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

Swearing Should Be Illegal in Public Places

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/12/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,385 times Debate No: 66848
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




Round 1

Round 2
State your argument

Round 3


I accept. Thanks for having me.
Debate Round No. 1


Swearing has been considered rude and insulting for millennia. In recent decades, use of bad words has gone up exponentially. People swear for a number of reasons; to insult people, to rebel, or just because it's part of their habitual vocabulary. Because of swearing's history as being disrespectful, insulting, and rude, usage of bad words nowadays still has those sentiments at their core. If this were not the case, people would swear in front of anyone and everyone, even those they respect most. If there was nothing inherently wrong with cuss words, children would be allowed to use them as they wish in public schools, in front of parents, and wherever else they'd like.

Because the act of swearing has such a past where it underlies rebellion and disrespect, those are two things that it teaches. As swearing increases in younger and younger kids, it has caused, along with a lot of other factors, a less respectful AND respectable generation of children and teens. Parents have more problems trying to control their kids and as an act of rebellion, those swear words which for the most part get left outside of their parent's earshot, get brought into the house. When a child or teen swears at their parents, they are proclaiming a lack of respect for them. *Parents will feel angry, disrespected, and as if they've lost their control as the leaders of the house. This can lead to punishments, yelling, and insensitivity for the emotions that brought the swearing around in the first place. All of these frustrate kids and teens and cause them to want to rebel all the more. They will continue to swear when their parents aren't around and curse them behind their backs. I believe this is all stemming from an inner turmoil, feeling like they haven't been paid enough attention for the way they feel. Their parent may have been more receptive of those feelings if swear words had not come between them and caused the aforementioned tensions between parent and child.

Where did these kids learn these words? From a variety of sources. They may have learned them from the internet, from their parents, or, most likely, from someone saying them in public without thinking of or caring about the ears that are hearing them. This in itself is a lack of respect for those around us. A lot of people swear regularly, but many people don't and don't want their children to learn these words and think they're okay.

When young ears pick up on these words, they may not actually use them because their parents may have taught them that they're unacceptable. Once they get older and they start to have more conflicting and rebellious emotions due to growing up, they might begin to use them when no one is listening. This leads to using them around friends as they get older and become preteens, and often times, if they haven't been taught that it's completely inappropriate and disrespectful to do so, around adults they see at places like school or the store or anyone else that happens to be nearby.

I don't think taking bad words out of public society will completely remove them from our country but if it is laid out in plain terms that it's disrespectful to do around people you don't know, teens and children may take on the opinion that it's not okay anywhere or that they need to keep these words to themselves. This will make future generations more accepting of a law like this, since they wouldn't be raised in an environment so openly accepting of swearing, and then they in turn may teach their children that it isn't okay to use them at all and that they need to find less hostile alternatives.

While swearing can sometimes be, like I mentioned previously, a permanent fixture in some peoples' vocabulary that they use without malice, I think the usage of swearing often brings about a hostile nature in people. I've found through personal experience that those who swear regularly seem to be less satisfied with their lives and more hostile towards others. On the flip side, I've noticed that most people I know who don't swear at all are much more friendly and satisfied with what they've got. Maybe this is all based on those rebellious roots.

Swear words are basically the extremes of all of the appropriate adjectives and interjections that convey emotion. Using them frequently can cause your emotions to go to those extremes. This can have a bad effect when someone is a moody teenager using these words in every sentence. By using these extreme words, they can unknowingly make themselves irritable. After all, when you swear and rant to yourself, does it make your harsh feelings go away, or stick around? While having a bad attitude can extend outside of people who swear, it seems like it's easier to rationalize with people who don't, since they haven't got those intense insults and vulgar opinions floating around in their heads that they hold onto with a vice.

While I think it's everyone's right to be able to swear in their own home or somewhere private where the only people around are those who know them, I think it's also peoples' right not to have to listen to it if they don't want to. And when it comes to freedom of speech, people are perfectly free to express themselves as they please without these words. There are appropriate words that can replace every single swear word there is.

When it comes to subjects like movie or music content, I think it should be okay to swear as people please in their movies or music, so long as those forms of media with swearing aren't played in a public place, not including places like movie theaters or concerts where people enter by choice.

*This sentence is not including parents who raise their kids to believe that swearing is okay. Those types of families would probably be omitted from the familial examples.


Taking legal action against swearing is too pricey

When something such as swearing is made illegal, It is necessary to enforce such rules to deter deviance and to ensure that the rule does more than just 'window dress'. Enforcing such rules would involve the police, legal prosecutors and other law enforcement agencies that garners expenses collectively. These costs are too 'expensive' to execute let alone the time taken to gather documents to meet the requirements of a legal action.For example, in the UK, Courts have claimed that minor crimes are too expensive to prosecute (1. Swearing are examples of such minor crimes, hence are too expensive to prosecute.

Opponents would argue that the solution to this is to impose fines and penalties rather than having long legal proceedings. if we were to evaluate concepts such as swearing in public, you either done it or you don't which makes it reasonable to choose such an alternative . The error in this argument is that the concept of swearing is not as concrete as having Hydrogen and Oxygen as the main components of water. Swearing are different in some countries, depending on how they view such concept, If I say 'Fvck', it may offend conservative communities but it may have absolutely no effect on other communities.

Moreover, there are also emotional factors to take into consideration. Someone may do it out of spite, to troll or just to piss off people to make themselves feel younger. Whatever the factors are, there are more than just one category of swearing. It comprises of numerous categories, that of which cannot be simplified by a thin line of 'whether you did it or you didn't '. Hence, it is more reasonable to take the case to court because of the categories involved in such cases.

Once it is taken to court, It is then too expensive. The overall net benefit is worse, not better.

Swearing as a social construct

Robert Sharp, On Troll Law debate (2. specified 2 distinctions of trolling between the 'actual credible threats' and remarks which are simply 'offensive'. Swearing would fall under the category of 'offensive'. It will never go into 'actual credible threats' that may involve the life of the victim threatened. For example, when we swear, words such as 'horses**t' and 'a**hole' are commonly used either to release tension or to incite tension between peers. Never will anyone say 'A**hole' and have someone's life threatened. Those fall under actual credible threats merely involves a retributive attitude that is ideologically motivated (I.E Terrorism). Swearing would only serve as a verbal supplement to intensify such acts.

Swearing is not the source of the violence, the ideology of said violence is the source. Since swearing takes absolutely 0 role, it falls under 'offensive' category only.

In addition to that, Simply being offensive is an inadequate and inadmissible extension for court cases, let alone imposing fines. This is because simply being 'offended' does not mean you have the right to prosecute. If I can prosecute anyone who offends me, there would be over a million cases that is linked to myself alone. It is neither a realistic nor a reasonable idealistic goal.

The fact that it is a social construct serves absolutely no purpose to criminalize swearing.Thus, swearing should never be made illegal to begin with.

That would be all. Back to you en-oy. :)
Debate Round No. 2


I think if this were ever to become a law it would be something punished with fines. Before this ever became an actual law, it would have to be listed what exact words would be punishable. Without laying it out clearly for people, there would be too much of a problem with not knowing whether one is swearing or not, like you said. Certain words I think would be allowed to slide such as 'crap' and other words that have become acceptable almost anywhere.

In response to your point on whether swearing is offensive or violent, I agree that it isn't violent and that it's only offensive. That's exactly the problem with it. There are a lot of offensive things that can't be said about certain people or minority groups which are not allowed and can bring attention from the law. I think swearing should be viewed in the same way as some of those things; certain opinions should be kept to yourself or inside your home, the same as bad words should be.

Court would never become an issue because there would be clear lines drawn about what is and isn't appropriate to be said in public. Private property of any kind where the owner has said it's appropriate to swear would not be affected by the law. Any public building could ignore the law if they chose by posting visible signs saying it is permitted by the owner. This could make it possible for people to continue living as they wish as long as they are inside a building where swearing is okay.

I don't believe this violates freedom of speech. Swearing is not a certain subject or sentence that people aren't allowed to say; it's a collection of adjectives or nouns. Cutting them from speech would not affect someone's ability to say what they need to say. They can easily use other nouns or adjectives with the same connotations.

Lastly, why is it that it's inappropriate to swear around children? If there's nothing wrong with it, we would be able to and they would also be able to. There is clearly something to be said for how 'okay' swearing is. And while kids may hear these words anyway, I know from personal experience that people of all ages are liable to start saying things the more often they hear them. I personally have a harder time not swearing if I've just watched a lot of TV with swearing in it. It's the same with society. The more people hear others swearing, the more likely they are to have trouble with it and do it habitually and without thinking about it. You can compare this to friends. If one friend starts saying some word, swear word or not, the other friend is likely to start saying it too because people are just impressionable.


Pro's Case

En-oy acknowledges that because history perceives swearing as something disrespectful, that alone is enough categorize swearing as a misconduct. I don't mind, provided En-oy gives reasonable goals to discourage swearing. Pro argues that in order to discourage such profanity, swearing needs to be illegal from the public sphere. I agree that swearing needs to be discourage but I disagree that it should be illegal in public places.

As such, There are huge problems with the methods in order to achieve this goal. One as I said previously, that it neither serves as a realistic nor an idealistic goal because legally, there are too much paperwork and money involved in its execution.

Furthermore, there are contradictions within's pro's case. First, en-oy wants to ban swearing in the public sphere yet Pro allows kids under profanity influenced families to run amok. If the objective involves omitting those ideas that are subjective to one's view, such as allowing kids to swear provided their families do the same, then legally, it is useless to implement such a regulation because the law is supposed to be universal and to cater to each individual's needs.

Making it subjective blurs the lines for an objective assessment. This makes imposing fines harder because of its subjective nature. En-oy agrees that fines are a better alternative but I have argued that the alternative is one which is flawed in which Pro did not refute my points.

Thanks for the debate.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Nivek 1 year ago
lol, 6 seconds away and I raped the review and submit button. haha

Posted by Nivek 1 year ago
Generally I agree, Plumdog. Especially towards children.
Posted by plumdog 1 year ago
I do believe that people should not swear in front of children, but I do not believe that swearing should be band in public. This is freedom of speech which we all have wanted at one time or another. Tainting children that are not of age is not the general objective of swearing in public. This vulgarity is a regular now in society, and I believe it should be banned in certain places, but not in public because this would violate the freedom of speech. Kid friendly restaurants, Sporting events, Parks, Playgrounds, and other places that children could be involved should have authority of their own rules on swearing. I do believe it can be offensive at times, but more often than not it is not affecting anyone. Children will learn theses words through one resource or another. There will never be a way to completely shelter children completely, unless by banning freedom of speech. I believe it is too great a loss to ban it from all publics. I do believe people would understand having some swear-free zones where fines should be given or tickets if not obeyed.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Valladarex 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con effectively proved the swearing law would be against the freedom of speech and unenforceable without extensive costs and infringements on one's right to speak freely. Con was the only one that used sources.