The Instigator
Tophatdoc
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points
The Contender
Defender1999
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Should Free Speech Be Allowed if it Will Incite Violence?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Tophatdoc
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/8/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,580 times Debate No: 45208
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)

 

Tophatdoc

Con

I as Con will be arguing that the Freedom of Speech shall not be allowed if violence will be incited. This means that Free Speech should not be permitted if it will incite violence. This debate is not about restricting Free Speech altogether but only at select times when violence may arise. The burden of proof for this debate will be shared.

Round 1: Acceptance Only.

Freedom of Speech: "the right to express facts and opinions subject only to reasonable limitations (as the power of the government to protect itself from a clear and present danger) guaranteed by the 1st and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution and similar provisions of some state constitutions "

http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Defender1999

Pro

To the Negative side,

I accept the debate challenge and rules and I thank you for having this opportunity to debate with you. Only that you may know, as you are the instigator, to impose rules on this debate so that we may avoid hostile exchanges and fallacious reasonings of straw men and circular reasoning so that we may uphold and abide by these rules to conduct debate properly. Tell me, will the debate be formal or informal?
Debate Round No. 1
Tophatdoc

Con

To Pro, proper communication and understanding is impossible when one can only observe what one writes with a limited amount of expression. But no, there won't be any fallacies on my part at least.

These are the reasons why "Free Speech" should not be allowed if violence may ensue:
1)Violence could happen.
When "Free Speech" can cause violence it is usually at a public a event where a significant amount of people are gathered. If it is a protest event it may be a disagreement between protesters and counter protesters. Sometimes encounters between protesters and counter protesters may be civil but we are discussing "Free Speech" as it pertains to violence. If a clash between protesters and counter protesters is ineveitable it should be prevented by stopping someone from protesting or obtaining a permit. What benefit is there from potential violence? The result can only be something seen in a nightmare.

2)The public at large is in danger.
To allow an event where an altercation may happen puts innocent bystanders in danger as well as the participants of "Free Speech."

I provided a video of Meir Kahane & the Jewish Defense League threatening to attack the American Nazi Party headquarters in Chicago. We see that there are mass amounts of people that are standing around. If he took it upon himself to attack on his threats, everyone within the vicinity is in danger.



3)The costs are far too high to allow if violence breaks out.
To allow "Free Speech" when violence is potential is one thing. The results of the violence is another. A physical altercation may ensue. Or possibly a brawl may break out. The worse case scenario would be for entire riot to break out. The results of potential violence are extremely high considering people may be injured. Property may be destroyed as well too. This may includes small mom and pop stores to the local manufacturing plant. Innocent bystanders should not be punished for the actions of others if it can be helped.

As we see in the video I offered to the right, stores are being destroyed. Innocent people are attacked. That is not acceptable just to allow "Free Speech." This is a video of the Toldeo riot in 2005 when the National Socialist Movement protested in an African Amerian neighborhood[1]. Millions of dollars worth of damage does not equate to the "Free Speech" of individuals. Nor does "Free Speech " equate to those who had their skulls smashed in either. If violence can be prevented by preventing the abuse of "Free Speech," I say without hesitation so be it. This confrontation could of been avoided if they never received the permit.

[1]http://content.time.com...

Defender1999

Pro

To Con
I understand the rules and guidelines then that you have then provided let us now go on forward for a debate. Note that I won't give a point-by-point rebuttal to your arguments, all of them are summed up in this rebuttal. Let me remind you that there will be "misunderstandings" since I myself not an American, but an Australian, so my knowledge of the American culture is limited.

Free speech does have the potential and the ability to incite violence and violent outbursts because of either the offensive message or the message that the person has said is deemed unacceptable. But we have to be frank here, this is the price of democracy, we have the right for the freedom of speech and sometimes the free speech that we are giving can sometimes be an offence other people. Even though in democratic environments, the potential for violence to break out because of free speech is probable, it is even much more worst if we allow not free speech that has the potential to incite violence if it should. Violent free speech or not, it is still a free speech. If this is to be allowed, what rights have we but to also condemn other types of free speech as well since these other types of free speech can also stir up violence? Hypothetically, what if all forms of speeches can unfortunately incite violence? Should we then outlaw and ban them all? Isn't that an act of tyranny? Isn't tyranny a worst form of government than democracy where there is given a place to incite violence? In addition also, it is not free speech that gets the blame why it did stir up violence and mass riots, this has something to do with those that are outraged and enraged by the message being spoken out. The blame for the violence is not actually on the free speech itself but those that are enraged by the message. Why be angry at just a message where you can hold your peace and patience for that person?

The fact is, if we then decided to restrain a person's freedom to protest or to have a say even if it does have the capacity to fire up violent protests, isn't that doing injustice also to the person? To do that would be a sign of taking away freedom from that person itself. Every person has the right to voice their opinions whether that view is unpopular or dangerous. We too also have to realise is amazingly that people can sometimes get flared up and fired up just because a person said something they don't like. Even though we may not like the person's speech or disagree with his views, it is still not acceptable to justify the act of violence against that advocate because you do not like what is being said by that person. No matter how, we should and still respect that person's opinion, even if they laugh and mock at us, and to respond is by assertion, not aggression. It can be also said, why not allow instead a peaceful protest against them?

If people wanted to engage with that person, why not use reason over brute strength? If people wanted to engage with the group they don't like, they should choose to engage into a debate than engaging in violent protests. A war of words is a cheap war and a "safe" war to wage. Instead of a protest, maybe a debate is better since "almost" no violence or angry outbursts can be found in a debate unlike in a protest. In addition, if you are going to have protest, then a police guard squad is certainly to be chosen, even though it will not clamp down casualties, it does however reduce the damages done both to people and the property. If we are then going to have protests, it is best then that we should impose curfews on innocent bystanders to stay in their homes or in buildings for as long as the protest goes until it ceases.

I think this debate in particular is not about letting free speeches that may incite violence, but about, 'Should we do anything about unpopular free speeches in general?', this has to do with the reaction on the demonstration of a particular free speech being heard. After all, why would people take something that is spoken so seriously and so emotionally? Shouldn't they know common sense to restrain anger and withhold violence even if they don't like the advocate/s?

So in my summary, my arguments are these:
1: Free speech should be allowed because regardless of it inciting violence of the chance, it should be allowed since it is still free speech, if not allowed, then other free speech forms should be banned also since nearly all free speeches has the capacity to draw in angry responses and insults.
2: To withhold free speech, even from a person advocating unpopular views is a breach of the freedom and the rights to be exercised by all citizens, including the unpopular view's propagator.
3:If certain groups wish to engage with the advocate, then a debate is to be preferred over a protest. But if protest is preferred, a police guard should lower the costs and impose upon curfew on bystanders so they won't be affected by the protest rally as well as lowering the costs.
Debate Round No. 2
Tophatdoc

Con

"Note that I won't give a point-by-point rebuttal to your arguments, all of them are summed up in this rebuttal. Let me remind you that there will be "misunderstandings" since I myself not an American, but an Australian, so my knowledge of the American culture is limited."

Understandable.

"If this is to be allowed, what rights have we but to also condemn other types of free speech as well since these other types of free speech can also stir up violence? Hypothetically, what if all forms of speeches can unfortunately incite violence? Should we then outlaw and ban them all?"

No, Freedom of Speech is not an unlimited right. No one has the right according to the courts to shout "fire" in a crowded theater[1]. I showed the Schenck v. US decision as an example of the limitation of Free Speech. Freedom of Speech requires responsibilities. No one can make the claim that they are going to beat someone up or destroy their property. That is considered a threat. They can be prosecuted for making the threat alone,

[1]http://www.oyez.org...

"Isn't that an act of tyranny? Isn't tyranny a worst form of government than democracy where there is given a place to incite violence?"

Tyranny is not a form of government. Tyranny can exist in any form of government.

"In addition also, it is not free speech that gets the blame why it did stir up violence and mass riots, this has something to do with those that are outraged and enraged by the message being spoken out.... Why be angry at just a message where you can hold your peace and patience for that person? "

Peace and Patience? What happens if homosexuals want to hold a protest in a country in Africa, Eastern Europe, or somewhere in the Middle East. People will deliberately come to attack those people who protest and in some countries get away with it due to homosexuality being illegal[2]. Why allow violence to breakout?

[2]http://76crimes.com...

"The fact is, if we then decided to restrain a person's freedom to protest or to have a say even if it does have the capacity to fire up violent protests, isn't that doing injustice also to the person? "

They could be doing injustice to someone else. Should the Neo-Nazis be allowed to march through an African American neighborhood as I showed in the clip in Round #2.

"Every person has the right to voice their opinions whether that view is unpopular or dangerous. "

No, they don't. Freedom of Speech is a limited right as I showed earlier. It is best to remember some speech can even lead to one being prosecuted for treason.

"Even though we may not like the person's speech or disagree with his views, it is still not acceptable to justify the act of violence against that advocate because you do not like what is being said by that person. "

It is justifiable to use that act of violence if one may be under threat. In the clip I showed of Meir Kahane, why should Jews exect peace from people who want them down. I will use another example, would it be acceptable if an extreme Christian Fundamentalist organization marched through Chelsea, New York protesting for the genocide of homosexuals? That is not only offensive but also threatening to homosexuals. Considering they those Christians may attempt to carry out their threat.

"If people wanted to engage with that person, why not use reason over brute strength?"

That is ideal but that is not going to happen in most countries. Look at the many parliaments across the world where even the political elite brawl and fight[3]. Imagine how the average joe behaves when he sees something he doesn't like.

[3]http://www.theweek.co.uk...

"1: Free speech should be allowed....then other free speech forms should be banned also since nearly all free speeches has the capacity to draw in angry responses"

Other Free Speech forms are banned like threats, treasonous speeches, and other speeches that I pointed out earlier. Free Speech is not an unlimited right. I can not stress this enough due to its' importance.

"2: To withhold free speech, even from a person advocating unpopular views is a breach of the freedom......"

It may be a breach of freedom but Freedom of Speech is not an unlimited right as I pointed out.

"3:If certain groups wish to engage with the advocate, then a debate is to be preferred over a protest...."

Most countries throughout the world don't follow the rule of law. To attempt to impose a curfew would be useless.

Why you should Vote Con on the resolution of allowing Free Speech if it will incite violence:
1)Violence could happen.

2)The public at large is in danger.

3)The costs are far too high to allow if violence breaks out.

4)Freedom of Speech is not an unlimited right. Threats are considered illegal. You can't go into a theater and yell fire, it is illegal.

5)Potential violent protests can provoke more violent backlashes against a certain community.

I would like to thank Pro for participating in this debate.




Defender1999

Pro

'No, Freedom of Speech is not an unlimited right. No one has the right according to the courts to shout "fire" in a crowded theater[1]...'
There is a fine grain distinction between a threat and free speech. Threats involve of forced aggression and intimidation and putdowns, but free speech is unlike a threat; free speech is about letting your opinions to be heard even if it is not popular or in click with the public's beliefs and views. A clear crystal difference exists between the two.

'Tyranny is not a form of government. Tyranny can exist in any form of government.'
Incorrect, tyranny is a form of government and I learned on my Social Studies subject that tyranny is classified as a form of government. On http://www.thefreedictionary.com... , it clearly outlines that tyranny is a government type as the main definition for the word: "1. A government in which a single ruler is vested with absolute power."

'Peace and Patience? What happens if homosexuals want to hold a protest in a country in Africa, Eastern Europe, or somewhere in the Middle East. People will deliberately come to attack those people who protest and in some countries get away with it due to homosexuality being illegal[2]. Why allow violence to breakout?'
There is a deliberate flaw in your argument, those countries you named are nearly dictatorial and harsh in its rule so why bother bringing up free speech on them? Are we talking about democratic republic nations or dictatorial nations? In addition Eastern European countries like Norway and Sweden are very vibrant into letting homosexuality thrive on it. Just as I said, it's the people who let violence to stage in, not free speech.

'They could be doing injustice to someone else.'
But we're not talking about "someone" else, we're talking about "they". It's even more injustice to restrain that person's freedom of speech and to take it away is a sign of authoritarianism even if their ideas are unpopular or dangerous. It's even more dangerous to live in totalitarian countries than democratic countries. Yes, the Neo-Nazis are allowed to do that, even if we do disagree with their views- but if we want to hit back, it's via assertion only.

'No, they don't. Freedom of Speech is a limited right as I showed earlier. '
The problem with that objection is that I don't abide by US constitution but the Aussie one so it's useless to bring it up. If Freedom of Speech is a limited right, then it's much more better to chuck that "right" to the bin, since such notion is biased and will favour certain views to flourish and that's not even a democratic idea.

Concerning your 7th rebuttal, the neo-nazis only did was protest, not do violence (plus they were escorted by the police). To be the first to strike a blow is not justifiable. Let me also remind you that "fundamentalism" is about emphasising & holding onto important Biblical doctrines, where in the word "fundamentalism" is hatred to homosexuals rooted in? Many people don't even get some believers oppose the behaviour, not the person. Let us also remind ourselves that UN wanted to the Catholic church to avert its teachings on homosexuality: http://www.lifesitenews.com... http://www.lifesitenews.com...

'That is ideal but that is not going to happen in most countries...'
Appeal to majority, so what if it won't happen in most countries? Could it happen also in few countries as well?

'Other Free Speech forms are banned like threats, treasonous speeches, and other speeches that I pointed out earlier.'
But they are not free speech. They are forms of criminal offences. Free speech is about letting other views to be heard, such examples you gave are criminalised acts.

'It may be a breach of freedom but Freedom of Speech is not an unlimited right as I pointed out.'
If FoS is a "limited right" what basis then do we have but to limit the rights of other rights as well? Such a notion is biased and the potential for favouring and censoring other views is a possibility.

'Most countries throughout the world don't follow the rule of law...'
Is appeal to majority a valid argument? So what if most don't follow the rule of law?

Why you should vote Pro for this issue:
1) To brand freedom of speech as "limited right" is no good as allowing no FoS at all, it is a biased legislation and it could favour certain views to only flourish.
2) FoS should be granted regardless that the view is unpopular or dangerous or has the capacity to incite violence.
3) To impose limited right of FoS is gives way to imposing limited rights on other "rights" too.
4) All FoS have a degree of inciting violence, so it's no use limiting freedom of speech if it won't incite violence.
5) Assertive engagements should be favoured instead of allowing protests to uphold FoS.

I would like to thank Con for giving me this opportunity to debate.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Defender1999 3 years ago
Defender1999
TryingAtLogic:

And that's why we needed speech for and giving reasons to convince and persuade fence-sitters! Most people are just throwing and dumping their views upon one another whether religious or non-religious. We need to give reasons why we believe what we believe and why that belief is reasonable to be accepted.

Though, sometimes, I do agree that some ideas are worth not expressing and would rather have a simplistic knowledge of things that is- crime, rape, prostitution, and all manners of evil behaviours and acts. Knowing can sometimes be a dangerous thing for a person if he's not too careful.
Posted by TryingAtLogic 3 years ago
TryingAtLogic
One should hope for a society where the most obscene of speech is regarded as merely an argument which is to be objectified and, if proved true, believed. That is the beauty of speech. It is merely speech.
Posted by Jifpop09 3 years ago
Jifpop09
Free speech is allowed in the US as long as it's peaceful. I think this is how it should be.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Cheetah 3 years ago
Cheetah
TophatdocDefender1999Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: This is a hard decision. Both sides have logical arguments and rebuttals. However, Con's arguments were more convincing overall, CA is awarded to con for his solid arguments and rebuttals. Con won conduct points as well for effective use of sources along with his arguments. Well done, both of you!