The Instigator
abard124
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points
The Contender
studentathletechristian8
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points

Flag Desecration should always be legal

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
abard124
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/12/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,782 times Debate No: 9206
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (17)
Votes (3)

 

abard124

Pro

I would never burn a flag. I feel like it is completely disrespectful and immoral. If you want to burn a flag, I would respect you that much less. If I saw you burn a flag before you interview for a job with me, your chances of getting the job are very slim. However, should the government outlaw flag desecration, I don't care if you were the president, you are not getting that job!

There are three points here that I think are central to my stance. They are the first amendment, Morality v. Legality (Oppression), and the overall ludicrousness of it all. I will attack one point per argument, respectively. This argument I will be discussing the first amendment.
The first amendment gives us basic rights, citing specifically the freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. I generally consider it to be my favorite amendment, even though it means we can't outlaw Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. I like it because it is the basis of basic personal freedoms (say that ten times fast). It means we are constantly censored (in theory). Tell that to the FCC and they'll find you some loophole, but the theory is the same. It keeps the government out of your personal life. If Rick Warren wants me to go to church every Sunday morning and then kick me out when I drop the F bomb and then doesn't publish my complaint in the church newspaper because we assembled and petitioned to kick him out, so be it. If it's Barack Obama doing that, it's illegal. Burning a flag is a form of speech. It is illegal for it to be illegal. Pure and simple. Go ahead and tell me that it isn't speech. Much like songs and American Sign Language, censor it freely. I'm sure my deaf friend Betsy would be absolutely giddy to learn that she can no longer sign anything that insults the government.

I'm looking forward to your response (as long as it doesn't insult the government, of course)!
studentathletechristian8

Con

I thank my opponent for this debate and the readers for the opportunity.

I shall negate the resolution, "Flag Desecration should always be legal."

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

Burden of Proof:

As the Instigator and Pro, my opponent has the Burden of Proof to affirm the resolution. If I can prove otherwise, the resolution shall be negated.

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

Definitions:

Flag Desecration- term applied to various acts that intentionally destroy, damage or deface a flag, most often a national flag.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

should- implying a morally binding duty or obligation.
http://www.debate.org...
(The definition is provided by Cody_Franklin in his first round argument)

always- at all times.
http://www.merriam-webster.com...

legal- permitted by law.
http://dictionary.reference.com...

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

Notes:

1) The flag desecration mentioned in this debate will solely apply to America, for my opponent brought up the Constitution of the United States and the President of the United States.
2) As made clear by my opponent in the Comments section, my opponent shall uphold the position that flag desecration should be legal in all circumstances. I shall negate and argue that flag desecration should not be legal in all circumstances, or simply, that flag desecration should not always be legal.
3) All I have to do is prove one instance where flag desecration should not be legal, and I have negated the entire resolution.

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

I shall quote my opponent and make several points:

"I would never burn a flag. I feel like it is completely disrespectful and immoral. If you want to burn a flag, I would respect you that much less. If I saw you burn a flag before you interview for a job with me, your chances of getting the job are very slim. However, should the government outlaw flag desecration, I don't care if you were the president, you are not getting that job!"
My opponent shares his dislike of flag desecration, but yet his position for this debate is supposed to advocate flag desecration. My opponent's rant intertwines both sides of the debate and is extremely confusing.

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

First Amendment: My opponent attempts to justify the acceptance of flag desecration by stating that it is protected by the first amendment because it is an expression of speech. However, my opponent is mistaken.

Freedom of speech is not an absolute right. Certainly there are occasions where speech is restricted; the most simplistic example is the prohibition against yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. But other forms of speech have also been outlawed. Certain forms of obscenity, threats and libel are forms of speech which have been banned. Hate speech is another form of illegal speech. Hate speech can be very vague and subject to interpretation. The flag is a unique, identifiable symbol. Protecting this specific symbol is actually less restrictive than banning language which may be construed as "hate speech." Clearly, my opponent's point does not hold water.

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

My opponent must also prove that there is a moral obligation to keep flag desecration legal. The word "desecration" implies that the flag is sacred. Keeping something sacred implies a moral obligation to maintain it, not desecrate it. My opponent needs to provide evidence that people have a moral obligation to keep flag desecration legal, even when the term "desecration" implies that the flag is sacred, and needs moral obligation to make flag desecration illegal, instead of legal.

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

Here are several instances where flag desecration should not always be legal:

1) A group of people gather in front of the White House, bringing thousands of American flags with them. They begin to burn all of the flags and create a huge bonfire to throw the flags into. This lasts for several minutes, until one of the flags on fire falls onto dry grass, and flames begin roaming around and circulate the White House. Within seconds, the entire White House is caught on fire and completely burnt. Due to the immediate spread of the fire, thirteen people in the White House could not get out of time and died. This action of flag desecration would be illegal because it led to the destruction of the White House, the killing of thirteen innocent people, and an eventual riot from many patriotic Americans.

2) My neighbor goes in his front lawn to burn an American flag. My little sister is sleeping in a chair in the front lawn, and gets struck by hot sparks from the neighbor's burning session. The sparks are so hot that they burn my sister's skin, melt away her flesh, and she dies within minutes. This instance of flag desecration should also be illegal, since it led to the death of an innocent person.

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

In conclusion, my opponent has failed to reach his Burden of Proof. I heavily urge a Con vote.

I await my opponent's response and thank the readers for the opportunity.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1
abard124

Pro

Thank you for your very thoughtful response!

1) Burden of proof: Sure... But you have yet to negate my resolution.

2) Definitions: I agree with all of them, we may proceed.

3) Notes: 1. I agree. 2. I agree. 3. Yes, I worded it that way on purpose. We may proceed.

4) Quote: I'm sorry if my "rant" was confusing. I feel that it does not intertwine both sides of the debate, but if you feel differently, that's fine. However, I must point out that that section was entirely unnecessary, as we are not arguing whether my opening statement was clear, but whether Flag burning should be legal in all circumstances. Please try to stay on topic.

5) First amendment: Unfortunately, some people feel that they can contradict the first amendment. However, as it is written, the first amendment is an absolute right. And, much like its neighbor below (The second amendment), it is widely misunderstood. What this section is essentially debating is whether it is permissible by the first amendment to desecrate a flag, and I attest that it is not. Your example about yelling "Fire" in a theater has to do with the law, but with the (albeit practically universal) theater policy. Hate speech is also not illegal. It is protected by the first amendment and has been reinforced by Gitlow v. New York, Yates v. United States, and Brandenburg v. Ohio. Since your entire argument there was a factual error, it seems that clearly, MY opponent's point does not hold water.

6) Morals: We live in the United States of America, where moral obligation does not influence our laws. Laws are for keeping people safe, not keeping people nice (Remember that point, I will come back to it later). I thought I made that clear in my opening statement, but apparently I did not. So there you go. I need to provide no such evidence.

7) Instances: 1. Is that the burning of the flag that is illegal, or is it the burning of the White House. Should the punishment be any different if they were burning wood? Absolutely not! 2. Sparks from a burning flag would never be that hot, but the point is still the same. Would it be any less illegal if he were burning wood? No. Once you find one legitimate instance where it would be legal, you win. Until then, you still have work to do.

8) My argument: As promised, I will now add in my second point, Morality v. Legality (Oppression). As i mentioned in section 6, laws in the United states are meant to keep people safe, not to keep people nice. Flag burning is absolutely an awful thing to do, but it doesn't hurt anybody. Even if it did, as in your instances, it doesn't matter if it's a flag anymore, therefore it is not the actual burning of the flag that is illegal. Let's say you find a loophole and make flag burning illegal. Then your Vice President (let's call him Dick, and you may pretend not to notice my obvious allusion) says, "Okay, if we can ban a gesture which symbolizes hatred of the government, then there's no stretch to ban them from saying anything against the government." Well, there goes the first amendment. Then Dick tells you that the penalties aren't harsh enough to work, so the new plan is that any political dissident is sent to northern Alaska and left for dead. So you see, you may start with something as simple as a flag, yet the domino effect turns our great country into a Stalinesque nightmare.

Looking forward to your response!
studentathletechristian8

Con

I thank my opponent for his response and the readers for this opportunity.

I shall negate my opponent by corresponding with the numerical ordering he provided earlier in the round:

1) Burden of Proof: My opponent accepts the Burden of Proof. Yes, I do have to negate the resolution.

2) Definitions: My opponent agrees with all of my definitions.

3) Notes: My opponent once again agrees with my notes.

4) Quote: My opponent does not bring up an argument with this, so there is nothing more to discuss. However, my opponent should have also stayed on topic by not posting an unnecessary section in regards to the debate.

5) First Amendment: My opponent quoted: "What this section is essentially debating is whether it is permissible by the first amendment to desecrate a flag, and I attest that it is not." My opponent has stated that it is NOT permissible to desecrate a flag by the first amendment. He has just supported my argument and has conceded that it is not permissible by the first amendment to desecrate a flag. Hence, flag desecration should not always be legal if it violates the first amendment, which my opponent clearly stated with his quote. Therefore, the resolution is negated. I urge a Con vote.

6) Morals: I was not directly arguing about morals. However, my opponent has agreed to all of my definitions. My definition of "should" that I provided in Round I was "implying a morally binding duty or obligation." Therefore, it is essential that my opponent provides evidence as to why there is a morally binding duty/obligation to keep flag desecration always legal, which he has not. Thus, he has not reached his Burden of Proof, and I heavily urge a Con vote.

7) Instances: The burning of the flag would have been considered illegal because it caused the burning of the White House. The people in front of the White House were logically burning the flags in front of the White House to make a stand. They would not have gathered in front of the White House simply to burn wood; they wanted to make a protest, so they burned the flags. This scenario is different from burning wood, simply because it is obvious that protesters would burn the flag, not wood, to make a statement in front of the White House.
The sparks from a flag could be that hot, for you must defend every scenario that I create. The point is, the cause of the death was the burning of the flag, which would make it illegal.
My opponent quoted: "Once you find one legitimate instance where it would be legal, you win." My opponent has just stated that if I find one legitimate instance where flag desecration would be legal, then I win. However, my opponent has completely contradicted himself. I am supposed to make an instance where flag desecration would be illegal. However, my opponent's statement concedes that my two instances gave reasons as to why flag desecration would be illegal in those cases. Him wanting me to come up with one scenario to make flag desecration seem legal implies that my two instances proved my side, so I heavily urge a Con vote.

8) My opponent's argument: Once again, my opponent must prove that there is a morally binding duty/obligation to make flag desecration always legal, and he still has failed to do so. Flag burning may not physically hurt someone (although it did in my provided instances), but it hits people emotionally and mentally. Millions of Americans have fought through the worst of times to make America a nation that symbolizes patriotism and freedom. The flag is a symbol of what America stands for. Burning the flag tears away the meaning of the progress Americans have made. My opponent's domino effect does not make sense, because he has already stated that flag desecration is not permissible by the first amendment. (Look at point number 5) My opponent's proposed domino effect is irrelevant, for he has no evidence that it will happen.

I thank my opponent for the debate and the readers for the opportunity. I heavily urge a Con vote, for I have rebutted my opponent and negated the resolution. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
abard124

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response, and I will proceed with the argument. I think we can agree that I may skip sections 1-3, them being agreed upon.

4) Quote: It was not an unnecessary section, it was an opening statement. Let us move on.

5) First Amendment: I apologize, I wrote it late last night, and that was a typographical error, for lack of a better term. It was not a concession. Therefore, you may take this out of spelling and grammar, but do not take this as a concession.

6) Morals: If you must have moral justification, I am morally against laws which are based on morals.

7) Instances: We aren't talking about likelihood. Since you never refuted my argument that the penalty shouldn't be any different with wood, I will take this as a concession. Therefore, I win the argument unless you can come up with a legitimate instance in round 3 where flag desecration should carry a higher penalty than if you desecrated something else. As for your quote, that was once again a typographical error, and you know what I meant. You may, however, you may take that from spelling and grammar.

8) My second argument: Flag burning might hurt people emotionally, but it shouldn't be illegal even so. For example, it hurts me emotionally when people cheat on their spouses, but I am against any laws regarding consensual sex.

"My opponent's domino effect does not make sense, because he has already stated that flag desecration is not permissible by the first amendment."
Exactly my point. Thank you for clarifying for everybody exactly what I mean. My whole point is, where do you stop? If you are arguing that there are times that it should be illegal, then it's only small steps from there. So, I thank you for affirming the resolution that flag desecration should be legal, as provided for in the first amendment.

"My opponent's proposed domino effect is irrelevant, for he has no evidence that it will happen."
I see. Now, I would like to see your evidence that a spark from a burning flag could be hot enough to kill your sister. You don't need evidence that it WILL happen, you need evidence that it COULD happen.

9) My third and final argument: After looking at your profile (or even your name), I know that you are a Christian. Now, I'm no bible scholar, but my Bar Mitzvah speech many years ago was about the 10 Commandments. I'm fairly sure one of them is that you should not worship false idols. While I am not a religious person, I feel that the same thing rings true with the flag. I find it crazy that we pledge allegiance to the flag, and our national anthem is a song about the flag. Frankly, I do not pledge allegiance to the flag, I pledge allegiance to the greatest nation on earth, the United States of America (otherwise known as "the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all"). Our national pride lives within ourselves, not in a piece of cotton or vinyl. And most flags are made in China, anyway.

I would like to thank my opponent, StudentAthleteChristian8 for providing very interesting, thoughtful and intelligent arguments. However, even with his enlightening arguments, he has failed to negate the resolution. Therefore, I feel that there is no option but to vote pro. Thank you.
studentathletechristian8

Con

studentathletechristian8 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by abard124 7 years ago
abard124
Too bad you couldn't finish... I was interested in what you were going to say...
Posted by abard124 7 years ago
abard124
I accepted that semantics were fine. If you want to see a non-semantical debate, I have one of those as well. I'm about to finish round 3.
Posted by studentathletechristian8 7 years ago
studentathletechristian8
You guys should stop complaining about "semantics." The resolution stated "always," and I defined all the wording and my opponent accepted the definitions. There is nothing wrong with that.
Posted by abard124 7 years ago
abard124
Although I do firmly believe that it should ALWAYS be legal, I think you're right that it would be interesting without the semantics...
Posted by ZT 7 years ago
ZT
This is a great topic. Can someone PLEASE re-do the debate without the word "always" and have a debate about the actual topic, instead of semantics?
Posted by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
Cody_Franklin
should- implying a morally binding duty or obligation.
http://www.debate.org......
(The definition is provided by Cody_Franklin in his first round argument)

I feel quite credible now. Haha. :D
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
I'm just kidding around. Great minds think alike. I'm glad you're using this argument. It's a good one.
Posted by studentathletechristian8 7 years ago
studentathletechristian8
mongeese, I swear I never even saw your debate. I would never do something like that. Whenever I think about flag desecration, I think about burning automically. I promise I did not even know you had a debate on that topic.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
"You may, however, you may take that from spelling and grammar."

sac8, the dangers of fire was my argument!
http://www.debate.org...
Posted by studentathletechristian8 7 years ago
studentathletechristian8
*interpreted*
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by rayedawg2013 7 years ago
rayedawg2013
abard124studentathletechristian8Tied
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Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
abard124studentathletechristian8Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Vote Placed by abard124 7 years ago
abard124
abard124studentathletechristian8Tied
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Total points awarded:40