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Freedom must be sacrificed to preserve morality within America

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/13/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,835 times Debate No: 35467
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (25)
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This debate will be common man. We shall not cite sources; debate will be conducted using only preexisting knowledge.

I shall be taking the affirmative.

With that said, let us proceed to the pathway of affirmative arguments.

When our founding fathers brought forth America, they presented an idea that had never before been tested: Freedom. Freedom was their ultimate goal, and while I do not disagree with the fathers of America, I, as the affirmative, do contend that some freedom must be sacrificed. Freedom within restriction is good, however, in America today, we have lost our moral compass in pursuit of the pragmatic values of utilitarian libretarianism. Because of this, I deem it necessary, that we sacrifice, not a lot, but a little freedom, so that as a whole, we retain morality. Let us begin with the unfortunate, but necessary points of definition.

This being common man debate, all definitions provided are operational.

Freedom - The concept that all are entitled to do what they will without inhibiting another's ability to do the same.

Sacrifice - To surrender something one values highly.

Preserve - To protect and keep

Morality - A justified standard of right and wrong

To prove that the resolution stands, I offer the following examples of proof.

1: Drugs. Individuals exercise freedom to obtain mind altering drugs which cause unhealthy addictions and afflictions. The United States government has legalized marijuana within the state of Colorado. Marijuana does not present serious harm to anyone except those who use it, but those who use it are indeed afflected negatively. Marijuana alters the mind of the user and develops unhealthy addictions, and thus is immoral. The conclusion we then reach is that we must sacrifice some freedom of health decisions to better preserve morality. The resolution is proven true.

2: Prostitution. In the state of Nevada, voluntary prostitution is legal. Young women exercise their freedom to pursue a career of their choice and become prostitutes. This is widely considered to be the most immoral, corrupt, and damaging fields of work. Thus, the resolution is again proven true. Some freedom of job choice must be sacrificed to preserve a level of morality.

In conclusion, we have examined the issue at hand, and formulated the idea that freedom must be sacrificed to preserve morality. It doesn't matter what repercussions this will have. All we are arguing is the fact that, if a little freedom is sacrificed, higher levels of morality will be achieved.

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing my opponent's rebuttal.


Firstly which freedoms in particular should be sacrifised and doesn't sacrifising a freedom on its own amount to immorality? Is freedom no in itself a justified standard or right?
Please elaborate on your position further, particularly which freedoms should be sacrifised
Furthermore rectify the contradiction in your opening statement (you mention sacrifising freedoms then you mention restricting freedom

Dealing with the first example you mentioned please explain how marijuana does harm to the user. Marijuana is used in many cases as medication as it has a medicinal benefit to medicinal users. Furthermore please explain how a person smoking marijuana can be reagrded as a "justified wrong". Does a wrong not imply that is must do some sort of harm to someone else or to societu at large. If John Doe smokes a joint of marijuana in the privacy of his home what damage is done to anyone (please note that no conclusive researches have shown that marijuana is harmful, furthermore it is literally impossible to overdose on marijuana, it is one of the few things that you cannot overdose on.To top it off, none ots chemical components are addictive, at worst it would be a mental addiction and would be no different to someone being addicted to a television program). Infact wouldn't John Doe be doing good in such a case, firstly assuming he bought the marijuana from a marijuana seller, he would have possibly helped feed the marijuana seller, (by giving him money). By buying marijuana he creates labour, people are required to grow marijuana and cultivate it (especially on a large scale), by buying one joint John Doe perpetuates this business and makes it profitable, helping feed children of people who work in the marijuana industry

The same applies for prostitution, if someone chooses to prostitute themselves who are we to say that it is immoral. Many girls literally spread their legs at the utterance of the word "love" is prostitution any more immoral than this? Is prostitution any more immorl than sleeping with someone, not for money but for the fact that they are good looking? Following your reasoning should we not then ban the right to have sex because it is exercised in an "immoral" manner?

You also fail to understand that morality is not an absolute value, what is immoral in one culture is not immoral in another, for example, in Southern African culture polygamy is not immoral, whereas in the Western world polygamy is regarded as immoral. Limiting freedoms on the basis of morality would be very difficult and create a variety of inconsistencies and uncertainties within the law. We cannot afford to have a legal system which is riddled with uncertainties especially taking into consideration that one of the aims of the law is to create order within society

Debate Round No. 1


First I would like to thank my opponent for this debate, then respond to my opponents questions.
Freedom to do wrong is not a justified standard of right. How could it be? Thus the freedoms that are sacrificed (spelled with a "c", not an "s") are the ones that grant the ability to be immoral. The "contradiction" in my introduction was intended to illustrate that I do not want abolish all freedoms, just said bad ones. Now lets get to the arguments, shall we?

1. My opponent has committed a grave error in saying,"what is immoral in one culture is not immoral in another". For you see, it shows his belief that social trends determine morality, thus showing that if American culture perceives something as wrong, it is wrong. In other words, my opponent believes that if American society believes prostitution to be wrong, it is wrong. And, at least in my not inconsiderable experience, the majority dictates that prostitution is wrong. My opponents example of polygamy is repudiated by Americans, thus showing that we should not have the freedom to commit immoral acts such as marrying more than one person here in the US. The marijuana issue is split, many in favor of it, many others opposed to it. So, under my opponent's definition of relative morality, marijuana is a moot point, with no compelling evidence favoring either the pro or con. I end my argument with this question: Should we have the freedom to take Meth or Cocaine? These are rejected by American culture, thus proving that, because culture defines morality in my opponents worldview, freedom to pursue drug use must be sacrificed to preserve morality.

2. My opponent has made several unconnected logical leaps when it comes to the issue of prostitution. First and foremost of which is the fallacy of Begging the Question. My opponent stated,"if someone choses to prostitute themselves who are we to say that it is immoral". He is already assuming, with this statement, that the libertarian ideals which I argue against, are true. He assumes that we should have the freedom to do what we want, and he argues that because of this, prostitution is moral. What we are in fact debating is whether or not we should have the freedom to do what we want, regardless of moral repercussion. Furthermore, sleeping with one's spouse is not immoral. That is considered acceptable by American society. But selling your body to someone you are not espoused to is wrong, through and through. At least, according to my opponent's justified standard of society.

Finally, let us conclude argumentation with a recap: 1. All of my opponents points have been refuted. 2. All of my arguments remain standing. Though the one about marijuana is admittedly having trouble doing so, he is not yet prostrate. 3. This leaves you with a clear victor: Locke_Demosthenes. Thank you, and look forward to my opponent's rebuttal!


Seems like a very eager opponent who declares victory long before its been attained, but anyway

"Freedom to do wrong is not a justified standard of right"
That is known throughout the world, and no constitution grants a person a freedom to do something that is regarded as wrongul or unlawful by law

Thus the freedoms that are sacrificed (spelled with a "c", not an "s") are the ones that grant the ability to be immoral.
Morality and the law are two separate creature. A law can be regarded as "immoral" yet it in remains law because it serves a specific purpose (to the benefit of ty). Take for example same sex marriage, according to fundamental and conservative christians (Muslims and a lot of religions included) same sex marriage is an immoral act. However in countries such as South Africa, Canada, the U.K, Australia and Parts of the U.S.A people of the same sex are given the freedom to marry within their sex. The basis of granting such a seemingly "immoral" act legality lies in the right to equality and dignity. By allowing same sex marriages we preserve the constitutional human right to equality and dignity (these are fundamental human rights and are also listed in the United Nations Human Rights Charter) which on its own is benefitial to society as it shows that governments are willing to respect basic human rights.

"i do not want abolish all freedoms, just said bad ones"
This is an extremely (emphasis added) vague statement, what exactly are the "bad" freedoms, who is to be judge and by what basis can we decide that something is bad. Does the government determine what is bad? Is that not it itself a gateway to immoral powers being dictated by government. Say for example a country has an oppressive government and in an attempt to curb the influence of opposition parties they outlaw these parties and label them as terrorists, would the exercise of limiting the freedom in this instance not be immoral?

if American culture perceives something as wrong, it is wrong.
My opponent failed to understand the implications of my statement, morality is a flexible concept if a society deems something to be immoral, it is for that society immoral, which is why Con gave the polygamy example to show how flexible morality really is. Furthermore the mere fact that something is split does not make it a moot point, according to Con's moralistic views maybe it does. My argument is that Freedom need NOT be sacrificed to preserve morality within America, rationality must prevail, firstly we must ask the question, does someone's use of marijuana harm society in anyway? if not why should it be illegal

But selling your body to someone you are not espoused to is wrong, through and through
A lot of people, including influential politicians and in certain cases religious leaders engage the serves or prostitutes, is that not in itself tacitly consenting to the practice of prostitution. Actions speak louder than words, these actions serve to show that they are infact pro prostitution
Debate Round No. 2


I don't have a lot of characters, so forgive me if I skip the pleasantries and cut to the chase.

1. My opponent agrees that freedom to do wrong is a not justified standard of right. Point won by the pro.
2. The sacrificed freedoms we are discussing are the ones that grant the ability to be immoral. My opponents example of same sex marriage is not immoral because, under his view of morality, which varies from culture to culture, American culture on a genral level advocates homosexuality. Thus, this is not a freedom that will be sacrificed. It is moral under the cultural standpoint my opponent has provided.
3. My "vague" argument about bad freedoms shall be explained forthwith: the "bad" freedoms are prostitution, etc. i.e. the ones which we have been debating. And no, the government does not determine what is "bad". It is the society. As my opponent stated, morality is relative from culture to culture. American culture, which we are debating, deems what is right and wrong, so we are not giving immoral powers to an oppressive government.
4. My opponent continues advocating that cultural standards determine what is moral and what isn't moral. I suggest my opponent reread the resolution, because it talks specifically about the United States. So the cultural standards in other countries are irrelevant; morality is based upon the cultural standards of the US. So, because the US society on a general level believes that prostitution is wrong, its wrong.
5. Just because some people support prostitution doesn't necessarily mean that the majority does. And in my experience, the majority does not. Thus in America, prostitution is wrong.
6. Now my opponent has failed to refute any arguments I proposed in my last speech, such as the blatant use of a Begging the Question fallacy, or how his advocation of a cultural standard of morality shows that the resolution is proven true. In the US, which we are debating, prostitution and drugs are considered immoral by the culture, and thus the freedom to exercise the use of said immoral activities must be sacrificed to preserve morality. Because my logic has not been adequately refuted, the resolution stands. A pro ballot is warranted.

In conclusion, I have had a great time debating my estimable and worthy opponent, and I look forward to hearing his final rebuttal. But before you go to cast your votes, I request the following statements be heard.

Morality, and therefore immorality, is defined by culture. My opponent himself has stated this multiple times.
Prostitution, etc. is considered immoral by the majority of American culture, which is what we are debating.
Therefore, the pro and con examples prove that the freedoms to pursue immoral activities must be sacrificed to preserve morality in America. The resolution is proven true.

Thank you, and look forward to the final response, as well as the outcome of the judging.


1. Con refers to Pro's initial statement "some freedom must be sacrificed. Freedom within restriction is good". Pro's initial statement implies that further freedoms must be sacrifised, which means there must be a change so to speak this assertion is supported by another statement made by Con "America today, we have lost our moral compass in pursuit of the pragmatic values of utilitarian that as a whole, we retain morality". Pro implies that America must seek to counter the "wrongs" that she has suffered by granting certain freedoms. Con instead argued that "no constitution grants a person a freedom to do something that is regarded as wrongul or unlawful by law", this should not be regarded as agreeing with Con's statement in anyway. Pro merely asserts that no constitution allows people to do something that is against the principles set in the constitution
2) "under his view of morality, which varies from culture to culture", as Pro constantly refers to Con's views we can perceive this as tacitly accepting this view, (that what is moral is determined by society). The constitution is not therefore a moral compass and is completely divorced of morality (supporting paragraph 1 rebuttal)
3)"American culture on a gen(E)ral level advocates homosexuality". Which American culture on a is Pro referring to, because the last time i checked most countries in the continent America do not condone same sex marriages, furthermore most states in the U.S.A do not condone same-sex marriages. Thus according to Pro's moralistic perspective, this freedom should be sacrificed and along with it rights of homosexuals to be treated as equals and with dignity (so much for morality)
4)"American culture, which we are debating, deems what is right and wrong". Once upon a time American culture both continental and the U.S.A considered equality between different races and sexes as wrong (women and minorities where considered surbodinate to the rest), according to Pro during this period the freedom to vote given to women and minorities should have been sacrificed as it was against the morals of that particular time period. Is this a system that is viable and practical?
5)"prostitution and drugs are considered immoral by the culture" As argued in the previous paragraph, What is "moral" changes from time to time, sacrificing freedoms at whim, to "preserve" morality would create a lot of uncertainty within the law, we would have to constantly assertain what the morals of the day are. And what happens when people begin to condone drug use, which is happening in some states already (particularly with regards to Marijuana), should we not then further subdivide morality to be something that varies between states as that would a lot fairer and indicative of the peoples true views on morality. After all, the U.S.A does follow a federal system and certain laws tend to vary from state to state.

In closing Con has proved that Pro's argument is flawed
Debate Round No. 3
25 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Locke_Demosthenes 4 years ago
Personally, I believe that society does not define morality, but since my opponent provided that definition, I felt it necessary to exploit it to show that even when morality is relative, society still believes that the provided examples are immoral. When it comes to morality, I agree with just about every philosopher to walk the earth that morals are derived specifically from the individuals' religious beliefs, and that societal trends deal with ethics, not morals.
Posted by donald.keller 4 years ago
One does not need to remove rights to gain Morals. One has the moral obligation to preserve the nations morality through education, strong family structure, and one's personal actions.
Posted by mrsatan 4 years ago
If what's moral and what's immoral are entirely dependent on what a society decides is moral or immoral, then it's effectively impossible for any society to lose it's moral compass.

This would hold true no matter what society deems as moral. Even in an extreme case, such as deciding it is moral to kill people for fun.

True morals, however, are simple. It means doing whatever you want, as long as it's not hurting anybody else against their will.
Posted by Cobo 4 years ago
Hmmm...might run a balanced neg on this if it's not taken in by the time the weekend it over.
Posted by Noumena 4 years ago
Do you actually not understand what I'm saying or are these non-serious responses?
Posted by Locke_Demosthenes 4 years ago
So morality is relative to our opinions. I can debate that.
Posted by Noumena 4 years ago
We do, in the debate.
Posted by Locke_Demosthenes 4 years ago
WHO justifies it?
Posted by Noumena 4 years ago
Scratch that. "A justified standard of right and wrong"
Posted by Noumena 4 years ago
"Standards of right and wrong"
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