The Instigator
Quicksilver053
Con (against)
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The Contender
iencourage
Pro (for)
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Should the US government ban hate speech?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/24/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 weeks ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 327 times Debate No: 113099
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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Quicksilver053

Con

My position is that the government should not ban hate speech.

1st round is for acceptance
2nd round is for arguments
3rd round is for rebuttals

No new arguments may be presented in the comments or the 3rd round
iencourage

Pro

I accept the debate and your terms.
Let's do this! Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
Quicksilver053

Con

Outline:
I. Definitions
II. Hate speech and Law
III. Unjustness of hate speech regulations
IV. Consequences of hate speech regulations
V. Sources

I. Definitions:

Hate speech: speech expressing hatred of a particular group of people [1]

II. Hate speech and Law:

In 2011, the Supreme Court issued their ruling on Snyder v. Phelps, which concerned the right of the Westboro Baptist Church to protest with signs found offensive by many Americans. The issue presented was whether the 1st Amendment protected the expressions written on the signs. In an 8"1 decision the court sided with Fred Phelps, the head of Westboro Baptist Church, thereby confirming their historically strong protection of freedom of speech, so long as it doesn't promote imminent violence. The Court explained, "speech deals with matters of public concern when it can 'be fairly considered as relating to any matter of political, social, or other concern to the community' or when it 'is a subject of general interest and of value and concern to the public." [2]

During the supreme court case Matal v. Tam, Justice Samuel Alito writes "Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express "the thought that we hate". [3]

Justice Anthony Kennedy also writes "A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all. The First Amendment does not entrust that power to the government's benevolence. Instead, our reliance must be on the substantial safeguards of free and open discussion in a democratic society". [3]

The Supreme court unanimously reaffirms that there is not "hate speech" exception to the first amendment.

III. Unjustness of hate speech regulations:

Current hate speech laws have been proven to be unjust in the United Kingdom because they disregarded context in many incidents.

In 2016, Mark Meechan, a Scottish Youtuber, posted a video of his pug doing a Nazi salute. After the video went viral he was convicted of a hate crime and arrested. The point of the video was to annoy his girlfriend by making her pug the most unlikable thing, a Nazi. This is unjust because the whole video was a joke and was not inciting racial hatred, instead it was portraying Nazi's as unlikable. [4]

IV. Consequence of hate speech regulations:

A consequence of hate speech regulations is that censoring a certain viewpoint gives that viewpoint legitimacy and attention. This ultimately gives adherents to this viewpoint a victim narrative which leads to people sympathizing for them.

An example is the Nazi Party's rise to power in the Wiemar Republic. The Wiemar Republic had modern hate speech laws and they were applied frequently. Leading Nazis such as Joseph Goebbels, Theodor Fritsch, and Julius Streicher were all prosecuted for anti-Semitic speech. Rather than deterring the Nazis and countering anti-Semitism, the many court cases served as effective public-relations machinery, affording Streicher the kind of attention he would never have found in a climate of a free and open debate. In the years from 1923 to 1933, Der St"rmer [Streicher's newspaper] was either confiscated or editors taken to court on no fewer than thirty-six occasions. The more charges Streicher faced, the greater became the admiration of his supporters. The courts became an important platform for Streicher's campaign against the Jews. In the words of a present-day civil-rights campaigner, pre-Hitler Germany had laws very much like the anti-hate laws of today, and they were enforced with some vigor. As history so painfully testifies, this type of legislation proved ineffectual on the one occasion when there was a real argument for it. [5]

VI. Sources:
[1] https://www.merriam-webster.com...
[2] http://www.uscourts.gov...
[3] https://www.law.cornell.edu...
[4] https://www.washingtonpost.com...
[5] https://www.newyorker.com...
iencourage

Pro

My opponent makes a number of good points, but I will wait until round 3 to make rebuttals against them. My argument is simply that hate speech is one of the most harmful things that can happen to society.

'Hate speech' is simply against the American ideal: a country of many different types of people, promoting cultural diffusion and harmony. This ideal came about pretty recently, as the founding fathers were technically racist, bigoted people. Hate speech destroys this idea by taking apart intersexual and interracial connections. For example, the Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that the trademark office couldn't "reject 'disparaging' applications-like a request from an Oregon band to trademark 'the Slants' as in Asian 'slant eyes'."* Minority groups, mostly, suffer from such 'hate speech'.

Why did the Charlottesville tragedy happen? Hate speech!

Where does racism and sexism come from? Hate speech!

Speech and the written word are the two most powerful weapons in the world. Just like guns, the United States has allowed such weapons to be used, but abusing privilege without responsibility is simply immoral.

This argument isn't as long as my opponents', and it isn't as detailed-but there's a reason for that. My argument is simple, and it can be simple because it is a no-brainer: speech directed against a certain group of people will be the decline of society, and will lead to disgust, fear, and eventual total hatred against other demographic groups.
Debate Round No. 2
Quicksilver053

Con

Rebuttal:

'Hate speech' is simply against the American ideal: a country of many different types of people, promoting cultural diffusion and harmony.

The American ideal is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims that "all men are created equal" with the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."[1] Hate speech doesn't deny life because it is just speech and it does not physically harm anyone. Hate speech does not deny liberty because it doesn't take away freedoms or oppress anyone. Hate speech doesn't deny the pursuit of happiness because it is up to the individual to feel happy.

Hate speech destroys this idea by taking apart intersexual and interracial connections. For example, the Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that the trademark office couldn't "reject 'disparaging' applications-like a request from an Oregon band to trademark 'the Slants' as in Asian 'slant eyes'."* Minority groups, mostly, suffer from such 'hate speech'.

A band trademarking "the Slants" is not hateful in any way. The members of the band are all Asian, they are not attacking another group with offensive speech because they are in that group. Simon Tam, a member of the band, maintains that the whole point of his band — and his advocacy — is to empower Asian-Americans and subvert stereotypes. This was taken way out of context, like many other hate speech cases. [2]

Why did the Charlottesville tragedy happen? Hate speech!
Where does racism and sexism come from? Hate speech!

The car attack at Charlottesville was a hate crime, not hate speech. Hate speech is simply spewing hate, hate crimes are actually acting on it. The government shouldn't censor peaceful alt right protesters just like they shouldn't censor peaceful antifa protesters.

You can not rid someone of their racist and sexist beliefs. The best thing to do is to allow them to hold the beliefs and only intervene if they act on those beliefs.

Sources:

[1] https://www.vanityfair.com...

[2] https://www.npr.org...
iencourage

Pro

Rebuttal:

Round 2
"The Supreme Court unanimously reaffirms that there is not 'hate speech' exception to the first amendment."

This debate isn't about whether hate speech is upheld by nine people in Washington D.C: it's about whether hate speech should be banned or not. Hate speech, as I said before, is wrong, and the Supreme court can't change that. Legislation should be passed ASAP so that hate speech cannot happen.

"Rather than deterring the Nazis and countering anti-Semitism, the many court cases served as effective public-relations machinery, affording Streicher the kind attention he would never have found in a climate of a free and open debate."

This isn't true: hate speech in a free and open debate, which is a climate like current America, gives a lot of attention to hate speech. In fact, a quick search of Google scholar * for 'hate speech in America' gives about 341,000 results.

That's a lot of attention.

Thank you.

*https://scholar.google.com...=
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by iencourage 3 weeks ago
iencourage
Sorry: I forgot to cite my source at the end of my argument in round two:

*http://www.latimes.com...
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