Free speach

Discussion in 'Protest' started by Bilby, Jan 26, 2005.

  1. TrippinBTM

    TrippinBTM Ramblin' Man

    Technically, a free speech society would make such disinformation/lying hard or impossible to do. With peer review, such statements can be evaluated and determined to be true. If you don't have free speech, a company can lie about their product (say, it's safety) and no one can refute it. Having the open, free environment to air dissenting views and opinions helps clarify, rather than confuse, a topic. One can see more than one side and the intelligent person can make his own decision about which is best.

    The problem is that today, to really reach an audience, you need to get out in the media (TV especially), and it's expensive. It leads to the wealthy holding a near-monopoly on free speech, at least in practical terms. Yeah, you can stand on the corner saying whatever you want, but the audience is so small, and you don't look professional. It's sad but true. The internet is helping the smaller guy, though, which is good.

    Anyways, other than that, I agree with what SDS and Jesuswasamonkey are saying, they summed up my thoughts quite well. Free speech should be total and complete, for everyone.
  2. abnormal_cat

    abnormal_cat Member

    The fact is that the constitution says we have the right to speak freely. It does not limit that to "unless other people are offended" or give a right to not be offended.

    First Amendment:
    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.

    Yes, it is true that the second amendment does not mention limiting speech to non-offensive speech. But, I think it is clear that the intent of the amendment it to allow people to speak freely about the government. The founding fathers didn’t want the people of the United States to be imprisoned for speaking out against the government as was common in Europe at the time. Also, the Founding Fathers didn’t want people to be imprisoned or prosecuted for practicing their religion as was common at the time and is still common some countries.

    If you want to be an absolute literalist, about the constitution, what do you think about the first amendment?

    Second Amendment:
    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

    Do the people of the United States have the write to have machine guns, rocket launchers, and nukes in their basements? If you read it literally, there is NO LIMIT to the right to bear arms.
  3. TrippinBTM

    TrippinBTM Ramblin' Man

    I know this wasn't to me, but if you think about it, right now, we have no defense against the government. If we tried to rebel, it's what, deer rifles against tanks? Yeah right. Not that most people could afford to buy such weaponry as you mentioned if it were legal, but as it is, thanks to the huge power difference, we are at the mercy of our government.

    Anyways, why did you change the subject from the first amendment to the second?
  4. jesuswasamonkey

    jesuswasamonkey Slightly Tipsy

    Yes, the people of the United States have the constitutional right to arm themselves with whatever weapons they choose. The only thing stopping them is a series of unconstitutional laws starting in 1934. The only reasonable infringement on this right would be that weapons the US military was prohibited from possessing by international law would also be prohibited private citizens, but then again, that's a slippery slope and international law is a tricky subject.

    The fact of the matter is, the founding fathers had very good reason for penning every amendment in the bill of rights, and they used as clear and concise language, in the language of their time, as they could. Just because they mention a well regulated militia in the second amendment, doesn't mean that only government regulated militias may possess weapons, no government in the history of the world has had to guarantee itself the right to arm it's army. Why would the founding fathers repeat themselves in the first amendment? The first part protects freedom of religion, the second part protects free speech and press, and the third part protects the right to protest and petetion the government. No where does it say that no law may be made abridging the freedom of political speech, the constitution does not limit free speech, it guarantees it.
  5. abnormal_cat

    abnormal_cat Member

    So, do you think that when the Founding Fathers wrote the First Amendment they thought “let’s give the people the write to say what ever they want when ever they want? Let’s include slander, hate speech and pornography.” Or do you think they were trying to prevent religious and political prosecution? What is speech? Are photographs a form of speech? Do you think that putting up a billboard in a major city that depicts a man masturbating is constitutionally protected free speech? Were there public decency laws and laws against slander during the times of the founding fathers? Don’t you think that complete and total freedom of speech allows for infringement on other rights guarantied in the constitution?

    My point is not that pornography should be illegal. I just think that people's view on the intent and purpose of the first amendment is very misguided. Look and China, and North Korea. These are countries that desperately need free speech and freedom of religion. In these countries people are imprisoned for statements against their government. This is what the founding fathers wanted to avoid. I think that people need to travel abroad so that they can get an idea of what a REAL infringement on rights is.
  6. jesuswasamonkey

    jesuswasamonkey Slightly Tipsy

    So basically, you are saying that as long as we have more rights than North Koreans, we have no reason to complain?

    I would have to disagree, freedom is not measured by the lowest common denominator.

    You are responsible for your own emotions, feelings and thoughts. If someone says something that hurts your feelings, you just need to learn to deal with it. If, on the other hand, someone says something that does in fact take away your rights, you have grounds for complaint. You do not have the right to like everything you hear or see, you do not have the right to not be offended at what someone might say, you do, on the other hand, have the right to be protected from speech which may cause actual physical or material harm, such as someone inciting a riot or spreading libelous lies that damage your business or career.

    Freedom isn't living in some peachy perfect fantasy world where everything is legislated and you don't have to worry about someone doing something you don't like (so long as what you like is in accordance with the official government line). Freedom is living in a gritty chaotic world full of a lot of people you may not like and being able to do as you please so long as no one else is harmed by your actions. Freedom is the right to be an asshole or a nice guy, informed or ignorant, stupid or smart, tasteful or tacky, however you choose so long as no one else is actually harmed or loses their rights.

    I find all forms of racism to be distasteful, ignorant, and hateful, but as long as the person does not harm anyone i will defend their right to say things I might not like, so that I may keep my right to say things they might not like.
  7. abnormal_cat

    abnormal_cat Member

    Hate speech / Hate Groups

    Imagine that the KKK really catches on. Every city has a large majority of the population attending KKK rallies and so forth. Now, imagine that you are a black man in the middle of this. Has his rights been infringed upon? Is he free? Would you place hate speech in the same category and “being an asshole”? Hate speech, and hate groups are the pathway to oppression, not freedom.
  8. TheMadcapSyd

    TheMadcapSyd Titanic's captain, yo!

    Hate speech is still speech, you can't have freedom of speech but deny a whole group of people the right to speak freely.
  9. jesuswasamonkey

    jesuswasamonkey Slightly Tipsy

    Hate and ignorance is only one path to oppression. Idealism is another.
  10. abnormal_cat

    abnormal_cat Member

    Answer the question. Are the rights of the black man infringed upon by the KKK?
  11. Soulless||Chaos

    Soulless||Chaos SelfInducedExistence

    By the KKK simply gathering, and expressing their views, no the black man's rights are not infringed. If the KKK were to take action and do something, then yes.
    Are you thinking you might somehow 'win' because people might not be willing to defend the KKK's right to free speech?
  12. abnormal_cat

    abnormal_cat Member

    No. This is a battle that can never be won. What I am saying is that hate groups like the KKK were allowed to grow to the point where they would dominate the society, and then people who were not members of that group would NOT be free. Sure, if there is a small KKK group in town, then the life of the black man is relatively unaffected. But, if they are pervasive, then his life is living hell, and he is as far from free as you can get. I am totally amazed that anyone could think that a person living in a society that is dominated by hate against their ethnicity is free. Germany society transformed in this manor prior to WWII and it can happen again.

    But, my original point was that the freedom of speech has limits. I don’t think we should through the KKK in prison. Nor do I think pornography should be banned. I think that the ways these situations are handled currently are reasonable and constitutional. The distribution of pornography, for example, is controlled by the government and limited to people over 18. You can’t simply post a giant billboard with porno. During the 50’s and 60’s when the KKK was very strong in the south, the government disrupted the organization using legal and constitutional methods.
  13. Soulless||Chaos

    Soulless||Chaos SelfInducedExistence

    So the minority should override the majority? Is that not the opposite of democracy?
  14. abnormal_cat

    abnormal_cat Member

    No. I never said the minority should override the majority. I think, and please let me know if you disagree, that the minority should be free to live where they are not dominated and oppressed by people who hate them. Of course, you cannot control what a person thinks. But you can, with in reasonable limits, prevent hate groups from taking hold. This is what they did in the sixties in the south, and it had very positive results. What do you think would have happened if they did the same in Germany in the 30’s?
  15. Soulless||Chaos

    Soulless||Chaos SelfInducedExistence

    I already posted this in this thread, but perhaps you should read it again, it is quite true.

    He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that surely will reach himself.
    Thomas Paine
  16. jesuswasamonkey

    jesuswasamonkey Slightly Tipsy

    No, that isn't what happened in the sixties. Hate groups continued to exist, and people still had the right to free speech. What happened is the government started enforcing equal rights. They started prosecuting white people for crimes against black people, we're not talking about crimes that just hurt feelings, we're talking about murder, rape, and arson. As well as that, they also eliminated the Jim Crow laws that treated african americans as second-class citizens, but never once was alaw passed regulating what a free citizen could say. A lot of the changes at this time were due to black people standing up and peacefully exercising their freedom of speech, they wouldn't have been taken seriously if they demanded that their opponents' rights be taken away.

    Exactly the same thing that did happen, because that is exactly what they did in Germany in the 30s. The jews were thought to hate Germany, they were thought to be greedy racist bastards out to destroy the aryan race. This might not have been true, but the public was eventually convinced that Hitler's idealistic plan was a good idea and what started out as denying people a few rights eventually led to genocide.

    The Nazis were idealists who took their ideals too far. They didn't think that their right to swing their fist ended at another man's nose, and they thought they knew what was best for everyone else. They thought that they had not only a right, but a duty, to forcibly shape the world into their ideals.

    Let Nazi Germany be a lesson to you all. Idealism kills.
  17. abnormal_cat

    abnormal_cat Member

    Look up the history of the KKK. The Klan Wizard was put in jail for tax reasons and the organization and structure of the clan was disrupted destroyed. The clan membership very quickly was diminished from very large numbers to small number. This was done as an organized and legal effort by the US government to destroy the clan. This, in part, helped the Civil Rights Movement in the south.

    The Jews were not practicing hate speech. They were simply merchants making a living in Germany. The Nazis on the other hand, practiced nothing but hate speech. And hate speech has a real impact when people are hungry and downtrodden like the Germans were after WWII.

    So, please find for me an real historical example where the repression of hate speech has had a negative effect.
  18. abnormal_cat

    abnormal_cat Member

    I though I would find a sutable reference for the clan info. The US goverment has willfully disrupted the clan for more than 100 years. Look over the web site.
  19. FreakerSoup

    FreakerSoup Stranger

    Being offended and being harrassed/intimidated are two different things. If a black guy is subjected to people yelling racist remarks at him as he walks down the street, those people should be prosecuted for harrasment, and call it a hate crime because it was racially motivated. However, if a black guy is discussing race with a member of the KKK, I'm sure that no matter what happened he would be offended, but there's nothing he can do about that. I think that's reasonable.

    So I don't think that people should limit what they say so as not to offend people, but if they make threats or imply physical hostility, someone should do something about it.

    As for porn and slander, I vote yes. Porn is unacceptable to people who find it offensive, demeaning, or just gross. I don't think that's something you can write a law off of. It doesn't threaten people. It doesn't hurt people. It should be one of those things regulated by parents. I suppose it sort of is, but I feel that this entire country could use a culture shock like that. In Germany there is (softcore) porn on the public cable channels. I think that would definitely be a positive influence on American society, which is so uptight that mothers are prevented from breastfeeding in public and statues with a breast showing are covered. Slander may offend people, may spread lies, but there's no way to filter lies from truth in everything people write, and offense, once again, should not be the basis for the writing of a law.
  20. The KKK are absolute cunts. Just exersizing my rights.

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