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Banning of Extremist Political Parties.

34 posts in this topic

This Debate will be 1 v 1.

Should extremist political parties be banned from standing for political office? Does their right to have their say outweigh the harm and offence that they cause?

First two people who register their Interest will then move into their Opening Posts. I will flip a coin to see which side each debater will take.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or problems

Good Luck , May the best debater Win

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Scince this is my area of interest, I'll give it a shot.

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Very interesting, I'll giv it a shot

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We have our Competitors thumbsup.gif

danielson Will Argue for Banning of Extremist Political Parties

stillcrazy Will Argue for the right for these parties to stand for Political Office

Best of luck Debaters ,

May the Best Man Win thumbsup.gif

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This debate has been cancelled as Stillcrazy will no longer be able to participate.

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I've re-opened this debate because i feel it will be a good one.

danielson can still participate and argue FOR banning of extremist political parties. Now we just need one other debater who would like to debate AGAINST the banning of extremist political parties, and we'll be ready to go. original.gif

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we just need one other debater who would like to debate AGAINST the banning of extremist political parties,

me, me grin2.gif

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There we have it. Salvaged!

So danielson, you will still be debating FOR BANNING, while Talon S. is now taking stillcrazy's place and is debating AGAINST the banning of extremist political parties.

Oooo i can feel this debate is gonna be a good one. Each debater will post an introductory statement for their side, followed by four body posts and a conclusion post. May the best debater win!

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Introduction

To most, the term ‘extremist’ is, in this period of time, associated with fanaticism. Our thoughts turn to die-hard devotees to their cause who cannot be reasoned with, nor show the smallest shred of rational or sane thought which our modern society requires.

When relating this to political parties most would make connections to the far left and right; To many extremists include such as the UK’s BNP party or France’s Front National, which advocates hard-line anti-Asylum seeker policies and racists overtones. Others may think radical Communist Parties whose proposed legislation would cause economic consequences that on paper promise an age of financial equality, but are simply impossible to introduce.

At a glance, their views and ideals seem so disquieting that they could simply never gain power through the electoral process. However, it has happened in the past, the NSDAP was a democratically elected, launching Hitler into power to start his path to war and genocide.

Is this a warning from history from which we should take a certain meaning? Does this mean that extremist political parties should be banned from standing for political office?

The answer to the question is difficult, and given time history may well rule in the opposite camp’s favour, however it must be no.

If a society chooses its leaders to political office through electing them from a variety of competing parties or individuals by the majority of the population, then it is by its nature a form of Democracy. It may not be an idealistic or perfect democracy, but it is nonetheless a form of that government.

Now, do not most Democracies allow for the difference of believes and the right to express these in opinions and speech? Do not most Democracies allow individuals to vote for a party that represents political views similar to their own?

The answer is yes. For a society to be a true Democracy it cannot choose some views to be criminal and others not to be. A society has the right to judge and condemn in its code of laws people for what the do, but not what they think, and not without good reason say.

Removing certain political parties from the system, no mater how undesirable they are, is against the nature of a Democracy.

However, Democracies have in the past and present carried out actions that do not appear in general to be by their nature ‘democratic’. Similarly, actions can be carried out which are not popular with the majority of the population.

Extremists are seen by many as danger, even a threat to democracy itself, and if history recalls even a threat to those who unwittingly elect them. In this light, does a system have the right to remove certain parties from the political process? To save Democracy and Society.

It would be a good argument for it; however, it raises the issue of who are ‘extreme’. In the 19th century Trade Union supported parties appeared throughout the west such as the UK Labour Party. These argued for workers rights, better living conditions for the working classes and other equalities, such as universal suffrage. At the time, the elites in power, and society in general saw these measures as extreme and against the desired goal to allow industrialists and landlords to treat their workers and tenants as they pleased. However, today most moderate parties, particularly in Europe, contain similar pro-Welfare and liberal thinking ideals. In essence, society changed its attitude on what was deemed extreme.

Modern parties such as Socialists who wish for even further reform in welfare and equality may be considered extreme today, but in a generations time their goals may be considered the basic acts of a benign and loving Democratic government. The banning of certain groups who were considered extreme in the past would have prevented advancements in equality and living that today we take of granted, and it may do so in the future.

So the some extremists may indeed be one day seen as evolving our society past the polices of laissez-faire, but what about the racists, the far-right? These individuals preach hate and backward views most would prefer to leave in the past. Ideals that were relevant to a nation of the 19th century, surely not one of the 21st.

However, there is even a case for fascists and racists.

A democracy should listen to the people. However, what happens when the ruling government does not? Mostly it results in the disgruntled people voting for a new party. Sometimes it is a direct wish for that party to gain power, but often (particularly at by-elections) it is rather a case of protest voting, attempting to make a political gesture to make a point to those in power.

However, what happens when all the major, moderate parties have the same stance. It then goes to the out-side parties, the ones deemed extreme. In 1960s UK, the Communist party gained an increasing number of votes, however it was the goal of many new voters to put them into power, but rather as a warning to government to increase their welfare programs. Similarly in the 1990s and 2000s the BNP has won small victories in areas were large numbers of Asylum seekers have been housed. Blair has stated himself that having concerns about the Asylum levels in the UK does not make you racist, and the government has admitted its out of control. The BNP’s increased vote is not made by people wish to put them into power, but rather a signal that other concerns should be met. These issues aren’t extreme they include low pensions, lack of jobs and the huge number of homeless on our streets, which they argue should be dealt with before the government decides to house and pay for the living of someone entering the country tomorrow.

Extremists are therefore important from protest voting, or for making a statement that moderate political parties are too scared to make for the fear of coming off as far-left radicals or far-right racists.

That does not change the fact that some should never gain office - god forbid the BNP or Communists ever gain office. However, so long as they remain minority parties with little or no power, then they do serve a function.

Should they ever look set to take over then indeed the head of state must deny the place of PM or Chancellor to them as recall elections, however their purpose is to important to stop them running for political office.

This leads onto the last point that shall be raised in the right for extremists to run for elections. If extremists are removed from the race to political office, will it stop them congregating and spreading their ideology. No.

These groups will simply go underground and continue to exist, recruiting and spreading their ideals. Although without a stand in politics many will disappear from the public sight and disappear, others will thrive and out with the public eye nobody can no what they are doing. In the past groups who were forbidden to take party in Politics such as the Bolsheviks operating from the shadows seized control of the government. Although such as action is unlikely in a modern western society, extremists can well go further into radicalism and become terrorist groups such as the IRA.

The latter also has an important place in the argument in that only through allowing its representative party Shinn-Faine into the political system can we keep and open negotiation with terrorists in attempts to get them to disarm.

History has taught us to look upon extremists with some level of apprehension. However, we should not use these lessons to sweep them under the rug and pretend they do not exist. Rather we must look them straight in the eye, knowing their dangers, but not pretending they do not exist. For if we do that we’ll have learned nothing, we’ll simply forget, and leave something festering in the darkness that we may well one day regret not having kept a better eye on.

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Okay, since danielson has taken far to long to reply in this topic, i'm going to throw it to the floor ONE MORE TIME and see what happens.

As it is, since Talon has already posted his introduction and no one else has posted, we still have room for another debater. This debater will be debating the FOR arguement in Banning of Extremist Political Parties.

Talon, feel free to message some people to look for a new partner.

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I'm ready to join! grin2.gif

I'll post my message soon (in the next 24 hours, maybe even sooner).

Just droped in to inform you that i'll take part in this debate.

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Erikl, thank you. You will be debating FOR the banning of extremist polictial parties. Talon has already posted his introduction. Thank you for taking part. Here we go! Good luck to both.

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Posted (edited)

Introduction

History has shown us that democracy has its limits.

Although the freedom of speech and protest of one’s ideas are an integral part of any democracy that respects itself, one cannot disregard the historical events which caused extremist non-democratic parties to use these rights cynically to gain control and then cancel the democratic system.

Parties such as the National-Socialist party in Germany, the Islamic party in Algeria, the Communist party in Tsarist Russia – are only some of the cases who come into mind.

If a party cannot respect other parties opinions’, it has no place in a democracy, as tolerance is one of the basics of democracy.

Democracy must defend itself from anti-democratic forces, or it will never be stable.

Another important aspect which comes into mind is the fact that many of the extremist parties and ideologies often use hatred to attract supporters: Nazism use racism against minorities, Communism uses hatred against the upper classes (who may or may not have reached their social status by hard work), Islamism uses hatred against the so-called infidels, and so forth.

In this aspect, democracy has the obligation of keeping minority rights intact – it cannot allow for hatred to spread freely against its minorities.

Making Nazism a legitimate voice is like giving racism legitimacy.

We already saw what those parties had to offer to the world. Do we really want such evil ideologies to continue spread through the free world today?

A third aspect which rules out extremist parties’ legitimacy is the fact that extremism often result in violence. This is because extremists can’t compromise (or they won’t be true extremists), and so they cannot stand it when someone sees it not as they are. Take for example the Soviet Union – you could be either a Socialist or a Fascist. No in-betweens. And of course if you are Fascist, you have no legitimacy, because you are anti-Communist, in which case you are against the Soviet state (and the punishment for treason is well known).

I say – forget the philosophical question of what can be considered extremist. We all know what extremism is, and we all learned from history how dangerous it can be.

Of course there could always be new ideologies which could be considered extremists, but I think the ground rule in such and all cases is clear: if you want a stable democracy, you must ban anti-democratic, hatred-fill, violent groups.

Edited by Erikl

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The Principals of Democracy

The first argument against the banning of political parties is the issue of principles of the Democracy they are running for election within.

Democracies are fond of quoting that they alone allow the ‘right to free speech’. Indeed a founding principle of democracy is the fundamental right of freedom to speech, debate and enquiry, all three of which must be maintained to continue a vibrant political culture.

Democracies are elected by majority rule, giving legitimacy in that they have the largest support by the population within the government. Should an party deemed to have extremist views be banned, even though its views are supported by the majority, then it is removing the legitimacy of that government and the title of democracy. Agreeing with such a system would be defending an illegitimate power.

However, this does not mean that the majority are allowed ride straight over the minority, oppressing or discriminating them. It would hardly be a fair and free system if 51% of the population were to oppress the remained 49% as it pleased. As such in a democratic society the governing party does so with the support of the majority, however the state guarantees the rights of minority through human rights be they ethnic, religious, or political.

As such laws do exist to protect minority groups in situation were extremist parties, such as the BNP, of which several members have been prosecuted for racially motivated violence and their political speeches are examined by police and crown prosecution services to see if it is legal under laws against incitement to racial hatred.

However, the same rights also apply to political minorities. Extremist groups tend to be minorities in more advanced Democracies, only becoming large parties in countries with a poor history of democratic thought. As a minority group, the views of such extremists may be unpopular, however that does not give the right to the majority to ban them from standing in a ‘fair’ and ‘open’ electoral system with those views. The actions that extremists take, such as possible violence of its members and speeches that contain racist insults against groups, which are protected under the principles of Democracy, must be controlled. Nonetheless, the right to speak and debate political views within the electoral system must not be subjected to whether the majority feel to be just.

If a society does indeed ban extremist politics, then it opens way for a government controlled by majority parties to do away with any smaller parties whose views seem to unconventional in there view.

If we start putting a ban on what people can think and politically say, then we have taken away the fundamental principles of Democracy. It then becomes that little bit easier to move on and ban the next thing deemed extremist and then again and again, the government telling the people which politics should be in power as opposed to the people telling the government. Where does it stop and how much of our freedoms will be left intact after it is over.

Defence of Democracy

The opposition cites three incidents were extremists left, right and religious have taken control of the government and installed anti-democratic dictatorship.

The Russia the Bolsheviks took hold of was already in chaos, after generations of far worse starvation and poverty under the Tzars, a failed right-wing coup in August 1917 by General Kornilov which implicated Kerensky (head of the Provisional Government as a conspirator), the continuing costly war with Germany, and the incompetence of the aforementioned Provisional Government. The country was unused with Democracy, the first Democratic government appearing in 1906 being a puppet to the Tzar and the Provisional Government formed after the abdication in February 1917 being extremely inexperienced.

In the case of Germany, the Democratic Weimar Republic Government took over in the aftermath of WW1, and became associated with the embarrassment of the Versailles Treaty, which the Nazis were voted into power on the bases of reversing. The government actually prospered during the1920s, when the countries economic problems were not so serious, and neither the far-right or far-left had a large base of support. It was only after the chaos of the Wall Street Crash, when Germany was suffering from economic instability and falling apart, that mass support flooded to the Nazis and allowed them to take power. Most of those who voted in the Nazis were unaware that they intended to dissolve government, nor did their history with democracy lead to strong supportive feelings for it, being used as they were to the Kaiser’s regime.

In the case of Algeria which the opposition mentions, in 1992 when The Front Islamique du Salut (FIS) won the election and set about destroying the democracy, the military entered and restored the democracy and outlawed religious groups from standing for elections ever again.

Algeria, with its poor history of democracy due to political corruption, is close to post-WW1 Germany, and not the best example of a situation were a democracy has been taken over by anti-democratic forces. Nonetheless, the situation was rectified by the military, in the only case were an Armed Forces has restored a democracy after a military coup, due to having no interest in living under a religious fascist regime.

All three examples cited therefore are extremists take overs of democracies which are both weak and in nations unused to the political system. In one (Russia) the Party was not even elected, it took over from a coup, and being banned would not have made an impact of its formation of a private army. In the case of the Nazis, the party was elected based on liberal parties being unable to save the country from depression, and not to remove democracy that the party’s manifesto did not mention. Both these issues furthermore fall within early 20th century and do not accurately fit any such circumstances that may occur in a modern western democracy. As for the FIS, the most modern of the examples, it did indeed openly preach the destruction of democracy and try and do it. However looking at the number of democracies in the Arab world it is maybe fair to place the success of an extremist party on the fundamentalist religion of the area rather than Democracy being unable to defend itself from extremism.

The situation of extremists opposed to democracy would be voted into state with a greater cultural support for democracy is unlikely, similarly it is unthinkable that the military will sit back and allow a democracy to be replaced with an extremist group that they would be required to live under them.

Furthermore, the issue on what an extremist is, is not that clear. Although it can probably be agreed that un-democratic, hate-filled and violent parties would be fitting of such as title, few parties in western society fall under all three categories.

If it were simply a case of a party which wishes to remove the current voting system then the matter has already been risen within some democracies. In German Basic Law drafted after 1945 any political party that aims “to impair or do away with the free democratic basic order or threaten the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany shall be unconstitutional.” Similarly in Israel the right to form a party is lost if the party “opposes the existence of the State of Israel as 'the state of the Jewish people', [or] negates the democratic nature of the State of Israel”. (http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/rp/2001-02/02rp21.htm)

Violence has often been a hallmark of extreme parties. However, it has not always led to negative effects. Neilson Mandela used violence against the Apartheid South Africa, a brutal fascist regime if ever there was one. Similarly, the Suffragette movement often used violence and civil disobedience to gain public attention and spread the belief of votes for women. Furthermore, the Civil Rights movement in 1960s America was prone to civil disobedience, as is the contemporary ‘Rights for Fathers’ movement seeking equally for men in Britain over child access. These actions, although deemed extreme, shine light on a situation obscured by society and led to social advancement.

Violence and civil disobedience are indeed marks of extremism and often do the papers report on brutal attacks on minorities and majorities alike by narrow-minded bigots. However, amongst this chaos so too are individuals who are simply using it as a method of making their voice heard. These latter individuals are not a threat to democracy with their violent methods; they are advancing it using a technique that has been historically shown to work.

Furthermore, politicians can not even stick to a definition of extremist, as Matthew Parris, (The Times 12 June 2004) noted that the Liberal Democrats accused the Green Party’s gaining votes “a kind of mischievous impertinence, contrary to orderly public administration” and the Conservatives referred to the “United Kingdom Independence Party as if it were an impostor to the democratic process”. Neither the Green Party nor UKIP are violent, anti-democratic, or hate-filled.

The rise of Extremism has not been large enough as of yet to pose any threat to democracy. In Britain the most extreme party is the BNP, however in the last Europeans elections only 750,000 people voted for them (0.125% of the population), mainly in isolated areas over the immigration issue, which even liberal parties admit is out of control. In the Netherlands, List Pim Fortuyn party won 23 seats in 2002, falling to 8 in 2003, however its anti-immigration policy for which its seen as far-right is on “the same line on immigration as the Britain’s Labour Party”.

Furthermore, their extremist views aside, many extremist parties have other arguments and policies such as on immigration, education and crime that are worthy of being voiced in the electoral system.

Therefore, the issue remains that at present extremist parties have yet to gain the support enough for democracies take action against them. Rather meeting their politics head on in an open and fair debate where the flaws of their extremist thought can be highlighted would be far more effective than banning them, which would give unwanted attention to their cause and give the impression that their ideology had a validity that the ruling parties wished to hide.

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The opposition states that extremist parties shouldn't be banned because they too deserve a voice.

He believes that violence and racism which is spread by such parties should be controlled.

Such a delecate mechanism is bound to fail sooner or later. Sure, you can say that in old democracies such a think can't happen.

But I do not believe that a government, which is bound to keep order in the country in order to defend the people, is to trust on public's tradition to hold democracy intact.

History has shown us that people only have the ability to think freely and act freely in democracies.

To this abilities any democracy is bound, even if it's people suddenly wish to create a dictatorship - just as there is a force hospitalizing for people who are dangarous to themselves, because the state is responsible for their safety wether they want it or not - so is keeping democracy a way to make sure the citizens are safe.

In summary - democracy is obligated to make sure that it's principles, seeing as the highest of all, be kept so that the people will have freedom. A freedom to choose dictatorship is just like a freedom to commit suicide - and just as the government can't allow people to just jump to their death, in the same they cannot let it's people's freedom to be thrown away.

The opposition also use very specific examples - too specific I might add.

He do not offer a stable way to keep democratic country a democracy, but put too much faith in democratic tradition, and in people's imunity to extremist propaganda.

As for what is an extremist party - I offered a sound explaination for what should be considered extremist.

A party which propogate non-democracy, non-tolerance and violence, or any of these things seperatly, should be considered non-legitimate.

Such ideologies are not only dangerous to democracy, but to the citizens of any country, and so the democracy which will ban such parties will not only defend itself, but will also defend it's citizens by doing so.

As for the opposition's claim that in the examples which I stated (Germany, Russia and Algeir) the democraric governmenrs was either unexpreinced or in an economic and social mess:

If those parties didn't had a vioce in the first place, they were never able to get enough supporters to take power.

This is nothing but another example from the past where extremist parties should have been banned but weren't, and so we see the consequances of not banning extremists.

As for the claim that democrartic tradition is an imunity from dictatorship, such a claim could be easily dismissed:

1. Lebanon, which was a democracy from 1943 untill 1975, was destroyed even though it had a long tradition of democracy - longer than that of Spain, Portugal or Greece.

2. France - the Third Repulic existed from 1870, till 1940. This is a very long democratic tradition - 70 years - longer than most European countries.

Let me quote wikipedia on this subject:

"Throughout its seventy-year history, the Third Republic stumbled from crisis to crisis, from collapsing governments to the appointment of a mentally ill president. It struggled through the German invasion of World War I and the inter-war years. When the Nazi invasion occurred in 1940, the Republic was so disliked by enemies on the right - who sought a powerful bulwark against Communism - and on the far left - where Communists initially followed their movement's international line of refusing to defend "bourgeois" regimes -that few had the stomach to fight for its survival, even if they disapproved of German occupation of northern France and the collaborationist Vichy regime established in the south".

3. Italy - which was a democracy from 1861 till 1922 - 61 years, only to be abolished by the fascist party.

Therefore, history proved that you cannot trust democratic tradition of the people - even countries with very long tradition of democracy - to make sure that democracy will not be abolished by extremists.

Edited by Erikl

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The opposition also use very specific examples - too specific I might add.

He do not offer a stable way to keep democratic country a democracy, but put too much faith in democratic tradition, and in people's imunity to extremist propaganda.

I would argue that it is rather the opposition which fails to give a scenario where a long running democracy falls out with exceptional conations such as depression.

Instead more example are quoted, however these do meet this criteria. The example of Lebanon, fails due to the democracy existing for less than a single generation. Hardly counting as a long-term democratic culture within the society.

The fall France’s third Republic and the setting up of the fascist Vichy state was due to the invasion of Nazi Germany and therefore is an exceptional circumstance, where the people did not vote in a far-right government, but rather forced upon them by a foreign power.

Furthermore, the fact the opposition admits that “ the Third Republic stumbled from crisis to crisis” would imply it is not a strong government whatsoever. Furthermore, the issue of rising right and left-wing groups within its borders as it can nether be proved they would disappear should they have been banned from the political process, and secondly due the 1920s and 30s being a radical time in politics. With the rise of the USSR Europe’s political scene changed drastically due to both support and fear of the Soviets. This political structure simply no longer exists, and with the strengthened position of states through inter-globalisation the likely hood of established democracies falling to un-democratic powers is extremely unlikely.

This situation also accounts for the fascist takeover of Italy in 1922. Which only succeeded due to the inaction of the military and the strength of Mussolini’s private army. However, in modern society, unlike the 1920s and 30s, it is impossible to believe that the military would allow a coup to take place by a fascist power, due to modern militaries becoming a tool of the democratic government, not as a self-interest group with its own agendas and hierarchy as existed in pre-1945 Europe. Likewise, modern democracies no longer allow political parties to establish private armed armies as was customary in many European countries during the inter-war period.

The situations simply no longer exist for an anti-democratic party to be voted into power and successfully destroy that democracy in a modern democratic system. Those only democracies at risk are those were the form of government is new, or currently under extreme amounts of strain on the political system and the populous.

But I do not believe that a government, which is bound to keep order in the country in order to defend the people, is to trust on public's tradition to hold democracy intact.

History has shown us that people only have the ability to think freely and act freely in democracies.

Therefore, history proved that you cannot trust democratic tradition of the people - even countries with very long tradition of democracy - to make sure that democracy will not be abolished by extremists.

If this is the case that Democracies cannot trust their citizens to make decisions, then what is the purpose of having a Democracy in the first place. This argument goings against the very nature of Democracy, which demands that the people dictate to the government what is good for the country, not the government dictate to the people what is good for them.

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The fall France’s third Republic and the setting up of the fascist Vichy state was due to the invasion of Nazi Germany and therefore is an exceptional circumstance, where the people did not vote in a far-right government, but rather forced upon them by a foreign power.

Not accurate - the Vichy regime was quite popular. It was a french government, not a German one.

The french damocracy faild because of the lack of the people's will to defend it, but the vichy government was popular because the fascists and communists had a voice in the third republic, and thus were able to gather enough supporters on both sides in the crisis-filled republic.

The same goes for Itally - if the fascist party didn't have a voice, people would never have supported mussolini's coup.

The situations simply no longer exist for an anti-democratic party to be voted into power and successfully destroy that democracy in a modern democratic system. Those only democracies at risk are those were the form of government is new, or currently under extreme amounts of strain on the political system and the populous.

This claim by the opposition is self-contradicting - it states that "The situations simply no longer exist for an anti-democratic party to be voted into power and successfully destroy that democracy in a modern democratic system.", though admits that "Those only democracies at risk are those currently under extreme amounts of strain on the political system and the populous.".

It is either that the opposition seem to think that the democratic system is immuned to political or economic crisis (a claim which can easily be refuted), or that it is simply ignoring the hard fact that as long as extremists have a voice, democracy isn't safe.

Only yesterday we saw an example of extremist parties gaining high percentage of the voted in two German states (the last place where, according to the logic which the opposition presents, should this thing happen).

In Saxony the Neo-Nazis (NPD) gained 9.3% of the votes (more than the current rulling party of Germany), and the Communists became the second largest party both in Saxony and Brendanburg, winning 28%.

A survey among Saxony's youth, that in 4 years will be able to vote, the NPD wins 20% - meaning that if their popularity will not increase, and the economic sistuation in Saxony will continue to be as it is today (and looking back on the last 15 years we see it will probably get worst), the NPD, the neo-Nazi party, will win 30%!

It only needed an unemployment rate of 20%.

Who knows what would happen if the unemployment rates will go up to 30%, or more drastically - 40%.

If the German government had it their way, the Neo-Nazi party which gained so much voters in Saxony, would have been banned, and thus would never have been able to rise in these elections.

This is only a recent reminder of how extremist parties are dangarous, even in modern and long lived democracies.

We cannot trust democracy in the hand of economy - the democratic system has to stay strong even in the worst economic sistuations.

If this is the case that Democracies cannot trust their citizens to make decisions, then what is the purpose of having a Democracy in the first place.

Democracy CAN and SHOULD follow it's citizens wishes, but it also has to defend itself against self-destruction.

Just like a democracy can't have people kill themselves physically, voting for un-democratic parties and giving them the power is like killing people's mental freedom - it's like a mass mental suicide.

And we are not talking hypothetically here - we have experienced many extremist regimes throughout the 20th century, from far right to far left, from deeply religious to deeply secular, and they all caused great terror and crimes against humanity.

Edited by Erikl

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Gonna need a post from Talon soon. Before the 20th at the latest. While this debate is a good one, it would be nice to finish it before the new year, no? original.gif

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Post 3: Protest voting

Extremist fringe parties set a purpose for protest voting. In many countries were voting is compulsory, such as Australia, the act of not voting itself is seen as a protest vote. However, in nations where voting is not enforced, such as the UK, many of the native cultures simply observe non-voting as Voter disinterest in politics as opposed to disatisfaction at the government's policies.

As such this leads to the voting of another political party than those currently in government. However, in systems where the dominant parties are either similar in policies or ideologically opposed, it cannot be the shadow party which protest voters support.

For example, in the UK the ruling Labour party is centre and Tory shadow party centre-right. The country’s main political issue stands on the Asylum, which even the government has admitted to be getting out of hand. Despite this the Labour party's reaction seems to be lacking.

Although the Conservative policy is far more radical, the Labour voters and other left cannot vote for the Tory’s on two issues 1. As the shadow party, voting for them may actually get the Conservatives into power, which is not the objective 2. A long standing cultural aspect of the country's political rivalries make it a taboo for Labour and Left-wing voters to vote for the Conservatives, even as a protest vote.

Barry writes that most Protest Voters tend to be long term supporters of one of the dominant parties, and reasons such as the above is why it is to the smaller parties the protest voters turn. Remaining with the UK as an example, the other large parties are unacceptable as their Asylum policies are similar or even more intolerable than the Labour party’s, such as the SSP’s wish for an ‘Open House’.

Therefore the Protest votes go to fringe parties such as the BNP, with its right-wing extremist views on the Asylum issue. The increase of its support is nowhere near enough to raise it into power, however is enough to gain the attention of the major parties and the media.

As such a protest vote is not an endorsement of fringe party or its views, but rather to send a warning to the ruling party of the long-term losses of ignoring the public’s opinions.

The protest vote is referred to by political commentator Barry as an ‘exit-with-voice’, were the voter wastes their vote on a party with no hope of winning and therefore exiting the electoral scene, but not before letting their voice be heard.

To remove fringe parties would remove a major element of the peoples ability to make their voice heard.

The issue on who is extreme

Democracy CAN and SHOULD follow it's citizens wishes, but it also has to defend itself against self-destruction.

Just like a democracy can't have people kill themselves physically, voting for un-democratic parties and giving them the power is like killing people's mental freedom - it's like a mass mental suicide.

And we are not talking hypothetically here - we have experienced many extremist regimes throughout the 20th century, from far right to far left, from deeply religious to deeply secular, and they all caused great terror and crimes against humanity.

And who decides what party is to extreme, the government? This leaves to much power in the hands of those ruling and its own views on what it extreme over not. Its must be remembered that only a hundred years ago, the centre-left views of many modern parties would have been considered extreme. Even more so, Trade Unions were banned in certain nations, such as the UK in the 1870s as they were believed to be too extreme. Despite this many of us take for granted the the 8-hour day, minimum wage, workplace sanitation such as toilets, breaks during work, paid holidays, job security, compensation for work related injuries, the banning of working with dangerous substances such as Asbestos etc which these trade Unions fought tooth and nail for against governments which viewed these demands as unreasonable, revolutionary, extremist and dangerous. The fact is, what some see as Extremist, can in a few generations time be viewed as modern centre politics, but only because they managed to voice their opinions.

Furthermore, it must be remembered that Hitler gained power through the enabling act because he used the argument that other parties such as the Communists were dangerous and couldn’t be allowed to gain power, and the country was under threat from their supporters.

Although it is unlikely that an advanced Democratical system would allow such an action to be taken as happened in Germany, it does leave the gate open for questions on would smaller political parties will be crushed as the majority parties conspire together to keep voter support to themselves.

Replying

This claim by the opposition is self-contradicting - it states that "The situations simply no longer exist for an anti-democratic party to be voted into power and successfully destroy that democracy in a modern democratic system.", though admits that "Those only democracies at risk are those currently under extreme amounts of strain on the political system and the populous.".

Not true, the currently existing Democracies are a varying level of evolution, at the moment Russia’s Democratic system seems to under threat from “extreme amounts of strain on the political system and the populous", however one would hardly look at its decade long life span, its human rights records, and political culture and call it a ‘modern Democracy’. In fact all the post-Soviet bloc’s democracy’s are not the best to look at for ‘modern Democracy’ due to their un-democratic history. These are evolving Democracies, not modern ones.

Only yesterday we saw an example of extremist parties gaining high percentage of the voted in two German states (the last place where, according to the logic which the opposition presents, should this thing happen).

In Saxony the Neo-Nazis (NPD) gained 9.3% of the votes (more than the current rulling party of Germany), and the Communists became the second largest party both in Saxony and Brendanburg, winning 28%.

A survey among Saxony's youth, that in 4 years will be able to vote, the NPD wins 20% - meaning that if their popularity will not increase, and the economic sistuation in Saxony will continue to be as it is today (and looking back on the last 15 years we see it will probably get worst), the NPD, the neo-Nazi party, will win 30%!

It only needed an unemployment rate of 20%.

Who knows what would happen if the unemployment rates will go up to 30%, or more drastically - 40%.

If the German government had it their way, the Neo-Nazi party which gained so much voters in Saxony, would have been banned, and thus would never have been able to rise in these elections.

The reference to the current events in Germany only provide evidence to support my statement, rather than the oppositions.

Both these Germany states, Saxony and Brendanburg, were part of EAST Germany. They have suffered under 50 years Authoritarianism and poverty. As such its population have the least experience with Democracy. Furthermore the wages in the former Eastern bloc tend to be lower, and unemployment higher than that of the Developed West. So much so, that some extremists in West Germany have called for the East to be made a separate country again because it is seen as a developing nation draining a Western one’s resources. This example does more to defend the case against the banning of Extremist parties as this problem has more to deal with the economic problems of the areas and their inexperience with Democracy than a realistic threat of a Developed Democracy from fascism.

Although the support gained by the Neo-Nazis is to large to simply be considered a protest-vote, it does however shine the spotlight on a cultural, social and economic issue that Germany is failing to tackle which is leading to Authoritarianism rather than Democracy falling to extremism.

Far better for German government to tackle the issue in its poverty ridden areas, than ban extremist parties and pretend the issue doesn’t exist, which does not solve the problem, only makes it continue to fester and grow outside the political spotlight. This later issue shall be tackled in the 4th post.

Edited by Talon S.

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It's been another month since the last debate post here.

We need a post from Erikl very soon.

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~BEBZ~, i have deleted your post. Please refrain from posting in the middle of debates.

As it is, if there is a disqualification because someone fails to post, the debate ends. People can not step in where others left off, it would be impossible to score.

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I'll be replying soon.

Just being bussy lately.

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Regarding protest voting:

This might work for a while, but it’s quite dangerous, and can very well get out of hand.

It seems though the version of democracy that the opposition proposes is built on patches, and somehow manages to work.

We know from history that democracy is an unstable governing, but it’s the least worse, has it enables the citizens maximum freedom in a sea of ideas.

While protest voting can work when the situation isn’t too bad, one has to wonder what will happen if the situation in society will enable those “fringe parties” to gain a substantial chunk of the electoral votes.

If the economy will go down, too many immigrants will not assimilate, and Al-Qaeda terrorism will hit on British soil, we might see the popularity of the BNP actually rising.

There could be other mechanisms for large, moderate parties, to check why their voters are unpleased of them. Protest voting, although common, is criticized by many, just like putting a blank page into the voting box.

Just because many people do something, doesn’t mean it’s the smart thing to do.

I can give many examples, where protest voting actually helped extremist parties gain considerable share, and there was a real danger of democracy falling apart.

One such example is the French elections where La Pen gained so much power because people, who wanted to protest by not voting, simply didn’t go to vote.

Lucky for all, the French realized what they’ve done, and by the second round, almost all electoral age French people voted.

Another example is the rise of Heider in Austria a couple of years ago – because the Austrians protested against the mainstream parties, and simply didn’t go to vote, Heider’s party gain huge electoral share.

And who decides what party is to extreme, the government? This leaves to much power in the hands of those ruling and its own views on what it extreme over not.

Certainly not!

For that we have courts, which in functional democracies are separated from the government.

The court should rule out if those parties violate the law, by encourage violence and hatred towards specific group, whether minority or majority, in the country.

Its must be remembered that only a hundred years ago, the centre-left views of many modern parties would have been considered extreme. Even more so, Trade Unions were banned in certain nations, such as the UK in the 1870s as they were believed to be too extreme. Despite this many of us take for granted the the 8-hour day, minimum wage, workplace sanitation such as toilets, breaks during work, paid holidays, job security, compensation for work related injuries, the banning of working with dangerous substances such as Asbestos etc which these trade Unions fought tooth and nail for against governments which viewed these demands as unreasonable, revolutionary, extremist and dangerous. The fact is, what some see as Extremist, can in a few generations time be viewed as modern centre politics, but only because they managed to voice their opinions.

This is quite an absurd statement, if you don’t mind me saying this.

In those days non-white and women couldn’t vote too, so I don’t think one can really take those days as a relevant example for our times.

I’m talking about parties which are fascist or Marxists, which want to abolish democracy, and encourage hatred towards specific groups in the population.

Not parties which put in danger the aristocracy and give more right to the citizens.

Do you imply that in a hundred years such parties won’t be considered extremist?

And even if we do use your example of the 19th century, then one should say that even back than, Marxists and fascists were considered extremists, and are still are to these days.

Furthermore, it must be remembered that Hitler gained power through the enabling act because he used the argument that other parties such as the Communists were dangerous and couldn’t be allowed to gain power, and the country was under threat from their supporters.

Exactly!

If the communists and the national socialists were banned, then they both couldn’t gain the electoral power they’ve gained.

This such proves my claims.

Not true, the currently existing Democracies are a varying level of evolution, at the moment Russia’s Democratic system seems to under threat from “extreme amounts of strain on the political system and the populous", however one would hardly look at its decade long life span, its human rights records, and political culture and call it a ‘modern Democracy’. In fact all the post-Soviet bloc’s democracy’s are not the best to look at for ‘modern Democracy’ due to their un-democratic history. These are evolving Democracies, not modern ones.

So were the 19th century democracies which you took example from regarding their labeling of what parties are extreme and what aren’t.

Even so, the democracies of the 19th century, such as France and Italy, were democracies, and the social-democratic party was quite popular in those countries, so I think they could be used as an example of long standing democracies that were destroyed because extremists got to spread their poison.

The reference to the current events in Germany only provide evidence to support my statement, rather than the oppositions.

Both these Germany states, Saxony and Brendanburg, were part of EAST Germany. They have suffered under 50 years Authoritarianism and poverty. As such its population have the least experience with Democracy. Furthermore the wages in the former Eastern bloc tend to be lower, and unemployment higher than that of the Developed West. So much so, that some extremists in West Germany have called for the East to be made a separate country again because it is seen as a developing nation draining a Western one’s resources. This example does more to defend the case against the banning of Extremist parties as this problem has more to deal with the economic problems of the areas and their inexperience with Democracy than a realistic threat of a Developed Democracy from fascism.

Although the support gained by the Neo-Nazis is to large to simply be considered a protest-vote, it does however shine the spotlight on a cultural, social and economic issue that Germany is failing to tackle which is leading to Authoritarianism rather than Democracy falling to extremism.

The federal government in Germany is quite long standing, and so Eastern Germany can’t be equated to all the other ex-soviet democracies. It was annexed to a decades-long democratic system, and it happened 15 years ago, which is quite enough for a well-funded and founded democracy to teach democracy to the population.

Also, the thesis you propose, that the eastern part is less democratic, doesn’t stand in other examples of similar situation.

For example, most of the immigrants to Israel came from non-democratic countries. Many of Israel’s prime ministers were born in non-democratic countries (like eastern Europe).

Yet Israel remained a democracy, and the immigrants didn’t and do not vote mainly for non-democratic or extremist parties (one of the reasons for this is that anti-democratic parties are banned in Israel).

For example, during the 1990s, 1 million Russians and Russian Jews immigrated to Israel from ex-Soviet territories.

Yet they voted for the mainstream, democratic parties.

Only the poor ones vote for extreme parties.

Far better for German government to tackle the issue in its poverty ridden areas, than ban extremist parties and pretend the issue doesn’t exist, which does not solve the problem, only makes it continue to fester and grow outside the political spotlight. This later issue shall be tackled in the 4th post.

These two do not contradict each other – they German government should tackle the issue, but it should also prevent extremist parties from gain any power.

Extremists shouldn’t be the solution for any country’s problem.

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Raistlin Majere, post deleted. Again. As i said before, please don't post in the debates, they are for the debaters ONLY and no other opinions are allowed.

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I think it's high time this debate went to the judges.

It's easily the longest running debate UM has ever seen. laugh.gif

And a fantastic debate too, i might add. There will be some high scores on this i forsee!

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