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  1. #1
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    Charlie Hebdo and the limits of Free Speech in the US

    We have all now seen the horrors affected by Islamist Extremists in implementing their strict rules regarding depictions of their prophet and disrespect towards him. As a normal American, free speech is one of our Founding Rights and to be threatened to be killed for exercising that right, is in my opinion, treason against one of the most powerful expressions of human tolerance ever made.

    It brought me thinking as to what if that happened here and then I realized we don't really have the equivalent media where religious are disrespected in such a direct manner. The reason why is perhaps there is a great deal of self-censorship already going on - even Bill Maher at his worst (with Affleck for example), has not displayed those kinds of cartoons. MSNBC also cowardly not chose to show them and I would imagine none of the other stations would either.

    None of the newspapers I've seen have done so and even the last picture of director killed, was cropped! And the debate as to whether to do so, to report the story accurately, is raging on. I found Slate referenced the pictures (here) but none of the MSM have done so yet.

    If I publish the picture here, on ODN, would I be similarly censured for being insulting? Or would the picture be censored in case it also gives offense to our resident Muslim member. I found an interesting cartoon depicting Mohammed and Aisha and their respective thoughts on their marriage. It would most certainly offend religiously but also because of its sexual nature may also cross the line. Would it have been OK to post that picture or not? Would other pictures insulting Islam be tolerated here? Would they still be tolerated if they were offensive to others, in other ways?

    So the questions for this debate is:

    1. Do we really have the free speech so treasured in the our Constitution?
    2. Is not offending a religion that a fair rule? Even if those rules, appearing to us Western non-Muslims, make no sense? Is it up to each group to decide as to what is insulting? Do the rest of us all just follow along?
    3. If those 'insults' or ideas are met with threats of death, is that a legitimate reason to self-censor?
    4. If actual death occurs, should the following response, as it seems to be now, to self-censor?

    ________________________________________________

    I think:

    1. No - the boundaries of our freedom to speak has been eroded. Beginning with political correctness (which I actually think is mostly a good thing) we have been used to self-censoring for a long time. Beginning with shedding our collective guilt over our slave history & the Holocaust, we no longer disrespect black or Jewish people as we used to and this has spread to seeing racism as being the most heinous of thought-crimes, to the extent that even criticizing Muslims is considered 'racist', even though Islam is a religion not a race. Some of this is actually good of course, but the line appears to be crossing the line of the Golden Rule: yes, I wouldn't want to be insulted for my race so I won't do to others -- but I don't mind my beliefs being trespassed or argued.

    2. No. I believe all religions should be challenged - they have done their bit in our evolution of human morality and we need to do better. So I believe that religious beliefs should be exposed for their claims and that non-believers should not be obliged to follow the rules of another religion (even a prevailing one). To not be allowed to depict or show a cartoon is offensive to me. So does my offense override Muslims' offense in seeing it? Are there ways around it? on the web, we can have readers assent to seeing these pictures.

    3. No - but that's easy for me to say since I don't have a distribution mechanism with millions of viewers. Like the editor that was killed, he wasn't married and didn't, as I don't have a wife and children to worry about.

    4. Yes - However, his decisions didn't just affect himself and his family - other people, possibly non-writers even were killed. A guest was killed. So that does invalidate the editors' original motivations.

    Sadly, if those threats actually materialize in actual deaths, I would say we would have to self-censor since the risk now is too great. There are too many innocent people that would die and the internet is a real and permanent thing - who knows if at some point in the future, after all the high viewership writers have been killed, when they go down the list they would actually get to me for some post I made 20 years before? So why is this threat of death so different from the social threat of social death if I were openly racist?

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    Re: Charlie Hebdo and the limits of Free Speech in the US

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    1. Do we really have the free speech so treasured in the our Constitution?
    Yes we do. The constitution says the the government cannot infringe on our right to free speech. Self-censorship means that one censors him/herself. It does not mean that the government is infringing on our right to speak and therefore not a violation of our constitutional right to free speech.

    And there is nothing inherently wrong with self-censorship. In fact, it's usually a good thing. Not always, but usually. For example, choosing not to let loose with a string of vulgarity in front of your family is self-censorship. You have the right to swear in front of the whole family and choosing to not do so is self-censorship. Not insulting your boss is self-censorhip. So your daily avoidance of saying the wrong thing, which likely happens constantly when you are with other people, is self-censorship.

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    Re: Charlie Hebdo and the limits of Free Speech in the US

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Yes we do. The constitution says the the government cannot infringe on our right to free speech. Self-censorship means that one censors him/herself. It does not mean that the government is infringing on our right to speak and therefore not a violation of our constitutional right to free speech.

    And there is nothing inherently wrong with self-censorship. In fact, it's usually a good thing. Not always, but usually. For example, choosing not to let loose with a string of vulgarity in front of your family is self-censorship. You have the right to swear in front of the whole family and choosing to not do so is self-censorship. Not insulting your boss is self-censorhip. So your daily avoidance of saying the wrong thing, which likely happens constantly when you are with other people, is self-censorship.
    I agree with everything you are saying but my question was that do we really have free speech at all if we have to self-censor due to death threats, which are completely possible in our new world. Do you agree that cartoons of Mohammed should not be displayed?

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    Re: Charlie Hebdo and the limits of Free Speech in the US

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    I agree with everything you are saying but my question was that do we really have free speech at all if we have to self-censor due to death threats, which are completely possible in our new world. Do you agree that cartoons of Mohammed should not be displayed?
    I think the answer to the first part of your question is, yes, we still have free speech, but the price has gone up. What in a civilized society should cost one only the potential for vehement disagreement from others, free speech now has the potential to get one harmed or killed.
    Islamists are attempting, through fear, to cower even the non-believers into accepting the draconian punishments that their 'prophet' imposed on they the believers. I'm sorry that your religion doesn't allow you to disparage your prophet, really I am. But those are YOUR beliefs. Not mine.
    This whole idea of shaming those who speak openly about their disdain for the RELIGION of Islam, the tenets of Muhammad, or the ACTIONS of the followers of Islam, as 'Islamaphobic' or racist, is ridiculous. Religions are IDEAS, and are no more worthy of special protection than ANY idea. The mere idea that we would allow these thugs to dictate to us what is 'acceptable' is simply laughable.
    I have noticed in the last couple of days that several news sites, and many online blogs, have gone out of their way to 'understand' the issue, and delve into the question of weather or not this is a subject that we should avoid, for the sake of peace. I have noticed Muslim apologists claiming that this is merely righteous outrage at the PORTRAYAL of an image of Muhammad. I have heard too often already that the prohibition applies also to the depiction of ANY prophet, be it Jesus, Moses or Abraham. I call bull. When was the last time that Muslims killed and rioted over a portrayal of Jesus? ... Sound of crickets.... That's right, NEVER.
    The portrayal of images of the prophet is actually less of a RULE backed by the sunnah, then it is a social construct derived from the more implicit prohibition of images in general, as a way to discourage 'idol worship'. Funny that Muhammad's image is the only one that incites mobs to riot and kill. Sounds like idol worship to me.
    That notwithstanding, the justification for the murder of these magazine writers comes instead DIRECTLY from the example of the prophet Muhammad himself in the sunnah. Here are just a few examples...

    When the Apostle returned to Medina after his raid on Ta'if, word spread that he had killed some of the men who had satirized and insulted him. The poets who were left spread in all directions.
    Ishaq:597

    ‘You obey a stranger who encourages you to murder for booty. You are greedy men. Is there no honor among you?' Upon hearing those lines Muhammad said, ‘Will no one rid me of this woman?' Umayr, a zealous Muslim, decided to execute the Prophet's wishes. That very night he crept into the writer's home while she lay sleeping surrounded by her young children. There was one at her breast. Umayr removed the suckling babe and then plunged his sword into the poet. The next morning in the mosque, Muhammad, who was aware of the assassination, said, ‘You have helped Allah and His Apostle.' Umayr said. ‘She had five sons; should I feel guilty?' ‘No,' the Prophet answered. ‘Killing her was as meaningless as two goats butting heads.'
    Ishaq:676

    We carried Ka'b's head and brought it to Muhammad during the night. We saluted him as he stood praying and told him that we had slain Allah's enemy. When he came out to us we cast Ashraf's head before his feet. The Prophet praised Allah that the poet had been assassinated and complimented us on the good work we had done in Allah's Cause. Our attack upon Allah's enemy cast terror among the Jews, and there was no Jew in Medina who did not fear for his life.'
    Al-Tabari, Vol. 7, p. 97, See Also Ishaq 368

    The morning after the murder of Ashraf, the Prophet declared, ‘Kill any Jew who falls under your power.'
    Al-Tabari, Vol. 7, p. 97

    In this year, the killing of Abu Rafi the Jew took place. The Messenger sent some Ansar under the command of Abd Allah and Abd Allah against the Jew. Abu Rafi used to injure and wrong the Prophet.... Abd Allah said to the others, ‘Stay where you are, and I will go and ingratiate myself with the doorkeeper to gain entrance.'
    Al-Tabari, Vol. 7, p. 99

    When a blind Jew became aware of the presence of the Messenger and the Muslims he rose and threw dust in their faces, saying, ‘Even if you are a prophet, I will not allow you into my garden!' I was told that he took a handful of dirt and said, ‘If only I knew that I would not hit anyone else, Muhammad, I would throw it in your face.' Sa'd rushed in and hit him on the head with his bow and split the Jew's head open.
    Al-Tabari, Vol. 7, p. 112, See Also Ishaq:372

    Among those who Muhammad ordered killed was Abdallah bin Khatal. The Messenger ordered him to be slain because while he was a Muslim, Muhammad had sent him to collect the zakat tax with an Ansar and a slave of his.... His girls used to sing a satire about Muhammad so the Prophet ordered that they should be killed along with Abdullah. He was killed by Sa'id and Abu Barzah. The two shared in his blood. One of the singing girls was killed quickly but the other fled. So Umar caused his horse to trample the one who fled, killing her.
    Al-Tabari, Vol. 8, p. 179, See Also Ishaq:550

    These are just some of the many examples of Muhammad and his followers killing those who had satirized, insulted, spoke badly or wrote poems to that effect. This is the reason these men have died, not because of portraying the IMAGE of Muhammad, but INSULTING him. This is another one of those points that even moderate Muslims will agree on - punishment for those who insult the prophet, just like most support death for apostasy.

    Policy Exchange: One third of British Muslims believe anyone who leaves Islam should be killed
    http://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/Sharia...eLawForAll.pdf

    NOP Research: 78% of British Muslims support punishing the publishers of Muhammad cartoons;
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/...ate=2011-04-06
    http://www.webcitation.org/5xkMGAEvY

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  7. #5
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    Re: Charlie Hebdo and the limits of Free Speech in the US

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    I agree with everything you are saying but my question was that do we really have free speech at all if we have to self-censor due to death threats, which are completely possible in our new world.
    But we don't have to self-censor due to death threats. You can choose to be brave and speak anyway. And when it comes to to your legal rights, society and government will back you and likewise prohibit the person from issuing the death threat (as in will likely seek to arrest such a person).

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    Do you agree that cartoons of Mohammed should not be displayed?
    It depends on what you mean by "should not be displayed".

    But I will say that people should not be prohibited by law from displaying nor should they be harmed for doing so by other individuals.

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    Re: Charlie Hebdo and the limits of Free Speech in the US

    Quote Originally Posted by JJ
    It brought me thinking as to what if that happened here and then I realized we don't really have the equivalent media where religious are disrespected in such a direct manner.
    Just a quick question for clarification. When you said this, do you mean all religions, or Islam in particular relating to criticism or satire like the Danish cartoons?
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


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    Re: Charlie Hebdo and the limits of Free Speech in the US

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanus Barbarus View Post
    I think the answer to the first part of your question is, yes, we still have free speech, but the price has gone up. What in a civilized society should cost one only the potential for vehement disagreement from others, free speech now has the potential to get one harmed or killed.

    Islamists are attempting, through fear, to cower even the non-believers into accepting the draconian punishments that their 'prophet' imposed on they the believers. I'm sorry that your religion doesn't allow you to disparage your prophet, really I am. But those are YOUR beliefs. Not mine.
    The argument however is now shifting in a troubling direction. Twice now today, I hear the argument that Islam's beliefs require their Muslims to defend the honor of the Prophet Mohammed. You see this already from our resident Islam when she is backed into a corner.
    Choudary, an inflammatory Muslim in the UK, notes:

    Muslims consider the honor of the Prophet Muhammad to be dearer to them than that of their parents or even themselves. To defend it is considered to be an obligation upon them. The strict punishment if found guilty of this crime under sharia (Islamic law) is capital punishment implementable by an Islamic State. This is because the Messenger Muhammad said, "Whoever insults a Prophet kill him."
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/01/07/islam-allah-muslims-shariah-anjem-choudary-editorials-debates/21417461/
    This whole idea of shaming those who speak openly about their disdain for the RELIGION of Islam, the tenets of Muhammad, or the ACTIONS of the followers of Islam, as 'Islamaphobic' or racist, is ridiculous. Religions are IDEAS, and are no more worthy of special protection than ANY idea. The mere idea that we would allow these thugs to dictate to us what is 'acceptable' is simply laughable.
    Right - but unfortunately, at the moment, I don't feel that they are playing with our rules, but their own. And that's where the situation gets scary - if anyone can be killed by some random Muslim, where does it end?

    I have noticed in the last couple of days that several news sites, and many online blogs, have gone out of their way to 'understand' the issue, and delve into the question of weather or not this is a subject that we should avoid, for the sake of peace. I have noticed Muslim apologists claiming that this is merely righteous outrage at the PORTRAYAL of an image of Muhammad. I have heard too often already that the prohibition applies also to the depiction of ANY prophet, be it Jesus, Moses or Abraham. I call bull. When was the last time that Muslims killed and rioted over a portrayal of Jesus? ... Sound of crickets.... That's right, NEVER.
    Well, you can't expect Muslims to defend every single prophet - only the one they feel close to! However, I'd rather have them stick to their own prophet otherwise, I'd be for the chopper :-)


    The portrayal of images of the prophet is actually less of a RULE backed by the sunnah, then it is a social construct derived from the more implicit prohibition of images in general, as a way to discourage 'idol worship'. Funny that Muhammad's image is the only one that incites mobs to riot and kill. Sounds like idol worship to me.

    That notwithstanding, the justification for the murder of these magazine writers comes instead DIRECTLY from the example of the prophet Muhammad himself in the sunnah. Here are just a few examples...

    ...

    These are just some of the many examples of Muhammad and his followers killing those who had satirized, insulted, spoke badly or wrote poems to that effect. This is the reason these men have died, not because of portraying the IMAGE of Muhammad, but INSULTING him. This is another one of those points that even moderate Muslims will agree on - punishment for those who insult the prophet, just like most support death for apostasy.
    Right and this is where liberals such as Ben Affleck are totally wrong. I side with Bill Maher on this where he said on Kimmel (source), that he's the liberal one -- the main principle being freedom of speech. It is completely within the religion of Islam to justify such killings and many Muslims today have tried to make such justifications. And the one important point that Maher points out is that there are millions of the Islamic religion defend this action because that is what their prophet told him. It's a new and very public statement and assertion that Muslim's beliefs trump a country's laws. It's very disturbing.

    The one thing you can say is that it is valid to blame the religion of Islam for allowing such thinking to happen. You can blame the religion of Islam on being unable to change - they couldn't even decide that adult men should no longer be allowed to marry 12-year olds: just last week!

    ---------- Post added at 05:23 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:18 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    But we don't have to self-censor due to death threats. You can choose to be brave and speak anyway. And when it comes to to your legal rights, society and government will back you and likewise prohibit the person from issuing the death threat (as in will likely seek to arrest such a person).
    True, my point was that we value free speech so much, we have founded our country on it. And yes, you are correct it requires a lot of bravery to speak anyway. However, when we also risk the lives of friends, loved ones, and guests under our house, then that is not bravery any more - you are now involving innocents in your actions. So now what?


    It depends on what you mean by "should not be displayed".

    But I will say that people should not be prohibited by law from displaying nor should they be harmed for doing so by other individuals.
    Well, they're not being prohibited by law, but we do have a bunch of people that will harm anyone from showing an image of Mohammed in a bad light. We don't have your ideal situation any more, so should we continue to exercise our right to insult Islam and a few fundamentalists or not?

    ---------- Post added at 05:28 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:23 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    JJ: It brought me thinking as to what if that happened here and then I realized we don't really have the equivalent media where religious are disrespected in such a direct manner.

    Just a quick question for clarification. When you said this, do you mean all religions, or Islam in particular relating to criticism or satire like the Danish cartoons?
    Mainly Islam at the moment but I don't think any other religion is offended in quite the same way, or at least in a way that their religion would justify the harsh responses that Islam is able to muster.

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    Re: Charlie Hebdo and the limits of Free Speech in the US

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    True, my point was that we value free speech so much, we have founded our country on it. And yes, you are correct it requires a lot of bravery to speak anyway. However, when we also risk the lives of friends, loved ones, and guests under our house, then that is not bravery any more - you are now involving innocents in your actions. So now what?
    "So now what?" is too vague for me to generate a response to. Either forward a specific position for me to address or ask a very specific question.


    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    Well, they're not being prohibited by law, but we do have a bunch of people that will harm anyone from showing an image of Mohammed in a bad light. We don't have your ideal situation any more, so should we continue to exercise our right to insult Islam and a few fundamentalists or not?
    We NEVER had the "ideal situation" of being able to insult others without absolutely no risk of consequence.

    I mean if you go to a local biker bar, find the toughest-looking guy you can find, and insult him to his face, you stand the very real risk of getting physically harmed by that guy. In an "ideal world", you would be safe from him beating you up. But that ideal world has never existed. I'm unaware of any time in human history where you could insult anyone you wanted without the possibility of personal retaliation. Given human nature, the best we can hope for is that our laws allow us to say what we want without legal sanction and we pretty much have that. And the person who's harm you over an insult can be held responsible for the violence committed (the biker may be arrested after beating you up). And that's what we have now. Not ideal but ideal never existed. But it's pretty good.

    As far as whether you "should" insult, it depends on all kinds of variables. And the very first issue is that it's rude to insult others and generally should not be done for that reason. It's bad to be rude. And if you have a good enough reason to insult that overrides the rudeness, then there's other issues, including the potential risk to yourself. So I cannot give you a general answer. Whether it's acceptable to insult can only be judged on a case-by-case basis. But if you need a general answer, I would say you should never insult anyone because it's rude to do so.
    Last edited by mican333; January 9th, 2015 at 08:42 AM.

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    Re: Charlie Hebdo and the limits of Free Speech in the US

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    "So now what?" is too vague for me to generate a response to. Either forward a specific position for me to address or ask a very specific question.
    So do we now self censor our depictions and discussions of Mohammed? Are the threads on Mohammed's pedophilia tendencies off limits?

    We NEVER had the "ideal situation" of being able to insult others without absolutely no risk of consequence.

    I mean if you go to a local biker bar, find the toughest-looking guy you can find, and insult him to his face, you stand the very real risk of getting physically harmed by that guy. In an "ideal world", you would be safe from him beating you up. But that ideal world has never existed. I'm unaware of any time in human history where you could insult anyone you wanted without some form of personal retaliation. Given human nature, the best we can hope for is that our laws allow us to say what we want without legal sanction and we pretty much have that. And the person who's harm you over an insult can be held responsible for the violence committed (the biker may be arrested after beating you up).
    This is a great point but does that justify the killing of people? Especially if it is known now, this happens and is the new normal. Is a death threat and its actual execution grounds to self-censor and not discuss certain matters.

    The laws only serve those that respect them and we now have people, who could easily be your neighbor who would rather fight their war here rather than go to Libya. Seems a credible threat and the law is no help.


    As far as whether you "should" insult, it depends on all kinds of variables. And the very first issue is that it's rude to insult others and generally should not be done for that reason. It's bad to be rude. And if you have a good enough reason to insult that overrides the rudeness, then there's other issues, including the potential risk to yourself. So I cannot give you a general answer. Whether it's acceptable to insult can only be judged on a case-by-case basis. But if you need a general answer, I would say you should never insult anyone because it's rude to do so.
    This is true too - there is no reason to go out of your way to insult someone but if that someone finds insult in the most innocuous of places then my rights are now being infringed upon.

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    Re: Charlie Hebdo and the limits of Free Speech in the US

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    And when it comes to to your legal rights, society and government will back you...
    I don't believe the US federal government will back anyone on free speech when the content may cause outrage in the Muslim community. The President, through his spokesmen, may pay lip service to the right of free speech, but will try to suppress it. As an example, consider how the White House criticized the judgment of Charlie Hebdo publishing cartoons in 2012:

    “We are aware that a French magazine published cartoons featuring a figure resembling the prophet Muhammad, and obviously we have questions about the judgment of publishing something like this,” Carney told reporters during a midday press briefing at the White House.”We know these images will be deeply offensive to many and have the potential be be inflammatory,” Carney said in a prepared statement. http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywo...s-free-speech/

    The White House also tried to suppress a film about Muhammad that it blamed for the Bengazi embassy attack:

    The White House did request that YouTube remove the Innocence of Muslims trailer but Google denied the request, saying that it "restricted access to it in countries where it is illegal such as India and Indonesia, as well as in Libya and Egypt, given the very sensitive situations in these two countries. "http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/white-house-contacted-youtube-anti-706839

    And when a Florida pastor announced plans to burn copies of the Quran, the White House disparaged his character and pressured him to cancel the event:

    Washington (CNN) -- A Florida church's plan to burn copies of the Quran on the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks is a "monumentally terrible idea," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday.

    The "hateful" and "offensive" act would be a "recruiting bonanza for al Qaeda," would endanger U.S. troops and "goes against every one of our values," he said.

    Gibbs said there are discussions inside the Obama administration about intervening with the Rev. Terry Jones, pastor of Gainseville's Dove Center, which is organizing the planned Quran burning.

    Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters Thursday it is possible that a senior administration official will call Jones.

    "That possibility is currently under discussion within the administration," he said. "That is an active ongoing discussion in which (Defense Secretary Robert Gates) is a participant. I don't believe they've come to any resolution." (Note: Obama did have Secretary of Defense Robert Gates call Jones, successfully pressuring him to cancel the burning. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/robert-g...koran-burning/)

    Gibbs stressed that the United States is "not at war" with Islam. "We are at war with those who have perverted the values and beliefs of that religion."

    Jones "is a desperate man seeking the attention of the better part of the world," Gibbs said. http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/09/...ing/index.html
    Last edited by evensaul; January 9th, 2015 at 08:31 AM.
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

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    Re: Charlie Hebdo and the limits of Free Speech in the US

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    So do we now self censor our depictions and discussions of Mohammed? Are the threads on Mohammed's pedophilia tendencies off limits?
    Who's "we"? You and I? Well, speaking for myself, I don't self-censor in my depictions of Mohammed because I never found a reason to make such a depiction and therefore never faced the decision of whether to refrain from making such a depiction.


    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    This is a great point but does that justify the killing of people? Especially if it is known now, this happens and is the new normal. Is a death threat and its actual execution grounds to self-censor and not discuss certain matters.
    That's an individual decision so I can go no one answer that applies to everyone.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    The laws only serve those that respect them and we now have people, who could easily be your neighbor who would rather fight their war here rather than go to Libya.
    Assuming you live in the U.S., the odds of it being your neighbor is minuscule. I've never heard of such violence within our borders and see no legitimate threat.

    And the laws certainly serve you. If it so happened one of your neighbors did want to hurt you, for any reason (and as far as reasons you would be harmed by a fellow citizen within the US, offending their religious beliefs is one of the least likely reasons you would be harmed within our borders) the threat of legal punishment gives them a serious disincentive to act on their wants and if they did harm you, they would probably be locked up and therefore could not harm anyone else afterwards or harm you again (assuming their previous attack was not lethal).

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    This is true too - there is no reason to go out of your way to insult someone but if that someone finds insult in the most innocuous of places then my rights are now being infringed upon.
    Finding insult does not violate your rights. Attacking you does, though. But then it's the same situation as if a biker beats you up for insulting him.

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    Re: Charlie Hebdo and the limits of Free Speech in the US

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    I don't believe the US federal government will back anyone on free speech when the content may cause outrage in the Muslim community. The President, through his spokesmen, may pay lip service to the right of free speech, but will try to suppress it.
    None of those instances were an infringement on anyone's free speech.

    Saying "I don't want you to say that" still respects one's right to say it. Criticizing what another says still respects their right to say what they said.

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    Re: Charlie Hebdo and the limits of Free Speech in the US

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    None of those instances were an infringement on anyone's free speech.
    That is a straw man argument, because I never claimed that rights to free speech were infringed. I said that our federal government, headed by President Barack Hussein Obama has tried to suppress speech that it thought would outrage Muslims. And it has. A call from someone representing the President, the MOST POWERFUL MAN IN THE WORLD, asking you to not do something, or his spokesman denouncing you in worldwide media, is pressure applied to suppress the action.

    What would real support be? Well, the President or his spokesman could say something like "While I abhor the [insert speech description], I believe everyone has a right to free speech, whether I agree with the speech or not. The right to free speech must be respected by everyone, even those that are offended", and then the government would take NO action to suppress the speech in question. That isn't what happened, is it?

    So your claim that "government will back you" if you speak against Muhammad or Islam is at best a gross overstatement, and to me appears patently false.
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

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    Re: Charlie Hebdo and the limits of Free Speech in the US

    Evensaul: Suppress means to stop something, to forcibly put an end to it. All Obama did was to say he felt the action was not wise. He took no action to stop it. The fact that his words are influential does not amount to the use of force. Discouraged would be more the proper word than Suppress.

    Free speech is not dead but clearly it is under attack (as it has always been). I think its well worth fighting for. Having free speech is essential but that doesn't mean there are wise and unwise ways to exercise it or that someone practicing their speech should be free of criticism for doing so. Part of free speech is disagreement over it, disagreement which can be of course spoken freely.

    Where free speech stops being free is when someone uses force to stop it as these gunmen did in France. Speech will fall to force if force is not used to defend speech.

    I feel that speech only for the purpose of provocation is unwise. That said, speech that challenges a viewpoint that is dangerous or harmful is necessary even if it does provoke the belligerent.

    We'd be great Hippocrates here if we felt that arguments about who is wrong or evil should not be held even if they cause anger. What we can and do here is encourage such arguments to be as respectful as the argument itself allows and I think that is wise council for anyone seeking to be persuasive.
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    Re: Charlie Hebdo and the limits of Free Speech in the US

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Suppress means to stop something, to forcibly put an end to it.
    There are many meanings of suppress. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/suppress One is "to keep from public knowledge as a : to keep secret, b : to stop or prohibit the publication or revelation of " That is what Obama attempted by asking Youtube to not run the trailer for Innocence of Muslims, and in comments meant to dissuade Charlie Hebdo from publishing more cartoons. "To stop...the publication" doesn't necessarily mean by force. Then definition 5: "to restrain from a usual course or action". That is what Obama did by pressuring the Pastor not to burn Qurans.

    Why do you find it necessary to argue semantics, when it is clear that the federal government dissuades (whether I call it pressure or suppress, or you and Mican call it something else) people from exercising their right to freedom of speech? My point is that the federal government will not "back you" in exercising your freedom of speech when it comes to criticizing Muhammad and Islam, and I think I've proven Mican's statement to be demonstrably false.
    Last edited by evensaul; January 9th, 2015 at 11:11 AM.
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

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    Re: Charlie Hebdo and the limits of Free Speech in the US

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    That is a straw man argument, because I never claimed that rights to free speech were infringed.
    You said the Obama administration are trying to suppress the right to free speech. Here is your quote

    "The President, through his spokesmen, may pay lip service to the right of free speech, but will try to suppress it."



    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    A call from someone representing the President, the MOST POWERFUL MAN IN THE WORLD, asking you not to do something, or his spokesman denouncing you in worldwide media, is pressure applied to suppress the action.
    But what it's not is a suppression of one's right to free speech.

    As a metaphor, let's say you and your wife are going to visit a friend and you heard beforehand that the friend's son was recently arrested. Your wife says to you "Don't mention her son's arrest to her. She will be very upset if you do". So you received direct pressure to not say a certain something and that particular action was "suppressed". But it cannot be said that the pressure hat was put upon you suppressed your right to talk about her son. You still have every right to do that. So the suppression in no way suppressed your right to talk about your friend's son.
    Last edited by mican333; January 9th, 2015 at 12:45 PM.

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    Re: Charlie Hebdo and the limits of Free Speech in the US

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    You said the Obama administration are trying to suppress the right to free speech. Here is your quote

    "The President, through his spokesmen, may pay lip service to the right of free speech, but will try to suppress it."
    A fair point. I will rephrase: The President, through his spokesmen, may pay lip service to the right of free speech, but will try to suppress speech that may cause offense to Muslims.
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

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    Re: Charlie Hebdo and the limits of Free Speech in the US

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    A fair point. I will rephrase: The President, through his spokesmen, may pay lip service to the right of free speech, but will try to suppress speech that may cause offense to Muslims.
    And I challenge your assessment that he is paying "lip service to the right of free speech". Paying "Lip service" to something means that you support it with words only but don't really support it. So if you are saying that Obama does not support the right to free speech in actuality, you will need to support that.

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    Re: Charlie Hebdo and the limits of Free Speech in the US

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    And I challenge your assessment that he is paying "lip service to the right of free speech". Paying "Lip service" to something means that you support it with words only but don't really support it. So if you are saying that Obama does not support the right to free speech in actuality, you will need to support that.
    I believe I have. I'm not going to repeat all the points I've already made.
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    Re: Charlie Hebdo and the limits of Free Speech in the US

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    There are many meanings of suppress. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/suppress One is "to keep from public knowledge as a : to keep secret, b : to stop or prohibit the publication or revelation of " That is what Obama attempted by asking Youtube to not run the trailer for Innocence of Muslims, and in comments meant to dissuade Charlie Hebdo from publishing more cartoons. "To stop...the publication" doesn't necessarily mean by force. Then definition 5: "to restrain from a usual course or action". That is what Obama did by pressuring the Pastor not to burn Qurans.
    There are many meanings of suppress but the ones you use don't help your use of it here. Obama did not keep anything from public knowledge nor kept it secret. He did not stop or prohibit the publication of anything. He requested, that means to ask for Youtube not to run the trailer and they said no. If I ask someone not to scream my name I am not suppressing them, I am asking them or requesting of them, not suppressing them. If I shout really loud so no one can hear them or cover their mouth, then I am suppressing them. A request relies on the person you are requesting to agree with you and volunteer a change. Suppression is an act you take that limits someones ability to do something. Demonstrably Youtube was not in any way limited. Restraining someone involves actually limiting someones ability. Obama did not do that, he simply made an argument. That an argument was or was not persuasive does not constitute restraint.


    Why do you find it necessary to argue semantics, when it is clear that the federal government dissuades (whether I call it pressure or suppress, or you and Mican call it something else) people from exercising their right to freedom of speech?
    Because it matters.

    Look.
    If you want to yell out "I hate Jews" and I say "People who hate Jews are assholes" then I am in no way suppressing your free speech. (this is an example of persuasion)
    If you want to yell out "I hate Jews" and I then threaten to gag you if you do it, then I am using force to stop you and I am suppressing your free speech.

    The first is legal and is in fact expression of free speech, we can both say what we like. The second is using force or the threat of force to try and actively control what someone else says.

    My point is that the federal government will not "back you" in exercising your freedom of speech when it comes to criticizing Muhammad and Islam, and I think I've proven Mican's statement to be demonstrably false.
    The government is not required to support peoples statements. They are free to express disagreement with anything you want to say. That in no way prevents you from saying it despite their objections.
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