The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Con (against)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
Shawn613
Pro (for)
Winning
13 Points

People should be allowed to erect public statues of whoever they choose

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/4/2011 Category: Arts
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,300 times Debate No: 17394
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (4)
Votes (5)

 

brian_eggleston

Con

The American Government will today unveil a statue of former US President, Ronald Reagan, in London's Grosvenor Square. [1]

This follows the recent unveiling of a grotesque statue of suspected paedophile, Michael Jackson, in West London.

Reagan is not universally loved in Britain because he was a mentor to the hated former Tory Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and he was the inspiration for many of her crimes against the British working classes.

Similarly, many people were strongly opposed to Wacko Jacko's statue but its sponsor, Mohammed "The Phoney Pharaoh" Fayed, simply dismissed its critics as "stupid" and told them to "go to hell." [2]

So, in the teeth of public opposition, should anybody that can afford to be allowed to erect statues of whoever they choose? For example, should right-wing extremists be allowed to erect a statue of Adolf Hitler overlooking the Israeli Embassy or should Muslim fanatics be allowed to unveil a statue of Osama Bin Laden opposite the American Embassy?

I believe that tighter restrictions should be imposed on the erection of statues on public view so that statues that do not command the support of the majority of people following a full and formal public consultation, paid for by the proposed statue's sponsor, should not be erected.

Thank you.

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk...
[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk...
Shawn613

Pro

Normally one would wait until the very end of the debate to declare it's crux. However, considering the number of rounds this debate will have(2) and the obviousness of the crux, I will state that I believe it is: Should we allow citizens to freely declare their beliefs/views/opinions without regulation regarding it's content or subtext. For what is an erection of a statue of a famous political or artistic figure but the declaration of the adoration the citizen has towards said figure?

Disallowing people from expressing their beliefs is more than just an infringement on their rights (Particularly, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights[1] ), it is the realisation of Heraclitus' nightmare, that one particular ideology or belief would extinguish the other.

Pro would otherwise no doubt point out that freedom of speech is limited; that you can't stand at a podium and declare hatred for Jews, and that an erection of a statue of Hitler would be as bad as doing so, so I'll adress that preemptively. I opine that the censorship of such hate speech or the destruction of such a statue would be doing something not as bad, but worse, than hate speech. Such a censorship would, in essence, allow the use of the tool with which such hate was allowed to blossom: the suppression of expression. Suppression and censorship of thought and expression of that thought was what allowed Hitler to reign for his tenure without fear of being overtaken. Any who spoke out against him was beaten or killed by thugs.

The point is, as long as the ability to express an opinion exists, no ideology will ever reign eternal. Morality is an ever-changing, ever-evolving thing, and we should not be so arrogant to assume that the one we exist in today is the one perfect morality. We should allow it to be scrutinized and debated so that it may change with time and evolve.

Censoring an opinion? Geez, might as well make a statue of Hitler ;)

[1] http://www.un.org...
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Con

I would like to thank my opponent, Shawn613 (were there already 612 other Shawns on this site when you joined?) for accepting this debate and for posting such a powerful argument.

In fact, I share my opponent's dislike of censorship and firmly believe that freedoms of speech and of artistic expression should be upheld wherever possible.

However, many people, for example conservative prudes; religious fanatics and militant feminists may be less enlightened and want to see lots of things banned. Nevertheless, their opinions are as valid as anyone else's and their voices must, therefore, be heard.

To illustrate this point, please consider the famous Manneken Pis in Brussels: a public statue of a little boy urinating into a fountain. [1]

This is borderline acceptable in terms of public decency but what if it inspired a German pornographer to commission a similar statue, but having the naked boy replaced with a naked man, also with his lad in his hand, but instead of urinating into a fountain, the man urinates into the open mouth of a statue of a naked woman kneeling before him?

The Germans are fond of that sort of thing and that statue might be acceptable if erected on Germany's street of shame: the Reeperbahn in Hamburg [2]. After all, there would be nothing inherently offensive about such a statue - the Three Graces [3] depicts naked sisters in an incestuous, homoerotic embrace and Michelangelo's David [4] has got his todger out for all to see - and both statues are considered respectable works of art.

However, what if the German pornographer had his statue erected next to the Parish Lantern Tea Room in the genteel village of Walberswick, England [5] or opposite the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah [6] or outside the Faculty of Women and Gender Studies, University of California, Berkeley? [7]

I am sure there would be cries of outrage from the prim old spinsters that make up the majority of residents of Walberswick and there would be protests of rage from the Bible-thumping Mormons that are predominant in Salt Lake City and there would be angry demonstrations from the female students of The University of California if a statue of some porn-star p1ssing into a slut's mouth was erected within their communities.

The sensibilities of the local community must be taken into account when erecting statues – that's why I say people shouldn't be allowed to erect statues willy-nilly.

Thank you.

[1] http://www.bruxelles.be...;
[2] http://maps.google.co.uk...
[3] http://www.artfund.org...
[4] http://smarthistory.org...
[5] http://maps.google.co.uk...
[6] http://maps.google.co.uk...
[7] http://maps.google.co.uk...
Shawn613

Pro

First of all, the name Shawn613 is my first name and the area code I live in: Ottawa. Also, not wanting to be rude, I would like to thank my opponent for thanking me for my argument. I really appreciate it.

I will attempt to summarize your point for a more organized rebuttal, and I sure hope I get what you're saying right seeing as how this is the final round.

Con point: Taste and tact must be taken into account when erecting a monument that is in a public space.

Fair enough. I shouldn't have to look at something I find distasteful when I'm out for a walk or whatever. In theory, anyway. In reality, taste is a purely subjective thing. Just because I find something distasteful and it offends my sensibilities, doesn't mean everyone else does, and doesn't mean I have the right to demand it be taken down.

Now my opponent is a no doubt fantastic debater with a habit of critical thinking, so seeing as he would no doubt destroy my flawed point I posted in the paragraph above, I will do his job for him. The problem with my point above is that the examples of his offensive situations posted above, particularly and hilariously, "angry demonstrations from the female students of The University of California if a statue of some porn-star p1ssing into a slut's mouth was erected within their communities", would spark ire from the majority of a community and not exclusively from myself.

Great point, Shawn (why thank you). However, this whole line of argument is flawed for two reasons in that it has already been rendered irrelevant in my first point, and the resolution provided by this debate's creator has not been supported by his points. Allow me to elaborate...

It's true what my opponent says, that a statue of an adult film star urinating into a prostitute's mouth would cause quite the commotion. However, the resolution is that people should be allowed to erect statues of WHOever (whomever?) they choose, not, "People should be able to erect statues of WHATever they want". So, even if what Con is saying is true, that public sensitivities should disallow pornographic images from being carved in stone in public areas, it does not apply to the resolution.

Secondly, ignoring Con's confusion regarding his own debate, what I said in Round 1 still holds true regardless. Suppression of ideas or opinions is not only FAR more dangerous than a pornographic statue, but is the most dangerous violation of human rights imaginable, and we should not under any circumstances allow it. Especially if that circumstance is some people shielding their child's eyes as they cross the street.
Debate Round No. 2
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by brian_eggleston 6 years ago
brian_eggleston
Good point, Cody.

I was talking about statues on "public view", so that means on both public land and private land - restrictions should apply if the statue can be seen by members of the public, either from the street or when visiting a public venue such as a sporting stadium or shopping centre.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
Cody_Franklin
Are we talking about all land, or just public land? Because the arguments for building a statue in my own front yard are different from the arguments for building the same statue in the town square.
Posted by brian_eggleston 6 years ago
brian_eggleston
* sniggers *
Posted by gerrandesquire 6 years ago
gerrandesquire
You said erect ^_^
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
brian_egglestonShawn613Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Con used examples to illustrate his point a lot better than Pro did. Pro was also rude at times while Con was merely humorous.
Vote Placed by Aaronroy 6 years ago
Aaronroy
brian_egglestonShawn613Tied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: My points go to Pro...Con was very subjective during his first round, especially in when regarding to Margaret Thatcher
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
brian_egglestonShawn613Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con knows way too much about German perversion. The resolution says "whoever" and Con argues with that meaning in R1. In R2 he switches to "whatever" as the meaning, and makes a good case for that. However, Pro wins by taking the original meaning. Free speech covers "who." Te debate never says public or private land. I assume private.
Vote Placed by Double_R 6 years ago
Double_R
brian_egglestonShawn613Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: This debate would have benefited from a more clear resolution. Property rights and zoning restrictions are just some of the mechanisms currently in place that restrict statues from being erected "where ever someone chooses" so the basic premise is false from the start. Beyond that, Pro makes a very good point about human rights to which Cons only rebuttal is an appeal to emotion by giving a "what if" scenario that did not measure up to Pros argument.
Vote Placed by Cobo 6 years ago
Cobo
brian_egglestonShawn613Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: The rights issue wasn't fully refuted to me. But this was a very fun debate to read.