Friday, November 14, 2008

My "Extremist" Opinion on Free Speech

I recently wrote the following in the google-group "Atheism vs. Christianity", in a discussion about Canadian Hate-crime laws. I have corrected spelling and clarified it a bit from the original messy post.

I don't believe that my concept of civil rights, however, includes the "right to openly hate and advocate the elimination of, or disenfranchisement of certain groups of people", or "the right to abuse people". I am all for allowing Christians and Muslims to practice their faith, and for political groups to promote their beliefs, but when that "faith" includes bombing abortion clinics, sequestering a congregation in a "compound" so as to cut them off from society and control all information, or the "political beliefs" involve advocating the taking up of arms to shoot and kill other citizens, racism, disenfranchisement of others, or other patently antisocial activity, it's not about rights.

It's often said that people have a right "to be an asshole" if they choose to be -- Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Andrew Schlafly are all perfect examples of people practicing their right to be an asshole, and advocate ideas that are idiotic, mean-spirited, fraudulent, or just plain dumb. The problem is that all of these people are like modern day Joseph Goebbels. They are straddling the thin line of propaganda, balancing between mere political speech and hate. Behind everything they say is thinly veiled racism, sexism, fascism, but most importantly, a disdain for education, civil rights and constitutional freedoms. If enough people follow them, it could lead to the kind of fascist state where mob rule wins over constitutional democracy -- where the vigilantism of the Wild West replaces the rule of law and fair trials.

I do not believe that we can allow them to go unopposed, without putting back into place the laws which used to govern news and information programs -- The old fairness and accuracy doctrine that was made impotent when Fox News won a case by claiming that their news broadcasts were "entertainment" and not subject to any guidelines of journalistic integrity. All any media propagandist needs to do is proclaim their show to be "entertainment", and they instantly have no responsibility to separate opinion from fact, be objective or even report facts at all. They can just proclaim whatever they want their viewers to think is the truth, but say "we're entertainment" to a judge, and they have no responsibility for what they say. They can tell their reporters WHAT to say in a report, even if it's not true. They can craft intricate hate-pieces that slander anyone. They can reach millions with messages of hate, and there is no recourse.

So when we see a preacher preaching hate, or a pundit preaching hate, I believe it is dangerous. The typically mean-spirited nature of such speech has no legitimate place in society -- it's intentionally destructive, intentionally harmful. That's never good for society. Protect free speech, but when it comes to people who advocate hate, and mean-spirited treatment of others, I say fine them, make them criminals, and let them suffer for their hate.

How far should we go with allowing free speech? I have always been an advocate of completely unlimited free speech. I have always considered that if someone is offended by my speech, or someone else's, that they're just sissies who can't handle dealing with opinions that are different from their own. After considering the discussion over how people in Canada can no longer preach what the Bible says about homosexuality, because it's hate-speech against gays (I mean, think about it, Leviticus advocates that homosexuals be executed), I thought about why that was good, and why it could be bad. I realized that the good aspects of hate-speech laws sounded a lot more convincing to me than the "total free speech" I advocated.

There certainly are some types of speech or advocacy that people consider dangerous. For example, it is currently illegal to issue written or verbal death threats. People who have openly advocated assassination and killing of others have been charged and put on trial for it. There is good reason why death threats are illegal and not "protected free speech". It is because a death threat victimizes a person by creating an atmosphere of hostility and fear, or in constitutional language, it "attacks domestic tranquility", which the preamble of the United States Constitution purports to ensure for all. Imagine a family living in a neighborhood, and having several neighbors tell them "We'll kill you". The family is forced to live in fear, incurring mental and physical stress. It's not just that one family -- its any people living in the neighborhood or surrounding areas who hear of these threats. If you can imagine the family being Jewish or African-American, and the threats coming from neo-Nazis, it becomes even worse of a situation. It is unacceptable to make death threats for that reason -- it disrupts domestic tranquility, creating fear and hostility in a community. We have laws against disturbing the peace. You cannot set off explosives in the middle of the night, play extremely loud music that wakes your neighbors up, use heavy construction equipment early in the morning when people are still sleeping, and such, for the same reason -- it disrupts domestic tranquility.

Rather than issue a death threat, some people thought it was clever to avoid making a direct death threat against someone, by suggesting that someone else do it. For example, on a Christian radio program in Denver, Colorado, back in 1993, Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, said a prayer over the air where he asked that someone please assassinate Dr. Warren Hern, a Colorado abortion provider. The authorities didn't think that was free speech, and promptly arrested him. Members of his organization were found guilty of harassing the family members of various doctors who provided abortions, when they followed doctors' children home from school, or followed the families when they drove around town. Again, legally speaking, such activities are not protected free speech because they disrupt domestic tranquility, and force the victims to live in fear of hostilities or attacks. At a time when many abortion providers were being assassinated by anti-abortion activists, this became all the more frightening for these victims.

So on the issue of punditry, and the writers of trash-talking political diatribes, as well as so-called "entertainment" broadcasts of Fox News, and other conservative hate-filled language against so-called liberals, I believe that the same situation applies. When a Rush Limbaugh, an Ann Coulter, or a Sean Hannity goes on the air, and incites hatred against various groups considered "liberal" or "un-American", they are doing the same thing that a Neo-Nazi does when they spray-paint a swastika on a wall in a neighborhood. They are inciting people with propaganda, to hate other citizens. They don't actually come out and say "these people should be hated, treated with suspicion, killed, etc..." but they certainly incite animosity and hatred against certain people in society. After 9-11, the cry of "Treason" was heard a lot from far-right pundits. Treason often is punished by the death sentence (and the pundits made sure to mention that when they accused people of it), which is sort of a roundabout way of suggesting that so-called liberals or critics of the Bush administration should be killed. If you were a liberal or a Bush critic, you certainly felt a little bit of your domestic tranquility threatened by hearing such rhetoric.

There is a difference between being politically incorrect, and the type of speech that Joseph Goebbels delivered in Nazi Germany. One is simple criticism, occasionally crude, profane or awkward, without suggestion of violence or action that would scare the target of your criticism into thinking that they were in any danger. The other suggests that the target of the criticism is not worthy of their constitutional protections or freedoms, that they deserve to suffer, and that people who take it upon themselves to punish them would or should be considered to be doing a patriotic duty of some kind. It is one thing to suggest that a president, or a politician, or a religious leader, is wrong about their actions or opinions; that is totally reasonable, protected speech. It is entirely a different story, however, to call the same people devils, traitors, and suggest that they be intimidated, harassed, or held in suspicion, or treated unpleasantly for it.

When a Christian Minister or politician quotes the Bible, and reads the verse from Leviticus that orders homosexuals to be stoned to death, he is merely presenting an objective fact about what his faith says. When he suggests to his followers that they need to follow this law of God to the letter, and use votes or direct action to achieve it, he is victimizing gay people -- creating unease and spoiling domestic tranquility. All you have to do is change the references from Homosexuals to Jews, and the book from the Bible to Mein Kampf, and it brings the hate-speech to life quite vividly.

The disruption of other citizens' domestic tranquility is a crime; it is a violation of a person's constitutional protection. Disturbing the peace is a crime on most laws of our states. I say we police it. Thinly veiled threats against other citizens, no matter how cleverly worded they are, have an effect on their intended targets. They create unease, fear, and tension in society. People who make use this hate-mongering speech are sociopaths, plain and simple. They do not care about the constitutional rights of the people that they victimize, and in fact, many of them advocate the idea that those people have no constitutional rights, or that their constitutional rights should be taken away. Such ideas, are, ultimately un-American, because the spirit of the constitution is that all people, regardless of who they are or what they believe, have the same rights and protections. For most of the purveyors of hate-speech, the idea that someone they despise can be their equal, and have every right to disagree with them, is an inconvenient thing to live with. Ultimately, hate speech is about advocacy of inequality and non-protection of citizens. You can't get any less American than that.

21 comments:

David W. Irish said...

So in my perfect world, the following laws would likely serve my free speech visions:

(1) All news media outlets (defined as any organization which publishes or broadcasts what it purports to be facts on current events, news reporting, or news journalism -- or which uses the news reporting or newsdesk format of a traditional news publication or broadcast) will be subject to "truth in reporting" accountability. News media outlets which publish false, misleading, or invented news items will be fined.

(2) Journalists will all be protected by law. No employees of any news media outlet can be forced to take an oath of loyalty to the partisan political views held by the news media outlet employing them. Their political leanings cannot be questioned as part of a pre-employment screening. No journalists can be ordered by their employers to alter their news stories to suit a particulat partisan political agenda. As long as a news story is based on verifiable facts (all of which must be recorded in the journalist's notes, for their own protection), the journalist is only doing their job -- telling the truth. No news media outlet can threaten to fire journalists for the political flavor of their report -- only for repeated violations of the laws with respect to the truthful nature of their reporting.

(3) News media outlets serve the public trust. Citizens trust that these institutions deliver reliable, factual, truthful information. In the age of media pundits, many news media outlets have deliberately given time or space to highly opinionated propaganda that is false and misleading, but disguised as factual news. The format used, and the methods used imitate the traditional news format, and many people can easily be mislead to believe untrue information. Since these outlets are trusted to be truthful, they need to be held accountable for instances when they do not tell the truth.

(4) News media outlets cannot hide behind the word "Entertainment". If a news media has a commentator on who uses false and misleading information, but claims that his piece is "protected free speech/opinion" or "entertainment", it is not acceptable. Case and point. The Daily Show is clearly an entertainment show, and they make no effort to disguise the fact that they are poking fun at the news, and turning current events into comedy material. The fact that they are occaisionally better at getting to the truth behind the facts than many news media outlets are does not change the fact that they are clearly entertainment. Take the average segment on Fox news, which has no live audience, no laughter, and which never tries to tell viewers that they are simply entertaining them, and which broadcasts messages to viewers with every intent of having it be seen as truth, and compare, and the difference is obvious -- Fox News clearly broadcasts their news as serious journalism, even if it comes from a known White Supremacist whose "facts" are easily disproven by a real journalist (or a fake one from the Daily show).

(5) All "opinion" pieces on all news media outlets should now be balanced artificially -- by law, all news media outlets should be forced to have opposing viewpoints to balance any opinion/editorial piece. The opposing opinions cannot be hand-selected by the outlet, either. If broadcasting an opinion of a partisan political nature, the opposing view should come from the opposing political party, and be of some official capacity within that party.

(6) When politicians, elected officials, or other news-making persons proclaim facts in an interview, the journalists should check those facts as part of their job. The questioning of authority is an important, intergral part of journalism. IN this sense, Journalists are supposed to weed out the lies that our government or elected officials, or pundits tell.

(7) In the public sector, people who openly advocate positions that are anti-social, sociopathic, or which advocate for the removal of constitutional protections from a group of people, which advocate violence toward other citizens, which advocates legal and political exceptions for certain groups of citizens, will be punished by misdemeanor fines. Often, such speech amounts to harrassment, creates hostility in others, and does not act in the spirit of our free society. For example, Nazism, White Supremacy, Black supremacy, antisemitism, hatred of gays, and religious intolerance are all allowed. What is not allowed is the public advocacy of these ideas -- the mass-market spreading of these ideas through media outlets. It is okay to harbor these views, but when they become propaganda, and are broadcast to a mass-market, it has the potential to cause discord within society, or even violence.

Micgar said...

Wow! This is a very very thought-provoking post! As a civil libertarian-an ACLU member for quite some time, I have similar issues about what constitutes free speech and what is an actual threat. I used to be more against hate crime legislation, but now I am for it. I have come to see how certain groups in our society are targeted for harassment, verbal abuse and physically threatened or hurt.
In terms of hate speech I have had a harder time-although lately, I have seen more evidence of how right wing radio talk shows incite their brainwashed followers-especially those who are already mentally unbalanced to commit crimes against those these radio (and TV) host rail against night after night and day after day.
The recent shootings (at the progressive-leaning church and possibly others with evidence of material by Michael Savage and other far right talkers leaves me thinking there is a line that can be crossed. When is it crossed though? These guys come close but don't actually say people should commit violence toward progressives, liberals, gays etc. Savage is one of the worst, but even worse are the Bates son and father "Christian radio" team, and people like Brannon Howse and Dobson. (because they use people's religious beliefs as a guide for their hate-filled rants)
Now, these talkers are whining about the Fairness Doctrine. (like their has ever been a balanced political spectrum on radio or TV!)
To be honest, I am uneasy about any kind of 1st amendment limits on free speech in this case, but I can understand the points you have made here.

David W. Irish said...

I'm not even totally sure about the practical limits of the ideas I have.

Think of it like this:

What of the following is better for a "free and democratic" society, with reguards to people posting, openly issuing, and promoting hate speech, especially that which suggests that we "eliminate" or punish people who are guilty only of being different?

(1) We let it all go, and if someone goes out and kills one of the people to whom the hate speech is directed (and they follow the suggestions of a person or group who published them), we simply treat it as a random killing.

(2) We crack down on it, and punish the people involved in disseminating the literature, and maybe force them to attend sensitivity training courses.

(3) we place police on patrol to protect people who may be victimized by those promoting the literature/violent ideas.

If we do #3, it would be too costly.

If we do #1, innocent victims would be forced to live in fear.

If we do #2, we are not allowing 100% free speech, but we are at least trying to prevent violence.

Sioux said...

Commercial News Media is not governed by anything beyond ADVERTISER REVENUE.
So don't go looking for reform that's never going to happen.

Your alternative is "state operated" news which will always reflect the current administration regardless of party.

How advertisers run media.
TRUE.
Some (short sighted)editor ran a controversial cartoon in a local paper, 50 letters to the editor/many ads pulled by one side of the issue. Ultimate result?
The paper doesn't print ANY news relating to any side of the issue. If it touches the topic it may as well not exist. Is there news related to the topic, yes. Is it a topic this community really needs to take a look at? Way yes.
Is it worth losing your business?
No. Topic is dead. People you know still have jobs.

The news is tailored to the 2 customers. Advertisers buying time or space and viewers who will see the ads. Fox news looks like it does for its viewers, not for journalistic integrity.
We run society pages in the papers in the wealthier communities so that high end businesses will pay a premium to reach those people.
Advertisers know what type of people will be consuming and can tailor their campaigns. You're never gonna see a Trojan commercial on FOX.

If you want a different kind of news you go someplace else. And you'll see different commercials as well. Why is there more than one source of news for the world?

Because for every jerk who gets his ass kicked and someone is outraged there's the person who justifiably smacked him down and people are glad!
No commercial news source can give both sides of a story and survive.

Um, yeah I'mma go relax for a bit.

David W. Irish said...

True to a point about changing news sources if you're unhappy with the one you use. There have been incidents in history where media in various regions (newspapers, radio) were owned by one or two companies. William Randolph Hearst is famous for totally manufacturing fake news which got enough people in the coutnry enraged enough to go to war with Spain. Hearst got off on making fake news and watching people take it seriously. He even had relationships with some companies who personally benefitted from going to war. He really knew how to make money.

War involves a lot of death, mutilation, and tragedy. Shouldn't we have laws that prevent a rich asshole who owns a lot of media from manufacturing phoney news, with the intention that if enough people believe it, there will be a war, and people will die? I mean, sure -- he has every right to say what he wants, but when the intent is to cause an unneccesary war just to make money, it doesn't sound like a simple free speech issue anymore.

Advertisers often make lots of fake claims about their products. Unfortunately, the laws enforcement of bogus medical claims is so derelict that only a few of the thousands of bogus claims ever get prosecuted. People who make up phoney news so that they can profit from sales or stocks from panic buying are no better than drug companies who market dangerous products by lying to customers about them.

Fox news, like Hearst's media empire, regularly makes up news that is nothing more than lies or spin, and the purpose is to feed the fears of millions of racist, homophobes, and other hateful people. Themore these people are fed this stuff, the more hateful they get, and some of them act upon that hate. The network is not broadcasting news to inform people of current events as much as they are deliberately trying to manipulate public opinion, and the direction they are manipulating in is towards hatred. It's all deception, and when people start getting hurt (or killed) because too many people believe the propaganda, shouldn't something be done to stop it?

It's like the bad neighbor syndrome. You have a bad neighbor -- noisy, disruptive, always causing trouble, threatening other neighbors. Not everyone can just move away, and he refuses to compromise his assholism and stupidity. You can't tell the cops, because every time someone complains about him, they can't do anything about it because he's not breaking laws. He ends up aggravating everyone in the neighborhood until the whole community is generally pissed off, and then one day someone shoots the bastard or he causes a riot.

Derry said...

A very interesting post, and I have to admit, I agree with a few of the things you say, however overall I still very much oppose hate speech laws. Mainly because they simply exist to keep people from being offended and from discussing sensitive issues in manners of race, sex, religion, etc. There is no right not to be offended and there is no right to be personally respected, yet hate speech laws are trying to basically create a precedent for that. Your main point seems to be that hate speech laws would protect domestic tranquility, however I don't think they have ever done that in countries that enact hate speech laws. Not only that, laws against incitement to murder are far more effective, and those laws are in countries like the UK already, so enacting hate speech laws to fulfil the purpose of laws against incitement of violence and terror is kind of ridiculous.

Besides, if hate speech laws were simply about protecting people, why do hate speech laws always include laws against genocide denial. Defenders of anti-Holocaust denial laws for example, will always say they are needed to prevent holocaust denial material from sneeking into the school systems, as if there was some major threat of that happening. Of course that's not the real reason why they are illegal, they are illegal in countries that were directly affected in some way by the Holocaust, and they are ways of trying to forget the past, and force everyone to do so by legal sanction. That's a terrible way to treat history. Now, the laws WERE effective in keeping down Nazi resurgent movements, and so at one time they served a good purpose, but now they just give credence to neo-nazi idiots who claim to be persecuted.

Also, hate speech laws have been used to censor unpopular opinions and writings that aren't even hateful, yet are labeled as such so they can be censored. Take Douglas Tottle, writer of "Fraud, Famine and Fascism
The Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard" who wrote that the Ukranian famines were not genocide, just crappy socio-economic planning on the part of the Soviet Union, and that the Nazis largely fabricated the evidence of genocidal intentions, ironic a genocidal group would fake a genocide. His literature was banned in the Ukraine under hate speech laws preventing any "denial" of the Ukranian genocide. In fact, his book is hard to find and I believe nowadays it can only be found online. Of course, certain laws similar to hate speech laws have been used to actually illegalize calling a violent crime a violent crime. Turkey has on its law books laws against the hatred of turks, which includes laws against calling the Armenian genocide a genocide. Insane, isn't it?

The last thing that would be affected is satire and humor. Hate speech laws, of course, don't take into account humor and parodies, and as such if someone jokes about things forbidden in these hate speech laws, they will be censored. I visit satrical sites on a regular basis, many of which have racist and sexist humor, one of which on its page of black people has an image of a noose proclaiming "Ku Klux Klan approved" and proceeds to have various images of violent lynchings of black people. It's all satire, and yet this site would be banned by ISPs if an internet hate speech laws was enacted.

I guess I've went on bit of a ramble, but my point is hate speech laws don't protect citizens, they just foster an aura of ignorance and self-serving delusions of persecution, and just serve to fuel the fire of fridge hate groups that otherwise, if allowed to speak their mind in an open forum, would promptly be debunked and laughed at. But that's just my two cents, I should write about this one of these days, once I have the time and my life is more on track. Keep up with the good blog, and Merry Christmas.

Derry said...

Wow, I forgot one thing I was going to bring up: the Creationist movement. They are filled to the brim with anti-semites, far rightist kooks, and other hateful people, and in fact Creationism has a history of propogating hatred, going back before the foundations of Modern Biology in the mid 1800s even. Should we ban Creationism? No. Why? Because it's been far more affected to allow them to make their case, both in the debate area and legal courts. They simply destroy themselves when trying to make their case. Illegalizing it would only help them, not hurt them.

David W. Irish said...

Derry wrote:
A very interesting post, and I have to admit, I agree with a few of the things you say, however overall I still very much oppose hate speech laws. Mainly because they simply exist to keep people from being offended and from discussing sensitive issues in manners of race, sex, religion, etc.

I disagree. A lot of what hate speech laws cover are things that actually constitute crimes under a different context. For example, some Racist sons of bitches get off spraying swastikkas on the gravestones and buildings of Jewish cemetaries and synegogues. Other forms of hate speech would be considered harrassment under a different context -- For example, is the group of skinheads or Klansmen who picket black and/or Jewish businesses and/or homes practicing free speech, or are they HARRASSING black and Jewish people?

I insist that what starts out with non-violent speech often escalates to something more. It starts with a bunch of racists yelling epithets at people. Then it moves on to physical intimidation, damaging property, and more and more -- because the nature of racist protestors is, in reality, all about seeking attention. If you ignore the Nazis and Klansmen, they HATE IT. They nearly always move up to more and more disturbing acts, because they want to see newspapers run stories, they want to speak to crowds who are willing to listen, and they want to generate publicity for their cause. Historically, this is the way it's always been -- first some leaflets get dropped, then a rally, then someone assaults an old Jewish guy, then more and more, until police action is required. In a sense, with the correct laws, we could PREVENT the inevitable escalation from occuring, and save a lot of people a lot of grief.

Granted, grief is a good thing to toughen people up and give them resolve to live better lives, but the grief caused by hate groups is unneccesary, and particularly eggregious.


There is no right not to be offended and there is no right to be personally respected, yet hate speech laws are trying to basically create a precedent for that.

I agree there is no precidence to be PERSONALLY respected, but in a sense, Hate groups wish to go beyond that. Hate groups advocate official disrespect. Just look at what happened in the south after black people got the right to vote. Hate groups banded together to use local government to keep blacks from having civil rights. For over a century, no judge would prosecute white people for killing black people (right up until the 1970s!). In a sense, modern hate groups seek to return to those days, though we both know they never can get what they want. Again, the point is that these groups are HARRASSERS. Instead of harrassing one specific person, they harrass communities and groups of people.


Your main point seems to be that hate speech laws would protect domestic tranquility, however I don't think they have ever done that in countries that enact hate speech laws. Not only that, laws against incitement to murder are far more effective, and those laws are in countries like the UK already, so enacting hate speech laws to fulfil the purpose of laws against incitement of violence and terror is kind of ridiculous.


In a sense, you're correct. I disagree with current hate-crime legislation, because it's too vaguely worded, and easy to arbitrarily interpret to whatever one desires. For example, Mel Gibson making anti-Jewish statements in public is not something we need to do anything about legally. We just need to allow people to make fun of him for what he is.

One guy in a bar trash-talking a gay person is not something I'd prosecute, either. The Phelps family intruding on a private funeral to tell everyone that "God hates fags" is something we should arrest them for, and prevent them from doing. It's not free speech; it's harrassment. Nazis or Klansmen holding a rally? I believe that every city has a right to bar them from it, as it is nothing short of public harrassment.


Besides, if hate speech laws were simply about protecting people, why do hate speech laws always include laws against genocide denial. Defenders of anti-Holocaust denial laws for example, will always say they are needed to prevent holocaust denial material from sneeking into the school systems, as if there was some major threat of that happening. Of course that's not the real reason why they are illegal, they are illegal in countries that were directly affected in some way by the Holocaust, and they are ways of trying to forget the past, and force everyone to do so by legal sanction. That's a terrible way to treat history. Now, the laws WERE effective in keeping down Nazi resurgent movements, and so at one time they served a good purpose, but now they just give credence to neo-nazi idiots who claim to be persecuted.


In the case of holocaust denial, I do not believe in prosecution. However, these people ALWAYS try to frame it as a free speech issue, and ALWAYS try to get their crapola taken seriously because they certainly do want it taught in schools. They are just like creationists. What should be done with them is that actual academic experts need to confront them and show them for what they are. This is a case where public citizens need to expose these idiots.

However, most of my concerns were about how FAKE NEWS and PROPAGANDA were sneaking into the media. Since Fox News came on the air, we have seen a definite growth of conservative propagandists (pundits) on nearly all the networks, even PBS, and they are broadcasting fake news and opinionated propaganda in place of news. This is the really dangerous aspect of the whole issue, because many of the racists and antisemites of the far right are sneaking their completely untrue propaganda pieces into normal news broadcasts, and that creates acceptence for their views, because the public often does not know if a given story is basedc on fact or not. Most people assume it is fact if it is broadcast as news, and a lot of malicious, untrue, racist propaganda get diseminated in a watered-down form that doesn't appear racist to the casual observer.

Fake news is often just as bad as Klansmen burning crosses on people's lawns.

David W. Irish said...

Derry wrote:

Wow, I forgot one thing I was going to bring up: the Creationist movement. They are filled to the brim with anti-semites, far rightist kooks, and other hateful people, and in fact Creationism has a history of propogating hatred, going back before the foundations of Modern Biology in the mid 1800s even. Should we ban Creationism? No. Why? Because it's been far more affected to allow them to make their case, both in the debate area and legal courts. They simply destroy themselves when trying to make their case. Illegalizing it would only help them, not hurt them.


I agree to a point. Creationists, like Holocaust denial, are birds of a feather, and most of the time, they can easily be made to make complete asses of themselves if you give them enough rope to hang themselves (The more you let them speak for themselves, the harder they will stumble when questioned on their comments).

However, what do you do when news broadcasters intentionally put such propaganda on their networks, and have "experts" back their propaganda up, all completely uncritically, and without allowing those views to be questioned or examined. Recently, Fox news's Sean Hannity had several Antisemite and Nazi speakers on his program issuing propaganda against Barack Obama. These racists were not just allowed on his program -- Hannity himself helped craft glitzy introductory segments, and presented these people as credible experts, when in fact, none of them had any clout whatsoever, no degrees, and no official positions that other experts tend to have who are treated as "experts" on various subjects. In fact, the only thing these bums had were histories of being sued and charged with harrassment, libel, and slander (mostly against Jewish people).

There are few watchdog organizations to catch this type of propaganda activity. What's worse, is that even when someone exposed the scam, Hannity refused (and continues to refuse) to apologize for it, and refused to accept that his guests, whom he helped craft convincing segments that pushed lies, were not credible experts on anything but being antisemitic or nazis.

Hannity is not the only one, either. There are a number of people who make it into various network broadcasts, who do nothing short of craft propaganda, which many networks don't catch. What we need is for the government to set simple universally accepted standards for news -- they should be forced to do fact-checking, forced to verify the validity of claims, and discouraged from presenting commentary as news, or incorporating opinions with actual facts so as to blur the differences between opinion and fact.

Derry said...

(about the graffiti thing)

What? I was unaware any hate speech laws in countries specifically spoke of grafitti, but if so, they are worse than I thought. If that is such a heinous crime, spray painting on a grave site, then apparently belching the Nazi anthem would be up there as well.

Just kidding, but I see your point, and I'd agree to an extent, however how is hate speech laws necessary in that situation? Isn't anti-graffiti and vandalism laws more appropiate, since they already exist? If Jews defaced a nazi grave with stars of david, would hate speech laws protect the Nazis?

I have to admit, I've defaced a Jewish school once by carving a swastikka on it, in which case I could have had serious jail time in Germany and Austria, which of course is nonsense.

(on pickets)

But can't that go reversed? Are gay activist who picket Mormon churches REALLY practicing free speech, or are they harassing mormons? I live in an area where gays and mormons well...they have a bit of tension at the moment, but would I ever want to restrict their protest activity? Nope. Why would I? Again, I am seeing your point, so I'm not actually entirely disagreeing with you, only to an extent am I?

(on escalation)

I think you're very much wrong on that, and here's why: it only escalates into violence with support. Since Nazis are the primere example of hate, I'll continue to use them. When they organized pogroms to kill communist, jews, atheist and such, those pogroms had mass support, and were not fridge "hate" groups of any kind.

If you have crowds willing to listen, and I mean by willing as in they believe in this stuff, hate speech laws aren't going to do squat. You got a bigger problem on your hands, well, a hateful population. Only education and open discussion will eliminate that, as has been proven time and time again. Making laws against a particular mode of speech isn't going to help, it's just going to give ammunation to these hate groups, and they know that, so they want it to be like that, they want to feel like rebels.

(on respect)

You are again, correct to a certain extent. You use the southern US as an example, and talk of its inequality and unfair activities in the judicial system. Well that's not exactly something hate ++speech++ will address, if you have white juries that won't convict whites for killing non-whites, they won't care about hate speech laws. Racism is dying in America, maybe a lot slower in the former Confederate areas, but it's still dying nonetheless, the Civil Rights Act and cultural evolution have done much more than any anti-free speech laws could. The transition and evolution in many former Nazi countries has been slower, and their populations have entire segments of racist and xenophobes who cling to these forbidden parties and groups. Mind you, they aren't that big, but they are bigger than they should be.

(on current hate speech laws)

Glad you agree with my first point. And you're right about that Gibson, crazy Catholic son of a bitch :). I'm at odds with this discussion a bit, since I find myself still agreeing with a lot of what you say, but disagreeing with other parts. But alas, that's how people learn from eachother.

And where do I disagree with? The Westboro "God hates ___" Baptist Church, they shouldn't be arrested, they are harmless. If you have a private funeral, then yes you can get them removed and arrested if they resist, since that's private property, but I keep up with the group, and they actually don't protest on private grounds anymore, since they realized they don't get to do what they want when they protest on private grounds. Should they be arrested for doing any of that on public property? Nope, and if they were, I'd be terrified about what would come next. We already have protesters of legitimate concern be harassed and harmed by police, so if unimportant ones were, well...that would be bad.

I disagree that a city should have the right to bar a rally, I think a Nazi rally is protected under freedom of expression. Why should a rally be banned?

(on Holocaust denial)

Again, I'm finding myself in sort of agreement with you.

However, about the schools, doesn't every group want their view of reality and objective truth (if they accept the concept of objective truth anyway) taught in schools? So what? Is there any attempt to teach Holocaust denial in German schools? Nope, so that concern is pointless if you ask me.

About fake news and propaganda, hate-speech laws don't fight against those, truth in broadcasting and fairness laws do! The Fairness Doctrine is followed in most of the world, and the US used to follow it too, and hate-speech has nothing to do with it. If concerns of someone is the two-party controlled political media scene, the lack of reporting on real issues, no fair time for other political views, a lack of honest and accurate reporting on actual issues, these aren't issues of hate! They are matters of fairness and access to information. They have nothing to do with hate, since countries with hate-speech laws still have problems with their media like the US, but to a lesser extent. Even the "fairness doctrine" can't completely fight it off, it takes a bit more, but anyway, that's not the point of this discussion.

And to end this first piece, I actually don't mind klansmen burning crosses, I mean should anyone mind if I destroyed a cross? Well, I'm not to tell them what minds them, but I think that's the point.

I don't actually think any media outlet should be forbidden from airing creationist material, however I do actually agree with you when it comes to fairness and honest media, there should be regulations and laws guarenteeing ALL sides get a voice in every debate, and everything gets an air time. But that includes "propaganda" against a president elect. If they want to call him a nigger, say he was born in some muslim country, or that he's going to start a black revolution, I don't care, go ahead and say it. Only an uppity person or the president elect himself should honestly care about that. I just read a few weeks ago an interview on the independent media outlet WikiNews with a American Nazi about Obama, and he said all manners of nonsense and propaganda, claiming Obama (or Obongo, as they called him. Should it be illegal to use a name like that?) was tied to the Communist party, that he was a tool of Jews, and that he's going to make us a Zionist anti white communist state. Not very original, but you get the point.

Again, I'm in agreement with you completely over the distortion and lies in the media, but hate speech laws don't and won't concern these, and they won't help matters at all. The entire US mainstream media scene is pretty screwed over by corporations, so as such I watch none of it, I'm also not a member of any mainstream US party, since I simply don't agree with their platforms or most of what they say. Do I want laws that guarentee fairness and that every viewpoint and that honest reporting makes it into major media? Yes. Am I for laws against speech that's deemed hateful that won't even help the previous case? No. I think my example with the historian and the Ukranian "genocide" was a perfect example of why I am against hate speech laws to begin with.

Here, I'll throw you a bone about Fox News.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sP1-sGGLwZo&feature=channel_page


By the way, I don't know that much of Sean Hannity and his gang, out of curiosity, could you give me some more information on Faux News links with neo-nazis and such. I knew they were assholes but didn't think they were that bad.

Well, this was both fun and informative, so I hope we can continue this after Christmas, talk to you then.

David W. Irish said...


Just kidding, but I see your point, and I'd agree to an extent, however how is hate speech laws necessary in that situation? Isn't anti-graffiti and vandalism laws more appropiate, since they already exist? If Jews defaced a nazi grave with stars of david, would hate speech laws protect the Nazis?

I have to admit, I've defaced a Jewish school once by carving a swastikka on it, in which case I could have had serious jail time in Germany and Austria, which of course is nonsense.

Part of that is likely a police issue -- we all know that kids just do dumb things without really understanding the implications of it. But consider this:

Suppose we have a neighborhood. It can have a large Jewish, Gay, Black, or Hispanic population (you get to pick). Suppose one day, residents wake up to see anti-whatever group you pick slogans on buildings. People quickly clean it up, and the incident never re-occurs. Nobody knows who did it, but the incident is a one-off.

Does anything need to be done?

Suppose instead, the same neighborhood has a persistant problem with someone spraypainting the same anti-group messages on the property of people who specifically belong to the group being targetted. Suppose every time the slogans are erased or painted over, they get re-done up, or it's a poster-campaign, and the posters keep getting plastered up every time they get taken down.

Does anything need to be done now?

Suppose law enforcement finds out who is doing it. Should they be charged with anything beyond littering or defacing private property? Does the defacing of private and public property like that do MORE than just property damage? Does it not create tension in the community that normally would not be there?


But can't that go reversed? Are gay activist who picket Mormon churches REALLY practicing free speech, or are they harassing mormons?

It Depends. You can picket a business or other private institution without harrasing the occupants. It depends on how orderly the protest is, and what the protestors are saying. If they are simply calling for SHAME ON MORMONS for something the church did to hurt them, then what is wrong with it? If they are calling for people to burn down the Mormon church, then that is harrassment.


I live in an area where gays and mormons well...they have a bit of tension at the moment, but would I ever want to restrict their protest activity? Nope. Why would I? Again, I am seeing your point, so I'm not actually entirely disagreeing with you, only to an extent am I?

Right, my point is that harrassment is different from legitimate protest by the message and the method.


I think you're very much wrong on that, and here's why: it only escalates into violence with support. Since Nazis are the primere example of hate, I'll continue to use them. When they organized pogroms to kill communist, jews, atheist and such, those pogroms had mass support, and were not fridge "hate" groups of any kind.

I'm talking about the nazis (and other racist hate groups) in the USA, who are typically made up of uneducated, socipathic, social misfits who feel estranged from society, and take out all of their frustrations on Jews, Blacks, Gays, and whatever. IN America, the norm was for these groups, until very recently (911 changed a lot of things, especially since the patriot act meant that no groups were safe from investigations-- even nuns or monks), to make their prescence known via public protest activities. The more they were rejected, the more they would protest, and the more physical things got. Wolfgang Droege, for example, is a Nazi who went from simply posting pamphlets and screaming with a bullhorn on street corners, to beating up elderly Jewish men and children. Other Nazi groups like the Order went as far as armed robbbery and murder.

If you have crowds willing to listen, and I mean by willing as in they believe in this stuff, hate speech laws aren't going to do squat. You got a bigger problem on your hands, well, a hateful population. Only education and open discussion will eliminate that, as has been proven time and time again.

We're talking America here. America is a country where large populations of say, Evangelicals, feel nothing is wrong with singling out and harrassing a single person in the community, for, say, disagreeing with them about prayer and mandatory Evangelical religious indoctrination in PUBLIC SCHOOLS (See Herdahl/ACLU Vs. Pontotoc, Mississippi). Lisa Herdahl moved to Pontotoc onyl to discover that the public school system was being used by politically powerful evangelicals to indoctrinate kids into Evangelical fundamentalism (the crazy kind, too). When she filed a lawsuit (only because her concerns were ignored), the town rose up and attacked her, left death threats on her phone, threw rocks at her house, and worse. This is the dark side of America -- a place where whole towns can be made up of psychotic people who don't care about the law or constitutional rights.


Making laws against a particular mode of speech isn't going to help, it's just going to give ammunation to these hate groups, and they know that, so they want it to be like that, they want to feel like rebels.

That's why they escalate -- when they get ignored, they feel liek they're not being rebellious enough. It is the nature of the avarage American Nazi group to make noise and be the center of attention.


You are again, correct to a certain extent. You use the southern US as an example, and talk of its inequality and unfair activities in the judicial system. Well that's not exactly something hate ++speech++ will address, if you have white juries that won't convict whites for killing non-whites, they won't care about hate speech laws. Racism is dying in America, maybe a lot slower in the former Confederate areas, but it's still dying nonetheless, the Civil Rights Act and cultural evolution have done much more than any anti-free speech laws could.

To an extent, hate-speech laws go hand in hand with existing anti-riot and anti-harrassment laws. If the laws are not being enforced equally among all groups, then there is a problem. Hate speech laws only become neccesary when enforcement favors one group over another.


Glad you agree with my first point. And you're right about that Gibson, crazy Catholic son of a bitch :). I'm at odds with this discussion a bit, since I find myself still agreeing with a lot of what you say, but disagreeing with other parts. But alas, that's how people learn from eachother.


That's the way things ought to be :)


And where do I disagree with? The Westboro "God hates ___" Baptist Church, they shouldn't be arrested, they are harmless. If you have a private funeral, then yes you can get them removed and arrested if they resist, since that's private property, but I keep up with the group, and they actually don't protest on private grounds anymore, since they realized they don't get to do what they want when they protest on private grounds. Should they be arrested for doing any of that on public property?

I beleive that most of what they do constitutes CHILD ABUSE, of their own kids. They do all these things, and their kids are the ones who suffer, by not being able to have a normal social life, not making friends, by getting hit by flying debris from motorists who dislike them, and by beig so brainwashed and tormented that they have no life outside of the Phelps family cult.

But early on, they did cross the bounds into harrassment, slander, and libel, and that's what their claim to fame was when they first hit the public radar. Fred Phelps loves the publicity, and he has been usng his whole extended family as a means of getting fame for himself.


Nope, and if they were, I'd be terrified about what would come next. We already have protesters of legitimate concern be harassed and harmed by police, so if unimportant ones were, well...that would be bad.

Actually, that happens now with the "free speech zones" that the Bush administration has set up to avoid having protestors get seen by the media. That's just with legitimate protestors who have every right to be seen and to protest in public. Nazis, racists, and others seldom have a legitimate message.


I disagree that a city should have the right to bar a rally, I think a Nazi rally is protected under freedom of expression. Why should a rally be banned?

If a city wishes to bar a rally, it should have that right. It should have to justify it, though. After all, gays protesting inclusion in society is a legitimate political and social message. "we hate Jews and black people" is not legitimate. I'm sure that if the Nazis hired someone with the elocution of William F. Buckley, that they'd find a legitimate excuse, but as long as their message is an ANTISOCIAL one, it's not.

Again, I'm finding myself in sort of agreement with you.
However, about the schools, doesn't every group want their view of reality and objective truth (if they accept the concept of objective truth anyway) taught in schools? So what? Is there any attempt to teach Holocaust denial in German schools? Nope, so that concern is pointless if you ask me.

Again, my concern is that creationists, holocaust deniers, and people with specific political agendas that involve revisionist theories being included in public schools are bad for public school because they cheapen education by seeking legitimacy via political channels and not academic ones. Leave the conspiracy theories and historical revisionism for colleges, where an instructor can put them into proper perspective. I've often said if our politicians cave in to the demands of creationists, that we should craft the law to say that ONLY THE Scientific FACTS about creationism and evolution should be taught. This means that facts such as the LACK OF SCIENTIFIC FACTS, the FACTUAL BACKGROUNDS OF IT'S ARCHITECTS, and the fact that Creationism is based on a series of lies and distortions will be taught, and it will take only one class to cover it.

The same is true about holocaust and historical revisionists. Their mateirals are all based on lies and distortions of facts. Any legitimate historian knows this. This stuff is best left to colleges to cover as part of a proper scientific and historical methodology discussion, where students learn how legitimate science and legitimate historical research are done, and not for public school kids who aren't prepared, and who are just learning the basics.


About fake news and propaganda, hate-speech laws don't fight against those, truth in broadcasting and fairness laws do! The Fairness Doctrine is followed in most of the world, and the US used to follow it too, and hate-speech has nothing to do with it.

I believe I tried to make that distinction. Fake news is a separate problem, but the two problems have merged with the Fox News network, which regularly has Nazis and known anti-semites on as "experts" to smear people.


If concerns of someone is the two-party controlled political media scene, the lack of reporting on real issues, no fair time for other political views, a lack of honest and accurate reporting on actual issues, these aren't issues of hate!

I agree. However, hate groups use distortions and fabrications in ways that are similar and sometimes identical to politically-slanted news reports. The issues are two separate ones, but occaisionally get merged when say, an anti-semite who owns a media outlet uses antisemitic journalists to forward his agenda by manufacturing distored news. Rupert Murdock is just such a person.

We could get rid of hate speech laws if we simply had mandatory fairness and accuracy in reporting laws that got enforced and did not make it unreasonably hard on journalists (They never did, before, but that is what the fake news people claim would happen).


They are matters of fairness and access to information. They have nothing to do with hate, since countries with hate-speech laws still have problems with their media like the US, but to a lesser extent. Even the "fairness doctrine" can't completely fight it off, it takes a bit more, but anyway, that's not the point of this discussion.


Well, it's the point of my article! :)

And to end this first piece, I actually don't mind klansmen burning crosses, I mean should anyone mind if I destroyed a cross? Well, I'm not to tell them what minds them, but I think that's the point.

Uh, yes -- because traditionally, it is done on the laws of someone who the KLAN is trying to intimidate. They can light their own crosses on their own property, but if it's ever done on public land, or on the property of someone who doesn't want it there, then it's harrassment.


I don't actually think any media outlet should be forbidden from airing creationist material, however I do actually agree with you when it comes to fairness and honest media, there should be regulations and laws guarenteeing ALL sides get a voice in every debate, and everything gets an air time.

(1) We can't guaranteee all sides getting a voice or air time.
(2) We should mandate that all news reports verify facts and source them properly.


But that includes "propaganda" against a president elect. If they want to call him a nigger, say he was born in some muslim country, or that he's going to start a black revolution, I don't care, go ahead and say it. Only an uppity person or the president elect himself should honestly care about that. I just read a few weeks ago an interview on the independent media outlet WikiNews with a American Nazi about Obama, and he said all manners of nonsense and propaganda, claiming Obama (or Obongo, as they called him. Should it be illegal to use a name like that?) was tied to the Communist party, that he was a tool of Jews, and that he's going to make us a Zionist anti white communist state. Not very original, but you get the point.

Again -- these kinds of people need to be forced to do fact checking and source their stories. Otherwise, they'll get fined for sloppy journalism.

By the way, I don't know that much of Sean Hannity and his gang, out of curiosity, could you give me some more information on Faux News links with neo-nazis and such. I knew they were assholes but didn't think they were that bad.

Just look him up on wikipedia. Under the contraversies section, it lists his nazi pals and their special treatment.


Well, this was both fun and informative, so I hope we can continue this after Christmas, talk to you then.

No prob.

Derry said...

Well, this was a long response, so I'll have to get to you later today, or tomorrow. Again, I agree with a lot of what you say, but I disagree with your views on the community, on protest (I don't think orderly protest are a good thing, it's like saying getting your view across in a school by staying in line is a good thing) and I don't believe communities should have the right to bar people from public areas.

However, I will say this. You are right about child abuse with the Westboro Baptist Church. Sort of at least. When ol' Fred Phelps was raising kids, he regularly beat them, subjected them to psychological torture, and did all manners of vile concoctions with them. I'm sure some of the stories are made up, that's the nature of word by mouth accounts, but I'm sure plenty are true. I don't like the WBC, don't get me wrong, but since all they do is hold up signs and make Adobe Flash videos, I don't think any law should be made that trifles or suppresses them.

Derry said...

Also, since we are talking hate speech n' all, what do you think of this, I just discovered it and I bet some Israeli lobby would love to ban it for "hate speech against jews" or whatever:

http://kotaku.com/5120808/gaza-strife-reflected-poorly-in-raid-gaza-flash-game

But since it's on the internet, you really can't ban it.

The internet only has laws requiring neutrality and equality, in a sense, and I think they have worked out well. Many groups, mostly groups advocating either hate speech laws or tougher laws against child porn (what's with these groups obsessions with child porn..?) that want to bring censorship and other regulations to the internet. I fear hate speech laws will bring them, and I think you can understand that, since you've probably been on the internet longer than I have.

Well, anyway, got to go for now.

David W. Irish said...

Derry said:
Well, this was a long response, so I'll have to get to you later today, or tomorrow. Again, I agree with a lot of what you say, but I disagree with your views on the community, on protest (I don't think orderly protest are a good thing, it's like saying getting your view across in a school by staying in line is a good thing)

I'm not sure what you mean by this.

I'd like more protests to be orderly and polite, as opposed to disorderly and violent. I particularly like artistic demonstration, such as the Iraq war shoe display -- where the civilian shoes of adults and children, representing just 100,000 dead Iraqi citizens were put on display. It was silent, but spoke volumes for the destruction of life.

and I don't believe communities should have the right to bar people from public areas.
Suppose some Nazis and KKK demonstrators want to hold a march every week, where they walk right through a Jewish neighborhood with antisemitic slogans on signs, singing Nazi war hymns, and end with a soapbox-and-bullhorn speech where they essentially scream antisemitic language and make disgusting comments about Jews, just a couple of yards from a synegogue. Should the town have any right to deny them a permit or tell them to go elsewhere? Should the families living there have to just let them?

Now suppose the KKK decided to march through a black and hispanic neighborhood with signs that said "KEEP NI**ERS AND SPI**S OUT FO WHITE AMERICA!", along with paper mache' dolls of black people hanging by a noose. Shoudl the city be allowed to ban them? Should the families living in that neighborhood have to just let them?

What would you prefer -- a march of streakers jogging down the street butt-nekkid, or a group of nasty Nazis and Klansmen marching in jewish and black neighborhoods?

However, I will say this. You are right about child abuse with the Westboro Baptist Church. Sort of at least. When ol' Fred Phelps was raising kids, he regularly beat them, subjected them to psychological torture, and did all manners of vile concoctions with them. I'm sure some of the stories are made up, that's the nature of word by mouth accounts, but I'm sure plenty are true. I don't like the WBC, don't get me wrong, but since all they do is hold up signs and make Adobe Flash videos, I don't think any law should be made that trifles or suppresses them.

What's ironic about WBC is that families that are BETTER able to care for their kids, and do LESS HARM to them than WBC families often find themselves having the government remove their children and place them in foster care. "Religious Rights" and "Parental Rights" are often invoked by crazy, religious, child-beating, whack-jobs when they abuse their families. We'll arrest Mormon polygamists for cheating on taxes before we'll arrest one fundy for abusing their kids.

Derry said...

Well, first let me respond to the second post, since it's shorter.

(About peaceful protest)

I don't believe "orderly" protest have ever done anything, other than make insert whatever is being protested against laugh. It's especially been my experience, and I especially laugh at people who do "peaceful" protest. I think the recent Greek situation is an excellent example. Some kid got caught in a peaceful protest and was shot to death by some jerk cop, so people began burning the country to the ground, which got the two cops arrested and charged with murder. No one actually died in the protest of course, so there's nothing "violent" about disruptive and rocky protest.

Of course, that wouldn't happen in America, because Americans are too lazy and indifferent to care and to actually act. Cops get away with stuff like that more than people know, and if we had fiery protest like in Greece, things would change for the better at least a little.

I don't know about some shoe protest, I doubt it's done anything, if it was directed against Bush, I don't see what it has done. I'm not an "art" man, and I don't see art as sufficient for protest. But, that's just me.

(about communities and the right to protest)

You're asking me if the community should allow Nazi protest? Yes. I think any public area should be free to anyone, and no one should be able to restrict any speech or protest activity on it, with no exceptions. On private grounds, of course it's a completely different manner, but I don't believe in things like free speech zones and the mentality that "there's a time and place to speak or mind" or any of that horse leavings. If they don't like it, they can always just move. If the Nazi follow them, of course then they have committed a crime, but that's a speech issue then, it's a stalking issue.

Free speech is unpleasent, but the alternative is worse in my opinion.

(about to be naked or to be hateful)

Uh..I prefer neither to be frank. What I mean by that is I'm not against nudity or hateful slogans. I don't mind either. I think I'm the wrong person to ask such a question because I find neither offensive.

(About religious and parental rights)

Finally we're in total agreement here. When I was growing up, I was almost snatched away more than once because my mother allowed me to view violent material, but I grew up around abusive religious families, many of which were mormons, and they never got flak for what they've done. I also think simply indoctrinating children into religion is abuse in and out of itself, but I lived around people who would whip their children with electric coards and not get anything more than a slap on the wrist. So yeah, I know what you mean and I agree.

Okay, now on to the previous post.

(about the graffiti)

I don't understand you here. I don't see how a law banning swastikas or hate speech is necessary or even effective in deterring vandalism. I just don't get where you are coming across. I don't think these images should be banned anyway. I don't care too much if a swastika ends up on some jewish home or a star of david on some arab home or what not.

I don't think screaming fire in a theater should be illegal. If it becomes a serious problem with someone, ban them, but don't ban the words. That's the mentality I have with free speech.

(about the methods of picketing)

I don't think there is one objective way to say one picket is harassment and one is not. It's really all subjective. Do the Mormon churches like having signs calling shame on them for supporting some anti-gay legislation? No, in fact they probably think it's harassment. Does that manner? Not really. It's tough crackers for them, but it really is tough crackers for everyone else as well. I think ALL pickets should be allowed, but that's just my "extremist" opinion on free speech.

(about typical racist in America)

Before I start, I don't get that nun and monk comment, I'd think those people would be prime targets for investigation, at least in the manners of religious and child abuse. If you mean terrorist investigations, well then no, they probably are not terrorist.

The order was a group of well, you have it right, robbers and murderers. Their crime is robbery and murder, is it not? I mean, plently of non "hate" groups do these thigns, so how does hate speech address these problems?

About Wolfgang Droege, isn't his crime assault? Isn't that the problem and not his speech? How are hate speech laws going to deter that?! I don't get it. Is the problem you have with his violence or with his offensive language?

(talking America here)

I'm talking hate speech laws here. Hate speech laws are not in the US, but in other nations, so when discussing examples of hate speech laws, you really can't talk of the US.

(about the evangelical thing)

Well, again, this has nothing to do with hate speech, at least not if you ask me. You keep using the weirdest of examples, to be honest. Hate speech laws are not in the US, so you can't really use American examples when discussing them, not only that, but hate speech laws don't deter or attack these activities in the countries with such laws. They are all about banning speech, not actions, hence the term hate speech. Germany was well known for banning anything with Nazis or other "hate" groups mentioned, even if said material is anti-nazi. (See Wolfenstein 3D video game)

If your concern is harassment, indoctrination or violence, hate speech laws won't do squat against them, since they don't even address those problems in the first place. I think you're getting confused with two different issues.

(about legitimacy)

I actually don't think people should be able to ban a demonstration simply because its message is out of touch with reality because if you start doing that, people will be able to label any unpopular message as illegitimate and be able to ban it. It's a dangerous precedent that shouldn't be undertaken.

(Again, my concern is that creationists, holocaust deniers, and people with specific political agendas that involve revisionist theories being included in public schools are bad for public school because they cheapen education by seeking legitimacy via political channels and not academic ones. Leave the conspiracy theories and historical revisionism for colleges, where an instructor can put them into proper perspective. I've often said if our politicians cave in to the demands of creationists, that we should craft the law to say that ONLY THE Scientific FACTS about creationism and evolution should be taught. This means that facts such as the LACK OF SCIENTIFIC FACTS, the FACTUAL BACKGROUNDS OF IT'S ARCHITECTS, and the fact that Creationism is based on a series of lies and distortions will be taught, and it will take only one class to cover it.

The same is true about holocaust and historical revisionists. Their mateirals are all based on lies and distortions of facts. Any legitimate historian knows this. This stuff is best left to colleges to cover as part of a proper scientific and historical methodology discussion, where students learn how legitimate science and legitimate historical research are done, and not for public school kids who aren't prepared, and who are just learning the basics.)

Yeah, I agree with you there. But what does this have to do with hate speech? Again, I'm confused.

(about Fox News and their love of Nazis)

No, it's not. I don't think the Nazis themselevs should be barred from being on any tv show, but no one, no nazi, no whatever should be allowed to violate truth in broadcasting, but that's not a hate speech issue, that's a well..truth in broadcasting issue. I think we see things very differently.

(more about fairness and accuracy)

Glad you agree with me there, so there's not much to discuss on that issue. However, we don't have hate speech laws as far as I know, so I don't think we need to get rid of them. I want the countries that have them to abolish them, but I think you want me to keep this discussion within the U.S., so we have nothing to get rid of in that category. Just things we shouldn't add.

(Well, it's the point of my article! :))

Well, I am starting to understand your point of view much better. It has been fun and educational discussing this with you.

(Uh, yes -- because traditionally, it is done on the laws of someone who the KLAN is trying to intimidate. They can light their own crosses on their own property, but if it's ever done on public land, or on the property of someone who doesn't want it there, then it's harrassment)

Well, I disagree with it being barred on public areas, but when it comes to private areas, yes the person who owns it is boss, and they decide what goes on there. Obviously I don't disagree with that. However, I'm discussing public discourse, not what goes on in private affairs.

((1) We can't guaranteee all sides getting a voice or air time.)

It's not that we can't, it's just that we won't. We as in the U.S. mainstream media.

((2) We should mandate that all news reports verify facts and source them properly.])

I absolutely agree there.

(No prob)

Well, at least you were polite, unlike a lot of people I talk to via social networking sites on this subject. Despite the extreme length of these post, I hope we can continue this.

And a happy new years. I mean, as long as you are not Chinese.

Derry said...

By the way, do you think this would be able to be aired on Fox News?

http://www.fixedearth.com/links/what_if.htm

WHAT IF - Kepler's mother was a witch and he was raised a warlock assigned to bump Brahe off (HERE), wreck his work, steal his records, and twist them to promote Copernicanism and help pave the way for evolutionism (which he wrote about 250 years before Darwin)? (HERE, pp.1,2)

#

WHAT IF - Einstein's admission that "fantasy" meant more to him than "positive knowledge" is demonstrated most powerfully in his Relativity hypothesis, (that pseudo-mathematical "great work of art" that rescued a moribund Copernicanism and fostered and vivified evolution-based Marxism, Freudianism and Humanism)? (HERE)


WHAT IF - Today's Copernican-dependent, evolution-based "creation scenario" for the Universe, the Earth and all life forms including mankind is directly derived from ancient and current writings of Bible-bashing, Christ-hating Rabbinical Kabbalists?? (HERE - HERE)

I am wondering, since I found this nut site out of accident and I wonder if this is the kind of stuff you are worried about.

David W. Irish said...

This is a quickie comment. More detailed response when I have time...

So you are saying that if the KKK or Nazis want to have a parade and protest through a Jewish or Black neighborhood, that we should just let it happen.

Essentially, what that does, is tell the people living in those areas that they are not entitled to live in peace, because letting a bunch of brainless THUGS intimidate and harrass them is SACRED FREE SPEECH.

I believe that a major part of the job of policing and governing a city is promoting community peace and eliminating inter-citizen tensions. After all, why would cops need to be sent stop a "domestic disturbance" where neighbors are being loud or "disturbing the peace"? It is implied that domestic tranquility (peaceful living) is part of what cops and governors do.

Having Nazis and Klansmen march through neighborhoods where people will be intimidated and annoyed is BAD PUBLIC POLICY, because even if they protest orderly and quietly, the residents can't live in peace, because they have to listen to the intimidation and insults. What is more important -- Letting people live in peace and quiet, or letting a bunch of thugs harrass people with hateful, intimidating protests?

This is not the same as workers protesting unfair labor. It is a group of citizens (Nazis) protesting against other citizens (Jews) because of THEIR RACIAL/ETHNIC heritage. In other words, protests are good when they call public attention to potentially bad business practices and bad public policy, but protesting against people just because of their skin color and ethnicity is never legitimate.

(didn't I say this would be short? HAHAHAHA!)

Derry said...

Ironically, banning protest wouldn't promote community peace or elminate
inter-citizen tensions. If anything, wouldn't that just promote them, being that Nazis or whoever live in the area already and enough of them want a rally in the area? The greatest affront to community and citizen peace is of course, poverty and crime, but since Americans refuse to acknowledge poverty, and don't want any real solutions to actual crime, and just want to believe in the ol' eugenics lite harsh punishments and class assumption policies will weed out criminals, it's not like we are really in any situation to solve these problems.

But entering into hypotheticals here, I'd rather have freedom than security. Didn't ol' Ben Franklin say that? He said the opposite in fact deserved no freedom or security, which I agree with it.

Disturbing the peace really only means if what you are immediately doing is intruding on someone elses life in such a way it directly harms them or disrupts them in such a way they cannot function. Loud, debilitating music is among the chief examples. Do we ban the music? Only if you're Mormon. If any rally or protest or gathering or what not can be banned for "disturbing the peace" then a lot of things can be banned. Somehow, I doubt you'd jump to the defense of a Mormon or traditional Christian neighborhood that barred some form of gay or atheist rally or whatever. Gays and Atheist can be considered hateful too if you are raised that way, can't you? Hell, there are those "secular humanist" or atheist religious people as I call them who can be down right disturbingly hateful. Should we ban their rallies? Well...no. Why the double standard, and all for some false sense of peace?

Well, I don't think there is a good or bad protest, it's all a matter of opinion.


(
(didn't I say this would be short? HAHAHAHA!))

Haha, short is better. It gets to the point, and it's easier to learn and understand the other position when it's not convoluted.

Hope you had a better New Years than me by the way :).

David W. Irish said...

So let me get this straight...

You say we should let Nazis march through a Jewish neighborhood, even if the people of that area say they don't want them in their town, and that we should let the Nazis rally and make antisemitic speeches right in front of their local synegogue, and the Jewish people in the neighborhood have to just shut up and take it up the ass like good little citizens, right?

Are you also saying that a bunch of Klansmen should similarly be allowed to march right into a black neighborhood, with signs and slogans that say "N*gger go home to Africa!" and such, and the local black community has to just shut up and let the Klansmen march ?

So are you saying that in America there is the right of free speech, and that it's absolute (no limits), and there is no responsibility on the part of citizens or government use it's power to prevent turmoil -- that the right of Nazis and Klansmen to piss on people in their own back yards is more sacred than allowing people to live in peace without fear or intimidation from other citizens?

Is freedom of speech so sacred that I have to let one group of people intimidate me and my neighbors on our doorsteps?

This sounds like a sociopathic society -- everyone has the right to hate everyone else, without any recourse.

Derry said...

(about being allowed to march)

I don't get it. Why should someones right to do demonstrations and voice their opinion be restricted, just because it offends people? There is no right to not be offended, and if such a right were ever enacted, it'd lead to a pretty bad and stagnant society.

If religious communities have to shut up and let atheist march and protest, or gays or whatever, then the same groups have to shut up and take the protest from the other side. Unless you want to just ban protest and marches, then fine, that's a different issue, obviously a position I'd disagree with as well, but that's pretty much what you would have to do to be fair.

(about free speech vs. safety)

I believe if safety has to be restricted to foster an open and free society, then it should be done. In fact, the founders of the U.S. even said that, not that they are some awesome source of wisdom, but you know where I'm coing from. However, I don't see how anyones safety and sense of "peace" is being restricted from free speech. Many groups, particularily religious and ironically, racist groups claim unlimited "freedom" is dangerous, but I doubt you can prove unlimited free speech is dangerous, or that it causes a massive lack of social cohesion. I think restricting ideas and speech are more dangerous than anything else. If anything, all you'll do is give credence to these ideas anyway. I think you fail to see that.

You ask if freedom of speech is sacred? Well, I guess nothing REALLY is sacred, but freedom of speech is as close as it gets to being sacred. Freedom of speech and conscious are the most wonderful things on Earth, and one of the few things that is really true if you ask me. So I'll never restrict anyones speech in any manner for any reason, and will oppose anyone trying to do so.

Again, I say, freedom of speech can be disturbing, but the alternative is far worse.

(about...sociopathy?)

There's nothing sociopathic in hating people, and no one should be forced to like or associate or otherwise interact with people they don't like. No one should be told what to think, and social control should never be used. That sounds like a frightening society that I want no part in.

Derry said...

An afterthought.

You say I'm suggesting people taking things up the ass, when I said free speech should be unlimited for everyone, so I don't see how that's saying to take anything up the ass. I mean, counter-protest kind of defeat that assertion.

Of course, if someone doesn't want protest and demonstrations to be allowed, they can move to a country where such expressions are forbidden, all the media and information only presents positive aspects of life, where people are portrayed as shooting rainbows out of their ass (..figuratively of course), where everything is said to be fine and dandy, people are expected to trust each other and especially their leadership, government, corporate or otherwise, and where any descent is seen as dangerous to the nice, clean, lovely, perfect social order.

Screw that, give me a free and open society.