Freedom of speech is not elective

To clarify, in order to diminish the emergence of far- right, the EU should fund an effective and constructive satire. The best kind of satire does not seek to damage by its ridicule, but it tends to create a shock of recognition and reconsideration into society. By examining its messages through a critical mental process, we will be able to realize the main causes and consequences of the social decay and finally find a solution to lingering problems.

Freedom of speech is urgent and indispensable now more than ever, in a way that national freedom has been, over the centuries of enslavement and suppression. We would even dare to suggest that this kind of freedom is somewhat taken for granted in a culture where, despite the fact that the violation of such a right is a censurable act, our right to a voice is being surreptitiously eroded. The oddity here is of enormous proportions: having broken free from physical constraints, such as colonialism, we are now prisoners of our own limited mentality. And if you are, indeed, convinced that satire aims to belittle and insult, instead of evolving and correcting, then we suggest you take a closer look at Plato’s allegories.

To set the record straight, satire is not proposed as an exclusive means to counteract extremism, but as an ancillary, yet extremely crucial one. No one denied the complexity of the phenomenon and that, in fact, is precisely why we fully support other approaches, as well. The EU should of course continue its investment in education and sensibilization through information, in order to empower democratic values in its member-states but let us provide you with a fresh point of view. You referred to dialogue being a crucial factor in incapacitating far-right rhetoric, and we could not agree more. Nevertheless, when it comes to creative forms of dialogue, wouldn’t political satire consist an ideal tool of constructive exchange? Unless you are implying that art is not a form of dialogue altogether.

The foundation of satire is feeling comfortable in one’s skin, something that European nations, unfortunately, never fully achieved. Insecurities and fears of our past mistakes have always haunted us and, as a result, satire is considered to be the equivalent of a hubris against pluralism. However, we might be ourselves’ worst enemy, by living in fear and reproducing a censorship system, identical to the ones that the far- right parties established when in power, with the only difference being our hypocritically claiming it in the name of freedom.

In conclusion, we have to mention that it is irrational to believe that a simple satire publication can provoke an extremist attack, like this of Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris. Right after the occurrence, the whole world rallied around to protect the indefeasible right to satire, which if anything, further solidifies our case. The abhorrence of extremists against western standards is the result of a longstanding situation, while the notion that satire is what provokes such attacks is on the verge of superficiality and denial of the reality. In the wake of extremism gaining ground, it is crucial to understand that satire is a way of expression and a human right, whose violation is a threat to humanity and a remedy to fear, which the far-right feeds from. Besides, throughout history, freedom has been opposed to by many voices, so our mission as a Union is to let the right ones prevail. And to be honest, we need all the help we can get, including satire.

M4-R2 Winner: Mary Squared
I thank both teams for this debate. This was a very close debate, for many reasons, and as the speaker points might show, the call was also close, but in the end I sided with the affirmative team, Mary Squared. A few things to point out for both teams: try and be more academic regarding…