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The Contender
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Pick your own debate - 1B

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/20/2009 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 925 times Debate No: 7493
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)




If you have participated or read any of these types of debates before, then this one should be no different. However, for those who haven't:

ROUND 1: This obviously includes my opening introduction and rules. For my opponent, he/she will post 3 topics he wishes to debate, and then post his/her position on each of the topics. Please try to add a mix of subject. Have some deal with religion, others with politics, others with art, others with social issues, etc.

ROUND 2-4: I will start my case by supporting or attacking one of three positions my opponent proposed. It should follow throughout as a normal 3-Round debate.

*NOTE* - I realize that politics are almost undoubtedly tangled with social issues, but a somewhat cut between the two would be fine. By politics, I imagine topics such as what is the best political system, what role does the government play, economics, taxes, so on and so forth. By social issues, I imagine topics such as gay marriage, abortion, euthanasia, so on and so forth.

*NOTE* - The "1B" notation is for purely for browsing purposes.

If there's any concerns or questions, leave it at the comments sections.


Well this is certainly interesting. I'll accept the challenge simply because I like your format.

Given that you're opening this debate with the Pro Position, I'll structure my topics and arguments so that I have the Con Position on each issue.

Issue #1 - Art

Topic: Musical artists are free to publish any music of their choosing regardless if that music is considered obscene or "bad for children."

I'll take the Con position and say that musical artists have a responsibility to their audience, and in some cases, their music should be censored.

Issue #2 - Religion

Topic: The Catholic Church Should Hold True to its Traditional Social Values (ex. anti divorce, anti abortion, women should always stay at home with children etc.)

I'll take the Con position and say that the Catholic Church should modify some of their traditional beliefs and adopt those that are more suitable for today's society

Issue #3 - Social Issues

Topic: Gay people should accept Civil Unions as a valid recognition of their relationships, and not seek the term of Marriage.

I'll take the Con position and say that gay couples are entitled to the same terminology as straight couples.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting this open debate, and for his interesting and fresh topics. I will be choosing the first resolution - pertaining to art. I will assume any thing pertaining to the legality of music censorship takes place in the U.S., or a first-world country. I think most would agree that places like Saudi Arabia don't allow as much leniency as America, and that this triviality shouldn't concern this debate. So onto the argument!

Freedom of Expression

As we all should know, the freedom of expression is vital to everyone. It also applies for musicians. They should be allowed to publish their music even if it's considered explicit. Because we should be allowed to voice our opinions and sentiments, musicians should be allowed to do so.


While I realize my opening argument is short and brief, I have no idea what direction my opponent will go. Therefore, I give him quite the opening ground to develop his counterargument, and I'll haul *ss from there.


Art - Censorship

1. Freedom of Expression is vital to everyone and it's one of the most important parts of our Constitution. However, expressing yourself (and then refusing to accept responsibility) is Constitution Abuse.

The foundation of my argument is NOT that musical artists don't have the right to publish and distribute their music. They do. Rather it's their blatant refusal to accept responsibility for the music they publish that leads me to believe that some of the music should be censored.

My opponent's may say that I'm arguing to "take away artistic rights." My response is that artists give up those rights when they refuse to admit their music is having an effect on those who listen to it. If artists would step up to the plate and admit their music has an effect on listeners (and that the emotional effect is intentional) then maybe I'd be less prone to argue for them being censored.

Musical artists who publish explicit albums like to put responsibility for negative behaviors resulting from their music back on the listener. And yes, the listener is responsible.

However, the artists are also responsible. My rationale can be summed up in one question to be asked directly to musical artists.


When I went to school, I was taught that the purpose of art and artistic expression is to make an emotional connection with your audience. The goal of art is to create music, novels, paintings, sculptures, etc. that get people to emotionally connect to a certain idea.

Therefore, if Rap Music Artists or Heavy Metal Bands publish music suggesting that people should kill each other, rape each other, or steal from each other could they not be somewhat responsible for listeners going out and performing those acts? They are intentionally creating an emotional tie between the listener and behaviors that are harmful to others.

If an artist claims that his music has NO EFFECT on his listener, then the artist is essentially saying that his music does not make any type of emotional connection with his audience. Therefore, how can his music even be considered art?

Now, if an artist wants to say that his music is "art", then he has to admit there is an INTENTIONAL and PRE MEDITATED emotional connection being made between the himself and his listener. This connection creates an influence on behavior. Therefore, there is a level of responsibility that should be placed upon an artist for those behaviors (up to and including censorship in some cases)

Artists who publish music with positive messages admit this to be true all the time. They say things like, "I wanted to release a record that would motivate people and help them through difficult situations in their lives." How many songs do each of us have in our music libraries that lift us up and motivate us to do better things? Lots! In many ways, the artists who publish these songs influence us and the actions we take.

So why is it when some artists publish negative music we claim there's no emotional connection, and thus no responsibility on the artist? Clearly there is.

We all have freedom of speech. And we're all responsible for what we say.

Artists have freedom of speech too. And artists are responsible for what they say.

In the case of allowing music artists to publish explicit music, we're affording them all the rights and privileges of the Constitution, but we're not asking for any responsibility in return. What's wrong with this picture?

Cases where artists publish music promoting violence and anger, and then refuse to accept their responsibility by hiding behind the Constitution is abusive to the very foundation they use to protect themselves.

Therefore, we the people who respect and defend the Constitution have no other recourse than to censor those who are exploiting our principles and many members of our society.

We all have rights. However, rights are not free. They come with a price. And it's time we started asking those people who abuse rights to start paying up.
Debate Round No. 2


For the sake of convenience and clarity, it should be noted that my opponent's argument boils down to one sentence: violent music causes kids to have violent behaviors, thus appropriate censorship of music should be allowed. The keyword is violent; I doubt my opponent would be against music that encourages love, peace, and warm cookies. While shaky, "violent music" can be thought of as music that talk mainly about drugs, violence, sex, etc.

With that said, it should be clear that my main focus is to respond to my opponent's claim that violent music leads to violent behavior in children.

Emotional connection of music, and the consequences

Yes, many times the point of art is to make an "emotional connection" with the audience, despite how vague that phrase is. However, most people do NOT listen to music for some "emotional connection", but rather because they simply like the sound of it. My opponent states that music helps "get people emotionally connect[ed] to a certain idea", and I totally agree with that, but the fact is that most people do not pay attention to the lyrics as so much the sound[1]. Skeptical? Just get a random kid, and ask him for a playlist of his songs (most teenagers have some sort of iPod or playlist on their computer). Choose a random song, and ask them if they recognize it. They most likely will. Now ask them what it MEANS/what the lyrics say. Most would not know this. So we can see already that my opponent's notion of emotional connection shouldn't be overemphasized, as not much importance is placed on the lyrics compared to the sound.

So what does the sound of music, or music, do for a kid then? Yes, we are all aware that listening to music is pleasurable, but what other effects or uses does it have? In a Swedish study, out of three options the one chose most was "atmosphere creation and mood control". In laymen terms, it's simply a way for kids to control and enhance emotional states. When a kid is happy, then can turn on songs that are "happy" or bright. It's already been noted in even infants of 8 months to be able to discriminate between "happy" and "sad" songs. However, what in relevance is this to violent music? Well it can be a way to vent out anger and frustration. Being a heavy metal fan myself (definitely not rap), it many times help controls emotions and stress. Besides that, it's purely for pleasure.

But of course, there's always a demographic of those who pay attention to the lyrics. But, as my opponent states, does it really influence behavior? The answer is no. Studies have already suggested that the "initial causality" is not a "heavy metal syndrome" or "gangsta rap syndrome" that causes teenagers to have antisocial or violent behaviors, but rather it's antisocial or perhaps insecure teenagers to seek out such music.

>>>"If an artist claims that his music has NO EFFECT on his listener, then the artist is essentially saying that his music does not make any type of emotional connection with his audience. Therefore, how can his music even be considered art?"<<<

People listen to music mainly for pleasure, not to connect to some higher ideal.

Should we censor it?

But let's grant that violent music produces, or at least helps produce, violent behavior. There is no controversy that AT LEAST ONE person in the world has been influenced by the lyrics or sound of music to do bad things. But should artists still be allowed to freely distribute their music? Yes - it's their right. HOWEVER, for the mom's in distress, there's an easy solution.

Censor it yourself. The resolution is implying some wide scale or perhaps government-sanctioned censorship of music. While artists should still be able to "freely publish any music of their choosing", whether it be "considered obscene", people can still censor it for themselves. There is no law against a mother taking away a kid's music, no matter if it was justified or not. That being said, parents can take on the initiative themselves to watch for their kids music if they are concerned.


My opponent's "psychological" edge of his argument has been refuted. However, as a fall back, even if my counterargument is negated, he still has to answer my second argument. Parents can censor it privately, but artists shouldn't have some ever-pressing censor on their music when they publish it. This would bring to mind nationally-sanctioned actions/bills/departments or organizations like the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of American film rating system).

*NOTE* - All my sources can be found from the report below. It has a wealth of information, and though it's conclusion may be different from my own, it has many sources that this debate applies to.



David090 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
Oops, it was 3 rounds. Oh well, still a forfeit.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
Sorry for the slow reply, I had things to tend to.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by philosphical 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Epicism 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
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