The Instigator
LearnLoveLiveLife
Pro (for)
Winning
24 Points
The Contender
ANSmith
Con (against)
Losing
20 Points

Censorship is unnecessary.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/24/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 8,425 times Debate No: 4785
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (12)

 

LearnLoveLiveLife

Pro

====
Censorship is the suppression of speech or deletion of communicative material which may be considered objectionable, harmful or sensitive, as determined by a censor. The rationale for censorship is different for various types of data censored. Censorship is the act or practice of removing material from things we encounter every day on the grounds that it is obscene, vulgar, and/or highly objectionable. Whether it is on TV, in music, books, or on the Internet, censorship is an inescapable part of human society. Censorship can be broken into different categories:
====

-1.MORAL censorship is the means by which any material that contains what the censor deems to be of questionable morality is removed. The censoring body disapproves of what it deems to be the values behind the material and limits access to it. Pornography, for example, is often censored under this rationale, especially child pornography, which is censored in most jurisdictions in the world. In another example, graphic violence resulted in the censorship of the "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" movie entitled Scarface originally completed in 1932.

-2.MILITARY censorship is the process of keeping military intelligence and tactics confidential and away from the enemy. This is used to counter espionage, which is the process of gleaning military information. Additionally, military censorship may involve a restriction on information or media coverage that can be released to the public.

-3.POLITICAL censorship occurs when governments hold back secret information from their citizens. The logic is to prevent the free expression needed to rebel. Any dissent against the government is thought to be a "weakness" for the enemy to exploit. Campaign tactics are also often kept secret: ex. the Watergate scandal.

-4.RELIGIOUS censorship is the means by which any material objectionable to a certain faith is removed. This often involves a dominant religion forcing limitations on less prevalent ones. Alternatively, one religion may shun the works of another when they believe the content is not appropriate for their faith.

-5.CORPORATE censorship is the process by which editors in corporate media outlets intervene to halt the publishing of information that portrays their business or business partners in a negative light. Privately owned corporations in the business of reporting the news also sometimes refuse to distribute information due to the potential loss of advertiser revenue or shareholder value which adverse publicity may bring.

---------

Now, with that established, I AM NOT SAYING WE SHOULD DO AWAY WITH CENSORSHIP. I am simply saying that we don't need it.
In order to win this debate, my opponent must prove beyond reasonable doubt that censorship is, in fact, necessary.
ANSmith

Con

First of all, I would like to thank my opponent for posting this debate. I look forward to it. Credits to Wikipedia for the definitions.

I'll first go through each category of censorship and explain why each one is necessary.

1. MORAL censorship is the means by which any material that contains what the censor deems to be of questionable morality is removed. An example of this would be child pornography, or even more simply, filtering (or censoring) what children view on the internet.

When the British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey asked in 1995 whether we thought "people over the age of 16 are old enough to decide for themselves what they want to see and read", 48 per cent of respondents thought they were, against 32 per cent who did not. Similarly, when asked whether "adults should be allowed to see whatever films they like, even if some people think the films violent or pornographic", 55 per cent agreed that they should, and only 23 per cent disagreed.

Clearly, it would seem that freedom is good, and censorship bad. But the case is not quite closed. BSA also asked people, in 2005, whether they think that "censorship of films and magazines is necessary to uphold moral standards." Sixty-four per cent of those asked agreed or agreed strongly that censorship was necessary, whereas only 17 per cent disagreed or disagreed strongly. Remarkably, these figures have not changed in 20 years.

We do not like the idea that some should stop us from doing what we want in the privacy of our own home. But we accept this as a need for others — indeed, we want them to be prevented from enjoying the same privilege. What is good for me is not, apparently, good for us.

There may be some hypocrisy in this, but there is also a serious moral tension, based on whether we understand our identity as being founded primarily on me (I am an autonomous, rational, moral agent), or on us (I am a spouse, parent, colleague, neighbor, citizen).

For some, the choice is simple. The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) published Prohibitions, a series of essays that argued for a legal market in, among other things, pornography, guns, prostitution, and human organs.

"To prevent other people from choosing their own ends is to deny their capacity for autonomous choice and ultimately to deny their humanity," it stated. Censorship is thus not only politically oppressive and economically counterproductive, but also morally dubious."

If the rest of us do not see things so categorically, it is because we understand that humans comprise a variety of identities. Yes, we are free moral agents, but we are also committed spouses, neighbours, and citizens. Our freedom is essential to our human flourishing, but so are our relationships, which exist only because we are prepared to surrender some of that freedom.

It is these multiple identities that underlie the supposed hypocrisy of the public's attitude to censorship. I should be able to dictate my personal media consumption, but I am uneasy at the idea of my 18-year-old son sitting in his bedroom beating up someone on a video game. And the thought of thousands of young men doing the same thing before they head out for an evening fills me with terror.

The key question is: which identity do we have in mind when we are thinking about censorship? If we buy the IEA's vision of thoroughly autonomous individuals whose personal liberty demands maximal respect, then we should eliminate all forms of media censorship straight away.

If, on the other hand, we adopt a more relational public identity, seeing the public square as full of spouses, siblings, and neighbors, there is an argument for censorship. If it is possible to show that uncensored games, movies, and tv shows cause harm to the relationships that make up the public square (which is different from saying that we find them morally ugly), then censorship becomes a valid option.

From a public-health perspective, there is evidence that violent or tastless imagery has short-term effects on arousal, thoughts, and emotions, increasing the likelihood of aggressive or fearful behavior. Long-term outcomes for children viewing media violence are more controversial. nevertheless, a small but significant association persists in the research, with an effect size that has a substantial public-health effect.

Such evidence is mounting. Regrettably, however, it remains some way short of being able to persuade the public that we are better off without such products. In spite of what libertarians argue, censorship does — indeed, must — have a place in modern society.

Yet that place must be dictated not by the revulsion some have at how others spend their time and money, but by careful, empirically grounded arguments about what constitutes a threat to the public good.

2.MILITARY censorship is the process of keeping military intelligence and tactics confidential and away from the enemy. This is used to counter espionage, which is the process of gleaning military information. Additionally, military censorship may involve a restriction on information or media coverage that can be released to the public. & POLITICAL censorship occurs when governments hold back secret information from their citizens. The logic is to prevent the free expression needed to rebel. Any dissent against the government is thought to be a "weakness" for the enemy to exploit. Campaign tactics are also often kept secret: ex. the Watergate scandal.

- We as American citizens are a part of this country, and our leaders' jobs are to keep us safe. As far as military censorship is concerned, why would you want our plans and tactics to be released to the enemy in the first place? And as far as keeping information from the public, consider this:

You and your wife are having marital problems because she's cheating on you. Now, you have a five-year old daughter who wants to know what's going on. Do you tell her EVERYTHING that is going on between you two (the cheating, etc.)? Or do you simply say "mommy and I are mad at each other right now." in an attempt to not worry her? Think of the American population as a five-year-old kid. The government withholds some information from us in order to protect us, not to worry us, and keep the country safe. If the government was planning a bombing on Thailand, the government would be putting the entire country at risk by not withholding that information; someone could very well send that info over to Thailand and warn them. Also, if the tables were turned and they were planning to bomb us at noon tomorrow, then the entire country would be in a panic if the government released that info. We as citizens have the right to know what's going on with our world and leaders, but the government has the right to keep its citizens safe and calm.

4.RELIGIOUS censorship is the means by which any material objectionable to a certain faith is removed. This often involves a dominant religion forcing limitations on less prevalent ones. Alternatively, one religion may shun the works of another when they believe the content is not appropriate for their faith.

- this one crosses a fine line between religion and morals, and any type of moral censorship could be grouped into this category. But I do believe in freedom of religion in that sense. You are free to believe what you will, but to shun the beliefs of others (and censor those beliefs) is unconstitutional.

And lastly...

5.CORPORATE censorship is the process by which editors in corporate media outlets intervene to halt the publishing of information that portrays their business or business partners in a negative light.

- I have a hard time settling with this one, I guess because I take it to the extreme situation and think how they should be exposed for doing something that bad.
Debate Round No. 1
LearnLoveLiveLife

Pro

Thank you for accepting this debate ANS.
First off, I would like to say... MAN that was a lot of arguement on the moral side. Does censorship apply strongly to your own personal morals?

I came across this interesting article on the internet while reading my daily Church Times... I would like to note a large quote from Issue 7574 - 16 May, 2008. Oh wait, you already did.

Credits to CHURCH TIMES for my opponent's main arguement.
http://www.churchtimes.co.uk...

----

Anyways, moving on.

The main arguement, at least that I got, was that while we may want our own personal freedoms to do as we please and view what we want, we need restrictions so that our children, neighbors, wives, etc. may not view these things. I do not feel this way.

Here's a breakdown.

You said:
"I'll first go through each category of censorship and explain why each one is necessary."

This my friend, is your responsibility, and I'm not sure you have done this.
The main things I took out of your arguement were:

"To prevent other people from choosing their own ends is to deny their capacity for autonomous choice and ultimately to deny their humanity," it stated. Censorship is thus not only politically oppressive and economically counterproductive, but also morally dubious."
-True.

"censorship of films and magazines is necessary to uphold moral standards."
-What "moral standards"? Christian morals? My morals? Yours? Morals is a very subjective word.

"adults should be allowed to see whatever films they like, even if some people think the films violent or pornographic"
-True

"When the British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey asked in 1995 whether we thought "people over the age of 16 are old enough to decide for themselves what they want to see and read", >>>>>48<<<<< per cent of respondents thought they were, against 32 per cent who did not."
-Did you read what you posted?

-Thus, in your arguement, it appears to me that you have unwittingly proven my point and undermined your own. Am I wrong?

I will close with a few quotes of my own.

We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still. ~John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

The fact is that censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. ~Henry Steele Commager

The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen. ~Tommy Smothers

Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime. ~Potter Stewart

-----
I would continue here, and elaborate on the other forms of censorship, but I'm not sure I need to.
ANSmith

Con

And credits to Wikipedia for my opponents ENTIRE opening argument:
<http://en.wikipedia.org...;

Anyways, moving on =)
===========================

Morals is a broad term. For this reason, I will define 'morals' as told by <http://www.dictionary.com...;

Morals
1.of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes.
2.expressing or conveying truths or counsel as to right conduct, as a speaker or a literary work; moralizing: a moral novel.
3.founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on legalities, enactment, or custom: moral obligations.
4.capable of conforming to the rules of right conduct: a moral being.
5.conforming to the rules of right conduct (opposed to immoral): a moral man.
6.virtuous in sexual matters; chaste.

As I read these definitions, the words "right conduct" are reiterated. So in answer to your question:

-What "moral standards"? Christian morals? My morals? Yours? Morals is a very subjective word.

Morals simply means doing the right thing, & every single individual has morals. You don't have to be Christian to have morals, because no matter who you are, at some point in your life you will choose to do the right thing. That in itself is a display of your morals.

Now, as far as psychological effects are concerned. Censorship in television, movies and magazines have an affect on us; even though we may not realize it.

According to <http://allpsych.com...;,
"The Academy of Pediatrics says "More than >>>>one thousand<<<< scientific studies and reviews conclude that significant exposure to media violence increases the risk of aggressive behavior in certain children, desensitizes them to violence and makes them believe that the world is a ‘meaner and scarier' place than it is." If children begin to think that this type of violence is normal behavior these thoughts are often said to be difficult to change later on in life. This is similar to the studies of domestic violence where children who are exposed to violence either become offenders or victims because they believe that what they are exposed to is the norm. One instance that brought the worry of violence in media is the Columbine incident. The two young men that committed this act of violence were said to have played numerous hours of violent video games. Their exposure to violence is said to have been the cause since the children involved in Columbine came from secure home environments with active parental influence. As with Michael Carneal, from Kentucky, who in 1997 shot and killed three of his classmates. He too was also said to have been a video game fanatic. Michael Breen an attorney in the case against Michael Carneal stated in court; "Michael Carneal clipped off nine shots in a 10-second period. Eight of those shots were hits. Three were head and neck shots and were kills. That is way beyond the military standard for expert marksmanship. This was a kid who had never fired a pistol in his life, but because of his obsession with computer games he had turned himself into an expert marksman" (Ivory, 2003), (Hanson, 1999, p. 15). These two instances in a whole may be small evidence however, proves that violent media play a role in such violence. "

And the studies conclude the same thing for violence on television, movies, as well as video games. Both on adults and children/adolescents alike.

Also, according to <http://www.psychology.iastate.edu...;:

"A 12-year-old boy in Florida brutally kills a 6-year-old girl by imitating professional wrestling moves (Stiff Sentence, 2001). Two teenagers in Littleton, Colorado practice shooting everything in sight by repeatedly playing the violent video game Doom before they embark on a shooting spree that kills 13 adolescents and themselves at Columbine High School (Gibbs & Roche, 1999). A 17-year-old in Texas sets himself on fire while being videotaped in an attempt to duplicate a stunt called the "human barbecue" from the MTV show Jackass (Brachear, 2002). Four youths, aged 13 to 17, watch the violent film Menace II Society on videotape, then commit a carjacking and shoot two other youths in a manner that parallels the film very closely (Means Coleman, 2002). These and countless other tragedies are the types of incidents that often come to mind when one mentions the effects of media violence on people."

Also, according to <http://www.psychology.iastate.edu...;
Of all the incidents of violent behaviors in American schools in 1998:

35 Deaths
257,700 Serious Injuries
990,500 Thefts or Larcenies
1,562,300 Reports of Fighting
18,000,000 Incidences of Bullying

This was 10 years ago, before the media views were as graphic as they are today (Saw, Hostel, etc.). Since then, this number has increased. And like my previous sources stated, what we watch on the screen or play in games has an affect on us psychologically whether we realize it or not.

So as far as censorship being necessary in this sense, the answer is yes. The studies show that what we watch has an affect on us and our children. I guarantee that if violent images were censored from the media, the violence rate in children would decrease.

since my opponent didn't argue any other forms, neither will I.
Debate Round No. 2
LearnLoveLiveLife

Pro

I would like to state that while I may have used Wikipedia for my arguement, it is, however, a verifiable source.

If you disagree, please see:

-Lundqvist, J.. "More pictures of Iranian Censorship". Retrieved on August 2007-01-21.
-Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. Del Rey Books. April 1991.
-Dean, Cornelia (2007-01-31). "Scientists Criticize White House Stance on Climate Change Findings", The New York Times. Retrieved on 2007-09-19.
-"www.freemuse.org/sw2338.asp".
-Ian Mayes (2005-04-23). "The readers' editor on requests that are always refused", The Guardian. Retrieved on August 2007-01-21.
-"Caution: big name ahead", The Observer (2002-01-27). Retrieved on August 2007-01-21.

Your source, an article from church times, was written by Nick Spencer, Director of Studies at Theos, the public theology think tank.

Theology is the study of God from a religious perspective. Therefore, theologists explore theories.
------

You said:
"Morals simply means doing the >right< thing, & every single individual has morals. You don't have to be Christian to have morals, because no matter who you are, at some point in your life you will choose to do the >right< thing. That in itself is a display of your morals. "

-Right is a completely subjective word. You cannot define what is "right" and what is "wrong", because everyone has their own views on this.

You said:
"Now, as far as psychological effects are concerned. Censorship in television, movies and magazines have an affect on us; even though we may not realize it."

-TRUE, they do affect us psychologically. I am actually a PSYCHOLOGY major focusing in addictive behaviors, abnormal psychology, and mental disabilities. I do have a fair understanding of this concept.

You said:
"So as far as censorship being necessary in this sense, the answer is yes. The studies show that what we watch has an affect on us and our children. I guarantee that if violent images were censored from the media, the violence rate in children would decrease."

-Congrats, you have successfully stated your opinion on this matter. I agree that what we watch has an affect on us, HOWEVER this in no way means that censorship is necessary. It may be beneficial to our culture, depending on how you interpret it.

Might it be that if we take some of the money that is spent each year to censor what we are allowed to see and hear, and reinvest that into our schools or education programs, we could teach children that what they see on TV is just TV and has no jurisdiction in real life?

Might it be that if we, as parents, made our children READ A BOOK every other night, they might learn something?

Yes, you have stated how censorship CAN BE useful... However, you have in no sense proven that it is necessary, which was the burden of CON.
ANSmith

Con

Might I also add that Wikipedia can be edited by ANYONE who enters the site. While your opening argument (and mine) were credible, Wikipedia as a whole is not a very credible source, considering it can be edited.

=====================================================================

The definition of necessary is something that is essential; such as water. Anything besides water, food, etc. can be considered NOT NECESSARY simply because it is not essential for life to continue. Censorship is not essential for life to continue; however, the studies suggest that censorship is needed for the benefit of the individual.

"-Congrats, you have successfully stated your opinion on this matter. I agree that what we watch has an affect on us, HOWEVER this in no way means that censorship is necessary. It may be beneficial to our culture, depending on how you interpret it."

While this may come across as simply my opinion, you may want to check the numbers of violence back in the 50s and so on. Violence was simply not shown on the television. Most families only had one television in their home, so parents monitored what their children watched (censorship), the numbers of violence is significantly lower. Go ask one of your parents if there was a lot of violence for them while they were in school, see what they say. So my guarantee was not an opinion, it was fact.

Censorship may not be essential to continue life, considering we can certainly survive without it; however, the studies that have been presented show that censorship does present a great benefit. It is essential for the psychological health of our youth, if the TV stations don't censor than parents will, and the majority do any ways; that is their responsibility as parents. But even that is a form of censorship. When children go to school or the library, the computers have a filter to block certain sites (this is censorship).

In conclusion, I would like to thank my opponent for posting this debate. I urge those who read this debate to vote CON, as censorship DOES have benefits. Whether the government chooses to censor something, or parents monitor what their kids watch on their television, censorship is put in place for a reason. If we didn't think it was necessary, then we wouldn't care whether a 4 year old watches an R rated movie, or what kind of music your daughter listens to. We as individuals put censorship into motion for a reason, no, it is not essential to survive. However, it is there for a reason. If it wasn't necessary to some extent, we wouldn't feel the need to use it.
Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Random_Man_57 6 years ago
Random_Man_57
The Columbine shootings happened because they were tired of the jocks messing with them. Not because they played so many violent video games that everyone they say turned into the cyber-demon or an archvile.
Posted by abbadon 8 years ago
abbadon
i agree with the pro side of the argument. the general amount of censorship is a violation of our first amendment, and it truly is unnecessary. i do however, disagree that censorship should not be completely removed. it should, in the sense that we ALL want to know whats going on.
Posted by Im_always_right 8 years ago
Im_always_right
LOL!! It's very rare my vote goes to the person I agree with, my vote goes Pro, because, Con did not make an argument to all the points, and mostly used parental responsibility.
Posted by LearnLoveLiveLife 8 years ago
LearnLoveLiveLife
"The definition of necessary is something that is essential; such as water. Anything besides water, food, etc. can be considered NOT NECESSARY simply because it is not essential for life to continue. Censorship is not essential for life to continue;"

Lolz u dun and ownt urself
Posted by brittwaller 8 years ago
brittwaller
lol Nice catch there Puck. Somehow, I am in *another* debate about Miley Cyrus against a "119 year-old" female who constantly speaks in the tense of having her own children; I have a strong suspicion she's more like a socially conservative 13 year-old. Such is life, nien?
Posted by Puck 8 years ago
Puck
Unfortunately, Con, you failed to provide an argument beyond correlatory evidence and what is in essence, parental responsibility. Not censorship. Case in point: "..significant exposure to media violence.."

Vote goes to Pro.
Posted by Puck 8 years ago
Puck
"but I am uneasy at the idea of my 18-year-old son"

lol Considering your own profile age is 18, a bit of fortuitous editing, may of been in order.
Posted by LearnLoveLiveLife 8 years ago
LearnLoveLiveLife
lolz
readz the arguezment
keep in mind the definition

o·pin·ion (&#601;-p&#301;n'y&#601;n)
n.
1.A belief or conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof: "The world is not run by thought, nor by imagination, but by opinion" (Elizabeth Drew).
2.A judgment based on special knowledge and given by an expert: a medical opinion.
3.A judgment or estimation of the merit of a person or thing: has a low opinion of braggarts.
The prevailing view: public opinion.
Posted by brittwaller 8 years ago
brittwaller
"Might it be that if we take some of the money that is spent each year to censor what we are allowed to see and hear, and reinvest that into our schools or education programs, we could teach children that what they see on TV is just TV and has no jurisdiction in real life?

Might it be that if we, as parents, made our children READ A BOOK every other night, they might learn something?"

Amen. This, of course, is what censorship is ultimately about: stopping the flow of knowledge, or worse, intentionally confusing actual knowledge with misinformation. Personally, I think TV is the worst drug ever, but if you want to watch it you are free to. It's your brain going to waste.

Compare your above quote: "Today world literature with its infinite variety is being supplanted more and more by the relatively few, unsubtle stereotypes of Hollywood, the radio, and television; and millions of young people get their notions of love and valor, dread and wrath, from the undifferentiated, indifferent performances of ephemeral idols whose body measurements are widely considered more important than their patent lack of any talent to portray emotions." - Critique of Religion and Philosophy by Walter Kaufmann, 1958 (A real gem of scholarship)

Voted PRO

Britt
Posted by Chaos_Evolved 8 years ago
Chaos_Evolved
""-4.RELIGIOUS censorship is the means by which any material objectionable to a certain faith is removed. This often involves a dominant religion forcing limitations on less prevalent ones. Alternatively, one religion may shun the works of another when they believe the content is not appropriate for their faith.""

Couldn't have said it better myself.
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