The Instigator
SpiffyTexan
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Daltonian
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Freedom of the Press ought to be valued over National Security

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Daltonian
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/17/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,073 times Debate No: 63231
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (1)

 

SpiffyTexan

Pro

No government ought to be without censors; and where press is free, none ever will. -Thomas Jefferson
It is because I agree with Thomas Jefferson that I must negate the resolution resolved:
That national security ought to be valued above freedom of the press.
Now to define some key terms.
Definitions: National Security- The responsibility of the government to protect the lives of its citizens from threats, both foreign and domestic.
Freedom of the press-The right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to gather, publish, and distribute information and ideas without government restriction; this right encompasses freedom from prior restraints on publication and freedom from censorship.
Liberty: freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.

Infringements upon essential freedoms in the pursuit of safety and security betray priorities contrary to the fundamental values of democratic nations, and often fails to result in improved security. It is for this reason that I negate today"s resolution My value is Liberty while my value criterion is the protection of 1st amendment freedoms, seeing as it is utterly imperative to have a government system that is entirely transparent to their citizens as to what they are doing. If our government is allowed to listen to all of our phone conversations, track our location, and read our e-mails, let's face it! People may choose to sport middle age technology once again if this absurdity continues. The primary problem with this, is that the world was incredibly short on carrier pigeons last I heard. So let's move now to my three contentions.
C1: The Constitution.
The Constitution clearly specified how our government was to operate, without exception. Freedom of the press was placed in the first amendment because they deemed it most valuable. And if the government is allowed to take this essential freedom away, who is to say they won't take away another. The constitution clearly stated: "congress shall make no law abridging freedom of the press." Not "whenever the government happens to have a whim that they don't want publicized." As a popular joke summarized: A man walked into a library and asked for a copy of the Constitution, the librarian then replied "I'm sorry, we don't carry periodicals." The constitution was put in place to keep the government from becoming what it wasn't meant to be. And freedom of the press is arguably the most influential right in keeping the government accountable. Which brings me to my second contention:
C2: The removal of freedom of the press inspires tyranny.
In keeping the government accountable, freedom of the press hinders the government's ability to do other than what it was elected to do. As Vladimir Lenin said, quote "It is freedom of the press, and freedom of the press alone, that halts our headlong course into socialism." Where freedom of the press is in place, tyranny is impossible For more than 215 years, the United States has managed to flourish in the absence of any federal legislation directly prohibiting the press from publishing government secrets. Freedom of the press is a principal pillar of a free government; and when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Freedom of the press served one purpose in America: To remove the fear of the common law doctrine of seditious libel so citizens could freely speak or publish without license their grievances against public policy or conduct of public officials. One of the distasteful things found under the common law was the government practice of criminalizing or shielding itself through requiring license to publish of any criticism it felt made people dissatisfied with their government. Certain rights should be limited, such as the right to drive 95 miles an hour in a school zone with no seat belt, but not freedom of the press, because freedom of the press is foundational in keeping a government from overstepping their bounds.
C3: Liberty is the preeminent value and is upheld by freedom of the press.
If we valued life over liberty, this country would not be alive today, Our founders seceded from Great Britain, one of the most nationally secure countries, in favor of liberty. By definition, National security values life, while Freedom of the press values liberty. As Patrick Henry so eloquently stated, "Give me liberty or give me death." If the government is allowed to define a national security emergency, then it will do whatever it wants during that time in the name of national security. For example, In the case of Frank Olson; This man was unknowingly given a dose of LSD, a hallucinogenic, in a failed mind control experiment administered by the CIA just 4 days before "accidentally" plunging out of a window to his death 3 stories below. All of this information was recently discovered because the CIA restricted freedom of the press in the name of national security. If the general public knew about this while it was going on, they would have expressed their disapproval and prevented any further actions.
In conclusion, freedom of the press is the most important right in a nation because of the freedom and equality it brings a nation and its population. While national security, when valued above freedom of the press, promotes a corrupt and overpowering government.
Daltonian

Con

Thanks to Pro for instigating. To assume proper debate structure, I will not rebut any of my opponent's contentions yet and will instead rebut everything he has said in round 2.

I also assume that this is a Lincoln-Douglas Debate and would ask voters not to judge sources.

I would also note that I am not required to argue against freedom of the press or downplay it's importance in any manner, only prove that Broader National Security is more important than Freedom of the Press. Freedom of the Press and the Retainment of National Security are not mutually exclusive.

According to the resolution in the debate title,

I will argue that National Security should be valued over Freedom of the Press.


Good luck to Pro!

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

Contention 1. Freedom of the press is irrelevant if people are not protected in utilizing it

This is my only major contention, as it successfully negates the resolution presented almost on it's own. Having a sense of national security promotes and atmosphere of safety and lack of fear of vocalizing your beliefs within the populous.

In a plethora of possible threats to national security, people's lives and safety may be specifically targeted for confidently or strongly utilizing their freedom of the press.

If a newspaper- or all newspapers, depending on the scale of the threat - can not be made to feel safe vocalizing their criticism and outlook through freedom of the press due to outstanding threats to the sanctity of the paper and the lives of it workers, the presence of freedom of the press is rendered irrelevant because it is unable to be safely vocalized.

The press can not be "free" if there is no sense of protection granting them - the press - this right. Rights and freedom of the press are a privilege that are granted to us as people by a better sense of national security, protection, and societal normality. Without these better senses of protection, the privilege of freedom (and by extentia, freedom of the press) would be corrupted.

Thus-so, without protection of freedom of the press, any force could counteract these values and instill agendas of their own that do not include sustaining the freedom of the press. Example: If the Korean People's Army (of North Korea) breached National Security, freedom of the press would not be sustained and it would be nonexistent as people could not safely use it.

P1. Freedom of the press is irrelevant if you cannot successfully use it as a right
P2. Freedom of the press cannot be successfully used as a right if death is associated with vocalizing it
P3. Freedom and Liberty can never be upheld if there is not security - in the case of a country, national security - to protect these values from other forces that would inevitably seek to defer them
P4. Freedom of the press is cannot exist without a sense of security present to protect the right to vocalize it
P5. Freedom of the press is subsistent on security and national security.

Contention 2. Human life is the moral priority, and deprioritization of [national] or human security threatens human life, making prioritization of Freedom of Press immoral

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" - Thomas Jefferson

National Security is Human Security and, to effect, security of life for all of it's citizens therein.

Under this presumption, the preservation of human life is the most sacred aspect of being within a society.

Though it may not entirely matter, how Jefferson lists "life" before "liberty" in this text. The text is presented in such a manner for reason that each of the values presented as unalienable rights (which they all are) are subistent on the one before it.

The right to the pursuit of happiness cannot be assured without liberty, and liberty cannot be assured without life to utilize it with.

P1. Freedom of the Press is every person's liberty
P2. The right to live is every person's liberty
P3. Liberty is a subsistent privilege associated with human life
P4. If human life is put at risk, liberty in it's subsistence is rendered irrelevant
P5. National Security assures human life
P6. National security is inherently to be more valued than freedom of the press as freedom of the press assures a concept that is subsistent upon what national security secures.

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

I will present more extensive arguments in R2, alongside rebuttals to Pro's original contentions, as stated at the beginning of my argument.

Good luck refuting, Pro! :)
Debate Round No. 1
SpiffyTexan

Pro

First off I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate, and wish him good luck in the future rounds.
In this round I will be responding to the arguments presented by the negative side and providing a few more arguments for my side of the resolution.
It seems that my opponent is valuing life over all other rights, so I will include many references to this in my future case.
In response to his contention 1: Freedom of the press is irrelevant if people are not protected in utilizing it, I would say that people's lives significantly decrease in value when rights are taken away, he is valuing life and says that when life is in danger, liberty must be pushed to the wayside. So basically, we could put everyone in a maximum security prison and have perfect national security, but the lives of the people in the absence of their rights would not be as valuable. Patrick Henry said "Give me liberty or give me death." he certainly seemed as though he would not push liberty to the wayside if life was in danger.
"Having a sense of national security promotes and atmosphere of safety and lack of fear of vocalizing your beliefs within the populous. In a plethora of possible threats to national security, people's lives and safety may be specifically targeted for confidently or strongly utilizing their freedom of the press."
My opponent must be arguing that national security should be valued over a free press, I am arguing that a free press ought to be valued over national security. My main argument is that of a governmental actor, or a government making decisions of when to restrict a free press. If we give control over a free press to the government, there will be no accountability between the government and the people. So the people would be more likely to be afraid of their own government than an outside threat in violating a free press. By the example
I gave of Frank Olson being pushed out of a window by CIA operatives under the guise of national security, we can clearly see that when there are no censors to the government, it will do whatever suits it best, including violating my opponent's value of life.
If we could trust the government, there would be no need to have this debate. But when the government has the power to restrict a free press, it can cover up all of the things that it doesn't want the people knowing about, like Frank Olson, The Watergate Scandal, etc.
If the government would be more open with the people about what it was doing, the people would be more supportive of the government, for example, the government told the people what was happening in world war II, and encouraged the people to buy war bonds, we would not have won the war if the people had been withheld information, making them suspicious of their own government. It is in cases where a free press is suppressed, such as the case of Edward Snowden, that information is transformed from being "published" to being "leaked". It is impossible for the people to be in support of governmental action if they don't know about it.
I response to his Contention 2: Human life is the moral priority, and deprioritization of [national] or human security threatens human life, making prioritization of Freedom of Press immoral, I would argue that he is trying to protect a free press merely by upholding national security. He is protecting the country from outside threats, while in reality the greatest danger to a free press is our own government. So human life is not the moral priority, human life is a pragmatic value for achieving things that have intrinsic value, human life has little value by itself, and a free press keeps the government in check and upholds liberty. So valuing freedom of the press over national security is not immoral.
Con's argument please. And good luck!
Daltonian

Con

Thanks again to Pro. Sorry my rebuttals could not be longer, but I can not rebut tomorrow. I'd forgotten there were only 48 hour instead of 72 hour rebuttal periods and did not finish my prewritten structure, so this round may not be as proper as I wanted it to be. I will post a larger and more sophisticated conclusion in R3.

Rebuttals

C1: The Constitution - The only argument my opponent presents here is that Freedom of the Press is mentioned as a right that should be necessarily upheld under the constitution, which I do not disagree with. I am not arguing against Freedom of the Press, I am arguing that National Security is more important because it insures Freedom of the Press amongst other values.

The constitution is a series of laws written on a piece of paper. Whilst serving the prime purpose of dictating how the government functions and what rights the people are entitled to, it can serve no purpose if all amendments decreed within it have no way of being protected or enforced. Continued below.

C2: The removal of freedom of the press inspires tyranny - This argument is irrelevant considering the scope of the debate, as the removal of freedom of the press accompanies breaches in National security. If we remove National Security, it would inspire more tyranny than the removal of Freedom of the Press.

> "X" permits "Y"
> "Y" cannot be inherently more valued than "X", for if "X" is removed, as is "Y". "X" is a direct reason for maintaining "Y".

Replace "X" with Security of the Nation and "Y" with Freedom of the Press.

C3: Liberty is the preeminent value and is upheld by freedom of the press.
Again, see C2. "Freedom of the Press" and "Liberty" are only rights that are available to us whilst we live because we are secure in expressing them.

Consider the definition of "liberty" - (the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views - this means the same as the definition initially provided, it just makes it easier to articulate my case based on how it is phrased)

Liberty, in itself, is reliant on security by definition. Unless societyhas a way of protecting liberty outside social structure like freedom of the press (i.e physical protection) , it cannot continually insure liberty against outside threat. The founding fathers of America were only able to establish the principals of liberty they desired through the creation of an army to protect and enforce the values of liberty; without one, oppressive forces would have continually dominated American society.

Liberty and Freedom of the Press, in the modern world where oppressive force is an inevitable threat, cannot exist without security to protect said values.

Counter-rebuttals

My opponent either misunderstands or misrepresents Contention 1.

"he is valuing life and says that when life is in danger, liberty must be pushed to the wayside."
I did not make this statement. Statements remotely similar to this were made in the next contention. I am more inclined to believe that Pro is just misunderstanding my argument, so I will reclarify it whilst also highlighting that he did not adequately address the points made above in Contention 1, P1-P5.

In Contention 1, I argued that the right to do anything is irrelevant if a person does not feel safe in doing it. National Security insures that "v" person can successfully illustrate their freedom of the press. There is no outside threat prohibiting it. If people don't have insured protection when publishing an article, for example, condemning a religious practice, then they aren't protected at all because it is not their "right". They will be punished for it; there is no sense of national security to prevent said person from being targeted by foreign terrorists or nations.

In Contention 2, my opponent responds with this,
"So basically, we could put everyone in a maximum security prison and have perfect national security, but the lives of the people in the absence of their rights would not be as valuable."

This is an extreme distortion of an argument and can be applied to his stance as well. All things are irrational when taken to an extreme. For example, if we kill everyone on Earth except for five people who are sure to protect freedom of the press, then they would live with their rights in check, but the rights would not be as valuable in themselves as there is less application within them.


If National Security is forfeited, then all of the adverse effects of loss of freedom of the press occur - because oppressive forces that do not value freedom of the press are free to manipulate the governing of the nation - alongside losses of other rights & loss of human life

If Freedom of the press is forfeited, then only the "tyrannies" associated with loss of freedom of the press occur.

This makes national security more important and rightfully valued than freedom of the press.


I will finish rebuttals in the last round, but I will introduce no new points, as that would be unfair to Pro. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 2
SpiffyTexan

Pro

The main thing my opponent can't seem to grasp is that our government is more of a threat to a free press than other governments, our government makes the laws, our government killed Frank Olson. A free press is instrumental in keeping the government from overstepping their bounds. If we give the government the ability to restrict the press for reasons not stated, they can cover their crimes and the people won't know who is a criminal and who isn't on election day. The government is not protecting a free press by making a free press not a free press by restricting it. National security is often used as a guise, and we cannot let the government decide when to restrict a free press.

My opponent's rebuttal to my C1 was that he was not arguing against freedom of the press, and he agreed with the constitution. The constitution states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
My opponent agreed with the constitution and then contradicted himself. He then stated that " it can serve no purpose if all amendments decreed within it have no way of being protected or enforced."
Again, my opponent is using our government to restrict a free press so that other governments won't come in and restrict a free press. Do you see any flaw in that logic?

His response to my C2 was that "the removal of freedom of the press accompanies breaches in National security. If we remove National Security, it would inspire more tyranny than the removal of Freedom of the Press."
Not true, sorry, just not true. My case in no way removes national security, in fact, my case upholds a more secure nation than my opponent's. I am upholding a free press merely to keep government in check to keep them from violating our rights, with this accountability, the politicians will be more inclined to uphold our rights and defend our nation because they know if the don't, the nation will know about it and they will lose power and influence. This totally nullifies my opponent's rebuttal that my case inspires more tyranny than removal of a free press.

His response to my C3 was that "Freedom of the Press" and "Liberty" are only rights that are available to us whilst we live because we are secure in expressing them. "
Wow. How can we be secure in expressing them if we are restricted from expressing them?

My opponent is assuming a great deal, he is assuming that I am removing national security, he is assuming that by upholding a free press we can have no national security, and he is assuming that the government will only restrict a free press for the good of the nation.
Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
National security is not protecting liberty by squashing liberty in restricting a free press.
So his protection argument no longer carries any weight in the round.
A snippet of his final statement:
"If Freedom of the press is forfeited, then only the "tyrannies" associated with loss of freedom of the press occur."
My question for you to ask yourself is this: Which would be worse? An external tyranny that attempts to overtake the stronghold that is America, or American tyranny, that slowly kills our country from the inside out because no one is keeping them responsible by informing the people. The decision is yours, but because all of these things I would strongly urge you to vote for the Pro side of this argument. Thanks for your time, and good luck Con!
Daltonian

Con

Final Rebuttals and Conclusion
In this round, I will only make rebuttals and expand on what I have said in the past.

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

"The main thing my opponent can't seem to grasp is that our government is more of a threat to a free press than other governments, our government makes the laws"

"My question for you to ask yourself is this: Which would be worse? An external tyranny that attempts to overtake the stronghold that is America, or American tyranny, that slowly kills our country from the inside out because no one is keeping them responsible by informing the people"

This point - which is surmised both at the beginning and end of my opponent's argument - is redundant. Once another government takes control because of a lack of National Security, they will 'make the laws' and they will "have the ability to kill Frank Olson" just as easily as the current governing system supposedly did.

The comparison that can be made between the two theoretical governments is that "Current Government A" and "External Government B" may and will differ in to what extent they permit freedom of the press.

"Again, my opponent is using our government to restrict a free press so that other governments won't come in and restrict a free press. Do you see any flaw in that logic?"

Important: this is a misrepresentation of my position.

I am alleging that our government restrict a free press to some extent so that outside governing systems do not come in and forfeit the free press entirely.

Under Current Government A, certain aspects of a Free Press are not permitted.
Under External Government B, (example: dictatorship), close to all forms of free press are prohibited, including things as mundane as this debate itself.

As clarified below, by allowing prioritization of freedom of the press over national security in all cases, we allow the takeover of External Government B (or worse).

My opponent alleges that because minimal forms of restriction of freedom of the press slowly occur within the nation, it is inherently worse than total forfeiture of free press that occurs due to restriction coming from outside the nation. That is fallacious.

"My opponent is assuming a great deal, he is assuming that I am removing national security, he is assuming that by upholding a free press we can have no national security, and he is assuming that the government will only restrict a free press for the good of the nation."

By allowing a completely free press to exist, we can have no national security - this is what I argued. A completely free press implies the direct fall of the nation, as nuclear war codes, possible protocol for the forfeiture of all defense mechanisms (whatever they may be) or etc are leaked once any malicious person with access to knowledge of this information uses freedom of the press to release as much.

The government may well restrict free press for causes other than the good of the nation, but the cases in which they do do it for the good of the nation are vital if the nation is to be upheld.

If they did not restrict the free press in cases that would endanger the existence of the nation - like the leaking of nuclear war codes - the nation and the freedom of press within it would cease to exist, as it would either be destroyed or overrun.

His response to my C3 was that "Freedom of the Press" and "Liberty" are only rights that are available to us whilst we live because we are secure in expressing them. "
Wow. How can we be secure in expressing them if we are restricted from expressing them?

Here, my opponent (in one sentence) surmises that security equivocates restriction and uses a paradoxical line of thought to try and eliminate the credence of my argument.

Restricting minimalist portions of freedom of the press does not equivocate to total forfeiture or restriction.

Let's apply my opponent's logic in context:

"Because I cannot use freedom of the press to publish nuclear war codes, I am not secure in expressing my freedom of the press."

The existence of National Security permits the very liberal freedom of the press the United States already permits, in comparison to most other countries in the world who would threaten the security of the US.

If National Security was nullified as a result of unrestricted freedom of the press, the relatively liberal forms of freedom of the press that the United States would be forfeited in exchange for no freedom of the press at all. This is what my argument alleges.

P1. In all cases, Freedom of the Press is prioritized over National Security.
P2. In one or more cases, information is leaked using this prioritization that leads to the downfall of the sanctity of the nation.
P3. Either the nation is inevitably destroyed or invaded by a malicious force using this information
P4. Freedom of the press is eliminated or further restricted, making P1 redundant.

If Freedom of the Press was to be valued over National Security without exception, total freedom of the press could not exist. Permitting the valuing of National Security over Freedom of the Press in some cases (even if some corruption entails that) allows more freedom of the press to exist than the alternative.


For the above reason(s), Vote Con.

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

Thanks, Pro, for an intriguing debate. May the best argument win!

VOTE CON!
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Daltonian 2 years ago
Daltonian
Yeah, excuse my S&G. I wrote this late at night and accidentally submitted it before rereading and correcting grammatical inconsistencies.

I may forfeit points for that
Posted by Daltonian 2 years ago
Daltonian
I ACCIDENTALLY SUBMITTED IT BEFORE I SPELLCHECKED IT.

I may forfeit some S &G there :$
Posted by Daltonian 2 years ago
Daltonian
I accepted. Cannot post arguments immediately but will within 24 hours or so.

Sorry everyone else ;)
Posted by sengejuri 2 years ago
sengejuri
Dude, change the debate settings, no one can accept this
Posted by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
accepted
Posted by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
I'm interested in taking this. I need to do a little more research though before building my case. If this remains unaccepted I'll most likely take it in a few days.
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
cheyennebodie
There is at this time freedom of the press.That freedom also gives them the right to spin news also. And that has to be guarded against by the individual.That is why we need to have the wisdom to judge intent, not only actions.

The democrats,or liberals, are the only ones who try to curtail speech. They are the ones who try to pass legislation to stop talk radio because it leans heavily conservative.And liberals at universities are the only ones who will shout down any conservative that tries to speak at their university.
Posted by computertooter 2 years ago
computertooter
What an interesting topic! I can not accept your challenge because I agree with you. However, I would debate whether or not we have a free press.
Posted by Daltonian 2 years ago
Daltonian
I'd consider accepting.
Posted by sengejuri 2 years ago
sengejuri
I will accept, but your settings won't let me....
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Jingle_Bombs 2 years ago
Jingle_Bombs
SpiffyTexanDaltonianTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con argues that a completely free press results in loss of national security. But Pro, and rather decently, argued that the freedom of the press can constitute as national security because it ensures a check to the people against domestic tyranny. This then in someways trapped me in an ideological choice between life (security) vs liberty (free press). Con however did appropiately explain that all freedoms are rooted as privileges, and that the constitution and freedom of the press must ultimately begin through the establishment of national security; whereas I think Pro might contend that freedom of the press begins as a natural right. I am tempted to agree with Pro. Had this been an arguement of free-speech vs national security, I might have been swayed, but I was more convicted in my own mind that Freedom of the Press is only one check against government, and is not as broad or as all encompassing to the whole protection of the people and constitution as national-security.