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Freedom of Speech

Vermehlo_Steele

Grand Arbiter II
We here in the Western world enjoy a variety of rights and freedoms. One of them is the freedom to say what one wants without fear of reprisal. Unless you deny the holocaust in Germany or swear in public in the Australian state of Victoria.

Ultiamtely, this debate is should freedom of speech be total? And if not, what restrictions are acceptable?

* Arguments generally used in favour of free speech *

~ Governments and courts have no moral authority to dictate what is or is not acceptable.
~ If power to censor any type of speech existed, that power would inevitably be abused.
~ One example is governments using that power to clamp down on debates of a sensitive nature: see euthanasia.
~ Hateful and intolerant speech is the symptom, not the disease; targeting hateful speech is a temporary and ineffective 'solution'.
~ The parameters of bans are hard to define. Should words like 'poofter' and 'blacky' be banned? What if they are someone's nickname? Should action only occur if someone reports it or should preemptive bans occur on words/ subjects perceived as offensive? Who defines what is offensive etc.
~ Will these be a slippery slope to a draconian and invasive society?
~ Words don't put what's not already in your head; if I tell you to kill Jewish people, you aren't automatically going to kill Jews.

* Arguments in favour of restrictions *
~ Hateful speech can be damaging to social cohesion and integration.
~ Why should people be subjected to hateful language? Should gay people be subjected to the antics of Westboro Baptist Church? Isn't government's duty to protect it's people?
~ Hateful language could influence other people to commit acts of hatred and intolerance.
~ Checks and balances could be created to prevent governments from exploiting this regulation.
~ Many people on the internet and public who spread messages of evil and intolerance do it for attention, why grant their wish?
~ Self-esteem can be damaged by negative attitudes, we already have enough suicide and people with confidence issues; we don't need more.
~ Public discourse about politics and issues like multiculturalism can occur, just without vitriol and baleful language.

So, what is your view on free speech? Should it be just that, free? Or should it be 'mostly free speech' terms and conditions apply.
 

Malanu

Est sularus oth mith
Yes but freedom of speech has a double standard. I see it right here every day. If you aren't Pro-gay, are a bigot, or ignorant of some fact, you are insulted, ridiculed and basically made a pariah.

Freedom of speech? If we have freedom of speech why'd Tracy Morgun have to apologize? Sure Tracy knuckled under when pressure was turned on him, but the 1st Amendment says he had every right to say what he did. Tracy should have told those folks giving him crap over his bad joke, "Have a Coke (tm) and a smile... Then go F*ck yourself!"

Mel Gibson is frowned upon for his views of everyone not Mel Gibson, but they are his views, he normally keeps them to himself, even though he has the right to express himself.

In my years of living I have learned there are going to be many those who think differently than me, like things I don't, and will do things I won't. Will they directly affected my life? If the answer is No then I think, "Frakk 'em!" and get on living my life. I will not think any less of Mel or Tracy or Rosie O if I don't agree with their opinions, I won't protest their movie's or shows because I don't like their views.

So free speech does not exist so long as the thin skins of the world are so sensy.
 

Megaton666

Swampert Trainer
@Malanu: That's because the right of free speech =/= the right to be taken seriously.
 

Megaton666

Swampert Trainer
Then why did so many people feel he went to far?

Because he said things most people find unaacceptable and was therefore ridiculed for it. But no one can stop him from saying it.
 

Malanu

Est sularus oth mith
Therefore his freedom of speech was infringed by the unwashed masses. As for nobody stopping him from saying it... Do you think he'll say it again? PC and freedom don't get along well.
 

Moneyy

INACTIVE
Freedom of speech should be total in my opinion. If people want to say something stupid, let them do it. As said before, not many will take them seriously. People may dislike him/her for saying something offensive, but he/she should still be allowed to say it.
 
I think freedom of speech already has some restrictions, and I think for the most part these are necessary. For example, in a saying that was apparently so famous I can't remember who said it, someone pointed out that freedom of speech does not allow people to yell "Fire!" in a crowded building when there's no fire.

And though libel and slander are often difficult to prove, they are still illegal. This is for good reason; it is neither necessary nor useful for people to be allowed to venomously damage someone's reputation by spreading untrue, baseless accusation.

Additionally, there are also "Time/Place/Manner" laws, giving some limitations on free speech. On these forums, I've advocated using these laws to ban funeral protesting. Despite my belief that homosexual actions are wrong, I think funeral protesting is wrong no matter whose funeral is being protested. People can protest a thing without protesting a person. And furthermore, people's views can be protested while they live; nobody should wait until after they die.
 
I think freedom of speech already has some restrictions, and I think for the most part these are necessary. For example, in a saying that was apparently so famous I can't remember who said it, someone pointed out that freedom of speech does not allow people to yell "Fire!" in a crowded building when there's no fire.
The reason you cannot so interject in a crowded building is not that some necessary qualification of your right to speak exists, or because of deserved restrictions upon the content of said speech.

The reason you cannot cry fire in a crowded building is that the building has an owner. The owner of the building determines what behavior (including speech) is permissible.
 
The reason you cannot so interject in a crowded building is not that some necessary qualification of your right to speak exists, or because of deserved restrictions upon the content of said speech.

The reason you cannot cry fire in a crowded building is that the building has an owner. The owner of the building determines what behavior (including speech) is permissible.

That is a very good point, one that I had forgotten.

Freedom of Speech is an outdated institution. We must not forget that the government's best interests lie in the preservation of Democracy and the American System.
The government's interest should be in the people. I agree completely that those who are in government often fail in promoting the good of the people, but that in no way means that freedom of speech is outdated.

It is highly useful--necessary--because government should be criticized by the people.
 

Megaton666

Swampert Trainer
But how else will they monitor and control terrorism? Freedom of speech makes some people indulge in antipatriotism and sedition, which encourage terrorism. I though we would have learned our lesson after 9/11, but apparently not.

Antipatriotism doesn't encourage terrorism, being a religious nutjob encourages terrorism.
 

Malanu

Est sularus oth mith
Antipatriotism doesn't encourage terrorism, being a religious nutjob encourages terrorism.
Fixed it for you. You don't necessarily need to be religious to be a terrorist. And don't some Ex-patriots perform terrorism to annoy the new government sometimes?
 

kryn

Member
The freedom of speech exist to prevent governments to censor unpopular political opinion, therefor should the freedom of speech only cover statements that contain a political agenda.

Also, limiting the freedom of speech can make it more difficult to detect terorism, because the thing that happen is that the people that have the extrem views disappear to places where it is harder to monitor them.
 

Skydra

Well-Known Member
The reason you cannot so interject in a crowded building is not that some necessary qualification of your right to speak exists, or because of deserved restrictions upon the content of said speech.

The reason you cannot cry fire in a crowded building is that the building has an owner. The owner of the building determines what behavior (including speech) is permissible.

No, it is because it endangers the safety of others. Mad rush to escape the building= people are possibly gonna get hurt.

The owner of the building can't yell "Fire" in a crowded building either, unless there is actually a fire, then anyone can say "Fire!".

The freedom of speech exist to prevent governments to censor unpopular political opinion, therefor should the freedom of speech only cover statements that contain a political agenda.

No. And freedom of speech does not exist only for that. It is also a must in court. And freedom of the press is part of the free speech amendment; Press should be able to report what they find and not get censored just because it isn't political.

And if it only affected political things, wouldn't the government silence haters and make other excuses? We don't need another China, or anything remotely similar.
 

randomspot555

Well-Known Member
If you aren't Pro-gay, are a bigot, or ignorant of some fact, you are insulted, ridiculed and basically made a pariah.

Yeah it's so hard to be a white, middle class straight male with access to your own personal computer :eyeroll:

Freedom of speech? If we have freedom of speech why'd Tracy Morgun have to apologize? Sure Tracy knuckled under when pressure was turned on him, but the 1st Amendment says he had every right to say what he did. Tracy should have told those folks giving him crap over his bad joke, "Have a Coke (tm) and a smile... Then go F*ck yourself!"

Mel Gibson is frowned upon for his views of everyone not Mel Gibson, but they are his views, he normally keeps them to himself, even though he has the right to express himself.

In both cases, neither of them had their freedom of speech repressed. Part of freedom of speech is having the balls to own your words. You can't just say dumb crap and go "NU UH! MY OPINION! FR33DOM 0F SPECH!!11!" People have the ability to RESPOND to what you say. If you think Tracey Morgan or Gibson were being hurt by people responding to them, then they should've shut up.

The only real repression of freedom of speech can come from government/authorities. If it's private individuals, that's called a conversation. They're free to their opinions just like Gibson and Morgan are free to theirs.

(Also, are you really going to defend Gibson's holocause denying bull? Seriously?)
 

Malanu

Est sularus oth mith
Yeah it's so hard to be a white, middle class straight male with access to your own personal computer :eyeroll:
No not hard, but very disliked. FYI... I'm the only one in my family without my own computer so :p
 
...[T]hough libel and slander are often difficult to prove, they are still illegal. This is for good reason; it is neither necessary nor useful for people to be allowed to venomously damage someone's reputation by spreading untrue, baseless accusation.
Well, Pika, I must respectfully disagree.

I suspect that libel and slander are forms of speech themselves.
...[T]here are also "Time/Place/Manner" laws, giving some limitations on free speech. On these forums, I've advocated using these laws to ban funeral protesting. Despite my belief that homosexual actions are wrong, I think funeral protesting is wrong no matter whose funeral is being protested. People can protest a thing without protesting a person. And furthermore, people's views can be protested while they live; nobody should wait until after they die.
I disagree.

In the West, we pay lip service to free speech, but see the need to stifle it every time it threatens to ruffle feathers. Protesting is nothing but the simultaneous exercise of the right to assembly and the right to expression. No matter how distasteful we find the picketing of funerals, it is but a form of speech--and we should cherish freedom of speech.
No, it is because it endangers the safety of others. Mad rush to escape the building= people are possibly gonna get hurt.
The person whose shout causes the commotion isn't responsible for the injuries that occur in the rumpus.

I can envision plenty of sorts of speech whose ends could lead to violence. That doesn't mean that I should see them banned. The act of speaking proper is harmless.
The owner of the building can't yell "Fire" in a crowded building either, unless there is actually a fire, then anyone can say "Fire!".
Sorry, I was thinking ought but said is.

Owners of any given domicile ought to be able to say anything whatever on their own property. They can't in actuality, but that's only because of laws that shouldn't exist.
 

kryn

Member
No. And freedom of speech does not exist only for that. It is also a must in court. And freedom of the press is part of the free speech amendment; Press should be able to report what they find and not get censored just because it isn't political.

And if it only affected political things, wouldn't the government silence haters and make other excuses? We don't need another China, or anything remotely similar.

The point why freedom of speech should only cover statements with political contents is to prevent haters, bullies and other like those, to hide behind the freedom of speech.

The freedom of press rest on on the Principle that written text do not have to pass any authority, so the government can not censor the text anyway.

If the government would try to rig a judgement they would violate the rule of law and nothing else.
 
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