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The Contender
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National Security is more valuable than Freedom of the Press.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/13/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 825 times Debate No: 45923
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
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Hello there, I would like to have a respectful debate on this topic. My stance shall be that national security is more valuable than freedom of the press. My opponent and I shall both have the burden of proof. He must prove freedom of the press is more valuable than national security. I must prove national security is more valuable than freedom of the press.
This will be a value type debate so present a value. Whichever value is deemed higher will be the standard for this resolution. For example, for the standard of heat, a heater would be more valuable than a piece of gold. For money though etc...

Round 1 Acceptance
Round 2 Present case and rebut
Round 3-5 Only refuting, no new arguments. Examples and analogy's may be brought up.
No bad language or trolling.
No using the Bible or God or religious arguments. This will purely be from an educational standpoint. God may be mentioned in quotes, for example our Deceleration of Independence mentions a Creator.

Thank-you and good luck!


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank-you for accepting. I understand that you are from the U.K. and my case is structured for mainly the U.S. so please bare with me if I talk a little about congress and such. :) Thank-you.

American Founding Father, President, and author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, once claimed, "The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good governance."[1] I strongly agree with Mr. Jefferson and believe that a government"s primary purpose of government should always be to protect the lives of its citizens. It is for this reason that I stand resolved:
"National security ought to be valued above freedom of the press"

Resolution Analysis

Before we move on I would like to quickly make an observation about the resolution. The resolution is not making you have to choose between national security or freedom of the press, merely which one is more valuable.


Freedom of the press:
"The right of publishing books, pamphlets, newspapers, or periodicals without restraint or censorship subject only to the existing laws against libel, sedition, and indecency."[2]

Value: Life
"The condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death."[3]

(I know this is a rather silly definition but for this debate it works. Also I am specifically referring to human life. Rather than animals. )

Criterion: National Security
"A collective term encompassing both national defense and foreign relations of a nation."[4]

Let"s move on to some contentions, or arguments.

Contention 1 Governments Must Uphold Life

At any given moment, a government's primary duty is to protect it's citizen's lives. While governments may
be instituted to protect rights and freedoms as well, without life, all these freedoms and liberties are
superfluous and essentially meaningless. It doesn't matter whether we have free newspapers or free speech,
without life, these are meaningless and useless.

Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Gary Ross explains this well when he says,

Gary Ross, "Who Watches the Watchmen: The Conflict between National Security and Freedom of the Press," published at, National.Intelligence University, July 2011. Gary Ross is a Special Agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. His academic background includes.a Master of Science of Strategic Intelligence (MSSI) degree from the National Intelligence University and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from.Michigan State University, with a dual major in Criminal Justice and Psychology. He has completed advanced training at the National Foreign.Afairs Training Center, the Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

"Though the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were enacted to safeguard individual liberties, including
the First Amendment"s right to a free press, the courts and members of Congress have recognized that
protecting life is of paramount importance."[5]

Therefore a governments primary duty is to protect life.

Contention 2 National Security Protects Life

If a cast doesn"t help heal a broken bone, we would say the cast hasn"t fulfilled it"s purpose. If it hasn"t
fulfilled it"s purpose we would say that it is not legitimate. Likewise, true national security upholds the
lives of a country's citizens. If it doesn"t it was not legitimate national security. Now at this point we must be careful. It would be easy to pull up numerous examples where governments seemed to kill lives in the name of national security within a country rather than uphold them. However we know that true national security is the protector of life.

So if a country kills their own citizens in the name of national security we can conclude that that country did
not have national security. Rather that country abused it"s military power and resources to destroy life. An
example of this is Nazi Germany. In this time of great human life abuse, the Nazi Germany continually
destroyed the lives of their own citizens in the name of national security. However the national security of
Nazi Germany was not true national security. True national security is more the military strength and governments use it to protect life.

Contention 3 National Security supersedes Freedom of the Press

As previously established, a government's primary duty is to protect life, and a government uses national
security to achieve this objective. Therefore is something comes in conflict with this primary goal, it is
logical to subdue it. Basically there are instances when we need to limit our press.

Consider the U.S. District Court case United States v. The Progressive. Journalist Howard Morland
attempted to publish an article that contained information detailing the construction of a hydrogen bomb.
Though the case eventually became moot because this information was published elsewhere, the court"s
temporary injunction on the publication of the article is significant. Judge Robert Warren wrote,

Judge Robert Warren, United States of America, Plaintiff, v. The Progressive, Inc., Erwin Knoll, Samuel Day, Jr., and Howard .Morland,.Defendants, 467 F. Supp. 990, (UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN), Decided March 26, 1979 Accessed via LexisNexis.

"Thus, it is clear that few things, save grave national security concerns, are sufficient to over ride First
Amendment interests. A court is well admonished to approach any requested prior restraint with a great
deal of skepticism. Juxtaposed against the right to freedom of expression is the government's contention
that the national security of this country could be jeopardized by publication of the article."

In the Supreme Court case Schenck v. United States. In his ruling on the case, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote,

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Schenck v. United StatesY4; Baer v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (U.S. Supreme Court), Decided March 3, 1919.Accessed via Lexis Nexis.

"The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a
nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent."

Though the First Amendment charges Congress to make no law abridging the right to freedom of the press,
reality has quickly shown that this right cannot be absolute. For example, libel (the printing of known
falsehoods that slander people) is not protected under the First Amendment. Also, the publication of certain
obscene materials is prohibited. Clearly, we allow limitations on many of our liberties, and the freedom of
the press is no exception.


The best way to ensure a government is pursuing its primary responsibility of their citizen's protection is to
value national security above freedom of the press. Press freedom and all other individual liberties are good
aspects of governments, but as has been clearly shown, they are secondary values and are meaningless without security and life. National Security directly protects life, whereas freedom of the press does not and can sometimes harm it. This is why I strongly urge an affirmative ballot: without the protection national security provides to and its people, nothing else matters. Therefore, I would ask you to stand with me and consider the words of President Jefferson, who recognized that:

"The first duty of government is the protection of life, not its destruction. Abandon that, and you have
abandoned all."[6]
[4] security


henryajevans forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Unfortunately my opponent has not been able too respond my arguments. Technically the round is now done as I stated no new arguments in the rebuttals. However if my opponent wishes to respond later when he has time, I shall gladly debate. :)
I forward all my arguments.


henryajevans forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


ambassador4christ forfeited this round.


henryajevans forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by ambassador4christ 2 years ago
Firstly to educate myself.
Secondly, every debate is to help one articulate and effectively engage the world. Whether Atheist or Christian, debates help you articulate and engage.
Posted by ambassador4christ 2 years ago
sorry for the wait con, i shall post soon!
Posted by SPENCERJOYAGE14 2 years ago
Yep. :)
Posted by ambassador4christ 2 years ago
Posted by SPENCERJOYAGE14 2 years ago
Haha, STOA... In Washington state. I have friends who do LD in NCFCA and we sit for long hours talking about the rez. :) I'm doing LD next year.
Posted by fazz 2 years ago
Why are you debating this question?
Posted by ambassador4christ 2 years ago
haha yup! what region are you from?
Posted by SPENCERJOYAGE14 2 years ago
You are a LDer! NCFCA right?
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