Are there dangerous ideas?

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This topic contains 369 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Unseen 4 months ago.

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  • #34128

    Davis
    Moderator

    Unfortunately people do act dangerously on ideas. Within the United States alone when politicians rant off hate speech cases of violence, prejudice, discrimination, harassment and vandalism against LGTBQ+, minorities and other groups go up (including murder). This is especially the case when the hate speech equates groups of people as “not human”. Europe has a sufficiently horrifying history of hate-speech leading to inhuman ugliness and by its history giving an inch to allowing people to dehumanise a group leads to people in marginalised groups living in misery. Since hate speech against LGTBQ+ people was limited (though not entirely banned) in Spain, violence and percieved discrimination against LGTBQ+ people has gone down DRAMATICALLY. Perceived fear, job opportunities and overall happiness in the LGTBQ+ has gone up significantly as well. A large amount of that hate speech came directly from the Church with the catholic church (rather than ordinary citizens) behind a large amount of LGTBQ+ oppression including the nasty venomous garbage coming right out of the cardinals mouths. A cardinal was fined for saying gay people aren’t human and deserve eternal punishment…the church reevaluated it’s approach to “traditional values”. Their campaign against LGTBQ+ people hasn’t relented, they certainly fight against further LGTBQ+ rights including the idea that marriage should only be for a man or woman or that LGTBQ+ education shouldn’t be taught in school, but they no longer claim a group of people aren’t humans worthy of dignity while indirectly (remember indirectly is still causing something) spawning hate crimes. Hate speech laws are not controversial in most of Europe/Canada/NZ etc. Not at all. The only people who lose are those trying to dehumanise others causing misery within the community of the marginalised.

    #34129

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen,

    I am sadly familiar with that claim.

    I’m sure that the Charvaka/Lokavata School, Ar-Razr, Abu Sina, Ibn Rushd, George Washington Carver, Dr. Charles Drew, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Michio Kaku, and a cast of millions will be shocked and amazed to learn that they cannot do science because someone says they can’t. /sarcasm

    Hey, it is and was bona fide evidence-based science that refutes phrenology and racial anthropology theories.

    It is also the findings of genetics and biochemistry that show that correlations between so-called “race” and intelligence have a long way to go before they could pass the muster of Reason and Science.

    #34130

    Unseen
    Participant

    Unseen, I am sadly familiar with that claim. I’m sure that the Charvaka/Lokavata School, Ar-Razr, Abu Sina, Ibn Rushd, George Washington Carver, Dr. Charles Drew, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Michio Kaku, and a cast of millions will be shocked and amazed to learn that they cannot do science because someone says they can’t. /sarcasm Hey, it is and was bona fide evidence-based science that refutes phrenology and racial anthropology theories. It is also the findings of genetics and biochemistry that show that correlations between so-called “race” and intelligence have a long way to go before they could pass the muster of Reason and Science.

    When people adopt an anti-science stance, it can lead to phenomena like the Trumpists, who may have us on the brink of civil war.

    Dangerous enough for you?

     

    #34131

    jakelafort
    Participant

    I agree with Davis in his approach to hate speech.

    There is a corollary concept that has been articulated ad nauseum. It is that in a free marketplace of ideas good ideas survive and bad ideas perish. That notion, that bromide, would have been flushed had its message any validity. Religions, superstitions and a myriad of bad ideas would find similar treatment. And yet we observe the bad ugly and stupid flourish. It is a lovely idea but it is simply false. Were humans not humans and instead sound thinkers the free market place would be an axiom hardly worth mentioning.

    David Hume was anti-catholic. Notwithstanding his sentiments he advocated free speech for Catholics. He thought its expression would be its demise. Here we are 250 years later and Catholics are expressing themselves freely. He is gone but Catholicism is alive.

    American liberals as a group despise the idea that speech be curtailed. But hate speech of a truly despicable and invidious nature ought to be off limits. If we allow it to be unfettered assuredly its bad ideas will flourish among individuals who can manifest harm to the vulnerable. If you feed the LCD hate it will be ingested and propagated. Amazingly we observe the free market do a great disservice to ideas.

    #34132

    Glen D
    Participant

    @davis

    “Glen that’s all easy to say when you don’t have to deal with the prejudice, discrimination, aggression, violence and criminal acts of (directly from or encouraged by) racism, homophobia, trans-phobia and other forms of bigotry.”

    No offence  mate, but you have been  idea of what I might have faced.

    I was explaining my views on free speech.  You either have it or you do not. The US has a bill of rights, The second amendment makes a guarantee of free speech. I am unconvinced that the issues you described can be justly addressed by  the imposition of censorship.

    Australia does not have a bill of rights. We also have anti hate speech laws, which I do not support. My views are not the consensus here. I agree to differ to those of different views.

    In my opinion, the only exception to the free speech rule is inciting violence.

    I agree with Benjamin Franklin :

    “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

     

    #34133

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen,

    When people adopt an anti-science stance, it can lead to phenomena like the Trumpists, who may have us on the brink of civil war.

    Dangerous enough for you?

    One variety of anti-science does tend to bring out and attract other varieties.

    For example, neighboring Black Mountain, NC and Asheville, NC are both magnets for “woo,” just different varieties for each city.

    Black Mountain is for the speaking-in-tongues, snake-handling, stomp-and-snort Evangelicals and Pentecostals.  Asheville is more for the New Agey, 1987 “Harmonic Convergence”/2012 Polar switch-up, crystal-wearing, Natural News set.

    The lower air pressure and temperature of mountain elevation must do it to people’s brains. 🥶

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Punctuation and definite article
    #34135

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Glen D,

    You either have it or you do not. The US has a bill of rights, The second amendment makes a guarantee of free speech. I am unconvinced that the issues you described can be justly addressed by  the imposition of censorship

    The gist of what you’re saying is correct, though not quite for the reasons you mentioned.

    In The U.S. Bill of Rights, The First Amendment recognizes the right to free speech (plus the rights to freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of peaceable assembly, and to petition government for redress of grievances.)

    The Second Amendment recognizes the right to keep and bear arms, which is the ultimate last-ditch defense for all other rights, one I hope never has to be used, though it may end up that way.

    #34137

    Glen D
    Participant

    “The First Amendment recognizes the right to free speech (plus the rights to freedom of religion”

    OOPS! I knew that, don’t know why I typed the second. What can I say? I’m only an ignorant  foreigner.

     

    #34138

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Jakelafort,

    There is a corollary concept that has been articulated ad nauseum. It is that in a free marketplace of ideas good ideas survive and bad ideas perish. That notion, that bromide, would have been flushed had its message any validity. Religions, superstitions and a myriad of bad ideas would find similar treatment. And yet we observe the bad ugly and stupid flourish. It is a lovely idea but it is simply false.

    Freedom, whether of expression or of economic action, does not guarantee results, and no idea has 100 percent market share, no matter how good.

    But free expression does afford an opportuniy for the best ideas to prevail that would not exist under total control by the State.  People with better ideas still have to come forward and make a strong case.

    Although many rotten ideas, religious and secular, still exist, free expression does help take off the worst edges.

    For example, although explicit, conscious Atheists are still a small minority, more Americans (now around 25 percent) identify as “Nones” in the religion category for surveys.

    Those who are Theists are increasingly identifying as “Spiritual, But Not Religious.”  And a plurality of Theists who are religious are more likely to view religion as a weekly social gathering or only for special occasions, such as weddings, funerals, Passover, Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, Ramadan, etc.

    And free expression of abuse victims are a big reason why there are more prosecutions and lawsuits against abusing clergy taking place.  Attorneys are advertising on TV for victims of sexual abuse to come forward against their victimizers in both the churches and the Boy Scouts.

    At least two Roman Catholic Dioceses have been bankrupted because of victims coming forward and suing for chump change on traumatized lives.  There are sure to be more where these came from.

    And free expression is even taking the edge off of Islam.  Many new converts in the West drift away after a few years when they experience what is required of them, read what horrors The Qu’ran holds, and learn from Ex-Muslims like Salman Rushdie, Ibn Warraq, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Wafa Sultan.

    Like The Late Stephen Hawking so aptly put it: “Keep Talking.”

    #34145

    Davis
    Moderator

    Hi Glen,

    If you’ve faced life altering racism, homophobia, trans-phobia or some other kind of bigotry then I apologise. Have you? Honestly the overwhelming majority of people who have no problem with hate-speech are those who have never suffered from it. I have and I can tell you suffering from hate speech is life altering for many and creates unnecessary misery, fear, limitations, discrimination and the limiting of opportunities (all things we are supposed to promote in a democracy no?).

    You also claim we have free speech or we don’t and yet you’ve justified a limit to free speech (inciting of violence for example) which pretty much argues against free speech (or just redefines it to mean absolute free speech except for one thing which I suppose you think is self evident). Including “hate speech” as yet one more exception (in addition to inciting violence) is limiting indirect violence that comes from it as well as discrimination, aggression and hostility that comes along with it.

    #34146

    Davis
    Moderator

    Also I don’t live in the US (nor do quite a few of us here) and there are VERY FEW countries other than the US who have such an extreme version of free speech (nor are any European countries that I know of, nor Canada NZ etc clamouring for it). America can allow all the bigotry and life altering hate speech they want. Doesn’t mean the world should emulate it. Free speech minus inciting violence or committing a crime or hate speech is 99.9% the same and allows political dissent without oppressing marginalised groups or creating a totalitarian atmosphere. They are two limits people in the overwhelming majority of healthy democracies find entirely sensisble.

    #34154

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Encogitationer, i aint arguing against free expresssion. On the contrary i am in favor of it except where it ought to be curtailed. The USA has many instances of limiting free expression. I get tired of reading the absolutists in free speech trot out the same old tripe. It sounds great if you are in 6th grade. Just cuz you are offended is not a justification for censorship. If we curb one form of speech it opens the flood gates to other forms of speech yada yada yada…

    The basic principles of free speech are i think unassailable. It is indispensable to a free society. It is necessary to keep good governance. etc. On the other hand a better approach to free speech than blanket approval evaluates the target of criticism along with the interests being promoted. If it is a powerful institution like a church or a government then we ought to give citizens free reign. So burn those flags and lampoon the prophet Mohamed. All good. Those institutions have caused a great deal of suffering and supported oppression and they must have tough skin and be amenable to reform. If we can’t criticize the shit out of govs and churches it means they are up to no good.

    In USA we give greatest protection to political speech. Makes good sense, eh? The interest being promoted aligns with the ideals of democracy. But what interest is being promoted in giving absolute free expression to Nazis and their ilk? We know what happens when hatred is expressed freely. Historical examples are drenched in blood and licked with unconscionable suffering. Additionally when the object of hatred is a vulnerable minority we ought to give the government the ability to protect its citizenry. It is fine to threaten an entire people or group but illegal to do the same to an individual? That is a bit fucked.

    #34159

    Unseen
    Participant

    Davis: The speech some most want to suppress is often the speech that most needs to be heard.

    Okay, so who gets to to decide what’s heard, what is published and what isn’t? Quo warranto (by what right) does s/he or they do so? Do they represent the people’s will and values (“We don’t want to hear anything uncomfortable about race or religion” for example). Has the public explicitly given some authority permission to select what is heard and what is not?

    How is it done in Belgium?

    If the government gets to decide, you see no danger in that?

    The suppression of free speech is often the best friend of the status quo and of the government in power.

     

     

     

     

    #34160

    Davis
    Moderator

    Unseen I never said that. I don’t know who said that. Not my quote at all.

    In just about every democratic country other than the United States there is no absolute free speech law. Never has been and unlikely never will be. There are limited rights in some countries and effectively in all of them there is 99.9% free speech. In most European countries as well as Canada, NZ etc. there are many uncontroversial limits to free speech: inciting violence (same in the US), libel (same in the US in fact), causing a panic (same in the US in fact). One of the few exceptions that the US doesn’t have (which leaves a lot of Europeans feeling sorry for marginalised groups in the US) is vicious hate speech. Stuff that demonises, dehumanises and makes life miserable for marginalised groups as well as perpetuates discrimination, violence and even murder towards marginalised groups. You can say “I don’t agree with these laws that give gay people marriage” or “I wish gay people couldn’t get married” etc. What you cannot say is: “gay people aren’t human beings and should be interred in a concentration camp” or “I think it’s fantastic when ni**ers and faggots are lynched and beaten to a pulp” or “hey you fucking faggot go suck some faggots dick you dirty queer”. The only difference I think between the US and Europe with it’s hate speech laws is honestly just one extra exception to free speech protections and the recognition that 1) inciting direct violence and 2) perpetuating oppression that indirectly leads to violence (and many other problems) are both equally worth fighting against.

    I ask myself what on Earth does a nation gain by not limiting the dehumanisation of marginalised groups except for bigots to have the chance to oppress the most vulnerable people in society. Political criticism isn’t hindered. This nonsense view I hear from Americas that hate speech laws are just the first step in a slippery slope towards though policing is bullshit. Some northern European countries have had hate speech laws for decades and not a single other limitation on free speech has been passed. Society has to decide…is giving bigots the chance to pointlessly dehumanise the most vulnerable people worth the misery and inequality that those people have to deal with because of it? Most countries other than America say no. Do people who are born in a specific group of people by no fault of their own with no ability to change that deserve dignity that should be protected or not?

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by  Davis.
    #34162

    Unseen
    Participant

    In just about every democratic country other than the United States there is no absolute free speech law. Never has been and unlikely never will be. There are limited rights in some countries and effectively in all of them there is 99.9% free speech. In most European countries as well as Canada, NZ etc. there are many uncontroversial limits to free speech: inciting violence (same in the US), libel (same in the US in fact), causing a panic (same in the US in fact). One of the few exceptions that the US doesn’t have (which leaves a lot of Europeans feeling sorry for marginalised groups in the US) is vicious hate speech. Stuff that demonises, dehumanises and makes life miserable for marginalised groups as well as perpetuates discrimination, violence and even murder towards marginalised groups.

    As you say, “same in the US” you ignore the difference which is that in the US we accept that no one has the wisdom to administer a censorship system fairly and nor can they have the authority to do so.  There are consequences, but they come after the fact. That’s as far as the government is concerned. Private enterprises like Facebook, Twitter, etc., are not encumbered by our broad freedom of speech and can set up terms of service and enforce them. Sadly, Twitter for a long time made Trump the exception and he violated the ToS all the time, saying the sorts of things that would have got other members banned or taken offline for a while as punishment.

    How does someone enforce a ban on dissing a social subgroup which distinguishes between speech which stigmatizes them dangerously or just makes them feel bad? And is making them feel bad enough to engage in censorship?

    If on a talk show a comedian cracks a fat joke, should the government intervene? What about a comment about the creative names black parents often give their children, implying that they are ridiculous. Should the government step in, maybe with prior restraint? If not. If the consequences are subsequent, much the same happens in the US, but is not handled by the government. The public expresses outrage. If the government steps in absent government outrage, quo warranto, by what right does the government act if it can’t act in the name of the majority?

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