Resolved: The United Nations ought to erase all evidence of the television series "Hogan's Heroes".
Debate Rounds (4)
Criterion: Reparation of Past Harms
"Hogan's Heroes": A former American sitcom set in a German prisoner of war camp during World War Two.
The United Nations: A body of international governments forming a collective body that promotes international welfare.
Ought: Expressing duty or obligation
Evidence: The available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.
Erase: To rub out or remove.
Justice: Giving each their due.
Contention #1: "Hogan's Heroes" promotes Holocaust denial. Throughout the series, Hogan and his band of soldiers live in a prisoner of war camp. Hogan describes the camp as being "the toughest prisoner of war camp in Germany". Despite this claim, the camp is run by a pair of farcical German officers who allow the prisoners free roam, adequate food, and medical care. They even invite Colonel Hogan to parties, plying him with wine, cheese, and even German women. To describe these conditions as being "tough" would seem to amount to a denial that people actually suffered in prisoner of war camps during World War Two. This promotes Holocaust denial, which is an injustice that could be solved by providing reparations for past harms. Specifically, this injustice could be solved by erasing evidence of this television series.
Contention #2: Despite being labeled as a sitcom, "Hogan's Heroes" is simply not funny. The bumbling antics of the German officers quickly lose their charm, and the American officers generally are not funny, even when they attempt to poke fun of Nazism. Also, the setting of a World War Two prisoner of war camp is generally not conducive to humor. Rather, the setting generally leaves the viewer reflecting on the atrocities committed by the Axis Powers in that time frame. It is very clear that it is an injustice to label something as a comedy and have it not be funny because that is not "giving each their due". However, by erasing all evidence of this television series and giving reparations for these past harms, justice could be achieved.
Finally, the affirmative has a quick observation. Because the show "Hogan's Heroes" can be seen in almost every country, it would be most efficient for this international crisis to be handled by the U.N., which further proves the affirmative's case.
Criterion: National Sovereignty and Censorship Precedence
The definitions are accepted.
Freedom: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
National Sovereignty: the supreme, absolute, and uncontrollable power by which an independent state is governed and from which all specific political powers are derived; the intentional independence of a state, combined with the right and power of regulating its internal affairs without foreign interference.
The CON stands resolved: That if an entity ought to erase all evidence of the television series "Hogan's Heroes", is should be done by the United States and other nations in bilateral agreements outside of the UN.
But first to the contentions.
In response to Contention 1: It is important to point out that many of a the actors on the show were in fact directly affected by internment camps and holocaust--yet they agreed to be on the show, provided it mocked Naziism--which it did. However, that is not the main argument of the CON. Contention 1 is for the most part accepted.
In response to Contention 2: Humor is extremely relative--the actors mentioned above clearly saw the humor as real comedy. There is a critic for every show (except Sherlock) and there will always be people who say that shows are an "Injustice" to be labeled as comedy. But again, this is not the main argument of the CON. Contention 2 is for the most part accepted.
It is the "quick observation" that the CON will be focusing on. Contentions 1 and 2 were PRO and should be for the most part ignored for the remainder of this round. Now to Contention 3.
Contention 3: National Crisis = National Responsibility
Assuming that a crisis does exist, the crisis is mostly confined to the United States. As of now, the only channel rerunning the show is a US channel. Hogan's Heroes was an American deal--that much is indisputable. Therefore it is the national responsibility of the US government to deal with the issue--not the international community. The only other country (and language) where the show has been released is Germany--and a cooperation with them could be easily established with a bilateral agreement. Furthermore, since the UN doesn't have nearly as much active military in US as the US itself, the UN acting on its own would be unable to complete the task. The US is equipped to deal with this issue without outside help.
Contention 4: National Sovereignty
The right to free speech is guaranteed under the US Constitution--only by the US Government can that freedom be modified. If the UN were to attempt to withhold such a right arbitrarily, not only would it damage relations with the US Government, but it also would set a bad precedent of the UN taking powers beyond its jurisdiction. When dealing with this issue, national sovereignty and correct jurisdiction must be preserved. The American people would not tolerate a infraction on liberties by an essentially foreign power. Only through National action can freedom and justice be preserved.
In response to contention #3: Because of the modern internet age in which we live, it is extremely easy for a show such as "Hogan's Heroes" to be viewed in countries outside of the U.S. and translated into foreign languages provided that evidence of the show is even in existence. Although the show only exists outside the U.S. in Germany currently, it would be extremely easy for the show to diffuse to English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, which would mean more than just a "bilateral agreement". Although the U.N. has no active military, military force would not be needed to erase the evidence as most evidence of the show is currently documented digitally and physical evidence only exists in the United States. The clear trend showing this as an international issue makes U.N. involvement justified.
In response to contention #4: There have been many exceptions to the right to free speech in the United States before. Generally, when speech threatens the public safety of the citizens, it is no longer protected by the Constitution. As proven by the Pro case, there are many harms of the show "Hogan's Heroes" which present it as a public safety issue, including perceived lack of humor and Holocaust denial, which can lead to riots and acts of violence motivated by religious and political issues. With this clear threat to public safety, the United States could easy make an exemption to eliminate the evidence in accordance with U.N. policy.
In terms of the value clash, the Pro's value of justice is superior to the Con's value of freedom. The Con defined freedom as "the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint." However, in many times, hindrance and restraint is needed on this power when it directly conflicts with the rights and safety of others. That hindrance would be done because of a perceived injustice being committed. If justice is going to be defined as "giving each their due", then justice would involve a system in which freedom and the public good were evenly bounced while freedom would tip the scale towards one side in exchange for endangerment of the public.
In terms of the Con's criterion, national sovereignty is only to be considered in cases where the issue at hand does not affect the international community. As shown above, "Hogan's Heroes" does have a place in the international community because of digital evidence of the show. Thus, the U.N. would be justified in declaring this an international issue.
While may be easy for "Hogan"s Heroes" to be viewed outside of the US and be translated, the PRO has missed several key points that make this situation especially suited for the US to deal with internally. First, a quick search reveals that "Hogan"s Heroes" on the internet is mostly based on US based sites. While the internet is diverse, it is contained on servers. Most of these servers, if not all of them, are based in the United States. The US has both the cybersecurity task force necessary to contain the issue as well as the manpower to physically affect the servers if necessary. Second, due to the fact that the show is both inaccurate and unfunny, there is no motivation for people in foreign countries to watch it. The fact that it only plays on one channel proves that this show is not popular or good. Therefore, any risk of outside countries viewing it is minimal. In English speaking countries, the argument is the same"it"s not a good show. And each of these countries, in bilateral agreements, has the capability to better deal with the threat.
Contention #4 Defense:
PRO has conceded this argument. His argument"s final sentence: "With this clear threat to public safety, the United States could easy make an exemption to eliminate the evidence in accordance with U.N. policy" has proven the CON"s point. The UN is not doing the eliminating. It"s the US doing it. If PRO attempts to go this route, PRO will not be under the resolution"that the UN will be eliminating. This debate is not about a UN policy, it is about UN "involvement""actual action. The United States sees the danger and will act to contain the threat that it rightly has the right to deal with"without UN arbitrary involvement.
PRO has missed the standard by which freedom should be judged"national sovereignty. Nations have the right to have the power of act, speak, or think as they want. They should not be forced by the UN to obey under arbitrary rulings. Due to the fact that "Hogan"s Heroes" is in fact a national issue in two nations (Germany and the US), Freedom and National Sovereignty are to be considered superior; as the premise of PRO"s argument depended on it being an international issue, which it is not. Freedom and Justice must be balanced"but within nations, not by the UN.
Both the Pro's original contentions of the lack of humor involved with the show and the potential for the Holocaust denial and inaccuracy stand. I would like to specifically extend contention 1 by noting that Holocaust denial is a concept that can produce both violent Antisemitism and violent reactions against violent Antisemitism. Both this issues are global problems which can only be worsened by the presence "Hogan's Heroes" globally.
In terms of the third contention, the United States has no real precedent in a global internationally community where mirror servers and other means of distributing material that is illegal in one country but not the rest of the world are available to the global community. To say that nobody would want to watch the show because it is not popular or good is a fallacy. Rather, the controversy around the show could potentially call attention to it, with strong opinions on both sides of the matter that have a potential to result in violent actions, as described above.
In terms of the fourth contention, the Pro merely conceded that the U.S. would be making an exemption so as to allow the U.N. to censor an unjustified free speech.
In terms of the value clash, the Pro would again like to reiterate that national sovereignty cannot take precedence when the issue is global, and any issue involving digital media available on the internet is clearly a global issue. Even in terms of individual nations, justice must take precedence to freedom when freedom severely threatens the safety of individuals.
To summarize the round, the Con has conceded that "Hogan's Heroes" certainly can yield several harms, but the debate is now about whether or not the elimination of the show should be U.N. policy or policy that is decided among individual nations. Because of the reasons listed above, I believe that the Pro has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that "Hogan's Heroes" is an international threat that requires U.N. involvement and that leaving the handling of this to a "bilateral" agreement is an inferior means of controlling this societal menace.
Both of the original points of Hogan's Heroes possible danger still stand--but they have been mitigated to be a danger in a limited locale--specifically, that of the US and Germany. The show is not a global problem--it is an American show with American actors made for an American audience. It was translated into one other language--German. The problem is limited and the disadvantages of a full UN intervention necessitate a national, rather than international, response.
My opponent says a controversy will make it more watched--agreed. So why involve, unnecessarily, the entire world? By making this a UN issue, any hope of a swift, effective, and self-contained response will vanish. Only with decisive national action will this crisis be averted. By attempting to make this an international issue, my opponent will cause what he fears--the show being put on international servers and protected from governments. Action is needed--but not at the cost of making everything worse.
In terms of the fourth contention, CON conceded that the US government must take action, not UN operatives. This only proves the point that the US Federal government should take action, not the UN, which does not have the capabilities to act effectively.
In terms of value clash, since the problem of "Hogan's Heroes" is contained and is not an issue of global justice, National Sovereignty and freedom must be valued over necessary UN intervention--sacrificing rights as a people and as a nation for a doomed solution is not the answer.
The debate in this round has come down to who can and should do the job. The UN simply does not have the right or capability to do the job--this is a national problem that should be solved with decisive and appropriate action by the US government. The UN is an ineffective, inferior, and potentially dangerous tool to use to solve this issue. Because of these reasons, I believe that CON has shown that UN involvement is neither necessary nor beneficial.
Sun_Valley_Debate_Team forfeited this round.
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