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

This House Believes that Hate Speech should not count as Free Speech

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/10/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 437 times Debate No: 115373
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
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Hate speech - Speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of attributes such as race, religion, ethnic origin, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Free speech - speech that expresses any opinions without censorship or restraint.

By very definition, hate speech is not rational. It is never rational to attack a person or a group based upon something they have no control over or have rationally chosen to identify themselves as. This is the case because the existence of groups of people in themselves should not be something that can be ridiculed or attacked. There is no expressive value and the speech is hateful and damaging.

The marginalised are currently damaged and put down by the toxic atmosphere created from the excessive freedom of a few bigoted individuals to damage others without any actual arguments being expressed. We can help these marginalised groups to succeed in a world which is stacked against them if we introduce fair and reasonable constraints on speech which is offensive, useless and harmful.

Speech should serve a purpose. Just offending someone is not a good use of that speech. Since therefore hate speech is solely damaging and doesn't express any legitimate arguments we should ban it in the interests of protecting those who are vulnerable and oppressed under the system hate speech perpetuates.

Very happy to debate this motion with anybody. Please do accept my challenge. Use the first round to signpost your argument. Then use the middle 3 rounds to continue your argument and rebut what has been said. Finally, use the final round to summarise and avoid bringing in new content.


Before I get into case I will offer some definitions.
Censorship : The suppression of words, images, or ideas that are "offensive."
Rational: Having a reason or an understanding.
Purpose: The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.
Opinion: a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

Now I will get onto my arguments.
Not counting hate speech as free speech violates the very definition of free speech. Look at my definition for opinion, a view or judgment formed about something that does not necessarily have to do with fact. What this means is that hate speech is an opinion. Now look at my opponents definition of free speech, speech that expresses any opinions with out censorship or restraint. So if hate speech is an opinion, which it is, and free speech is speech that shows an opinion without censorship, than hate speech should fall under this category. Finally look to my definition of censorship, it says that censorship is based on whether or not the words or ideas are offensive. And as my opponent alluded to hate speech is offensive, and if free speech cannot be censored, than neither should hate speech.
Hate speech is rational and can serve a purpose. Look to my definition of rational, having a reason, now hate speech does have a reason attached to it, whether that reason be to offend or to harm, hate speech still has a reason. What this means is that hate speech is by definition, rational. Hate speech can also serve a purpose. Whether it's purpose is to insight rage or simply offend it still has a purpose. And things with purpose have a use and thus are important in some way.
In conclusion, by definition hate speech falls under the branch of free speech. This means that it should not be banned. On top of this hate speech is both rational and serves a purpose which means that it is not horrible useless category my opponent paints it to be. For these reasons I strongly urge a con vote.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for you opening comments.

To start lets have some rebuttal. Firstly, I think that your idea of 'rational' is misleading and disingenuous. Your idea of rational is something that has a reason (however non-sensical that reason may be). If this is the case then was the holocaust rational? Clearly not. However, your definition can be logically extended to this ends. After all, the Nazis had a reason (however non-sensical that reason may be) to carry out the holocaust - that they believed that Jewish people were evil and so should be murdered. I propose an alternative, sensible and fair redefinition of rational. Rational is something that has reasonable arguments supporting it which outweigh the arguments against it. Eg. going to work is a rational choice to make. Considering this, I ask you: what is rational about giving a few bigoted individuals the privilege to exercise harm and oppression over the marginalised and vulnerable?

Secondly, in this debate, the literal definitions of each of the terms do not count as arguments. This is not an english language dictionary discussion. I am not going to pretend I am a supreme court judge ruling on the definition of free speech. If hate speech, as you say, counts as free speech under the status quo, then so what? That doesn't mean that we can't just scrap free speech. That doesn't mean hate speech is still ok. Let's change that status quo. Free speech is not and should not be sacresaint. Let's not be stopped by a dictionary definition. You seem to have taken a very literalist stance in this debate and that is not what it is about. This debate is about whether our society should restrict hate speech. When I say "should not count" that means that we should stop Hate speech from being part of free speech and that therefore means making Hate speech illegal. You don"t seem to have picked up on the nuance in this debate.

Now on to continue my argument. Hate speech is irrational. What is rational about saying the N word to a black person or making a crude joke about the holocaust? Nothing is rational about that. It makes no sense for that speech to attack people for no rational reason. Rationality should depend on whether that speech has a good justification for it. Does racism have a good justification. No. So then racism is useless. Therefore racist hate speech serves no purpose. Since it serves no purpose except to stir up violence and division and oppress vulnerable, marginalised groups then why should we even allow it. If all its possible effects are either useless or harmful then it surely is something we should get rid of. My proposal is that we make it illegal. Therefore it would no longer be free speech because it would no longer be free.

Secondly, hate speech causes violence. Why is this true? Well hate speech is incredibly toxic and powerful. It covers issues which are very sensitive and important to human beings. For example, hate speech towards a muslim is incredibly powerful because it senselessly attacks something which is very sensitive and important to them personally - their religion. They as a result care much more when this sensitive issue is attacked and as a result take this much more seriously. As a result their reaction will be much more extreme. This was self evident in Oldham, UK in 2001 when english soccer fans entered a Pakistani Muslim neighbourhood, stirring up trouble mainly by chanting racist and islamophobic chants. This hate speech was so powerful because it struck at the hearts of many members of that community. What followed was days of rioting between the hooligans and local community which began when, unsurprisingly, young muslim men and boys from that community headed out to confront the hooligans. Another example was the 2014 Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris when the hateful speech illustrated in the cartoon stirred up deep seated ethno-religious tensions resulting in the bloody terrorist attack. There are countless examples of how Hate speech stirs up trouble leading to violence and suffering. In fact, the Rwandan genocide was orchestrated largely by Hate speech propaganda on the radio encouraging Hutus to murder Tutsis. Given this surely governments should make hate speech illegal and therefore not count as free speech because it would no longer be free?

Finally, Hate speech perpetuates a global system of privilege and exploitation. Hate speech as I have previously explained is an extremely powerful weapon. It is so powerful that it frightens minorities and oppressed groups away from participating in society. This is because they are reminded of the history of the effects of Hate speech and also because they fear for their lives about the violence they may face due to the immense rhetorical power of Hate speech. Words like the n****r have such appalling power to psychologically affect Black people. It frightens an bullies African Americans, for example, from taking part in political demonstrations or running for office. As a result groups are unable to participate in society and most ironically cannot express their freedom of expression because they have been bullied out of doing so. After the San Fransisco earthquake in 2009, the Chinese-American community were so frightened by the presence of Neo-Nazi and white supremacist Hate speech at a Residents Meeting concerning the earthquake that most did not attend. As a result they were Defacto excluded from taking part in society. Therefore hate speech upholds a global system of privilege and exploitation.

In conclusion, hate speech should not count as free speech. This is because under my model governments would ban hateful speech. They should do this because hate speech is irrational. This is the case because it has no reasonable justification. Therefore it serves no purpose so is useless. On top of that it causes violence and division and upholds a global system of privilege and injustice.

Based upon this I urge the voters to vote Pro.
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by LoveRichardDawkins 3 years ago
Ok so I've won this debate
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