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

Freedom of speech - should the law be stricter

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/28/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,904 times Debate No: 22383
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




We started a new debate about the same subject as our last debate, we did this because we need to gather different comments and opinions about the same subject.

We are a group of 3 students, we have an assignment for social studies where we have to set up a debate online.
we hope that you will react on our debate seriously because it will be graded.

Our debate is about freedom of speech.
We think freedom of speech is a right we should preserve but we think the law should be adjusted because some people misuse their right to say whatever they want and insult people.
This has already gone so far that there is a politician in the Netherlands who is banned from England because of the discriminating things he has said.
We think that he crossed the line but he is not the only one who insults people without being punished because he has the right of freedom of speech and at the moment the law is not very strict.
We think the law should be stricter, limiting the people in what they have to say and stopping them from insulting and discriminating other people.

What do you think about this subject? tell us what you think and why.

Thank you :)


I thank my opponent (or should I say opponents, if there are more than one of you?) for issuing this debate. As there are three college students all amassing brain power to refute just one lowly highschool student, I hope that I stand a chance in this debate. Regardless, I will advocate against their proposed idea by refuting their points and advocating for no change being made to current speech laws.

Before I begin, I'd like to define a few things. The right to speech, as decreed by the UN, is a universal human right inherently belonging to all persons. So by just advocating for a few people's rights repressed, my opponents must advocate for EVERYONE'S rights being repressed. With this in mind, I will begin going through their argument.

In their first round, they made three arguments for repressing people's rights slightly, which I shall list below and go through individually.

A1: People misuse the right sometimes
A2: Insults are something that shouldn't be allowed because it offends some people
A3: The law isn't strict enough to prevent discrimination

With those in mind, I will go through them in order.

A1 Responses:

While it is a problem that people do take advantage of the right to free speech, is the actions of a minority of our population worth restricting the rights of every person? I advocate that it actually isn't. If one person's actions are poor, is it worth restricting the actions of one hundred people? Fifty people? Twenty people? Ten? The trade-off makes it not worth it in any situation.

A2 Responses:

The insulting nature of some comments are, of course, not the greatest thing to experience for the one being insulted (known from first-hand experience), I advocate that the standard for what is insulting and what isn't insulting is far too subjective to be usable on a global scale. If I were to take the comment "You're gay" and say that to various members of the DDO community, much less the world community, there would be varied levels of reaction to the insult, from no effect (what my reaction would be), to highly offended and enraged, and everywhere in between. With such a subjective basis of judging an action, it would be impossible to effectively enforce.

Also, while this applies to the third argument and will be more thuroughly explained in the next response, where do we draw the line between what is offensive and what isn't? It would become an arbitrary brightline with no enforcability.

A3 Responses:

While there is an element of truth to what she says, the solution she proposes doesn't make things any better. By making stricter laws and harsher enforcement, where do we draw the brightline between trying for a better good and absolute totalitarianism? The brightline invovled there would be absolutely arbitrary and based upon an individual's perspective, with no ability to standardize it. And when we set up a law that doesn't do anything, we set up a law that will be ignored.

Moreover, I ask my opponents how is this to ever be enforced? Are we going to throw kids in jail for teasing each other on the playground, or fighting and bickering for a turn on the swing-set? How do we prevent people in their private homes from occaisionally insulting one another? There isn't a way to enforce it, again setting up the situation where the law would be ignored. The only way possible to enforce this would be to set up a totalitarian dictatorship much like the one shown in George Orwell's "1984", but you would have a fun time trying to actually impliment that kind of government.

While I agree with my opponent in the fact that there is a problem with our speech laws currently, the proposed plan that they offer to solve it doesn't solve anything. Thus, I urge a vote for the con debater.
Debate Round No. 1


Yes there are three of us but we are also high school students.

We understand that it is not fair to change the law just because a very small group of people is misusing it, but we don't want the law of freedom of speech to disappear. We want to have some rules attached to this right just to make people stop from insulting. All the other people who aren't crossing the line won't be affected because of these changes. They were already following the law so some extra rules won't affect them. The only thing we want to discuss and achieve is that there will be a line. A line that makes it clear when you are expression yourself with freedom of speech and when you are discrimination others which is against the law. We hope that people stop discriminating other people because of their gender, religion or beliefs when there is a clearer law concerning this point.

We understand that is difficult to identify when exactly you are insulting. It always depends on the people who are insulted and even the people who are insulting, some people will take it lighter than others. Mostly when you are insulting a group of people it will become hot news but when you are insulting someone personal there is a big chance that that person won't publish that. A person can feel very insulted and find it hard to come out for their beliefs and opinion. We know that when the law is a bit changed and their are rules attached to them that this can still happen but there would be a small difference. People get more confidence and therefore find it easier to express themselves and this will cause insulting people to be more aware of the consequences. At is become ing time that people think a bit harder about what exactly they are saying, there is always another way to express yourself and than you don't have the need to insult others.

At is difficult but it isn't impossible. With kids it's more difficult to control but it's probably able to see when people are making jokes or using insulting because of anger and when people are rally discrimination eachother and crossing the border.



I understand that it would be bad to completely take away the law, which is not what I suggested. How do we determine if one person is really insulting another person, or is just having a bit of good-humored fun? I joke around with my friends and poke fun at them all the time, and they do the same to me. It's all in good fun, and we realize this. Banning insults would also be like banning this playful form of social interraction between friends.

Also, again, since the right is inherently universal, it would have to appply to EVERYONE, not just a select group of people. If you're limiting one person's rights, you would then reciprocally have to limit everyone else's rights. Thus, the resulting trade-off would not be beneficial in the slightest.


I disagree, and instead claim that it is the opposite of what you say for the exact reasons you state. When you're insulting a group of people, your insults are generally varied and generalizing, and thus not too specifically offensive. It's not that applicable to a person, and thus generally doesn't get talked about much. But when you insult a person on a personal level, that's something that gets talked about. When you insult a person, singled out, it's like throwing the gauntlet down and picking a fight.

Of course, there are always exceptions to this, such as racial stereotypes and singled out people who don't ever get offended, but the vast majority would fall under the outlines that I set forth. Thusly, confidence isn't going to be playing any role here. When a person is singled out, there's always talk about it; there's no need to restrict rights to get MORE talking when people are already talking. So you're still going to prefer to universal rights trade-off that makes restricting the right a bad idea.


Again, the border is something to be called into question as really vague and not definitive in the slightest. I could get offended if you said something as simple as "Nana nana boo boo", or it would take forever for me to get insulted and mad, or not at all. There's no definitive way we can catagorize something as objectively "insulting" and "not insulting", thus making the restrictions you propose highly arbitrary.

But, moreover, there isn't a way to really stop it unless we impliment a form of spying into the everyday lives of EVERY SINGLE PERSON on our planet, which would only further restrict certain rights, like the right to privacy on private property. I could simply just wait until no one was around before letting out a string of insults to some unsuspecting average Joe, and the only thing that would prevent me from doing that is if there was someone, basically, spying on me at all times of the day. While I understand your intentions for advocating this idea are good, the end results would only be horribly bad and abusive to people world-wide.

So, in re-cap of how things have gone this debate:
1. By trying to restrict the rights of a few, they restrict the rights of EVERYONE.
2. There's no actual definitive line between what is an insult and what isn't an insult.
3. There's no way to actually enforce this.
Debate Round No. 2


IrisArts forfeited this round.


Lame sauce. I kind of liked this debate.
Oh well. Vote con.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Zaradi 6 years ago
Fair enough.
Posted by IrisArts 6 years ago
This debate is about the Netherlands because that is where we live, but you can apply this subject to almost every country in the world.
Posted by Zaradi 6 years ago
Question: is this specified to any country in general or is it a world-wide scope of ground?
Posted by Zaradi 6 years ago
In a serious vein, I may take this debate. I need to do a bit of research first, but it doesn't look like a bad topic.
Posted by henk96 6 years ago
I think it's a very good subject because it is very actual in the Netherlands nowadays. I agree that you may not insult people also when there is freedom of speech. Because in the first article of the dutch consitution stands that you may not discriminate. I think that the first article of discrimination is more important then the freedom of speech so I agree with your statement.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Travniki 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Dropped
Vote Placed by TUF 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro only lightly hit Con's arguments in the rounds she did debate. Structure was poor, and she lacked BOP. Conduct, arguments, a source points go to con, as pro did not provide any.