The Instigator
mongeese
Pro (for)
Losing
37 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)
Winning
65 Points

Flag burning should be illegal on public property on U.S. soil without being sanctioned by gov't.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/12/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 8,242 times Debate No: 8247
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (44)
Votes (18)

 

mongeese

Pro

By "flag burning," I mean the action of burning (setting fire to) an American flag.
http://www.thegio.net...

By "illegal," I mean "against the law."

By "public property," I mean: http://en.wikipedia.org...

By "U.S. soil," I mean any location within the boundaries of any of the fifty States.

By "sanctioned by gov't," I mean with approval of the U.S. Federal Government for any reason.

My first argument for this round:
To burn an American flag in protest is to burn the heritage and history of America, and is an insult to all Americans in America, which most likely includes the flag burner in question.
Danielle

Con

"To burn an American flag in protest is to burn the heritage and history of America, and is an insult to all Americans in America, which most likely includes the flag burner in question."

I don't see where an insult to the government or the citizens of America warrants an arrest and amendment to the constitution. People who protest the government are thrown in jail in countries like China, or hitting more at home with America's plights, Iraq or Afghanistan. As a nation that supports and protects our free speech, our right to petition the government, the United States should surely let us exercise our ability to think for ourselves (we don't need to hold the government's hand to make decisions), we should allow our citizens to burn the flag.

We should be a strong enough country to accept criticism; especially from our own citizens. My opponent brings up that burning the flag is an insult to the citizens (including the flag burner them self), heritage, and history of America. What my opponent doesn't realize is that banning the ability of an American citizen to burn a flag openly on US soil is a much greater insult. This would be a slap in the face to America's image as a free country that embraces criticism from its citizen with an open mind for change in order to fix the problems such a drastic act as burning a flag might have sparked. This would be a much bigger insult to America's first amendment.

If such an amendment as making illegal flag burning were to occur, it would be the first time in American history that a citizen could purchase an item he could never legally destroy.

Say a citizen has a sun-faded American flag bumper sticker, or a senator gets his American flag cake cut for his guests - what an amendment against desecrating an American flag would bring is legislation against people who desecrate the flag in "anti-American" fashions. So, the law is punishing thoughts, not acts, and this makes it a much more dreadful piece of legislation.

The flag stands for the freedom each American has, including the right to burn that very symbol. What a law prohibiting its desecration would do is mandate respect for a flag. America shouldn't be a land of mandated respect. This respect would only come through the threat of imprisonment and is neither earned nor deserved.

I await my opponent's defense of his only argument.
Debate Round No. 1
mongeese

Pro

I don't see where an insult to the government or the citizens of America warrants an arrest and amendment to the constitution."
I do.

"People who protest the government are thrown in jail in countries like China, or hitting more at home with America's plights, Iraq or Afghanistan."
True.

"As a nation that supports and protects our free speech, our right to petition the government, the United States should surely let us exercise our ability to think for ourselves (we don't need to hold the government's hand to make decisions), we should allow our citizens to burn the flag."
Freedom of speech and freedom of petition do not lead to freedom of combustion. Burning the American flag is burning the symbol of America, which is worse than just talking trash about America.

"We should be a strong enough country to accept criticism; especially from our own citizens."
I'll attack this point later.

"What my opponent doesn't realize is that banning the ability of an American citizen to burn a flag openly on US soil is a much greater insult."
Technically, public property is controlled by the government; if the government doesn't want things burned on its property, things don't get burned on its property.

"This would be a slap in the face to America's image as a free country that embraces criticism from its citizen with an open mind for change in order to fix the problems such a drastic act as burning a flag might have sparked. This would be a much bigger insult to America's first amendment."
Again, freedom of combustion is not included in the first amendment.

"If such an amendment as making illegal flag burning were to occur, it would be the first time in American history that a citizen could purchase an item he could never legally destroy."
He could still legally destroy it; it would just have to be on his own property, though.

"Say a citizen has a sun-faded American flag bumper sticker, or a senator gets his American flag cake cut for his guests - what an amendment against desecrating an American flag would bring is legislation against people who desecrate the flag in 'anti-American' fashions. So, the law is punishing thoughts, not acts, and this makes it a much more dreadful piece of legislation."
Eating an American flag cake is not burning an American flag. Furthermore, the act of burning a flag is indeed an act, not just a thought.

"The flag stands for the freedom each American has, including the right to burn that very symbol."
However, if they burn the symbol of their freedom, this could be associated with a loss of that freedom.

"What a law prohibiting its desecration would do is mandate respect for a flag."
It wouldn't mandate respect; it would prohibit combustion.

"I await my opponent's defense of his only argument."
I need another argument to add to this debate.

CONTENTION 2: Burning things is dangerous.
http://www.baptistboard.com...
Secondhand smoke can be harmful to innocent bystanders.

http://lisnews.org...
Sparks flying from a burning flag can seriously injure someone.

http://volokh.com...
The fire started to burn the flag can spread to envelop surrounding areas.

http://www.nj.com...
Fire spreads.
http://en.wikipedia.org...
"An array of other equipment to combat the spread of fires."

So, technically, whenever someone burns a flag on public property, he is putting the entire public property, along with everyone on that public property, at risk of dying in a giant, fiery inferno.

"We should be a strong enough country to accept criticism; especially from our own citizens."
I don't think that our public property can take being burned down to the ground very well.

Thus, because flag burning can easily become dangerous for the people and the country, it should be illegal on public property, unless sanctioned by the U.S. gov't, because they could execute safety measures more sanely than radical flag burners who would possibly be glad to learn that they burned down property of the government they oppose.

And so, if you're going to burn up your flag, be sure to do it on your own property, so that you put your own property at risk, and not that of everybody else.

Thank you for reading.
Danielle

Con

1. CON: I don't see where an insult to the government or the citizens of America warrants an arrest and amendment to the constitution."

PRO: I do.

* CON: That means nothing. Prove it.

--

2. CON: People who protest the government are thrown in jail in countries like China, or hitting more at home with America's plights, Iraq or Afghanistan.

PRO: True.

* CON: So you're agreeing with me. Great. A contention win for the Con.

--

3. CON: As a nation that supports and protects our free speech, our right to petition the government, the United States should surely let us exercise our ability to think for ourselves (we don't need to hold the government's hand to make decisions). We should allow our citizens to burn the flag.

PRO: Freedom of speech and freedom of petition do not lead to freedom of combustion. Burning the American flag is burning the symbol of America, which is worse than just talking trash about America.

* CON: The flag is a symbol of America, not THE symbol of America. Further, not everybody recognizes the flag as such. Similarly, a Christian may not find the Star of David to be a sacred symbol whereas a Jewish person might. Obviously, the Christian would not be expected to revere the symbol in the same way or with the same "respect." Our government was founded on the principle (and has enacted legislation to ensure the protection of) the very right that we, citizens, have to protest, including and some would argue ESPECIALLY our own government. If our demonstration is peaceful and non-threatening, discrediting a certain symbol should not be violating a LAW. Last time I checked, laws were enacted to PROTECT freedoms; not restrict them. Moreover, my opponent has failed to prove any harm that comes from either burning the so-called symbol of America, and/or talking trash about America. This point is a clear win for the Con so far.

--

4. CON: We should be a strong enough country to accept criticism; especially from our own citizens.

PRO: I'll attack this point later.

* CON: He never does (effectively, anyway).

--

5. CON: What my opponent doesn't realize is that banning the ability of an American citizen to burn a flag openly on US soil is a much greater insult.

PRO: Technically, public property is controlled by the government; if the government doesn't want things burned on its property, things don't get burned on its property.

* CON: But the government isn't an entity that makes its own decisions. The government is a body of law represented by the ideas of the PEOPLE that the government is supposed to protect. Therefore, ensuring that our rights and freedoms are protected are more important that protecting the possible hurt feelings of some of the population.

--

6. CON: This would be a slap in the face to America's image as a free country that embraces criticism from its citizen with an open mind for change in order to fix the problems such a drastic act as burning a flag might have sparked. This would be a much bigger insult to America's first amendment.

PRO: Again, freedom of combustion is not included in the first amendment.

*CON: Pro's use of the word "combustion" is not helping his argument. I ask that he either clarify and extend this moot point (which I will have no problem arguing anyway) or ask that the readers simply ignore it. If he's getting at the point that our constitution doesn't grant us the right to explicitly burn things, then (1) I can argue that anyway, but (2) For the sake of clarity, will simply point out that the constitution doesn't explicitly give us the right to chew gum either; however, it doesn't prohibit us from the experience either.

--

7. CON: If such an amendment as making illegal flag burning were to occur, it would be the first time in American history that a citizen could purchase an item he could never legally destroy.

PRO: He could still legally destroy it; it would just have to be on his own property, though.

* CON: So Pro is admitting that flag burning is acceptable - a huge win for the Con. Now I will simply urge the reader to continue an act such as the Civil Rights Act; easily one of the most influential movements in United States history. What if Martin Luther King and his acts had been limited to his own property? There would be no marches, and hence no (or huge lack of) unity, knowledge, inspiration, etc. There would have been no "I had a dream" speech -- I doubt his property at home would have been big enough to set that grand of a stage. My point is, free speech in public forum is a fundamental right and aspect of expression in this country. Since our inception, citizens have been gathering in public settings to inform their peers regarding a plethora of issues. Even today, most if not all college campuses have some sort of "free speech" area where students and the like can advertise and rally support or awareness for a cause. Like it or not, those who have issues with the government and wish to display their sentiments via flag burning have just as much of a right as other citizens to be heard. Remember that those who don't like it can simply avoid it or ignore it, no? I'm sure this will be addressed further sometime soon...

--

8. CON: Say a citizen has a sun-faded American flag bumper sticker, or a senator gets his American flag cake cut for his guests. What an amendment against desecrating an American flag would bring is legislation against people who desecrate the flag in 'anti-American' fashions. So, the law is punishing thoughts, not acts, and this makes it a much more dreadful piece of legislation.

PRO: Eating an American flag cake is not burning an American flag. Furthermore, the act of burning a flag is indeed an act, not just a thought.

* CON: So Pro is saying that it's okay to desecrate a flag so long as that does not include burning it? Hmm. I wonder how he'd feel if I shat on the American flag and then raised it high above the crowd in his hometown for everyone to see. Hey, at least its not COMBUSTING! And I'll give him that the idea of flag burning is an action and not just a thought. However, Pro has failed to prove why those (presumably anti-American) thoughts should not be legally within the parameters of that specific act: flag burning.

--

9. CON: The flag stands for the freedom each American has, including the right to burn that very symbol.

PRO: However, if they burn the symbol of their freedom, this could be associated with a loss of that freedom.

* CON: Uh, no it doesn't. See: Previous arguments. And also, try explaining yours.

--

10. CON: What a law prohibiting its desecration would do is mandate respect for a flag.

PRO: It wouldn't mandate respect; it would prohibit combustion.

* CON: First, the law may not mandate respect for the flag, but it would mandate respect for tyranny that's usurping the rights of U.S. citizens ( :P ). Second, no law would prohibit anything; since when has the mere act of making something illegal stopped it all-together? Flag burning could be illegal, and it would still be done, i.e. a combustion.

--

CON: I await my opponent's defense of his only argument.

PRO: I need another argument to add to this debate.

* CON: I'm still waiting for a good one...

Re: Burning things is dangerous. / Secondhand smoke can be harmful to innocent bystanders. / Sparks flying from a burning flag can seriously injure someone. / The fire started to burn the flag can spread to envelop surrounding areas.

* CON: Prove that the burning of a flag would (1) be harmful (2) have spectators (3) that there wouldn't be a "safe" flag burning i.e. in the outdoors where it was minimally harmful and with trained personnel, etc. Further, Pro is advocating for the prohibition of burning things on the basis that it could potentially be dangerous. Readers, consider the logistics of that dumb argument. Should it really be illegal to burn thi
Debate Round No. 2
mongeese

Pro

"That means nothing. Prove it."
Okay, I think it warrants an arrest because a flag is the symbol a country, and to burn the flag is to burn the country.

"So you're agreeing with me. Great. A contention win for the Con."
Contention win? That was an agreeable fact.

"The flag is a symbol of America, not THE symbol of America..."
Then what is THE symbol of America? Flags seem to do it for most countries. Also, I have proven that flag burning can be harmful in Contention 2, so your win isn't clear at all.

"He never does (effectively, anyway)."
Contention 2.

"But the government isn't an entity that makes its own decisions. The government is a body of law represented by the ideas of the PEOPLE that the government is supposed to protect. Therefore, ensuring that our rights and freedoms are protected are more important that protecting the possible hurt feelings of some of the population."
The government needs to protect the public property. If flag burning poses a threat to public property (which it does), flag burning can be prohibited on public property to preserve the public property.

"Pro's use of the word 'combustion' is not helping his argument..."
Combustion - an act or instance of burning (http://www.merriam-webster.com...)
Freedom of combustion sounds cooler than freedom of burning, and sounds more grammatically correct. The point is, the freedom to burn things is NOT protected by the Construction, which was one of your arguments.

"So Pro is admitting that flag burning is acceptable - a huge win for the Con..."
It is actually an irrelevant agreement for neither side. The debate isn't about burning flags on private property; there was a reason that I specified "public property" for this debate. Also, the Constitution does grant freedom of assembly, but as I already said, it lacks freedom of combustion, which is imperative to your case.

"So Pro is saying that it's okay to desecrate a flag so long as that does not include burning it?"
Putting the American flag on your birthday cake is not desecrating it. I don't see where you get that notion.

"However, Pro has failed to prove why those (presumably anti-American) thoughts should not be legally within the parameters of that specific act: flag burning."
Thoughts have never been illegal, so I don't know where thoughts came into this debate. The act is the important part.

"Uh, no it doesn't. See: Previous arguments. And also, try explaining yours."
You said that the American flag represents a man's freedom. If you burn what represents your freedom, you could be said to have burned your freedom. And when you burn your freedom, you don't have freedom. Capice?

"First, the law may not mandate respect for the flag, but it would mandate respect for tyranny that's usurping the rights of U.S. citizens..."
It would not mandate respect. It would mandate that the symbol of the country's heritage, history, and everything it stands for not be desecrated in public.

"Second, no law would prohibit anything..."
Prohibit - to forbid by authority (http://www.merriam-webster.com...)
That's what a law does, prohibit. It won't stop the action, but it would forbid it, and punish it if it ever occurred.

"I'm still waiting for a good one..."
Public safety is of no concern to you? This was actually what I intended to be my first argument, but I decided to use a standard one first.

"Prove that the burning of a flag would (1) be harmful (2) have spectators (3) that there wouldn't be a 'safe' flag burning..."
(1) Fires are hard to contain. Fires spread. A fire started on a flag could fairly easily spread to the grass below, given a strong enough gust of wind. Fires also give off smoke, which causes air pollution.
(2) If people started burning flags in the streets, I know that I would watch. Furthermore, this isn't a key point, as even if there are no spectators, the public property itself is still at risk.
(3) Instead of me trying to prove a negative on your statement, you should be proving the affirmative. Furthermore, minimal harm is still potential for harm. If there is a risk of any group starting a massive fire that could be considered arson, the group should be stopped with every attempt, because we should not just wait for them to finally burn the place down, because by then, you've just lost your public property.

"Further, Pro is advocating for the prohibition of burning things on the basis that it could potentially be dangerous. Readers, consider the logistics of that dumb argument. Should it really be illegal to burn thi"
I don't think my argument is dumb. Should I be allowed to run out into a park with a burning flag, waving it around everywhere in protest, with sparks flying everywhere? Whoops. There goes the playground. Whoops. Sorry about the spark in your eye, sir. I'm just being an inconsiderate little rebel who doesn't care about fire safety.
http://en.wikipedia.org...
Fire is dangerous. Burning flags is therefore dangerous. Dangerous activities that endanger the public should be prohibited. Thus, the resolution is affirmed.

Thank you for reading.
Danielle

Con

1. Re: I think it warrants an arrest because a flag is the symbol a country, and to burn the flag is to burn the country.

That is the most ridiculous argument I've ever heard! Clearly burning a flag does not actually (nor does is it even intended to represent) burning a country. This is a far fetched argument rooted in a blatant lie.

2. My opponent agrees that throwing people in jail for protesting the government is has the resemblance of a Chinese or Afghanistan ideology. In other words, my opponent is agreeing that such a practice would be in direct opposition with American ideals: freedom.

3. There is no specific symbol for America or anywhere else. There are some widely agreed upon symbols, i.e. flags, but symbols are really just means of identification for humans to relate one thing to another. Not everyone views symbols in the same way, and not everyone should have to adhere to the respect of another's symbol (so long as the symbol in question or being destroyed is not someone's property).

4. My opponent says that he's proven that flag burning can be harmful. He has not. He merely listed a set of potential harms that things on fire can do. This is utterly useless to the debate. That's like saying because someone can hit someone over the head with a bat, baseball (Hey! Another symbol of America) should be illegal. FAIL.

5. Re: The government needs to protect the public property. If flag burning poses a threat to public property (which it does), flag burning can be prohibited on public property to preserve the public property.

The flag in question would being to the person burning it. That is THEIR private property, and burning it would cause no physical harm (barring the outlandish and far-fetched scenarios my opponent pitched) to others. The flag is in on way public property. And even if you buy into the fact that something bad could happen as a result of flag burning on public property, consider that car accidents happen on public property all the time (streets). Should this mean that driving automobiles be made illegal? Clearly this is faulty logic.

6. Using the word "combustion" or any variation thereof does not make one's argument more grammatically correct. I'd recommend that Pro focus more on his arguments than trying to use $2 words to try and make it sound better (it's not really helping :/ ).

7. Re: The point is, the freedom to burn things is NOT protected by the Construction, which was one of your arguments.

Like I said, the Constitution doesn't exactly give us the right to chew gum either. That doesn't mean we should not be able to. Further, I can argue that the constitution absolutely defends individual LIBERTY. Therefore, one should have the liberty of self-expression (a.k.a. freedom of speech, a.k.a. also directly protected by our Constitution).

8. Re: The Constitution does grant freedom of assembly, but as I already said, it lacks freedom of combustion, which is imperative to your case.

And like I've already said, one's right to "combust" things is entirely irrelevant. It is certainly not "imperative" to my case. See the point above.

9. Re: Putting the American flag on your birthday cake is not desecrating it. I don't see where you get that notion.

My point is that cutting into the image of the American flag seems like it would be a negative thing by your standards. It has the image of the flag (America's symbol, right?) being cut into or destroyed... so by your logic, that would mean you are destroying AMERICA, right? Psht.

10. Re: Thoughts have never been illegal, so I don't know where thoughts came into this debate. The act is the important part.

So... Pro's saying that we shouldn't be able to express our thoughts, even if that form of self expression doesn't directly harm others? Hmm. Well, what about art? Pro consistently neglects these important questions.

11. Re: You said that the American flag represents a man's freedom. If you burn what represents your freedom, you could be said to have burned your freedom. And when you burn your freedom, you don't have freedom. Capice?

Capice? S�, ho capito. Sei colui che non capisce. ... In other words, what you're saying makes no sense. A symbol is just a representation - it doesn't indicate the "real" thing. For instance, at weddings, the bride and groom exchange rings as a symbol of their eternal love. If one of them happens to lose their ring, it doesn't mean that they have lost their love. To suggest such an analogy (that burning "freedom" in the form of a flag actually eliminates your freedom) is ridiculous. Plus, Pro seems to be missing the point that the burning itself is an ACT of freedom. Thus, I can use his logic against him: To inhibit one from burning their "freedom" is actually what's eliminating freedom.

12. Re: (The law) would mandate that the symbol of the country's heritage, history, and everything it stands for not be desecrated in public.

At the expense of losing individual liberties? Nay. Not worth it. You haven't proven why it should be, either. And even if you did/will, I'd rip that argument to shreds. Go for it!

13. Re: Public safety argument

... What a joke. Pro ignored all of my questions and skepticism regarding his claims. Until he addresses them, i.e. the likelihood of an actual tragedy, this point is moot.

14. Re: Fires are hard to contain... If people started burning flags in the streets, I know that I would watch... Instead of me trying to prove a negative on your statement, you should be proving the affirmative.

So you're saying that because fires are hard to contain, and people are tempted to look at things on fire, that lighting things on fire should be prohibited? Or even just in public? Okay, then campfires (especially those done in parks or other public places) should be outlawed, according to Pro. Further, he ignored every single aspect of my argument regarding other potentially dangerous things being made illegal, i.e. driving and other examples.

Moreover, why should I be proving the affirmative? Pro is PRO in this debate, not I. Moreover, he is the instigator. Way to try and shift the burden of proof, Pro. Unfortunately for you, I have not only refuted your weak arguments, but made a strong case of my own (especially regarding liberty, freedoms and rights)... hmm. Nice try.

15. Re: Should I be allowed to run out into a park with a burning flag, waving it around everywhere in protest, with sparks flying everywhere? Whoops. There goes the playground. Whoops. Sorry about the spark in your eye, sir. I'm just being an inconsiderate little rebel who doesn't care about fire safety.

^ This is a complete exaggeration of what would likely happen at such an "event." Moreover, if someone harmed others during their flag burning session, then that harm caused should be a punishable offense. However, this debate isn't about the HARM that flag burning MIGHT cause; it's about the flag burning itself.

- - - - - - -

Back to you for now.
Debate Round No. 3
mongeese

Pro

"That is the most ridiculous argument I've ever heard..."
You say that something is certain, and yet you don't say WHY. I can only argue against something that has a WHY, or else I just end up disagreeing, and neither of us actually have any proof.
Clearly, burning a flag is intended to represent the burning of a country. This statement is supported just as much as my opponent's.

"2. My opponent agrees that throwing people in jail for protesting the government is has the resemblance of a Chinese or Afghanistan ideology..."
In China, they go so far as to restrict freedom of speech. It is much safer and more lenient to restrict freedom of combustion.

"3. There is no specific symbol for America or anywhere else..."
http://en.wikipedia.org...
"One of the most popular uses of a flag is to symbolize a nation or country."
"It is most commonly used to symbolize a country."
Flags are the symbols of nations.

"4. My opponent says that he's proven that flag burning can be harmful..."
Fire is dangerous. Simple as that. The difference between fires and baseball bats is that fire can be used for anything and lead to massive fires, but if you use a baseball bat for baseball, you aren't clubbing anyone in the head with it, and there's no risk of everyone suffering baseball bat bruises. Unless, of course, the kids decided to fight with the bats, but that's their own fault. The difference is that it doesn't take a decision to go beyond to trigger a massive fire from a flag burning.

"The flag in question would being to the person burning it..."
Then he can burn it on his own property. Burning anything releases smoke, which is bad, and if he should drop the flag on the ground, it can spark a park-fire. Car accidents are different in the fact that driving cars around provide the huge benefit of transportation, a necessity to society, while flag burning really only causes fire.

"Using the word 'combustion'..."
Combustion is just as complicated as petition. Thus, freedom of combustion mirrors freedom of petition. Combustion is the best noun I can think of to represent the act of burning anything. "Freedom of burning" would not properly mirror freedom of petition because it would compare a verb and a noun.

"Like I said, the Constitution doesn't exactly give us the right to chew gum either..."
You weren't arguing a lack of restriction in the Constitution. You were arguing that the Constitution protected freedom of combustion. Big difference.
When the self-expression requires chemical processes that pose the risk of causing everyone to die in a blazing inferno, I'd like to cite my freedom to life.

"And like I've already said, one's right to 'combust' things is entirely irrelevant."
It is entirely relevant, because if one is not allowed to burn things in general on public property, there is no reason why flags should get special treatment.

"My point is that cutting into the image of the American flag seems like it would be a negative thing by your standards..."
That's where you actually look into the situation and use human judgment.
"This guy's put the flag on his cake, as an act of patriotism. Yay!"
"This guy just set the flag on fire... Ah! My eye! A spark flew in my eye! Help me!"
Completely different scenarios.

"So... Pro's saying that we shouldn't be able to express our thoughts..."
If you wish to express your thoughts through highly potentially dangerous means, you should be stopped. If I wanted to express the thought that I think the person beside me is stupid, can I punch him in the face? No. That would interfere with his right to life.

"A symbol is just a representation..."
Ah, but if one burns the representation of their freedom, it looks as if they don't like their freedom. Well, they can just give it up and do some time in jail, now.
"Pro seems to be missing the point that the burning itself is an ACT of freedom..."
You have the freedom of combustion, guaranteed by your flag. You decide to burn the flag. You have lost your freedom of combustion. Whoops.

"At the expense of losing individual liberties..."
Because it is dangerous. And you haven't exactly solidified your point, either.

"... What a joke..."
I analyzed points 1, 2, and 3. That was all you said.
Besides, I can't exactly cite any YouTube videos of a failing flag burn, because when the guy recording realizes that the fire might engulf him, he drops his camcorder and runs.

"So you're saying that because fires are hard to contain, and people are tempted to look at things on fire, that lighting things on fire should be prohibited..."
http://en.wikipedia.org...
"Campfires are prohibited in many public camping areas."
They're one step ahead of you on that. Most places already do prohibit campfires.
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://edocket.access.gpo.gov...
If you read the campfire permit, in which the government allows individuals freedom of combustion, the government is not restricting their freedom of combustion on flags. Thus, the government is already sanctioning any flag burning committed by a person with a campfire permit. Anyone else isn't even allowed to burn wood, and especially not flags, in public property.

"Further, he ignored every single aspect of my argument regarding other potentially dangerous things being made illegal, i.e. driving and other examples."
Well, excuse me for failing to counter an argument that you just made this round!

"Moreover, why should I be proving the affirmative?..."
I'm just asking you to affirm ONE statement, a statement that you claimed to be true. You should take the burden of proof for the statements that you make.

"I have not only refuted your weak arguments..."
Fire is dangerous. Its burning can lead to massive fires, given a good wind. Any fire can lead to an inferno.
http://ezinearticles.com...
"It is far too easy for a campfire to spread becoming a forest fire."

"This is a complete exaggeration of what would likely happen at such an 'event.'"
You claim that it is an exaggeration, but you give no reason why. Furthermore, ANY flag burning can lead to massive fires, no matter how safe it may appear.

"However, this debate isn't about the HARM that flag burning MIGHT cause; it's about the flag burning itself."
However, flag burning directly leads to the potential harms of flag burning, which is a fairly good reason for it to be outlawed.

I'm going to anticipate one of your arguments right now.
You: "But what it the fire DOESN'T spread? Why still arrest them?"
White-collar crimes.
When a man borrows money out of his company's safe investment to temporarily receive high returns from a very risky investment, there might be, say, a 10% chance that he doesn't get his money back. He intends to keep all profits made for himself. Should he fail, he should naturally be arrested for losing the company billions unfairly. However, if he succeeds, and it is later discovered what he had done, he should still be arrested and brought to justice, and fined that money. This is because he was risking something that wasn't his, and instead endangered his company's people.
If only the people that failed their white-collar crimes were arrested, none of the money lost in such transactions would ever be recovered. Additionally, because the executive risked the workers' money, the benefit should go to the workers, not the executive, because the workers could have lost everything.
This is similar to flag burning. When a man burns a flag, there is a chance of success, but every time he does it, he is endangering the public property. He should obviously be stopped before he ends up with a forest fire on his hands.
It's also like prohibiting people from driving drunk. You stop them before they actually get into an accident, so as to preserve life.

Thank you for this debate. Good day.
Danielle

Con

Re: Clearly, burning a flag is intended to represent the burning of a country. This statement is supported just as much as my opponent's.

I highly disagree with you, Pro. Flag burning isn't intended to represent the burning of a country; it's supposed to symbolize a form of protest - that's it - usually against the government. Some of the many connotation's of a flag's symbolism is freedom and liberty, for example. If people feel that the U.S. is prohibiting either of these things, say if Congress enacted anti-abortion laws, people may burn the flag to represent the idea that the U.S. is desecrating American freedom. Thus, it's not the country itself that people intend to protest, but rather the values being represented by government actions.

--

Re: In China, they go so far as to restrict freedom of speech. It is much safer and more lenient to restrict freedom of combustion.

I could argue that prohibiting flag burning IS violating free speech. It violates a freedom of expression which does not cause explicit physical harm to anyone. What my opponent is calling for is censorship, much like the censorship imposed upon more oppressed nations.

--

Re: Flags are the symbols of nations.

I've already addressed this.

--

Re: Fire is dangerous. Simple as that.

Again, then my opponent is offering the contention that fire should almost never be used. I've already explained how this is impractical and ridiculous. Moreover, he ignores my points noting that flag burning in almost every situation would be completely harmless. He failed to argue otherwise.

Re (later on): Fire is dangerous. Its burning can lead to massive fires, given a good wind. Any fire can lead to an inferno.

Uh... so my opponent opposes fire of all kind? Again, he hasn't defended this.

--

Re: Then he can burn it on his own property. Burning anything releases smoke, which is bad, and if he should drop the flag on the ground, it can spark a park-fire. Car accidents are different in the fact that driving cars around provide the huge benefit of transportation, a necessity to society, while flag burning really only causes fire.

The flag IS the person's own property. Additionally, if you want to eliminate anything that releases smoke, well... you've got a problem. Cars are beneficial, sure, but they're also harmful (and release smoke!). Additionally, you don't NEED cars so really they're just a luxury, and not a necessity. Additionally, flag burning is about more than causing fire. If it weren't, my opponent wouldn't be so adamantly against it. Flag burning is a symbol in and of itself; it represents various American ideals and is not simply meant to cause fire. To argue this is hypocritical against my opponent's very own argument (that flag burning is meaningful and a representation of the U.S.) -- This point is negated.

--

Re: Combustion is just as complicated as petition. Thus, freedom of combustion mirrors freedom of petition. Combustion is the best noun I can think of to represent the act of burning anything. "Freedom of burning" would not properly mirror freedom of petition because it would compare a verb and a noun.

Uh, mayhaps you could have worded things differently? I don't know. I'm not an English teacher. This has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

--

Re: When the self-expression requires chemical processes that pose the risk of causing everyone to die in a blazing inferno, I'd like to cite my freedom to life.

This is the most ignorant argument ever. Again, my opponent is suggesting that anything that could pose a type of risk upon society should be outlawed. In that case, almost EVERYTHING should be illegal. Candles are known to cause fires. Electrical wires are known to cause fires. Etc. In order for this point to be valid, my opponent would have had to argue that eliminating everything potentially (and not probably) dangerous to society would be beneficial. Citing his "freedom to life" is both dramatic and irrelevant.

--

Re: It is entirely relevant, because if one is not allowed to burn things in general on public property, there is no reason why flags should get special treatment.

Never did my opponent suggest nor prove that burning anything on public property was illegal. Therefore, it can not be taken into account now. Plus, there are exceptions to everything. An example is that fireworks are illegal in the state of NY, but on the 4th of July, there is a special fireworks display (and fireworks can be dangerous... and yes, they do this on public property) completely within legal parameters. So.

--

Re: However, flag burning directly leads to the potential harms of flag burning, which is a fairly good reason for it to be outlawed.

I noticed that my opponent is against Gun Control. So am I. He probably realizes that similarly, just because some people MIGHT be harmed as a result of legal firearms, that is no reason to assume that they would be and thus infringe upon everyone's rights "just in case." Rather, we should take steps to ensure and exhibit safety. The same logic applies to flag burning. Although a fire MIGHT (but probably wouldn't) lead to a so-called blazing inferno, that doesn't mean that freedom of expression should be limited, affecting everyone individually and representing America (as tyrannical) as a whole.

--

Re: Fire as a white collar crime.

Come on now. What my opponent SHOULD have argued (maybe) was the possibility of flag burning as a victimless crime, buuut he didn't, so. Plus, I would have negated that anyway.

--

CONCLUSION:

There is currently nothing in the Constitution's definition of freedom of expression that declares or indicates that flag-burning should be illegal. In Texas v. Johnson, the Supreme Court upheld the decision that burning the flag was a form of free speech. Bans on flag-burning are clear violations of the free exercise of speech, a fundamental right in our democracy. Using the Constitution to promote patriotic sentiments would be a cynical abuse of legislative power. Those who support amending the Constitution to protect flags would establish a dangerous precedent that would erode our liberties [1]. Thus, banning flag burning would actually do more harm than good. The outlandish claims about safety and "combustion" made by my opponent are mere distractions of the true issue: a violation of the first amendment, and America's right to both protest and exercise the liberties that we are supposed to protect.

Source:
[1] http://www.speakout.com...)
Debate Round No. 4
44 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mongeese 8 years ago
mongeese
Interesting. My opponent wins the debate over the "Constitutional Protection of the Act," and yet, she never actually says the word "Protection."
Posted by mongoose 8 years ago
mongoose
"3. I gave Con the win for the issue of Constitutional Protection of the Act. We are allowed to do things, even when the Constitution doesn't contain a clause saying we can't (9th amendment people?)'"

Last I checked, the Constitution doesn't ban murder. But can I kill you legally? No.
Posted by mongeese 8 years ago
mongeese
"2. Sources were better. Point in Case: Don't use WIKI!!!"
My opponent used one non-Wiki source. I used Wiki, and eight independent sources. I really don't see how CON can win sources.
Posted by BishMasterJr 8 years ago
BishMasterJr
Reason number 3 should read at the end...

"even when the Constitution doesn't contain a clause saying we CAN (not can't)"
Posted by BishMasterJr 8 years ago
BishMasterJr
I gave my vote to Con.

Reasons:
1. While the idea behind Con's 7th Rebuttal (I think?) dealing with the Civil Right's Act were attacked, the Pro seemed to skip around the argument. There was no real rebuttal by the Pro to say that the right to protest on public property didn't apply to Flag Burning.
2. Sources were better. Point in Case: Don't use WIKI!!!
3. I gave Con the win for the issue of Constitutional Protection of the Act. We are allowed to do things, even when the Constitution doesn't contain a clause saying we can't (9th amendment people?)

A few things I would have liked to see... Note: I did not Judge on these issues
1. To Pro: Con made it very easy for me because she posted the entire message that she sent, labeled that con, and posted yours, labeled that pro, and then posted her rebuttal. While she didn't keep this up the entire time, the times she did it made it much easier to understand than your "...words..." tactic.
2. To Con: You need to get more specific with things. Bringing up the Civil Rights Movement was good, but some quotes from different Bills would have been EXTREMELY helpful to your side.
3. To Pro: You seemed to focus to much on the "not a right to burn" area. I'm not sure what an alternative is, but if I was debating you, I would just start pulling up Supreme Court cases defending one's general right of expression anywhere. And I would have also pulled up the 9th amendment. Last, I would have pulled up the 10th amendment (since you stated the federal government, and b/c the Constitution doesn't give the Fed. the right to regulate flag burning, the issue would fall to the states.)

All in all though, good debate on a controversial issue. Good job, both of you. :D
Posted by Rob1Billion 8 years ago
Rob1Billion
I echo skeptic's comments exactly.
Posted by mongeese 8 years ago
mongeese
"you can regulate things being burnt"
That's the government's job, and the reason for "without being sactioned by gov't."
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
Attempts to make flag burning illegal are just pathethic attempts to fill one's patriotic emotions. Yes, lets take arms against those who dare stand before YOO-ESS-AYE! >.>

C: TIE
S&G: TIE
A: PRO's argument were filled with appeal to emotions, and an awkward "fire" argument that is nonsensical when you realize that 1. you can regulate things being burnt and 2. should everything that is for the purpose of burning be banned?! - vote to CON.
S: TIE - nothing substantial
Posted by mongeese 8 years ago
mongeese
Reason and philoshiphy don't point out that fire is dangerous. Sources do. Besides, I labeled the "offensive" argument as my first argument, freeing up the opportunity to make a second argument for my case.

"there is no way pro won this debate. him and his twin must be cheating. haha."
Great minds think alike.
Posted by numa 8 years ago
numa
there is no way pro won this debate. him and his twin must be cheating. haha.
18 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
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