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Debate Score:78
Arguments:116
Total Votes:85
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Mack(293) pic



Value of freedom (read description)?

A bit of a vague question yes, but I will try to explain.

Inspiration for this debate came from Bronto's debate titled: *"Should a Muslim have to bake a cake for a gay wedding."*  I think this raises a question about the value of freedom.  Should freedom (e.g. freedom not to serve somebody) in some cases be sacrificed to create something else that many would deem to be good, such as forced fair treatment (forcing the Muslim to serve the gays)?  Do we overate freedom?  This could also apply to things like limitations on government surveillance upon the public.  

The specific dialogue during Bronto's debate that inspired me to create this debate was between Amarel and myself, which went like this:

Me: "Nobody should have to provide a service unwillingly if freedom is to be considered valuable"
Amarel: "Does that include denial of service based on race. ?"
Me: "If you value freedom enough, yes. The value of freedom is the real debate though."
Amarel: "Sounds like it might be. Why don't you post a debate. ?"
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4 points

In my opinion, "freedom" is taken for granted, and is massively "overrated" (for lack of a better word).

There are a lot of things in life which simply do not work without moderation. Think of Aristotle's virtue ethics; too much or too little of something is a vice, and is extremely detrimental to your character and to society.

Take bravery. Too much bravery and you're brash - quick to act without thinking things through, which leads to easy mistakes. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you're a coward who won't take any risks no matter how small they are, and you'll never get anywhere in life.

Freedom can be measured with similar concepts. Not enough freedom and you're a slave. Too much freedom and there's anarchy. Both, I believe, are immoral, which is why we need to find that sweet spot between too much and too little.

Looking more specifically at the topic, and going back to this idea about "should we be free to discriminate", let me ask you something: if you were a black man in the United States in the early 1900s, would you value the freedom to discriminate?

One man's freedom is another man's shackles.

marcusmoon(251) Clarified
2 points

NC,

I had a hard time deciding whether to dispute or clarify because what you say is cogent.

In my opinion, "freedom" is taken for granted, and is massively "overrated" (for lack of a better word).

I agree that too many people take freedom for granted. That is why such people say freedom is massively "overrated" (for lack of a better word).

It is easy to say freedom (like air or sex) is overrated until you are not getting any.

One needs freedom in order to have the ability protect freedom. Significantly, the less freedom one person has, the easier it is for others to take the freedom that person has left.

-

Not enough freedom and you're a slave. Too much freedom and there's anarchy. Both, I believe, are immoral, which is why we need to find that sweet spot between too much and too little.

I think that sweet spot is the limitation of freedom to act, insofar as it does not physically impede on the persons or property of anyone else.

This means people still have conflict, and nobody gets all of what they want. People still have to encounter things they dislike or that cause them emotional pain. However, they also have the freedom to try to work out the conflicts or make the world more like what they want.

-

if you were a black man in the United States in the early 1900s, would you value the freedom to discriminate?

I am glad you phrased it the way you did. Discriminate means "1.recognize a distinction; differentiate".

I know you meant the unwritten "...based on race", but not everyone chooses to discriminate based on logically corrupt reasons (like racism). The ability to choose based on one's own values was equally valuable to a Black man in the early 1900s as it was to anyone else. Do you really think that Black man wanted anyone else telling him how he had to evaluate people, or what criteria he had to use when making decisions?

NicolasCage(362) Clarified
1 point

I know you meant the unwritten "...based on race", but not everyone chooses to discriminate based on logically corrupt reasons (like racism). The ability to choose based on one's own values was equally valuable to a Black man in the early 1900s as it was to anyone else. Do you really think that Black man wanted anyone else telling him how he had to evaluate people, or what criteria he had to use when making decisions?

It's not what I meant, as you mentioned, but that's something I hadn't thought of before so thank you for bringing it up. I think differentiation in the context you're talking about is important, and certainly comes under the sort of freedom which is moral and should be valued. I believe people should have the freedom to form their own opinions of others, no matter how negative they may be, as long as they do not act violently on them.

I should be more careful using the word "discrimination" in future, it's often solely attributed to negative/corrupt intentions (perhaps prejudice, bigotry or simply racism would be some preferable phrases to use).

1 point

Well put. You have put what I wanted to say into words better than I did.

As for your question at the end, of course I wouldn't. That is an example of freedom gone too far, especially because it would have been very common for a black to be refused service. I'm still unsure about the gay wedding cake thing, because I think there are plenty of other places to get a wedding cake, and it's probably not too often that incidents like that occur where a gay is refused service. I think if it became more widespread then it would be a problem, but the fact it's not that widespread means that the freedom hasn't gone too far yet. I could easily be persuaded otherwise though, I'm on the fence a bit.

NicolasCage(362) Clarified
1 point

I think there are plenty of other places to get a wedding cake, and it's probably not too often that incidents like that occur where a gay is refused service. I think if it became more widespread then it would be a problem

I agree that there are plenty of other places one can purchase a service from - however, I think it's risky to use that as an excuse to allow other shops to discriminate. Things do not become widespread instantly, and even if it's something as small as a few shops denying service, there's still that chance that it will spread and become more common.

If a bigot sees that their beliefs are shared and being supported, even in a very small portion, they'll believe they're justified in spreading those beliefs further. It's a vicious, multiplying cycle.

1 point

I agree with most of what you stated. Freedom, while good, has to be monitored and adjusted as times and views change. We can not allow unlimited freedoms without causing clashes between individuals and cultures so it must be in moderation, like everything else in life. And you gave some great examples.

I do think we may get to a point where we can have one man's freedom without another man's shackles however it would be like walking a tightrope with wind and weights working against you. Tricky, possible but tricky.

marcusmoon(251) Disputed
1 point

Mint,

As long as the clashes between individuals and cultures are non-violent, and do not involve theft or vandalism, I fail to see why they are such a problem.

I do think we may get to a point where we can have one man's freedom without another man's shackles

All we need is less government meddling in people's lives. So long as both parties are prohibited from physically interfering with each other's persons or property, there is freedom with no shackles. It is government that brings the shackles. And usually they are invited in by some Nimrod who wants to build the whole civilization according to his/her "enlightened" sensibilities.

A finely composed argument and very well true. Everything is best in moderation, and I thoroughly appreciate your draw back to Aristotle, not many people study those classical texts any longer.

To me it begs to ask, if the baker is a Jew can they refuse to make a Nazi cake. Not that they can reject making any cake for the Nazi, but that they can reject making certain kinds of cakes that they don't offer in normal discourse. If they choose to make a cake not in their displays, advertisements, etc, it would be up to their own discretion.

If a gay baker had a man with a man cakes on display, they would not be able to deny a gay cake to a Nazi, but could deny a Nazi a swastika cake because it's not advertised or on display.

For example, in a typical situation, their display case most likely does not have a man with a man, the ISIS flag, or a Nazi swastika, thus they could refuse to make the cake. They have the right to not make certain sized cakes for the same reason.

With my logic you can't force a black baker to make a confederate cake, a Christian make an ISIS cake, or an atheist to make a christian cake.

NicolasCage(362) Disputed
2 points

Being a Nazi or a member of ISIS is not equivilant to be homosexual. Asking a baker to make a swastika cake is in no way comparable to asking a baker to make a cake for a gay wedding, and the very suggestion shows how much you're grasping at straws.

ISIS and Nazism are terrorist ideologies. Homosexuality is not.

MarcusAlnari(18) Disputed
2 points

The person did not claim that homosexuality was a terrorist ideology. His argument was just as put together as yours and in my opinion both are valid.

marcusmoon(251) Clarified
1 point

NC,

ISIS and Nazism are terrorist ideologies. Homosexuality is not.

While many of us have ideological objections to ISIS, Nazis, and other terrorists, there are Christians and Muslims who have ideological objections to homosexual weddings.

I am very sure that the last organization I want to be deciding which ideologies are acceptable is the government.

outlaw60(8861) Clarified
-1 points

Can you show any of us a Muslim baker that was put out of business for not making a cake for a Peter Puffer or a Carpet Muncher ? The challenge has been made !

1 point

I like your argument. There's no definite line to be drawn if it is illegal to refuse service to somebody. Perhaps the fact that Nazism is a belief rather than an unpreventable trait represents some line that can be drawn. It's another one of those questions where there'll probably never be a consensus.

1 point

It's a great debate topic . Freedom not to serve someone based on their sexuality is discrimination , whether some deem it good or not is immaterial, those discrimiting will indeed claim there actions are just and thus good , that does not make them so .

So Mack you think denial of service based on race is fine if we value freedom ?

That's actually a denial of freedom , when blacks were refused service in white restaurants was that whites expressing their value of freedom ?

How do you define freedom from your personal viewpoint ?

Going on the principle of universalizability would require that, for an action to be permissible, it must be possible to apply it to all people without a contradiction occurring.

Mack(293) Clarified
1 point

"Freedom not to serve someone based on their sexuality is discrimination"

Yes, and I acknowledge this, it allows me to rephrase part of the question better: 'Should we have the freedom to discriminate against people to a certain extent?'

"That's actually a denial of freedom , when blacks were refused service in white restaurants was that whites expressing their value of freedom ?"

Well, whites had the freedom to do that, so the answer to your question is yes - freedom to discriminate. I don't quite see how that infringed on black people's 'freedom' - freedom to do what exactly? It is a greater infringement of freedom to make somebody serve someone then it is to prevent people from being served, not that's makes it worse. Blacks weren't really being stopped from doing something so much as whites were choosing not to do something for them. It was just unequal/unfair treatment. Note that I'm not saying it was okay, in that situation I think that whites should have had their freedom not to serve taken away from them (as it was).

"How do you define freedom from your personal viewpoint ?"

I personally define legal freedom of action as being allowed to do (or not to do) whatever you want so long as it doesn't harm others or infringe upon their rights in some way. In that way, you wouldn't be harming anybody or infringing upon their rights by denying them service, you'd just be not helping them. This quite nicely links into your debate about helping people who are drowning.

True legal freedom would of course require the removal of all laws, which is why I'm always skeptical of people spouting about freedom. Too much freedom is dangerous.

I want to clarify that I don't value freedom too much, although I'm unsure about the Muslim baker question. Maybe because it's not too hard to just go somewhere else. If it became the case that no gays could find somebody to make a wedding cake then the freedom not to serve will have gone too far, but I don't think that's the case yet.

This answer might have been all over the place so sorry if it's confusing.

Dermot(3653) Clarified
1 point

So a freedom to discriminate does not infringe on a blacks freedom ?

But it's denying him /her a choice to purchase what's not denied to anyone else making it totally unfair , why not just put a sign up saying .... No blacks served here ....?

If shops wish to have the freedom to discriminate they should say so before agreeing to serve the public in the terms of their license agreements , what they are doing is deciding once they get their license .

In the case we are speaking off it does indeed infringe upon their rights to be treated like any other citizen regards , colour , race , creed or sexuality .

Why can the Muslim baker not put up signage to state who he will and will not serve so as not to publically embarrass people ?

marcusmoon(251) Clarified
1 point

"That's actually a denial of freedom , when blacks were refused service in white restaurants was that whites expressing their value of freedom ?"

Well, whites had the freedom to do that, so the answer to your question is yes - freedom to discriminate. I don't quite see how that infringed on black people's 'freedom' - freedom to do what exactly? It is a greater infringement of freedom to make somebody serve someone then it is to prevent people from being served, not that's makes it worse.

Actually, the Jim Crow laws were imposed on businesses against their will. Business owners were put at a serious disadvantage by the Jim Crow laws. These laws (regarding restaurants, for example) mandated separate sections and minimum degrees of separation. If the facility was too small to accommodate the requirements, it was required to be either White only or Black only. This either decreased the owners' customer base or increased the operating costs.

Had business owners (White and Black) been left to make their own decisions, free of government interference the free market would likely have encouraged integration and discouraged racial discrimination decades before the civil rights era.

Nothing encourages tolerance like needing to do business with someone who has something you want.

marcusmoon(251) Clarified
1 point

Mack,

I agree with the tack you take, and I was right there with you up to the end.

If it became the case that no gays could find somebody to make a wedding cake then the freedom not to serve will have gone too far.

Do you really mean that a wedding cake is more valuable than freedom?

Please justify that people have the right to force others to provide any unnecessary thing, or the right to compel others to cooperate in helping to procure it.

Amarel(2264) Disputed
0 points

That's actually a denial of freedom , when blacks were refused service in white restaurants was that whites expressing their value of freedom ?

When blacks were refused service by whites, those whites were not infringing on black peoples freedom. This is because people don't have the right to make demands of other people's property. If you tell me to get off your land, that's your decision to make.

But those whites didn't stop there. They also threw bricks threw the windows of businesses that served black people. They would burn down a business that tried to serve both. A black person would not be able to start an exclusively black business back then because it would be destroyed. The local government would not enforce the laws protecting everyone's freedom and property rights, so the federal government put a stop to it in the easiest, most effective way they could; by requiring that all are served.

Dermot(3653) Disputed
1 point

Blacks were denied a freedom of choice which was not universally applied but used to specifically deny them the choice to do what others were allowed to do

1 point

Hello Mack:

My city has an interest in seeing that every one of its citizens is treated equally.. Can the city DEMAND that you put aside your prejudices in exchange for a license to serve the public? I think it CAN, and rightfully so.

Yes, it curtails your freedom.. But, that's what contracts DO.. You're certainly free to get a job or find another city more attuned to your likes and dislikes.. But, if you wanna engage IN business EVERY city in this country is gonna make demands upon you in exchange for the privilege of doing business in their city.. And, every one of those demands curtails your freedoms in one way or another..

excon

Amarel(2264) Clarified
2 points

If you are happy with the requirement to ask the local lord for permission before selling your wares, then you don't seem to care much about freedom.

Liberals have long been known for wanting to reduce our economic freedom for what they deem to be a higher moral good. Conservatives have long been known for wanting to reduce our social freedom for what they deem to be a higher moral good. Neither have been known for wanting to defend freedom.

If the local lord did decide you could sell your wares to an exclusive groups, would you be ok with it then? If not, that ok because the King wouldn't let the lords permit it.

outlaw60(8861) Clarified
1 point

SUPER STUPID is your city in Colorado or Washington State ? You got to keep your story straight you Accomplished Restaurateur !!! LMMFAO

excon(4021) Disputed
1 point

Hello poochy boy:

So, they don't have airplanes down in Bumfuk, Ok.. I'm sorry bout that..

Now, fetch this stick..

excon

marcusmoon(251) Clarified
1 point

Excon,

Can the city DEMAND that you put aside your prejudices in exchange for a license to serve the public? I think it CAN, and rightfully so.

Here you are sidestepping the question.

You seem to be indicating that people do not already have the freedom to engage (or not) in voluntary social interactions (trade) with other free people.

I understand you are talking about the role of law and legal rights, (and lack thereof) but you do not address the value of freedom in and of itself.

Your statement indicates on its face that you think freedom is less valuable than access to particular goods and services from particular parties.

Frankly, the proposition that things are more valuable than freedom does not sound like something you would ever propose.

So, to clarify,

- - What do you think freedom is good for?

- - How valuable (or not) is freedom compared to other things like dignity, security, prosperity, equality of opportunity, equality of outcome?

- - What place does freedom play (or not) in the creation or support of things like dignity, security, prosperity, equality of opportunity, equality of outcome? (i.e., to what extent is freedom valuable because of its contribution to these things.)

excon(4021) Clarified
1 point

I understand you are talking about the role of law and legal rights, (and lack thereof) but you do not address the value of freedom in and of itself.

Hello again, marcus:

If I had my druthers, I'd do away with ALL regulations.. I don't think we need anything more than our founding documents. They essentially TELL us how to behave. If we emulated them, we wouldn't NEED regulations..

But we don't - so we do.

excon

outlaw60(8861) Clarified
1 point

Being the Accomplished Restaurateur that you are CON does " No Shoes , No Shirt , No Service " ring a bell ? Are you saying being the Accomplished Restaurateur you are you would allow anyone in without shoes and a shirt ?

excon(4021) Disputed
1 point

Hello again, poochy:

It's a good question, pooch.. It never came up, though..

I see you're having a hissy fit about me living in two different states.. Guess what, pooch?? I lived in even MORE states than that..

Look.. I got it.. Born in Possum Trot, Ok.. Work the plant in Possum Trot. Never leave Possum Trot, and can't imagine anyone who does..

Now, roll over like a good pooch..

excon

1 point

Freedom is the absence of coercion or constraint in choice or action. Political freedom is the most common use of the term and refers to an absence of government coercion.

Freedom does more harm than good because people are not rational actors, as psychology, sociology, and behavioral economics are discovering more and more. Individuals systematically act in predictably irrational ways.

This means that freedom to choose for ones self is freedom to be systematically wrong. Freedom of choice is freedom to be stupid.

Through careful analysis and study, removing irrational bias, we can discover the right course of action on a broad level.

Removing freedom would allow the proper course of action to be forced.

The fact that forced virtues are not true virtues is irrelevant. The important thing is that the virtue is expressed, whether by force or by choice. It is unlikely to be expressed by choice.

marcusmoon(251) Disputed
1 point

Amarel,

I am fairly sure that you mean well, but I have noticed the trend in history that those who mean well seem to cause the most havoc, pain, and suffering.

The fact that forced virtues are not true virtues is irrelevant. The important thing is that the virtue is expressed, whether by force or by choice. It is unlikely to be expressed by choice.

What you are suggesting is that people not have the choice to be "virtuous," but rather should be coerced to be "virtuous."

I doubt you noticed the hidden implication in this: Any law that mandates some particular "virtuous" action, must first define FOR EVERYONE in the society what constitutes virtue. This brings up four questions.

- 1 - What happens when there is a lack of consensus about what is virtuous behavior?

- 2 - Who gets to make the final decision about what constitutes virtue?

- 3 - Who decides why their standards of virtue are better than the standards of others?

- 4 - What happens if an entire society is enslaved by the standards of the so called "virtuous" and acting on those standards have destructive consequences?

- 5 - Can you name a single despot or oppressive government that thought it was anything but in the right?

Twentieth Century examples of people whose standards of "virtue" were imposed on entire nations include:

- - Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (ISIS)

- - Adolf Hitler (Nazi)

- - Benito Mussolini (Fascisti)

- - Josef Stalin (Communist-Russia)

- - Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (Taliban)

- - Mao Tse Tung (Communist-China)

- - Nicolae Ceausescu (Communist-Romania)

Three of these were elected to their positions. All of these paragons of "virtue" either had large followings who approved their standards of virtue, or championed standards of "virtue" already popular with one or another segment of their societies prior to rising to governmental power. Subsequently each ultimately oppressed those societies into acting "virtuously".

It is much easier and much safer for everyone to have the freedom to decide for themselves what virtue is, and to have the freedom to act on that freedom insofar as it does not physically impede on the persons or property of anyone else.

That way people's freedom to determine and aspire to their own standards of virtue temper each other.

Amarel(2264) Disputed
1 point

insofar as it does not physically impede on the persons or property of anyone else

This is your own top-down imposition of virtue. We have greater and greater means to understand well-being in increasingly objective terms. The advances of science are providing more and more answers concerning mental, physical, and societal health. To maintain the value of freedom is to ignore the importance of progress. It doesn't matter if not everyone agrees. Obviously not everyone thinks they should be jailed for stealing. We who care about justice, don't care what those people think.

We ask people to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth and if they don't there are severe penalties. Those who care about honesty don't need the consent of liars.

The point is that we already force virtue. We force the ones that are obvious. But we are at a point in time when more and more virtues will become more and more apparent. To refrain from forcing them for the sake of freedom is to uphold tradition over the good of civilization.

1 point

FREEDOM IS THE LIE, BUT IT FEELS SO ORGASMIC TO PRETEND IT EXIST SO LET'S BE FREEE WEEEEHOOOOOO!

1 point

the definition of freedom changes as per the feelings of the person. why did you not help them when you could? ans- my wish, i am free to do as i please.... why did you not inform them of the impending tragedy? my wish... etc etc. freedom is only an escape route that we adopt when we don't want to do something. now a days its all about my life my rules, my question is, what's wrong in thinking about others a little, after all no matter where we run to, we co exist. what's wrong in making it peaceful for us as well as for them?

1 point

you need to be free for life it is not fear so not fearn

bvvfvvxwgj,weffffgvwwwwwjbc ascsacs

1 point

Total freedom is anarchy and lawlessness.

Constitutional freedom is a list of specific freedoms you are entitled to for being a member of that society. The nature and scope of those freedoms gets further defined by the wording of the Constitution as well as through laws as well as through judicial review of constitutionality of laws.

What that second paragraph means is in the context of constitutional freedoms one right ends when it starts to impede on one of the other constitutional rights. The laws, and the courts' reviews of those laws, have already long established that you cannot discriminate.

Those who are arguing that isn't truly freedom ultimately have their beef with living in a constitutional society. Personally, I'll take a Constitution over a do whatever the F you want world. And that's not failing to value freedom. It's instead understanding that the framework of law and order and fairness set forth in a Constitution is key to the maximum number of people enjoying real freedoms.

1 point

I think that we should be able to choose who we serve even if that means we don't serve particular people based on our beliefs religious or otherwise

1 point

Anybody who believes capitalism has given them freedom is an honest-to-God moron.

tsun(33) Disputed
1 point

YOU ARE VERY WRONG, capitalism allows people to opperate FREELY, without government interference. capitalism is better for the whole because people have to better their products to succeed.

1 point

One should be permitted to do as one pleases, as long as nobody's rights are violated. At the same time though, one has a responsibility to pay taxes if they use the services, infrastructure etc. that taxes pay for. As for abridgement of freedom to serve a moral good, I don't believe that this makes sense except where necessary for the protection of people's rights.

0 points

I think it's important to separate certain rights into several subcategories: the rights of the individual, the rights of a business, the rights of a church or other religious establishment, and the rights of the government. For the purposes of this argument we will stick to the hypothetical gay marriage in question.

Of course, gay couples should be allowed to be married. This should be recognized by the government like any other marriage. This does NOT mean that a church should be forced to perform that wedding. As much as we may disagree with some clergy on the morality of same sex marriage, they should not be forced to perform a marriage they do not see as valid. Of course, other churches that perform gay weddings are available for the couple, as are court marriages.

As far as businesses baking cakes: No, a business should not be forced to serve anyone, they should be able to reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, for any reason. And really, the business owner is just shooting themselves in the foot. They're not only turning down the business that's directly in front of them, but they're alienating customers who don't want to give their money to an establishment that won't bake a freaking cake over such a benign difference.

In short: let the gays get married. The people who don't like it, are assholes. But it's silly and stupid and wrong to force them to like it.