The Instigator
ScarletGhost4396
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Chrysippus
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

Resolved: US legislation banning flag burning is unjust.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Chrysippus
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/22/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,412 times Debate No: 20014
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (2)

 

ScarletGhost4396

Pro

This round is for acceptance only.
Chrysippus

Con

I accept this debate.
Debate Round No. 1
ScarletGhost4396

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate, and I stand on the PRO end of the resolution. I move toward the iteration of my case, resting only on a single contention:

Contention: Legislation prohibitting flag burning inhibits the freedom of speech and expression.
The burning of the American flag (or any flag for that matter) is a form of expression of an emotion of some sort, and to prohibit it as such is a denial of freedom of speech as granted naturally to humans and by the American Constitution. The following sub-points explain:

Sub-point A: Freedom of speech is a human right.
The freedom of speech is an idealistic human right with a practical purpose of allowing individuals to hold opinions and allow them to speak out against injustice if they wish to do so. This freedom becomes even more practical in the context of democratic societies, as Cooray notes: "
the freedom of speech is the single most important political right of citizens, although private property is required for its operation. Without free speech, no political action is possible and no resistance to injustice or oppression is possible. Without free speech elections would have no meaning at all. Policies of contestants become known to the public and become responsive to public opinion only by virtue of free speech. Between elections the freely expressed opinions of citizens help to restrain oppressive rule. Without this freedom it is futile to expect political freedom or, consequently, economic freedom. Thus freedom of speech is the sine qua non of a democratic society." Documents detailing the iteration of human rights, including Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, speak on behalf of the freedom of expression as a basic right.

Sub-point B: Freedom of speech is a Constitutional right.
Similarly, the first amendment also attempts to protect the freedom of expression, meaning that it would protect an expression such as flag burning. The Supreme Court case Texas v. Johnson (1989) shows to agree. \\


References:
Yamali, Nurullah. "GENERAL DIRECTORATE OF INTERNATIONAL LAWS AND." Web. <http://www.justice.gov.tr...;.

Chrysippus

Con

My greetings to my opponent.

I stand to defend the justness of US laws banning flag burning, should any be enacted. Such actions are presently permitted, although regulated by arson and public burning ordinances. I argue that it would not be unjust to ban flag-burning as a sign of protest; I will not be arguing against the ritual and respectful disposal of old flags by fire, as is prescribed, nor will I be arguing about any flag other than the US flag. Burning of Nazi or rainbow flags, or any other such tangent, is irrelevant to this debate.


My opponent may only have one contention to support his case, but it has two major flaws.

One, it conflates "just" with "constitutional."

Two, it attempts to make the jump from "free speech is a right" to "free expression of emotion is a right."
This does not necessarily follow in all cases.


Before we get off on any tangents, here, I do not contest the right to free speech. Repression of thought is unjust, by virtually any standard of justice. Sub point A of my opponent's case is correct up until the last sentence, where he (and the UN) lump together speech and all other forms of expression.

Even if I were to concede, which I do not, that all forms of expression are equivalent to speech for the purposes of natural rights, this alone would render my opponent's case invalid. Harmful forms of speech are wrong, and it is not unjust to ban them; other forms of expression can be much more harmful than words ever can, and it is very obvious that not all forms of expression are protected.

I may express my emotions in many ways: by smiling at a child, or by shooting up a school; by waving signs in a peaceful demonstration, or by throwing bricks at the counter-strikers; by writing a firm but polite letter to my congressman, or by selling nuclear secrets to our enemies. All of these have been done, obviously; these people had emotions they expressed, and - by my opponent's logic - they were all within their rights.

My opponent's logic lacks an important limitation that happens to be fatal to his case: no-one has the right to expression that harms others.

Libel is an example of speech which is not unjust to ban, because it is damaging to others. Obviously, even though we have the right to freedom of speech, that right is not entirely unlimited; we must not harm others with our speech. Slander and libel are crimes for a reason, and I will argue that here if I must; but for now I am going to appeal to 1700 years of Common Law precedent that establishes the right of citizens to not have damaging lies told about them.

Flag burning is harmful the the United States in the same way that burning the President in effigy would be, or spreading pamphlets promoting the overthrow of the government. Actual physical harm is absent, but the malice is present, the loss of face for the country is present, the slander of this country's name is present, and the intent to do this country harm is clearly demonstrated. The means of expression may be too small to actually damage country in a measurable way; an analogous situation would be assault, rather than assault and battery. The threat was there, and the intent was there; the inability of the defendant to carry out his malice does not prevent it from being actionable.

By burning a flag, someone advertises how terrible of a country they think the US is; they broadcast their disdain for the national symbol and all it stands for; and they align themselves with our enemies, who share their feelings. Nations have every right to put down attempts at revolution; you can go on all day long about how much you dislike the place, but once you call for the overthrow of the government by unlawful means, you've overstepped your rights as a citizen.


Justice is not necessarily equivalent with constitutionality. Until the fourteenth amendment, women and blacks were denied equal rights under the constitution; rights they were entitled to as humans but not granted by law. Although I doubt we could agree on an example, it is entirely possible for the Constitution to be amended in a way that gives "rights" to entities who are not humanly entitled to them; perhaps a safe example would be if voting rights were extended to animals and inanimate objects. It could be constitutional, if certain drastic amendments were enacted; but it would not be just.

This removes on of the main premises of my opponent's argument. Freedom of speech is indeed a Constitutional right, and current court law defines flag burning as a form of protected "speech"; slavery was also protected under the constitution once, and then-current court law defined slaves as property. Just because it is constitutional does not make it just; and we argue the justice of these laws, not their constitutionality.

It is very late. Christmas came, and it was good; but I return to this debate to find six hours remaining at midnight. This round looks roughly as I intended it, less the amazing and uber-convincing sources I am too tired to look up right now; when my opponent attacks my examples, I will pull up the relevant court cases next round. For now, though, this is my main line of attack.

I return this debate to my opponent, with my thanks.

-C.
Debate Round No. 2
ScarletGhost4396

Pro

ScarletGhost4396 forfeited this round.
Chrysippus

Con

Lacking any sort of response from my opponent, I extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
ScarletGhost4396

Pro

ScarletGhost4396 forfeited this round.
Chrysippus

Con

Tiresome. My opponent was just on, yet failed to even leave a comment explaining their forfeit.

This could have been a good debate; I thank my opponent for the auto-win, but wish they had stuck around and defended their position. I will take their silence in the past two rounds as an indication of their concession on this issue.

I would ask them why they did not post anything at all, but they have blocked me. I don't know why.

Vote Con, obviously; arguments and conduct.
Debate Round No. 4
ScarletGhost4396

Pro

ScarletGhost4396 forfeited this round.
Chrysippus

Con

ScarlettGhost, why did you challenge me to this? Would it have killed you to post something, ANYTHING, in your last three rounds? Could you have left a pollte note in the comments letting me know why you were forced to forfeit?

You were on 13 hours ago, you had the chance to let me know that you were no longer interested in this debate, that you had no arguements, that I'm ugly and my mother dresses me funny, whatever you wanted.

You could have, but you didn't. You didn't say a word.

You challenged me to this debate. I could not imagine worse conduct in a debater than how you handled this - until I read over your debates.

Take a look!
http://www.debate.org...
http://www.debate.org...
http://www.debate.org...
http://www.debate.org...
http://www.debate.org...
http://www.debate.org...
http://www.debate.org...
http://www.debate.org...

In each of these, ScarlettGhost forfeited the last two rounds, and in some the last THREE rounds just as he did in this one. NINE debates thrown, no reasoning given, no explanation, no apology.

From his profile: "Debate has always been one of my greatest passions ever since I joined the team during my freshman year, and I wish to exert that passion in the debates on this site... I hope to do my best on this site and be one of the highest-ranking debaters."

THEN DO IT. STOP THROWING DEBATES.

I'm done. My opponent dropped all my arguments, decided this debate was boring, and wandered off without a word.

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by johnnyboy54 5 years ago
johnnyboy54
We are in a debate about the merits of Christianity and he failed to respond in the last two rounds... I didn't know he was doing this in every debate.
Posted by ConservativePolitico 5 years ago
ConservativePolitico
She/he (the picture displays a female while the profile says male... I've been puzzled by this for a while) sees that they're going to lose and then cuts their losses. It's quite annoying to watch over and over and over and over and over....
Posted by Chrysippus 5 years ago
Chrysippus
ScarletGhost, I looked over your last several debates, and a singular pattern becomes glaringly obvious. Of your last ten completed debates, in six of them you forfeit at least one of the last rounds; and in four you forfeit the last two rounds or more.

What do you have against finishing your debates?
Posted by Chrysippus 5 years ago
Chrysippus
Correction: ScarletGhost has blocked non-friends from posting on his wall or sending him messages. I was mistaken about being personally blocked.
Posted by Chrysippus 5 years ago
Chrysippus
You know, if you don't want to debate this anymore you should just say so instead of forfeiting. You've been on, I've seen you; throwing the debate like this without a word is rather rude.
Posted by ScarletGhost4396 5 years ago
ScarletGhost4396
Hey, it's your case. You can define and set whatever standards you want.
Posted by Chrysippus 5 years ago
Chrysippus
Unjust needs to be well defined for this debate to be worthwhile. Unconstitutional? Against the Common Law tradition and precedent? Those would be less fuzzy. "Unjust" requires a common value for "just," which I do not know that we have.

By what standard for justice are we debating?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by ConservativePolitico 5 years ago
ConservativePolitico
ScarletGhost4396ChrysippusTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF...
Vote Placed by MasterKage 5 years ago
MasterKage
ScarletGhost4396ChrysippusTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: All of Pro's arguments were refuted, and so many forfeits...