Hate Speech Should Not Be Protected Under Freedom of Speech
Debate Rounds (3)
Format should go like this
Round 1- prop initiates and lays out definitions, opp accepts and provides any additional clarifications
Round 2- Pro arguments, Con-ref and arguments
Round 3- Pro ref and conclusion, con- conclusion
Hate Speech- speech that offends, threatens, or insults groups, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits. (American Bar Association)
Freedom of Speech- the right to express facts and opinions subject only to reasonable limitations... guaranteed by the 1st and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution and similar provisions of some state constitutions. (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
Protect- To ensure the ability to speak in manner discussed in debate (hate speech) without legal repercussions.
First, I agree with user jascha in the comments. With your consent, lets modify the definition of hate speech to speech that insults or offends groups..., instead of threatens, because that is already pretty much not protected. Secondly, to clarify, we are arguing whether or not hate speech SHOULD be protected, because as of now it most certainly is. Thus, the argument "its protected right now" has no bearing on the debate.
Now to my plan:
Criminalizing hate speech (ie making offenders pay fine, etc.) would be way too impractical for our overworked justice system, hard to prove/disprove, and open to abuse. Thus the plan I will be proposing is to classify hate speech as fighting words under the Fighting Words Doctrine. Specifically, the doctrine, set in US Supreme Court Case Chaplinsky v. The State of New Hampshire ruled that two types of speech were NOT PROTECTED under the first amendment: words that by their very utterance inflict injury, and speech that incites an immediate breach of the peace. Thus, the prop would not protect hate speech by classifying them as "words that by their very utterance inflict injury" (which I will prove). So, if someone was using hate speech, and it led to an altercation, they could not claim self-defense. In other words, hate speech would no longer be protected in the court of law.
Alternatively, if the Fighting Words Doctrine does not work, Group Libel Laws have also been ruled constitution by the Supreme Court (including a hate speech case Beauharnais v. Illinois (1952)), though I will not go into the details unless necessitated by the debate.
First Point: Hate Speech Causes Societal and Personal Harm and Violence
Even though hate speech is not addressed to individuals, it ends up harming individuals by creating a atmosphere that leads to a multitude of physical and psychological injuries, the injury part of "words that by their very utterance inflict injury" clause in the Fighting Words Doctrine.
Here's some studies that prove it (coming straight of my team's prop/opp chart):
1) According to research completed by professors Kitano and Allport, the effects of hate speech include displaced aggression, avoidance, retreat, withdrawal, alcoholism, and suicide. The special report of the Attorney General of California  demonstrates that epithets and harassment "often cause deep emotional scarring and bring feelings of intimidation and fear that pervade every aspect of a victim's life."
Source: Center for First Amendment Studies, Craig R. Smith, California State University Long Beach
2) Hate speech is a pervasive problem suffered particularly by ethnic and sexual minorities. It can undermine self esteem, cause isolation, and result in violence. Words can be damaging and the damage can be heightened by emotion and other contextual factors. Unfortunately, hate crimes are the on rise. According to FBI figures released on November 22, 2004, hate crimes rose from 7,462 in 2002 to 7,489 in 2003. Half of these crimes targeted racial groups; 2,548 against Blacks, 830 against whites, 231 against Asians. Religious intolerance was the cause of 1,343 crimes, and of these, 927 targeted Jews. Attacks based on sexual orientation amounted to 1,239 cases.
Source: Center for First Amendment Studies, Craig R. Smith, California State University Long Beach
To sum up the point, hate speech leads to harming specific individuals even though it is not addressed to them specifically per say. Additionally this appears to leading the rise in hate crimes as well, because it increasing destabilizes not only the victims, but the environment that shields minorities from hate. This is also interesting to note, because incitement to imminent lawless action is also not protected, another way hate speech shouldn't be protected.
Point 2: Human Rights vs. Civil Rights.
Ok here I go a little macro. Human right are more fundamental than civil rights by their very nature. Thus it would lead to the conclusion that if a human right was in direct violation of a civil right, the civil right would be overruled. Thus, in this point I argue that based off the Human Rights put forth by the United Nations, hate speech should not be protected, because it directly violates human rights.
1) The UN"s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights establishes that all people have the right to freedom of expression before stating: "Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law." The United States ratified this covenant.
2) Additionally, Hate Speech can be intrepid to violate some of the human rights put forth in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Specifically it violates articles 3 and 5. Article 3 is that everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. Hate speech violates the security of a person (as proven in point 1). Article 5 stipulates that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Hate speech is degrading and inhumane treatment of an entire population, and thus is definitely a violation of Article 5. Source: United Nations
To sum up, the human rights trump civil rights, and peoples right to be protected from hate speech gets trumps the civil right of hate speech.
The government of the United States has no place protecting speech that harms its citizens, even that harm manifests indirectly, nor should it protect speech that flaunts others undeniable human rights.
I do not care about what someone else thinks or how hurt they are by what I say. If you want to limit my speech, I will be waiting with my 2nd Amendment strapped to my side.
By your definition, and I do agree of altering it, you want any insulting language to be banned. I fear that with this argument, you will likely end up breaking my record of never swearing on debate.org.
This is plainly absurd. Hate speech is burning a cross in front of a black family. This actually happened, and it was banned because a burning cross is a sign of the KKK, which is a very hateful group. However, my ability to call someone the "n" word for example, should not be taken away. I want to speak freely and that is it.
One flaw I find in your argument is that hateful speech is subjective. One may find it hateful, the other may not. Under this stupid law that you want to make, people could abuse the system and just categorize everything as hateful, and the court would have to agree. You cannot say what might hurt others feelings, because people nowadays are insulted by everything!
Those hate crimes you mentioned were very severe. A hate crime is a normal crime, such as assault, rape, or murder, but it was initialized due to race or cultural differences.
I agree that threats should not be protected, and they already aren't. If you are found saying severe threats, you will be fined or sent to prison.
However, I should and will have the right to insult others based on whatever I please. The great thing about freedom of speech is being able to say what you want without having to care about other people. If we were to make hate speech illegal, we would have to get 10x the police force, and we could cut all taxes because the fines would bring in so much revenue.
I'm sorry if I am a little forward, just that I am a strong believer in the Constitution and it really aggravates me when people try to argue that we do not need these rights.
Now to answer the main ideas you expressed in your argument.
First to your example of the KKK burning a cross. This act was meant as intimidation (and maybe even incitement to imminent lawless action), so it is hate crime, not hate speech. Again, your ability to call someone the "n" word may/may not be protected under the current interpretations of the Constitution as established in the Fighting Words Doctrine, regardless of this debate.
You also said a bunch of things about making it illegal and needing 10x the police force, but that suggests you misunderstand my plan (I apologize if I was not clear about the distinction). Fighting Words Doctrine means if your hate speech leads to an altercation, you can not claim self-defense via freedom of speech. If a man whose race/sexual orientation/ethnicity was being insulted by you initiated a fight with you, if you fought you would not be employing self-defense in the eyes of the law, because your actions initiated the confrontation. However it DOES NOT MEAN, as you say, that you can just get thrown in jail for your hateful words. Imagine it like alcohol. We are not saying you can't drink alcohol, but if you run over someone while drunk driving, you aren't absolved from the crime because you were drunk. We are not banning hate speech, just no longer protecting it in the eyes of the court. You are allowed to say whatever racist things you want, but the courts of the US are not going to protect you from the repercussions of those actions.
Then you went on to talk about hate speech subjectivity. The times when the Fighting Words Doctrine would be used is if a violent altercation went to court. There it would be in front of a jury, who would decide whether or not the speech actually qualified as hate speech. And you are right, what is and isn't hate speech does change with society (ie, 200 years ago, the "n" word was pretty commonplace and accepted), but laws are made by society (that's one of the reasons we have a jury). In short, a jury will decide what is and isn't hate speech on a case by case basis taking into consideration the overall situation, etc.
You opened with a quote that "the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable." But as I proved in my first argument, hate speech goes beyond offensive and disagreeable- it inflicts personal and societal psychological and physical harm.
Finally, you keep saying that you have the right to insult others based on whatever you please. This proves you have a misconception what Freedom of Speech really is. The fact is, you don' have the right to insult others. You don't have it if the US goes with my proposal, you don't have it in the status quo. Numerous Supreme Court cases have addressed what qualifies as obscene language (the most recent being Miller v. California), but in all of the them calling someone the n-word is not protected. Furthermore, certain degrees of obsceneties when directed at a person are already considered Fighting Words under the current doctrine, not the expanded one I propose. The right we are arguing for is the right to insult groups of people, not individuals.
To sum up, my opponent thus far completely ignored my statistics proving that 1) Hate speech EVEN IF NOT DIRECTED AT AN INDIVIDUAL (which at that point would be considered obscenity/threatening), still causes the individuals in the race/gender/sexual orientation pyschological distress which can lead to dangerous and self-harming behaviors, and 2) leads to a society where there is an increase in physical violence against the subjects of hate speech. Speech that harms others is not protected, and so hate speech likewise should not be protected. He has also completely dropped my point about how the human rights of the victims outweigh the civil right of perpetrators. Additionally, I have addressed everything I possibly could (if he makes new arguments in the third round I can't rebut)
Finally one last thought. My opponent repeated said he or she does not care about what if others are hurt by their speech. So why should courts of the United States of American care if they are hurt as a direct cause of their speech? Vote Pro.
(One final thank you to my opponent. Regardless of how this debate goes, it was an honor debating you, and you have helped me strengthen my case for the future.)
(Don't worry, I never curse at people during debates)
Freedom of speech always has to be top priority. It should never be that in a public setting you have to think of what to say. If you are physically attacked for what you say, that impedes on your right to free speech, and also it is classified as assault, and you can press charges.
However, any word, no matter the severity should be protected. That does not mean, in any way, that you should use it, but there should never be a time when you can be fined or jailed for what you say.
Psychological stress or harm does not matter to me.
Again, it should never be considered breaking the law if you say something to someone, no matter the severity.
There are rules in courts and public hearings, that you cannot verbally harass someone. Harassment is, of course, something you can be reprimanded on by the justice system. Continuously insulting someone is harassment, unless you are doing it out of verbal defense.
"Under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the right of free speech is broad and guaranteed to all. This Amendment prohibits the federal government from abridging this right, and the U.S. Supreme Court in modern times has interpreted the First Amendment as also limiting the ability of state and local governments to regulate speech expression."
First, certain kinds of contents has been ruled to have either more limited protection, or in some cases, no protection at all. Among unprotected categories of speech are pornography (obscenity), child pornography, "fighting words," and incitement to imminent violent action, such as threats to kill an individual.
"Commercial speech and speech that constitutes libel or slander are provided with a lesser level of protection. Commercial speech can be regulated to make sure that it is not misleading or fraudulent, and defamation, while it can"t be prohibited outright, can subject a speaker or author to a lawsuit for damages. "Indecent" speech may face particular restrictions when minors are exposed to it, and this has resulted in the regulation of indecent expression in broadcasting."
I agree that it is not very good to slander someone and demean them, but you should be able to. If we cannot express our grievances with anger, then what good is it?
Need I remind you that the nations with the most restrictions on Freedom of Speech are authoritative nations, mostly in the Middle East. Anything said against the Muslim authority is justifiable by flogging, imprisonment, or death.
This is America, not Iran. We cannot lose this basic Constitutional right that millions died protecting.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by PericIes 1 year ago
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