Protection of the Commercial Use of Free Speech





“If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that
government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society
finds the idea morally offensive or disagreeable.”
It is because I believe these words by Justice Brennan, I stand for the
negation of today’s resolution, that “When they Conflict, Respect for.......
Cultural Sensitivity Ought To Be Valued Above Commercial Use of Free Speech.”

My value for today’s debate is that of Free expression, which I will define
as the freedom to express our thoughts, ideas, and beliefs, freely and openly,
without restraint. My criteria is the degree to which free speech is allowed in the
business environment.
I have three contentions to support my value of Free Expression, and to
negate the resolution. My first contention is, It is virtually impossible to avoid
offending someone’s culture in our multi-cultural society. Second, Freedom of
speech is based on our valuing the autonomy of individuals to make informed
decisions. My third contention is that there is no moral responsibility of the
commercial media to suppress certain speech because it violates some cultural
sensitivity.
My first contention is It is virtually impossible to avoid offending someone’s
culture in our multi-cultural society. As Edward J. Eberle states, “One man’s
vulgarity, is another man’s lyric.”. The concept of cultural sensitivity is too vague
a concept to be enforced. One can intend no offense, and yet offense can be
taken. How many people must be offended before it constitutes cultural
insensitivity? In a country that will tolerate hate speeches by the Ku Klux Klan in
the name of free speech, it is unreasonable to limit the commercial use of free
speech because someone might be offended by a commercial. Let the
general public determine what is offensive and they will react with disfavor. If
the public felt strongly enough to boycott products and services because they
were offended by a company’s advertising, that company will pull the add.
That is the American way, and it works.
My second contention is that, Freedom of speech is based on our valuing
the autonomy of individuals to make informed decisions. The resolution suggests
that it would be wise to remove certain types of information from the public-
those that violate the cultural sensitivity of some people. The resolution also
suggests that individual members of our culture are not capable of making
informed decisions on matters of cultural sensitivity. No one cultural outlook is so
privileged that it cannot or should not be included in the testing that occurs in
the marketplace of ideas. If we as a society ever get to the point that we view
the diminishing of freedom of speech as moral, we endanger our ability to live in
a free society. Because the resolution asks that we as a society we adopt a
moral stance that can only be seen as changing the way free speech operates
in our society, it cannot be affirmed.
My third and last contention is that there is no moral responsibility of the
commercial media to suppress certain speech because it violates some cultural
sensitivity. The responsibility of the commercial media is to their audience and
shareholders. This is the moral basis of capitalism- to meet the needs of the
people in a free society. Consumers enter the marketplace to satisfy their
needs. If by chance members of a specific culture are offended by media
content, they are under no obligation to consume the products. They can put
the book down. They can turn of their Television. They can leave the theater
when an offensive movie is playing. They can also form boycotts against specific
products and companies. These are the rights of the consumer.
Because Free expression is a basic American value, and limitations on it should
be minimized, and because the concept of cultural sensitivity is too ambiguous, I
ask you to join me in negating the resolution.



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