what way is such a system 'superior'? Who would consider an impotent Public will, frozen by the ruthless exploitation of every difference, locked in the amber of countless media-driven dichotomies, to be 'ideal'?

    We have seen an undeniable glimpse of the answer, in this debate: the international powers of wealth and control, who place themselves and their actions above the laws of all States. My opponent calls this a 'systemic flaw', and I agree. And are we to assume that such a 'happy confluence', for those who would control the actions of entire nations, is mere happenstance?

     

    The founders of America were no fans of Democracy. They considered it mob-rule, a tyranny of the majority, easily subverted. They had had enough of tyranny, having seen it first hand.

    And in drafting their Constitution, they began with the phrase "We, the People".

    What better expression of the Communist ideal, the philosophy that just political power is derived from the will of all the People, regardless of class or majority opinion? The founders recognized that justice does not flow from the mechanisms of the State, but rather through them, and that they are, such as they must exist, a necessary evil. Communism has always had as its goal the elimination of the oppression of entrenched State bureaucracy, and I believe the founders would have approved.

     

    As strongly as we see the strengths of Communism expressing themselves in new and innovative ways in today's world, we see the failure of the traditional State, the very concept of a 'Republic' itself.

    Undermined by international powers, land-based national organizations of power are becoming increasingly irrelevant in a world of instant communications, just-in-time manufacturing, and post-scarcity economics. The previously-established power structures, controlling and organizing the flow of goods and labor, are weakening, and are continuing to maintain their grasp on the lifeblood of the economy only by control of the entrenched 19th-century model of a 'nation-state'.

    Perhaps this is for the best. Socialism failed because it looked to the the power of the State for establishing a transition to true Communism. Instead, the State was subverted to authoritarianism and tyranny. Incompatible with the superior philosophy of fairness expressed by the Communist ideal, such Socialist experiments crumbled.

    Democracy has fewer such problems. As a philosophy that can be subverted to tyranny and, in fact, accepts and requires the continual division of the People and State mechanisms to so perpetuate, it has been encouraged and allowed to survive.

    But the writing is on the wall. The 'Democratic Republic' is dead, a painted husk. And we shall not mourn, but rather thank the light that has revealed this sad truth, and cast that light forward, to a new future: beyond the State, beyond divisions of greed and class, perhaps even beyond scarcity, want, and oppression itself.

    Thank you.



    posted on Oct, 19 2008 @ 08:34 PM
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    I'll be using my 24 hour extension.



    posted on Oct, 21 2008 @ 12:05 PM
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    I shall begin with an apology to my opponent and to MemoryShock. The efforts of our participants and organizers does not go unnoticed, and I must apologize for missing a reply in this debate. Unfortunately a member of my immediate family has been forced to go under the knife and I've been out of town since last Thursday. I am glad to be back and I am very excited to finish our last mile of a tremendous debate.

     


    As I've said before, my opponent certainly has a way with words. If someone is just breezing through this debate, you would be very impressed with the material he presents and quite possibly biting the bait. However, when you stop and consider what is actually being said and simply consider the facts.. it is absolutely preposterous what he will have you believe. Through out the course of this debate we were told time and time again that a true communist state has never existed.



    In fact, true Communism, if ever achieved, displaces Authoritarianism and class-based Capitalism.


    And as we were reminded countless times in his opening statement...



    Obviously, yes. We have not yet, in our history, achieved such a thing, but I have faith that it will one day be possible.


    This was in reference to a communist state. Countless times he reminded us that it was never achieved. As we progressed through this debate, I examined the flaws within a communist state and why such an approach is inferior to that of a democratic public that offers its citizens a voice, to which my opponent slowly began to separate himself from the notion that one has never existed and has began offering trivial examples. I will quote my opponent's definition of what communism actually is.



    communism
    A theoretical economic system characterized by the collective ownership of property and by the organization of labor for the common advantage of all members.


    In an attempt to confuse our readers, he discusses software programs and minor cults that consist of 55 people and tell us that this here is a prime example of a communist state and this right here is why it is superior. I credit my opponent for making us think. It is a simple fact that one can not deny that he has made an effort to make you think, however the material he presents is baseless. Contrasting a state that has overcome human corruption and greed and is now currently running set elections with tight restrictions on how long an individual can retain power, accountable government, with cults, software programs, and constantly admitting that a true communist state has never existed; this is the approach that he has chosen to prove its superiority?

    I have stated from the beginning that I would present facts in an open and honest manner. I am not going to skewer the facts as a means of polishing my position.

    The democratic republics that I quote are not great. They are certainly works in progress. We have been asked to contrast two systems that have not historically been met with excessive amounts of success. While I am honest about the system that I am here to defend, my opponent presents an almost-Utopian society that oddly enough has never existed. When I speak of the corruption found in previous communist states, I am not refuted. I am informed of the workings of the inner-circle in a democratic state and the corruption within my own. A democratic republic is not perfect and yes I am sure corruption can be proven with specific examples. When quoting the DR of Congo, I did not deny this. If we are going to be strong in our position, we can at the very least be honest about what it is we are dealing with.

    Earlier in this debate I utilized a Socratic question to specifically seek a citation on a communist state. The question I posed was; 3. Can you cite a specific example of a communist state that succeeded and would deem superior to that of a democratic republic?

    The response that my opponent offered was...



    No. As we have discussed, no nation has yet completed the transition to a Communist state. I ask you a similar question:


    His answer was No.

    Our debate topic is, ”Communism Is Superior To A Democratic Republic."

    And when asked to provide a single example of a communist state that was superior to that of a democratic republic, my opponent responded that no he could not. When my opponent asked if I could provide an example of a successful democratic republic, I did. I acknowledge that this example is met with its flaws, however it is an example of a successful democratic republic.

    Everything else aside, I find it difficult to come to the conclusion that my opponent was successful in proving that communism is superior to a democratic republic, when he could not provide a single example. It was only in the latter stages of the debate that he began to provide weak examples as a means of covering his tracks. It seems that it is the hope that with these examples, our readers will forget his previous statements regarding the feasibility of a communist society.

     


    I have always felt that when a participant misses a reply, their chances are drastically diminished. And I don't feel any different here. I have done my best to attend to this debate, but I have failed in meeting every deadline. But I do ask our readers to seek out what exactly is being said and even though I missed a reply, as my opponent really presented anything to show that communism is superior to a democratic republic, even with the extra post?

    If our question was, "who made the reader think more?".. I would be casting my ballot for my opponent. Communism is a concept full of optimism and idealistic values. We can offer you the rainbow and then some, however like a rainbow.. this approach comes with very little substance. While it is cute to read and think about, it is a position without merit. I would hope that my opponent's inability to stay on track in this debate would be considered alongside my inability to meet every deadline.

    Communism is a state of corruption.

    A society that lives as equals, with nothing.

    As I've discussed in this debate, laws are created to keep mankind in line. We believe in ethics and in morals, however when you remove basic consequences from basic human actions, there is no need to behave or seek the greater good. It is a basic human principle to be selfish and seek to look after one's own before a stranger. If you create a society that is based on people doing the right thing for no other reason than it is the right thing to do, you are going to have a society that comes apart at the hinges.

    Remember recent major power outages across the western hemisphere? These are rare examples of situations where our rule of law is somewhat pushed to the side and mankind is free to run amuk as they see fit, as our systems and way of life have crashed. What happens during these times?

    From the article I have linked above...



    Bloomberg mobilized 40,000 police officers and the entire fire department overnight to maintain order.


    Mobilized 40,000 police officers PLUS the entire fire department due to a power outage. Why? Because we know that when you remove consequences, people will not follow the law. For a communist state to exist, mankind must first get past this issue. And since our existence we have yet to achieve this, and until we do.. communism is not a realistic system.

    And because it is unrealistic, it is inferior to that of a system that is realistic and has displayed degrees of success.

    I referenced this early in our debate and I see it as the crux of our topic. I had intended to read a response from my opponent on this issue but he has failed to respond to it. He has chosen not to respond to it for the simple fact that it can not be refuted, in my opinion. Rather than fail at refuting this basic human principle and acknowledge that communism is unrealistic, this topic has been ignored and left to be refuted.

    Ignored or not, the truth remains.

    Any system of government that installs accountability within those that have power is going to be met with a smile from this individual. When contrasting a system of government that has accountable government with one that has no accountability, I will frown upon the one that lacks accountability.. 100% of the time. Thousands, if not millions, of lives have been lost in our time for the ideal that our citizens can live free under a system of government that is accountable to every man and woman. To be told that those lives were lost for nothing as a system without accountable government is superior than that with one.. I do find that both insulting and preposterous.

    Communism is inferior.

    As my opponent has agreed, it is the basic human right of all citizens to have the ability to vote. Communism does not offer that right. It deprives citizens of this right and it dictates what is, when it is, and how it is. Democracy does not. Citizens have the voice and they make the decisions.

    For this reason, and the others that I have laid out in this debate, it is without hesitation that I state that a democratic republic is superior than communism.

    Thank you.



    posted on Oct, 24 2008 @ 01:17 PM
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    The Judgments are in and I want to congratulate both Fighters on a well thought out and entertaining debate.

    Ian McLean will advance to the Finals.



    Decision, Ian McLean wins the debate.


    Opening statements;

    Ian McLean begins by pointing out that communism (among other ideals,) has never actually been practiced by any nation. His argument is based on the idea that to actually compare the two, one must look to the ideal, rather than to intermediate steps taken in pursuit of the ideal.

    Chissler opens by contradicting this, saying that ideals are fine, but we must consider human nature and its limits, and we cannot consider an ideal and ignore the practiced versions. A valid point. However, Chisslers next move is less impressive. He chooses from available web definitions the most unfavorable for communism, and the most favorable for a democratic republic. The ploy is too obvious for this judge, since he also links to his sources and one can read much more favorable definitions and also see the source for the unfavorable one. In essence, he is denying Ian the right to use the ideal of communism, but he is presenting us with the ideal of a democratic republic and contrasting it against the worst case scenario of a failed attempt at communism. His own choice of examples contradict his very argument that ideals should not be used.

    First reply-

    Ian comes on strong, and points out, accurately, that Chissler is reserving for himself the ideal of a democratic republic while refusing Ian the same option. Ian also targets precisely the same problem with Chisslers definition that is apparent to me. Ian does state that "we both agree" that communism has not yet been practiced, but in truth, Chissler has not yet made agreement to this. Chissler wants to consider (and asks us as readers to as well) what has been labeled a "communist" government, truly communist.

    Ian then resoundingly quashes Chisslers argument from opening that communism allows unlimited power to the leaders of the communist state by bringing in damning evidence of exemption from the law by non-communists.

    Chissler makes a very wise retreat from his original definition. However, his next move, to say that something that exists in ideal form only is inherently inferior to ANY existing form of government is a foolish one. It contrasts greatly with his own opening statement of humanity as a species that strives to greater things, to greatness itself, which he introduced as an argument against communism.

    Chissler then goes on the attack, with a long opinion piece on communism which I find rather illogically constructed, and with a tendency to attempt to tell the reader what to believe rather than why to believe it. It is an approach that does not work well with this judge. When someone tells me what to believe, rather than why I should, it instills rebelliousness and distrust in me. He then tells us why Ian did not answer his questions when in fact I see answers, just not the answers he hoped for.

    His last example of the Democratic Republic of Congo being an example of a superior system fails in and of itself. His external source appears to show a government cutting deals beneficial to the wealthy of other countries that one assumes must come at the expense of its residents.

    Round 2-

    I am feeling bad for Chissler at the beginning of round two. He starts off by trying to force Ian into a defense of a nation state with Ian's own definition. It fails profoundly. Each example Ian has provided of a commune precisely fits Ian's own description. I cannot tell if Chissler is truly misunderstanding the argument or if he is trying to force us to take him at his word.

    He seems incapable of understanding the problem with his "anything that exists is better by definition than that which is still an idea" proposal. It is not hard. I am ill. Ideally I could be in perfect health. Therefore illness is preferable to perfect health because for me, illness "is" and perfect health "is not yet?" It simply fails to convince.

    I will not continue round by round from here out.

    Chissler continues to repeat the above arguments in various forms, while Ian goes on to quite elegantly show more and more examples of communism working, albeit not in "state" form.

    Chisslers missed reply did little to effect the outcome of this debate as I see it. His debating style simply did not work against Ian. He attempts to tell us what to think, rather than why, and Ian is a master of "why." Ian used virtually no force, no mockery, no manipulation, he simply built and sustained a better argument all the way through. Chissler's use of logic was inconsistent, and he never really got his feet under him in this debate. When in doubt, he tends to become more forceful, not more persuasive.

    Chissler's main approach was an emotional appeal. Communism is bad, it is evil..... it was a recitation of propaganda. It seems to me from much of Chisslers argument that he mistakes force and aggression with leadership, and mistakes confidence for competence. Even his demonstrations to us of human nature assume the worst of humanity.

    Ian's argument was a great example of rational, not forceful, leadership. He led us away from the "evil empire" and showed us communism in action. His assessment of human nature was more charitable. While Chisslers raw appeal to emotion may yet win him the day, it did not with this judge. Ian won by a landslide.




    Another fascinating and beautifully written debate, with rhetoric aplenty and superb logical arguments.

    IMO the crux of the debate as ever was in the wording of the title, and it was in this that the debate was won and lost.

    Ian made a very strong opening, quickly getting to the meat of the matter and making it very clear that communism has never been practiced, but is an ideal to which we should aspire.
    Ian's arguments in support of this were a wonderfull example of how the english language can and should be used in a debate, with nicely framed arguments consisting of subtle rhetoric and logical conclusions.
    IMO Ian took control of the debate at an early stage and despite chisslers best efforts, never truly relinquished control.
    Ian stuck by his assertion that communism is an ideal, and other than a minor slip with East Wind (which he recovered well from with the example of GPL) was pretty much in control.

    Chissler started strongly, and made a good case for the position given, but was always somewhat on the back foot, and was reactive most of the time, rather than proactive.
    This showed strongly in the amount of time spent trying to refute Ian's position rather than concentrating on his own position.
    Some good examples were picked apart rather easily, and yet chissler showed refreshing honesty in admitting that the DRC is a work in progress - something he would have done well to remember when trying to refute Ians position.
    IMO Chissler would have done better by not mentioning current "democracy" at all, but instead, framing his debate around a theoretical Democratic Republic.

    This debate was more of a philosophical debate where out and out proof was hard to come by.

    It was very much a subjective look at the theories of the two forms of direction society may take in the future, and in this, Ian was the more successful, making him the winner.

    I don't want to dwell on the missed post, but I'm not sure it affected the result anyway - IMO the debate was pretty much won by that stage, barring something extraordinary from Chissler, and there was little sign of that in the rest of the debate.



    posted on Oct, 24 2008 @ 03:52 PM
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    It's comforting to know that I was right about one thing, and that was that I was going to lose this debate.


    It's tough to read where you stand in a debate, but for the first time in any debate I was confident that I was going to lose. I simply did not have the time to actually research the topic and I feel that this was more than obvious in what I did contribute.

    However, if I had all the time in the world to dedicate to this debate.. I'm confident that I still would have been upended by a superior opponent.

    An excellent job, Ian.


    On a side note, I think the first judge gave me a more ravishing beat down than Ian did.


    Best of luck in the finals, Ian.



    posted on Oct, 24 2008 @ 04:23 PM
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    Thank you chissler, for what I consider a quite well-fought debate -- it certainly had me dancing around at times! I'm glad to hear that my managing to squeeze in an extra post didn't swing the decision; I wouldn't have liked to have won that way.

    I'll admit that much of my strategy was 'quotes you wouldn't expect to hear' -- from Engles, de Tocqueville, etc. That made this fun to research. Plus I got to say shocking things.


    The entire time I was avoiding the elephant in the room -- that the ideology of Communism, and the practice of Democracy are not necessarily mutually exclusive or dichotomous. That made for interesting bouncing back and forth between philosophy and practice.

    Again, hats off to my opponent friend chissler, and thanks to the judges, readers, and moderator.





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