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

The world is less free today than it has been in the past

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/12/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 526 times Debate No: 63114
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (1)




Are our lives today more or less restricted than they ever have been before? Is our freedom compromised by the worlds ability to share data like never before?

Round 1- Acceptance
Subsequent rounds- Debate

I will be arguing on the agreeing side, I look forward to debating with you.


It is with great pleasure that I accept this very interesting debate. My opponent mentions in the comments that we have a shared burden of proof. We are both new to this and I have to request the voters to judge wisely. We will both be presenting arguments in favour of our positions.

Good luck. :)
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you kindly. And the same to you :)
The world does not appear to be becoming less free in the physical sense. People are still allowed to have all manor of opinions in the western world (largely). But with the dawn of interconnectivity in every part of our lives it is far easier to limit us based on the information this interconnectivity shares about us.

If you take the true meaning of freedom as to be completely anonymous in ones actions it is far harder to do so now days than ever before. There is always someone or something recording our actions. With this level of records to restrict our future on a case by case basis it is hard to see how any government or organisation cannot make use of this thus limiting our freedom.

As my proof for this I reference the existence of "no fly" lists in the US prohibiting physical travel sometimes based on information collected on line.


I'll get right into it.

The conventional indicators of freedom include a citizen's political rights and civil liberties, which I will adopt in this debate. Based on these indicators, the world has been becoming steadily freer, not the opposite. For lack of space, I will simply quote the annual Freedom in the World surveys conducted by the U.S.-based NGO Freedom House.

From 1973 to 2014, the global percentage of countries that are not free has fallen from about 41% to 25%, and it is 27% to 45% for free countries. Based on the indicators, clearly the world has been becoming more free.

Anonymity is not an indicator of freedom. What my adversary advocates is freedom from responsibility. Data collection is regulated by the judicial system and my opponent must prove that it the process unfairly infringes on the freedom of its citizens. Otherwise, even an increase in number of laws can be considered a violation of citizens' freedom, which is an odd argument.

Sources in comments.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent points out the conventional indicators of freedom as the violation of traditional civil liberties and rights.

We cannot treat freedom as merely these archaic, out of touch, values.

We should consider privacy as well. Far from being freedom from responsibility, the right to hold your own opinion without the condemnation of that very opinion due to other background factors is a basic right (freedom of speech) . Taking an example in the US; the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act outlines the procedures for gathering intelligence. This act has constantly been amended encroaching more and more into people"s privacy (covered by the 14th constitutional amendment) This results in the individuals freedom of speech and freedom of movement being limited in many cases due to the consequences of this surveillance(No fly Lists). Further shown by the PCLOB report.

I hasten to add that the US is a listed free country on my opponents" source showing its incomplete definition of freedom.


I am surprised that my opponent calls fundamental political rights and civil liberties "archaic", given that 55% of the world's population lives with either part or none of these rights. These indicators are used by political scientists in 2014.

Pro claims that violations of privacy lead to the infringement of individuals' fundamental rights to movement and expression. I would like to remind him that these fundamental rights are classified under "civil liberties", and have been accounted for when labelling USA as "free". This implies that the infringement of privacy that Pro finds so deplorable is a tiny consideration against the repressive political landscape that much of the rest of the world lives in. (e.g. rigged elections, nepotism, discrimination) Pro should note that a Sudanese ex-Muslim woman was sentenced to death for apostasy this year.

My arguments remain intact, and Pro's negated. I maintain that on the whole, the world has been getting freer over the past few decades.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by realsinghshady 2 years ago
I think what is defined as 'free' is subject to change over time, across various civilisations and ages depending on the context of the morality and rules of that society. Nevertheless, great debate.
Posted by republicofdhar 2 years ago
I appreciate your sporting comment! It's been a real (I mean it) pleasure debating with you and I'd love to do it again anytime :D
Posted by Christofar 2 years ago
Haha, thank you very much, It has been pleasure!

I am relatively new to this process so would be very receptive of any tips I could get!

I look forward to it. I perhaps tried to overstretch my point and ended up only being able to cover only one end of the scale in regards to what freedom is in different parts of the world. (this was my own doing as I set the word limit) ;) To elaborate on that; I chose the word "archaic" to show that these freedoms were perhaps base and that the definition should be extended (to cover privacy) rather than replaced altogether.

Having said all this, if that is not what I communicated in the debate so be it. Hats off to republicofdhar for his skilful opposition. ;)
Posted by republicofdhar 2 years ago
My sources:

This source outlines the methodology of the report.

Thank you for a very interesting debate, Christofar! I'd be very happy to do it with a higher character limit, if you're up for it at any time. :)
Posted by Christofar 2 years ago
My sources:
Foreighn intelligence surveilence act-
PCLOB report on mass survelnce gathering- (appologies for the wikapedia source, i felt it was more user friendly for highlighting the key aspects of the report)
14th amendment-

My appologies for not going into depth on the report. my word limit prevented me from doing so.
Posted by republicofdhar 2 years ago
My sources are here! :)


The above source is evaluated by other political scientists. An example is:
Przeworski, Adam (2003). "Freedom to choose and democracy". Economics and Philosophy (Cambridge University Press) 19: 265"279. doi:10.1017/S0266267103001159.
Posted by Christofar 2 years ago
We both have burden of proof. Arguments should have rational behind them but there is no need to do a full case study (unless you want to). A mere reference to proof would do. haha, don't worry, I am too!
Posted by Christofar 2 years ago
What freedom is, I feel,is allowed to be defined in your argument. As long as you define what freedom means in relation to what you are saying then anything goes! (I may define freedom differently but both of us will still have entirely valid arguments)
Posted by republicofdhar 2 years ago
Also, please clarify who has the burden of proof? I'm still new to this haha
Posted by republicofdhar 2 years ago
You would have to define freedom.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: pro tries redirecting the debate and putting most of the burden of con, but con calmly, smoothly, and confidently fulfills his (unfair) BoP with excellent sources, and pro fails to properly rebut con.