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 Post subject: Civil Rights Movement
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:38 am 
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Almost every single round I've been Negative so far this year, I have come across the application of the Civil Rights Movement - the terror of Negative cases everywhere. This example is one of the most powerful stories the Affirmative can tell that bolsters free speech over community moral standards. It is powerful and persuasive. And thus far, all that my friends and I can come up with are pretty lame mitigatory responses. :|

Does anyone here have thoughts to help defeat this application? Not just the standard "this is a community vs. community example" argument, but bold and cogent arguments. I'm sure they're out there, and I just haven't formulated them yet. But from what it appears, this example is probably one of the only un-beatable arguments I have come across, as in the past even the incredibly good arguments I've heard had at least one kink in the armor to exploit. (Yes, I know technically every argument can be argued against, debated against, and beaten, but you hopefully comprehend what I mean.)

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:16 am 
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I'd probably argue, just off the top of my head, that the example doesn't prove anything. During the civil rights movement, people had freedom of speech–as demonstrated by the fact that you had people speaking out against the horrible things going on. Thus, the community moral standards weren't being held above freedom of speech, there was simply a clash. In the end, society changed its moral standards, by and large, and endorsed the ideas being proposed by those using their freedom of speech.

But that says nothing of the value of one or the other–it just tells us what happened in a particular instance.

Not the best argument, but it's probably what I'd throw out there, off the top of my head.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 5:17 am 
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I haven't done the research or thought about this topic. But doesn't a community's moral standards actually have to be moral?

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 5:30 am 
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mendicant2 wrote:
I'd probably argue, just off the top of my head, that the example doesn't prove anything. During the civil rights movement, people had freedom of speech–as demonstrated by the fact that you had people speaking out against the horrible things going on. Thus, the community moral standards weren't being held above freedom of speech, there was simply a clash. In the end, society changed its moral standards, by and large, and endorsed the ideas being proposed by those using their freedom of speech.

But that says nothing of the value of one or the other–it just tells us what happened in a particular instance.

Not the best argument, but it's probably what I'd throw out there, off the top of my head.


Interesting...thank you for your thoughts! But I'm having trouble following your point. Are you saying that both free speech and community moral standards were equally valued? Or that moral standards changed after free speech...which I'm not sure how that invalidates the Affirmative's contention. I'm guessing you could say that the community's moral standards changed for the better, and that the Civil Rights movement therefore isn't an example of conflict?? Explication, por favor.

CalebAshley wrote:
I haven't done the research or thought about this topic. But doesn't a community's moral standards actually have to be moral?


Generally, what has been run so far this year is that "community moral standards" are not standards that are inherently moral, but rather simply what the community at large says about morality. That obviously changes the dynamics of the resolution significantly, making it more of an individualism vs. collectivism clash.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 5:46 am 
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Quote:
Generally, what has been run so far this year is that "community moral standards" are not standards that are inherently moral, but rather simply what the community at large says about morality. That obviously changes the dynamics of the resolution significantly, making it more of an individualism vs. collectivism clash.


Hmm that is interesting, but I wonder if it captures the intent of the resolution. I would have to think about it, but I don't see the civil rights example being easily beatable in an individualism vs. collectivism construct. And there are other examples like Dietrich Bonhoeffer that would seem to really tip the balance away from collectivism.

I think the way to beat the civil rights example would be to say that the reason moral was added was to place a specific emphasis on morality. If you look at the definition of standards from Merriam Webster http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/standard morality is already part of that definition. Moral was added specifically to emphasize the fact that a community's standards must be moral or at least not amoral to be considered under the res. This would still leave room for conflict, as you can talk about freedom for people that disagree with community standards that aren't amoral, but not clearly definitively right and moral like prohibition, democracy, or even gay marriage. Or you could argue that people who disagree with moral standards like white supremacists should still have freedom. That would seem to narrow the ground away from civil rights, but not be so ludicrous as to give the other side nothing.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 5:54 am 
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CalebAshley wrote:
Quote:
Generally, what has been run so far this year is that "community moral standards" are not standards that are inherently moral, but rather simply what the community at large says about morality. That obviously changes the dynamics of the resolution significantly, making it more of an individualism vs. collectivism clash.


Hmm that is interesting, but I wonder if it captures the intent of the resolution. I would have to think about it, but I don't see the civil rights example being easily beatable in an individualism vs. collectivism construct. And there are other examples like Dietrich Bonhoeffer that would seem to really tip the balance away from collectivism.

I think the way to beat the civil rights example would be to say that the reason moral was added was to place a specific emphasis on morality. If you look at the definition of standards from Merriam Webster http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/standard morality is already part of that definition. Moral was added specifically to emphasize the fact that a community's standards must be moral or at least not amoral to be considered under the res. This would still leave room for conflict, as you can talk about freedom for people that disagree with community standards that aren't amoral, but not clearly definitively right and moral like prohibition, democracy, or even gay marriage. Or you could argue that people who disagree with moral standards like white supremacists should still have freedom. That would seem to narrow the ground away from civil rights, but not be so ludicrous as to give the other side nothing.

This would potentially work, if the framework went that way. Unfortunately, almost every Affirmative or Negative has a point that "both sides are amoral" or asks in cross-ex "You would agree (insert side of resolution) is amoral, right?" And nobody ever disagrees. The assumption inherent in most cases is that both sides are amoral, and the burden is to prove whether speech or moral standards should be upheld more often than not (aka, it's not an absolute rez). Trying to prove otherwise would get you into a messy definitional or theoretical debate which most Stoa judges would probably loath. (In fact, just this Tuesday I hit a Negative case which actually said "community moral standards are always moral" and tried to disprove the resolution on a deontological basis. It was fascinating, really. But he forgot to challenge my definition, and I resoundingly defeated the points that he rested the case on as well as successfully turning the deontology framework. Oops.)

Also, it's not so much that the themes of individualism and collectivism are particularly strong, it's that in the resolution itself, it says "Resolved: When in conflict, an individual’s freedom of speech should be valued above a community’s moral standards." So thus, while the round is rarely an overt display of individualism vs. collectivism, many of the arguments are based on such a paradigm.

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As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. -Psalm 42:1


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:22 pm 
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Evan wrote:
This would potentially work, if the framework went that way. Unfortunately, almost every Affirmative or Negative has a point that "both sides are amoral" or asks in cross-ex "You would agree (insert side of resolution) is amoral, right?" And nobody ever disagrees. The assumption inherent in most cases is that both sides are amoral, and the burden is to prove whether speech or moral standards should be upheld more often than not (aka, it's not an absolute rez). Trying to prove otherwise would get you into a messy definitional or theoretical debate which most Stoa judges would probably loath. (In fact, just this Tuesday I hit a Negative case which actually said "community moral standards are always moral" and tried to disprove the resolution on a deontological basis. It was fascinating, really. But he forgot to challenge my definition, and I resoundingly defeated the points that he rested the case on as well as successfully turning the deontology framework. Oops.)


When I did LD I would always try to find a way to do the exact opposite of what everyone else was doing. In fact, I picked up my Neg case for last year by having a debate coach tell me to never do what I did in my neg. All you have to do is make it appealing, and arguing that "community moral standards" are always moral might actually be pretty easy. If you grant that free speech is a human right, that'll make it a level playing field in the judge's mind, I would think, and then you can have a rights vs. morality debate, which would be rather easy to win.

As to the response to the civil rights movement, my apologies. I was incredibly unclear in that.

Basically, the civil rights movement is, if I understand your post properly, being used to say this: The civil rights movement illustrates a reason why community moral standards should be valued less than free speech.

Here's the problem, and this is a problem with a lot of LD applications: the civil rights movement proves no such thing. All the civil rights movement shows us is a situation in which a community changed their moral standards because of free speech. That has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not one is more valuable than the other, unless one includes the link of "everything, or most things, a community does is right."

It's just pointing out the lack of a real link, basically. I ran into this all the time with LD applications, and I would always argue this. The applications just showed an example in which a person/community/entity chose one thing, but that has nothing to do with the value of said thing. Last year in the NCFCA it was Snowden–the problem is that Snowden is just a guy who chose to exercise his freedom of speech. That says nothing about its value.

Does that make a little more sense?

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 6:30 pm 
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mendicant2 wrote:
When I did LD I would always try to find a way to do the exact opposite of what everyone else was doing. In fact, I picked up my Neg case for last year by having a debate coach tell me to never do what I did in my neg. All you have to do is make it appealing, and arguing that "community moral standards" are always moral might actually be pretty easy. If you grant that free speech is a human right, that'll make it a level playing field in the judge's mind, I would think, and then you can have a rights vs. morality debate, which would be rather easy to win.

That actually makes sense. If I could get my opponent to assert that free speech is a human right, the debate would shift from the vanilla individualism vs. collectivism conflict to a rights vs. morality debate. Sounds entertaining. But I'm just not sure many judges would be apt to receive such a line of logic in this climate. (That, and I really like my Neg case at the moment. Maybe I should write another one based on this idea and keep it tucked away to pull out in case the situation arises where it could work.)

medicant2 wrote:
Here's the problem, and this is a problem with a lot of LD applications: the civil rights movement proves no such thing. All the civil rights movement shows us is a situation in which a community changed their moral standards because of free speech. That has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not one is more valuable than the other, unless one includes the link of "everything, or most things, a community does is right."

It's just pointing out the lack of a real link, basically. I ran into this all the time with LD applications, and I would always argue this. The applications just showed an example in which a person/community/entity chose one thing, but that has nothing to do with the value of said thing. Last year in the NCFCA it was Snowden–the problem is that Snowden is just a guy who chose to exercise his freedom of speech. That says nothing about its value.


Okay, now I see what you are saying. That is a pretty decent response, and an even better overall idea of pointing out the lack of links in applications. Thank you!

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:55 am 
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Call them out for being lazy.

Of course everyone supports the freedom of speech of groups people like. That's easy. That's also probably not what the resolution is (or the application certainly is largely irrelevant to today since Civil Rights speeches/expression are no longer controversial).

A much better example of the freedom of speech (expression, etc...) vs. community standards would be the National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie where local neo-Nazis, having been restricted from having rallies in a Chicago park, threatened to march in uniform, with Nazi paraphernalia down the streets of Skokie. It should be noted that Skokie had a very large Jewish population and the largest proportion of survivors of the Shoah. The neo-Nazi group was defended by the ACLU, with a lawyer who was Jewish leading the defense.

Presenting examples that everyone supports the speech today isn't a true defense of the freedom of speech. Defending the speech of the most vile and most despicable would be. I rare agree with Chomsky but the quotation, "If we don't believe in the freedom of speech for those we despise, then we don't believe in it," probably applies.

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