Author Topic: Freedom of Speech...  (Read 45415 times)

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Offline NAFFAEL

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Freedom of Speech...
« on: September 03, 2006, 05:40:32 PM »
It would seem that during my absence these past few days much has been posted on religion, war and politics. These subjects even under the most docile of conditions can bring forth extreme anger and hate even in the best of us.  Disturbing to me was the fact that some posts border on "hate" of a certain religion and the people that practice it.

I have kept my personal feelings and thoughts to myself even though at times I can be very vocal on both topics. I have received several PMs on the threads and notice that a certain fundamental principle is at stake here, the freedom of speech and expression.

So lets try and understand what this means. Lets examine two points.

1) Does free speech protect hate speech directed at particular ethnic or religious groups?
2) Does it protect "fighting words" that can arouse people to immediate violence?

Over the last several decades, these questions have been part of the ongoing debate both within the government and in public discussion, and in many areas no consensus has yet emerged . That, however, is neither surprising nor disturbing. Freedom is an evolving concept, and, as we confront new ideas, the great debate continues. The emergence of the Internet and forums such as the one you are part of right here is but the latest in a series of challenges to understanding what free speech means in contemporary society.

While freedom of speech is the rule, it is not absolute , and at certain periods especially in wartime speech may be restricted for the public good. Yes, speech ought to be free, but it is not an absolute freedom; common sense (the obvious need to punish someone who shouts the word "fire" in a crowded theater) make it necessary at times to curtail speech.

Free speech is a key right in a democratic society, the notion of democracy as resting upon a free marketplace of ideas.

* Some ideas may be unpopular
* Some might be unsettling
* Some might be false, etc. etc.

But in a democracy, one has to give all of these ideas an equal chance to be heard, in the faith that the false, the ignoble, the useless will be crowded out by the right ideas, the ones that will facilitate progress in a democratic manner . A marketplace analogy by Holmes is still admired by many people, because of its support for intellectual liberty.

Neither Holmes nor anyone else has suggested that there are no limits on speech; rather, much of the debate in the last several decades has been over how to draw the line between protected and non-protected speech.

It takes civic courage to stand up for unpopular ideas, and as both Holmes and Brandeis pointed out, that the majority rarely wants to hear ideas that challenge accepted views. To prevent the majority from silencing those who oppose it is the reason the Framers wrote the First Amendment. The principle of free thought, as Holmes famously wrote, is "not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought we hate."

The cure for "bad" speech is not repression, but "good" speech, the repelling of one set of ideas by another. Truly, many things believed right and proper in today's world were once considered heretical, such as the abolition of slavery or the right of women to vote. Although a majority will always find itself uncomfortable with radical ideas attacking its cherished beliefs, as a matter of constitutional law, the policy of a truly free democracy is that speech, no matter how unpopular, must be protected.

In the early 1940s the Supreme Court announced in rather definitive terms that the First Amendment did not cover obscene or libelous speech, fighting words, or commercial speech. Yet in the last few decades it has addressed all of these issues, and while not extending full protection, has certainly brought many aspects under the protection of the Speech Clause. The decisions have not been without criticism, and it is safe to say that just as the Court has wrestled with these areas, so there has been confusion and disagreement in the sphere of public comment as well.

These and other questions continue to be debated in the United States in the courts, in congressional hearings, in presidential commissions, in universities, in public forums, and in individual households. Among the rights of the people none is so treasured as that of free speech, and none is so susceptible to changing views. Most Americans recognize, however, their responsibilities as citizens require them to have the opportunity not only to propose unpopular views but also to hear others espouse their beliefs, so that in the end the democratic process can work. And while people are not always comfortable with the idea, they admit the truth that Justice Holmes declared when he said that the First Amendment is there not to protect the speech with which we agree, but the speech that we hate.

Therefore we can conclude that 1) a person does have the right to say whatever he or she whishes about a religion or culture, and that 2) that same privilege is extended to people that want to express fighting words towards others.

Ah The beauty of a democratic society!!!

With that being said now here is my caveat with the above thoughts. When a member signs up in a forum similar to this one, there are always guidelines to follow which everyone has to agree with in order to become a member in good standing.

All posts or threads therefore fall under that code of conduct agreement without exception.

If we (admins/mods/referees) find that any thread from this point forward breaks any of the rules of posting (agreed to upon sign up), it will be deleted immediately without warning. Hate posts and personal attacks will not be tolerated. This should also serve as a warning that any member caught doing so more than once will have their account banned for good, possibly without notice or warning.

Freedom of speech or not!!!, this is still my forum; I have set these guidelines in place, and will enforce them to the fullest extent as I/we see fit to do so.

Our Code Of Conduct states THINK BEFORE YOU POST, please take this advice very seriously.

Naf


Some excerpts taken from usinfo.state.gov
« Last Edit: September 03, 2006, 07:11:57 PM by NAFFAEL »

These walls honour the 13 Stanley Cup winning teams. Remembering them with pride. They showed the way. They built the tradition we strive to uphold and build on today. ...unknown

"Every time you wake up, ask yourself, "What good am I going to do today?", remember that when the sun goes down at sunset, it will take a part of your life with it." ...Native American Proverb

The individual activity of one man with backbone will do more than a thousand men with a mere wishbone. ...William J. H. Boetcker


Offline Normy_P

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Re: Freedom of Speech...
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2006, 10:39:45 AM »
Thanks Naf, I'll try my best!

Offline sainte-flanelle

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Re: Freedom of Speech...
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2006, 12:08:24 AM »
You are absolutely right NAF, freedom of speech is critical in this day and age. However, there is a clear line between expressing one's opinions and the RELENTLESS ADVERTISEMENT of a hateful agenda.

You are right though. This is your forum and you set the guidelines. However, it is also you that sets the precedent for all future conflicts of a similar nature. And I feel that the precedent that you have set is not a healthy one.

Offline NAFFAEL

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Re: Freedom of Speech...
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2006, 09:11:12 AM »
In what way?  :SH:

These walls honour the 13 Stanley Cup winning teams. Remembering them with pride. They showed the way. They built the tradition we strive to uphold and build on today. ...unknown

"Every time you wake up, ask yourself, "What good am I going to do today?", remember that when the sun goes down at sunset, it will take a part of your life with it." ...Native American Proverb

The individual activity of one man with backbone will do more than a thousand men with a mere wishbone. ...William J. H. Boetcker


Offline sainte-flanelle

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Re: Freedom of Speech...
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2006, 02:15:56 PM »
Meaning that anyone who has similar hateful views about other races, cultures or religions is free to present them in a similar fashion. And if a few people choose to exercise that "right", then I can guarantee (Alfie style) that the "friendly environment" of your forum will be a thing of the past.

Offline NAFFAEL

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Re: Freedom of Speech...
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2006, 04:38:42 PM »
That will never happen, when the push comes to shove; I'm a pretty big boy...

These walls honour the 13 Stanley Cup winning teams. Remembering them with pride. They showed the way. They built the tradition we strive to uphold and build on today. ...unknown

"Every time you wake up, ask yourself, "What good am I going to do today?", remember that when the sun goes down at sunset, it will take a part of your life with it." ...Native American Proverb

The individual activity of one man with backbone will do more than a thousand men with a mere wishbone. ...William J. H. Boetcker


Offline capncrunch44

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Re: Freedom of Speech...
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2006, 12:33:41 AM »
That will never happen, when the push comes to shove; I'm a pretty big boy...

 :copman   :UR:  Drop the gloves Naf.   :hs: 



Chuck Norris didn't dial the wrong number, you picked up the wrong phone.

Offline sainte-flanelle

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Re: Freedom of Speech...
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2006, 08:22:45 AM »
Hehe, well "big boy", if I understand you correctly then you are saying that you will only take action once someone decides to reply to his/her rhetoric in the same manner that he/she untilizes?

Offline Normy_P

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Re: Freedom of Speech...
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2006, 09:06:53 AM »
That will never happen, when the push comes to shove; I'm a pretty big boy...

I'm pretty big myself, I say we take on all the Leaf fans Naf  :hs:  :laughs:

Offline NAFFAEL

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Re: Freedom of Speech...
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2006, 09:32:57 AM »
Hehe, well "big boy", if I understand you correctly then you are saying that you will only take action once someone decides to reply to his/her rhetoric in the same manner that he/she untilizes?

If a person is posting hate, the best way to shut them up is by silence. If there is no response or attention usually the person whos posting hate will by and large be defeated and the lack of interest in what they have to say will stop.

If they are encouraged by insulting or ineffective return posts, it will carry on to the point where an Administrator or Moderator has to intervene. If you choose the latter method, be sure that your reply is solidly based on fact and not return hate. In this way other members reading the hate/rhetoric will be able to easily distinguish the difference between truth/fact and hate/gibberish.

I do try and keep track of all the posts, but at times this is difficult. That is why I have great moderators to keep an eye on things for me. I do admit that I can miss or be unqualified in certain areas to respond appropriately, but the job usually gets done right.

Im generally considered an exceptionally patient man, and my tolerance for lack of common sense is far reaching. But when Im tested beyond reason I can become a pretty nasty "big boy", Im told.

Ill repeat what I said in the Freedom of Speech thread:

Freedom of speech or not!!!, this is still my forum; I have set these guidelines in place, and will enforce them to the fullest extent as I/we see fit to do so.

Take that for what its worth.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2006, 09:37:15 AM by NAFFAEL »

These walls honour the 13 Stanley Cup winning teams. Remembering them with pride. They showed the way. They built the tradition we strive to uphold and build on today. ...unknown

"Every time you wake up, ask yourself, "What good am I going to do today?", remember that when the sun goes down at sunset, it will take a part of your life with it." ...Native American Proverb

The individual activity of one man with backbone will do more than a thousand men with a mere wishbone. ...William J. H. Boetcker


Offline sainte-flanelle

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Re: Freedom of Speech...
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2006, 09:47:25 AM »
Quote
If a person is posting hate, the best way to shut them up is by silence. If there is no response or attention usually the person whos posting hate will by and large be defeated and the lack of interest in what they have to say will stop.


That's what I thought as well. But take a look at the threads. Some are just one person constantly posting ridiculous opinions (with no replies from anyone...). Silence has not been an effective deterrent.
Also the fact that this is a forum for all ages, including the impressionable young, makes it even less reasonable to let the rhetoric continue.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for debate and I think that even the most contraversial topics should be scrutinized openly; But to label what is going on in that sub-forum as "debate" would be the equivalent of calling pro-wrestling a test of athletic ability (yes, I just quoted Jon Stewart  :nuts:).




Offline NAFFAEL

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Re: Freedom of Speech...
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2006, 09:59:07 AM »
Can you sling yourself off the top ropes, backwards, and land on someones body, or get your head and neck "pile drived" between someones legs without getting injured?  :laughs:

These walls honour the 13 Stanley Cup winning teams. Remembering them with pride. They showed the way. They built the tradition we strive to uphold and build on today. ...unknown

"Every time you wake up, ask yourself, "What good am I going to do today?", remember that when the sun goes down at sunset, it will take a part of your life with it." ...Native American Proverb

The individual activity of one man with backbone will do more than a thousand men with a mere wishbone. ...William J. H. Boetcker


Offline Normy_P

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Re: Freedom of Speech...
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2006, 10:02:20 AM »
Ten years ago maybe..............but now I highly dount it  :tdown:

Offline sainte-flanelle

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Re: Freedom of Speech...
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2006, 10:27:34 AM »
Can you sling yourself off the top ropes, backwards, and land on someones body, or get your head and neck "pile drived" between someones legs without getting injured?  :laughs:

Give me some anabolic steroids and I'll do all that and even throw in a triple-back-flip for free.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2006, 10:48:11 AM by sainte-flanelle »

Offline NAFFAEL

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Re: Freedom of Speech...
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2009, 11:37:08 PM »
Just thought that bumping this topic was appropriate, so if you have time read the threads please.

These walls honour the 13 Stanley Cup winning teams. Remembering them with pride. They showed the way. They built the tradition we strive to uphold and build on today. ...unknown

"Every time you wake up, ask yourself, "What good am I going to do today?", remember that when the sun goes down at sunset, it will take a part of your life with it." ...Native American Proverb

The individual activity of one man with backbone will do more than a thousand men with a mere wishbone. ...William J. H. Boetcker


 

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