Resolved: We have the right to be offended… but what to do about it?
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Resolved: We have the right to be offended… but what to do about it? In these times of over-indulged political correctness, there’s an idea that is lost in the cloud of discontent. It’s presence is felt in almost every conversation on every subject; not just politics. It’s a shame we allow p.c. in a non-political arena. It’s a shame we cannot distinguish anymore what is and is not politics. And, it’s a shame our society was ever saddled with this particular form of censorship.
What is it? Taking offense; as in, finding too many excuses to be offended by someone else’s this and that. Usually, it’s something they said. Sometimes it’s about what they do. Sometimes, it’s about what they said about what they did. Or, what we did, or said.
“You offend me” has taken the place of an old public sentiment that used to be funny: “Where’s the beef?” Perhaps the latter is an appropriate question for the former.
Right: n. Legal, moral, and natural entitlement
Offense: n. A breach of law, rules, proprietry, etiquette; transgeression, sin, wrong, misdeed [I add for purposes of this resolution: one’s feelings that another has committed offense against them, as in “taking offense.”]
Pro: as resolved: we have the right to be offended, but what to do about it
Con: Against the proposal: we do not have the right to be offended, but what to do about it
3 total rounds:
R1, 2: Argument, rebuttal, defense
R3: No new argument, rebuttal, defense, conclusion
No waived or forfeited rounds. Waive or forfeiture will result in loss of debate.
Sourcing of declarative statements must be sourced by citation reference unless the statement is of obvious common knowledge.
If someone has offended us by their words or deeds, the resolution is likely our problem more than theirs
We haven’t walked in their shoes, and, until we do, we have no quarter to criticize what should be said or done.
I.a Con attempts to redirect the argument of individual rights to collective, or, to use a popular P.C.-speak: systemic rights, such as the subject of this debate: the right to be offended. Arguably, this right is unwritten, as I’ve argued in r1, I.a.1 and II, and r2, I.a.2. Let’s not lose sight that I have already argued these points clearly, and that it is Con who discounts the argument simply on the basis of an erroneous move of the goal post from an individual right, shared by many individuals, to a collective, systemic right having to do only with the crowd, but not an individual.
I.a.1 However, I rebutted in r2, I.a.3, that all constitutional fights of the people are enjoyed as individual citizens. Con presented in his r2 rebuttal for the systemic-only condition by trying to convince us that it matters not if one individual burns a bus, ort ten individuals burn a bus; the bus is burned and one person or ten persons are charged. I don’t know how things work in India, but, being a democracy, the which style of government recognizes individuals and their rights, the ten people who allegedly burn a bus are not charged on a collective charge; each individual is charged with destruction of public property, whether or not they are tried in court individually or collectively. There are ten indictments, one for each individual. Therefore, Con’s systemic argument does not hold. It is wrong.
I.b Con then argues conditions in China; that people are reported missing, and ties this issue to the debate by saying, “…this is the conundrum that society faces when we term offense as in verbal offense as a right…” But giving offense is not the debate subject. Being offended, i.e., taking offense is what is the resolution is about. Con needs to stay on point. Therefore, this sideline is a non sequitur, and a failed argument.
II Rebuttal: Label rights
II.a Con’s r2, referred to the player dropped from the rugby team for perceived homophobic commentary, but confused this argument in his r2 with the previous argument re label rights. His label rights argument from his r1 dealt with the pronoun controversy regarding proper pronoun use for trans-genders. As this latter issue is the true second argument of Con’s r12, let’s address it first, then get to his r1 argument of “the bigger take;” the rugby player.
II.a.1 Con argues my side of the individual v. collective/systemic level of rights in saying, “Exactly, we cannot assume that all trans-genders are of like mind, but the problem shows it true face when they start demanding it be a matter of law that their identity or belief be protected and anyone who questions their belief or ideology be prosecuted.” By assuming they may not be arguing by like mind, we must conclude, therefore, as I have argued, that trans-genders be treated as individuals with rights and not as a collective facing a systemic problem. It’s the latter phrase of his argument that disagrees with his contending position. By sight, as I demonstrated in my r2, II.b, “But we do not see beliefs in others any more than we see their physical internal atrtibutes, such a the heart, or brain. We make assumptions. Well, the appearance of a person by dress generally expresses their personal basic identity. But a man with a beard, moustache, wearing a tank top with visibly hairy chest and arms, but also wearing a skirt may confuse another at first, but our first impression, and possible verbal expression is not ging to run to thinking that person is a trans-gender. It’s a man wearing a skirt. Fine. If I, seeing that person, say, “There’s a man wearing a skirt,” it may offend the man, for he believes he is a woman, but the appearance, just by a skirt, does not communicate that identity.” Therefore, on the basis of sight, alone, because most people do not hang identity around their necks to make their beliefs known, how are we to know what pronoun is proper to use as they want the law to dictate? One cannot legislate how to react to unknown and unobvious beliefs.
II.a.2 Con complicates the unseen trans-gender identity issue by introducing that in New York City, 31 total genders have been recognized. We’ll ignore that the source article doubles up on some id’s by both spelling them out and using abbreviation, which, in principle, does not mean they are separate genders, but merely separate identifiers, something like saying I am an American citizen, and a U.S. citizen. I am not a citizen of two separate countries. Regardless, since I’ll wager [ I looked, but do not have a source] that clarifies that people do not, in fact, wear identity signs around their necks, the lack of visual identity makes all the usual means of general identity, such as the typical old-school of recognizing male and female [on that specific indenty, I’ll note that while of the 31 identified genders, “male” and “female” are not identified, where as “man” and “woman,” are identified, as well as “male-to-femaile” and “female-to-male.” I guess 33 identities are just too many to maintain. Not mentioned, as well, are the proper pronouns to use in each of the 31 identities, so, we’re still in the dark as to proper reference to these people. By sight, we’re completely blinded. How, then, to properly identify? By legisaltion? On the basis of what pronoun designation. The language is too simplified to comply with such a plethora of terms. And since culture drives language, and not the other way around, it behooves culture to be specific. However, instead, we find, "A common research strategy has been to compare the gender associations for non-animate entities as a function of their grammatical gender between two languages spoken in different cultural groups. In the study reported here, we try to disentangle linguistic and cultural effects on such gender associations, by focusing on members of one cultural group speaking two language variants that differ in whether or not they distinguish masculine and feminine gender." Con has no suggestion, which is part of his obligation to BoP. Therefore, his argument on label identity fails. Con has no suggestion, which is part of his obligation to BoP. Therefore, his argument on label identity fails.
III Rebuttal: The Bigger Take
III.a Regarding the rugby player, now in proper order, Con rebutted in r2, by clarification that the player only pointed out biblical sins in general, not by quotation. However, as a clarified explanation, it still fails because the player still violated his contractual agreement to avoid making homophobic commentary, period [regardless of it being by Bible quotation, or by his own interpreation]. Con did not entertain the contract at all in his argument, nor in his rebuttal. As it is key to understanding why he was dropped from the team, it belongs in the disucssion. Con’s argument thus fails.
III.b MY point above, concluding rebuttal III.a, is heightened due to Con’s next comment, “Taking offense is a sub-set.” I respectfullydisagree; as noted above, and in the resolution, taking offense, i.e. “being offended,” is the point; it is the set; it is the match. Please re-read the resolution. It is clear. No need to juggle balls about it. One either clears the net on serve, and in volley, or the point is lost. But Con follows by delcaring in r2: “Freedom of speech has been put under threat by many individuals who deem taking offense as a right.”
III.b.1 May I note that the Con declarative statement I’ve quoted above is a specific opinion, for it is not universally accepted as fact, is not sourced, though the instructions in Description/Debate Protocol close on that point of order. I therefore demand that, to have claim on the argument points, and source points, the statement be cited. The point I maintain, and back it by the U.S. Constitution, specifically the 1A, is that freedom of speech is not endangered, but, in fact, is risked by not allowing that taking offense is a right of the individual, among all individuals, but must be handled with decorum, and not revenge, by seeking to understand, by civil discourse, and not by censure and retaliation.
IV Conclusion: We have the right to be offended, and must have a proper reaction
IV.a I have argued that without the freedom of speech, the consequences of some speech would not be offensive, because the government would have already bridled speech to the degree that no offense could or should be taken, because such government restriction would so limit our speech by legal obligation, it could hardly be called free. See my r1, I.a, I.a.1., II, r2, I.a.1, .2, and .3, and r3, I, II.
IV.b I have argued that the responsibility of our reaction to the free speech of others must be as tolerant of, and not controlled by the speech of others, and that the rights of both free speech and taking offense are individual, not collective, or systemic rights. See my r1, III, all paragraphs, r2, I.a and all sub-paragraphs, r3, III.
IV.c I have argued that our response to taking offense must be civil and peaceful, not in anger and revenge. See my r1, III, r2, IV, and r3, III.
IV.d I have defended these arguments by demonstration all of Con’s rebuttals as ineffective and diversionary as attempts to discredit my arguments by claim in his r1 of poetry unrelated to the topic of taking offense, a story of a man offended by his loss of knighthood, and its restoration, but then drops that story for the rest of his rounds, and then asks what “line of demarcation” constitutes offense. I rebutted that taking offense is not a line sufficient for all, but are separate points of offense, for the right is an individual matter, not a collective. Con has not successfully defended his argument in the two previous rounds that taking offense is collective, or systemic, and not an individual right. He then argued in r2 that the subject is not taking offense, but giving offense. Clearly, the resolution regards the former, not the latter, and that our response to taking offense, and not giving offense must, itself, be controlled by civility. It cannot be by giving offense, because we may be unaware by the act that we have even given offense at all.