Are Atheists Closeted Believers Or Is Jordan Peterson A Closeted Atheist?
May 25, 2018 at 3:48 pm #9323
Americans do have restrictions on what they can say in public. The usual example given is they can’t yell, “FIRE” in a crowded movie theater. The difference in the UK is based on what constitutes inflammatory output. The sad thing is that the original protection of ‘free speech’ in the USA was directed at enabling the people to speak out against the government without penalty. Now it seems the populace have latched on to the word “Free” and are terrified of any form of restriction. It’s one of the reasons they have “Flat Earth” societies and Westboro Baptists. Its a matter of balancing the rights of the individual against the rights of society. These rights are balanced differently in the US and the UK. I’d really like to hear some examples, even imaginary, of how the ‘free speech’ element of US law (other than speech against the government) has improved something which would not have happened in a place with laws like the UK has.
Americans CAN yell “Fire” in a crowded theater with full protection of the First Amendment. If their exclamation has adverse consequences, they may be held to account.
The difference is NO PRIOR RESTRAINT.
Any belief by the public on what “free speech” covers is irrelevant in the American system. The Supreme Court has fairly consistently interpreted free speech very very broadly, often to the consternation of the public, who often would like to stop people (like atheists) from saying their piece.May 25, 2018 at 3:55 pm #9324
What we get wrong is protection of racists who are trying their utmost to bring in new racists and to intimidate, harass, humiliate minorities with virulent speech peppered with classic badges of racism. No good comes of permitting such speech. I approve of Germany making holocaust denial a criminal matter.
reedom to speak is a value not needing a defense. Today, making holocaust denial a crime, tomorrow making promoting human-caused-climate-change a crime. That sort of government control is subject to political winds of change. I’ll take complete and total free speech without any prior restraint as the best guarantee of all of our rights. One can always prosecute if defamation or damage are the result.May 25, 2018 at 4:54 pm #9331
Unseen your comment on fire is inapposite. There is no first amendment protection. The first amendment is not invoked. State action is always required before a citizen can claim first amendment protection. The theater is free to ban such speech.
Your comment about holocaust denial leading to climate change denial is nonsense. No slippery slope there. The history of racism and its role in genocide, persecution and discrimination is long and storied. The tinder to stoke the fire of racism is latent. Speech, its bellows, ought to be censored for the good of humanity, for those most vulnerable citizens. There is no chilling effect spillover into other forms of speech in banning the most odious racist speech when it is intended to stoke that fire.May 25, 2018 at 5:05 pm #9333
I think Germany’s a special case, because it was Germany who did the Holocaust. I don’t believe that Holocaust denial is illegal in the UK.
The girl in Liverpool, UK who got prosecuted for quoting “kill a snitch n—-” got on the wrong side of a law official whose brother had been killed in a race-hate murder, and the official overreacted in my opinion. The girl should have got off with a warning.
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