To Do or not To Do

free speech as an absolute

This topic contains 23 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  _Robert_ 3 days, 16 hours ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 24 total)
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  • #28763

    Davis
    Participant

    The US has a fairly purist approach to free speech. The government cannot stop you saying something nor penalise you unless it breaks some other law (like causing a panic, lying to the police, wasting governments time with nonsense etc). You may pay a social cost, like people denouncing what you said, losing your job or even losing friends and generally being shamed…but not the government. There are very few laws in the US that make saying: “shut up faggot” a crime. Of course, workplaces and schools and websites and sports teams can prohibit it. It’s entirely their right to decide what is acceptable and not acceptable discourse within an organization or a group.

    Even free speech campaigners (all but the most radical) will concede that an organization cannot tolerate members saying absolutely anything. Spending an entire week insulting every other member and interrupting meetings and antagonizing everyone. The member is bound to be booted out. Going around bad mouthing the organization itself will also shorten one’s membership. Calling another member a “dirty muslim” can not only harm the organization but it also creates conflict within the organization and stigmatizes a member. All fairly good reasons to at least have a general policy. Youtube and Reddit also have the right to remove language that breaks their own guidelines, especially if it goes against the interest of the company and the smooth running of the website. Creating antagonism and insulting website visitors is not just really bad for business, its really bad for a large swathe of your viewers. However some think that taking down videos because they are racist or homophobic or islamophoic or misogynist is a violation of free speech. That of course totally misunderstands what free speech is. That is, free speech relates to government control of speech…and only the government can charge you or even stop you from saying something in public (not, for example a bunch of gunmen mowing down jouralists in a Parisian office).

    An organization can do whatever they want. However it seems for some radicals…almost always liberterian biggots, that’s just not good enough. If it is online and part of a public space…then you should be able to post whatever you want. Of course the same people usually have absolutely no issue with a cake shop refusing to make a gay wedding cake. In this case, in a public forum…some people cannot shop for things wherever they want. But consistency is never expected from those who generally make terrible arguments and care about their agenda more than broader principles and rights.

    Would it be a good idea to make discourse a free for all online? How about at universities…should a student be able to say whatever they want? How about at work. Should employees be free to state their opinions, dish out insults or even say things that could damage the company? How about newspaper editors. Should they give their writers free rein in their columns and not edit them?

    #28765

    _Robert_
    Participant

    I believe that hate speech should be protected right up to the point of direct or implied violence as far as criminal law is concerned. For civil law….take your chances….

    #28766

    Davis
    Participant

    I’m not concerned with hate speech in public. That’s legal in the U.S. (mostly) and not in Canada/Europe/NZ/Australia. Those countries have made their decisions and have to live with the consequences. Hate speech is widely reported in the U.S. and so are hate crimes. You can interrupt a funeral and tell grievers that he deserved to die “because God hates fags”. You can terrify difference communities through intimidation and endless insults. You can ensure many LGTB stay in the closet by agressively yelling out faggot at every LGTB couple you see holding hands. So a lot of people reap the benefit (say whatever shit you want) and the most vulnerable in society pay all the consequences. Hate speech is mostly prohibited in Canada, Belgium and Spain and hate crimes there are relatively low (compared to the US). There is an undeniable correlation between the two (and when politicians use the rhetoric of hate as well). So I think it all depends on if you value the idea of being able to say biggoted trash talk or value yourself or others being able to live their lives without random insults, intimidation and crimes committed against them because of their colour/gender/sexuality. But anyways, each country has made up their mind and such laws won’t change any time soon…and I’m grateful to live in a country where I don’t have to worry about such toxic life-limiting ostracizing painful bullshit.

    My question, however, is should the same principle apply in such things as: university lectures, youtube videos, an employee tweeting about their job.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by  Davis.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by  Davis.
    #28770

    _Robert_
    Participant

    I think supressing any and all non-violent forms of expression is..well repressive and prefer if the government does not do that.

    Now we have social media companies censoring posts and uploads……..but according to what rules? Very subjective.

    They will start pulling down Hitchens’ videos before you know it. I am sure many Catholics are offended by his words. Orwellian corporations.

     

    #28772

    Davis
    Participant

    Companies have censored content since the beginning of the US. Can you imagine The Gap doing nothing if an employee tapes a sign to the front door of a shop saying “The Gap is a bastard corporation”? Or if an employee went around telling all the female employees they had nice tits? I’m pretty sure the employee would be fired and you wouldn’t see people protesting “free speech”.

    Youtube has the right to remove any content it likes. It doesn’t allow sexual content. Is that inappropriate censorship? What about videos involving animal abuse? Or videos of ISIS beheadings? How about videos that incite violence?

    All of those categories don’t fall under any “legal” ban. They are restricted for the same kind of reasons outright agressive racist and homophobic content is prohibited. Youtube doesn’t want to be a forum of hate mongering and it’s good business sense. If you want to blab about those stupid faggots, there are several websites that actually encourage those kinds of videos. The government isn’t stopping American citizens from using those.

    Religion is not equivalent to race/gender/sexuality. One is an inherant quality. The other is a set of ideas you choose to believe as an adult. It’s not my fault I’m LGBT. I cannot do anything about it and I should be able to live my life without encountering harassment and intimidation for simply being born. It IS my fault for being an atheist. My choice. And as I have the right to advocate for atheism, I have to take the same criticism. If Dawkin’s focuses on religious ideas, his content will not be taken down. If his content focuses on “those dirty muslims” then it probably will as it not only violates their policies, it violates the policies on most websites, universities, work places, schools, sports teams, clubs and the media…for the last few decades.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by  Strega.
    #28777

    _Robert_
    Participant

    In a democratic open society, yes religion is a choice as an adult. You may be heavily influenced by family and friends but there is nothing stopping you from changing your religion, if you are willing to deal with the social costs. But that is the same for ALL sets of ideas. If you come from a family of communists and realize you are a hard core liberterian, you will pay a notable cost for coming out of that closet. Your family may even despise you for it. And so it is with many other sets of ideas like being anti-war, a rationalist, vegiteriansim, conspiracy theories, anti-government paranoia and so on. The United States is not Saudi Arabia. You can change your own set of ideas, you simply have to pay the social cost to do so. Criticizing those ideas are totally free game in western democratic open societies.

    In Canada and most of Europe, religious groups aren’t allowed to make certain offensive comments outside of church. For example in Spain a bishop was advocating “gay conversion therapy” and was sanctioned by the government. That’s a bishop in a catholic country being told not to be homophobic. The same goes for Muslim groups who publicly support the demeaning and subjugation of women in the UK. And in Canada if you are a Jewish group and publically call for wiping out every palestinian off the face of the planet you will get zinged.

    What you won’t get in any trouble for is criticizing the ideas of religions, ideologies, a set of beliefs and ideas. And that goes both ways. Just don’t attack, discriminate, intimidate or make life a living hell for people who happened to be born with a certain quality that cannot be changed.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by  Davis.
    #28778

    Here is a good discussion from the BBC about social and artistic censorship.

     

    note: Peter is the brother of Christopher Hitchens.

    #28780

    Unseen
    Participant

    The American government CAN interfere with free speech, but only in retrospect. Free speech isn’t without a cost. You can be sued for forms of defamation and be penalized heavily.

    Not all speech critical of others is actual hate speech (founded on rock-bottom hatred). For example, criticism of gays has a Biblical basis. The religious person may simply be spouting the nonsense of their faith. Similarly, criticism of abortionists can be founded on a stubborn belief that fetuses are babies. No actual hatred required in either case.

    CAN it become a hatred? Sure, but there is no necessary connection.

    #28785

    Davis
    Participant

    In a democratic open society, yes religion is a choice as an adult. You may be heavily influenced by family and friends but there is nothing stopping you from changing your religion, if you are willing to deal with the social costs. But that is the same for ALL sets of ideas. If you come from a family of communists and realize you are a hard core liberterian, you will pay a notable cost for coming out of that closet. Your family may even despise you for it. And so it is with many other sets of ideas like being anti-war, a rationalist, vegiteriansim, conspiracy theories, anti-government paranoia and so on. The United States is not Saudi Arabia. You can change your own set of ideas, you simply have to pay the social cost to do so. Criticizing those ideas are totally free game in western democratic open societies.

    In Canada and most of Europe, religious groups aren’t allowed to make certain offensive comments outside of church. For example in Spain a bishop was advocating “gay conversion therapy” and was sanctioned by the government. That’s a bishop in a catholic country being told not to be homophobic. The same goes for Muslim groups who publicly support the demeaning and subjugation of women in the UK. And in Canada if you are a Jewish group and publically call for wiping out every palestinian off the face of the planet you will get zinged.

    What you won’t get in any trouble for is criticizing the ideas of religions, ideologies, a set of beliefs and ideas. And that goes both ways. Just don’t attack, discriminate, intimidate or make life a living hell for people who happened to be born with a certain quality that cannot be changed.

    #28786

    Davis
    Participant

    Does anyone have an actual opinion about extending free speech to the internet, workplace and in organizations and sportsteams?

    #28787

    _Robert_
    Participant

    I am in favor of it. How about focusing on the actual root causes of hate instead of suffocating communucation?

    What is the major ROOT cause of hatred of LGBT people? Lets fix that.

     

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by  _Robert_.
    #28789

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Also, no one had a problem at work telling me to go eat a sandwich. My GF is also very thin. At least 10 times a day she gets comments from random people. To me she looks like a normal person in the 1970’s.

    Try telling an obese person to put down that ice cream cone. It’s like you are Satan. LOL Yet hundreds of millions of Americans are sick and dying from overeating. I told my buddy, who had gained 100 lbs, “dude come on, lay off the cheeseburgers”. Months later he thanked me and said he feels so much better and his blood pressure is way down and I was the only one who was truthful. I called a black guy out at work for slacking big time. He was playing the race card daily. You could hear the collective gasp in the meeting room. Can we grow the fuck up or are we gonna play pretend and censor forever?

    #28790

    There is always condemnation for “fat-shaming”. But not everyone has a “hormonal imbalance” or a medical condition that makes them 100lb or more overweight. Some people are just fat (yes I said it) because they consume too much sugar and eat too much processed food and drink too much beer. And they don’t do any aerobic exercises.ย  Bill Maher spoke freely about it and created some outrage over it.

    There does seem to be a creeping intolerance towards speaking the truth as if it is impolite to do so.

    #28793

    Unseen
    Participant

    Does anyone have an actual opinion about extending free speech to the internet, workplace and in organizations and sportsteams?

    I believe a business has the right to keep things businesslike. In other words, it’s fair to tell employees “Leave your opinions at the door. When you are here, your sole mission is to support our mission. We reserve the right to decide when and how to enforce this. Why? Because you are being paid with OUR money.”

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by  Unseen.
    #28797

    _Robert_
    Participant

    I believe a business has the right to keep things businesslike.

    Useless post.ย  Is a gay flag over the doorway to the HR department businesslike? How about a daily bible verse on several office whiteboards. How about when all of your bosses discuss events at the same church or how about the Hispanic support network that has meetings during business hours. I don’t see what any of that has to do with engineering and producingย  reliable equipment for 737s. I am fine with all of that because of the sins of the past but none of is businesslike.

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