"Je Suis Charlie," but your free speech is terrorism

I had no idea civil rights were imbued by geography.

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“Rights” are entirely limited by borders

Absolutely. We should never have interfered with the Nazis, and Stalin and Pol Pot were good guys. They were absolutely in a position to limit people’s rights within their borders.

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As long as they don’t intrude on our borders, then we have to intervene.

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Rather Than ad absurdo reductum just look at how different nations address “rights”

Badly, more often than not. Absolutely terribly. And there’s nothing absurd about the idea of rights as inherent to humanity. The idea that law gives rights is religious more than anything, and I don’t buy into that crap. But you’re more than welcome to bend over as far back as you’d like to make a consistent framework for human and civil rights based on nationalism. I’m not going to pretend I have high expectations for your efforts.

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To the French government: You cannot use the Ring!

OTOH, I disagree with Dieudonne’s opinions on triangles.

What’s that? It was a different Dieudonne?

I don’t quite know what you think I’m motivated by, but I’m not talking about what should be, I’m just saying how it is.

I think the most depressing anecdote about the rate of French antisemitic violence I’ve heard was when a kosher sushi restaurant, Zekaï, in Paris, was firebombed back in 2014; the firebomb bounced off the hardened tempered glass of the storefront, which had been installed after the previous time the restaurant had been attacked.

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I find it easy to believe that France is using the attacks last year as a justification to oppress Muslims - France has been pretty oppressive towards Muslims for a while now. But I get really tired of hearing about free speech as if it is the most important thing in society. The protection of your free speech is always going to be protected by a competent judiciary, not by absolutist laws.

All rights are balanced against responsibilities. The freedoms in the US bill of rights - as interpreted by politicized courts - seem to be speeding the country towards being a police state rather than protecting the people from that. Right now it’s only a thin thread away from protecting “I’ll give you $100k if you vote for this bill” as free speech.

Speech is action. “If you mow my lawn I’ll pay you $100” isn’t an expression of an idea, it is a contract. “I now pronounce you [x] and [y],” is the act of marrying two people. Although I’ve read that the actual “Fire”-in-a-crowded-theatre example was flawed in it’s seminal usage, yelling “Fire” in a crowded place creates a serious risk of stampede and injury. “Here’s my number, call me around 2:00” is the act of detonating that cell-phone controlled bomb.

We ought to be careful about wishy-washy arguments suggesting that some kind of speech causes harm. But there is no slippery slope between making it illegal to offer someone $10k to kill your spouse and making it illegal to say that we ought to stop bombing foreign nations. We need judges who are competent to balance harms making these determinations.

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In the U.S., there are generally five categories of exceptions to free speech:

  • obscenity
  • defamation
  • fraud
  • incitement
  • speech integral to criminal conduct

I think that that’s a good list of the speech that should be limited.

Well, but these days most people would argue against obscenity as a good reason. And people get into a tizzy about banning speech that speaks ill of Jews or Muslims when I don’t see how it’s such a different category than defamation (it’s just defaming a group rather than a person) and often borders on incitement. There really aren’t clear-cut answers.

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[quote=“Humbabella, post:32, topic:71764”]
Well, but these days most people would argue against obscenity as a good reason.[/quote]

Perhaps, or perhaps the definition of what is “obscene” has just shifted a bit.

IANAL, but I think that the problem may be a misconception of the legal definition of “defamation” - it’s more than just “speaking ill.” Statements of opinion are usually protected under defamation law - only definite, false statements of fact are generally covered, and even they are usually protected if you can source that you got those facts from someone else. Most proposed “hate-speech” laws are much stricter than that standard, and I don’t think they should be.

Again, IANAL, but I think the legal definition of incitement is not, “We need to do something about this,” it’s “we need to get together tonight to burn down their mosque” - it needs to be a specific, deliberate call to criminal action.

In my opinion, if there isn’t a clear-cut answer, we should err on the side of “more speech” as a response to speech, as opposed to banning the speech.

But what is the justification for this? If I tell a specific lie then you can sue for me for telling it, but if I’m unspecific or non-falsifiable then you can’t. Why is that line important? Why is “Obama had David Bowie killed,” something that ought to be prohibited while, “I’m not saying Obama had David Bowie killed, but if you think it about it, it makes sense.” is not? Is there some reason to think that the former is more harmful to the reputation of the target? I don’t see why that line is defensible. Why isn’t “more speech” the answer to direct lies when telling the truth can counter a lie just as easily as it can counter a misleading suggestion?

Again, I don’t see how that line is defensible. If I go on certain message boards and start talking about how woman X living at address Y cheated on me then that woman will start getting death and rape threats. I know that. So why am I not culpable for doing that? Are we going to let people off if they were talking in code because they can just say, “Well, I said to deliver flowers to his wife, not to kill him.” You can know how you will be understood without saying the actual words.

These exceptions are just made up by people, and I don’t think they are easy to defend.

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