The Instigator
Con (against)
1 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

Should hate speech be banned in public spaces and universities?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/21/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 632 times Debate No: 85337
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




1. Acceptance
2. Opening arguments
3. Rebuttals
4. Conclusions (additional rebuttals are also permitted)

Clarification and definitions:

For the sake of ease (on my part), the context of this debate will be the United States

For the purposes of this debate, hate speech will be defined as any form of expression that is deliberately derogatory, bigoted, or supremacist in nature towards any descriptive demographic (including but not limited to, gender, race, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.). This is not to be considered synonymous with harassment, which is the deliberate, persistent abuse of a specific individual or group of individuals.

A public space is to be considered any publicly owned and accessible location. Private property and websites would not be affected by the ban that is to be debated.

A university is considered to be any post-high school educational facility.

When taking into account the effects of a ban (or lack thereof) on a university, the inside of the classroom should not be the primary concern, as the rationale would be one of allowing instruction to proceed uninterrupted, and that's not what I wish this debate to be about. To clarify further, the focus on hate speech in universities should be outside the classroom (such as the streets/courtyards, any public forums, and the words of speakers).

It likely won't be relevant, but for the sake of argument, let's say that the ban would make hate speech a misdemeanor offense, meaning the sentence cannot exceed 1 year in prison, and the judge can order a fine in lieu of jail time.

I will be arguing against the proposed ban. My opponent, whoever it may be, will be arguing in support of it.


In my opinion I think that hate speeches should be banned taking places in most public places, especially where there are people who you may talk about in your speech because that is just rude.
People do have rights to express how they feel but they should really do it in private places because not everyone wants to hear why you hate all brown, black or LGBT people. In hate speeches there is usually a lot of discrimination towards people where it may not be direct but it's there.
I think that hate speech if it was allowed in any public place it would be a good idea to have it in a classroom because then it would be more civilized and nothing would get out of hand. The bans would also be quite necessary because it can lead to hate crime acts such as; murder, rape and assault.
I just really think that anyone who wants to do a hate speech needs to realize that there a more and different people in the world.
Debate Round No. 1


Note: I'll be including some citations. These will be noted in my arguments with the actual sources listed afterwards

The First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees freedom of speech. Specifically, it says that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." (1) According to the Supremacy Clause, the Constitution takes priority over any federal, state or local legislation. (2) From that, I can conclude that due to current Constitutional law, the banning of hate speech would violate the Constitutional rights of the citizens (with the exception of cases of threats or repeated harassment)

There's then the question as to whether or not it is acceptable to chip away at our personal freedoms in order to protect people's feelings. The first 10 Amendments to the Constitution (AKA the Bill of Rights) primarily aim to guarantee the personal freedoms and liberties of all US citizens. The freedom to say whatever you want is enshrined in the very first part of the Bill of Rights because historically, totalitarian governments have restricted the freedom to speak freely in order to further their own agendas and to silence opposition. (3) The Founding Fathers wanted to ensure that it could not happen here. I would also direct you to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (4) The UDHR is widely considered to be the gold standard of human rights. Article 19 says "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." I think it is not unreasonable to assume that the freedom to hold and express an opinion should be a human right. Banning hate speech would be a violation of human rights.

But of course, there is the consideration of those affected negatively by hate speech. Well, unfortunately for them, it's more important to guarantee that everyone is free than to guarantee that everyone is comfortable. To clarify, let's consider the concept of due process. Due process includes several things such as "innocent until proven guilty," the right to a trial by jury and the abolition of double jeopardy. Of course, this does not positively impact the victims of crimes, but it is better to make these victims have to feel uncomfortable during the criminal justice process than to allow for an increased possibility of people being prosecuted for crimes they didn't commit or to have their rights violated during the investigation/trial process. The rationale is similar, albeit to a different extent. Human rights come with difficulties both political and social, but it is far better for these rights to be preserved than to not have to deal with their effects.

And finally, it doesn't matter if hate speech "might" lead to more serious crimes. You cannot punish someone now for a hypothetical future crime. Criticism of the government "might" lead to treason. Watching a violent movie "might" make you fascinated with blood to the point you become a mass murderer. Obtaining a drivers license "might" eventually lead to you drinking and driving (it is certainly a prerequisite for doing so in most situations, after all). It's just a huge slippery slope fallacy. (5) It's not moral or justifiable to restrict someone's freedoms on the off chance it escalates into violence.

3. This article lists some examples of restrictions of speech, press, and expression


kirank forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Without any response to address, I don't really have much to say.

I will however, make a quick statement regarding authoritarianism. The banning of hate speech, even if it's hypothetically I was wrong and the only moral option was to uphold this ban, it's still an authoritarian action. The problem with authoritarian governments and governments that even retain the ability to easily have authoritarian levels of power is that they can easily go from protectors to oppressors. Even an authoritarian government that had the best interests of the public in mind is bound to become oppressive. It's been said that "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely." As humans are unfortunately imperfect, a corruptible person will eventually take control of an authoritarian government and lust for more power, which directly correlates to more restrictions on the public and fewer individual liberties. A ban on hate speech is still a ban on speech. The power used to silence your neighbor today can be the power that silences you tomorrow.


kirank forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


With no arguments put forward by my opponent, I have nothing more to say, unfortunately.


kirank forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by WaraiOtoko 2 years ago
Aren't many Universities privately owned?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro ff many times, so conduct to Con.