The Instigator
larztheloser
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
YYW
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points

That free speech should not be restricted for reasons of national security

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/23/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 7,614 times Debate No: 17203
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (4)

 

larztheloser

Pro

I'd like to thank my opponent, if he agrees to this debate, for the oppertunity to discuss what I think is a very important modern issue, particulary with the controversy surounding wikileaks and other high-profile cases.

Rules
Round one is for acceptance, rules and definitions. Round five is for summaries only (only post a paragraph or so, and no new material).
This debate is not to be judged on sources, or evidence, but rather the quality of arguments (which may, of course, be bostered by sources/evidence). Generally the debate will be more philosophical than empirical.
I also ask that my opponent doesn't source videos, because it's nearly impossible to check their origin.
Other than that, standard debate rules apply.

Definitions
Free speech - right to express opinions or facts publically without legal restraint or censorship of any kind.
I will leave the definition of national security up to my opponent.

Thanks and I wish my opponent good luck for the debate.
YYW

Con

I accept and thank my opponent for the debate. I believe this debate will be a mutually beneficial salutary learning exercise for both parties.
Debate Round No. 1
larztheloser

Pro

I thank my opponent for agreeing to my debate.

In this debate I will focus on three main questions:
    1. Can governments be trusted to arbitrate free speech?
    2. Are there any national security harms to knowing the truth?
    3. Will the truth be told?
First, however, despite my invitation, my opponent failed to define national security. Therefore I shall define national security as being the protection of national citizens against large-scale external threats.

1. Can governments be trusted to arbitrate free speech?
Former US president Richard Nixon justified his violation of multiple laws of property and privacy under the pretext of national security in the famous Watergate scandal. National security allows whoever is in office to pass whatever legislation they choose, even that giving fundamental rights. The first amendment to the United States' constitution gives people the freedom of speech. This is common to the vast majority of bills of rights around the world. But almost nowhere is this actually enforced, and almost always is this for reasons of "national security."

But what is vital to protecting the interests of national security and what isn't is made up by the government. The government therefore has a license to restrict whatever speech it wants to - they arbitrate free speech. Nixon provides a prime example for why this is a bad idea in practice. Politicians are able to cover up any crimes they commit by preventing witnesses talking to law enforcement - in the name of national security. Furthermore, even if the politicians don't commit these crimes, we should not trust them to. It's like being told by someone "I can do anything I want, but I'll act within the law, trust me." Who would trust that guy?

Trusting someone is a pretty big thing. Being allowed to get away with anything is an even bigger thing. But being trusted to be allowed to get away with anything AT THE EXPENSE OF YOUR RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS is the biggest thing of all. It sets a dangerous precedent for government control. I want my opponent to justify why we can know that the government will not abuse their power. Until then, it is illegitimate for them to have their power and the motion must stand.

2. Are there any national security harms to knowing the truth?
Just because I know the London Subway is vulnerable to bombing doesn't mean I will go bomb the London Subway. I so happen to know that there is a spot in New Zealand where our main gas pipeline crosses our main electricity line, which would screw over our country for weeks if bombed, with no security measures and even a public footpath and a sign marking the spot. There would be no way to prove who did it if a bomb went off there. Amazingly, while in London the security was kept fairly secret, the London trains were bombed and New Zealand is completely safe.

All that shows that it isn't the level of secrecy that determines a terrorist's resolve to bomb. So what about the execution - is it easier to bomb when you know the security at the place you are bombing? Well, a few points. First, the reason why most people bomb is out of ignorance, because they don't know the truth. Under my model, the truth can be known, under your model it cannot, as I demonstrate under point 3. Second, just because people know information does not mean they will tell. Nobody who knew the security arrangements at the twin towers would have just walked around the streets shouting them out to anybody who cared to listen. But they should be free to do so, just as they in fact were. Right now I am free to tell you exactly when my work hours are, just so you can rob me. That doesn't mean you will rob me, or that I will tell you. But I have the freedom to do so if I so choose.

I want to make this point very clear - I don't support forcing actors, such as the state, to say something because they know something. I'm saying they should have the right to do so.

My opponent needs to show a tangible threat from this right. Look at Wikileaks. President Obama has announced his exit strategy, pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan fully in 2014. Wikileaks didn't hamper that one bit. Wikileaks, history has proven, compromised nothing.

The fact is that the best resolution to any war is negotiation. By not being free to talk with the terrorists, you enforce the death of your people. And that's what the United States is doing, as the trial of Ralph D. Fertig proved - US citizens can't ask the terrorists to stop. That's a tangible benefit to free speech - not all free speech is negative, and much will dissuade rather than encourage those who would compromise national security.

3. Will the truth be told?
When people have freedom of speech, the truth is always worked out. Indeed the only reason why free speech is limited for reasons of "national security" is in fact to prevent truths from being told. The best way to combat false ideas is to speak the truth. Area 51 is shrouded in secrecy, and unsurprisingly there are perhaps a million theories as to what goes on there. If the government was to show people around, then there would be no question that it is an experimental aircraft testing facility. When people are denied the truth, they believe falsehood. Therefore without supporting my side of the argument, the truth cannot be told. I'd like my opponent to show otherwise.

I look forward to reading my opponent's response.
YYW

Con

"that free speech should not be restricted for reasons of national security"

The resolution we debate today reads "that free speech should not be restricted for reasons of national security." The burden of proof then, for the AFF is to demonstrate that in no case government has the right to classify information for purposes of national security -as information that is classified, by impact and effect, restrains free speech. In essence, the NEG must prove that in no case is it acceptable for the government to keep information from its people in the interest of preserving national security. If the NEG can in any case prove that a restricted flow of information is beneficial to a nation because it protects national security, the NEG has won the debate. My neglect to define national security was not a concession to stipulate whatever definition my opponent provided, merely to afford him the opportunity to frame his arguments upon his understanding of what national security was.

My opponent considers national security to be "the protection of national citizens against large-scale external threats."

I would expand that definition to include all external threats.

To refute my opponent's case:

R1) There is no question that the cause of "national security" has been used in the past to justify a litany of questionable acts and policies by politicians and governmental agencies. However, that "national security" has been abused as a cause in the past does not abrogate all purpose or benefit from its pursuit, or governmental secrecy in totality. I agree with my opponent that national security should not be used by politicians as a blank check to protect themselves from criminal prosecution (as both Presidents Nixon and Clinton attempted). Again though, that does not mean that all governmental information should be publicly accessible.

Watergate, we now know, had nothing to do with national security -only shady political antics. Clinton tried to claim that being sued for sexual harassment would hinder his ability to be an effective president and commander in chief, which Supreme Court Justice Stevens found to be absurd (Clinton v. Jones). However, in both cases, while national security was the desired end that supposedly was championed by both Nixon and Clinton, the real question was of executive privilege, and what authority executive privilege afforded presidents to avoid prosecution.

There are cases it would be not only feasible to justify governmental obstruction of informational flow (and in effect limit freedom of speech by hindering access to information), but prudence and practicality would demand it. Schematics to governmental buildings, security protocols for physical presidential protection (efforts designed to keep the president from bodily harm), launch codes, nuclear weapon research and technology, defense schematics and technological blue-prints, etc. all are best kept from the public for reasons that are self-explanatory.

I contend that the problem with publicly available launch codes and etc. is the increased likelihood that such information would fall into the hands of a rival or enemy who could use that information to cause harm to us. To classify information like that is to hinder free speech and the flow of information, but in the name of national security, practicality demands that we do so.

R2) My opponent secondly considers the implications to universal availability of governmental knowledge. The likelihood of my opponent committing an act of violence, I would say, is quite low. His knowing of the schematics of the London Subway most likely would not pose a threat to the national security of the United Kingdom because he possesses neither the means nor the will to harm Londoners. Someone who did posses both the means and the will to harm Londoners who was intimately familiar with the inter-workings of the London subway is an entirely different matter.

A terrorist, equipped with the means and the desire to cause harm (someone who would constitute a tangible threat to national security if they had access to sensitive information), could and would use such information to kill innocent people -information that wouldn't be readily accessible if it were classified. While a classification system isn't perfect, it is an effective barrier if properly implemented to ensure that sensitive information that could be used to harm people doesn't fall in the wrong hands.

I contend that while such a system does impair free speech, it is a necessary cost in the name of security -after all, who really cares about where the air ducts and gas pipes are located in a subway anyway, unless you want to use them to cause harm. Someone who needed access to that information, for, say, repair or improvement purposes would be granted clearance (access to specified classified information) -but a terrorist would be out of luck.

My opponent is correct in believing that not all free speech is negative. In fact, most free speech is positive, but there are some cases where information is best kept from the public.

R3) I respect my opponent's high regard for the truth, but I question his understanding of the impact that universal access to all information (wether that information is sensitive or not) will have. My opponent is correct that the best way to combat false ideals is to speak the truth, but speaking the truth and our ability and the government's necessity to do so is not undermined by a system where information is classified. There is a fundamental difference between not speaking the truth and keeping information from the public that could result in societal harm by jeopardizing national security.

My opponent is simply mistaken when he contends that "the only reason why free speech is limited for reasons of "national security" is in fact to prevent truths from being told." Indeed, the purpose is not to lie to the public, but to protect them from the harm that would result if sensitive information were to fall into the wrong hands (like the hands of people who had the means and will to kill the innocent).

To support the Affirmative is to support a world where anyone can access anything at any time -a world where those who would desire to cause us harm are only a google search away from learning how to do so. True enough, classification should be sparingly used. In no way should politicians be allowed to "classify" information as a way to dodge accountability for their actions. Only information that is critical to the integrity of our government and infrastructure should be classified -like operational procedure for intelligence gathering at the CIA, or weak points in security at the Pentagon.
Debate Round No. 2
larztheloser

Pro

I'd like to thank my opponent for opening his case. First, I want to say that I accept his proposed definitional change.

Second, have a look back to round one. Here I defined free speech as being a right. It isn't an obligation. The government, just like everyone else, should have the right to remain silent. I am only contending that this should not limit people's right to speak if they so choose. I am not saying that if I wandered up to the Pentagon tomorrow and asked the guy at reception for passcodes to all the US nuclear silos, that he should give them to me. Rather, I contend that he should be free to do so. Except that he won't unless he's incredibly corrupt, in which case giving him the passcodes was probably a really bad idea and he would have told the terrorists secretly anyway. Indeed it would be logical for the secretary to lie to the would-be terrorist, with the intention of catching him red-handed. My opponent therefore needs to do more than appeal to the need to keep some information secret. He needs to show why allowing free speech will mean secrets are told. That's what I'm disputing. I suspect my opponent may be confusing freedom of information with freedom of speech.

Bearing that in mind, I shall now proceed to focus on my three contentions:

1. Can governments be trusted to arbitrate free speech?
My opponent more or less concedes that they cannot, as he agrees that politicians use it and that this should not be accepted. However, he argues that this information has nothing to do with national security, and that while the system is open to abuse, that cost is outweighed by the benefit of not giving the RIRA the latest US defense schematics.

Firstly, that's a faulty benefit. No defense contractor in the world would just hand over their schematics because some foes asked politely. Secondly, the cost of the abuse cannot be known. We shouldn't trust the politicians to tell us when we can speak because we usually have no way of knowing whether classified information has been classified for a legitimate or illegitimate purpose, until long after the harm has been done.

My opponent also states that just because a minority abuse the system doesn't mean we should assume a given politician will. If we accept that as true, then it must also equally apply to my case. Just because a few minorities want to hurt a given nation doesn't mean we should assume a given person will. I don't think my opponent really believes that. Unless he justifies otherwise, my first point stands.

2. Are there any national security harms to knowing the truth?
To open this argument I'd like to remind everybody of the Wikileaks example I raised last round. Wikileaks exposed the truth, and the United States is apparently no less secure now because of it.

Knowing the truth does not increase a terrorist's resolve. I provided strong empirical evidence that knowing more in fact dissuades terrorists from terrorism. I also told you that terrorists are unlikely to learn critical defense truths even with completely free speech, because the government is as free to not tell as they are to tell. My opponent's argument, however, appears to presuppose "universal availability" under my model. To run this argument, first he needs to show why allowing free speech will mean secrets are told. He has not done so. The point must stand.

3. Will the truth be told?
My opponent makes two arguments. The first suffers from the same flaw as his round two argument, that it presupposes free speech means secrets getting revealed. Again, my opponent must do more to justify that.

Secondly he argues a bit of a one-sentence wonder: "the purpose is not to lie to the public" but to "protect" them. I never said the purpose was to spread misinformation. I rather said that this is what happens. The purpose is to deny people access to the truth, be that to protect them or protect a corrupt politician's interests. But I took that one step further and told you that when people don't know the truth, they will believe any myth that covers the gap. Myths can only be rubbished with truths. That's why the truth is so fundamentally vital to protect.

In conclusion, national interests are always important. But what nation proclaims itself the land of the secure? The land of defense at freedom's cost? This is about protecting your rights, because I have shown again and again that states have nothing to gain from keeping their citizens in the dark. That's why you must vote pro.
YYW

Con

The resolution is as follows: That free speech should not be restricted for reasons of national security

My opponent has said: "The government, just like everyone else, should have the right to remain silent."

In conceding this point, he agrees that the government should have the right to keep information from its people -even at the expense of free speech and the free pursuit of knowledge. The resolution we are debating is wether free speech should be restricted for purposes of national security. The government's "right" to "remain silent" and a free flow of information (free speech) cannot simultaneously exist. As such, CON has met its burden of proof and PRO has conceded.

My opponent does continue, however:

The issue my opponent now tries to raise is that the government: "should not limit people's right to speak if they so choose."

My opponent attempts to invoke an issue that is not called into question here. I never said that government should be able to silence people in the name of national security. However, since my opponent has brought it up, I will refer to the words of Olliver Wendel Holmes, in Shenck v. US.

"The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that the United States Congress has a right to prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree. When a nation is at war, many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight, and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right."

Shenck was overruled and in this particular case we now know that communism wasn't a real threat to US national security, but might something else be? Could the possibility exist that limiting free speech would not only be vital to national security, but to the preservation of our nation as a whole? Indeed it could.

The world has watched the turmoil that has unfolded in Egypt and across the middle east as riots propagated by social networking has led to the destabilization of nations. While Egypt may turn out to be better off for those riots, if such a situation were to come to pass in New York or Washington, would it not be beneficial to shut off the internet? That would limit free speech -and in the name of national security. My opponent has spoke of "rights" but, I would humbly remind him that no person enjoys the right to cause chaos -to shout fire in a crowded theater.

I would furthermore remind my opponent that freedom of information and freedom of speech exist in concert with one another. One cannot exist without the other. Where one is limited, so is the other.

Onto my opponent's initial questions:

R1) I have conceded nothing that goes to the ultimate issue, which I remind my opponent is "that free speech should not be restricted for reasons of national security." While my opponent's superfluous employment of pronouns has resulted in a rather confusing rebuttal, I will try to have a go at what I gather is the core of his argument. In the examples my opponent cited, national security wasn't the heart of the matter being challenged. Nixon, in the Watergate scandal (the example my opponent cited) claimed executive privilege to not release tapes of recorded conversations. While Nixon did argue that national security was a justification to not release the tapes in question, executive privilege was the cause to withhold them. Wether or not the tapes should have been released is not for us to settle. We are here to debate the resolution.

As I have said earlier, information in the wrong hands can cause harm. It doesn't matter that only a small minority of extremists may desire to cause harm (Al Qaeda is certainly not a majority anywhere it operates), but they possess both the means and the desire to cause harm to the western world. Clearly, when terrorists are in possession of sensitive information the results can be disastrously catastrophic.

R2) Wikileaks did not open the floodgates of classified informational retention, it only scratched the surface. It is fortunate that the information that was released did not result in any horror that made the news, but the true impact of the release of that information cannot be known unless you have the full picture (which we do not). The information released by Wikileaks was primarily diplomatic cables of no pressing significance, the information did not contain anything that would or could jeopardize national security. That is not to say that if all classified information were made public however, that the consequences would be the same. My opponent naively holds fast to his belief that if terrorists are freely given the choice to cause harm or not cause harm, that they will choose not to cause harm. In the real world, nothing could be farther from the truth.

R3) I remind my opponent that free speech means free flow of information on all fronts. If information is to flow freely (because everyone is equally entitled to it), then no one can have the right to remain silent. My opponent accepts that the government has the right to keep secrets from its people (by keeping silent). As such not only do my points stand but my opponent has conceded agreement to the argument I have raised.

In conclusion, because national interests are always important (as my opponent has said) and because the government has a right to remain silent (as my opponent has also said) it is justifiable that the government limit informational flow by means of a classification system. It is also justifiable for the government to prevent mass chaos where possible in the interest of national security, as I mentioned earlier. Because I have proven that there are some cases where government suppression of free speech is justified and because my opponent accepts this on a conceptual level, victory must be afforded to con.
Debate Round No. 3
larztheloser

Pro

I do not concede that because the government has the right to say something, information will always be freely available. My opponent makes no effort to tell us why this is so. He asserts information and speech exist in concert with one another. Newsflash - if you go around telling people everything you know, you're weird.

It's clear that my opponent did not refer back to my definition in making his argument. He ignored that speech is a right, not a responsibility. In his last round, my opponent stated that free speech was the "free speech means free flow of information on all fronts." You can't win a point by redefining a definition you agreed to so that it makes your point a tautology. The truth is that just because I have the right to say information (freedom of speech) doesn't mean I have to say information when questioned (freedom of information).

Even if you, the voter, think that people who have free speech cannot keep secrets (I know I can, although I am still free to speak), bear in mind that this is a debate. My opponent needs to give you that causal link for any of his rebuttals to stand. As he has not done so, and he will not do so, he cannot win.

He also contradicts his own agreed definition of national security - "any external threats to national citizens" - by bringing up the Egypt example and equating it to New York. It is my understanding that New York is still part of the United States. Therefore this would be an internal threat, as opposed to an external one. In that way I would humbly remind him that this is beyond the scope of our present debate, and should not be relevant to votes.

I will now go on to answer the relevant contentions my opponent has continued to argue:

1. Can governments be trusted to arbitrate free speech?
Just because I give a reason of "national security" does not mean national security is actually threatened. That's what Clinton and Nixon taught us. My opponent rightly asserts that national security was not at stake in these cases, but wrongly asserts that this is irrelevant to the debate. It's absolutely relevant. As wrong as free speech can be restricted, national security can be given as the reason, and there are no checks and balances on the system (and how can there be, if the national security depends on it) then we are blindly trusting governments to restrict speech when necessary. The problem is, they also restrict speech when it suits them. That's a tangible harm that arises directly from my opponent's position. Therefore, it cannot be simply dismissed as irrelevant.

He also dismisses my claim that "just because a few minorities want to hurt a given nation doesn't mean we should assume a given person will." He says that these minorities "may desire to cause harm" and that "the results can be disastrously catastrophic." I thank my opponent for proving my point. The same logic can be applied to his claim that, in my own paraphrase, just because a minority abuse the system doesn't mean we should assume a given politician will. I love the way my opponent is debating this with himself.

2. Are there any national security harms to knowing the truth?
Okay, finally a response to Wikileaks! My opponent notes that nothing critical was revealed. This is saying that having free speech will reveal everything critical, unlike what Wikileaks did. He is therefore, again, making an argument based on his faulty self-made tautological definition. Nothing more needs to be said.

3. Will the truth be told?
My opponent explicitly contradicts my definition as if this wins him the point. Nope. You have to engage with my point using the definition you agreed to. I do accept anybody has the right to keep secrets, but I also think they have a right to speak freely. Those rights are not mutually exclusive.

In this debate, I have offered countless solid arguments, and the response from con has been the same on almost every one. He claims that if I let people say the truth, they'll rock on up to Al Qaeda's den and tell them all about it. Of course people should have the freedom to do so. But my opponent's claim that this is what they'll do has not been substantiated. I remind my opponent that this round is his last chance to tell voters why free speech means public knowledge. I hope to be enlightened.
YYW

Con

My opponent completely misrepresents any and all arguments that I have offered, which you, the voter, can easily observe. Because it is clear that my opponent lacks the foundational knowledge to thoroughly understand and analyze the resolution that he wrote, I will provide him with the education he should have received before we began this round.

What Free Speech is:

Free speech, its purpose, is to preserve free thought. John Milton described in paradise lost a "marketplace of ideas" which ought to be accessible by all. In a legal sense free speech means freedom of expression; the meaning of "free speech" is broader and more encompassing than the mere freedom to utter whatever verbiage you may elect without fear of reprisal. Where government in any way obstructs the free-flow of information, it has hampered free speech. Where government disrupts communication it has hindered free speech. Where government places limitations on what can be said, by whom, to whom, and how; it has limited free speech. Free speech is a right, but it is not an absolute right. No one has the right to shout fire in a crowded theater. Even still, that free speech is a right does not mean that it is to be valued over things like national security, or causes which may demand higher precedence in any given situation. The question for us to answer today is the preservation of free speech, or the cause of national security. In civilized society we concede much of our freedom for the cause of order; for our safety and security.

An unlimited free flow of information in any society is harmful. My opponent recognizes this. Though he only contends that just cause for not spilling all your secrets is to prevent one from being "weird" the reason to treat sensitive information with a certain degree of secrecy is far more compelling than a mere desire to avoid weirdness. The cause of protecting sensitive information (information that could be used to cause harm to innocent people if in the wrong hands) is to protect the integrity of both society and of government so that citizens are safe. Restricting access to sensitive information and maintaining a system where information as described above would be classified and kept from public view, does abridge absolute free speech -but people do not have a right to absolute free speech.

I remind my opponent, the resolution we are debating is as follows: "That free speech should not be restricted for reasons of national security"

Definitions are not static. They are not almighty parameters which impose limitations to conceivable logical end. Rather than address the substance of my proposed refutation, my opponent wishes only to bicker over definitions and make false accusations of logical fallacies -the hallmark of a debater who cannot respond to the substance of a refutation.

So that the issue of Egypt is put to rest, I will touch on that in more detail this time. My opponent wishes to believe that it could only be the case that national security is threatened by external threats. I suppose he is unfamiliar the concept of a home-grown terrorist (like Timothy McVeigh who perpetrated the Oklahoma City bombings or Nadil Hassan who was responsible for fort hood). He myopically makes no room for the possibility that domestic threats could exist, despite empirical evidence to the contrary.

Because of the insight that Egypt offers to the topic, it is entirely relevant to this debate.
Egypt provides an excellent case study to how social networking media can cause social unrest. There is no valid argument to counter the statement that domestic threats can jeopardize national security. Egypt faced a domestic threat to its national security; because it was unable to quell the insurrection Egypt was destabilized. When the internet was cut off, riots did die down. To shut down the internet would be an encroachment on free speech, but would it not be justified given the situation?

R1. Can governments be trusted to arbitrate free speech?

I am just as skeptical about governmental shadiness as the next guy, but I would ask my opponent and any voter to consider the alternative. What would a world look like where anyone can access anything at any time? Where you, I, or someone that would desire to harm you or I could access anything from military schematics to research and blueprints to construct nuclear warheads. Iran could construct it's own nuclear weapons from our model if only it could gain access to information that would be publicly accessible to more than three hundred million people that inhabit the fruited plains of the United States; what a challenge that would pose. My opponent does not consider such a situation even though it would be the new state of things in a world where this resolution were affirmed. He does not consider the because no rational person (not even my opponent) would contend that governmental secrets should be available to the public; after all -people who go around telling everyone everything are just "weird." (see my opponent's refutation."

On another front, and perhaps a more contentious one, let us consider something that hits a bit closer to home: domestic insurrection. During the Red Scare the United States silenced all varieties of "dissenters" who were believed to be communists polluting the home front. We prosecuted Schenck, Gitlow, and a litany of others. While McCarthyism has a bitter connotation, it served a purpose: it demonstrated that no one had the right to use words that presented a clear and present (or probable) danger (like advocating for the overthrow of the government and plotting revolution). In the modern world, if Facebook were used to incite riots to overthrow the government (as was the case in Egypt), would those riots not constitute a threat to national security? Obviously. Should the government then unplug the internet? Yes. While free speech would be sacrificed, it would be done in the name of protecting both the people and the institutions which enable society to run smoothly -and therefore would be justified.

R2. Are there any national security harms to knowing the truth?

The question is fallaciously worded. As I have afore said, The "truth" is not jeopardized here, only access to information. My opponent cited Wikileaks as an example to demonstrate that the release of sensitive information does not cause harm. While I am unaware of any material harm that resulted to the US as a result of the Wikileaks scandal, the information that was released was but a small fraction of all the information classified by the US government. This information may have been benign in nature, but that is not to say that all information will be. Until my opponent responds to this, he has lost this point.

R3. Will the truth be told?

I would encourage the voter to seek an understanding not only the definitions of terms provided here, but of what they consider the issues and the significance of those issues here to be -but there has been entirely too much talk of definitions for this debate and I would ask my opponent to refrain from such petty pseudo-attacks in the future.

My opponent contends the following: " I do accept anybody has the right to keep secrets, but I also think they have a right to speak freely. Those rights are not mutually exclusive." If there can be even one case that illustrates where free speech and national security can exist then free speech and national security can be mutually exclusive. That is not to say that mutual exclusivity is absolute, but rather that on a situation by situation basis the possibility exists where one must be favored at the expense of the other -which I have plentifully demonstrated above and in preceding rounds. The "truth" then, can be justifiably withheld from the public if doing so protects the people. As such, there is no conceivable possibility that the PRO has won this debate.
Debate Round No. 4
larztheloser

Pro

My opponent's argument has amounted to nothing more than a definitional attack. He then accuses me of not engaging with his substance - a "petty pseudoattack" which he launched, not me (by attacking my definition in round three). Sadly, there is nothing to engage with. It all rests on his and John Milton's assertion that the ability to speak freely imparts an obligation to speak freely. I've provided clear examples as to why that's false. As I said in round two, I am free to tell you how to rob me, but that doesn't mean I'm going to. The same can be applied to the state or their agents in the case of national security. My opponent never told you why not. He simply disputes my definition. He even challenges his own definition, to the point that I'm not really sure what he's arguing any more. Voters, you can have security and the right to speak freely. They are not mutually exclusive. I proved to you time and time again that we can't trust politicians to remove our rights, we won't learn anything but benign information (because people can also choose not to exercise their right to free speech), and that truth is good for guarding against falsehood. My opponent did not respond except to disagree with the definitions after accepting them. How can I possibly win if my opponent keeps changing his mind about what we are arguing? As such, if con wins the debate, you are buying into a definition, not an argument. If pro wins, it is on the back of three solid arguments that have gone entirely unrefuted. Vote pro.
YYW

Con

My opponent has yielded, and therefore lost the debate entirely. He has made no effort whatsoever to counter any refutation I posed in the last round and I encourage the voter to meticulously review every detail and nuance of this debate before voting to verify my claim. To simply claim that an argument has not been refuted is not to indicate that it has actually been the case that an argument has not been refuted. My opponent, though I am sure means well, offers nothing more than a claim.

Rather than repeat what has already been said, I again encourage the reader to go over this debate several times before voting. Upon doing so, there exists no possibility that the PRO has met his burden of proof in this debate because he has, in his reasoning, contradicted his affirmation for the resolution entirely. The outcome of this debate indicates a victory for the CON.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
The resolution is ridiculous, of course. It would establish an unimpeded market for information on weapons, military plans, and access codes. Spying is legalized, so spies cannot be removed from access to information.

The question of how the government can be trusted is answered by separation of powers. A person can sue in court to get information declassified, starting with a Freedom of Information Act request being denied. News organizations do this regularly. Also, one can go to any member of Congress to have the issue raised. That's also done.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
One of the more enjoyable debates I have read recently.
Posted by larztheloser 5 years ago
larztheloser
I contested your definition with logic and empirical evidence. You did so with assertion and an appeal to John Milton. I never said they were parameters, or that they were incontestable, I just said you didn't have a consistent interpretation of them and that your "refutations" were nothing but assertions. If anyone is being absurd and counterintuitive, it's you. I have responses, obviously, to internal security, but then you also said you're not arguing for internal security. Contradictions refute points.
Posted by YYW 5 years ago
YYW
Just a few things I want to cover here.

1) Because I expanded the definition of national security to include all external threats does not preclude the possibility that domestic threats can jeopardize national security.

2) The problem that my opponent had was how he worded the resolution, which it tricky to be fair.

3) Definitions are not parameters for what can and cannot be discussed because they are firstly not static, secondly subject to contextual interpretation, and thirdly sources of contention themselves. If my opponent wants to attack something that I have said because of the merits of what I have said that is fine, but to conclude that my point is invalid because my opponent thinks it doesn't jive with the definition that my opponent wrote that I did not agree too is not only pretentious, but it is entirely absurd and counterintuitive to any candid discussion of the issue at hand.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
larztheloserYYWTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: YYW shows enough harms of free speech that it manages to breach national security
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
larztheloserYYWTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: So nuclear launch codes could be sold to the highest bidder, and since doing so is not a crime there is no punishment for doing so. Con made the right arguments.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
larztheloserYYWTied
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Total points awarded:34 
Reasons for voting decision: Larz made a strong argument on several points, however he could not take the opposition from Con. Now it can be said it was a semantic/pressure argument, but Larz essentially conceded it. Unfortunate as I think he could have taken it with a very strong summary. It was also an interesting position to advocate that mandatory restrictions are unnecessary. 4:3 Con
Vote Placed by GMDebater 5 years ago
GMDebater
larztheloserYYWTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro did not refute con's arguments. No sources and no errors from each side so grammar is tied as is sources