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  1. #1
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    The Limitations of Free Speech

    Recently, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) extended its mandate to include reporting when "abuse of the right of freedom of expression constitute[s] an act of racial or religious discrimination". This move was clearly a response to recent attacks on Islam, such as the Dutch film Fitna and the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad.

    I would like to discuss a few issues here:

    1) Do the abovementioned events (Fitna, Muhammad cartoons) constitute "racial or religious discrimination"? Do you think they were an abuse of free speech?

    2) Should speech that is racially or religiously offensive (but fall short of advocating violence against the target race/religion) be curtailed by the UN?

    Predictably, I am against this motion to "report on" speech that is racially or religiously offensive (which hints strongly of an intent to curtail it). First of all. freedom of speech is meaningless if it doesn't include the freedom to give offence. Just because religious extremists (in particular Muslims) make more noise and get violent more easily when offended, doesn't mean we should kowtow to them. Instead, the UN should be looking into regulating violent responses to legitimate exercises of free speech (such as the blowing up embassies, assassinations of offensive speakers, etc).

    Secondly, I strongly disapprove of arbitrarily limiting certain types of offensive speech. If we want to limit offensive speech, why not limit all kinds of offensive speech, including those targeted at one's gender, nationality or sexual orientation? Limiting it to race and religion alone implies that these two categories are somehow more sacred and inviolable than other aspects of our identity.
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    Re: The Limitations of Free Speech

    1) Do the abovementioned events (Fitna, Muhammad cartoons) constitute "racial or religious discrimination"? Do you think they were an abuse of free speech?
    I'm sure they do. They "discriminate" against Islam, obviously, because they view it as harmful/violent/etc. I don't think it's wrong, of course, but it's certainly discrimination.

    2) Should speech that is racially or religiously offensive (but fall short of advocating violence against the target race/religion) be curtailed by the UN?
    Absolutely not.

    Predictably, I am against this motion to "report on" speech that is racially or religiously offensive (which hints strongly of an intent to curtail it). First of all. freedom of speech is meaningless if it doesn't include the freedom to give offence. Just because religious extremists (in particular Muslims) make more noise and get violent more easily when offended, doesn't mean we should kowtow to them. Instead, the UN should be looking into regulating violent responses to legitimate exercises of free speech (such as the blowing up embassies, assassinations of offensive speakers, etc).
    Exactly. By choosing this tactic, the UN is encouraging groups to resort to violence, because then the UN will step in and silence the people offending them.

    Secondly, I strongly disapprove of arbitrarily limiting certain types of offensive speech. If we want to limit offensive speech, why not limit all kinds of offensive speech, including those targeted at one's gender, nationality or sexual orientation? Limiting it to race and religion alone implies that these two categories are somehow more sacred and inviolable than other aspects of our identity.
    It's completely contrary to any notion of tolerance, really.
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  3. #3
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    Re: The Limitations of Free Speech

    Rather than ban the provocation, we should be punishing the illigitimate response.

    i.e. Johnny can call you all the bad names he wants, you still don't have the right to punch him in the face.
    So...

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    Re: The Limitations of Free Speech

    Quote Originally Posted by Trendem View Post
    1) Do the abovementioned events (Fitna, Muhammad cartoons) constitute "racial or religious discrimination"? Do you think they were an abuse of free speech?
    No, it does not....I find it comical to think that it could even be thought of as such. While we are on the topic, define abuse of free speech....Would this even be questioned as such if they were directing the same thing towards Christians? Do you think it is an abuse of free speech to demonize Christianity and make vile remarks towards it?

    Free of speech is just that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trendem View Post
    2) Should speech that is racially or religiously offensive (but fall short of advocating violence against the target race/religion) be curtailed by the UN?
    No, on two levels; First, everyone has the right to be offended...noone has the right to not be offended. Secondly, The UN does not have the right to censor anyone or impose anything on to anyone. The UN should not exist at all...that is another topic.

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    Re: The Limitations of Free Speech

    By naming racial and religious slurs as abuses of human rights, all the UN is doing is letting the world know that violence is an acceptable means to achieve a goal. People are entitled to whatever opinions that want as long as they dont impose on other peoples freedom. It would be one thing if the UN wanted to specify that religious or racial slurs as official policy of a government are human rights abuses, but this is just ridiculous.

  6. #6
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    Re: The Limitations of Free Speech

    I can understand all the principled argumentation that has been advanced, and I accept it; free speech is an ideal that should be upheld. However, there are a few other points to be made.

    First, nothing about reporting on the speech indicates a hint to curtail it via force. Knowing that event X instigates violence, it is only natural that the UN would like to keep tabs on all known instances of event X in future so that it can either stop event X from happening (via persuading people to not say things that results in tons of violent riots) or prepare to deal with violent outbreaks in target areas (e.g. the Middle East). Nobody's rights are violated. Regarding other offensive speech, no other offensive speech has caused problems of these proportions, so no other offensive speech merits these reporting measures. If it did, I would support the same reporting measures.

    Second, even if there was an element of curtailing speech, I think there is a strong utilitarian argument to be made that given what has happened in past with verbal abuse of Islam, those acts of violence have to be curtailed. This is speech that has caused violence and riots of unparalleled proportions (when we talk about the consequences of mere statements), and even if over the long term, we want to punish those who respond illegally to free speech, in the short term, stopping the factor that instigates violence is much more efficient. The harms emanating from continued abuse of verbal Islam, whether legitimate or not, far exceed the detriments of having people communicate the same ideas in a less outwardly offensive way (via intellectual criticism, for instance, rather than mocking someone's prophet). Then, over the long term, we can pursue strategies to address the root of the problem, like issuing punishments against perpetrators and liberating the speech that instigated it.
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  7. #7
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    Re: The Limitations of Free Speech

    Quote Originally Posted by starcreator
    First, nothing about reporting on the speech indicates a hint to curtail it via force. Knowing that event X instigates violence, it is only natural that the UN would like to keep tabs on all known instances of event X in future so that it can either stop event X from happening (via persuading people to not say things that results in tons of violent riots) or prepare to deal with violent outbreaks in target areas (e.g. the Middle East). Nobody's rights are violated. Regarding other offensive speech, no other offensive speech has caused problems of these proportions, so no other offensive speech merits these reporting measures. If it did, I would support the same reporting measures.
    Don't you think that discouraging people to actually say what they believe is a bad thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by starcreator
    Second, even if there was an element of curtailing speech, I think there is a strong utilitarian argument to be made that given what has happened in past with verbal abuse of Islam, those acts of violence have to be curtailed. This is speech that has caused violence and riots of unparalleled proportions (when we talk about the consequences of mere statements), and even if over the long term, we want to punish those who respond illegally to free speech, in the short term, stopping the factor that instigates violence is much more efficient. The harms emanating from continued abuse of verbal Islam, whether legitimate or not, far exceed the detriments of having people communicate the same ideas in a less outwardly offensive way (via intellectual criticism, for instance, rather than mocking someone's prophet). Then, over the long term, we can pursue strategies to address the root of the problem, like issuing punishments against perpetrators and liberating the speech that instigated it.
    Yes, caving in to the whims of violent thugs is easier than standing against them.

    Once you silence speech, you've created a much bigger problem than you're attempting to solve. First, you're encouraging violence in response to offensive speech, since the government will silence the people offending you. Second, you're not addressing the actual problem, which is the response; since you're going to have to address the problem anyway ("in the long term", as you put it), why not begin with that instead of blaming the victims?

    This is the rhetorical equal of being faced with an epidemic of rape and requiring women to wear burqas.
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  8. #8
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    Re: The Limitations of Free Speech

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    Don't you think that discouraging people to actually say what they believe is a bad thing?
    Um, no, not at all. I discourage people all the time from saying things in a tactless context or in an unnecessarily malicious way - not because I deny their right to say them, but because I want them to use their rights in a responsible way. I'd tell someone not to scream racial slurs at someone in the same way that I'd tell him to put out his cigarette in front of a two year old.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive
    Yes, caving in to the whims of violent thugs is easier than standing against them.

    Once you silence speech, you've created a much bigger problem than you're attempting to solve. First, you're encouraging violence in response to offensive speech, since the government will silence the people offending you. Second, you're not addressing the actual problem, which is the response; since you're going to have to address the problem anyway ("in the long term", as you put it), why not begin with that instead of blaming the victims?

    This is the rhetorical equal of being faced with an epidemic of rape and requiring women to wear burqas.
    Your abstract ideals are all good and well, Clive, except their pursuit can take a much longer time than simply stifling the source to stop the problem. The innocent Westerners being killed by suicide bombers don't care if they're dying for someone else's freedom of speech - and why should they? The ideal is not worth preserving over large scale, tangible harms. Over the long term, those who perpetrate violence in response to speech will still be punished for doing so, so there is no significant additional incentive to resort to those means - the only difference is that those speaking will be temporarily silenced to stop the violence.

    Rights can be violated if a particular use of those rights is creating enormous societal harms, harms that exceed the benefits to be derived from those rights. The right to chuckle at mockeries of someone's religion just doesn't supersede the rights of the many victims of resultant violence.
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  9. #9
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    Re: The Limitations of Free Speech

    Um, no, not at all. I discourage people all the time from saying things in a tactless context or in an unnecessarily malicious way - not because I deny their right to say them, but because I want them to use their rights in a responsible way. I'd tell someone not to scream racial slurs at someone in the same way that I'd tell him to put out his cigarette in front of a two year old.
    Yes, but is it the government's role to "encourage" particular groups to be silent or to speak up?

    Your abstract ideals are all good and well, Clive, except their pursuit can take a much longer time than simply stifling the source to stop the problem. The innocent Westerners being killed by suicide bombers don't care if they're dying for someone else's freedom of speech - and why should they? The ideal is not worth preserving over large scale, tangible harms. Over the long term, those who perpetrate violence in response to speech will still be punished for doing so, so there is no significant additional incentive to resort to those means -the only difference is that those speaking will be temporarily silenced to stop the violence.
    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

    You aren't addressing the problem, which is the violent response. How is it at all reasonable to issue a moratorium on acceptable behavior in order to address unacceptable behavior?

    Rights can be violated if a particular use of those rights is creating enormous societal harms, harms that exceed the benefits to be derived from those rights. The right to chuckle at mockeries of someone's religion just doesn't supersede the rights of the many victims of resultant violence.
    Of course it doesn't, but the enjoyment of one right doesn't cause the violation of the other. The people responsible for depriving the rights of the victims of violence are the perpetrators of the violence, not legitimate free expression.
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  10. #10
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    Re: The Limitations of Free Speech

    1) Do the abovementioned events (Fitna, Muhammad cartoons) constitute "racial or religious discrimination"? Do you think they were an abuse of free speech?
    Without a doubt. It's racist, religiously intolerant and only breeds hatred, contempt and resentment. Free speech should not constitute spreading mistruths, slander and hate-filled rhetoric. Those who championed the right to free speech would not defend such actions because doing so violates or justifies the violation of other people's rights.

    2) Should speech that is racially or religiously offensive (but fall short of advocating violence against the target race/religion) be curtailed by the UN?
    It should, but it cannot be. You can't control what is said in the kitchens or bars and pubs, and that's really where it all starts. The KKK started as a small men's club. You couldn't control that little men's club where these ideas began to take hold. Sure you could try and restrict their activities once it was at a national scale with millions of members but that won't stomp out the basic ideas and the roots of those ideas.

    I would like nothing more than for the UN to take a more active role in curtailing offensive speech but it's just not possible.

    Predictably, I am against this motion to "report on" speech that is racially or religiously offensive (which hints strongly of an intent to curtail it). First of all. freedom of speech is meaningless if it doesn't include the freedom to give offence. Just because religious extremists (in particular Muslims) make more noise and get violent more easily when offended, doesn't mean we should kowtow to them. Instead, the UN should be looking into regulating violent responses to legitimate exercises of free speech (such as the blowing up embassies, assassinations of offensive speakers, etc).
    But then, you're only citing one instance of hateful speech - towards Muslim extremists. Some of the things said against extremist fundamentalist Muslims are justified, but a lot of it makes hasty generalizations of all Muslims. There's so many other instances of offensive speech that the UN should look into. Anti-semitism, for one. There's still a lot of anti-semitic speech going around, and I've never really heard of extremist Jewish terrorists blowing up buildings.

    How is the UN supposed to control the responses to the offending statements if they are not going to look into the statements that incited them? In my opinion - and I'm not defending murder or terrorism - is that if you're going to publish unnecessarily hateful, foul and offensive things, then you can't go whining to the UN about it. Of course, those who carry out these acts of vengeance should be punished for their criminal actions, but if they are targeted towards the individual that started all of it, then that person has no one to blame but themselves.

    Secondly, I strongly disapprove of arbitrarily limiting certain types of offensive speech. If we want to limit offensive speech, why not limit all kinds of offensive speech, including those targeted at one's gender, nationality or sexual orientation? Limiting it to race and religion alone implies that these two categories are somehow more sacred and inviolable than other aspects of our identity.
    I agree with that. ALL types of hate-speech - whether gender, sexuality or ethnicity based - should be limited. Not only race and religion. Hate-speech is hate-speech regardless of the reason. Racial slurs, misogyny, offensive remarks about sexual orientation - ALL of it - is foul and should have no place in society.
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    Re: The Limitations of Free Speech

    I am proposing that Star is just kidding. There is no way. NO friggen way he believes it is better to curtail free speech and individual liberty than to confront Islamic fascism.
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  12. #12
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    Re: The Limitations of Free Speech

    Quote Originally Posted by LiberalTruth
    Without a doubt. It's racist, religiously intolerant and only breeds hatred, contempt and resentment. Free speech should not constitute spreading mistruths, slander and hate-filled rhetoric. Those who championed the right to free speech would not defend such actions because doing so violates or justifies the violation of other people's rights.
    What champions would these be?

    You cannot have free speech if you do not have the freedom to state your opinion.

    A lot of people hold racist and intolerant opinions. If we do not allow these people to express themselves freely, then there is no freedom of speech, there is only freedom to say what big brother wants you to say. Free speech is meaningless if there are limitations to what you can say, if you can only say what the UN will allow you to say.

    In other words, you do not believe in free speech.
    It should, but it cannot be. You can't control what is said in the kitchens or bars and pubs, and that's really where it all starts. The KKK started as a small men's club. You couldn't control that little men's club where these ideas began to take hold. Sure you could try and restrict their activities once it was at a national scale with millions of members but that won't stomp out the basic ideas and the roots of those ideas.

    I would like nothing more than for the UN to take a more active role in curtailing offensive speech but it's just not possible.
    Thank God for that. Those champions of free speech fought so that the US could be free from outside government and rather a nation ruled by its people. I can assure you that none of those champions would support an outside body dictating what the US people can and cannot say.
    But then, you're only citing one instance of hateful speech - towards Muslim extremists. Some of the things said against extremist fundamentalist Muslims are justified, but a lot of it makes hasty generalizations of all Muslims. There's so many other instances of offensive speech that the UN should look into. Anti-semitism, for one. There's still a lot of anti-semitic speech going around, and I've never really heard of extremist Jewish terrorists blowing up buildings.
    So what. It is far more effective for those people to be pushed from the norm of society then to shut them up forcibly. If you allow the government to tell you that you cant say certain things, then they can justify not allowing you to say a whole bunch of things.

    How is the UN supposed to control the responses to the offending statements if they are not going to look into the statements that incited them? In my opinion - and I'm not defending murder or terrorism - is that if you're going to publish unnecessarily hateful, foul and offensive things, then you can't go whining to the UN about it. Of course, those who carry out these acts of vengeance should be punished for their criminal actions, but if they are targeted towards the individual that started all of it, then that person has no one to blame but themselves.
    Whos crying to the UN?
    I agree with that. ALL types of hate-speech - whether gender, sexuality or ethnicity based - should be limited. Not only race and religion. Hate-speech is hate-speech regardless of the reason. Racial slurs, misogyny, offensive remarks about sexual orientation - ALL of it - is foul and should have no place in society.
    I think your words are hateful, especially what you write in your profile:

    Down with Conservatism and the right-wing.


    That sounds like your instigating hate against me. You should be reported to the UN and your words silenced.

    (Thats sarcasm to prove a point, I dont think you should be silenced. What needs to be realized is that government cannot make everythign alright for everyone, they cant baby you and hold your hand. Life is harsh, but oppression is harsher. If the government limits your right to free speech, then you are oppressed).
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    Re: The Limitations of Free Speech

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    I am proposing that Star is just kidding. There is no way. NO friggen way he believes it is better to curtail free speech and individual liberty than to confront Islamic fascism.
    Islamic 'fascism'? Exactly my point. Here we go with the hasty generalizations. You do realize that fundamentalists make up only a minority of the religion right? Their prominence is the result of their aggressive terrorist tactics. Now, the peace-loving, moderate Muslims get thrown under that bracket of 'Islamic fascism'.

    And besides, hate-speech towards Islamic extremists is NOT the only example of abusing the right to free speech. Racial slurs, anti-semitism and misogyny are the same thing. It's not curtailing individual liberty, merely protecting others. I can see no plausible reason, to EVER defend hateful speech. It's foul and it's divisive.
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    Re: The Limitations of Free Speech

    Quote Originally Posted by LiberalTruth View Post
    And besides, hate-speech towards Islamic extremists is NOT the only example of abusing the right to free speech.
    Hating those who hate you and saying as much is abusing the right to free speech?

    Quote Originally Posted by LiberalTruth View Post
    Racial slurs, anti-semitism and misogyny are the same thing. It's not curtailing individual liberty, merely protecting others.
    What liberty is being protected? What specific right is being protected? And don't go making up a right that doesn't exist (such as the right to never be offended).


    Quote Originally Posted by LiberalTruth View Post
    I can see no plausible reason, to EVER defend hateful speech. It's foul and it's divisive.
    I won't defend hateful speech itself (assuming it's against those that I feel don't deserve hatred) but I certainly defend the right to make hateful speeches.

    It's called freedom of speech. Since I don't want anyone making laws telling me what I can and can't say, I likewise will not support any laws telling others what they can and can't say. And someone does hate a certain race or religion, it's likely best to get it out in the open and let those who oppose that hatred likewise get their say.

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    Re: The Limitations of Free Speech

    Quote Originally Posted by LiberalTruth View Post
    Without a doubt. It's racist, religiously intolerant and only breeds hatred, contempt and resentment. Free speech should not constitute spreading mistruths, slander and hate-filled rhetoric. Those who championed the right to free speech would not defend such actions because doing so violates or justifies the violation of other people's rights.
    Where does "hate-filled rhetoric" violate "other people's rights?" What rights are we talking about here? I'm unclear.
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    Re: The Limitations of Free Speech

    In response to the UN's laughable ruling on hate speech, I have this to say: I hate the UN. Thank God the USA is an independent, strong, free nation which follows the Constitution, and not the world assembly of anti-Judeo-Christian socialists.

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    Re: The Limitations of Free Speech

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    What champions would these be?

    You cannot have free speech if you do not have the freedom to state your opinion.

    A lot of people hold racist and intolerant opinions. If we do not allow these people to express themselves freely, then there is no freedom of speech, there is only freedom to say what big brother wants you to say. Free speech is meaningless if there are limitations to what you can say, if you can only say what the UN will allow you to say.

    In other words, you do not believe in free speech.
    I never said you can't say what you want to. If you wish to spew hateful nonsense, by all means do so. Just not in public and where it could possibly offend others and incite criminal activity. The UN should monitor these instances when they become a threat to security. For example, if Fitna was the rantings of some idiot in a bar somewhere in the Netherlands, then I couldn't give a rat's behind what he says. But a prominent Dutch politician, making a widely publicized film that could result in serious repurcusions, should definitely be looked into by the UN. Abuse means using something in a manner that becomes harmful, whether to yourself or others. Clearly, hateful speech is harmful to every party involved.

    I'm a firm believer in the right to freedom of speech. You should be allowed to express your opinions as long as they do not encourage the violation of the rights of others.

    Thank God for that. Those champions of free speech fought so that the US could be free from outside government and rather a nation ruled by its people. I can assure you that none of those champions would support an outside body dictating what the US people can and cannot say.
    The United States joined the UN willingly. To ensure it's continued membership it must abide by any rules and regulations set by the UN. The US is free to choose to leave the UN, although it is in the country's best interests to remain a member of the United Nations.


    So what. It is far more effective for those people to be pushed from the norm of society then to shut them up forcibly. If you allow the government to tell you that you cant say certain things, then they can justify not allowing you to say a whole bunch of things.
    Not necessarily. I'm sure that we can be able to discern what is acceptable and what is not. When it comes to attacking another's sexuality, religion or race, there should be absolutely no justification and no hiding behind the broad banner of freedom of speech.


    I think your words are hateful, especially what you write in your profile:

    Down with Conservatism and the right-wing.


    That sounds like your instigating hate against me. You should be reported to the UN and your words silenced.

    (Thats sarcasm to prove a point, I dont think you should be silenced. What needs to be realized is that government cannot make everythign alright for everyone, they cant baby you and hold your hand. Life is harsh, but oppression is harsher. If the government limits your right to free speech, then you are oppressed).
    I had a feeling you were a Conservative...

    That is completely different because I'm not spreading any mistruths, slandering Conservatives or inciting any hatred against them. It's certainly not likely to cause riots. Like I said, not EVERYTHING negative will be regulated by the UN - only speech that could be a threat to a particular group of people. It's plain and simple, I don't like Conservatism. That doesn't mean I hate Conservatives and would beat them all with big sticks (...well I would beat some).
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    Re: The Limitations of Free Speech

    Quote Originally Posted by LiberalTruth View Post
    But a prominent Dutch politician, making a widely publicized film that could result in serious repurcusions, should definitely be looked into by the UN. Abuse means using something in a manner that becomes harmful, whether to yourself or others. Clearly, hateful speech is harmful to every party involved.
    No, it's not clearly harmful. Most times when someone says something hateful, direct harm is not the result.


    Quote Originally Posted by LiberalTruth View Post
    I'm a firm believer in the right to freedom of speech. You should be allowed to express your opinions as long as they do not encourage the violation of the rights of others.
    Conditional rights are not rights.

    And having "not encourage the violation the rights of others" as criteria for banning speech is so vague, it's ridiculous. How many books can we ban by that criteria? Any book that paints any group in an unflattering light could be banned based on that criteria.

    What if someone commits a crime and you say as much? Might not that speech cause someone to harm that person and thus violate his rights?


    Quote Originally Posted by LiberalTruth View Post
    The United States joined the UN willingly. To ensure it's continued membership it must abide by any rules and regulations set by the UN. The US is free to choose to leave the UN, although it is in the country's best interests to remain a member of the United Nations.
    Giving up our freedoms is definitely not in our country's best interest.


    Quote Originally Posted by LiberalTruth View Post
    Not necessarily. I'm sure that we can be able to discern what is acceptable and what is not.
    Who's "we"? What small body of citizens are going to decide who gets to say what? What if you don't agree with "their" decisions?

    Wouldn't you rather just have the right to say what you want and not have to worry about getting busted for it?


    Quote Originally Posted by LiberalTruth View Post
    When it comes to attacking another's sexuality, religion or race, there should be absolutely no justification and no hiding behind the broad banner of freedom of speech.
    How do you know the banning of speech will stop there? If we don't actually have the right to free speech, then ANY speech can be banned under some justification or another.

    Without the RIGHT to free speech, what's to prevent laws from banning unkind words about political figures?

    If we're going to allow your "except for", then why not allow other "except for"s? We either allow "except for"s or we do not.

  19. #19
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    Re: The Limitations of Free Speech

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    No, it's not clearly harmful. Most times when someone says something hateful, direct harm is not the result.

    Conditional rights are not rights.
    Well, you certainly made that very clear.

    The phrase has the word 'rights' in it. So they are rights, regardless of the type of rights. Perhaps you wish to further clarify that statement.

    And having "not encourage the violation the rights of others" as criteria for banning speech is so vague, it's ridiculous. How many books can we ban by that criteria? Any book that paints any group in an unflattering light could be banned based on that criteria.
    That is why we have a banned books list. Yes, there's a lot of books banned on the basis of offensive content. And it's two very different things to 'paint a group in an unflattering light' and to incite hatred and violence. Very different. The former could be saying 'Conservatives don't have very good policies," and the latter could be "Islam is an evil, foul religion that threatens our wellbeing."


    What if someone commits a crime and you say as much? Might not that speech cause someone to harm that person and thus violate his rights?
    What? The sentence made absolute no sense to me.

    Giving up our freedoms is definitely not in our country's best interest.
    Yes, because the UN will do nothing but oppress us. It's not like our leaders and ambassadors are forced to be there at gun point. Anytime we wish to leave, we can. I'm just saying there's way to many benefits to being in the UN to leave so that we can defend the right to hate-filled speech, not to mention the General Assembly meets in New York.


    Who's "we"? What small body of citizens are going to decide who gets to say what? What if you don't agree with "their" decisions?

    Wouldn't you rather just have the right to say what you want and not have to worry about getting busted for it?
    'We' would be society in general, because the government makes decisions with the consent of society. If you don't agree live with it - or move.

    You are not understanding my point. Say whatever horse manure you would like to say - as long as it is not done publicly and in a manner that could threaten the security of others.


    How do you know the banning of speech will stop there? If we don't actually have the right to free speech, then ANY speech can be banned under some justification or another.

    Without the RIGHT to free speech, what's to prevent laws from banning unkind words about political figures?

    If we're going to allow your "except for", then why not allow other "except for"s? We either allow "except for"s or we do not.
    Like I said, I think that as a society we can discern what is acceptable speech and what is not. I think we can agree that spreading racial hatred, religious intolerance, and homophobia is wrong right? Then I see no reason why it would go any further - unless of course we have the misfortune of being ruled by a mad dictator who repeals the First Amendment.
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    Re: The Limitations of Free Speech

    Quote Originally Posted by LiberalTruth View Post
    Well, you certainly made that very clear.

    The phrase has the word 'rights' in it. So they are rights, regardless of the type of rights. Perhaps you wish to further clarify that statement.
    Would the first amendment help?

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

    Certainly saying you can't insult others based on certain criteria is abridging freedom of speech.



    Quote Originally Posted by LiberalTruth View Post
    That is why we have a banned books list.
    Name one book in the US that's illegal to own.


    Quote Originally Posted by LiberalTruth View Post
    And it's two very different things to 'paint a group in an unflattering light' and to incite hatred and violence. Very different. The former could be saying 'Conservatives don't have very good policies," and the latter could be "Islam is an evil, foul religion that threatens our wellbeing."
    But ultimately there will have to be someone who decides what crosses the line. It will always be a judgement call. So who gets to decide for everyone else? What if you get the wrong person for the job? What if he sets his own political agenda and shows more tolerance for speech against his opponents than his friends? What if he decides that criticism's of government officials is wrong as well?

    What guarentees one the right to criticize their leaders is the right to to free speech. Remove that right, then political speech can be censored.


    Quote Originally Posted by LiberalTruth View Post
    What? The sentence made absolute no sense to me.
    My point is saying speaking very unflattering truths about people or groups of people can be seen as incitement to cause them harm. But shouldn't you always be allowed to speak the truth?

    So should you not be able to call a child molester a child molester even though pointing out his nature might incite someone to harm him?


    Quote Originally Posted by LiberalTruth View Post
    Yes, because the UN will do nothing but oppress us.
    When I said we should not give up our freedom, I meant we should not give up freedom of speech for the sake of joining the UN.

    If that truly is their criteria, then they do not respect freedom and are not worth joining. But it doesn't really matter as the UN does not have a policy concerning our freedom of speech.




    Quote Originally Posted by LiberalTruth View Post
    'We' would be society in general, because the government makes decisions with the consent of society. If you don't agree live with it - or move.
    Talk about an oxymoron. So the government runs with the consent of the people and if you don't consent, then move?

    I give NO ONE consent to tell me what I can and cannot say. And I'm sure most U.S. citizens feel the same way. And even if people in general felt otherwise, the bill of rights overrules what people want in the moment. The only legal way to remove freedom of speech is to amend the constitution and remove or alter the first amendment.


    Quote Originally Posted by LiberalTruth View Post
    You are not understanding my point. Say whatever horse manure you would like to say - as long as it is not done publicly and in a manner that could threaten the security of others.
    But there's not limit to what someone thinks "could" threaten the security of others. Seriously, I understand the concept of incitement to riot and if one's speech actually does cause someone to be harmed (and that was the intention of the speech), then the person could be an accessory to the harm committed.

    But if no one is actually injured due to what someone says in public, then there's no need for legal sanctions. And I mean INJURED, not offended.


    Quote Originally Posted by LiberalTruth View Post
    Like I said, I think that as a society we can discern what is acceptable speech and what is not. I think we can agree that spreading racial hatred, religious intolerance, and homophobia is wrong right?
    No, I don't agree.

    If a certain religion or religious sect is really causing harm, then I say we SHOULD criticize them. If there are some unflattering truths about gays, we should be allowed to talk about them.

    If people really do not tolerate certain speech, then the person who's espousing it on the streetcorner will soon learn that.

    Quote Originally Posted by LiberalTruth View Post
    Then I see no reason why it would go any further - unless of course we have the misfortune of being ruled by a mad dictator who repeals the First Amendment.
    We don't need a mad dictator. You're advocating the repeal of the first amendment.

    And yes, if we don't have the right to free speech, if a mad dictator does take control we will have a harder time removing him since we no longer have the right to free speech.

 

 
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