The Instigator
ClassicRobert
Con (against)
Winning
18 Points
The Contender
twocupcakes
Pro (for)
Losing
2 Points

Hate Speech Should Be Made Illegal in America

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
ClassicRobert
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/23/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,929 times Debate No: 34112
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (4)

 

ClassicRobert

Con

In a recent forum, the concept of hate speech was discussed briefly, and it seems that we have differing opinions on the matter. For that reason, I would like to challenge twocupcakes to a debate on the resolution that "Hate Speech Should Be Made Illegal in America." Burden of proof will be shared. My opponent will have to show that hate speech should be made illegal, and I will have to show that it should not be illegal.

Rules:
First round acceptance
No new arguments in the last round
8000 Character Limit
72 Hours to Post Argument
A forfeited round by one side will result in a 7 point gain for the opposing side.

Definitions

Hate Speech: any speech which is forbidden because it may incite violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected individual or group.


I look forward to an interesting debate.
twocupcakes

Pro

Thanks for the debate! I am assuming you are cool with me arguing that the Canadian hate speech laws should be adopted by the USA. If so them LETS GO!
Debate Round No. 1
ClassicRobert

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. I will use this round to outline why hate speech should not be made illegal in America.
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Freedom of Speech

In America, our rights are outlined by the Constitution, most famously through the first ten amendments, also known as the Bill of Rights. As evidenced by the preamble of the Bill of Rights, which stated, “in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added (1),” the Bill of Rights is a set of “negative rights,” which means that they are rights that the government cannot infringe upon in order to prevent the government from having too much power. While they initially only applied to federal government, specific amendments, the First Amendment included, have been incorporated for state use through the Fourteenth Amendment. Freedom of speech was incorporated with the Supreme Court case Gitlow v. New York, so it is now necessary for states to also consider freedom of speech. Specifically, the First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech.” As hate speech, by its definition, is speech; the First Amendment prohibits the American government from making hate speech illegal. On top of that, it seems pointless to have freedom of speech in the first place if an exception is made for certain types of speech.

Broad Definition

The definition, as stated in round one, of hate speech is “any speech which is forbidden because it may incite violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected individual or group.” By this definition, anything that can be deemed offensive to a protected individual or group can be considered hate speech. An environment where offensive speech is forcibly withheld is not a conducive environment for discussion or progress.

Inherent Inequality

By the definition of hate speech, the rights of certain groups and individuals are protected over the rights of others. For example, if a person were to be punished for hate speech, than that would automatically mean that he or she has less freedom of speech than the protected group or individual that was offended, who supposedly only had politically correct things to say. As a law banning hate speech would inherently make it so certain people have less rights under the law than others, it goes against the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which grants all persons “equal protection of the laws (3),” so it should not be put in place.

Illegalizing Hate Speech is an Inadequate Solution

Restricting hate speech does not remove the hatred. All it does is make certain ideas or statements seem as though they are immoral. It makes it seem as though a person having a controversial idea should be punished, simply for having that idea and bringing it to the public for discussion. Essentially, making hate speech illegal does not solve the problem; it only puts a façade over the social unrest that causes hate speech in the first place.

Action vs. Statement

One of the main arguments that people who are for a hate speech ban have is that hate speech can lead to violence. However, there is no thing that a person can say that forces an individual to act out in violence. Regardless of what the speaker says, the victim has the choice whether or not to act out in response. As the Constitution protects every person from punishment for speech, the punishment should fall on the one who performed the illegal actions in response, as there is no spoken word that can take away a person’s choice to demonstrate legal behavior.

Moral Imposition

When someone is to be punished for hate speech, the courts have the ability to decide what speech is hate speech or not, as the definition is very broad and open for interpretation, and that means that the courts are imposing their own moral values onto the people. The courts are, in effect, saying that certain words are morally reprehensible by punishing people for hate speech. Why should the small groups of people (the courts) get to decide what is morally correct and incorrect for the people?

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I would like to close this round with a quote by Benjamin Franklin: “Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins(4).”

I look forward to my opponent’s response.

Sources:

  1. http://www.archives.gov...
  2. http://www.ourcivilisation.com...
  3. http://www.ourdocuments.gov...
  4. “On Freedom of Speech and the Press”, Pennsylvania Gazette, 17 November 1737

twocupcakes

Pro

twocupcakes forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
ClassicRobert

Con

It is unfortunate that Pro decided to forfeit the previous round. That being said, if you look at the first round under the rules section, you will see that there is a heavy punishment for forfeiture.

Extend all arguments.
twocupcakes

Pro

twocupcakes forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
ClassicRobert

Con

This is unfortunate. I was really looking forward to this debate. The rules that we both agreed to state that a forfeited round by one side will result in a 7 point gain for the opposing side. As Pro forfeited two rounds, in accordance to the rules, I should have two full ballots in my favor.

Extend all arguments.

Please vote Con
twocupcakes

Pro

Sorry man. I started a new job and did not really have time to debate. I concede and forfeit. I hope you find a better opponent to debate with as it looks like you have good arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by ClassicRobert 4 years ago
ClassicRobert
I'm glad we're debating this :) I've wanted to do a topic like this for a while.
Posted by twocupcakes 4 years ago
twocupcakes
Cool. Thanks for the challenge. I prob will do it. As many different countries have different hate speech laws, to eliminate confusion, I would like to argue that the hate speech laws of Canada should be adopted by the USA.

"In Canada, advocating genocide[15] or inciting hatred[16] against any 'identifiable group' is an indictable offence under the Criminal Code of Canada with maximum prison terms of two to fourteen years. An 'identifiable group' is defined as 'any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.' It makes exceptions for cases of statements of truth, and subjects of public debate and religious doctrine. The landmark judicial decision on the constitutionality of this law was R. v. Keegstra (1990)."

Does that work?
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by TN05 3 years ago
TN05
ClassicRoberttwocupcakesTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Full seven point vote, per the rules. Pro's good conduct at the end does not make up for violating the rules.
Vote Placed by 1Devilsadvocate 3 years ago
1Devilsadvocate
ClassicRoberttwocupcakesTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: F.F.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
ClassicRoberttwocupcakesTied
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.
Vote Placed by Subutai 3 years ago
Subutai
ClassicRoberttwocupcakesTied
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Total points awarded:51 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.