Resolved: National security ought to be valued above freedom of the press
Debate Rounds (3)
Political and religious scholar Howard Schwartz once wrote, "My liberty implies your restriction. My right to my property means you can"t touch it. My right to life means you have no right to take life from me"This double-sided nature of liberty can be thought of as the paradox of liberty" (Natural Rights, Natural Limitations, p.3 http://freedomandcapitalism.com...).
In the context of society, each individual"s rights and liberties must have certain limitations to protect the rights of others. As the affirmative, I am convinced that individual rights for a society as a whole are best preserved when freedom of the press is limited in order to preserve national security. Because of this, I stand Resolved: National security ought to be valued above freedom of the press.
National Security: "National security is a coorperate term covering both national defense and foreign relations of the US. It refers to the protection of a nation from attack or other danger by holding adequate armed forces and guarding state secrets." definitions.uslegal.com
Ought: "Used for saying what is the right or sensible thing to do, or the right way to behave." " Macmillan Dictionary, " 2013. http://www.macmillandictionary.com...
Value: "To consider someone or something to be important." " Macmillan Dictionary, " 2013. http://www.macmillandictionary.com...
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." Merriam-Webster.com
My Value in today"s debate round is that of human rights, which are inalienable rights to which all men are entitled, specifically life, liberty, and property; (Definition based on the writings of political philosopher John Locke, specifically Second Treatise on Civil Government, http://oregonstate.edu...).
My Criterion, or the best way to preserve individual rights as a whole is through Justifiable Limitation, which we"ll explain further in the following contentions.
1.The protection of individual rights is the paramount purpose of government
Value decisions between national security and the freedom of the press are made in the realm of government. In debating the relative value of these two concepts, it"s important to acknowledge the purpose of government in order to determine which idea best helps the government to achieve this goal. Our Declaration of Independence boldly declares the purpose of government in these well-known words:
The Declaration of Independence, 1776, http://www.archives.gov....
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men""
A government"s primary purpose is to preserve the inalienable individual rights of its citizens. Thomas Jefferson drew his ideas about individual rights (also known as natural rights) from political theorists such as John Locke. Locke wrote that, in a state of anarchy, men have the absolute freedom to do anything they desire. But because there is no law or protection for their individual rights, those rights can be violated by anyone strong enough to do so. Thus, governments are formed to protect the rights that cannot survive within a state of anarchy.
2.Some rights must be limited in order to preserve individual rights as a whole
Locke argued individual rights are inherently valuable. However, he also recognized that the best way to protect individual rights is to limit the exercise of those rights within a free society. For instance, Americans do not have the liberty to steal each other"s property. Freedom is limited in order to preserve the right of property and the stability of a society that exists to protect individual rights.
This idea is not contrary to the inherent value of individual rights. Locke asserted that it was reasonable for men to give up certain rights when they enter into a society. However, he also stated that the only reason men give up certain elements of their rights is to protect the existence of their rights as a whole. In his Second Treatise on Civil Government, Locke wrote,
John Locke, political philosopher and writer, "Second Treatise on Civil Government," based on 1980 edition published by Hackett Publishing Company, Indianapolis and Cambridge, first published in 1690. http://oregonstate.edu...
"But though men, when they enter into society, give up the equality, liberty, and executive power they had in the state of nature, into the hands of the society, to be so far disposed of by the legislative, as the good of the society shall require; yet it being only with an intention in every one the better to preserve himself, his liberty and property."
Martin Sherman, a lecturer at Tel Aviv University, and Shabati Shavit, former head of the Mossad and current head of the Board of the International Counter Terrorism Institute, confirm this sentiment in their report on tensions between national security and the free press in Israel. They write,
Martin Sherman and Shabati Shavit, "The Media and National Security: The Performance of the Israeli Press in the Eyes of the Israeli Public," Israeli Affairs, July 1, 2006, 557, http://ehis.ebscohost.com.... Accessed via EBSCOHost.
"Since the post-Vietnam era, particularly since the 1991 Gulf War and even more so in the post-9/11 period, there has been a perceptible hardening across the democratic world as to the freedoms that are considered appropriate in times of national crisis, with a growing realization taking hold that some freedoms will have to be reigned in temporarily if they are not to be lost permanently."
3.When freedom of the press is not limited for national security, individual rights as a whole are harmed
Consider for a moment the concept of national security itself. National security means the protection of a nation and its interests. Essentially, when national security is threatened and a government doesn"t have the power to defend its citizens, all the individual rights of all that nation"s citizens are in peril. Consequently, if national security is not upheld, the legal system and political environment which sustain individual rights will likely collapse, and individual rights will be harmed.
Of course, the freedom of the press is an important part of individual rights. The ability to publish and express thoughts freely in writing is vital to any democratic nation. However, we must look at individual rights as a whole, starting with the protection of citizens" lives. Just as with any other right, the freedom of the press must at times be limited in order to preserve individual rights as a whole. When freedom of the press is valued above national security, it causes significant harm to the overall individual rights of citizens.
One specific instance in which too much press freedom directly harmed national security and individual rights can be seen in the 1983 bombing of a U.S. barracks in Beirut. An American newspaper revealed that U.S. intelligence had been intercepting a Syrian terrorist group"s communications, and in retaliation, the Syrian terrorist group orchestrated a suicide bombing in Beirut that took the lives of 241 American servicemen.
In the Supreme Court case Abrams v. United States, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes dissented from the majority opinion that the defendants could constitutionally be punished for publishing their dissent against U.S. efforts in World W
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