The Instigator
Republican95
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
alto2osu
Pro (for)
Winning
29 Points

The Confederate Flag Should Be Banned

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
alto2osu
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/23/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,299 times Debate No: 8747
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (22)
Votes (5)

 

Republican95

Con

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Definitions
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The Confederate Flag-the flag used by the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War (1861-1865). If your unsure of what it looks like, go to Google image search and type in "Confederate Flag".

Banned-To ban the Confederate Flag would mean for it to be made illegal for it to be displayed anywhere one might be offended.

Many individuals and groups (such as the NAACP and the ACLU) believe that the Confederate flag should be banned because it represents the "Old South" and endorses racism towards African Americans. Being from Dixie myself (Mississippi is about as far south as it gets) I stand in strong opposition of any banning of the Confederate Flag. I justify this believe upon the following reasons:

1) The Confederate Flag is a symbol of the South, not hate. The Confederate flag existed decades before the Civil War, in fact it was used by Revolutionists in Tennessee fighting the redcoats in the American Revolutionary War. Therefore, it doesn't represent hate, but rather is a symbol of pride in one's region. Last time I checked, being proud of your heritage was not racism.

2) To ban the Confederate Flag would be to ban a symbol of Pride. Similarly, take for example that we were to ban "I Love NY" t-shirts. All a I Love NY t-shirt is doing is showing favoritism towards one specific region of the United States, the Confederate flag is too, so why ban it? The Confederate Flag, even though used in KKK demonstrations, is not a racist symbol, but rather a symbol of pride of one's heritage.

3) If we ban the Confederate Flag we might as well ban the American Flag. After all, the slave ships that carried future slaves to the United States flew the Stars-n-Stripes. So what's the difference?

4) The Confederate flag has no intrinsic meaning. The meanings symbols carry is that which humans attach from their own learning. Thus, any viewer of a symbol is free to assign it any range of meanings. The symbol itself, then is constant, but the value symbolized is not. Assuming that the Confederate Flag is an element of our culture, it becomes necessary to define culture

Thank you whoever responds to this debate.
alto2osu

Pro

My purpose today is to support the legal banning of the Confederate flag. At first blush, I appear to be destroying a fundamental & celebrated freedom within the United States: the freedom of speech & expression (expression as interpreted by the Supreme Court over the years). However, I assure you that I am, in fact, encouraging a deeper love & respect for the ideals & rights of American citizens than my opponent in his protection of this piece of historical iconography.

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First of all, a couple of minor definitional/resolutional concerns:

1) Since banning is only addressed in the sense of illegalization in general, I would like to clarify that the banning would happen, most naturally, on a state level. As with flag burning, the banning of a flag at the federal level is highly unlikely, and most laws concerning individual expression come from individual states. Hence, we can assume that my opponent is referring either to a single state, or to all states banning the Confederate flag individually.

2) Then, we have to deal with the fact that no actor was specified. Mind you, if we are planning on making laws, then clearly the actor would most likely be a state's congress or voters. However, I will specify, since my advocacy necessitates it. We shall assume, for the purposes of the debate, that the referendum process is used, and that the author of a Confederate flag ban would put the ban, as a piece of legislation, on the ballot using the mechanisms for his or her state.

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Now, onto my advocacy:

Consider the state of the nation. For the last 8 years or so, American civil liberties have been systematically and steadily drained from the citizenry under the guise of national security. We've gone from the freest nation in the world to "no liquids on a airplane exceeding 3 oz." Homeland Security, combined with the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act, has successfully robbed citizens and foreigners alike of the most basic judicial & civil rights that once made the US a stand-alone amongst the first world. The US government can detain its own citizens for indefinite periods of time without warrant or charge. US Military personnel, armed to the teeth, can conduct involuntary searches of your person and vehicle. The federal government, until 2007, could force private telephone & data companies to turn over private phone & email conversations. Seized and incapacitated by increasingly manipulative fear rhetoric and a false sense of security, Americans have forgotten what it means to fight for their rights.

http://www.washingtonpost.com...
http://thomas.loc.gov...:]

Banning the Confederate flag will produce the impetus that the American people need to begin this fight anew. The Confederate flag is embraced by millions for its historical & cultural significance. Reenactments of Civil War battles occur yearly in the southern regions of the US. The Civil War is still a huge part of every American's heritage, Union or Confederate. This is what makes this symbol so adequate to the task of relighting America's fire to fight.

http://www.sonofthesouth.net...

Considering the powerful iconic nature of this flag, any state laws that ban its ability to be displayed will result in protest and court challenges. Considering the powerful iconic nature of this flag, the court case will be comparable to others that have shaped the civil rights movements of America's history. While presidents, even those who are most eloquent, have yet to inspire America to reclaim its rights & ideals, this action will lead to an inevitable reaction that will re-energize the citizenry to stand up for what is rightfully theirs.

http://www.law.umkc.edu... (note the fight for rights that ensued for decades over "desecrating" symbols like flags, draft cards, military uniforms, etc.)

In summation, banning the Confederate flag will, in the long-term, actually increase civil liberties, not only because the inevitable court challenges & protests will reinstate the flag as a symbol of free expression, but because it will remind US citizens of what they've lost, and will encourage US citizens to fight for other freedoms long since forgotten.

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Onto my opponent's case:

As an overview, I'd like to state that my opponent's case directly establishes why the Confederate flag is the perfect object to ban for the desired Pro reaction. If the symbol is not great enough, and is not a large enough part of our culture, then the necessary clash will not be produced, and no noticeable change would occur. If we attempted to rouse citizens into fighting for civil rights with something obscure or only respected or understood by a handful of people, the affirmative advocacy would fail miserably.

The only contention I really wish to question is his 4th, regarding the intrinsic value of the flag:

While flags are only cloth & dye, every cultural symbol has "intrinsic meaning," if I understand your use of the term. Culture is learned; no one would know what this flag meant if we didn't see it in history books and flying over people's homes (my relatives hail from Arkansas, and there's hardly a house without one displayed in my grandmother's home town). It is this intrinsic value that makes the symbol worth keeping around for all of these years, and it is this intrinsic value that will encourage everyone flying a Confederate flag to stand up for their right to fly it when banned.

Thank you, and I look forward to my opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 1
Republican95

Con

My opponent's premise is basically that banning the Confederate Flag would encourage people to rise together and demand that they be given their freedom of expression. My opponent has offered up one of the oldest debate tactics, All A's are B's. What my opponent is really trying to sell is "Every time a government takes away your rights you appreciate your rights more". Or, "You don't know what you got 'till its gone".

However, one of the easiest debate arguments to refute is the "All A's are B's" argument is to offer one example of an A that isn't a B, or one B that doesn't result from A. I feel like an analogy! Whoo-hoo Analogy time.

A country has a reserve of money, as opposed to a debt. The people of this country are coming to their King and demanding that the King be generous with these reserves and spend it liberally on tax cuts and social programs. The King denies saying "Lets save the money for when we really need it, such as in a time of war". However, the people of the Kingdom keep on pestering the King to spend the money on tax cuts and social programs. After several weeks of this the King finally snaps and says "You ignorant people you do not appreciate having such a great luxury such as a reserve of money! To make you appreciate it more I will drive our country into debt my spending the reserves all on Jello and leopard print 5 inch heels!". And he does. A few weeks later the country is in a deep economic depression while the King enjoys jello and wearing 5 inch heels.

Okay, analogy time over.

Similarly, the people of this country have a right to Freedom of Expression. If the government deprives that right, than what is stopping the government from depriving more rights (religion, press, assembly, etc). Pretty soon, after the government has taken away our rights to make us appreciate them more, we have no rights. And we cannot demand our rights back we had in the first place if we have no rights. Government is just a group of power-hungry, stupid, greedy individuals. What gives them the right to say "Appreciate this more"?

Thank you and good luck.
alto2osu

Pro

Good afternoon, and I thank my opponent for his speedy & entertaining response. Nothing more diverting on a long afternoon then contemplating a man in women's shoes.

I will response in the order that my opponent did.

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On "all A's are B's" & the king analogy:

While amusing in some respects, my opponent's analogy falls short in a number of ways.

First of all, I'm not arguing that "all a's are b's." Nor am I arguing that a government who takes away your rights will make you appreciate them more. Clearly, my bringing up the devastation of the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act negates this possibility, since the government has been slowly siphoning away our civil liberties for the past 8 years. If this were true, then we wouldn't have lost those civil liberties in the first place.

However, if a government wields enough fear rhetoric, we've seen that it can successfully eliminate, over time, huge chunks of our rights. My opponent had nothing to say about any of my arguments regarding right to privacy, or habeas corpus, or due process. These rights, unlike the right to display a Confederate flag, are much more easily dismantled in the situation we found ourselves in. Hence, we've given up piles of rights, and have hardly noticed (in general terms).

The banning of the Confederate flag, however, is a horse of a different color, and is much more noticeable & distinguishable, even through a blizzard of national security rhetoric. Breaking through this false wall of "keeping us secure" is paramount in order to maximize our civil liberties, and banning this particular icon, as proven in my RD 1 post, is an effective way to do it, since banning the Confederate flag has little or no relationship to national security, while other civil liberties may be rationalized away by the "need to keep us safe."

Second of all, the entire process of banning the Confederate flag vs. monarchical dictatorship is incomparable. The people will find it far, far harder to rise up against such a king. My advocacy presents a clear path to improvement of society using installed checking mechanisms like freedom of assembly & the Supreme Court. My opponent's analogy provides a clear path to a king in high heels, wading around in Jell-o. (I know…I took liberties with the actual use of the Jell-o, but it's funnier that way)

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On the limiting of one right leading to the limiting of others:

Speaking of logical fallacies, my opponent has argued here that slippery slope will lead us down the path of doom.

First of all, note the resolutional issues at the top of my RD 1 posting. "The government" has little to do with this, insomuch as state or federal legislatures are not banning the Confederate flag: voters are banning the Confederate flag. My opponent did not refute this, so that complicates his slippery slope argument significantly. Since "them" is simply other American citizens, I'm forcing open clash and resolution regarding rights BETWEEN CITIZENS, which is what changes democratic societies. Without open clash about segregation, slavery, women's suffrage, freedom of expression, etc., we wouldn't enjoy the freer society we have today. Open clash about rights has, and will, continue to be the best way to maximize discourse about those rights.

Second of all, slippery slope is a logical fallacy. While there are extreme cases of historical scenarios that appear "slippery slope-ish," the chronology of events doesn't necessarily dictate direct causation. For example, when Hitler took power in Germany, he had some ultimate goals in mind, one of which was the extermination of the Jewish people (as well as several other types of people). As he gained political power, he was able to realize that ultimate goal with more and more restrictions on Jewish freedom. However, the ultimate goal is what informed each restrictive step, not the step before it.

Finally, my opponent is being extremely hyperbolic. To propose that this single ban will lead to a universal lack of rights is unrealistic. How many things in the United States are currently banned? How many bans have we imposed, and then lifted? The US is a progressive nation, empirically. We also have no laws that cannot be undone. That's a key tenet of the representative democratic process. He gives you no reason to believe that this one ban will lead to the end of the free world as we know it.

I look forward to my opponent's rebuttal.
Debate Round No. 2
Republican95

Con

My opponent claims that a ban on the Confederate Flag will break through all the "national security" mumbo-jumbo and awaken citizens to what rights have been stolen from them since 9/11.

This is an excellent reason to not ban the flag. If the flag were to be banned than the national security of the nation would be severely compromised. The top priority in a wartime or peacetime situation is to protect its citizens from harm both domestically and abroad. Banning the Confederate Flag would compromise this.

My opponent has still yet to challenge three of the contentions I made in Round 1; meaning that those contentions stand. If she fails to challenge them by the end of the debate, they will stand, meaning I will of won. I encourage my opponent to challenge those in the next round.
alto2osu

Pro

I've gone in the same order as my opponent:

On my opponent's pseudo-turn involving national security:

I would encourage my opponent to elaborate on how banning the Confederate flag actually challenges the national security of the US. If, by making this claim, he supposes that the nation will degenerate into a big, hairy ball of protesting anarchy, then that's about as hyperbolic as claiming that banning the Confederate flag will plunge the US into a human rights void or a socialist dictatorship.

Not only that, but my opponent still seems to think that the government has some huge role in this topic, and has yet to challenge my interpretation from RD 1 that states that the citizens are doing this all via the referendum process. The only role that government plays is through the process of nullifying the ban (i.e. through court challenges).

Hence, please extend all of the benefits coming out of my advocacy. I state in RD 2 that open clash and discourse involving human rights and civil rights is the only way to ensure that they are maximized. My opponent doesn't feel the need to address this, nor does he prove that he can maximize rights by not banning the Confederate flag. So, you can vote Pro on that alone, since Pro is the one achieving more rights for the citizenry of the US.

On my opponent's accusation that I've dropped his case:

I did address his entire case in RD 1. I would encourage the readers to take a look at the section of my RD 1 posting, which I title: "Onto my opponent's case." In fact, if anyone dropped Con's case, he did—when he didn't address it in RD 2.

Basically, his contentions, as I stated previously, all prove that the Confederate flag is an invaluable piece of culture & heritage, which I agree with entirely. In fact, I argue in my advocacy that this makes the Confederate flag a better object to ban, because it will cause the most open clash, and therefore the most discourse on rights. Not only that, but extend the fact that the Confederate flag doesn't actually relate to national security, unlike privacy rights & due process. Hence, banning the Confederate flag is literally the perfect way in which to redirect our collective conscious to regaining our civil liberties.

The only contention that I felt the need to address was his 4, in which he stated that the Confederate flag had no intrinsic value. Not only does that contradict everything he says about pride, heritage, and cultural value in his other three contentions, but it simply isn't true. Extend my RD 1 response to this contention, please.

I look forward to RD 4, and I thank my opponent again for his quick response.
Debate Round No. 3
Republican95

Con

Okay, the fact of the matter is to ban a symbol that has no meaning whatsoever other than the meaning you have assigned to it is wrong. Banning the Confederate Flag is simply unconstitutional.

According to my opponent, banning the flag could "break-through" the national security rhetoric. But, why not ban one of the other of hundreds types of flags that there are.

My opponent's case holds no water.
alto2osu

Pro

I want to finish by thanking my opponent for instigating this debate, and for his spirited participation.

I will address his RD 3 posting, and then provide 2 reasons to vote Pro.

On the "wrongness" and unconstitutionality of banning the Confederate flag:

First of all, my opponent never proved that the Confederate flag has no intrinsic meaning. Granted, yes, people assign this meaning, but that is what makes the Confederate flag such a powerful symbol. I'm not sure what my opponent is getting at with this response.

Second of all, my opponent seems to have glanced over my entire advocacy. Banning the Confederate flag is, most likely, unconstitutional. Supreme Court precedence establishes this for the most part, and this precedence only exists because states passed unconstitutional laws, mind you. However, my case hinges on this crucial expectation of a Supreme Court challenge to any laws that ban this flag. This is what creates the discord between US populations, which is what drives the opening of discourse, which is what will ensure sincere rights discussion unparalleled in the last decade.

On the use of the Confederate flag, rather than hundreds of other flags in existence:

Though this response seems to come out of nowhere, I have two responses:
First of all, the Confederate flag, for example, is far more popular than most other flags. If a state's citizens decide to ban the pirate flag, I doubt that my opponent can attempt to claim that the same reaction will ensue.
Second of all, the instigator wrote the resolution, so we are required to argue whether the Confederate flag should be burned. He picked the symbol. In fact, as he states in the comments, this issue is a huge controversy in his home state, as I'm sure it is in many other previously Confederate states. By selecting this flag, he proves conclusively that this symbol is highly iconic and controversial. This serves my advocacy very well.

On my case's water-holding capacity:

Just stating it does not make it so. My opponent has failed to prove that my case "does not hold water." He didn't carry through his arguments in any of his rounds. They remain addressed and therefore unoffensive.

Voting Issues:

Look to the following reasons to vote Pro at the end of the debate:

First of all, I am maximizing human rights & progressive development of society in the debate round. A vote for Pro stimulates necessary societal discourse on rights, which are the basis of the US's representative democracy. A vote for Con is nebulous, because he has yet to give his advocacy any impacts: what good can come of voting Con? Hence, a cost-benefit analysis reveals that a Pro vote yields more good to the country.

Second of all, the Con has failed to carry through any offensive arguments in the round. Each time he has attacked my advocacy, I have answered. These answers have gone unchallenged. Instead, the Con offers a new round of unrelated responses, which I answer as well.
Debate Round No. 4
22 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by USAPitBull63 8 years ago
USAPitBull63
Republican95, I'm surprised that you refuted her states-rights argument without even mentioning the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. PRO even admitted that such legislation (the resolution) would not likely pass on a federal level; and she all but conceded, in her introduction, that the resolution would be a violation of first-amendment rights.

Oh, well.
Posted by Kefka 8 years ago
Kefka
How ever good Pro's arguments are, I still believe that the Confederate flag should NEVER be banned.
Posted by Kefka 8 years ago
Kefka
Before: Con
After: Con
Conduct: Pro. I see putting effort and addressing all arguments thoroughly (Being concise is victory, but not in this case) is key.
Spelling/Grammar: Pro
Arguments: Pro
Sources: Pro
Posted by Lexicaholic 8 years ago
Lexicaholic
RFD:
(1) Con. I agreed with Con that the flag should not be banned.
(2) Con. By the end of the debate I still agreed with Con that the flag should not be banned. Pro didn't convince me that it is okay to take away a right so that it can be appreciated more, because, by extension, that would suggest that the best society is one that has no rights, or that can not rely on the enforcement of rights. It hardly seems worth fighting for a right that will be taken away eventually anyway.
(3) Tied.
(4) Tied.
(5) Pro. Pro made the much better arguments within the ambit of the debate itself. The only bone of contention I have is that in response to Con's singling out argument, Pro should have argued something along the lines of:"While banning all flags would be even better than banning the confederate flag alone, Con must understand that such an effort would necessarily include the confederate flag as one member of the entire group of flags. Therefore it would still be banned, as I have recommended." Didn't matter, still did a better job.
(6) Pro. Pro used the more reliable sources.
Posted by alto2osu 8 years ago
alto2osu
In my last (RD 4) posting, I forgot this debate had 4 rounds :) I refer to Con's "RD 3" posting quite a bit...I mean RD 4 :)

Sorry!
Posted by alto2osu 8 years ago
alto2osu
Mine seems to be okay :(

What's it doing?
Posted by Republican95 8 years ago
Republican95
Is it just my computer, or is the sidebar thingy that tells you what round it is messed up?
Posted by alto2osu 8 years ago
alto2osu
Wow...policy debate inspiration strikes at 11:56 PM PST :) If this is still here in the morning, I may just take it...
Posted by alto2osu 8 years ago
alto2osu
That's not entirely true. We can ban a flag, but only in certain arenas and for certain purposes. To categorically make a flag's display against the law is, I agree, pushing it, though.

Even if the instigator's state were to ban the Confederate flag, I'm pretty sure that law would be declared unconstitutional 7 ways to Sunday :)
Posted by abard124 8 years ago
abard124
Umm... You can't ban a flag. We have the first amendment.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by patsox834 8 years ago
patsox834
Republican95alto2osuTied
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Vote Placed by Kefka 8 years ago
Kefka
Republican95alto2osuTied
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Vote Placed by alto2osu 8 years ago
alto2osu
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Vote Placed by Lexicaholic 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by abney317 8 years ago
abney317
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