Resolved: Violent revolution is a just response to political oppression
The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.
After 1 vote and with 3 points ahead, the winner is...
- Publication date
- Last updated date
- Number of rounds
- Time for argument
- One week
- Max argument characters
- Voting period
- Two weeks
- Point system
- Multiple criterions
- Voting system
Revolution: As a historical process, “revolution” refers to a movement, often violent, to overthrow an old regime and effect, complete change in the fundamental institutions of society -- http://www.columbia.edu/cu/weai/exeas/asian-revolutions/pdf/what-is-revolution.pdf
Violent: using force to hurt or attack, used to describe a situation or event in which people are hurt or killed -- https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/violent
Political: Relating to the activities of the government, members of law-making organizations, or people who try to influence the way a country is governed (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/politics)
Oppression: a situation in which people are governed in an unfair and cruel way and prevented from having opportunities and freedom
Just: morally correct (similar to Justice: righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness)
- The debate structure as agreed upon can be found here.
- CON defines “just” as morally correct. Well, in this scenario, what does a “morally correct” response entail? A more detailed definition of “just” by Ethics Defined states: “Justice is considered post fact; as a means of reciprocity – correcting the scales to provide some equilibrium of fairness.” “Political oppression” in the resolution makes the agent of oppression the government, tipping the scales out of balance. A “just,” “morally correct” response therefore would be anything that attempts to correct those scales to a proportional degree. This does not entail that the response would have to be successful to be “just,” hence the word “attempts,” but instead it requires us to consider whether the attempted response is proportional to the injustice it attempted to correct.
- Along this line, to be a proportional response in this scenario, violent revolution must be done against a government where it has been deemed necessary by an exasperated populace that feels as if they have no other choice. There are an arsenal of options for people to take to combat political oppression, such as trying for reform and civil disobedience. Declaring war against the state is a heavy matter that puts the lives of the revolutionaries and their families on the line, people do not undertake such a risk without having exasperated all other options. Indeed, as soon as those peaceful methods inevitably fail in the most tyrannical of governments, or they appear to have no utility against them, violent revolution then becomes the last-resort in the arsenal of options of the oppressed. Thus, CON must prove that violent revolution would be unjust even in the scenario where there seems to be no other choice for the oppressed (i.e. CON must prove in all scenarios, violent revolution is unjustifiable), while PRO must prove that violent revolution should be a tool in the arsenal of the oppressed in case they deem its use necessary.
- Leadership and coordination
- Being branded as a terrorist
- Access to weapons and Goods
- Selfishness and reluctance of cost/benefit
- Misinformation linked back to 1 that makes it hard to justify
- Battling trained soldiers while being untrained
Once you have felt so angered that you feel you must physically act, I see no inherent barrier preventing you from doing the same to others who fail to act. The nature of violence sets the other as an enemy; you would only inflict pain on those who have seriously violated your rights. You are far more likely to see the world as a dichotomy of two views set against each other and believe that anyone NOT on your side, is on the enemy’s side. The enforcement of your belief through violence re-enforces the idea that you must not tolerate even the slightest hesitation.
- if the state is killing your community ... why should anyone condemn you for trying to protect them?
- Never in history has violence been initiated by the oppressed
- Nonviolent attempts in the past to change the system in China have been thwarted violently.
- it is difficult to imagine nonviolence being viable for Jews against the socialist government in Nazi Germany
- In El Salvador today, where public protests are broken up with guns and riot gear, worker and peasant organizers are arrested and tortured, and villages are brutally massacred.
- RECALL that according to the debate structure, PRO is only permitted to respond to CON’s R1 this round.
- CON argues that since political oppression is most likely to appear in a form that does not entail physical violence, we can no longer classify revolution as self-defense, and thus it is immoral. Notice that CON conveniently only addresses revolutions that use violence against non-physically violent regimes. This glaring hole is even acknowledged, but simply brushed off by CON: “it is arguable whether humans can fight for their freedom with their lives at stake.”
- RECALL & EXTEND PRO’s 1st Contention. Violence as a whole isn't just direct, physical violence. Violence also includes structural violence, which by definition makes even the revolutions against non-physically violent yet oppressive regimes self-defensive in nature.
- Leadership and coordination (you can get public support, but can you get together before the regime finds out?)
- Being branded as a terrorist (your people may accept, but will other governments support you after you take over?)
- Access to weapons and Goods
- Misinformation that makes it difficult to ascertain whether the oppression is truly severe enough
- Battling trained soldiers while being untrained
- RECALL & EXTEND:
- While CON may retort to the last point by saying any action that escalates suffering in the short term is immoral, he yet again ignores that the aim of the short term escalation of violence is to protect the people from an unyielding structural violence that causes harm over many years. The long-term prospects inherently outweigh the short term harms.
- Again, CON’s method of moral judgement relies on the examination of results instead of intent. RECALL & EXTEND: Whether a tactic ends up working or not is irrelevant in discussing whether it is a “just” tactic to undertake. Such a standard for “just” chops away intent and only leaves results. Intent matters.” If we were to adopt this pseudo-morality, then Poland should not have resisted against the Nazis. Greece should not have fought valiantly against both Italy and Germany, and Ethiopia should not have resisted against a fascist Italy invading their homeland. He may respond with his self-defense exception here, but PRO has already demonstrated how structural violence is just as serious in the long-term as direct violence. This renders any such objection inconsistent logically. This has major implications. By extension, we can dismiss all of CON’s practicality based arguments. This rules his 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Contentions toothless.
- Even further, by CON’s own arguments he does fulfill this standard either. Under his own admission, nonviolence is unsuccessful about 50% of the time (ignoring the data flaws in the study, obviously). And most of these examples are in reform movements in mostly unoppressive democracies, not movements to topple the ruling elite of truly oppressive nations (RECALL that, comparatively, nonviolence is used in less oppressive regimes compared to violence in more oppressive ones). Any nonviolent movement that seriously threatens the ruling powers is likely to evoke violent retaliation at the hands of the state, as it did in Communist China at Tiananmen Square and in El Salvador. In this regard, the negative is being hypocritical with this form of argument, not only is nonviolence far from being very effective, but it devolves into the very violence the negative has condemned. They may say, “we cause less so prefer us,” aside from being wrong, that’s not the point. The point is that their own standard of absolutist morality is so intrinsically flawed that even a nonviolent resistance is immoral by their own standard.
- Even if the above point is completely rejected by the voter, and we used CON’s arbitrary standard, PRO would fulfill it quite easily.
At the very least, this renders CON’s 2nd, 3rd and 4th Contention’s non-unique as both PRO and CON can access those impacts.
- Even further, the voter can RECALL & EXTEND PRO’s R2 refutations of CON’s 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Contention. There is no good evidence that nonviolent revolution is more effective than violent revolution, therefore there is no reason for CON to be trying to leverage this standard against PRO.
- NOTE: CON’s source citing “Mr. Weede” should be thrown out until CON provides an accessible copy. The link provided does not work.
- No revolutionary fights against an oppressive government with the intention of establishing a similarly or even more oppressive government. Once again PRO ignores intent and judges based on outcome. Thus, cross-apply all of PRO’s refutations of outcome-based arguments. Just as much as there is no guarantee that the revolutionaries will win, there is no guarantee that they will create a successful state either. That isn’t the point. The point is that, given a violation of the social contract between the people and their rulers, the people reserve the right to try and reform that government through violent means if they deem it necessary.
- RECALL & EXTEND: “Even further, by CON’s own arguments he does fulfill this standard either....Any nonviolent movement that seriously threatens the ruling powers is likely to evoke violent retaliation at the hands of the state, as it did in Communist China at Tiananmen Square and in El Salvador. In this regard, the negative is being hypocritical with this form of argument, not only is nonviolence far from being very effective, but it devolves into the very violence the negative has condemned.”
- The idea that violent revolution always devolves is highly contested.
- Pre-Revolution: Pro has failed to refute my idea with people holding power they had previously agreed to give away. In more democratic societies the “oppression” is appropriately defined and always in an unfair way, especially since the people may decide ambiguously that inequality can be oppression. Or even something as vague as “taxation without representation” that the British had little idea the Americans valued. I already mentioned this was too vague to work, and I’ll detail precisely why here. *** Even our most famous revolution’s justification was dubious to think of. *** Britain had begun a war and needed to pay for the costs while being in debt. It protected the American colonies and despite no “representation” the addition of taxes was entirely acceptable. The Americans enjoyed a great amount of liberty and were basically equivalent from being freed from tyranny. They claimed oppression while in reality only the negros on the plantation were in true slavery. Historians widely “criticize American Whigs for their highly inflated prattle about the "slavery" resulting from British policies” . The colonists never wanted to be represented (as they would simply be outvoted), and would never agree to being taxed (as it is more practical and convenient otherwise). Therefore, Pro’s argument is clearly wrong that the oppression is always obvious, agreed on a universal level, and the VR response is “just”. The people’s judgement were biased and this point stands. The colonists claimed “tax without representation” yet failed to reaffirm the right in the constitution. It seems to me that the people will use any excuse to justify the VR, oppressed or not. Even if we say this is cherry-picking, more morally ambiguous charges can still be used to justify VR’s, making the self-defense argument completely moot.
- Planning Revolution: Pro has given examples of ways that people have managed to succeed but has not defeated any of my reasoning why these may be outliers. It seems illogical to me that the nonviolent resistance with far more participants would fail, while VR with the only fit, skilled and daring fighters would somehow succeed. His source tells us that we must combine both for the idealized resistance. He has not explained how this connects to VR’s in a vacuum.
- During Revolution: Pro has dropped the impacts on their people. With the pre-revolution emotional manipulation in place, the revolutionaries are also likely to harm other innocents and attack the wrong people. Consider that, the military is only following orders and that my argument about defection powerfully sways people to your side. It takes severe pressure and motivation to attack non-violent people.
- Post-Revolution: Pro did not refute the idea that the rational planning necessary for the new government to succeed is inherently gone in the mind of the violence that was so urgent to win. As the revolutions only lead to the same cycle recurring, Pro advocates for a world of endless slaughter and no real solution. This is the crucial difference between self-defense and VR. Hell, Pro advocates for the people’s own power without depending on others for help, yet his own source in R2 that lists the four successes finds “without external intervention, the initial configuration of precision parameters would have led to a rebellion followed by a return to the status quo”.
- “People will abuse violence”
- “Most revolts are not justified” (Craigg)
- “Cases of self-defense are amoral”
- First and foremost, note that CON continues to use his flawed outcome-based moral model.
- Second, RECALL & EXTEND: “Even if... we used CON’s arbitrary standard, PRO would fulfill it quite easily.”
- As for defectors, Howard Ryan addresses this point extensively:
- Addressing CON’s reasoning for why nonviolence works better, he continually ignores that there is a limit to what nonviolence can accomplish. While it’s true that nonviolence is easier to execute, it comes with some drawbacks that make it impractical in the face of true oppression.
The RFD is half the length of the whole debate...
That would have been pretty bad. Generally, I view waiving a round as a concession of any points your opponent made against your points in the previous round, so anything that you responded to previously would have been cross-applied, but you would have sunk yourself on any novel refutations. It also would have made me rethink the strength of your best arguments if my perception of them was that you were unwilling to push the most important elements of them in the end. I think you handicapped that strength, but you would have been just as if not more handicapped by refusing to push the reasons they matter in the end. Also, if your opponent is the only one summarizing and examining the debate as a whole, then they control the entire narrative. Usually a bad move to let them do that.
I'm curious, since you mentioned I stabbed myself in the foot the final round. How much worse/better would it have been if I merely waived the round and said "vote con"?
You might like this, "We will force you to be free" - - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UX4AVFymCBg
And yeah, that's a monster of an RFD. Lots to read through, and some parts are a bit rambling/stream-of-consciousness, but it gets across how I'm perceiving the arguments as I go through them. Some look a little better as I go through, some degrade a bit, but you can see where I'm following you better or worse and get some indication of what's working and what's not. It's a lot to plug through, and it's only one judge's perspective, so take your time with it and take it with a giant grain of salt. I've got my own biases and problematic perspectives, and while I'd like to see those balanced by another RFD, this is a big and difficult debate to judge, so I understand if I'm alone in handling it.
I wouldn't call it muddling the resolution. I would say that your best bet was to double down on your argument about uncertainty, whether it's uncertainty over application of a just cause or uncertainty over what suffices as oppression, and then focus on giving as big of a picture as possible on that, especially in your final round. I've been trying the "ask three questions" or "make three statements" that define the debate, and then putting everything under those three. They don't all have to be offense, but by doing this, I can usually drive towards the bigger picture of what my arguments represent and why they're important. I'd say the whole comparison of two worlds aspect of the final round is one of the most important aspects that should be represented, and both of you could use some work fleshing that out. And, yeah, that was a have your cake and eat it, too moment. It's always tempting to go for everything with every point, but that final round requires that you be more incisive and really hit at what matters most in the context of the debate.
And, yeah, in thinking about this resolution, I do think it's more Pro-biased. Making it vaguer can also vastly expand the burdens of both sides, though, so just be careful of where you take it.
Thanks to Undefeatable for the great debate, and a big thanks to Whiteflame for the great vote. Just read through that monster and got some key takeaways from it to improve my argumentation. Gotta say, I kind of wish we had a bigger character count.... but I think I agree with Whiteflame that my lack of breathing room was at least partially due to my incessant habit of overkilling certain arguments where possible and under-refuting the more important ones.
so just to clarify -- to truly have the "Undefeatable" mindset -- I would have had to muddle the resolution and stick to the crystallization of the lack of clear decision, correct? I stabbed the argument in the foot to try to have utilitarian outcome hopefully result in the endless violence that wouldn't work out in the world creation (and Pro never countered), but because I keep my username with a tie, making the resolution as vague and ambiguous as possible would ruin Pro's work, yes?
[I should really do that often. Since my name is not "Victorious", I am encouraged to make the vote as difficult as possible to make, not to actually win]
That's an interesting way to take it. I felt that the American Revolution and BLM points seemed pretty separate throughout, and that would have linked them together well enough. The trouble is that that line of logic depends on the perspective. A person could argue that we had a revolution to overthrow a powerful oppressor, whereas BLM is being used as a means to shake up the current government and force changes to the existing system, rather than bucking our leadership entirely. Some might call that an evolution of the tactic, though you could argue that that "evolution" still involves the use of force against people who shouldn't be the targets of BLM.
Included some specific suggestions towards the end. I think you started this strong and you were solid throughout in defending your points, but the main thing I think you could stand to do in general is to have a better perspective of what you're winning and why it's important. It's still something I struggle with. Going on the line-by-line is important throughout much of the debate, but the people I've seen do the best will drop a point or two before the final round, and then zero in on a couple of key issues at the end. It's difficult when you feel like you have to win several points or when you really do feel like you're winning several arguments, but I'd say that's where you could put in the work. It's honestly easier when you're doing these live because there's not a clear record of the things you're dropping, but it's just as important.
thanks for the vote. I suspected that Pro had a winning edge in this topic. I suppose he'll be the end to my streak. Any suggestions for this or in general?
I had considered using the example of American Revolution as a solid example to give the impact that we let a country get away with 200 years of supposed freedom only to end back up where we started with BLM talking of oppression of blacks -- the same as when the Whigs complained about "slavery"
I also didn't bother mentioning intentions, because I know libertarian arguments defeat it 100% of the time. You can't defeat "people have the right to defend, even through violence". That's why I mentioned results. Only utilitarianism analysis can overcome the rights argument, as the infringement of the Deontology morality makes Kant lose ground on Pro's ideas.
I have my own views regarding where I see the topic being weighted towards, though that does at least partially depend on the interpretation. My RFD will include some thoughts on that.
pretty sure Pro is favored. I checked online and most people agree that in this resolution a top Pro debater will always win because Con simply doesn't have enough grounding to stand on
I think I speak for both of us when I say I appreciate your thoroughness... This debate probably comes down to voter interpretation, so it's definitely reassuring to see such a detailed RFD. Of course, I'm grateful to have an RFD at all.
And, in case you're wondering, no, I haven't figured out who's winning this yet. Going into the final round, you both have options left to take this, though I do think one side is favored, won't say which.
I should have this RFD up tomorrow. Be advised, this is going to be a long one (it's 8 pages and I just started on the last round), even by my standards. I'm doing speech-by-speech breakdowns. There'll be a TL:DR, and if you don't want to go through all the specific feedback for each round, you could just skip to the last two to focus on how I perceive the final rounds and how things wrap up for each side. However, I thought this was thorough and impressive enough that each round deserved attention, so I'm providing the info (it also just generally helps me keep things straight, so it wasn't all for you, but I hope it's helpful).
Do you think you'll give a vote?
Been working on this one. It's taking a while, but I should have it up by the end of the week.
He's been working on it, told me so on Discord the other day
you didn't forget right? There's 5 days left on this.
probably your pro case. I was barely holding onto a lot of points (only combined together can they defeat you), and forced to argue a strange non moral stance. The persons' judgement to determine oppression is an interesting point, but I don't think Con you can grasp enough of it to defeat Pro you.
Yeah a lot of those old sources went dead for some reason. And we may debate it still, we'll see.
Now that I've done both sides, I'm kinda curious: if I pit two clones of me against eachother, one with my PRO case and one with a more fleshed out version of my old CON case... which one of me would win?
ha, so much for practice. Also apologize for any unanswerable arguments, but I couldn't think of a better place to add them. The structure was weird enough that maybe a 5th round would've helped. Also, I am very surprised I was unable to find "The Ethics of War: Essays” in my research that you had in your first debate.
Now that i've done both PRO and CON on this topic, not sure if Supa and I will debate this same topic at all. May want to change it. Up to him though
true. If Supadudz were to argue the same ideas, it would definitely help to throw in everything wrong about American revolution. Pro likely thought it was more important to stress outcomes and moral based arguments, only choosing misinformation as a final crux basis -- but I feel like this may be just as important as the other two in hindsight. If he spent less time explaining war vs revolution he could spend more time talking about Colonists' demands.
Oh well. Even if he won that point I have many layers of defense... We will see how Whiteflame judges
I would've liked the opportunity to debunk that example though. Definitely seems like a big enough last minute addition to where it only seems fair for the other person to be able to respond
I'd say that it is not a completely new argument -- he always inferred people are bad deciders due to misinformation ("nowhere in the resolution does it say the oppression actually exists" -- R1). The only new argument was adding taxation without representation on top of framing the Britain king. I think it's better treated as context behind the "malicious king" framing rather than a standalone argument...
Also, looking back he sorta kinda used it as a new point but also used it as evidence for his already existing points... so I guess it depends on whether the judge likes brand new evidence in the final round or not
hmmm... *scratch head* I guess it comes down whether you accept that am. rev. is unjust ( framed England king and claimed oppression) and accurately represents a large proportion of vr's... up to whiteflame.
if you are right that intentions are all that matter then it wouldn't matter if the oppression was nonexistent, then people may revolt merely to display the idea that any oppression is unacceptable. I'll abstain cuz its a hard vote.
"CON's narrative is easily refuted here: if the oppression is subtle and nebulous, then violent revolution won’t even be in the playbook.
He may be arguing that people could be convinced that there is more oppression in a government than there really is, but if the government were less oppressive than one worthy of violent revolt, surely it would reform given the threats of the populace, rendering this point moot."
"This renders CON’s criticism completely non-topical, as the resolution specifically excludes any government that is not objectively politically oppressive. This should be pretty obvious, as it is impossible to be revolting against a politically oppressive state in which there is no political oppression. All CON does here is prove that violent revolution is unjust in a just society, which is news to nobody."
also... the problem with the assumption is that Und. stressed like three rounds in a row about falsified information that would make them unjust. If you mentioned even a little that this was uncommon and unlikely then I'd definitely be thinking you're clearly winning.
Yeah, I may or may not have a slight fetish for this topic...
wow I just realized your first debate is also this, except the opposing side (https://www.debateart.com/debates/1033-violent-revolution-is-a-just-response-to-political-oppression). You've come very far XD
"(Though, I think you missed out on his re-crystallization on how people can randomly determine "oppressive" based on their own definition)"
I could be penalized for this, but I considered it de-facto refuted, as I had continued with the narrative throughout the debate that people will not rush to violence unless the transgressions are truly heinous.
I'd appreciate the read. Undefeatable has definitely demonstrated he is a worthy opponent. I'd be OK with my win streak coming to an end against him, although I'd rather it not.
I definitely think Undefeatable is a great debater, I enjoy reading all the debates he's in. I'll probably try to give it a read myself
I'll be starting to read through this sometime this week after I'm done with Undefeatable's other debate. Shouldn't take me too long.
Honestly, this debate was very neck and neck. It mostly depends on how the judge interprets some things in the resolution... I also believe that we may have benefitted from greater character count, because some ideas you just can't refute properly in a few sentences.
Nice conclusion. Undefeatable's world building seems cool to me, but this is definitely very close. I don't know who won this one. (Though, I think you missed out on his re-crystallization on how people can randomly determine "oppressive" based on their own definition)
thanks for the engaging debate, you did very well
REPOST FOR VOTERS:
"Undefeatable and I have agreed privately via PM's to structure the debate rounds accordingly:
R1 - Constructives
R2 - Rebuttal of opponent's constructive
R3 - Defense of cases
R4 - Rebuttal of opponent's defense and final summary"
Alexei: You can't defeat me
Me: I know, but he can
Younger Alexei: Hello.
I realized that the "Failure of Pacifism and the Success of Nonviolence" article can't be accessed unless you have a school account. The pastebin of the full article is available here: https://pastebin.com/bBF0prCV
Also, I meant to say harm potential enemies rather than allies in the harm of innocent.
You have a very quick turnaround. Don't expect a response from me for a while, but I'll try to keep it from being so last minute..
if you are confused by point 5), it's basically an extremely wordy version of That1User's argument against Seldiora lol (https://www.debateart.com/debates/2342-mysterious-topic)
You’ve fallen right into my trap!