The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
3 Points

America is the Land of the Free

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/13/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 969 times Debate No: 61654
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
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With so many people getting punished publicly for speaking their true feelings- speaking their minds- we have become a culture where people only use "code words"-- and we really don't say things plainly or literally anymore. Because if we do- openly- it will be called racist, sexist, homophobic, or ignorant. The truth is that people are very afraid of the Tyranny of the Politically Correct. And this has led to a kind of "personal censorship" where people only can speak on certain subjects, and in certain ways.

The personal value of sincerity in our culture has been waging an uphill battle. Now that quality has all but disappeared in everyday life.
Sincerity as I define it is:
Meaning what you say, and Saying what you mean.
It's the opposite of superficiality.
Having personal integrity is a part of it.

Our once "FREE SOCIETY" is now a Society of Self Censorship, Guilt, and Brainwashing. People in many other societies do not have our sense of fear and censorship, and are much more free to speak their minds openly. However Americans cannot hold personal values that are at odds with the Prevailing "Politically Correct" values- without being discriminated against... Fired. Ostracized, or Hated and Ridiculed. This has created a kind of "Tyranny".

It is no longer a FREE SOCIETY when people are cowards to express themselves openly.

For that reason, I say Americans are not Free. This is not the land of personal free expression. If you express your personal views you will be punished. Careers are destroyed, businesses are destroyed, relationships are ruined, even words themselves are censored and omitted from the language in this culture of rigid stereotypes, uniformity, and fear.


To evaluate this debate, we must clarify what the word freedom means.

Freedom is not the ability to do whatever you please without consequence from nature or from others. It is not violation of freedom to send a criminal who has broken a just law, say by committing murder, to jail. We may say that an imprisoned man is not free in the sense that his actions are restricted by iron bars, but this is not the same as the political freedom we mean when we speak of “the land of the free.” When we speak of “the land of the free,” we mean the land where political liberty is respected and protected. To argue that freedom requires the absolute ability to do as one pleases reduces the concept to meaningless garbage and contradiction, for if men are allowed to kill with impunity there can be no freedom at all. Murder necessarily destroys the freedom of the victim, so only by forbidding murder can we uphold freedom.

Instead we should acknowledge that freedom is simply respect for the moral autonomy of all individuals. We violate freedom when we attempt to usurp an individual’s moral responsibility, when we try wresting the ability to make autonomous moral decisions from the individual. This is what we see in the truly tyrannical societies that behead those who dissent or imprison individuals who speak against established authority.

The examples Pro brings up make a mockery of the word tyranny and disrespect the true violations of freedom that happen all over the world. Freedom is neither freedom from the consequences of your actions nor freedom from judgment of other morally autonomous individuals. If my acquaintance insults me, I am not imposing tyranny by refusing any further contact with him. If many of my friends similarly refuse association, we have still not restricted anyone’s freedom. We have not tried to take away the ability to make moral decisions; we do not disrespect anyone’s responsibility for their actions. Ostracization does not take away anyone’s moral autonomy, so it is not a violation of freedom. Directly to Pro’s point, in ostracizing someone, I do not take away their ability to sincerely say whatever they please.

Similarly, when public opinion turns against certain positions, it is no violation of freedom when individuals feel societal pressure for voicing unpopular opinions. Not only is social coercion not a violation of freedoms- I respect moral autonomy even as I try to persuade an individual- but coercion is unavoidable. Every social interaction contains a million coercive acts; social coercion is ubiquitous and does not violate individual autonomy. Do I violate my friend’s freedom when I offer to set him up on a date if he goes to a Phish concert with me? I have provided a clear and well justified guideline for when coercive action restricts freedom, while Pro’s standard makes all interactions a violation of freedom. We see again that Pro reduces the phrase “the land of the free” to a meaningless standard in which social friction magically evaporates.

Pro’s argument puts him in the awkward position of claiming that respecting other’s freedom means refraining from acting on my own moral autonomy. If any negative reaction to free speech infringes on the freedom of others, this obligates me to refrain from any negative response. Pro would have me nod and smile while being harangued by vile insults lest I violate the “freedom” of my bully by standing up for myself. Moreover, who is to say what action might deter someone from speaking their mind? I have no way of knowing whether my response has caused someone to self-censor, thus I have no way of knowing when I am violating Pro’s “freedoms!” I have no obligation to associate with those I find morally repugnant.

In anticipation of an objection by Pro, I will cryptically note that all interactions must respect the dignity of all people just as we must respect the autonomy of all people. This fact may generate obligations of associations in special situations where individuals take on roles of public responsibility such as a medical practitioner or public official.

Finally, Pro’s argument ignores the continuum on which political societies exist. There will never be a society in which freedom is perfectly respected. While we should always strive for the ideal society, there comes a point where we can say that a society is doing pretty darn well and is in general a free society. America is well beyond this point- I can drink booze and shoot guns and say pretty much whatever I damn please, if that isn’t freedom I don’t know what is.

Debate Round No. 1


Round 2.
Thanks for accepting this debate.

If drinking booze, shooting guns, and shooting your mouth is your definition of Freedom, then almost every backward uncivilized country on earth is exactly as free as we are. From the most tumultuous parts of Africa, to war-ravaged middle East, to Eastern Europe, and Far East Afganistan. They all have have that"freedom".
Let me be Clear: Those are NOT my BenchMarks for Freedom.

Freedom involves the respect for autonomous decision making, and choice of values and morals. Freedom is the ability to act autonomously within the laws and framework of society which protect one another's life, liberty, property, etc.. And yes, there are limits to a person"s freedom- so that others may enjoy freedom too.

The Freedom upon which this country was established, is historically of Religious Freedom, to live and think as one believes: Religious freedom, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Speech, and Freedom of Press.

What empowers these Freedoms, and gives it bearing, is that one should be able exercise all the above free choices WITH the Guarantee that one"s life, property, rights, happiness and liberty will be Protected by Law. We all are supposed to have equal rights in Law regardless of our opinions.

This is exactly where Freedom is failing today. It is the arena of Freedom of Speech, and Freedom of personal expression. If a person contradicts a Politically Correct opinion- they will be Punished. They will lose their Job, their livelihood, their property, and their rights.

Here are some examples of lost freedom and censorship in the USA:
1. CNN Reporter Diana Magnay was fired recently from her job as reporter in the Middle East. Apparently she made a remark off-air in a personal capacity, in reaction to the Israelis around her who were threatening her and cheering the destruction of Palestinians. She claimed they were "scum". That remark got her fired.
Firstly- she was not in a reporter"s capacity at the time of the remark. It was a personal remark. Secondly, she has every right to her own personal opinion of people around her. She lost her livelihood because she exercised her freedom of speech. And it happened to offend the Jewish lobby"s sensibility. If a reporter claimed a Palestinian was "scum" would they be fired? No. Because Palestinians are not a powerful political lobby here.

2. Bruce Levenson, NBA co-owner forced to sell his interest in a team because of an email comment that "attendees at Hawks games were 70% black, and that the crowd was scaring away whites and hurting ticket sales." There is absolutely nothing illegal about that comment. Yet he is losing his property because of it. It is the Tyranny of the Politically Correct at work here. He did nothing wrong in stating an experienced observation. The only wrong thing he did was express it.

3. Donald Sterling, another NBA owner who made private remarks to his then girlfriend, who taped the conversation. In it he asks her not to associate with Black people. This is his right to say. He did nothing wrong. He didn"t break any law by saying that in private. However, the Tyranny of the Politically Correct in our culture forced him to sell the team, and banned him for life from the NBA. This is an absolute trampling of his right to free speech and property ownership. All because of alleged racism. Is it illegal to be racist? Not the last time I checked. But you can lose your property and job because of it.

4. Anthony Cumia, a Radio personality- violently attacked in NYC Times Square- vented about the experience- OFF AIR- in private messages to people. He was attacked savagely by a group of Blacks. He called them violent savages, and postulated they attacked because he simply was white. He was Fired from his job as a result. He did nothing illegal. He expressed his personal views. And he did so privately. Yet he lost his job because of it. In this new America, if you express your beliefs and they contradict political correctness- you will be Punished with Loss of property, livelihood, and freedom of expression.

Does any of this sound like the "Land of the Free" to you?.. It doesn"t to me. It sounds to me like censorship.



Pro has the BOP in this debate " it is his job to show that America is no longer a free society. All societies exist on a continuum of more or less free, no society is perfect. It is not enough for Pro to show that there have been instances where individuals have been deprived of freedom; he must show that both the scope and magnitude of the deprivation of freedom of speech warrants the broad claim that America is not a free society. I have argued that freedom exists when individual autonomy and responsibility is respected and that the supposed injustice that Pro touts does not represent a violation of autonomy. Additionally I have argued that even if Pro"s arguments represent a violation of autonomy, these violations are best viewed as "room for improvement" and pale in comparison to the actions of truly tyrannical societies.


First, I don"t claim that repressive countries are a "bench mark for freedom," I claim that truly tyrannical societies offer a model of what lack of freedom looks like. America looks nothing like truly repressive societies, thus we can see that the claim that America is not a free society fails.

The social progress imperative puts the US in the top 25 countries for personal rights and the top 5 in terms of overall opportunity.

The Heritage Foundation ranks the U.S. 12th in terms of economic freedom:

Again, I would not make the claim that the U.S. is perfect, but it is consistently ranked as a top performer when it comes to freedom.

Pro doesn"t dispute my definition of freedom, though he does offer an interpretation of it.

Pro claims:

"one should be able exercise all the above free choices WITH the Guarantee that one"s life, property, rights, happiness and liberty will be Protected by Law"

This interpretation is absurd because it requires the government to do the impossible, goes far beyond simply protecting autonomy, and is not backed up by a sound conception of freedom.

It would be impossible for the law to guarantee an individual"s happiness, and doubly hard to guarantee that an individual"s happiness will not be adversely impacted by speech acts. Refer again to the examples I provided in R1- how could the government guarantee my happiness if I cruelly insult all my friends and family? Would Pro have the government force all individuals to pretend as if I weren"t being a massive jerk?

It is similarly impossible to guarantee that I will see no change in my financial fortunes as a result of my speech acts. I can say any number of things that will justifiably get me fired or result in loss of financial opportunity. If I consistently throw racial slurs at my coworkers, does Pro expect the government to force my employer to retain my services?

Pro"s interpretation goes far beyond protecting individual autonomy. My autonomy is infringed if my property is stolen or harmed by an act of aggression because this represents a loss of my ability to choose how to spend my time and manage the resources at my disposal. Lost income or change of financial fortune due to my speech acts is not a loss of autonomy because I am still free to manage resources at my disposal. All that has changed in the latter case is that other members of society are no longer willing to cooperate with me economically. Again, freedom is not immunity from the consequences of your actions nor the ability to do whatever you please.

Pro has offered no rebuttal to the substance of my R1 case- he never refutes my argument that social coercion does not limit freedom nor that his arguments limit the freedoms of all people by forcing them into undesirable social interaction.
Pro never refutes my argument that freedom exists on a political spectrum. None of the examples Pro cites resulted in imprisonment and all of individuals still have the ability to freely speak their mind. Clearly his examples do not show a loss of autonomy, as the individuals involved are still able to exercise their ability to speak freely. Pro has not come close to meeting his BOP in showing that the US is systematically and significantly unfree. Even if I concede that the examples provided are cases of injustice, Pro has still not met the BOP- there will always be special cases where the machinery of justice fails. Pro needs to show that people are systematically being deprived of freedom of speech. In fact, people are permitted to speak freely in our society. This is why the Westboro Baptists can picket the funerals of dead soldiers and neo-nazis can hold public rallies:

Pro"s isolated incidents do not outweigh the systematic protection of free speech for even the most despised of opinions.
I need not go into each case Pro provides to show that these are not cases of injustice. Each example is a case of private individuals responding to remarks made by other private individuals in an economic fashion, which I have already established is not a violation of freedom. Employers have a right to fire employees. Moreover, each example represents a case where there were justifiable grounds to consider the offending remarks as hindering the economic goals of the employer. A journalist who calls a certain racial group "scum" brings question to her journalistic integrity regardless of whether she is on or off the clock. Finally, no rights were violated in any of these instances. No one tried to prevent these individuals from speaking, they were not imprisoned and no action was taken to try to restrict future speech acts. In fact, the ability of the employers to influence future speech acts disappeared after the firing- if anything these people are MORE free to speak.

There will always be an established public opinion on certain issues and speaking against that public opinion will always result in some form of social friction. That all opinions are not treated the same is not an argument against freedom, it is the natural result of free social interaction.
Debate Round No. 2


To those voting- please note: I have not attacked my opponent personally, yet he has twice claimed my arguments to be “ridiculous”. (lack of conduct)

Round 3:
To recap- The Topic we are Debating is the statement: “America is the Land of the Free”. We are not debating whether America has some degree of freedom. We are debating if it is the Freest. That universal claim that is implied in the statement "The Land of the Free" . It implies that we are Freer than all other nations. It implies that this land is the Epitome of freedom, by which all others lands are to be compared. It implies that America defines freedom for the whole world.

Therefore my burden of proof is to show whether America Leads the World in being an example and epitome of a Free Society. In the previous round I argued that American Freedom of Speech and Personal Expression are highly compromised today. The examples are not isolated incidents- nor “room for improvement”- but rather illustrate a systematic dominance of Political Correctness, which extinguishes diverse viewpoints, and punishes those who contradict them. These statements Made in Private- which do not impact professional performance or directly harm anyone else, directly caused unfair confiscation of property, and firing/ denial of work. The examples go well beyond simple “social friction” and amount to outright social Censorship.

My opponent cites a map from the Social Progress Index. It shows that the US is ranked 15th in “Personal Freedom and Choice”- behind Uruguay and nearly every northern European Country. In Personal rights, the US is Ranked 22nd in the world. With the Claim “Land of the Free”- you would think that America would at least rank in the Top 10!... I rest my case.

In this Round, I will show how in America, Personal Privacy- the right of any citizen in a Free society- is in jeopardy. In the US today, Personal Privacy is rapidly disappearing.

1. Edward Snowden- revealed the extent to which our Government spies on its own citizens. Everyday people’s conversations, emails, and locations are recorded and observed by government employees- without their knowledge. That is a blatant infringement of one’s right to privacy.

2. The NSA violates freedom by tampering with US made internet routers. They implant interception tools, as described by the Guardian in this article.

3. A majority of Americans disapprove of the way the NSA collects information about them. Yet today there are still no protections from this kind of surveillance.

4. The “right to be forgotten” has been a hot topic in Europe. This right would protect people’s reputations, images, and records. Europe has spearheaded reforms of this kind to internet privacy. Last spring they ruled that individuals have the right to have certain data deleted. Polls show that Americans also feel this is necessary here in the States.

In this sense, Europe is leading the way when it comes to Internet Privacy, and leading the world in regulations to protect individual rights. If one considers Privacy a Freedom, it becomes hard to claim that America is “the land of the free”. We are somewhere between 15th and 24th freest country in the World.


I apologize for some confusion in prior rounds- I have been swapping “Pro” and “Con,” referring to my opponent as Pro. The order of speeches threw me off and I was thinking of myself as Con.


My opponent claims I called his arguments “ridiculous,” but this is not a conduct violation:

  1. This is just an assessment of the quality of an argument, it isn’t even an insult to the argument itself.

  2. Even if it was an insult, insulting the quality of an argument isn’t bad conduct. You can call the argument dumb while respecting the person making the argument- I have said nothing ill about Con or his character.

Additionally, I never called Con’s argument “ridiculous!” Do a search of the page- I never said this. If anything, conduct should go to Pro.


Con tries to massively reshape the scope and topic of this debate by claiming the Resolution means that America is the most free country in the world.

I have been arguing this debate with the interpretation of the Resolution I presented in my opening:

When we speak of “the land of the free,” we mean the land where political liberty is respected and protected.”

Prefer my interpretation of the Resolution for the following reasons:

  1. If Pro intended for the strict interpretation he advocates in the second to last round, he should have made this clear in R1 or corrected my interpretation at the earliest possible chance. Instead Con waited until after 2 of my speeches to drastically shift the debate. This is a massively unfair skew-it invalidates half of my rounds and forces me to invest a huge amount of time fighting for a fair resolution after the debate has begun. If you want to vote on conduct vote on this.

  2. My interpretation is supported by the context of Con’s R1 argument. Con’s case supports my understanding that the debate is about whether or not the US is a free society. Con says:

It is no longer a FREE SOCIETY”

For that reason, I say Americans are not Free.”

Nowhere in his opening round does Con use language indicating that Resolution is about whether America is the MOST FREE country. Con instead talks about America being one of many free societies, as my interpretation does.

3. My interpretation is supported by grammar:

"The-3b) used as a function word before a singular substantivized adjective to indicate an abstract idea"

Thus, "the" in the Resolution indicates the abstract idea of a land that values and embodies freedom. The quesiton isn't whether whether the US epitomizes freedom, but whether the moniker of "land of the free" can be fairly applied to the US.

While Con is correct that sometimes “the” indicates a noun unique to its class, but when a word has multiple definitions we determine the correct definition based on context and reasonability. The context of Con’s R1 does not support Con’s definition of “the.”

4. Even if Con wins that grammar best supports his interpretation, the Resolution is best understood as a poetic formulation of the question “is America a free society.” The Resolution is a famous phrase meant to illustrate freedom as a central American value- its literary origins indicate that it is not meant as a literal claim but a poetic one. If the Resolution were “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” we woudn’t expect the debate to actually be about birds. Honestly when I read the title just took it as a catchy Resolution to reflect Con's R1 position that America is not a free society. Con’s intent and advocacy are best determined based on what was written in R1.

5. If I thought the Resolution was intended as Con claims, I would never have accepted this debate. Con set up the debate, he has the job to make the topic clear- don’t punish me for Con’s lack of clarity.


Con’s only response to my Heritage and Social Progress sources is that the U.S. is ranked behind a lot of other countries. This is irrelevant, the U.S. is ranked as one of the most free societies in the world, it is clearly a free society. Studies will always show variability, what matters is that the US is overall ranked top 5 for aggregate Opportunity.

Pro cherry picks one category to discredit my study- but my evidence shows the US ranks NUMBER ONE for Freedom of Speech! Thus, even if you buy Pro’s interpretation of the Resolution, I have evidence that the US is indeed the top country in free speech.

Also, I have no idea why Con thinks it is embarrassing to be ranked behind Uruguay. Uruguay was the Economist’s “country of the year” in 2013 and performs well in terms of economy and liberty. Just because a country is in South America doesn’t mean it isn’t a free country.

I have provided evidence that shows that America systematically protects free speech. My Heritage and Social Progress evidence both show this, as do my arguments that hated groups like Neo-Nazis and the Westboro Baptists are allowed to voice their opinions. This evidence outweighs the few cases Con mentions in R2.

Con doesn’t respond to most of my criticism- his cases represent action taken by private individuals that do not limit anyone’s ability to voice their opinion. He claims “social censorship,” but this is just flowery language aimed at discrediting my argument. He never attacks the moral arguments I make for why individuals have a right to respond to the speech of others. Even if social pressure not to say something is “social censorship,” such pressure doesn’t constitute a violation of freedom. I may refrain from telling my mother-in-law she is boring out of fear of social repercussion, but I am not being censored. Con's standard for violation of freedom is so expansive as to render all social interaction tyrannical. I provided a clear standard for freedom and Con's examples do not violate it.

In all of Con’s cases, the individuals were still free to voice their opinion so no loss of freedom has occurred.

Whether the firings were justified is irrelevant- employers have a right to fire their employees. But private statements can affect professional performance- the example I gave was harm to perception of journalistic integrity.

The bulk of Con’s R4 arguments concern a different topic than the rest of this debate. I remind Con and judges that standard DDO convention prohibits new rounds by Con in the final round.

First, infringement on privacy does not violate freedom so this argument is irrelevant to the resolution.

  1. Privacy violation does not interfere with individual autonomy. By definition surveillance does not interfere with action, it is only watching.

  2. Privacy doesn’t fall under the list of freedoms Con lists as relevant to this debate: "Religious freedom, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Speech, and Freedom of Press."

  3. Con even acknowledges that this argument is a stretch- he says “If one considers Privacy a Freedom” but provides no argument that it is a freedom.

  4. I maintain invasion of privacy is wrong because it harms human dignity. It is wrong but irrelevant to this debate.

Second, security is a prerequisite to freedom. A state vulnerable to terrorism, large black markets, human trafficking etc. cannot be free. These acts are antagonistic to freedom. The actions of the NSA are needed to guarantee security of the state and thus to protecting freedom.

Third, Con’s case is based entirely around the NSA. This is a “live” matter of public policy, not a permanent fixture of US politics. Pew research shows that opinion is rapidly changing regarding Snowden and the NSA. As public opinion changes, public policy will evolve through the democratic process. Technology is evolving at an astronomical rate and the short term governmental response to this evolution is a bad metric to evaluate how free a country is. The mass surveillance capabilities of the NSA didn’t even exist a 5-10 years ago. This is an issue that can only be evaluated once the dust has settled.

Debate Round No. 3


Round 4- Closing Arguments.

It is the nature of any debate that argument should evolve during the rounds. Debate is a discussion to engage others in determining truth.

The initial Statement has not changed. The central points and intent have not changed. Pro claims that now that the meaning of the resolution has been clearly defined, he would not have accepted the debate. Perhaps that is because he cannot defend it.

Pro states that he thought the resolution “America is the Land of the Free” was used as a “catchy phrase”. So clearly he does not think this phrase is literally defendable. He would have you believe it means that “America is a free country.” However that “catchy phrase” is interpreted by many, and claimed by many to mean “America is the Freest Country in the World.” This is conventional wisdom, and is indisputable.

I have shown that America does not lead the world in Personal Freedoms and Rights. There are many countries which are independently determined to be freer. Even Pros own arguments and references prove that.

Pro cites a couple of quotes of mine in opening remarks. “America is no longer a Free Society” and “Americans are not free” . Those statements may have a touch of hyperbole, however they are meant to question the degree to which America can claim absolute preeminence in Freedom.

Pros sources and references only point to the fact that America ranks somewhere in the top 25 countries in the world in Personal Freedoms and Rights. That defense is very weak considering the resolution is “America is the Land of the Free.”

If any countries can actually claim to be "the Land of the Free"- it would be those which rank in the Top 5 : Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, and New Zealand.

Cons many arguments show clear violations of Freedoms in 2 ways. Freedom of Speech. And Freedom of Privacy.

Nowhere have I expressed embarrassment in the statement that Uruguay – a small Country in deep South America- ranks higher in Personal Freedom. The same is said about all of the Northern European Countries. If there is any embarrassment here, it has been revealed to lie with Pro.

In response to the issue of Privacy- it is a very relevant right when considering freedom. Pro claims that privacy is more about “dignity”. I don’t think it’s Dignity that people are worried about when the Government invades their privacy. Privacy is also about defending one’s freedom not to be recorded by the state for their purposes- in secret. A right to privacy means that one should not have to look over one’s shoulder, watch one’s words and statements, and fear that your speech, emails, and locations are being monitored.

Just because the dust hasn’t settled on that issue- doesn’t mean that it can’t be debated. The fact is the US government already took excessive steps in surveillance, and that directly violates the notion that we are “The Land of the Free”.

Regarding the “grammatical argument”. Yes, the word “The “ assumes exclusivity. The land of the Free- versus “A land of freedom...” Obviously the famous statement implies that America is unique. And that is a central point of this debate. To water down the phrase to say “America is a Land of Freedom” – is to concede the point that this resolution is not defendable....

And this is why you should vote for Con!

Many thanks to my opponent for a very good debate.



First I will give a big picture summary of why I’m winning this round:

I am winning the interpretation of the Resolution- this debate is about whether or not the US is a free society. Under this interpretation, Con stands no chance of winning this debate due to his unresponsiveness to my arguments. I provided multiple sources showing the US ranks at the top of the world in freedom and has an entrenched tradition of protecting the speech even of hated minorities. Due to larger sample size and its focus on systematic application of rights, my evidence and arguments outweigh the isolated cases Con cites. I am hands down winning that the US is a free society, and thus the debate.

Even if you think Pro is right that I need to show that America is #1 in freedom, I am STILL winning this debate. The only two issues Con has disputed are privacy and free speech, meaning I just need to show that America is the land of the free on these two issues. On no other issues has Con put forward a positive case that the US isn’t #1- if you buy his restrictive Resolution, don’t give him any benefit of the doubt in evaluating his arguments. I have shown privacy violation is not a violation of freedom since privacy does not involve autonomy- I don’t restrict your ability to make moral decisions by watching you. I have also pointed out that my Social Progress evidence ranks the US as NUMBER ONE for freedom of speech, thus meeting even Con’s extremely restrictive interpretation! So on the only two contentions Con has, I have shown that the US can be consider #1.

For Con to win this debate, he needs to win that his interpretation of the Resolution is better AND that America is not the most free country in the world.

Next I will go through a line-by-line analysis of why I am winning this debate.

The Resolution:

Con loses his right to unilaterally determine what the Resolution means after R1. To have a fair debate, both sides need to understand the Resolution. From my opening argument I was clear about my understanding of the Resolution, if Con really wanted his restrictive interpretation he should have clarified at the earliest opportunity. I explicitly stated in R1- “When we speak of “the land of the free,” we mean the land where political liberty is respected and protected.”

Worse, when we look at Con’s arguments, none of them support his interpretation of the Resolution. His first two rounds make no mention of whether or not America is the most free country, only about the general sense in which America was free. I am not a mind-reader, I can only determine the intent of the Resolution based on the context provided in R1 when I accepted the debate. My first two rounds are clearly structured around the understanding that the Resolution asks whether America is a free society. To allow Con the ability to re-define the resolution such that two of my rounds are irrelevant is incredibly unfair and a bad precedent to set on DDO. Debate may be useful in finding truth, but fundamentally it is a competition where judges pick a winner- thus the judges must preserve the fairness of the competition.

If you as a judge think that my interpretation is a reasonable understanding of the Resolution, then you must vote Pro!

I have shown my interpretation to be reasonable in two ways:

First, my interpretation makes sense grammatically. “The” is often used to refer to abstract ideas and does not necessarily denote a special exclusivity- I even provided a dictionary definition to show this. Con never disputed that my definition of “the” was legitimate, he only asserts that his definition is right.

Second, my interpretation makes sense under a literary interpretation of the Resolution. The Resolution is a reference to a popular phrase, thus this interpretation is reasonable. The reason Pro chose the Resolution was precisely because it is literary. We don’t say “America is a land of freedom” because “America is the land of the free” is more poetic. Some people may understand this phrase to mean America is the MOST free, but many people (myself include) take it to represent the central place freedom has as an American value. Again, everything about R1 suggested Con was broadly questioning whether America still valued freedom NOT that he wanted to argue whether there might be a country more free than America.

I don’t concede that Con’s interpretation is indefensible, only that it is much more difficult and easier for Con to abuse. The bottom line is Con only "clarified" the Resolution half-way through the debate as my arguments were beginning to gain momentum. If he wanted to be whether America was "most free" he could have clarified in R1 or even R2, he could have set definitions in R1, or even just made the Resolution "America is the most free country in the world." There isn't any discussion of how America compares to other free countries until AFTER Con "clarified" the Resolution. Con's final arguments are very different from his opening arguments- this isn't because the debate evolved, its because Con's interpretation of the Resolution evolved.

Free Speech:

The simple fact that my evidence ranks the US as #1 in free speech wins me this argument- Con never addresses this point.

Con no longer disputes any of my arguments about the nature of freedom and why his examples fail, he offers no response to my analysis.

Con’s only other argument is that “the land of the free” should at least rank in the top 5 for “Personal Freedom,” but this is cherry-picking the data. The "personal freedom" category doesn’t even include “Free Speech.” The more relevant category is the broader “Opportunity,” which America DOES rank in the top 5! Thus I meet Con’s standard even under a restrictive interpretation.

Con offers no argument or framework to evaluate how my evidence could show a country to be the “most free,” thus no explanation of how my data creates a case that America isn’t the most free. As I said in R3, my data show a lot of different countries ranked differently, absent analysis it says nothing about whether America is most free. Simply pointing to a broad range of data with inherent uncertainty and variability is not an argument. We can see the Con offers no positive case for how the US is not #1; don't write his arguments for him. I have pointed out that high rankings are consistent with the claim "America is the land of the free."


In R1 I present a very detailed argument for what freedom is and how it can be violated that Con doesn’t dispute. Privacy plainly fails to meet the criteria for violation of freedom- watching someone does not usurp their moral autonomy. To say otherwise means my freedom is violated every time someone looks at me.

Con’s only response is the assertion that freedom means “freedom not to be recorded.” This isn’t an argument, it is just using freedom in a sentence. This doesn't come close to touching my analysis of the concept of freedom.

We may have a right to privacy, but this doesn't make it relevant to freedom. I pointed out that privacy rights may be generated by other moral concepts like dignity. Thus a right to privacy doesn't make it related to freedom.

Finally, Con articulated a list of freedoms in R2 that DID NOT include privacy- even by his own standards privacy is irrelevant to the Resolution!


Without a stable Resolution all debates are meaningless. I am the only one in this debate that has articulated a consistent advocacy, I deserve to win this debate.

Vote Pro
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Mister_Man 3 years ago
Although the government does not deny freedom of speech, most people nowadays have skin thinner than air and can't handle other people's opinions if they differ from their own. So although it is still the "land of the free," the general public doesn't like that idea because everyone is offended over everything.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: pro showed sufficient evidence, especially within freedom of speech and privacy, and even within rankings, that America was definitely a land with much freedom, and thus a "Land of the Free".