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Old 2008-12-30, 07:47   Link #1
Anh_Minh
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Freedom of Expression

How much is too much? We can certainly do without the freedom to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater (unless there really is a fire, of course), but what about hate speeches?

Recently, a comedian (or what used to be a comedian) welcomed on stage a known, convicted holocaust denier to give him a prize. Which was delivered by a guy costumed as a deported Jew. Some legal action has been taken against him.

And then, there was that thing with Demongod. I don't deny the right of the owners to censor whatever they want on their own site. Or to not want to get involved with the politics of hate and the resulting flame wars. But I can't help but wonder - is censorship really the best way to fight racism, homophobia, and so on? Bigots frequently present themselves as victims of The Man to garner sympathy. Shouldn't their lies and insanities be debated and exposed for what they are?
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Old 2008-12-30, 07:53   Link #2
yezhanquan
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Well, it really depends on the audience you're talking about. Can debate take place without the violence which such speech can easily stir up?
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Old 2008-12-30, 07:57   Link #3
ganbaru
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
But I can't help but wonder - is censorship really the best way to fight racism, homophobia, and so on? Bigots frequently present themselves as victims of The Man to garner sympathy. Shouldn't their lies and insanities be debated and exposed for what they are?
For me the best way to deal with those kind of ''opinion'' is to talk of them and proving them wrong with goods arguments and facts. It's not perfect, but it should work, if the others party is intelligent enough for seeing the true .

A other way could be brainwashing.
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Old 2008-12-30, 08:27   Link #4
RAVNEN
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Well in my country frequently someone misused "Freedom of Expression"privilege to bring chaos & stir racial things.These stupid people also make statement that can bring bad influence to younger generation & bad name to my country.I wish this kind of people just get off my counrty & live in a island.
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Old 2008-12-30, 09:05   Link #5
Mueti
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganbaru View Post
For me the best way to deal with those kind of ''opinion'' is to talk of them and proving them wrong with goods arguments and facts.
From my experience, this absolutely doesn't work. Such people are stunningly resistant when it comes to reason. Ignorance begets confidence.
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Old 2008-12-30, 10:06   Link #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yezhanquan View Post
Well, it really depends on the audience you're talking about. Can debate take place without the violence which such speech can easily stir up?
Censoring speech because it may cause violence absolves those that actually become violent from responsibility.
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Old 2008-12-30, 10:12   Link #7
Anh_Minh
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Them's fighting words, pal.
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Old 2008-12-30, 11:21   Link #8
TinyRedLeaf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
(Freedom of speech) How much is too much? We can certainly do without the freedom to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater (unless there really is a fire, of course), but what about hate speeches?
As the popular saying goes: Your freedom to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.

But then:

Quote:
Originally Posted by RAVNEN View Post
Well in my country frequently someone misused "Freedom of Expression"privilege to bring chaos & stir racial things.These stupid people also make statement that can bring bad influence to younger generation & bad name to my country.I wish this kind of people just get off my counrty & live in a island.
...clearly shows that it's not always easy to tell how long your nose actually is.

Racially and religiously provocative expression is acceptable and, if I'm not wrong, protected by law in the United States. But doing the same in either Malaysia or Singapore could land you in jail, without trial, under the Internal Security Act. Basically, you would become liable for treason. By the same token, many Europeans, particularly Germans, are pretty open about discussing sex in public media. Some Americans, depending on which part of the US they're from, are surprisingly prudish in this regard.

Meaning to say, even where freedom of expression is protected by law, common sense and an awareness of local sensitivities should still prevail. After all, we shouldn't forget that the prime purpose of any form of expression is to communicate. And we wouldn't be communicating very much if we're caught up with ad hominem attacks instead.
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Old 2008-12-30, 11:38   Link #9
Anh_Minh
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Well, yeah, but when racists talk to racists, it's not ad hominems. Just insulting for people who hopefully aren't there.
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Old 2008-12-30, 11:41   Link #10
ganbaru
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Originally Posted by Mueti View Post
From my experience, this absolutely doesn't work. Such people are stunningly resistant when it comes to reason. Ignorance begets confidence.
That why I said after ''if the others party is intelligent enough for seeing the true ''. It not only ignorance the problem, but when knowlwdge ( true of false) become dogme.
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Old 2008-12-30, 11:53   Link #11
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Thank for explaining TinyRedLeaf. I'm sorry if my comment above is a bit harsh.It's just I hate those people who use FoE for bad intention.Thank god I've not use FoE for bad purpose.
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Old 2008-12-30, 12:05   Link #12
Thingle
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In the internet, all it takes is to host a site here in the Philippines. We have no restrictions on content unlike most "advanced" nations out there.

In real life, lift weights, buy guns and train MMA. You'll be damn near untouchable and will be able to say what you want. It's a power thing.. and the only thing humans understand is power.
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Old 2008-12-30, 12:19   Link #13
Shadow Kira01
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I don't really understand your point (opening post). Are you asking the question, "is it possible to allow the extent of free speech to the point of hate speech without causing a political backlash of mutual aggression?". I believe the answer to this question would be: "no". Freedom of speech should not include aggression, because it usually results in mutual clashes and that is not good.
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Old 2008-12-30, 12:20   Link #14
Thingle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RAVNEN View Post
Well in my country frequently someone misused "Freedom of Expression"privilege to bring chaos & stir racial things.These stupid people also make statement that can bring bad influence to younger generation & bad name to my country.I wish this kind of people just get off my counrty & live in a island.
When you deprive your population of the right to "create chaos", they will never mature enough to outgrow it. The chaotic phase is normal. It's like children playing.
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Old 2008-12-30, 12:57   Link #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thingle View Post
When you deprive your population of the right to "create chaos", they will never mature enough to outgrow it. The chaotic phase is normal. It's like children playing.
Huh,like they are mature now.Thank god,many people in my country still stick together in harmony.Unlike some big shot old lawyer & self rightous glasses politicians who use FoE for their own benefit.

Well I'm always support FoE & I admire person who use FoE to help people & bringing good thing to mankind.
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Old 2008-12-30, 13:02   Link #16
TinyRedLeaf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thingle View Post
When you deprive your population of the right to "create chaos", they will never mature enough to outgrow it. The chaotic phase is normal. It's like children playing.
I do understand what you mean, and I do want to have complete freedom of expression, and am prepared to pay the price for it. Unfortunately, the majority of people here are not willing to put up with the culture wars that would ensue because of such freedoms.

To illustrate the point, many Singaporeans bitch about how they have no freedom of political expression, but in the same breath, they'd accuse anyone trying to discuss homosexuality as being part of an "international consipiracy" to destroy the nation's morality.

The irony is painfully delicious. Shamefully, few Singaporeans recognise the problem.
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Old 2008-12-30, 13:37   Link #17
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Well, I believe anyone should be allowed to say whatever they want. If it bothers you, then walk away. You still have the freedom not to punch a bigot in the face, am I right?
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Old 2008-12-30, 14:02   Link #18
Vexx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OtseisRagnarok View Post
Well, I believe anyone should be allowed to say whatever they want. If it bothers you, then walk away. You still have the freedom not to punch a bigot in the face, am I right?
The problem with walking away is that brick they throw at the back of your head. Best to treat virulent racism as a mental illness ...
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Old 2008-12-30, 14:22   Link #19
Thingle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
I do understand what you mean, and I do want to have complete freedom of expression, and am prepared to pay the price for it. Unfortunately, the majority of people here are not willing to put up with the culture wars that would ensue because of such freedoms.

To illustrate the point, many Singaporeans bitch about how they have no freedom of political expression, but in the same breath, they'd accuse anyone trying to discuss homosexuality as being part of an "international consipiracy" to destroy the nation's morality.

The irony is painfully delicious. Shamefully, few Singaporeans recognise the problem.
Wait for the next generation then.
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Old 2008-12-30, 14:23   Link #20
Anh_Minh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow Minato View Post
I don't really understand your point (opening post). Are you asking the question, "is it possible to allow the extent of free speech to the point of hate speech without causing a political backlash of mutual aggression?". I believe the answer to this question would be: "no". Freedom of speech should not include aggression, because it usually results in mutual clashes and that is not good.
No. My question is, where should we draw the line between not enough ("Speak the party line or die, infidel!") and too much (the proverbial fire in a theater)?

Legally, it changes from place to place. But morally - where should we draw the line? Based on what criteria? How can you tell it's too much, how can you tell it's not enough? Is censorship really doing its job of protecting us, or is it actually counter-productive?

Having Freedom of Speech is obviously asking for trouble. But then, so is hosting soccer games.

I'm uncomfortable with the idea of censorship. I think people should be able to say anything - even the dumbest, or the most hateful, or the least popular. But OTOH, I have to compromise with reality. I have to acknowledge that, given half a chance, people will use Freedom of Speech, and the protection it gives them, to spew their message of hate. To undermine the very society that protects them, and to hurt the innocent. To push us downhill on the morality slope. And I'm not confident we can defeat them with rational arguments because, let's face it, plenty of people wouldn't know a good argument if it bit them in the ass.

However - it's not like I'm all that confident in censorship either. So I just wanted to see what everyone's thoughts on this topic were.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thingle View Post
When you deprive your population of the right to "create chaos", they will never mature enough to outgrow it. The chaotic phase is normal. It's like children playing.
With proverbial matches. Or rather actual lighters and molotov cocktails.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OtseisRagnarok View Post
Well, I believe anyone should be allowed to say whatever they want. If it bothers you, then walk away. You still have the freedom not to punch a bigot in the face, am I right?
No, and that's precisely the point of Freedom of Speech: to protect those who say unpleasant, not necessarily true things from the thugs who would silence them. Even if the speakers are assholes and the thugs have consensual opinions. (Yeah, I don't care if the guy you're punching is racist: if you use violence just because he said something you don't like, you're a thug.) When you think of Freedom of Speech, please don't think of heroic martyrs speaking up for a cause you're sympathetic to. Think of the guys you'd really rather would shut up.
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