The Instigator
Nathaniel.Braswell
Pro (for)
Tied
3 Points
The Contender
Yassine
Con (against)
Tied
3 Points

When in conflict, an individual's FoS ought to be valued above a community's moral standards.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/24/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 734 times Debate No: 75723
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)

 

Nathaniel.Braswell

Pro

First round is acceptance only.

FoS= Freedom of Speech

This is to be debated like a Lincoln-Douglas Debate Round- please remain ethical and type out all evidence, do not just give a plethora of links that the reader than has to go read.

I look forward to this thought-provoking debate.
Yassine

Con

I thank Pro for instigating the debate & I accept the challenge.


Rules:


- Burden of proof is on Pro, for he is making the claim.



Best of luck.
Debate Round No. 1
Nathaniel.Braswell

Pro

Agreed, with that, I will present my case.

"I know no class of my fellowmen, however just, enlightened, and humane, which can be wisely and safely trusted absolutely with the liberties of any other class."1 Thus reads a famous quotation by Frederick Douglas, who fervently understood that even a democratic government is dangerous if it is unlimited. Our liberty is too important to entrust to an all-powerful state, which is why I stand strongly resolved that when in conflict, freedom of speech ought to be valued above a community's moral standards. Before we jump into some arguments, lets first clarify some definitions.

Freedom of Speech: The right of people to express their opinions about what they believe to be true without governmental interference. [Oxford American Dictionary]

Community: "The people of a district or country considered collectively." [Merriam-Webster"s Online Dictionary]

Moral Standards: Standards relating to principles of right and wrong in human behavior. [Oxford American Dictionary]

My value today is liberty, defined as "the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views." As Thomas Jefferson aptly noted, "the freedom and happiness of man . . . are the sole objects of all legitimate government." Because liberty is the very purpose of government, liberty ought to be paramount for this debate. However, unfortunately for us, we can"t wave a magic wand and arrive at endless liberty for all men. Liberty requires a deliberate effort if it is to be protected, and that is limited government. For that reason my criterion will be limited government, defined as "a political system in which legalized force is restricted through delegated and enumerated powers."3 When we have a community that has a limited government, we will see that liberty is consistently and effectively upheld, which leads me into contention one.

Contention One: Freedom of Speech Facilitates Limited Government
Thomas Jefferson wisely noted that, "When the people fear the government, there is tyranny, when the government fears the people, there is liberty." The fact is, we must have our right to question authority in order to prevent tyrannical government. Benjamin Franklin actually discussed this idea in his book On Freedom of Speech and the Press, "Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins." The right to question authority is instrumental in maintaining a free and prosperous society, and when this right is taken away, government expands, growing larger, until it is the very definition of tyranny. Samuel Adams summarized this whole idea quite effectively in an article he wrote in the Boston Gazette, "There is nothing so fretting and vexatious, nothing so justly terrible to tyrants, and their tools and abettors, as a free press."

Contention Two: Limited Government protects liberty.
A government must recognize the bounds of its power in order to protect all our freedoms. Several political philosophers agree that the most prosperous society is one that has a small and limited governing body. John Locke aptly summarizes this belief, "The end of government is the good of mankind." Let"s take a look at some historical applications.

Application 1: Finland
Finland has a very limited government that protects the rights of its citizens, and nothing more. It recognizes and respects that there are certain limits on government that should not be infringed upon. As a result, their liberty is incredibly abundant, so much so that Finland is #1 on the Press Freedom Index 2015. Other countries that share a similar limited government with Finland include: Denmark Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, and Sweden. Interestingly enough, these countries are all in the top 10 on the Press Freedom Index. Here, we clearly see a correlation between small limited government and liberty.

Application 2: China
On the flip side of the same coin, countries like China, Iran, Syria, and North Korea which all have large and controlling governments, rank close to last on the Press Freedom Index, indicating that the larger the governing body, the less liberty can thrive.

Contention Three: Valuing Freedom of Speech protects Liberty
So far we have seen that small government protects liberty and that freedom of speech facilitates small government. We can logically deduct then, that freedom of speech protects liberty. Justice Benjamin Cardozo said, "Freedom of expression is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom." The problem occurs when we place moral standards above free speech. When this happens, our right to express ourselves is limited by the arbitrary standards of the particular community. While such limitations start out small, in very little time, we find the restrictions have become so invasive that we might as well have no freedom of speech at all. Economist Friedrich August Von Hayek stated that, "Freedom granted only when it is known beforehand that its effects will be beneficial is not freedom." We cannot allow our precious freedom to be restricted by the arbitrary whims of communities, for I wholeheartedly agree with Thomas Jefferson when he said, "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it."

In the end, it is confirmed, free speech is essential in securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. If there"s only one thing you remember after this speech, let it be William Maugham, an English Novelist, and his wise warning, "If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom."
Yassine

Con

Preface:


- I should remind the voters that the BOP is on Pro to prove that FoS should take precedence when conflicting with a community’s moral standards.


- It should also be noted that Pro’s entire case rests on no grounds, as he provided no sources to support it. Thus, until proper support is presented, all Pro’s contentions should be consider bare assertions.



Case:


- To negate Pro’s affirmative case I need only to show at least one instance where FoS is limited by other communal moral standards.


FoS is not an objective value:

- FoS is not in itself an objective value, for it is sanctioned to prevent injustice to basic human rights [1]. Thus, should itself serve the purpose of preventing injustice to human rights at large, at the risk of undermining itself.


FoS is itself a communal moral standard:

- Unlike Justice, which is a moral standard shared by all communities, for it is the base of all Laws ; FoS on the other hand is a moral standard shared by not necessarily all communities. Among which it holds, furthermore, varying degrees of importance. The question remains thus, why should FoS (being so a subjective value) be valued above all other values of all communities, many of which may very well consider other moral standards intrinsically more valuable than FoS?! An affirmative answer to this question (that is, Pro’s resolution) clearly leads to a contradiction.


FoS should not be unrestricted:

- It has thus been established that FoS should serves the basis on which it is founded, that is preventing injustice. So, as John Stuart Miller argues, the Harm Principal [2] should overrule the right of FoS [3], for "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” [4].


FoS can not be unrestricted:

- Protecting the right to FoS without restriction necessarily leads to its restriction. That is, the right to FoS should also incorporate the right to speak against FoS, or, more broadly, the right to promote ideologies restricting FoS (namely, Communism), which may consequently lead to an actual restriction of FoS. In this circumstance, either FoS should be upheld throughout, thus leading to its loss, or should be restricted to prevent such consequence. In both cases, protecting the right to FoS boundlessly leads to its restriction.


Example:

- The right of privacy is a good example of restricted FoS [5].



Rebuttals:


- As stated in the preface, Pro’s case is entirely bare assertions. Thus, leaving me with nothing substantial to refute.



Conclusion:


- It has been established that FoS:

1. Is not an objective value.

2. Should not necessarily be valued more than other communal moral standards.

3. Can not be valued above other communal moral standards, if the latter are considered more valuable by the community.

4. Should not be unrestricted, even among communities that value it a basic human right.

5. Can not be unrestricted.


=> Therefore, Pro’s resolution has been systematically negated in the fact that, when in conflict, FoS neither ought to be valued, nor could be valued above a community’s other necessarily higher moral standard.



Sources:


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[4] http://plato.stanford.edu...

[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 2
Nathaniel.Braswell

Pro

Con agreed that this is debated like a Lincoln-Douglas Debate round. No outside sources are allowed, as it focuses only on ideas and philosophy and not facts.

Also, in Lincoln Douglas Debate, in order for the Con to win he must prove the majority of circumstances contradict the resolution, not just one as he would like to make you believe.

His Arguments:

1. FoS is not an objective value:
Agreed...hence my value was Liberty, because it is a very important Human Right that FoS helps protect.

2. FoS is itself a communal moral standard.
This argument has no weight. Every single value is some community's moral standard. We aren't debating which concept includes the other, we are debating which one is more important. For instance, Human Rights includes Liberty, however sometimes Liberty must be valued above the other Human Rights.

3. Agreed...however this does not warrant the Community's moral standards limiting it. When we allow the subjective whims of communities to restrict free speech, we actually end up with too little liberty. Once again, my value of Liberty is the standard by which we can restrict free speech. If FoS harms other people's liberty (alien and sedition acts) than we should restrict it. This is using 1 community's moral standard, not the term as a whole.

4. See above argument.

So Con, completely dropped my value...which, in LD theory, means he agreed to it, since omission is admission. That being said, he has already agreed that Liberty is a better value than Community Moral Standards. Unfortunately it seems as if Con doesn't understand how LD debate works, and thus accepted a challenge that he is debating wrong. Because he dropped my value and presented none of his own..I urge you to vote Pro.
Yassine

Con

I thank Pro for submitting his 3rd Round. :)



Preface:


Con agreed that this is debated like a Lincoln-Douglas Debate round. No outside sources are allowed, as it focuses only on ideas and philosophy and not facts.

- That’s not quite accurate, Pro here is clearly misrepresenting the structure of a LD debate [1]. Plus, Pro himself has not respected this alleged rule, as he used outside sources (definitions from the Oxford Dictionary, quotes from Frederick Douglas, Thomas Jefferson, John Locke & others), & without referencing not a single one of them. Thus, his case, as it solely rests on such unreferenced sources, can be dismissed as bare assertions.


Also, in Lincoln Douglas Debate, in order for the Con to win he must prove the majority of circumstances contradict the resolution, not just one as he would like to make you believe.

- In any debate, LD debate or otherwise, the resolution counts as the reference for what would constitute the affirmative or the negative case in said debate.

- Here, the resolution is as follows: “When in conflict, an individual's FoS ought to be valued above a community's moral standards.”. It clearly indicates a conflict between FoS & any arbitrary communal moral standard, & in no way does it specify which moral standards are these, nor does it designate some as opposed to others. Thus, Pro’s contention that it’s my BOP to show that the majority of circumstances contradict the resolution is wholly invalid, as the latter does not mention anything about neither circumstances, nor any sort of majority of them! On the contrary, Pro has the sole BOP in this case, for he is making the claim, which he failed in carrying primarily by not supporting his case with any sources whatsoever.



Counter Rebuttals:


- All the above been said, I shall, nevertheless, continue to refute Pro’s rebuttals just to get rid of any doubts.


Agreed...hence my value was Liberty, because it is a very important Human Right that FoS helps protect.

- Pro concedes my 1st point (FoS is not an objective value) as being valid, for he plainly says “agreed”, thus he automatically agree on what follows from it:

1. The resolution is about FoS, not about Liberty, Pro here is using a straw-man [2].

2. FoS helps perpetuate Liberty when it supports it, & it equally helps obstructing it when it doesn’t. That is, when FoS infringes Liberty such as in cases of harm & interference with the liberties of others.

3. Liberty isn’t an objective value either, as it is a communal moral standard itself, nor is it the most important of values for any arbitrary community! For instance, a liberty that leads to Injustice ought not to be valued over Justice.


This argument has no weight. Every single value is some community's moral standard. We aren't debating which concept includes the other, we are debating which one is more important. For instance, Human Rights includes Liberty, however sometimes Liberty must be valued above the other Human Rights.

- Here again Pro mischaracterises the topic of discussion, straw-man. The debate is about FoS, not about Liberty.

- Pro also concedes that only sometimes should Liberty be valued above other Human Rights, & other times it may not ought to be valued. A concession that damages Pro’s case entirely, for his argument solely rests on the fact that FoS supports Liberty, thus if the latter is given precedence, then the former ought to occasionally be given precedence as well (that is, as long as FoS does not in itself hinders Liberty).


3. Agreed...however this does not warrant the Community's moral standards limiting it. When we allow the subjective whims of communities to restrict free speech, we actually end up with too little liberty. Once again, my value of Liberty is the standard by which we can restrict free speech. If FoS harms other people's liberty (alien and sedition acts) than we should restrict it. This is using 1 community's moral standard, not the term as a whole.

- Here again Pro concedes the following:

1. My 3rd point (FoS should not be unrestricted) by plainly agreeing to it, thereby conceding his own resolution, which should warrant me an automatic win.

2. Pro says “my value of Liberty is the standard by which we can restrict free speech.”, thus asserting that a community’s moral standard, that is Liberty in this case, can & should be valued above FoS (he previously admits that “Every single value is some community's moral standard.”), this thereby counts not just as a concession, but also as direct support against his own resolution, which should also warrant an automatic win.


So Con, completely dropped my value...which, in LD theory, means he agreed to it, since omission is admission. That being said, he has already agreed that Liberty is a better value than Community Moral Standards. Unfortunately it seems as if Con doesn't understand how LD debate works, and thus accepted a challenge that he is debating wrong. Because he dropped my value and presented none of his own..I urge you to vote Pro.

- Pro has not realised that without even any interference from my own, he successfully conceded & destroyed his own case as established above. Pro also has some twisted notions of what a debate is, particularly a LD debate.



Conclusion:


- It has been established throughout this debate that:

I. Pro’s resolution has been systematically negated (in my Round 2).

II. Pro’s case is wholly bare assertions (no sources whatsoever), & occasionally straw-man (mischaracterisation of the resolution & the structure of the debate).

III. Pro has successfully negated his own resolution on his own (in his Round 3).


=> Any of these points is enough to grant me a full win, & the three points combined should guarantee me a full win in both Arguments & Sources.


=> Vote Con.



Sources:


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by airmax1227 1 year ago
airmax1227
Vote by adam.densmore removed. (3 points in favor of Pro)

Account not qualified to vote.

Airmax1227
Debate.org Moderator
Posted by Diqiucun_Cunmin 1 year ago
Diqiucun_Cunmin
RFD:

Sources are tied because Con offered mostly Wikipedia sources. In R1, Pro spent most of the argument (C1 and C2) without any reference whatsoever to the community's moral standard. In C3, he connected C1 and C2 to form a logical conclusion - that FoS protects liberty - but still it does not immediately follow that this means FoS should be valued above moral standards, only that it should be valued. Eventually, he gave the slippery slope argument that the restrictions will start out small and turn big, but gave no evidence (unlike what he did for C2, which had no reference to morality), which makes his argument in R1 very weak. Con, however, successfully showed with his C2 and C3 that, under the premise of preventing injustice, FoS can and should be restricted, along with an example. Although his C4 was rather unconvincing (one does not need to stifle voice against FoS to protect FoS), the rest of his argument is superior to Pro's. In the next round, Pro says, 'If FoS harms other people's liberty (alien and sedition acts) than we should restrict it,' which, as Con points out, means he negated his own resolution, as liberty was valued above the community's moral standards. Therefore, arguments go to Con.
Posted by Envisage 1 year ago
Envisage
Believe what you want.
Posted by Yassine 1 year ago
Yassine
- Obvious vote-bomb is obvious vote-bomb. & I did report it, though I doubt it'll be removed, you did such a good job making sure of that.
Posted by Envisage 1 year ago
Envisage
No. If you think it is a votebomb then report it and it will be removed.
Posted by Yassine 1 year ago
Yassine
@Envisage

- So, vote-bombing is your new hobby or what!!
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Diqiucun_Cunmin 1 year ago
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Nathaniel.BraswellYassineTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments because I slightly exceeded the limit and am too lazy to truncate it somehow to fit the box.
Vote Placed by Envisage 1 year ago
Envisage
Nathaniel.BraswellYassineTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro affirmed Liberty as his value and Con essentially conceded it until the last round to which his rebuttal was still insufficient. Too little too late. Pretty comprehensive case given by Pro on affirming Liberty via. FoS and Con essentially dropped all of these arguments doing such. Con's case met mitigation from Pro, which went largely misunderstood by Con, e.g. The categorical explanation given by point 2, for example went over Con's head. Also point 3 Con misunderstands what Pro was agreeing to and also what he was stating regarding Liberty being the standard to restrict FoS (which given his opening round, is impossible). Con's value was justice which did not receive direct mitigation from Pro, but didn't receive direct affirmation from Con either, thus I cannot weigh this very heavily against the well-substantiated value of Liberty. Pro wins for these reasons.