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Should books be banned?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/26/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 829 times Debate No: 74243
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
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Should controversial books be banned or should they not be banned? I read the book "The Sun Also Rises" just after finding out it was a banned book. I do not think it should be banned and my opinion is voiced in the link below. Comment and let me know what you think both on here and on the blog. It would be a lot of help with my English assignment! Thanks!



This is my first debate, so please give me some grace.

To get right to the point, I completely believe that specific book should be banned. I have three basic reasons for this point. They include both moral and factual information.

1) Literature has to have boundaries like other forms of expression.

Literature is after all a form of expression, and as such it should be judged like other forms of expression. This being said, I feel that I should clarify from what point of view I am coming from, I strongly believe in the freedom of speech within the United States (1st Amendment), however, I agree with what Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said,

"The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic. [...] 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 Congress has a right to .prevent."


The idea that people can do whatever they would like to do just because of the first amendment said they could is just crazy. Legally there is a responsibility for what you publish, and because of that, the idea that a person cannot publish whatever they like and expect to go without responsibility is absolutely insane. For instance look at the case, Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire (1942), I quote from directly from Wikipedia,

" the Supreme Court held that speech is unprotected if it constitutes "fighting words".[27] Fighting words, as defined by the Court, is speech that "tend[s] to incite an immediate breach of the peace" by provoking a fight, so long as it is a "personally abusive [word] which, when addressed to the ordinary citizen, is, as a matter of common knowledge, inherently likely to provoke a violent reaction".[28] Additionally, such speech must be "directed to the person of the hearer" and is "thus likely to be seen as a 'direct personal insult'".[29][30]"


Let's look again into the laws, only this time at National Security. Legally, no person is allowed to be a whistleblower against the United States of America. Again I quote directly from Wikipedia,

"Publishing, gathering, or collecting national security information is not protected speech in the United States.[21] Information related to "the national defense" is protected even though no harm to the national security is intended or is likely to be caused through its disclosure.[22] Non-military information with the potential to cause serious damage to the national security is only protected from willful disclosure with the requisite intent or knowledge regarding the potential harm.[22] The unauthorized creation, publication, sale, or transfer of photographs or sketches of vital defense installations or equipment as designated by the President is prohibited.[23] The knowing and willful disclosure of certain classified information is prohibited.[24] The unauthorized communication by anyone of "Restricted Data", or an attempt or conspiracy to communicate such data, is prohibited.[25] It is prohibited for a person who learns of the identity of a covert agent through a "pattern of activities intended to identify and expose covert agents" to disclose the identity to any individual not authorized access to classified information, with reason to believe that such activities would impair U.S. foreign intelligence efforts.[26]"


So, are we, as a nation, or as a Global society, to allow any person to write whatever would please them, even if it would mean that national security is at dire risk?

In conclusion of this point, I would like to point out that the courts have ruled again and again that there are rules which all forms of literature must abide by.

2) The power of literature

Let's look back into the list of books which have caused harm. The first book I thought of being Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler, it motivated hundreds of thousands of Germans to carry out the systematic mass killing of specific people groups, also known as the Holocaust.

"Is not their very existence founded on one great lie, namely, that they are a religious community, where as in reality they are a race? And what a race! One of the greatest thinkers that mankind has produced has branded the Jews for all time with a statement which is profoundly and exactly true. Schopenhauer called the Jew "The Great Master of Lies". Those who do not realize the truth of that statement, or do not wish to believe it, will never be able to lend a hand in helping Truth to prevail." I quote Mein Kamph [p. 134] Clearly Hitler hates the Jewish people.

This book was wide spread, again I quote from Wikipedia, "By the end of the war, about 10 million copies of the book had been sold or distributed in Germany. "


Would you say that this book did not hold much influence over the nation? I am sure you agree that literature is powerful and that it should be kept that way. However, we debate the issue of banning books. I am confidant that many others would have banned this book looking back. It is not in our best interest not to allow hateful ideologies to infiltrate literature, for when they do, it will cause mass aggravation against people groups. This will, in turn, lead to other issues such as the revisiting of the Holocaust in such a manner that we, as a society, have never seen before. Hateful writings have led to hate crimes, and this is proven by history. Please, look at the book, "Das Capital". Because of these kinds of books which have been published, we must restrict the literature which we would be published.

3) Moral objections:

Also, I hope that you will agree with me that other material that has nothing to do with politics or hate crime should be removed from the culture. I refer to pornography. Obviously this material does no good in the culture. For instance, how many times have you seen husbands and wives break up over this type of repulsive material? What about boyfriends and girlfriends? Sadly, the list is countless. I would say that this type of literature has no place in society on both a moral and a sociological stance.

I am sad to say that people may not agree with me here, but let me ask you a question: What good has this book done for anyone, any people groups, and for the world? (I know I said one, but I must add this question for clarification.) Does this type of reading make for any better world or lifestyle for the disadvantaged, i.e., leads of social equality among the races and sexes?

In this type of reading they objectify the individuals to such a low standard that it is impossible to say that this does not influence the way people think. Because of this, we see mass the objectification of people as just bodies to look at and not mind, body, and spirit ( an entire person). In addition, this type of writing implodes one's level of morality. I will stop here to keep it clean, and I ask you to do the same. :) Thanks for thinking of the little ears!

Like all of us in this world, even you have a moral objection against specific literature, and I wonder if this debate steamed from moral intrigue, and not from a philosophical dilemma.

I know that you said this was for an English homework, so I hope that I did not add to what you have to do. :)

As I always do,

Debate Round No. 1


Giulsco forfeited this round.



That is most likely the most disappointing answer. I will keep it fair and not post any thing myself. However, I must warn you that if you do this once again, then on my last turn to state my point, I will make my final argument.

I hope this is just because of school and partying. I find this type of blank response the saddest way to respond. No acceptance, no rebuttal, not even a plain sentence of thank you or anything. So, I hope in the future you will post something.

Thank you and I am interested in your response,

Micah (LLAP)
Debate Round No. 2


Giulsco forfeited this round.


So, in conclusion I must say that there should be no reason for one to desire complete freedom of the press... as seen in the "counter argument", or lack there of the opponent feels the same way. In this type of one sided debate, there is no need for a vote. I desire none, and I will speak for my opponent by saying that she clearly desires none.

So, I ask you to keep this debate fair, and NOT vote.

Thank you so much,

Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Giulsco 3 years ago
Yes controversial books.
Posted by Lumberjay85 3 years ago
Can you please clarify your question? Do you mean controversial books or books in general?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 3 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct - Pro. Con forfeited R2 & R3 which is rarely acceptable conduct in any debate settings. For this, Pro wins conduct. S&G - Tie. Both had adequate spelling and grammar throughout. Arguments - Pro. Pro presented 3 arguments on why some books should be banned. The resolution was somewhat misleading but after the first round it was clear this was his burden. Con additionally failed to rebut any of the arguments presented, which left Pro standing unchallenged for the remainder of the debate. For this, Pro wins arguments. Sources - Pro. Con had a link, but it wasn't really a source that could be applied to any of his arguments, but rather just some opinion or comment site. On the flip side, Pro utilized multiple sources to strengthen his points. This is a clear win for Pro.