The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

resolved. public colleges and universites in the United states ought not restrict free speech.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/16/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 501 times Debate No: 101074
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
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Free expression is the base of human rights, the root of human nature and the mother of truth. To kill free speech is to insult human rights, to stifle human nature and to suppress the truth. It is because I believe the words of human rights activist and Nobel peace prize recipient, Liu Xiaobo that I must affirm the resolution which states Resolved: public colleges and Universities ought not restrict any constitutionally protected speech. Before we begin I would like to offer the following definitions to clarify the grounds and framework of this debate. Firstly Civil Liberties, according to "Civil liberties" concern basic rights and freedoms that are guaranteed -- either explicitly identified in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, or interpreted through the years by courts and lawmakers. Civil liberties include:
" Freedom of speech
" The right to privacy
" The right to be free from unreasonable searches of your home
" The right to a fair court trial
" The right to marry
" The right to vote
Nextly, freedom of speech is defined by the as The power or right to express one's opinions without censorship, restraint, or legal penalty so let all present recognize that hereinafter, whenever anyone uses the term freedom of speech or any alternative thereof this is the definition they are bound by.
Furthermore, the 1st amendment is as follows directly from the U.S. Constitution Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. So let us recognize that freedom of speech as clarified in the previous definition is included in the first amendment of the constitution so any attempt by my opponent to limit the freedom of speech or any alternative thereof is to directly violate the Constitution of the United States of America. Let us also recognize that this is the only time the constitution protects speech so the resolution does in fact reference limiting the first amendment this is brought forth by the NSDA itself in the "topic analysis" section of
Next, abridge is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as to curtail or to deprive or limit.note the use of the word abridge in the Constitution meaning that to so much as limit free speech is unconstitutional
I would also like to offer the observation that according to Dr.Cliff Gilley who graduated from the university of seattle with highest honors in a doctoral law course. For most legal purposes the law sees freedom of speech and freedom of expression as one and the same.
And finally, ought, ought is defined as: indicating duty or moral correctness but can also reference logic. So let the judge recognize that this is a debate of the moral imperative and of logical and fact based reasoning.
In order to preserve an equitable system of free expression and the transfer of ideas, I offer the Value of Civil Liberties. Civil liberties are considered basic human rights and therefore indicates the moral imperative as in order to guarantee that any other value can stand we must first protect our base rights. Especially during the college years when the human mind is processing a developing identity and needs to be able to express themselves freely despite the controversy of their ideas.
In order to support my value, I offer the value criterion of Constitutional rights. This upholds my value in that in order to protect our civil liberties we must be able to defend the values and ideals of the original framers of the constitution who had fought to rid themselves of tyranny. (to point out the flaws of the framers is circumstantial ad hominem fallacy and origo mali {bad seed}fallacy)
To prove these claims true I offer the following three contentions
My Contention one is that for psychological purposes Civil Liberties and particularly freedom of speech, should be encouraged on College campuses not limited. To understand why this is supported on the affirmative side rather than on the negative side one has to look a little deeper at the actual principles of psychological development. That leads me into my subpoint A To further elaborate on this topic I offer the following evidence from there is a psychological principle known as Robert Kegan's developmental theory of the self which was developed in a psychological study in 1994 which states that during the college years humans begin to make progress towards qualitative shifts about how we view the world around us. This defines and influences identity, self-concept, and interpersonal relationships all of which are necessary to be able to function as a member of society. However, imagine for a moment if you will if you could place yourself in the shoes of a college student with controversial opinions. With an increasing prevalence of limitations on free speech in academia These students need to be able to effectively and confidently express themselves in order to be capable of developing these essential traits that according to the aforementioned psychological study are being stunted by restricting free speech. sub point B. Freedom of speech is imperative for the development of the thinking process of society but only if both sides of the debate have the ability to express their beliefs on equal ground. To quote AP psych teacher Marc Harman "the only way our identity can truly grow and develop is through conversation with others; so certainly, suppressing someone"s ability to express themselves could harm their self-concept and identity development." so as we can see since the only way society and our identity as a whole can grow and develop is through free speech. As such, limiting free speech would hinder the advancement of society when said advancement requires abandoning previous ways of thinking. Contention two freedom of speech is necessary for a functional democracy. Look back on all of the vilest dictatorships in human history. Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Mao Zedong"s regime, fascist Italy; now think about what all of these governments have in common. They all restricted freedom of speech to such an extent that only the leaders of those governments had the ability to speak freely. I"m not saying that America is like them, in fact, we're far from it. The point I'm trying to make is what makes America different from all of those truly evil regimes? Well, I would have to ask you, what makes America great? Why do we have people flocking from all over the world to escape tyranny or to escape a low quality of life? Because through our Constitution and our Bill of rights, we have developed a society that is among the most morally equitable in all of human history. subpointA In order to further elaborate on my claims, I offer the following evidence from in an article written in 2010 which states quote, "Freedom of speech is a basic human right and an essential component of any democracy. It is this freedom that enables citizens to exchange views and information, to protest against injustice, to influence the public discourse, and to criticize the actions of the government. As such, freedom of speech represents a necessary condition for the informed and effective political participation of a country"s citizenry. Restrictions on free speech cause harm to democratic life and stands in contradiction to the fundamental principles of democracy especially regarding basic rights." Modern America is built on the idea of egalitarianism or equality for all. But how can we continue to chase this idea if our places of learning are places of homogenized viewpoints because we have deemed the other possible viewpoints as too controversial to be heard on campus? (sub point B) However intellectual debate about pro life vs. pro choice or debates between those that follow a religion and those that don"t, or even the debate that we"re having right now; should not only be allowed in a place centered around academia but it should be encouraged. (Sub point C) our society needs free speech in order to have just laws. We recently celebrated Martin Luther King Day. which should serve as a reminder that freedom of speech can lead to great things. However if you recall, the freedom of speech of the Civil rights movement was far from complete; there is footage that exists of young african american men being knocked down the street by fire hoses. This is a prime historical example of what happens when someone limits free speech. Some may claim that what happens on college campuses is not comparable to the Civil Rights movement but I would beg to differ. For further elaboration on that see my third contention. We need to learn from history and never restrict constitutionally protected speech again lest history repeat itself.

Contention three. restrictions on speech are already out of control. sub point A According to Greg lukianoff president of the foundation for individual rights and education: in 2013 on a college campus in california a student who was also a decorated military veteran was told that he could not hand out copies of the constitution to his fellow students. On constitution day. Captured on video, college police and administrators demanded that Robert Van Tuinen stop passing out Constitution pamphlets and told him that he would only be allowed to pass them out in the college"s tiny free speech zone, and only after scheduling it several days or weeks ahead of time. "Worse, FIRE"s research shows that Modesto Junior College is hardly alone in its fear of free speech. In fact, one in six of America"s 400 largest and most prestigious colleges have "free speech zones" limiting where speech can take place. This video brings to to life the depressing reality of free speech on campuses



Well thank you for this debate! I wish you luck ;) colleges and universities should restrict freedom of speech because let's say that there is a guy who gets picked on and called fat , ugly etc. And one day this guy says to kill yourself, then the next day you hear that one of your fellow students committed suicide. People's words can harm or make someone who wants to harm themselves. People need to think before they speak.
Debate Round No. 1


To begin I would like to point out my opponents dropped arguments. all of them. all of my arguments have been dropped. however, since my opponent appears to be an inexperienced debater I shall grant some leeway and allow her to attack my contentions despite the fact that they were dropped.

now moving on to attack my opponents case

my opponent has stated that colleges should restrict free speech on the basis that people need to watch what they say because if you tell someone to kill themselves and they do it, we would all feel bad. however, psychological studies that show a correlation between verbal abuse from strangers on campuses and psychological harm are fundamentally flawed. according to the studies that have led many to believe that verbal insults from strangers can cause harm are methodologically flawed and are contrasted by more valid studies which show no correlation between psychological harm and verbal abuse from strangers. One such study was conducted by Timothy Jay at the Massachusetts college of the liberal arts which also found no such correlation. Which nullifies the psychological studies that would support that verbal abuse can cause harm. If the student commits suicide over this, they are likely suffering from major depressive disorder and would benefit more from receiving psychological help rather than having the Civil liberties of other students trampled upon by the university.

The ability of a university to endorse two contradictory policies can perhaps be explained as simple hypocrisy. Indeed, this does appear to be part of the answer on many campuses, where administrators have agendas far removed from the common pursuit of knowledge. Whether hypocritical or sincere, however, the drafters of these codes feel a need to justify the seemingly contradictory goals of free speech and free inquiry, on the one hand, and limitations on speech to achieve equal access to educational opportunity, on the other. Reconciliation of these opposing concepts is achieved primarily by Marcusean logic.

The attempt to balance the right of free speech with the "right" to be free from harassment deeply reflects Marcuse's notion of "freedom" and "tolerance." It is a fundamentally Marcusean idea that tolerance must be redefined to advance a positive social and moral agenda. The codes express a deep commitment to freedom of speech and inquiry, but when they express an equal commitment to a group member's right to be free from verbal harassment, it leads, in the name of positive freedom, to the wholesale banning not only of speech and other traditional modes of expression but even of looks, body language, and, in some cases, laughter. It leads, in short, to progressive intolerance.

A window into the thinking of some speech code crafters is found at Stanford University. The initial draft of Stanford's code was strongly influenced by professor Thomas Grey of the law school, who has posited that, under certain circumstances, constitutional commitments to freedom of expression, and to civil liberties in general, conflict with the nation's commitment to providing equal access to educational opportunities, and to civil rights in general. In a 1991 article in the HARVARD JOURNAL OF LAW AND PUBLIC POLICY, Grey expresses discomfort at the collision but considers the conflict "inescapable." In his view, the tension between academic freedom and equal educational opportunity arises from an inherent conflict between civil liberties and civil rights, between liberty and social equality.

This premise is problematic. Freedom of speech is a "liberty interest," and it deals solely with an individual's ability to express himself or herself as he or she desires. In contrast, civil rights legislation is largely protective and egalitarian, expressing the broader societal concern with how citizens are faring in comparison to other citizens. Put another way, the First Amendment protects the individual from the oppressive exercise of government power, whereas civil rights jurisprudence offers the individual recourse to the government for assistance in obtaining the necessary tools and opportunities to reap the benefits of equal participation in economic, social, and cultural life.

I would also like to offer a few truths into the round.
The first truth is that Citizens can"t simply ignore their beliefs and their conscience simply because the university would like to say otherwise

The second truth is that the university cannot morally force students to suffer under the oppression of being forced into silence by a dominating institution.

The third truth is that free speech allows all people to enter the democratic sphere and influence legislative and judicial decisions.

The fourth truth is that the dissenting individual has a place and should not be silenced for the sake of peace and social unity. For when a democracy on the surface agrees with itself in all things, that democracy has assuredly failed.

The fifth truth is that even though an individual could use his right to free speech to spread say, racist propaganda; this does not mean that free speech itself is immoral. I hold that society should be heavily individualistic in this regard, holding everyone responsible for their individual actions rather than holding free speech as a collective accountable for the actions of the individual.

The sixth truth is that free speech is a check upon society for example the free speech of institutions such as the IWW lead to the 40 hour work week and other workers benefits, the women"s suffrage movement used it to gain the vote.

The seventh truth is that simply because the purpose of free speech is to improve society and sometimes fails in that goal does not make it unjustified or immoral.

Free speech can sometimes be the only option if the authorities are unresponsive to your plight or the issue at hand sufficiently egregious.
It is also important to recognize the fallibility of the majority. Simply because the majority of people believe one thing does not make it wrong to believe something else. And if the majority of people believe one thing on campus, that is not sufficient reason to bar the minority from speaking what they believe despite the offence taken by the majority.


I didn't want to be rude and decline your debate but I have no info and you won!
Debate Round No. 2


ok then. research is always an option. I mean you have three days to do it. But if you don't want to do it, you could always look for some kind of forfeit button.
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by passwordstipulationssuck 1 year ago
Can anyone tell me what I'm supposed to do? Do I win? is it like this debate never happened? what's next.
Posted by passwordstipulationssuck 1 year ago
Exactly, freedom has to go both ways. If someone has the freedom to say something, someone else has to have the freedom to challenge it. Otherwise, freedom doesn't exist. It becomes a state or institutionally mandated belief. In the resolution I provided, both of these people would have the freedom to protest and disagree. I only believe that the University should not force anyone not to exercise their freedom of speech.
Posted by Intolerant_Liberal 1 year ago
No. But equally if someone says something they should be equally able to challenge and disagree.

America was supposedly built on freedom and democracy, but at least those ideas are enshrining your law. Most Western European countries are similar. Free speech is pot healthy societies.
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