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That we should federalise Europe

5 points
3 points
adminadmin (PRO)
I thank my brother for challenging me to this debate.

Europe is currently mostly ruled by a confederation known as the European Union. The key difference between that and a federation is that a confederacy is beneath sovereign states, while a federation is above sovereign states in terms of supremacy. The classic example of this happening is the USA - before the US constitution it was a confederacy, and then changed to a federal government afterwards.

My model in this debate is that the European Parliament of the EU shall not be accountable to any member states for their laws. Rather, the laws of the European Parliament shall be superior to those of the individual member states.

I have 4 main arguments as to why.

With the Eurozone being so well-established, economic, political and social forces require a unified decision making model.

As a classic example of this, say all European countries bar foreign immigrants, but one allows them in. Because the Eurozone thusly allows those immigrants to travel throughout Europe, the sovereign wishes of the vast majority of Europe's population can thusly be held to ransom by only a single nation. Rather, we feel that each of the member nations of the EU should be able to have a voice in their country's destiny.

A federal system solves this problem by providing that decision making model where important, regional issues can be tackled at a regional level. It also allows for a better pooling of resources to send them where in Europe it is required.

Prevent Corruption
By making states of the EU accountable to a centralized government consisting of every other state in the region, an individual nation in the region can be better held accountable for actions that might seem to the European community at large to be negative. If, for instance, a member state of the EU committed some ruthless oppression of political opposition, the EU could step in. We feel that Europe at large has commonly accepted values of human rights etc, as demonstrated by the commitment of these states to international judicial tribunals, and that this advantage would be therefore rare, but significant.

In effect, this kind of oversight would not be unlike that offered by the United Nations, with two important differences - first, the federalized EU would not be (mostly) powerless, able to impose in any way they wished, and second, the federalized EU would not require BS rules such as a security council.

We note that the prevention of the corruption of state power is the most common reason why federations are formed, and one that is particularly applicable to Europe given Europe's volatile history. Such a process was the rationale, for instance, in the USA, where it has worked flawlessly to achieve this particular end.

Regulatory Certainty
Governments need to make decisions all the time as relate to their future interactions with other governments. This is particularly the case within the EU because of the strong ties of cooperation between those member states. The notion that any nation in the EU could leave on a whim means that nations are reluctant to make such investments. That's bad because it means 

The federal system solves this problem because it means no nation could leave the EU unless the EU allowed it. It would further provide a framework of regulatory certainty by imposing certain basic universal regulations. We note that in some respects, this already happens, such as in regulating the value of the Euro. However, much more should be done to ensure all the states of Europe work towards common ends like clockwork.

Shared Identity
While from many backgrounds, Europe increasingly has a regional identity, anthem and culture. We feel that a federation is one means to bring the nations of Europe closer together. Where disagreements cannot be solved at a local level, having a mutually agreeable higher authority can only help establish the need for constructive dialogue.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-11-29 09:02:08
| Speak Round
StickStick (CON)

This moot is also a slippery slope to world governance. The very same logic that affirmative has come out with in his model could very easily be applied globally. With each secession of sovereignty ebbs away the freedoms people in each afflicted country enjoy. You cannot make order out of anarchy without coercion.

First to rebut some points, before expanding my argument:

1.  Yes because forced ‘collaboration’ when you have very rich and very poor, works (sarcasm). I wonder what the Greeks think of collaborating with the IMF, or what the Nigerians think about collaborating with Shell, Liberians with Firestone, or what German citizens whose economies, cultures and entire existences have been seriously threatened by Germany’s open door policy think about it...

2.  I also wonder if you sourced the preventing corruption points from Hilary Clinton’s private email server… Hey I’m sure all the big US banks think that this point you made is precisely true, too much accountability and corruption-preventing in federal systems! Damn these are easy to answer with sarcasm. In terms of ruthless government crackdowns etc, the UN has you covered. Civil Wars also do not prevent the UN or international parties involving themselves, just look at Syria or Yemen, and circumventing the Security Council (UNSC) does not mean they stop caring or won’t intervene (there is a very good reason why UNSC exists). Better to go there in the first instance.

3.  ‘Regulatory Certainty’ = undemocratic coercive exploitation, because peoples interests are not identical or certain. In a region so large and diverse such as Europe is, the existence of uncertainty between countries should be a sign of functioning democracy. Bulgaria and the UK for example have vastly different interests. The wants and needs of people, not governments, need to be listened to and respected.

Self-determination should lie at the heart of all human organisation. People should have full control of their own lives and should be able to make their own choices. Also, the USA should never be used as an example of an uncorrupt, representative democracy, because it is the antithesis of one. If you are fishing for federal systems that kind of work try looking at Germany or Switzerland. But I think you will find that with both systems, they are highly reactionary and are decimated in their capabilities, and effectiveness, as nations within them are. This is why the nation-state is so important. Only the nation-state can truly represent a people’s interests.

John Stewart Mill once said “Free institutions are next to impossible in a country made up of different nationalities. Among a people without fellow-feeling, especially if they read and speak different languages, the united public opinion, necessary to the working of representative government, cannot exist.” Just thought I’d use a famous liberal to debunk a liberal. The cosmopolitan, universalist, paradigm assuming all people are or should be of one culture, not recognising the significance of the loss of culture, is a dangerous viewpoint to hold. It is blatantly fallacious to say that peoples of Europe share an identity currently. The Catalans, Venetians, Scots, Greeks, Portugese and Irish are just some of the groups that have been marginalised and exploited by the confederation they are a part of, and will be even more marginalised if they are coerced by another authority they involuntarily cede sovereignty to. This marginalisation and cession of sovereignty leads to coercive assimilation, which results in the decimation of culture.

n.b. my use of ‘state’ is defined here (para4 pg1) and ‘nation’ is defined here.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-11-29 20:00:36
| Speak Round
adminadmin (PRO)
I thank my opponent for opening his contentions. In this round I'll defend my contentions, then do a few brief rebuttals.

Half of the things my opponent mentioned are arguments for collaboration. The Greeks wouldn't even be defaulting if Europe was federated (because Europe's foreign debts would be aggregated), and besides most of their debt is to other European nations so the IMF couldn't even get involved. Likewise, Germany would not have an open door policy under a federal system, because there's no way that the majority of the people of Europe would approve of it. What this means is better policy outcomes for Europe as a whole.

The other half of the "counterexamples" are examples of corporatocracy, not a federal system. I'm sure we all oppose that, and it's not in my model, so it's irrelevant.

Prevent Corruption
None of the countries of the EU are dictatorships. All are democracies, at least in name. There's one thing the US system does well, and that's limit the power of the governors of each state. You're never going to find the governor of Maine turn it into a Nazi state. Indeed the US constitution was specifically designed to this end. It is very easy for the EU democracies to become corrupt, authoritarian dictatorships. Some, such as Turkey, are pretty dangerously close to it already.

We note that the UN didn't step in during the Ferguson unrest - the US government did. Police misconduct may be a minor instance of corruption, but an important one. The UN has not prevented numerous wars, genocides, or dictators coming to power that have come about since its foundation either. Pol Pot operated largely with the support of the UN. There is much yet that a federal system could offer.

Regulatory Certainty
First we note that con never really addressed the issue, which was that the states of Europe are missing out on economic and political opportunities as a result of the structure of the European political system. Instead he made a tangential point about democracy.

We also note that under a federal system, states would retain their own governments and most local laws. It's the best of both worlds. There's nothing unreasonable about limiting democracy by fair constitution, and if constitutions are federated, there's nothing undemocratic about that either, provided that a fair balance of state's rights is maintained.

He also claimed federal systems are reactionary. I'd like him to provide some evidence or analysis to that effect. If anything I'd suggest the european parliament is somewhat less reactionary than individual european states.

Shared Identity
Con never answered this point directly, but I'll engage with what he did say anyway.

We feel minority groups are largely exploited by vested interests of their nations, whom they are largely involuntarily ceding sovereignty to right now. In a federal system, their concerns, and even their desires to form their own states, can be heard much more objectively by the central government which lacks such interests. I doubt the Irish would have lived through the troubles in a federal system.

I'd suggest that Australian or US states are more than capable of retaining their individual identities. There's no reason why the same could not be true for Europe. That being said, Europe has a flag, an anthem, and a distinct "European" history and culture - one not shared by the rest of the world. That's something the average European is proud of, and stands for. This model absolutely affirms self-determination, because much like "we the people" made the USA, so too have "we the people" made Europe. And if a central government would marginalize unique cultures within Europe, I doubt they'd be elected.

Con's Case
Many federations exist in the world right now. No world government exists right now. This is a non-sequitur.
Just because John Stewart Mill said something does not mean it's true.
That rebuts the entirety of con's original material.

The resolution is negated.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-12-02 09:23:54
| Speak Round
StickStick (CON)
To prevent this debate becoming tautological and to encourage my opponent to read what I write, I will break from the current structure.

The European Central Bank, like the IMF, gave crippling loans to Greece and demanded austerity of Greece. My examples are not important, what they prove is. States in the US can have surpluses and debts, so I see no reason why Greece's situation would've been better off if Europe was a federation. Look at how corporatocratic the US is, why would Europe turn out differently?

Ceding sovereignty cedes self-determination, which allows predation (or as pro calls it "economic and political opportunities"). My whole point about coercion being central to ceding sovereignty was ignored. 

On the note of the UN, the US response to Ferguson would've looked very different if Russia and China had large vested interests there. The UN may not be perfect but it cannot be ignored.

Successive Republican and Democratic governments get voted in in the US, and do nothing about the large Gini coefficient or lack of social mobility the US has, in fact they seem to make it worse. This is because wealth has become concentrated in the hands of a few subgroups of the population, that seek to keep themselves rich and the poor, poor. They totally and tightly control the media and the entire political system in the US. So why should Europe use this as a model? And with that, how does globalisation preserve culture?

Example of a reactionary federation: Terrorism happens in far off lands and the Swiss ban Minarets on all mosques. 

On the note of identity, my analysis on the incompatibility of having multiple nations within states was ignored. My argument, again, is that nation-states should exist such that minorities, such as the Catalans or Scots in the case of Europe, can govern themselves. Fighting against a collection of states that oppose independence for these groups is much more difficult than fighting a single state, such as is evident in the case of Catalonia, where the massive pressure the EU has put on Catalonia, I would argue, has been more crippling than that of the state of Spain. This will only get worse under a federal system where the EU has more power. Pro's argument is that a collection of coercively assembled states should govern states and minority groups and will, by being large, have no biases or interests and will be objective on all matters. To point out the fallacy of this, in round 1, I used a JSM quote, which was ignored, only because it was a quote  (for some unknown reason). How can a widely disliked group, like the Serbs, be 'objectively' governed by a collection of states that oppose them? How would they benefit? And how can people be objective, especially if voters are not? Is the US objective?

Slippery slope arguments for beginners: If x exists, but not y, yet the same logic that can be used to justify x could also be used to justify y, then any harms that can be attributed to y can be attributed to x, as it can logically follow that x can lead to y. To disprove such an argument it must be shown that the logic used to prove x is not the same as the logic used to prove y. Did not think this needed to be explained, but hey. 

Lastly, I have no clue why Turkey was mentioned. In Pro's opening case he implied that this moot was about transforming the currently existing EU into a federal governmental system. Turkey is not in the EU and is barely even in Europe. Can I get clarification on this? Who will and will not be included because it seems that states are being picked and chosen from when and where they fit in with pro's case and ignored when they do not? If there are more states that are part of this than just the EU, my point about coercion (which, again, was ignored) needs to be addressed. Why should people be forced to cede sovereignty to a group that they obviously do not think has their best interests at heart  (for if they did they'd join up willingly)?

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-12-03 18:30:21
| Speak Round
adminadmin (PRO)
I thank con for his rebuttals.

Predation is when states work against one another in their own self interest. Collaboration is the opposite of that. A federal system is inherently a disincentive to predation because you're part of the same government. Governments that work against themselves are inefficient and tend to be voted out for governments that don't.

We feel that ceding a small amount - and, crucially, not all - of sovereignty allows a nation to determine what's best for itself on issues of national importance, while allowing for a broader dialogue to provide meaningful opportunities on other issues. I've provided many examples already, but I'll give one more - the common defence. Half of Europe seem to maintain armies designed exclusively for defence against other nations in Europe. Imagine if those resources could be pooled, as they are in Canada, Australia, or the USA, three nations with among the most powerful militaries in the world.

Prevent Corruption
Quick point about Turkey: con brought Switzerland into this debate, so I figured he'd implicitly extended my model to non-EU states. I was happy to accept that, insofar as those states benefit from the four arguments I presented, and notably, Turks do consider themselves Europeans. We further note that Turkey has been in discussions to join the EU, and hasn't come around to it yet. Regardless, sovereignty is hardly diminished by them joining the EU and becoming more powerful as a result.

If you look at the culture of Kentucky, New York, and California, doubtless three different images come to mind. That's because the culture is different. Many more differences need to be lived to be understood. Federalisation preserves culture by keeping "cultural" aspects of government local, while respecting a shared identity. I don't think it's fair to say the US government has done nothing about wealth inequality, but neither do I think that's only an outcome of corrupt politics. A few European states also have high Gini coefficients, and the USA doesn't even have the highest coefficient in North America - not by a long shot if you include the Caribbean! If European politicians NOW have ok economic policies, there's no reason to suppose these won't continue under a federal system.

My opponent's point about the US response to the Ferguson riots presupposed that the US is entirely corrupt AND self-interested at the expense of other nations, two points that he has yet to prove. He has also not shown why the UN is "unignorable" despite their poor record.

Regulatory Certainty
One reactionary policy implemented by a federation does not mean federations are more reactionary than non-federations. France tried to ban face-veils in schools a few years back. We could go on and on with examples and it wouldn't prove anything.

Somehow my opponent is still ignoring the R1 issue of regulatory certainty, and is still talking about democracy.

Shared Identity
My opponent says he "would argue" Catalonia has had more pressure from the EU than Spain. I'd like him to argue this. In my view, it's far easier for a larger collection of states to see points objectively than it is for one state, and thus rather than doggedly determining each minority should self-govern, work out what's best for Europe as a whole. I don't think the Serbs are more widely disliked than Floridians, but regardless they already have their own state. Oh, and Serbia's not in the EU. One person, big bias. Many people, the biases are averaged out.

The point is, all these cultures are European.

Slippery Slope
Clearly the logic con discusses isn't true, because it doesn't happen RIGHT NOW.

But if you really want to get down to the logic, I used 4 points to prove X, and these 4 points do not necessarily hold true for Y. Not every nation has a shared identity, for example. Nor has my opponent even proven the harm of a world government. He has given us a case of gaps.

The resolution is negated.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-12-08 12:06:06
| Speak Round
StickStick (CON)
Clearly the logic pro discusses isn't true, because it (federation of European states) doesn't happen RIGHT NOW. 

Pro has not shown by which magic states interests will disappear if they were part of a federation. Why would all people of Europe magically get along and put aside centuries old disputes? Where would meaningful unity come from? Simply asserting that they have an anthem and therefore unity is absurd. The US and Canada function because there is some degree of shared identity and there is nationhood above and beyond that of individual states. So long as this identity exists, so can collaboration. But if it doesn't, such as I have argued to be the case in Europe, then opportunity for predation presents itself. If there is anything other than a nation-state, then in any government there will be big winners and big losers. I provided the examples of the Serbs, Scots and Catalonians. I highly encourage pro to google around EU responses to these groups. Put very briefly and simply, I have argued that the 'tyranny of the majority' is exacerbated in a non-nation-state. This can easily reach the point of predation. As I showed in round 2: Greece is in the EU but the EU was the main force that bankrupted Greece. If having many people in a state made all of their biases "average out", then surely the countries with the smallest population would be the most bias and unequal and the countries with the largest population would be the most equal. But they aren't. In large states the majority has a much larger voice to drown out the minority, and powerful states are in of themselves disincentives to external intervention. 

Without a nation-state, there can be no pooling of anything. When there is coercion as opposed to cohesion, when interests conflict, as they do in Europe, pooling cannot work as there will be no shared goals. This is why not a single country in Europe  would support such a move. In fact momentum has been moving in the other direction with states such as the UK and the Hungary articulating their dismay at EU policy. Also, on the UN point, please re-read my round two, think it was somewhat misunderstood. 

The regulatory certainty point that pro keeps proclaiming is so far removed from discussions about democracy isn't. In pro's opening he outlined that what he meant by his point is coercive inclusion and coercively forcing states to strive toward common ends. Me pointing out that this is tyrannical and undemocratic is not a tangential point. These "opportunities" states are "missing out on" would be imposed upon states by a majority - ie tyranny of the majority, ie predation. I have shown that certainty is coercion and that coercion is bad, using examples, but this analysis has been ignored throughout.

To negate a slippery slope argument it is not enough to say that something is proven by different logic, it must be shown. The majority of what I have been arguing is that there IS NO SHARED EUROPEAN IDENTITY and NATION STATES SHOULD EXIST. Asserting that there is one because someone in Brussels made an anthem up once and ignoring international relations and history is blatantly fallacious, but pro has insisted on it throughout. Lastly on this, I did not go into the harms of world government because pro accepted it was bad by vehemently arguing that it wouldn't happen. If it was good, would he have bothered?

Lastly, I let pro completely define the moot, and only used Switzerland as a random example of a federation that is highly reactionary. It is Pro that extended this moot to include non-EU states, such as Turkey. In any debate, it is the role of a pro to clearly define the moot at the beginning, which was not done.

Repeating an obviously flawed and false argument three times does not make it true. People should determine their own futures and not have them dictated to them. As pro has conceded in both his second and third rounds, this resolution is negated. 

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-12-08 17:39:13
| Speak Round

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Previous Judgments

2015-12-14 01:14:07
fire_wingsJudge: fire_wings
Win awarded to: admin
I give this debate to Admin. I will first discuss about the main arguments, and then about the rebuttals, and the feedback.

This debate is about we should federalise Europe

Pro's main arguments

1. Collaboration

Pro gives examples of why Europe is so good established.

Con fails to rebut.

Actually because I don't have much time, I will say the overall. Pro had much better arguments, and Con failed to rebut them. Pro successfully filled the Burden of Proof. I will give this debate to Pro.

Here is my feedback.


Con, you have to focus more on your rebuttals. You get the main ideas of Pro's arguments, however, cannot focus on the details which make up Pro's arguments. Read the details carefully.


Your debates are good, so just go on like this :)

This was an good debate overall. I learned a lot. Thanks :)
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2015-12-14 13:26:31
Anthony TaiJudge: Anthony Tai
Win awarded to: admin
2015-12-17 01:57:18
True Capitalist AcolyteJudge: True Capitalist Acolyte
Win awarded to: Stick
Pro provided several valid points on collaboration. These were more than persuasive since Pro showed how collaboration would provide more resources being pulled together. The points about corruption and regulation seemed not to have a decisive side who won.

However, Con's points on shared identity are what decided this debate in my opinion. The participating countries lacked a shared identity. Con went on to mention about the "tyranny of the majority" being present in non-nation states. Pro really didn't offer a substantive argument against the point about coercion(in fact, it was only Con who used the term if you re-read). Perhaps if Pro had another round, he could of presented a better argument.

Admittedly, Con's actions in the last round may be considered a bit unethical since he provided new arguments that Pro couldn't respond to. But I did not see any rules about not providing new arguments in the last round. So the debate goes to Con in my opinion.
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