The Instigator
Fritz
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Guidestone
Pro (for)
Winning
5 Points

Internet Censorship in USA

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Guidestone
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/27/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,087 times Debate No: 41349
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)

 

Fritz

Con

First round is acceptance.

I do not support Internet censorship - it is against our consitutional rights.

Good luck to whoever accepts the challenge, and may the better debater win.
Guidestone

Pro

I thank my opponent for proposing this debate. I wish him good luck.

I do support some Internet Censorship as it can protect children and inventors.
Debate Round No. 1
Fritz

Con



Internet censorship by the government is against our constitutional rights.

"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."


This is the first amendment of the US constitution - the clause the provides free speech, free press, etc.


Internet censorship by the government is an abuse of our constitutional rights; it allows for "Congress" - aka government - to determine what speech is acceptable, what press is acceptable, etc.


Internet censorship by the government is an abuse of free speech.


Government has no right to make any rules that abridge or limit our free speech, unless it infringes someone else's rights. I will explain this later.


The Constitution clearly lays out that government cannot limit our free speech. By allowing the government to censor things that it deems as "harmful", Internet censorship by "Congress" is an abuse of our constitutional rights.


Internet censorship by the government is an abuse of free press.


To define what the press is,


"Chief Justice Hughes defined the press as, "every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion." The First Amendment's Freedom of the Press Clause has been extended to media including newspapers, books, plays, movies, and video games."


Pulled from http://en.wikipedia.org....


Remember, Chief Justice Hughes made this statement in 1938 - before the formation of the Internet. However, the Internet is a huge hub for information and opinion - so, the Internet is still considered the "press".


By determining what is appropriate and inappropriate for its people to see, unless it infringes upon others' rights, the government is denying us our Constitutional rights - because "Congress" cannot make any legislation that infringes upon our free speech, free press, etc.


Unless it infringes upon others' rights...


A prominent reason for Internet censorship is child pornography.


Child pornography is infringement on the child's' rights; there is no denying this. Because it infringes upon someone's rights, child porn can be censored.


An example of this can be the revoking of felons' voting rights; if you infringe upon someone else's rights, your rights can be revoked.


But the censorship of information by the government that does not infringe upon others' rights is an abuse of our constitutional rights. Since we are provided with the freedoms of speech and press, we are simply taking advantage of the rights we are given.


Unless information infringes upon someone elses' rights, "Congress" has no right to censor information.


In conclusion, Internet censorship by the government is an abuse of our Constitutional rights because "Congress" does not have the right to abridge our freedom of speech and freedom of press. Unless this speech and press infringes upon others' rights, like in the instance of child porn, the US government has no right to censor information from its people.



Guidestone

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response, but I think he missed a few points.

My opponent claims that determining what speech is acceptable and what press is acceptable it an abuse of our constitutional rights; however, the government already does this in cases of Clear and Present Danger, Fighting Words, Libel and Slander, Obscenity, and Conflict with Other Legitimate Social or Governmental Interests. [1]

My opponent recognizes child pornography as a reason to censor the Internet. Another example could also be to protect intellectual property rights which would be legal under the constitution in Article I. Section 8. "by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries" [2] These are legitimate and constitutional reasons to censor the Internet.

Other reasons to censor the Internet include to protect children from accessing certain inappropriate sites. Although, this does not affect anyone's rights I would claim this is also a legitimate reason to censor the Internet. Further, sites that compromise national security should also be censored, as this is already legal to censor speech that does so it should apply to the Internet too.

None of these censors are a violation of the Constitution.


Sources:
[1]
http://www.freedomforum.org...
[2]http://www.archives.gov...

Debate Round No. 2
Fritz

Con


Clear and Present Danger.


If a dangerous situation arises, and someone gets hurt, that would be a violation of their rights; therefore, in this case, the right can be suspended if someone's rights are infringed.


Fighting words.


Nobody has the right to start a fight or commit violence. Therefore, suspending the right is acceptable if someone's rights are infringed.


Libel and Slander.


Nobody has the "right to lie" - or "damage or defame the reputation of a person or organization." Therefore, suspending the right is acceptable since a person's or organization's rights are infringed.


Conflict with Other Legitimate Social or Governmental Interests.


During a time of war or other conflict, the citizen's rights are in jeopardy if the war is turning against them. Therefore, putting other people's rights in jeopardy is an infringement of their rights.


Obscenity.


Nobody has the right to fill a child with obscenity. It infringes a parent's right to educate their child on things that may be considered "obscene" - things such as sex, pornography, language, etc.


"These are legitimate and constitutional reasons to censor the Internet."


"Congress" has the right to suspend the First Amendment if other's rights are being infringed upon. The five previous points infringe upon other's rights, and can, therefore, be censored. Other than that, "Congress" has no right censor speech or media if no one's rights are being infringed upon.


"Other reasons to censor the Internet include to protect children from accessing certain inappropriate sites."


First, it is unconstitutional for the government to censor those websites; doing so, they are suspending an adult's right to access those sites. However, parents and private corporations do have the right to censor these things from their children. Why?


"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."


Congress - government - should make no laws that limit free speech, free press, etc. unless they infringe upon others' rights. However, parents and private corporations do have the right to censor things.


In conclusion, Internet censorship performed by the government is unconstitutional unless it infringes upon others' rights.



Guidestone

Pro

You sure do like the word if, and you never explain what rights are infringed.

You also say "putting other people's rights in jeopardy is an infringement of their rights."
Would me saying that we should censor the Internet put people's rights in jeopardy; therefore, infringing rights?

Obscenity is not just for children.

"The five previous points infringe upon others rights, and can, therefore, be censored."
This makes you for Internet censorship because you agree there are situations where it should be censored.

It is not unconstitutional for the government to censor to censor inappropriate sites for two reasons. One, Obscenity isn't protected by the first amendment. Two, the first amendment say "Congress" so a state could censor it then.

In conclusion, Internet censorship is perfectly constitutional and my opponent agrees.

Debate Round No. 3
Fritz

Con


"Would me saying that we should censor the Internet put people's rights in jeopardy; therefore, infringing rights?"


This is a very confusing statement; I do not understand what you are stating. If you are saying that censoring the Internet puts people's rights in jeopardy - yes, it does. "Congress" only has the right to suspend the First Amendment if what it on the Internet is an infringement of someone's rights. An example of this would be child pornography.


Another example would be suspending voting rights for felons. Everyone has the right to vote at a certain age, but if you infringe on these rights, you loose your right.


"Obscenity is not just for children."


"In FCC v. Pacifica Foundation the court “recognized an interest in protecting minors from exposure to vulgar and offensive spoken language.”


This is pulled from the website you cited: http://www.freedomforum.org....


"This makes you for Internet censorship because you agree there are situations where it should be censored."


I have said consistently that Internet censorship by the government is an abuse of our constitutional rights unless other constitutional rights are being infringed upon. In situations where no right is infringed upon, then the government is simply abusing our right to free speech, free press, and other such rights.


The government has no right to suspend information or opinion from us that does not abuse our constitutional rights.


"...the first amendment say "Congress" so a state could censor it then."


Notice that is does not distinguish the type of Congress; it says neither national congress nor state congress. This means that no "Congress" can suspend our First Amendment rights.


A state needs approval from a Congress as well - a state Congress. The Constitution does not define "Congress" as a national or state assembly, so any type or form of Congress cannot suspend our First Amendment rights - plain and simple.


"Internet Censorship is perfectly constitutional and my opponent agrees."


I have said consistently that unless other rights are infringed or abused, Internet censorship by the government is an abuse of our constitutional rights.


"Congress shall make no law...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."


Internet censorship by the government for the benefit of the government is an abuse of our rights.


An example. Owning a gun is constitutional; however, when one abuses this right and commits acts of violence with that gun, you are infringing upon other's rights. Your right can be suspended.


Another example. Voting is constitutional; however, when one abuses this right and commits voter fraud or commits a felon, you are infringing upon other's rights. Your right can be suspended.


The Constitution does not provided the right to infringe upon other's rights for your own benefit. In the same way, government cannot infringe upon our rights to free speech, free press, etc. for a benefit of their own.


In conclusion, Internet censorship by the government is not constitutional - however, if it infringes upon one's rights, it is constitutional; the Constitution does not provide the right to abuse the rights of others for a benefit of your own. In the same way, Internet censorship by the government for the benefit of the government is unconstitutional.


I have stated consistently that Internet censorship by the government for the benefit of the government is unconstitutional; my opponent simply states that all forms of censorship are constitutional, which is untrue. The constitution does not provide "Congress" the right to censor unless one's rights are infringed upon. My opponent says that all forms of Internet censorship are acceptable and are not infringement of our rights. Please look over the First Amendment again.


Vote for the debater who's argument is more logical.


Guidestone

Pro

"This is a very confusing statement; I do not understand what you are stating. If you are saying that censoring the Internet puts people's rights in jeopardy - yes, it does. "Congress" only has the right to suspend the First Amendment if what it on the Internet is an infringement of someone's rights. An example of this would be child pornography."

You said anything that puts peoples' rights in jeopardy is an infringement on their rights. Since, you think that Internet censorship infringes on peoples' rights. Then anything that supports Internet censorship would put their rights in jeopardy. Since anything that puts rights in jeopardy is an infringement of rights it should follow that any argument for Internet censorship is an infringement of rights.


"In FCC v. Pacifica Foundation the court “recognized an interest in protecting minors from exposure to vulgar and offensive spoken language.”

This is true but you missed the very first sentence "In June 1973 in Miller v. California, the Supreme Court held in a 5-to-4 decision that obscene materials do not enjoy First Amendment protection."


"I have said consistently that Internet censorship by the government is an abuse of our constitutional rights unless other constitutional rights are being infringed upon. In situations where no right infringes upon, then the government is simply abusing our right to free speech, free press, and other such rights."

You still say there are forms of Internet censorship that are constitutional which is my entire point.


"Notice that is does not distinguish the type of Congress; it says neither national congress nor state congress. This means that no "Congress" can suspend our First Amendment rights."

This is simple not true. Here is why, in the 13 original colonies every colony had a state-sponsored religion. [1] This was not against the constitution because the states did it, and this was agreed by the people who wrote the constitution.

"I have said consistently that unless other rights are infringed or abused, Internet censorship by the government is an abuse of our constitutional rights."

You still say there are forms of Internet censorship that are constitutional which is my entire point.

"In conclusion, Internet censorship by the government is not constitutional - however, if it infringes upon one's rights, it is constitutional"

My opponent even states there is constitutional reasons to censor the Internet, which is what I have been arguing all along.



" My opponent simply states that all forms of censorship are constitutional, which is untrue."

The only thing that is untrue is this statement. I never said that all forms of censorship are constitutional. This is clearly a straw man logical fallacy [2] What I have said in the first round "I do support some Internet Censorship as it can protect children and inventors."


"Vote for the debater who's argument is more logical."

I could not agree more, please do vote for the person who uses less logical fallacies.


Even my opponent says there are constitutional ways to censor the Internet, this was my whole point.


Sources:
[1] http://undergod.procon.org...
[2] https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com...

Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by OtakuJordan 3 years ago
OtakuJordan
FritzGuidestoneTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con admitted that there are cases in which government censorship of the Internet is acceptable, invalidating his own resolution. Pro did an excellent job of raising examples of such cases (e.g., child pornography) for the consideration of his opponent and the voters. Pro clearly wins.