EDEB8 - Ultimate Online Debating
About Us   Debate    Judge   Forum
Views:
170

That banning books is justifiable

(PRO)
WINNER!
3 points
(CON)
0 points
JackSpratJackSprat (PRO)


According to Marshall University Library, a banned book is one that has been removed from a library or classroom. For the purposes of this debate, I shall focus on public entities. I put to you that there are occasions where banning books is an appropriate response, that should not be forbidden. That being said I do believe that that practice of banning books should be exercised with great care and restraint.


I argue that the principle of banning is not a restriction of a right to free speech, rather it is a control of access and distribution. I further argue that certain types of content is not protected, and should not be permitted the same level of expression and freedom; that is not all speech is free speech. Finally, I will argue that the principle of challenging a book (the step before banning) based on a local community standard is on itself a very important reflective measure of social values and an exceptional catalyst of progressive dialogue and discussion.


Banning a book is restricting control and access to certain types of written or spoken content. This practice occurs in many ways today, some of which are easier to defend than others. This restriction does not impair or forbid the creator of the content from creating. Nor does it forbid the distribution of that content. It limits access to the content, to select audiences, in select places. The content created is still legally available other accessible places, Most people would agree that schools ad libraries prohibiting access to pornography is an acceptable measure.

A step further, is it wrong for a library to ban a book like ’40 Shades of Grey’, (a very explicit adult novel) because they have limited resources into monitoring who has access, and who borrows the material. Surely with limited resources libraries and schools can make pragmatic decisions about the content they deliver based on their local community standards.


One of the core arguments for permitting schools and libraries to control the content they deliver is based on the principal to education. Some would argue that if books with adult-related material are available in libraries, children or teens can be exposed to the content that their parents wouldn't approve of before the parents have had the opportunity to educate them on sensitive, and arguably private family matters. With schools being the second source of education (the home being the first), the type of some content may, in fact, be restricted, again based on the community standards. The principal of allows restrictions of the distribution of legally protected content were allowed in the US Supreme Court in City of Los Angeles v. Alameda Books, In that case, the SCOTUS permitted zoning restrictions of adult material.


Not all content is permitted, nor should it be permitted. That content should be then banned accordingly.


Examples include:


Copyright Material. A library or school would have good reason to bans all books from a particular publisher because that publisher has an established history of violating copyright claims,


Commercial Speech. A library or school would be justified in refusing to stock literature about certain types of commercial products. Peel v. Attorney Reg. & Discip. Comm


Child Pornography established as a very reasonable and specific restriction SCOTUS - New York v. Ferber, which clearly a library or school could rely on for justifying their content selection.


Obscenity is defined by SCOTUS Miller v. California, which defines (among other things) a “contemporary community standard” and the community is a local interpretation, not a national one. So a library in Utah may have a very different collection than a library in Seattle.


Fighting/Inciting Content, defined in Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969). Banning a or narrative that specifically calls out, or requests shooting the president, killing a particular race, could be justified.



And finally, I present that the process of banning a book is a very important test on measuring and understanding what the community standard is. In SCOTUS Ashcroft vs. ACLU the community standard was described by Justin Thomas as anything from conservative to avant-garde, and the measure of a local community standard did not infringe a content creators' rights.


Decisions are made based on a local, small standard. I argue that it is important to continually measure and understand that standard. Often when a book is challenged, open dialogue and debate occur in the local setting. This is a very important exercise of local governance. Through that debate, the litmus test of tolerance in the community is continually being assessed and challenged. I argue that a civil process such as the aforementioned is very valuable.


In summary, I have established that banning is defined as a very limited function, a function that is important from an education perspective, a social policy perspective, and a legal perspective. And the process by which books are banned has in on-itself a positive local benefit. As I stated at the beginning, I do think this standard needs to be exercised with the most abundance of restraint and caution, and a community should not be able to hide behind an aggressively broad standard which would be clearly unconstitutional.  


Return To Top | Posted:
2020-04-28 16:36:31
| Speak Round


View As PDF

Enjoyed this debate? Please share it!

You need to be logged in to be able to comment
The judging period on this debate is over

Previous Judgments

2020-05-02 19:18:53
Bugsy460Judge: Bugsy460    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: JackSprat
2020-05-04 21:59:27
dpowell3543Judge: dpowell3543    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: JackSprat
2020-05-07 00:21:11
nzlockieJudge: nzlockie    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: JackSprat

Rules of the debate

  • Text debate
  • Individual debate
  • 3 rounds
  • 8000 characters per round
  • Reply speeches
  • No cross-examination
  • Permissive Judging Standard (notes)
  • Forfeiting rounds does not mean forfeiting the debate
  • Images allowed
  • HTML formatting allowed
  • Rated debate
  • Time to post: 1 day
  • Time to vote: 5 days
  • Time to prepare: 1 hour
This is a random challenge. See the general rules for random challenges at http://www.edeb8.com/resources/General+rules+for+random+debates+%28version+2%29